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Posts Tagged ‘iOS

iBeacon is the name used for Apple’s technology that provides location-based services and information to mobile applications on both Android and iOS devices using Bluetooth Low Energy.

The beacons themselves are small transmitters that can be placed in stores or specific points of interest, such as museums or airports. Apps installed on mobile devices “listen” for the signal and respond accordingly when the phone comes within range.

iBeacon changes shoppers into byers

First of all, iBeacon technology opens great possibilities to retailers. Some of American and European big retailers already take advantage of iBeacon: Walmart, Macy’s, Tesco, etc

Using iBeacon, customers can find and watch videos, receive coupons and other discounts in real time, depending on where they are in a store.

IBeacon also helps to collect analytical info about customers` experience. Businesses and retailers now have a direct way to find out what customers are doing, exactly where in the store they are doing it, what they are looking at, how long they are looking at it, and maybe what they decided to buy at the last second instead.

At last, iBeacon can bring popularity to contactless payment. iBeacons ability to track a specific phone, linked to an Apple ID and user account opens the door for an Apple-based payment system.

iBeacon is not only about retail. The iBeacon ecosystem has the potential to change other industries. Here are some examples.

Event Industry: conferences and concerts, museums and exhibitions.

Here are a few ways iBeacons could help to manage events and improve the attendee experience:

-Attendee check-in. Using the event’s app, attendees check themselves in and avoid line-ups.

-Navigation. iBeacons provide devices with extremely accurate location services. In large conference facilities, museums and exhibitions, iBeacons can be used to power hyper-accurate floor maps.

-Networking. Using iBeacons, attendees can network through an opt-in feature in the event’s app, allowing them to discover and message other attendees. With Linkedin integration, attendees can get a detailed look at who is around them and decide who they would like to connect with. iBeacons were successfully used at Cannes Lions festival for networking with attendees.

-Promotions and advertisements. Instead of distributing brochures or physical promotional materials, an exhibitor can send targeted promotions to attract attendees to their stand.

-Gamification. Integrating gamification into events will provide new ways to engage and stimulate attendees. For example, iBeacons could be used for social games to drive networking, venue tours tailored to indiviual interests, or scavenger hunts for exclusive information and prizes.

Home automation systems

As we get closer to the coming smart home revolution, it’s clear that smartphones and tablets are going to be the devices that we use to control our lamps, lights, thermostats, sprinklers, security systems and entertainment systems. Beacons will detect when you arrive home and as you pull into the driveway , the lights will come on. The door is unlocked for you as you approach itJ


Enabled with touch devices, waiters don’t have to rush to the kitchen in order to dispatch orders. In other cases, clients can make orders directly on tablets available at the table. With iBeacons, the app automatically knows which table the waiter is at. It can display the client name (with eventual dinning/preferences history) and automatically associate orders with tables without requiring waiters to manually select a table number.


The iBeacon platform offers a wide range of applications that can be applied on an educational context. From simple games that require students to move around, explore and find things to more scientifc or technical experiments in the classroom. Moreover teachers can track who from the students are present and send notifications to the parents whose children are away.

IBeacon is a new emerging technology that may change the world we live in. Things move quickly in any field in which a technology innovation has backing and breadth like this. This short list is only an introduction to the possibilities of iBeacon and where this technology can be applied.

And what do you think of iBeacon? Will it change our lives in the near future?

I`ll be happy to know your thoughts.

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


JavaScript is celebrating 20th anniversary in 2015. It’s a language with a changeable history and carries a lot of baggage from its childhood, but as it leaves its teenage years behind it, now it’s a language that has finally grown up. JavaScript made a revolution in web by allowing scripts to run in a browser. But after its initial popularity soon the reputation was spoiled and JS was often associated with poorly written, cut-and-pasted code that was used to create annoying pop-ups and cheesy ‘effects’. Thus we see that JavaScript had some annoying weaknesses as a programming language.

On the other hand, we can observe that JavaScript has “ubiquity” that other programming languages don’t have. One must admit that you just need a browser to run, which means that anyone with a smartphone or computer is capable of running a JavaScript application. JavaScript has made the dream true that Java was available on all platforms by using the browser as its virtual machine. And now thanks to Node.js, it can run without a browser.

It is well known fact that simple text editor – is all you need to write a program in JS. JavaScript has a low barrier to entry when it comes to development. And we also must agree with GitHub that JavaScript is one of the most popular languages. This means that help is often easy to come by and there is a lot of JavaScript code out there. Furthermore, one should not forget that it also means that code’ libraries are well tested and many issues have already been solved.

After a first decade, which was a period of awkward childhood, JavaScript was growing up like most of the teenagers. People changed their mind with the revolutionary advent of Ajax. jQuery then made people using JavaScript to build some new applications and Node has taken it all to a whole serious level. JavaScript established itself as a powerful and flexible language with some cool features such as:
– Prototype-based Inheritance
– Closures
– JSON (subset of the object literal notation of JavaScript)
– Asynchronous event-driven programming
– Functions as objects

Frameworks and Libraries

Lots of frameworks and libraries have been written to mitigate problems and improve JavaScript for programming. JavaScript framework is the set of pre-written JavaScript code that helps to ease development of the JS based applications. This framework is also known as JavaScript libraries, which enhance the use of this programming language in many ways.
We have already shared some posts about the JavaScript frameworks in the past. JavaScript framework can be found anywhere on the web with different type of working capabilities. We have selected few of them to keep an eye on, and we hope you will find our compilation useful.

1) Angular.js

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.

2) Ember.js

Open-source JavaScript application framework, based on the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern. It allows developers to create scalable single-page web applications by incorporating common idioms and best practices into the framework.

3) Meteor (MeteorJS)

Open-source JavaScript web application framework written using Node.js. Meteor allows for rapid prototyping and produces cross-platform (web, Android, iOS) code. It integrates with MongoDB and uses the Distributed Data Protocol and a publish–subscribe pattern to automatically propagate data changes to clients without requiring the developer to write any synchronization code. On the client, Meteor depends on jQuery and can be used with any JavaScript UI widget library.

4) Backbone.js

JavaScript library with a RESTful JSON interface and is based on the model–view–presenter (MVP) application design paradigm. Backbone is known for being lightweight, as its only dependency is on one JavaScript library, Underscore.js. It is designed for developing single-page web applications, and for keeping various parts of web applications (e.g. multiple clients and the server) synchronized. Backbone was created by Jeremy Ashkenas, who is also known for CoffeeScript.

5) Knockout.js

JavaScript implementation of the Model-View-ViewModel pattern with templates. Main principles are: a clear separation between domain data, view components and data to be displayed; the presence of a clearly defined layer of specialized code to manage the relationships between the view components. These features streamline and simplify the specification of complex relationships between view components, which in turn make the display more responsive and the user experience richer.

6) Ext JS (Sencha Ext JS)

JavaScript application for building interactive cross platform web applications using techniques such as Ajax, DHTML and DOM scripting. Ext JS includes interoperability with jQuery andPrototype.

7) D3.js (D3)

JavaScript library for producing dynamic, interactive data visualizations in web browsers. It makes use of the widely implemented SVG, HTML5, and CSS standards. It is the successor to the earlier Protovis framework. In contrast to many other libraries, D3.js allows great control over the final visual result.


JavaScript will be one of the most important languages to learn and invest into over the next few years. Website development is into a single-page web application that relies on JavaScript to do the heavy lifting on the client side (in this case, usually JS goes with modern front-end frameworks such as Backbone or Angular.js). The advantage of using Isomorphic JavaScript is increasing the popularity of JS. The data that is transported from databases is often stored in JSON format. The possibility of using a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript let you build an application for iOS, Android and FireFox OS. JavaScript has existing libraries, plugins, APIs and other cool stuff to be broad used in The Internet of Things (IoT). JavaScript is becoming the language not just for the front and back end of web development, but also for interacting with a huge number of modern devices.

To sum up, I must admit that now is the perfect time to get started with JavaScript projects, as it moves into its 20s, and has finally grown up for starting to go places!
What are your opinions about JavaScript future, its libraries and frameworks? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.



Svetlana Pozdnyakova 
Skype ID: Svetlana.pozdnyakova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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.

Sparrow Framework

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.

Cocos2D IPhone

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.

Moai SDK

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.

Oolong Engine

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!


Marina Karabanova
Skype ID: m.karabanova
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Before starting development of the game the 1st thing one should decide is: “What engine should I use?”

In this article I would like to present a brief overview of the 3 the most powerful engines, in order to clarify their key differences, advantages and disadvantages.

Nowadays Unreal Engine 4, Unity and Cry ENGINE are rightfully considered to be the most popular and powerful among game engines.

Unreal Engine 4:                 

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) is the brand new engine developed by Epic Games (its predecessor is Unreal Development Kit, or UDK the free edition of the Unreal Engine3. It was used in a huge amount of AAA games including Gears of War).

UE4 possesses amazing graphical capabilities including:

  • photorealistic graphics;
  • advanced dynamic lighting;
  • innovative particle system (handles up to a million particles in a scene at ones).

The Unreal Engine 4 got some changes and differs from UDK, so you will have to get used to them if you have had an experience in UDK. Still the ease of the UE4 makes it quite appealing for the new game developers who will do justice to such notable changes as:

  • UnrealScript is completely replaced by C++;
  • Kismet is replaced by the more intuitive Blueprint.

Unreal engine 4 could be used for development games for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nevertheless, it is impossible to make a previous generation consolee game on UE4.  

UE4 is available for the developers at $19 per with a 5% royalty. Furthermore Epic Games gave free access to the engine for schools and universities as well as to the source code.


Unity is the game engine with an extensive range of features, comfortable and user-friendly interface. Its cross-platform integration makes it prior while choosing software for mobile games development. Unity allows to port games quickly and easily onto iOS, Android, Win Phone, Blackberry. In addition the engine could be used for PS3, Xbox360, and Nintendo Wii U games development.

This engine could be easily integrated with any 3D-editor (like 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, CINEMA 4D, Blender, etc.). It also has capabilities for the 2D game development, supporting sprites and 2D physics.  That makes Unity great for development of both 3D and 2D games.

Still, its own inside editor can perform a limited set of operations.  It has no modeling or building features outside of a few primitive shapes, so everything has to be created in a third party 3D application.  Nevertheless it has a huge asset library, which could be either downloaded or purchased.

For the developers 2 versions of Unity are available: free and Pro. Annually Pro version costs $1,500 or $75 for monthly subscription, also it is possible to download 30-days trial.

Pro version greatly differs from the free:

  • global lightning;
  • render-to-texture;
  • custom splash screen;
  • IK Rigs, etc.

Also, the developers at Unity are preparing to enter the new generation with the release of their Unity 5 and continue the race with UE4 and CryEngine.


CryEngine is an extremely powerful tool, developed by Crythek Company. Firstly it was presented in the 1st Far Cry game. This engine allows creating games for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It obviously surpasses Unity in graphical capabilities:

  • state-of-the-art lightning;
  • realistic physics;
  • advanced animation, etc.

CryEngine is quite intuitive and possesses powerful level design features and could be put on the same level with UE4.

Still, it could be quite challenging and take a while to get used to it and start using the engine efficiently in case you’ve never dealt with game engines before. So, if you do not require your game graphics to compete with games like Crysis 3 you’d better choose a more user-friendly engine.

For developers CryEngine is available at $9,90 per month with no royalty commitments. Also it offers commercial developers full source licensing for larger and longer term projects that benefit from a real partnership with Crythek. Platinum support is also available, with dedicated support staff, increased on-site presence and even co-development of features.

Thus, Unreal Engine 4 is a good match for games with photorealistic graphics, Unity is better for development of 2D, 3D games and CryEngine has amazing graphics capabilities along with the most appealing pricing. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits his purposes in the best way.

To sum it all up I would like to notice that all these 3 engines are extremely powerful tools for the game development. Still, I suppose that one should try each engine in order to define, which one suits your purposes in the best way.

And what do you think? To what engine would you give your preference?

Look forward to your comments!

Tatyana Ogneva

Tatyana Ogneva 
Skype ID: ognewatatyana
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The mobile world is continuing its rapid growth while we are becoming more and more reliant on our mobile devices in everyday life.

By 2016, it’s expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile Internet devices in use, so the mobile application industry will grow tremendously to match the demand and keep up with ever evolving technologies.

Let’s have a look at obvious technologies trends continuing to influence the mobile world nowadays.

Three main platforms and architectures

In a short period of time a majority of big companies will need a special set of development tools to support three key platforms – iOS, Android, Windows and three application architectures – native, hybrid and mobile Web. Tool selection won’t be that easy, rising up technical issues and nontechnical ones such as productivity versus vendor stability. Undoubtedly most big organizations will need several tools to deliver to the architectures and platforms they require.


Being fragmented, immature and thus possessing many implementation and security risks, HTML5 won’t be a simple solution for mobile application portability. However as it matures, the mobile Web and hybrid applications will become more and more popular. So despite many challenges HTML5 faces, we could expect that it will be rather essential for organizations delivering applications across multiple platforms.

Advanced mobile user experience design

A vast majority of new techniques and methodologies such as motivational design, “quiet” design and “playful” interfaces contribute to exceptional user experiences most leading mobile apps have. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or “wow” factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organizations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.

High-precision location sensing

Knowing the location of a person to within a few meters is a key factor in the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. Applications that use the precise indoor location currently exploit such technologies Wi-Fi, imaging, ultrasonic beacons and geomagnetics. Such technologies as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing  in combination with mobile applications will create a new generation of highly personalized services and information.

Mobile phone as a universal remote

Some time ago we had to stay in front of TV in order to turn channels. Later remote controls were sold with every TV and stereo on the market. Nowadays, our homes have become smarter and many people manage their homes with the help of a smart phone. In 2015, mobile applications are expected to move to the next level, becoming a universal remote control for your life. Air conditioner controls and alarm systems are heading the list with cars and door locks to go behind soon. With all the different data including financial, electronic, home and automotive deeply embedded in your phone, the general remote seems to be a usual extension.

Apps will start thinking for you

Artificial intelligence is going to influence mobile applications in 2015, initially with smarter apps that think for you. The ability of apps to forecast behavior and lessen manual work is amazing. In the year 2015, apps will begin to foresee where you are going, what thoughts you are having and the types of information you might require. Imagine future applications less of a tool and more of an associate.

Wearable Devices

The smartphone will become the center of personal-computer network consisting of wearable devices such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewelry, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass and different sensors embedded in clothing and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile applications to deliver information in new ways and include a wide range of products and services in such areas as sports, fitness, fashion, hobbies and health.

What are your predictions on mobile technologies trends for the upcoming time? Eager to hear your thoughts :)

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

There has been a lot of talk about the dirge sounding for the Firefox browser. With a marked nosedive in market share (roughly 15%), the one-time king of the browse war has now fallen into third place (behind Internet Explorer and Chrome). As most pundits are scratching their heads, I’m fairly certain that there’s a clear reason for this change:


The 15% market share applies only to desktop browsers. Once you move to mobile… all bets are off. But why? What has shifted to cause Firefox to drop so sharply? Is it a bad product? Honestly, to the majority of users (I’m talking “average user” here), a browser is a browser is a browser. The biggest difference to the average user is the use of “Favorites” over “Bookmarks.” Since most users wouldn’t even know Firefox from Internet Explorer, how could this change have happened?

Again, I say… Google.

Actually, I should be more specific and say Chrome — or even better, Chrome OS and Android.

From November 2013 to the end of the year, a reported 21% of all laptops sold were Chromebooks. Worldwide, Android takes nearly 81% of the mobile market share. That’s a LOT of Google-based browsers out there. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of logic to assume a vast percentage of those users would have been, otherwise, using Firefox.

Let me present myself a case in point. For the longest time, I was a devout Firefox user. But then I discovered a few of the Chrome apps/extensions (such as Tweetdeck) and added Chrome to my Linux desktop. Then I adopted a Chromebook as a laptop. Since I really only do two things on a laptop (write and browse), it made perfect sense. Add to this the fact that my smartphone platform has been Android for what seems like forever, plus the mobile version of Firefox is dreadful, and you have the makings for a typical migration from Firefox to Chrome.

Let’s be honest — as long as the browser gets the job done, it doesn’t matter which browser you use.

  • Unless you’re on a Chromebook
  • Or on Android
  • Or you depend on Google Apps

You can see the pattern here, right? It’s like third-party politics in the United States. Many people don’t vote for third parties because it takes away votes from the party they once championed. In this case — every person using Chrome is one less person using Firefox. Why?

Caution: generalization coming…

Most people who use Internet Explorer simply don’t know that the product they’re using is inferior to every other product of its kind (either that or they depend on a site that was written ONLY for IE). So, there’s little to no chance they’ll jump ship to either Firefox or Chrome.

So, what is Mozilla to do? Well, they’re busy focusing on the Firefox OS, which is akin to Ubuntu focusing on the Ubuntu Phone — it’s detracting from what they’ve always done really well in exchange for jumping into a ring with two of the heaviest hitters in the history of the game — Android and iOS.

And then there’s that advertising deal with Google that’s about to expire. The majority of Mozilla’s income is from that deal, and Google has less reason to continue on with that search agreement. Google no longer needs the advertising real estate from a browser suffering from a possible slow death. Should Google pull this, Mozilla will have to pull off a miracle to stay in the fight.

However, there’s good news. You can’t forget that Firefox is an open-source browser. That means, even if Firefox were to die, another batch of forks would appear. So, even if Google Chrome were to knock Firefox out of the ring, more contenders will appear to take up the gloves. But even a horde of forks are not likely to pull Firefox from the slow Chrome burn. Google isn’t going anywhere but up. As Chromebooks and Android continue to take over the mobile planet (and users become less tethered to their desks), Firefox will continue to suffer.

Firefox is still a quality product. But like Internet Explorer, it’s facing a foe that’s stronger, faster, and more agile. That new opponent is poised to take over nearly everything it touches. Fortunately (for users, not the competition), that new foe offers a stellar product on every platform (Linux, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). Chrome is the only browser on the planet that can make that claim (as Chrome is the only browser that will run on Chrome OS) – a claim that’s becoming ever more important in a world gone mad for mobile.

I don’t have a prediction for Firefox. Will it die? Will it become an “arm” of Google? Will it get a second wind and, thus, a second life? No one really knows at this point. If I had to make a guess, I’d say both Firefox and IE will fall to Chrome. The difference is that IE is embedded into the psyche of many users, so it won’t suffer as much as Firefox.

The gloves are off and Chrome is set to rumble. How do you think this fight will end? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development 

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