Valdio Veliu, Jul 29

Tidy and Optimize Your Java Code with Android Butter Knife

Valdio Veliu looks at Android Butter knife, a great tool for optimizing and tidying your Android codeso you can focus on important logic.
Wern Ancheta, Jul 26

Use React Native to a Create a Face Recognition App

Wern Ancheta uses React Native and the Microsoft face API to create a face recognition app.
Deivi Taka, Jul 22

Developing Push Notifications for iOS 10

Deivi Taka takes a look at developing push notifications for iOS 10, what's new and how to take advantage of these features.
Jay Raj, Jul 20

Authenticating Users via OAuth with Cordova and Ionic

Jay Raj looks at authenticating users via OAuth with a Cordova and Ionic based app.
Design & UX
Daniel Schwarz, Jul 19

PaintCode: How to Make iOS-Ready App Graphics with Sketch App

App development needs great design but there is a disconnect between design and code. NowĀ PaintcodeĀ turns Sketch into an iOS app UI development tool.
Sajjad Ashraf, Jul 15

Access Platform APIs with React Native Modules

Sajjad Ashraf looks at accessing native platform APIs by creating custom React Native modules
Ivan Dimov, Jul 12

In-App Browsers with the ThemeableBrowser PhoneGap Plugin

In this tutorial,Ā Ivan Dimov shows you how to create a custom in-app browser with the ThemeableBrowser PhoneGap plugin.
Simon Codrington, Jul 08

Connecting to Web Services with Android Wear

In this Android Wear tutorial,Ā Simon Codrington shows how to co connect to web services and load data to a wearable.
Chris Ward, Jul 06

Rapid IoT Development with the relayr Android App and SDK

Chris Ward looks at the Proto Android App from relayr for rapid IoT development with SDKs available in many popular programming languages.
Patrick Catanzariti, Jul 05

Setting up a Home VPN Server Using Your Raspberry Pi

Patrick Catanzariti covers how to set up a VPN for your network using a Raspberry Pi and an OpenVPN installer called PiVPN.
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jul 05

SitePoint/Flippa Hack Day: Hacking our First IoT Project

We'd all played with computers for years but SitePoint's Hack Day gave us a chance to make electronics with our first IoT project.
Patrick Catanzariti, Jul 04

Tracking GPS data with the Tessel 2

Patrick Catanzariti looks at how to use the Tessel 2, paired with a GPS module and Google Maps, to display a heatmap of your Tessel 2's location.
Elio Qoshi, Jul 04

Why the Internet of Things Still Has a Long Way to Go

Elio QoshiĀ looks at why he is hesitant to adopt the IoT or recommend it to consumers ā€” security, quality and transparency concerns.
Wern Ancheta, Jul 01

Horizon: A Scalable Backend Perfect for JavaScript Mobile Apps

Horizon is a scalable backend perfect for JavaScript and cross-platform mobile apps, in this tutorial Wern Ancheta creates a multiplayer game to show why.
Travis O'Brien, Jun 28

Handling Player Input in Cross-Platform Games with LibGDX

Interactivity is crucial in cross-platform games and in this tutorial Travis O'Brien covers handling player input with LibGDX.
Valdio Veliu, Jun 24

OkHttp, the Android HTTP Client from Square

Valdio Veliu looks at OkHttp, an Android HTTP client from square that helps simplify API calls in your apps.
Brian Sebele, Jun 22

Li-Fi: Lighting the Future of Wireless Networks

Brian Sebele looks at Li-Fi, a way to use light signals to send data, and how it fits into the world of the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
Jay Raj, Jun 21

Push Code Updates to Apps Instantly with CodePush

Jay Raj looks at CodePush, a tool from Microsoft that helps you push code updates to apps instantly.
Wern Ancheta, Jun 17

Realtime App Development with RethinkDB and React Native

Wern Ancheta covers realtime app development with RethinkDB and React Native for automatic data updates pushed straight to users
Simon Codrington, Jun 14

Custom Android Layouts with Your Own ArrayAdapter

If you need a custom layout for your Android App, then you need your own ArrayAdapter. SimonĀ Codrington shows you how to create and use them in your apps.
Chris Ward, Jun 09

What Do Apple's App Store Changes Mean for Developers?

Chris Ward looks at Apple's forthcoming changes to the App Store, and whether they will be successful in improving revenue.
Design & UX
Alex Walker, Jun 08

Conversational UIs, R2-D2 and Avoiding the Uncanny Valley

What was the first 'killer phone app'? I'm talking about first non-voice offering that had droves of people buying mobile phones for the first time just to use it?

Was it Google Maps? Maybe the YouTube app? Bejewelled? Facebook?

No - as important as they were, I think the original killer app has to be SMS (or texting). Sending little notes to each other doesn't sound very innovative or exciting, but from the early 90's onwards, SMS drove the adoption of cellphones and provided an obscenely lucrative revenue stream to phone network providers.

People seemed to like SMS for three reasons.

  1. It was private
  2. It was simple
  3. It felt familiar

We all probably passed notes in class and stuck them on the refrigerator door. SMS just let us pass them across the world.

Many of the first big online services for desktop computers used the same chatty approach - ICQ, Yahoo IM, AIM, and MSN Messenger.

Even today Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp Twitter, and Slack have billions of users every day tapping out short text messages to each other.

What can we say? Humans really like this format.

Birth of the Conversational User Interface

The last two years have seen the rise of a new kind of user interface. Slack were one of the first companies to realize that this 'human-to-human' chat format might work just as well for human-to-app interactions.

Instead of using a standard account creation sign-up form, Slack used their 'Slackbot' like a welcoming hotel concierge.

Slackbot sign-up

And it made so much sense. They want you to chat - why not start chatting from the first moments you use the app? The idea has been reproduced many times since.

Quartz: Chatty News App

Quartz is a new news app (currently iOS only) that takes the idea of conversational UIs to a new level.

While Slack was a chat client just expanding where it chatted, Quartz jams news events into an SMS-like format. It's a bit like having a friend SMSing you newspaper snippets to read on the train. You can ask your friend for more detail on the story or tell them to move on.

Quartz in action

While I'm not totally convinced yet that Quartz is a winner, it is a brilliantly original way to think about presenting news. It's loose and informal and easily the most clutter-free news UI you've ever seen. Each time you read a new message and make a yes/no decision - Quartz handles the rest. Interesting.

One interesting little UI touch is the 'typing' indicator that appears just before Quartz posts a new message to screen ā€“ three drumming dots inside a speech bubble (see the animation below).

We're all familiar with this idea. In real world conversations, we can signal with body language that we're about to speak. In chat apps from ICQ in 1996 to Slack today, we get a visual indicator that the other person is in the act of replying. It's a useful protocol.

But this is an app speaking to us - not a friend or colleague.

Quartz Conversational UI

Now let's be frank: We all implicitly understand that this is all 'UX theater' for our benefit. Even my 10-yo daughter immediately picked it. There's nobody banging away at a real keyboard.

So, how do we feel about that?

I'm not sure about you, but I've been surprised by my own gut reaction. My designer brain tells me I should be dismissive and snarky. "Bah! How dare you slow down my experience with such feeble parlor tricks!" (yes, my designer brain sounds like Professor Moriarty)

But my UX-self started grudgingly liking it - and I couldn't understand why at first.

Deivi Taka, Jun 08

Managing Data in iOS Apps with SQLite

Most apps will need to store data at some point. In this tutorial,Ā Deivi Taka looks at managing data in iOS with SQLite, an easy and light storage option.
Lars Klint, Jun 08

Getting Started with Microsoft HoloLens Development

Lars Klint shows how to begin developing for mixed reality using the Microsoft HoloLens SDK and Unity 3D, even without owning a headset!