Posted October 1, 2015on:
Being a mobile application developer, you should understand how important it is to be up-to-date on all the latest application development tools and technologies that have been brought into the world of mobile application development. Let’s have a look today at some essential ones that will be useful for Android developers. Of course the following list is not completed, so please feel free to add your own best tools in the comments below.
The main purpose of Pencil is to provide a free and open-source GUI prototyping tool that can be easily installed and used in order to create mockups in popular desktop platforms. It provides various built-in shapes collection for drawing different types of user interface ranging from desktop to mobile platforms. Starting from 2.0.2, Pencil is shipped with Android UI stencils pre-installed. This makes it even easier to start prototyping apps with a simple installation. Popular drawing features are also implemented in Pencil. Available in its current version 2.0.5, Pencil serves extremely helpful for creating stunning mockups for apps targeting different mobile platforms.
Dedicated to those who deal with HTML5 development, Intel XDK is pre-built into Chrome and lets you streamline the process of developing your Android app very conveniently. You can use Intel XDK to design, test and build HTML5 apps efficiently. Plus, you can take the opportunity of delivering your app on multiple app stores and form factors. Intel XDK is developer-friendly and makes the process of designing, building and testing apps very easy. Built with the aim of cutting down the app development time, Intel XDK supports integration with various third-party plug-ins that work as great tools for in-app purchasing and flawless advertising.
It is a cloud-based app development tool which comes with a wide range of shortcuts that enable you to make your app available for the world. This tool utilizes PHP and an XML markup language for merging the intuitive properties of cloud-based CMS and template-based design system to help you with balancing of the app content. The Appscend UI permits you to add advertisements, followed by uploading the app to Google Play and other popular app stores.
If you have difficulties starting an emulator and running your Android application, then Genymotion is the right tool for you. It is an Android emulator which comprises a complete set of sensors and features in order to interact with a virtual Android environment. With Genymotion, you can test your Android applications on a wide range of virtual devices for development, test and demonstration purposes. Trusted by over 2,500,000 app developers across the globe, it is fast, simple to install and powerful thanks to user-friendly sensor widgets and interaction features. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems.
Android Debug Bridge (adb)
Android Debug Bridge is a versatile command line tool which lets you communicate with an emulator instance or connected Android-powered device. With it you could upload and download files, access multiple features via the shell available on emulator or device, install and uninstall packages, perform a query for emulator/device instances etc. It is a client-server program that includes three components:
• A client, which runs on your development machine. You can invoke a client from a shell by issuing an adb command. Other Android tools such as the ADT plugin and DDMS also create adb clients.
• A server, which runs as a background process on your development machine. The server manages communication between the client and the adb daemon running on an emulator or device.
• A daemon, which runs as a background process on each emulator or device instance.
LogCat serves as the Android logging system which gives you a good tool for viewing and collecting system debug output. You can access it from within Eclipse and Android Debug Bridge. With LogCat it’s possible to easily get useful diagnostic details about different things that have taken place on your logging system. Other than that you can easily let your applications log the debugging and diagnostic details to this tool. What is interesting about LogCat tool is that you can run it as Android Debug Bridge command or directly in the form of a shell prompt which belongs to your connect gadget or the chosen emulator.
It goes without saying that all the above mentioned Android application development tools offer excellent options to a developer. And what are your favorite ones? Please feel free to comment below ☺
Posted September 10, 2015on:
– Prototype-based Inheritance
– Asynchronous event-driven programming
– Functions as objects
Frameworks and Libraries
Open-source web application framework. It aims to simplify both the development and the testing of such applications by providing a framework for client-sidemodel–view–controller (MVC) and model–view–viewmodel (MVVM) architectures, along with components commonly used in rich Internet applications.
3) Meteor (MeteorJS)
6) Ext JS (Sencha Ext JS)
7) D3.js (D3)
We are often asked about which iOS game engine to use. It is believed that most companies are looking for a free game engine so here is a comparison of the different open source iPhone game engines that actually have apps out there. Also these game engines now support the iPad.
The Sparrow Framework is a very lightweight 2D game engine created in Objective-C.
It was built from ground up for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You can easily integrate it with your existing UIKit apps, access all iOS APIs directly and benefit from native performance.
If you have already worked with Adobe Flash or Starling, you will feel right at home: Sparrow uses the same concepts and naming schemes. Even if you’re coming from a different background, you’ll get the hang of it quickly, because everything is designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible.
The game framework includes all the necessary features you’d require for creating a basic 2D game such as easy animation, and a sound engine.
The Cocos2D iPhone game engine is a port of a game engine originally created in Python and converted to iPhone Objective-C. As you can tell from the name, Cocos2D is designed for 2D games, that being said, although the engine is in a 2D world, the engine includes a growing collection of high quality 3D special effects. Cocos2D has also been released on the Mac so you can ease the release on 2 platforms.
Cocos2D is the first engine to check out, while many may be turned off by the engine not supporting a 3d world, if you look at most of the top iPhone games the gameplay is 2D, in fact the iPhone’s touch screen controls can make it difficult to operate in a 3D world.
The engine provides more examples than any of the other engines out there because of the large community.
iSGL3D (iOS Scene Graph Library) is a 3D framework for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch written in Objective-C, enabling the creativity of developers to flourish in a 3D world without the complexities of OpenGL.
With its rich set of features, iSGL3D provides the necessary tools to develop 3D applications in an incredibly short time frame, even with a minimum of experience in 3D graphics. The principal behind iSGL3D is to make construction and manipulation of 3D scenes as simple as possible for a developer.
With a single line of code you can add a 3D object whether it is a simple primitive, a sprite (or particle) or your own imported asset. Properties on these objects allow you to modify their appearance, position, rotation and more very simply. You can add containers too to group objects and manipulate them together. In a short period of time you can build up a complex 3D scene.
The Moai SDK is an open source 2D game engine. It designed more for people who know what they’re doing. While it includes the ability to start developing a game immediately from a downloadable binary, it only supports using the FreeGLUT library on the desktop. It is designed in such a way that it expects the developer to be able to create the windowing system themselves.
The main language used with Moai is Lua. Most of the time you shouldn’t need to use C++ to extend the base engine, but the capability to do so is there. The documentation for the Lua codebase is kind of weak however, so you should be ready to do some searching to find out how to use various capabilities. You can create your games with Moai on both Windows (Visual Studio) and Mac (Xcode). In order to
submit your games to the iOS app store you will need to do so with a Mac.
The Oolong Engine is written in C++ with some help from Objective-C. It will help you to create new games and port existing games to the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad.
Oolong provides support for a wide variety of features and provides excellent performance.
Haxe is a multi-platform language that most notably compiles to SWF and has been used in many Flash games.
Galaxy Game Engine
The Galaxy Game Engine is a very promising engine with an extensive feature set. This is a BSD licensed 3D engine that includes some very useful tools such as a level editor, terrain editor, model viewer, particle editor, and shader IDE.
Sure, we may make this list longer, but let me stop here. The most important thing, which I’d like to notice, is that you should select the engine which fits your project needs and suits your purposes in the best way.
And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?
Feel free to share with us your thoughts!
Today the first events within GamesCom 2015 are kicking off. The main European game show will perform almost finished image of the game industry of 2015.
What should we expect from the nearest days? Let us have a look.
Gamescom 2015 obviously passes up in comparison with E3 in terms of number of the renowned companies, but Gamescom has hosted plenty of big announcements and reveals in its time – and 2015 will give us plenty to talk about.
Microsoft is going to make a huge impress during its conference that will take place on Tuesday, August 4, 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm UK time.
One of the headliners will be Halo 5 for Xbox One, with an ESL invitational tournament happening on the Friday to get the pros into the game. However, Quantum Break, Scalebound and Crackdown will all be getting some exclusive coverage – and we might even see some more Fallout 4 footage during the conference. However, Sea of Thieves and Recore will be missing the show.
Microsoft is also preparing some surprising announcements. Whatever could they be?
Sony is skipping Gamescom this year; they plan to arrange their own presentation on October 27 during Paris Games Week.
It could be a risky strategy, but if it has nothing new to show moving on from its big E3 presence then showing up with nothing could have done more damage than good.
After its phenomenal E3 showcase, Bethesda will be hitting Gamescom to show us more of Fallout 4. Unfortunately, it will not be offering up a playable trailer, but Bethesda will be showing off more gameplay at a presentation. Do not expect footage of any of the other Bethesda titles – Gamescom will be dedicated to the nuclear wasteland.
EA will be hosting a press conference at this year’s Gamescom, and it will be taking place on August 5 at 1am PT / 4am ET / 9am UK time.
Being showcased at the EA event will be FIFA 16, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Need for Speed, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Unravel and more.
DICE though has also been possibly teasing a reveal of another ‘hero’ character for Star Wars Battlefront via the EA Star Wars Facebook page.
Or it could turn out to be a one-hour gameplay demo of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.
The relationship between Konami and Hideo Kojima may have ended, but before the ties are severed, they have an unfinished business: Metal Gear Business.
Konami has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be playable at Gamescom 2015.
2K Games will be showing off the ‘worldwide reveal’ of the third instalment in its open-world, Mario Puzo homage, Mafia III. It teaed the announcement via Twitter with the reveal – read teaser trailer – showing up on August 5 5am PT / 8am ET / 1pm UK time.
Also holding its own invite-only press conference will be Blizzard. It is being a little secretive about what exactly will be shown, but we do now know that we will get our first glimpse of the new World of Warcraft expansion.
Now that Warlords of Draenor has reached content complete status, it is time for Blizzard to tell us what is next. VG247 is reporting a new trademark from Blizzard for Council of Glades, which could end up being the name of the new WoW update.
There will surely be more info coming about the already known Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void expansion. Might we also see Hearthstone moving from PC to console too?
The press conference is taking place on August 5 3am PT / 6am ET / 11am UK time so we will know more as it happens.
For the public though the new WoW expansion will be shown on the evening of August 6, after a live concert by Songhammer, playing Blizzard inspired ROCK.
The long awaited Windows 10 OS has been just released. The launch of the new OS, Microsoft`s revenge on unsuccessful Windows 8, will become one of the most important launches in Microsoft’s history.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep some of the touch and tablet features it created for Windows 8, combine them with the familiar Start menu and desktop, and run it all on top of an improved operating system. To decide whether to switch to Windows 10 or not, let`s have a closer look at new cool features offered by Windows 10:
1. New and Improved Start Menu
Microsoft brings back the Start Menu. Absence of which, Windows 8 has been blamed for. Now, when you click on the Start button at the bottom left of the screen, you get two panels side by side, with the left column showing pinned, recently and most-used apps.
Now it’s a more familiar place where you can view regularly used apps, have the ability to use universal search (including web search) and even have the ability to shut down or restart a Windows 10 laptop or tablet.
2. Cortana for desktop
Microsoft is bringing its mobile digital assistant, Cortana, to the desktop. It will be the central location for searching your local machine and the Web, either by voice or typing in your query.
“Hey Cortana” – you say and the assistant opens.
Another interesting feature of Cortana is its Notebook that you can customize to fit your interests, which helps Cortana get “smarter” over time. You can add interests from Bing news, sports, weather, and more.
3. New web browser: Microsoft Edge
Forget about Internet Explorer, that annoyed most of users. Microsoft Edge is leaner, meaner, and faster. However their icons look exactly the same.
Edge is the new default web browser for Windows 10. It features a host of built-in features such as a screen grab tool with touchscreen doodling abilities, a note pad and reading mode.
With the rise of hybrid laptop-tablet devices, Microsoft wants to make it easier to switch between either mode. It`s one of the greatest new features in Windows 10, now the system will detect if you’ve plugged in a keyboard or mouse and switch modes for more convenient interaction. If you remove the keyboard/mouse, a notification will pop up from the task bar at the bottom, asking if you want to activate Tablet mode.
5. Improved Multitasking
A new Multiple Desktops feature lets you run another set of windows as if on another screen, but without the physical monitor. This is similar to Apple’s Spaces feature on OS X, and helps you manage your multitude of open windows and apps. Instead of having multiple windows open on top of each other on one desktop, you can set up a whole other virtual desktop for those programs to reside in. Set up one specifically for home and leave your apps such as Netflix and Amazon open, and create another desktop for work on which you keep Word, Excel and Internet Explorer open.
6. Action Center
One of the more annoying features in Windows 8 is the Charms bar. It’s hidden and pops up annoyingly when your mouse pointer is at the edge of your screen. That annoyance is gone, replaced by a notification center that Microsoft calls “Action Center”, which gives you notifications and quick access to common actions like Wi-Fi or Airplane Mode. Plus, on the desktop, you need to click a button on the taskbar to bring it up, which means it won’t be popping up arbitrarily as you’re getting things done.
7. Universal apps and Unified Windows Store
Previously called “modern” or “metro-style apps”, now will be called “Universal apps” as they’ll look and function virtually the same on different Windows 10 devices.
With a new Windows Store in Windows 10, users can buy apps once that work across their computers, smartphones, and tablets.
8. Control Panel – Settings app
Instead of having two apps to control your device settings in Control Panel and PC Settings, Microsoft is making things less confusing by bringing them together in one. You’ll be able to manage your device from one place.
9. Touch support for office apps
A new version of Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook will provide a touch-first interface across phones, tablets and PCs. The apps will look and perform the same way on a PC as they do on a mobile device for a more coherent experience.
10. Windows 10 is free
One of the biggest new developments in the Windows 10 story is that it will be completely free to upgrade. It will be available at no charge for the first year for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. It will also be free if you’re still running Windows 7.
The article covers only some of the new things you’ll see in Windows 10, and I`m sure, you will reveal more great features offered by Windows 10. But we can say for sure that Windows 10 is a big improvement over Windows 8 and worth trying it. And will you upgrade for Windows 10?
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Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Staying in shape is hard work. As the tech savvy community that we are, we spend most of our time working in front of our computers and mobile devices. As a result, we often let our health take the back seat, never really finding the time to go to the gym or a fitness class and more often than not choosing fast food over much healthier options.
In the past, finding out the answer to these sorts of fitness or nutrition-related queries required going to an expert for advice or trawling the internet in the hope of finding an answer. Nowadays, things are a lot easier thanks to the health and fitness apps available on the App Store or Google Play. Because our smartphones and apps are always with us, they become constant reminders to check your progress, stay the course, and keep your willpower strong.
Here are the top 10 hand-selected health and fitness apps proven to be the most effective in terms of execution and, of course, results.
RunKeeper is a workout-tracking program that offers detailed stats about things like pace, distance, time, and calories burned. Features include detailed fitness plans to help you achieve a variety of goals (lose weight, improve endurance, run a race, etc.); real-time audio coaching to keep you encouraged; and built-in social sharing tools (so you can brag about those workouts with ease).
Cost: Free. Available on iOS, Android
Cyclemeter may very well be one of the most feature complete cycling apps you’re going to find, on any platform. Not only can you track every statistic you can possibly thing of, you can customize over 120 audio alerts to let you know exactly where you are during a certain ride. Cyclemeter also lets you share your workouts online as well as notify friends and family of exactly where you are, whether during a race or just for safety reasons. Cyclemeter has built-in training assistance to help you get ready for any kind of race you may be prepping for.
Cost: Free; $4.99 Elite Upgrade optional. Available on iOS
MyFitnessPal is a mobile app and website that gives you a wealth of tools for tracking what and how much you eat, and how many calories you burn through activity. Of all the existing calorie counters, MyFitnessPal is by far the easiest one to manage, and it comes with the largest database of foods and drinks. With the MyFitnessPal app you can fastidiously watch what you eat 24/7, no matter where you are.
Cost: Free. Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, Web
4. Pocket Yoga
Pocket Yoga is a self-guided yoga practice that you can customize to fit your schedule and experience level. Features include detailed voice and visual instructions that guide you through every pose, 150 illustrated pose images including correct posture and positioning, and a workout log that tracks your progress to encourage consistency.
Cost: Android ($2.99), iOS ($1.99). Available on: Android, iOS
Fooducate helps you eat healthier by scanning barcodes of products and providing a nutrition grade instantly, ranging from A to D. You can read unbiased information of a product, such as the controversy behind food coloring and make better, educated choices for your food intake. To help Fooducate, you can also submit products for analysis and write your own review.
Cost: Free. Available on: Android, iOS
No matter how much water you drink now, you’d probably be recommended by your GP to drink more. Drinking water is a key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by keeping our skin looking younger, improving natural digestion and removing bodily toxins.
With intuitive gesture-based interaction, iDrated will help keep track of your water intake throughout the day and remind you should you forget to drink in a while.
Cost: $0.99. Available on: iOS
7. Smoke Free
We all know the effects smoking has on our health but giving up the habit can require a lot of willpower that some of us just don’t have.
Having visual feedback from your progress like how much money you’ve saved so far can be used as a big incentive to help us keep going.
Downloading Smoke Free can be the first step to becoming healthier.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS
8. Workout Trainer
Workout Trainer is a fitness training app that comes equipped with thousands of free workouts designed for a wide variety of fitness goals, experience levels, and personal preferences. Features include a virtual fitness consultation to personalize and improve your experience; instructional photos, videos, and audio cues that illustrate every exercise; online support community; and a built-in music player.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android
Fitocracy is an RPG (role playing game)- like app that allows you to earn points and level up during your fitness journey. New friends and accountability buddies will cheer you on in an online social community that’s like Facebook but for fitness.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android
10. iTriage Health
Here’s an app that takes the concept of a medical dictionary to a whole new level. iTriage not only allows you to search symptoms and find potential causes, it suggests treatments and finds qualified facilities and doctors in your area. If you’re having a medical emergency and need to head to the ER or urgent care, this app can provide average wait times.
It also includes numbers for emergency hotlines and physician and nurse advice lines, so you can be connected easily to a real person who will give you feedback on your condition. All of this information can be saved on the app for your convenience.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android
Did you have a chance to try these helpful applications? Which of them did you like most? Let us know using the comments below.
Front-end development frameworks are handy tools to save time and effort when it comes to designing web sites or applications. The choice of them is extremely wide nowadays, they can be either small or big and rich in features. One can be big enough to provide a fully functional responsive website template.
Each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses, specific areas of application, allowing you to choose based on the needs of a specific project. Here is the list of the most popular frontend development frameworks:
Bootstrap is the most used frontend web development framework in the world. Created and maintained by Twitter, it is described as “a sleek, intuitive, and powerful mobile first front-end framework for faster and easier web development.” The best thing about Bootstrap is that it is continuously upgraded by the bootstrap developers with latest technological advancements. For instance, when recently Google released material design guidelines, material design based bootstrap themes became available just under less than a month. This is the speed with which bootstrap follows and adapts any new web design trend.
Technically, bootstrap might not be necessarily better than the other frameworks, but it offers many resources (articles and tutorials, third-party plug-ins and extensions, theme builders, and so on). And you can see it basically everywhere. And this is perhaps the main reason why it’s framework #1 by popularity.
Foundation is a truly professional lightweight front-end framework from Zurb. This framework enables the user to create complicated layouts without the need to create a large number of custom elements. Some key features that Foundation comes up with for building lightning fast websites are: data-interchange – using it you can load light weight html sections for mobile usage and heavier html for desktop or big screen devices; Fastclick.js – for ultra-fast mobile experience; off Canvas Navigation– almost default navigation style, you can create off canvas navigation out of the box using foundation; GPU Acceleration – helps smooth and faster animations.
This is one framework that gives a close competition to Bootstrap in terms of popularity, use and features.
3. Semantic UI
Semantic is one of the most innovative and full-featured frameworks. It comes integrated with many third party libraries like Angular, Ember and Meteor and you hardly need to use any additional library even in the big and complex web projects.
Gumby has become popular in very short time. It is a responsive CSS framework that is extremely customizable. Few of the key features of this framework are – an extensive and beautiful UI Kit and templates that give designers a head start in the design life cycle and a responsive grid system that adapts to any device and viewport. The framework also comes with a large number of components including responsive images (for serving images based on device size) and parallax for creating parallax effect like a breeze.
Pure is a light weight package of CSS modules that can be utilized in any web project.
It was created by the design house of Yahoo. Pure doesn’t come with additional JS or jQuery plugins, it is pure CSS.
The best thing about Pure is its exceptional small size. It offers only bare-bones styles for a clean start to your project. It’s ideal for people who don’t need a full-featured framework but only specific components to include in their work.
Susy doesn’t come as a jumbo sized package like Bootstrap or Foundation to cover all aspects of web design, but it brings out the best in what it is meant to do, building grids. So basically you have to understand the complexities of how grids are built. When you do that, some people say that then there is nothing better than Susy as you are able to create any kind of grid layout.
7. And the last in my list but not least – Material UI
Material design is rocking at the moment and promises to continue for the coming years. So CSS frontend development frameworks around material design are inevitable and Material UI is the pioneer in that direction and is the most comprehensive framework that implements Google material design. It is built on top of LESS CSS preprocessor and comes packed with React Components.
This framework provides CSS and material design compliant ready to use components that can be used in your web project. What you get with Material UI– Google Material Design Color Palette, Typography, Customization Option, etc.
So let me stop here, although one can for sure make this list longer (and you are welcome to!). There are many frameworks out there, so what one can advice you is to choose a popular framework that is under active development, but has reached some maturity. But the most important thing is to select a framework that fits you project needs. And finally, if you are willing to, you can adopt a mix-and-match approach. If a particular framework doesn’t satisfy your needs, you can mix components from two or more projects.