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Ruby on Rails Development: Benefits and Pitfalls.

Any driver in the world knows: it doesn’t matter how powerful, innovative and high-tech is your vehicle if you have no chance to try it on the good road. This small everyday situation easily shows that lots of things, concepts and activities are deeply interconnected and mutually influence each other. In digital design and development it works the same way: there’s a huge lot of factors having an impact on final result. Bad design will spoil well-written code as well as badly developed code can bury the most sophisticated design solutions. Every side plays its big role in the final outcome which should present a user-friendly product.

 

Earlier we have already given closer insights into the definition, processes and tools for web development. Today’s post is going to continue the theme presenting considerations on a particular tool for web development Ruby on Rails and reviewing its benefits as well as possible pitfalls that need to be taken into account.

 

Brief background

 

Let’s start with a tiny bit of history. Ruby is dynamic, object-oriented, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity, created by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto and first released in 1990s. It powers famous websites such as original version of Twitter, Hulu, Living Social, Basecamp etc. Many companies use Ruby in some capacity: BBW, Cisco, CNET, IBM, JP Morgan, NASA, and Yahoo. Moreover, Ruby has framework which supports high level of flexibility for developer in the process of creating code for particular aims.

 

“Ruby is named after the precious gemstone; it’s not an abbreviation of anything. When I started the language project, I was joking with a friend that the project must be code-named after a gemstone’s name (àla Perl). So my friend came up with «ruby». It’s a short name for a beautiful and highly valued stone. So I picked up that name, and it eventually became the official name of the language.” said Yukihiro «Matz» Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby, in his interview about the roots of the programming language.

 

Ruby on Rails is an open-source web application framework for the Ruby programming language optimized for programmers’ sustainable productivity. David Heinemeier Hansson extracted Ruby on Rails from his work on the project management tool Basecamp at the web application company also called Basecamp. Hansson first released Rails as open source in July 2004. Major brands like Amazon and eBay even have Rails projects.

 

“Rails (Ruby on Rails) was extracted from my work on Basecamp—a project collaboration tool from 37signals. So it was motivated by needs, not predictions. And I believe that’s a big part of why we’re currently enjoying such success. I didn’t try to imagine what some programmers might need for a fantasy job. I just built what I needed to get my work done with a smile.” says another interviewee David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails.

 

ruby on rails web development article

 

What is Ruby on Rails?

 

Ruby on Rails often just called “Rails” is a development tool to give web developers libraries providing structure for all the code they write. Actually, it is a server-side web app framework that extends the Ruby programming language. Ruby presents the operating language for Rails the same way as PHP does for Symfony and Zend or Java does for Struts. Rails combines Ruby programming language with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a web app. This framework uses Ruby to dynamically assemble HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Rails helps developers to build websites and web apps abstracting and simplifying common repetitive tasks.

 

Rails apps operate upon a model–view–controller (MVC) pattern. Many other web frameworks use this pattern, such as AngularJS (JavaScript), Django (Python) and CakePHP (PHP).This means that the apps are divided into three parts: models, views and controllers. These components have the following roles:

 

Models. They are used to represent forms of data used by the app and contain the logic to manipulate and retrieve that data. In Rails, a model is represented as a class. These forms of data are not low-level like strings or arrays.

 

Views. They are the templates (typically formed of a mix HTML and Ruby code). Views are used to build up the data that users of web app see in their browsers or through other clients. They can be rendered as HTML for web browsers, XML, RSS or other formats.

 

Controllers. Controllers provide the logic that binds together models (their associated data) and views. They process input, call methods and deliver data to the views. In Rails, controllers contain methods known as actions that, generally, represent each action relevant to the controller, such as “show”, “delete”, “view”, etc. The framework can be used with various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; various databases such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL and others; various web servers such as Apache, Nginx, etc.

 

Talking about operations via the platform, developers usually mention several core principles. Among the main ones, convention over configuration (CoC) should be mentioned. It means that developers don’t have to spend a lot of time configuring files in order to get setup, Rails comes with a set of conventions which help speed up development.

 

Another important principle of software development in Rails is don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It encourages developers not to make duplications in their code and isolate functionality in small functions or files. The principle helps to make code modular, easier to understand, read and debug. When code is duplicated, the outcome becomes more complex, making it more difficult to maintain and more vulnerable to bugs.

 

Ruby on Rails uses Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture that rests around the relations between the client and the server. The architecture helps to create logic around the app and code that developers find highly intuitive and functional.

 

Another key feature is RubyGems, a package manager that makes it easy to create and share software libraries (“gems”) extending Ruby. RubyGems provides reliable and simple system to install “gems”. Anyone can upload them to the central RubyGems website, making the “gem” immediately available for installation by others. The RubyGems website is where developers obtain the most recent version of Rails.

 

ruby on rails web development

 

Benefits and drawbacks of Rails

 

As well as any tool or software, Ruby on Rails has its strong sides and pitfalls that need to be considered. Let’s briefly review both aspects on the basis of various feedback from developers.

 

Benefits for developers on Ruby on Rails

 

Large Community. Generally, Rails is more than development tool, it is also large community. The members share their works, often use the same tools, and support each other. The informal community provides diversity of jobs, recruiters, meetups, conferences, examples of businesses building websites with Rails, and clients funding startups. It is no surprise that Rails is popular on social coding resource Github. This aspect is particularly helpful for beginners.

 

Variety of gems. “Gem” is the software package that contains a package Ruby app or library. Commonly it is used to extend or modify functionality in Ruby apps. Some “gems” provide command line utilities to help automate tasks and speed up developer`s work. They are all publicly available at RubyGems.

 

Cost-effective. The process of building functionality with Rails is fast because it has the collection of open source code available within the community and set of conventions. Ruby on Rails also runs on a free operating system and works with mostly free databases and web servers. These features provide less number of working hours, quick development process and low overall cost.

 

Code Quality. Rails uses Ruby programming language whose code has a high level of readability. This aspect increases productivity with the lower need to write out separate documentation or comments, making it easier for other developers to pick up existing projects.

 

Tester’s perspective. Rails has been developed with a focus on testing and has good built-in testing frameworks.

 

Diversity of tools. Rails provides fantastic variety of tools that help developers to deliver more features in less time. For example, it has a standard structure for different web apps in which all the common patterns are are available for programmers.

 

Flexibility. It is one of the biggest pros of using Ruby on Rails. For example, Rails interacts perfectly with technologies and frameworks like AngularJS. This factor offers developers opportunity to separate layers of the app and use multiple technologies.

 

web development ruby on rails

 

Potential Ruby on Rails problems and limitations

 

Performance. Some developers complain that Rails apps are not as fast as Java or C. The statement is generally true, but for the majority of apps it is fast enough. Rails web app may become a little slow and bloated when it is large although a high-skilled programmer has the means to tune the performance up whenever it is necessary. There is also the option of running the app under JRuby, so it will show the same performance characteristics as Java.

 

Hosting Issues. Not all website hosts can support Rails. The main reason is that Rails can be more resource intensive than PHP, a fact which deters some providers. Alternatively, there is a number of hosts (Virtual Private Servers) such as Amazon EC2, EngineYard, Linode or Rackspace, which can satisfy Rails developers’ needs.

 

Popularity. The number of Rails developers is growing year by year as more people switch to it from other programming languages. Yet, Rails is still not as popular as Java and PHP. Probably, one of the reasons for this is that the language is relatively difficult to learn especially compared to PHP. However, one of the main differences between the Rails and others in this aspect is the big amount of open source code (“gems”) which is publicly available. “Gems” are helpful for beginners because they appreciably simplify the process of web development.

 

Lack of documentation. It can be hard to find good documentation for the less popular “gems” and for libraries which make heavy use of mixins. Developers often end up finding the test suite playing the role of documentation and they have to rely on it to understand behavior of the written code. This aspect isn’t bad in its essence, as the test suite should be the most up-to-date representation of the system; however, it can still be frustrating having to dive into code, when sometimes written documentation would have been much quicker.

 

web development

 

Let’s draw up the balance. Rails is a huge web app framework with a great number of built-in features. It can be used to create either small or large apps, but it tends to use more memory and resources than the other frameworks and performance can be a bit lower. In the majority of cases, Rails apps will be composed of many tens of files and have tight structure of models, views and controllers. Anyway, nowadays the framework is popular because it is powerful, standardized, reasonable and well-established.


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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Mobile Application

Most modern people would find it difficult to imagine their day using the smartphone «just for calls». Most mobile devices jumped far beyond the primary goal behind them — making phone calls and sending simple instant messages. Today even quite a simple mobile presents a platform to house various applications for everyday use that turns thousands of people into grateful users of more and more apps. Simple or complex, informative or entertaining, minimalist or packed with bright and catchy details, practical or joyful, meeting the user needing them, they make life better. The variety of apps available today enables users to do the great variety of things using their mobile phone only. Setting an alarm for tomorrow, calculating expenses for the next week or sending mum a selfie via messenger app, vast majority of users don’t even imagine how many people stand behind these simple everyday operations.

 

Earlier in our articles we have already unveiled the typical steps of creating interface design for mobile applications. Today let’s go further and set the full path of creation for a mobile app, from setting the idea to its release in App Store.

 

As well as in any creative process, making a mobile application out of the thin air is a sophisticated process which has its individual peculiarities and features in every particular case. Still, on the basis of Tubik Studio extensive experience of creating diverse applications, it is possible to define several typical creative stages for this process, such as the following:

 

— setting the task and initial scope of works

— estimation

— user/market research

— UX wireframing

— prototyping

— UI design

— animation

— software architecture planning

— iOS development

— testing

— release

— updates.

 

Although you see the sequence of stages, it doesn’t mean that every further phase starts only when the previous one is completed. It’s impossible to imagine this kind of linear dependence as many processes and stages are interconnected even not being consequent in the presented list. Moreover, some of them like testing or estimation come up here and there being spread for all the process of app creation.  Now let’s go along this way step by step to see how a subtle idea becomes a real mobile app.

 

tubikstudio app ui design

 

Setting the task and initial scope of works

 

As we have already mentioned in the article considering logo design stages, the point of setting the task is the foundation of all the design and then development process. At this point the team of designers and developers should obtain maximum information from the client to mark the right way to the goal. The one who walks without a destination in mind, will possibly come nowhere. In product design it works the same way: to get the result, you should clearly set the goals from the very start of the path. It doesn’t mean that the goals should stay totally the same at the end of the journey: the proper level of flexibility has to be set as the objectives can modify more or less in the creative process, research and testing. Still, if the general goals are not set at the start, the creative process can get easily transformed in a mess.

 

Another vital tip, which we have seen through long practice, is that communicating with clients you should get not only their wishes but also try to get the ideas and reasons behind these wishes. If you understand why your customer wants to see particular colors, shapes or transitions, it will be easier for you (if necessary) to justify other methods of realization for these ideas which would give the result desired by the customer and at the same time user-friendly and thoughtfully consuming resources or enabling interactions.

 

The more information you get from the client, the better it is for setting the right direction. Design briefs, calls and Skype-conferences, chat in Slack, brainstorming sessions, mood-boards can all form the good starting line for productive work. In our case, this point of journey is started by sales managers and business analysts who take over the first line of communication with clients and are experienced on setting the bridge between the customer and creative team.

 

tubik studio clients service

Tubik Studio Head of Operations Kate uses all the means to communicate with clients and get into projects

 

At this stage, it is highly advisable to get the data about:

  • the nature of the product and its USP
  • the target audience
  • geographical targeting (if available)
  • the keywords with which the company represents its identity
  • preferred structure and functions clients see as vital in the app
  • preferred visual features (color palette, general style, special features, connection with other already existing digital products or brand strategy etc.)
  • potential technologies, devices and surfaces at which the app will be used
  • need of consistency with existing corporate identity (if available)
  • nature of data processing, need of server side and additional technologies
  • specific preferences

 

Obviously, the list is not completely full, still it contains the most important positions needed for setting a general design and development flow. The outcome of this stage is the diverse set of information blocks establishing the basis for further estimation of the project, planning logical milestones and sprints as well as working our efficient design and development solutions.

 

Estimation

 

The data collected at the previous stage enables business analysts and sales managers to provide the client with the first-level estimation of the time needed for the project and therefore the planned costs. As in any creative process, it is practically impossible to make one totally exact estimation which will stay the same during the whole project: this is the the data which should be got back to and reviewed after every stage of design process. Certainly, there can be some cases of products that are quite simple, have clear structure and do not include many screens or elements, so estimation will be quite exact from the very first stages of processing client’s data and wishes. However, the more complex is the project, the highers are the chances of estimation reviews and adjustments. One more vital thing to mention: this reviews do not necessarily mean growing pricing or timing, as in the creative process designers and developers can find the ways of optimization for design and technology solutions which can even shorten the initial estimation.

 

This flow is close to perfect in cases of full-stack teams: it means that business analyst can involve designers and developers into the assessment process from the earliest steps of analysis and estimation which is able to provide more real and exact planning of time and costs. Furthermore, specialists participating in discussion are able to contribute a lot of knowledge and experience on technical details and factors influencing time and resources needed for the app design and development.

 

Design Studio Tubik

 

User/market research

 

This is the stage when being based on the established task and aims, UI/UX designer starts the path with getting deeper into the environment in which the future application will function. The research stage usually moves on in two directions simultaneously: user research and market research.

 

User research means getting deeper into details of core target audience to understand their preferences and psychological peculiarities, the influence of different factors like colors, stylistic decisions and logic of interaction on emotions and experience of the defined group, the sources of information and creative performance ways which could engage users and make them active. Marketing research means exploring the market segment, primarily in the perspective of creative solutions used by competitors. Visual design presumes creating original and recognizable style that will make the product stand out of the crowd and draw potential customer’s attention.

 

Famous guru of advertising David Ogilvy emphasized the great importance of research for creating effective result: «Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.» Time has changed the means, goals and technologies, still vital role of research established even stronger. Neglecting the research stage and relying only on their creative intuition, experience and talent, designers risk failing this task as they will not know the conditions of the app functioning and will not be able to make it efficient, user-friendly and original.

 

tubik studio UI designers

 

UX Wireframing

 

It is the process of creating general structure of the designed application or website. It’s usually accomplished via the set of schematic screens or pages of low or middle level of fidelity. The aim of this stage is setting clear and orderly structure of all the layout, transitions and interactions on the basis of user’s problems and pains which the product is going to solve.

 

In one of our previous articles we provided a bit of metaphor on that. When we think about building the house, for example, we usually mean the process of physical appearance of the construction rather than tons of projects, drawings and calculations made on paper. And yes, physically it’s possible to build the house without any project as well as it’s possible to create the interface out of thin air. However, in this case you shouldn’t be surprised if one day the house will crack and collapse without any visible reasons as well as the app looking amazing and stylish won’t bring you any loyal users. If you want to have a reliable house, a durable mechanism, a powerful application or a highly-functional website, the recipe is the same – take your time for thorough planning and projecting. This is not going to waste your time, vise versa, it will save your time you would otherwise have to spend on redesign and attempts to find out why your product doesn’t work properly.

 

That is the aim of UX part of design process. UX wireframing stage should be heavily based on user research, competition research and analysis of all the data obtained. In the outcome, it creates the clear scheme whose complexity depends on the product functionality and reflects all the system of transitions and interactions as well as placement of all the elements of the interface based on their optimal use flow. In some cases, wireframing done in pencil sketching or rough drafts is enough, although preferably it is accomplished with the special tools and software optimizing design process and increasing performance.

 

tubik studio design process ux

 

Prototyping

 

The original concept behind the term ‘prototype’ is the sample model of the product that gives the ability to test it and see if the solutions and decisions made about the product are efficient. Prototypes should not be seen as the analogue of the final product as they aren’t those. Their main aim is to enable a designer, a customer and a user to check the correctness and appropriateness of the design solutions.

 

The value of prototypes in the sphere of app and webdesign has rocketed for the last few years. Actually, it is easy to explain as even the low-fidelity prototype gets the designer, customer and tester much closer to the looks and functions of the future product than the most elaborate schemes, drawings and wireframes. Certainly, that doesn’t mean that schemes and wireframes could be eliminated from the process as they are essential in the process of creating design solutions. However, when you want to feel their efficiency and check if nothing has been missed in the design process, prototype will be the great help.

 

Considering the fact that a lot of customers see the prototype as something very close to the final version of product design aka “UI in action”, in practice this approach is not effective. Prototyping is much more efficient and useful as the step between UX design and UI design. So, here in Tubik Studio we support the workflow having the sequence «UX – prototype – UI».

 

The prototypes on UI stage can be created for presentation of application general looks rather than for testing and improving its functional features. And this is the trap in which it is easy to get confused. Prototyping all the details on the final stage of UI in most cases is not so reasonable as it could seem. It will be too time-consuming and in this perspective, it would be better to spend the same time on coding a demo-version. Moreover, usability should be thoroughly checked first of all at the UX stage, otherwise it would be much harder to change inefficient solution after having accomplished a lot of work on UI. Certainly, it would be amazing to create prototypes both for UX and UI, but by far not all the designers and customers agree to spend so much time on design tasks and want to test and improve the design much faster and cheaper.

 

invision prototyping tool tubikstudio review

 

UI (User Interface) Design

 

User Interface is actually a finalized interactive field in which the user interacts with the product. It includes all the tools of increasing usability and satisfying target users’ needs and wishes. All the features of visual perception as well sound and tactile feelings influencing the product use and interaction with is should be analyzed and optimized here to the purpose of the app or a website is designed. For example, such aspects as color palette, types and fonts, shapes and forms, illustration and animation and so on and so forth are able to affect the performance of the final product greatly in both positive and negative way.

 

In general terms, the UX research and wireframing stage is about how the website or application works while UI is how it looks. Both these stages include work on successful interactions, but UX deals more with logic, connections and user behavior while UI stage provides visual representation of all the concept. It means that ideally designer should first work on UX part with concentration on layout, making it more powerful, thought-out, clear and easy to use. Without this vital work you highly risk creating pure mess out of the user interface.

 

After the UX part is tested by prototype, agreed upon and the concept of layout, transitions and features are accepted, the designer starts the UI design part. This is the time when a newborn heart and brain of your product is clothed with its skin and bones. Here the product gets its real color scheme, forms and features of the layout details, styles, animated elements and so on.

 

All the UI solutions directly influence the positive or negative user experience, so the processes of UX wireframing and UI design should mutually support each other and follow the same strategy otherwise the efficient solutions of one stage will not work on the other.

 

Tubik Studio

 

Animation

 

Telling about the details and benefits of interface animation used in mobile apps, we mentioned that the most efficient way is to consider this aspect through all the creative stages. However, the high time to apply it in practice is when UI design is basically accomplished and general stylistic concept is agreed upon.

 

Like everything that is put into the interface and process of interaction with it, animation must be a functional element, not just a decor. Considering motion elements while planning user journey around the digital product, designer should deeply analyze its potential for increasing usability, utility and desirability of the product before making a decision to apply it in the layout or transitions. Animation in UI requires thoughtful approach and always needs to have a clear purpose set behind. Advantages and utility of using it in interaction process have to be obvious and outweighing possible disadvantages.

 

tubikstudio ui design

 

After this stage is accomplished, the visual details approved and agreed upon, designers transfer the assets to developers who are going to do the magic of making them alive. Also, this is the good time to review the estimation once again and plan the clear sprints on development on the basis of thought-out design.

 

Software architecture planning

 

A noteworthy detail is that scalability is one of the most important things for a mobile application. Planning of software architecture can take place as a stage parallel to design. This is a complex process: it usually includes a lot of iterations, with a constant feedback loop between design team and development team. The main goal of architecture planning is to create constructive and integral plan for the software architecture of the app (front-end and back-end). At this stage developers decide on the most efficient technical and technological solutions for actual realization of the app and maintaining its operability. The decisions depend on various factors, for example the nature of the product and data it processes, complexity of design solutions, necessity to save data and availability of log-in functionality etc. Back-end development sets the bridge of the app with the web and supports synchronization of data in both directions.

 

iOS development

 

The actual process of coding the app here in Tubik is done in Xcode as the effective and flexible platform with broad functionality for iOS developers. As it is defined on the official website, «Xcode is Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE). You use Xcode to build apps for Apple products, including iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac. Xcode provides tools to manage your entire development workflow—from creating your app to testing, optimizing, and submitting it to the App Store.»

 

Xcode only runs on Macs and has everything developers need to build iOS apps. There are no official ways to launch it on a Windows or Linux PC. This means that if somebody wants to develop an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac apps but doesn’t have a Mac, he or she will need to buy it.

 

Two basic and most popular programming languages for iOS development are Objective-C and Swift — we considered benefits and drawbacks of each in our earlier post. Since 2014, Swift language has been used by Xcode for coding more often than Objective-C, which is a difficult language for developers to learn and code. Still, Objective-C is a good fit for early iPhone hardware which has less RAM and slower processes and it is also effectively applicable for maintaining and updating the apps initially created in it. Swift keeps step with modern hardware and it is also faster in the process of coding, it is more easy-to-use, shorter and secure. For creating iOS 10 apps, Xcode 8 and the iOS 10 SDK need to be installed, also available from Apple. There are significant changes to the Swift language and the SDK in this version of Xcode.

 

iOS development swift objective-c

 

In this phase of mobile app creation, iOS developers think over the architecture of the app, write the code, integrate functionality to created UI, edit source code, debug and finally export the app to the App Store. Also, writing unit tests and running integration testing are relevant steps in this phase. The Interface Builder is one of Xcode features and it is alternative to hand coding the client-side part, allowing developers to put the app code together visually. This feature allows dragging and dropping different visual controls into the app code. AutoLayout helps to control the app presentation based on the size of the user’s screen. With Storyboard, developers can see what each screen of the app actually looks like, while Preview Mode delivers a prior acquaintance of what the app will look like when it is done.

 

Lots of mobile app developers are of opinion that a text editor is generally necessary, even though it is theoretically possible to do the entire coding inside Xcode. Handling long and complex codes can become particularly confusing, unless programmers use a text editor that supports all relevant programming syntaxes.

 

ios development tubik swift objective-c

 
In most cases, while part of developers team is building client-side part, the other part are coding, integrating and linking to the front-end server-side components of an app such as database, APIs, middleware and etc.

 

It also should be noted that planning the workflow and the number of people involved into the development process depends first of all on the complexity and urgency of the project. For small projects, one iOS developer may be able to create all components of software architecture for the app. For multilayered complex projects, at least a couple of programmers should be engaged, having experience in software architecture and good expertise in both client-side and server-side development.

 

The main task of this phase is to make a fully working app which is scalable and integrated to all required server-side components like a database, APIs, and other related infrastructure it needs to run. If clients aren’t ready to build the original server-side infrastructure, they can buy a Backend as a Service (BaaS) software bundle or other products. The bundles include a variety of storage options and features, but they aren’t completely “turn-key” as well as they  often do not provide the options of deep and comprehensive analytics. It means the client needs a developer who understands back-end engineering to integrate it into the app.

 

web development

 

Testing

 

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort”, John Ruskin once said and it’s definitely true when it comes to a digital product testing.

 

Testing is one of the crucial phases of the entire app design and development lifecycle, it can help to find bugs before the app is brought out to actual users. App Store will not accept any apps that have compiling errors and bugs, so the mobile app being prepared to submitting has no chances with those kinds of issues. In the majority of cases, users abandon the app if it has functionality problems, no matter how promising and engaging it seems. Even the simplest apps can be successful for commerce, business, advertising and other aims if they work correctly and efficiently, according to target audience’s expectations and solving their problems .

 

Testing doesn’t mean that developers do not provide the upper quality. To set the analogy, the fact that every book, magazine or newspaper issue goes through editor’s eye doesn’t say that journalists or writers are not talented and qualified. Different specialists have different goals and skills in the process to increase general productivity and efficiency, and it works the same way for design and development of mobile apps. Supposing that developers have done a great job and made no mistakes, the task of testing is not only finding errors. Quite the opposite, it helps to understand the quality of the app and find the way to improve via real interactions.

 

mobile app testing

 

Automated testing got really popular now because it is effective, cheap and reliable. iOS Simulator and other testing tools such as Appium, Frank, Calabash and others are available to help to run the app through the testing process and point out the issues requiring attention. Continuous testing at all stages helps to keep small bugs from becoming major issues later on.

 

In the process of testing, developer usually goes all the way through the app on a device or in the iOS Simulator of Xcode, screen by screen, to ensure there are no bugs or errors and everything works properly. Fixing or debugging can be done right in Xcode.

 

All aspects of the app should be tested. Developers will need to check it across different devices (iPhone, iWatch, iPad, iPod, etc.) as the points like screen resolution, processors, battery life and memory will be different and can significantly affect how the app runs. They also test functionality (Do all the functions work well?), handling and loading time (Will it slow down if traffic increases?), and UX (How easy is it to use?). In addition to above-mentioned issues, developers review crash reports to see what should be fixed.

 

tubik studio developers testing

 
Here are some types of testing applied in the process of mobile app creation:
 

Functional testing. It is the most basic test for any application to ensure that it is working according to the defined requirements and there are no functions missed in the process of interaction.

 

Performance testing. This type covers client application performance, server performance and network performance. For example, it checks the performance specifications and behavior of the app under certain conditions such as low battery, bad network coverage, low available memory and etc.

 

Memory testing. This type checks that each application maintains optimized memory usage throughout the user surfing.

 

Interruption testing. An app may face various interruptions while working, such as incoming calls or network coverage outage and recovery. This kind of testing shows what will the app do under these conditions. The common types of interruptions are:

 

  • Incoming and Outgoing calls, SMS or MMS and different notifications;
  • Low memory warning
  • Cable insertion or removal
  • Network outage or recovery
  • Media Player on/off
  • The device power cycle, such as low battery notification etc.

 
Security testing. It checks vulnerability of the app to hacking, authentication and authorization policies, data security, session management and other security standards.

 

Usability testing. It is carried out from the early stages of app creation to verify if the app fulfills the established objectives and tasks getting a good response from users. As Joyce Lee, the representative of Human Factors Design at Apple mentions: «Usability answers the question, “Can the user accomplish their goal?»

 

Submitting / Release

 

Finally, there comes the day when the app is alive and ready to be introduced to its users. In order to be submitted to the App Store, it needs to join the iOS developer program. Apple reserves the right to review and approve the app before it can go live. In any case, it is advisable to plan around a week or so to have the information reviewed and approved by Apple. If the app will be used for commercial purposes, additional step to submission via filling in short surveys will be included in the process and will need the separate approval which is usually expected within a day. Process of  the app release in the App Store takes a few steps, including configuring the code, creating a profile, creating a listing, then submitting it through Xcode for certification. It might involve a few fixes and re-submissions, so it is helpful for iOS developer to know the ways and what to expect.

 

As you can see, the way, which a mobile application goes through, is quite complex and includes variety of steps ensuring its functionality, beauty and quality of performance. Don’t miss our next articles that will provide deeper insights into each of the stages as well as tools and tips for better design and development process.


 

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web development job insights

Close Insight into Web Developer’s Craft

Being a web developer is not just writing code. It is literally breathing life into a website. It is making help, beauty, information and communication available for thousands and millions of people around the world. It is allowing stunning, stylish and user-friendly designs get live and do their best job. It is spending hours in the complicated and mysterious word of characters and signs enriching personal and professional progress. That is making wonders right from your desk and your computer.

 

Who are web developers and what do they do? One of our previous articles here in Tubik Blog has already unveiled a bit of basics on their job, let’s go further today. A lot of people conceivably count that web developers just provide technical side of building websites, but the job goes far beyond this simple definition. Professionals of this sphere are also required to analyze user’s needs to ensure that proper content, graphics and underlying structure are created and maintained to meet the goals of both users and website owners.

 

web developer tubik studio

 

What are web developer’s responsibilities?

 

Generally, all web developers can be divided into three groups. The first group focuses solely on the underlying software and databases (back-end development), while the second one works on the interface and visual design (front-end development). There’s also the third group whose representatives combine both directions (full-stack development).

 

Daily responsibilities include:

 

  • coding in one or more programming or scripting languages, such as PHP, Java, Ruby or JavaScript;
  • debugging, refactoring and optimizing existing code;
  • fixing bugs in existing projects;
  • testing new features thoroughly to ensure they perform the correct task in all cases;
  • testing performance of created web application or website;
  • building and testing Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for applications to exchange data;
  • converting written, graphic, audio and video components to compatible web formats;
  • participation in creating UX (logic and transitions) and UI (visual design performance) design in tight collaboration with designers at pre-development stages;
  • building and maintaining databases;
  • deciding on the best tools, technologies, languages and frameworks for the project;
  • planning and prototyping new applications or websites;
  • staying up to date with new trends and advancements in web development;
  • informing designers, developers and project staff for progress updates;
  • gathering requirements and wishes from clients and users.

 

The list can be continued longer and longer and amaze users and customers by its diversity.

 

programming languages fron-end

 

What should a web developer know?

 

A web developer (particularly, front-end developer) should know how to activate web content via code in a user-friendly way. This task provides a challenging aspect to website development and maintenance. The website should not be too simple for advanced users, nor should it be so intricate that the beginner is easily lost in the surfing process. This is the point on which UX/UI designers and developers are advised to support each other uniting their effort and professional knowledge and skills. Effective collaboration of these sides usually results in user-friendly efficient web product in which design finds sophisticated ways to support usability and harmony of logical and visual presentation while development sets the elegant methods to activate and maintain those solutions in live websites.

 

Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML), JavaScript (JS) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the foundation of front-end development. HTML is the main language used to build and display a website or web application. JS provides user interfaces and enhances interactivity of a website. CSS is used for the look and design of the website in spreadsheets written in HTML. These languages are essential of building website front-end.

 

Here are some examples of client-side programming languages:

 

-HTML
-XHTML
-CSS
-JavaScript
-Flash
-Microsoft Silverlight

 

A back-end developer builds and maintains the technology that connects user-facing side of the website to its server side. The back end of a website consists of a server, an application, and a database. In an effort to make the server, application, and database communicate with each other, back-end developers use server-side languages like PHP, Java, Ruby, .NET and others to build an application, and tools like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server to find, save, remove or change data and send it back to the user in client-side code.

 

Back-end developers use these languages and tools to create or contribute to web applications with clean, portable, readable code. However, before writing the code, they need to collaborate with clients to understand their particular needs and wishes, then translate those into technical requirements and come up with the most efficient solution for architecting the technology.

 

Here are some examples of server-side programming languages:

-PHP
-C++
-C
-C#
-Java
-Python
-Ruby
-Erlang

 

And these are some examples of widely used tools:

-MySQL
-PostgreSQL
-MongoDB
-Microsoft SQL Server
-Oracle
-Sybase
-SAP HANA
-IBM DB2

 

web development

 

What skills are advantageous for web developers?

 

On the basis of everyday routine here in Tubik Studio, it’s easy to state that web developers have to display comprehensive diversity of technical knowledge in the spheres such as client-side languages and development, server-side languages and development, web application frameworks and relational database management systems (RDBMS), as well as experience of dealing with version control systems and understanding of the architecture of web applications, web security and encryption.

 

Let’s look closer at skills and qualities that could be beneficial for people choosing web development as their professional sphere.

 

Good communication skills

Developers should be ready to various types of communication, depending on every particular case and deciding on the most effective one:

  • Face-to-face;
  • Phone;
  • Email;
  • Online chat;
  • Social networks;
  • A variety of instant messaging apps.

 

As a web developer, even one who works remotely, they need to be able to communicate confidently and effectively with clients, users, superiors, colleagues and perhaps other developers from outsource companies.

 

Flexibility and Adaptability

Websites and back-end requirements may change over time. Clients can be inconsistent by various reasons, alter considerations or critical details, perhaps as their businesses change. It is important to be flexible and adaptable, while also setting boundaries so that the scope on the project doesn’t creep too far. It means:

 

— Having to learn new languages, frameworks, skills, etc.

— Being ready to take on extra responsibilities

— Dealing with the situations when a project you are working on is cancelled

— Adapting to the changes in your working hours

— Ability to work independently and in mixed teams

— Staying up-to-date with new tools, methods of coding, etc.

 

Priorities setting

It is an important part of any web developer’s job. Developers may not be responsible for the overall web project, but will still find themselves having to prioritize tasks and deal with other participants of the process who also have their own deadlines and parameters to keep.

 

Logical approach to problem solving

One of the hardest parts about being a web developer is addressing challenges. Before making decisions, research and thorough analysis are needed for finding out what is the problem and its roots.

 

Attention to detail

It will become a key to the kingdom for those who want to program because in huge number of cases code is long and complicated. Lack of attention and healthy pedantry has direct influence on the level of productivity as well as speed and quality of web product performance.

 

front end develoment tubik studio

 

What is a career perspective?

 

Web developers in companies or tech organizations usually start their careers as junior or entry-level developers before becoming senior or mid-level developers after around couple years or even faster, depending on abilities to learn and speed of skills practicing. Comparing to freelance projects, job in organizations often means getting involved into creating complex and serious digital products, meeting more clients, leading client meetings and working on large and longer-term projects. Senior developers might also manage junior developers.

 

After reaching advanced professional level, the next position is lead developer, technical lead or head of development. Generally, these promotions involve managing a team of web developers and contributing to the organization’s technical strategy and goals. It also means the amount of actual coding work will decrease. The next step can be a senior or even board-level position, for example Chief Technical Officer (CTO) or Technology Vice President.

 

The Bottom Line

 

When you open a web-browser, chose website and load it, the site, designed and developed properly and thoughtfully, will load instantly opening the variety of operations to your disposal. It sometimes knocks you down with its awesome layout, well-constructed pages, useful information and impressive visuals. Who is responsible for this positive experience? Sure, it is the team of designers, creating idea, logic and visual performance, content creators, planning and writing appropriate filling for the webpages, and web developers who seem to be a sort of magicians able to enliven all the stuff and bring it to the user quickly and efficiently. Web development has many ways for professional growth and self-fulfillment, and all of these directions are complicated but professionally rewarding.


Welcome to read the article about basic terms of web development and issues of front-end development

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ios development tubik swift objective-c

Swift or Objective-C? Tool Tips for iOS Developers.

In creative process, there are always some points of choice and contradictions. While UX designers are debating about Photoshop vs Sketch theme and give their opinions on efficient prototyping tools, iOS developers also have their own big debate. Today we are going to pitch in and add some of our thoughts to this global discussion of which programming language is better, Objective-C or Swift. We asked Tubik CTO and experienced iOS developer Maria Nazarenko to share her opinion with Tubik Blog readers.

 

Brief background

 

Let’s start with a tiny bit of history. The first and therefore the eldest in the discussed pair of programming languages was Objective-C. Primarily it saw the light of the day in early 1980s and was created by Brad Cox. So, one of the points that could be definitely applied to this programming language is that it’s really tried-and-true and tested by several generations of developers.

 

At the moment Objective-C is commonly described as the general-purpose, object-oriented programming language adding Smalltalk-style messaging to the C programming language. Before Swift came into play, Objective-C had been the main programming language used by developers for OS X and iOS operating systems, and their APIs.

 

Swift, introduced at Apple’s 2014 WWDC, brought its own dose of revolution. In general description, Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language broadening the previous scope of operating systems as it was developed for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. Swift was designed to enable work with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks as well as the large body of Objective-C code already written for Apple products.

 

Initially Swift was intended to be more resilient and safer than Objective-C, and also more concise and developer-friendly. It was built with the LLVM compiler framework including in Xcode 6 and using the Objective-C runtime library that enables C, Objective-C, C++ and Swift code to run within one program.  Therefore, it enhaces broadening professional horizons for developers making their work more efficient.

 

That was the milestone when developers started their discussion of what is better, tradition or innovation.

 

tubik ios development

 

What is better: Objective-C or Swift?

 

Some time ago expressing our opinion in the hot global discussion about the choice between Photoshop and Sketch we mentioned: “The answer we would like to give is really simple. There is no any vs. There shouldn’t be any war between the options which can complement each other. Obviously, now there is no any perfect and ideal software for design: if it existed, everybody would use only this ideal choice and there wouldn’t be any need for fight.»

 

It seems that in iOS development the situation of today is really similar. The choice is not so obvious as it could seem even after reading about all the extended functionality of Swift in comparison with Objective-C. In practice Objective-C is checked and tested over the years while Swift is young and new. Huge bulk of products have been developed in Objective-C so transition to the other perspective is definitely taking some time and effort.

 

Briefly characterizing the programming languages according to her extended practical experience in iOS development, Tubik CTO Maria mentions that although Objective-C is older and common, Swift could be described as more simple in syntax and stable in work process.

 

Swift Objective-C development tubik

 

Which programming language is more useful to know?

 

Due to Xcode which is the integrated developing environment (IDE) with a set of software development tools iOS developers can work applying either Objective-C or Swift in fact using the same developer tool.

 

As long as Objective-C exists much longer, it’s natural that plenty of simple and complex applications have already been accomplished with this language. Not knowing Objective-C and starting straight from Swift can limit developer’s professional flexibility. It can be especially obvious in case when developers have to update existing products.

 

Sometimes it happens that developers, knowing only Swift, recommend to rewrite existing (perhaps big or even huge) piece of code from Objective-C to Swift, the customers logically do not see this acceptable and certainly do not accept the necessity to pay for this work.

 

Considering this, the best option is knowing both languages. That gives developers natural professional flexibility for any task and environment they have to tackle with in current projects. There are two strategies which mostly depend on the time available.

 

In case if there is considerable amount of time between studying basics and applying them into real practice, our advice is to start with Objective-C. Although it is often described as more complicated, it establishes a solid foundation of basic principles and routine of creating applications for and using iOS system. On this basis, learning another iOS language such as Swift which is syntactically simpler will not seem too hard.

 

However, there can be also another strategy, a bit more dynamic than the previous one and applicable for those who don’t have enough time in their disposal needing to start actual work asap. In this case, you can start with Swift as it is easier in syntax and more similar to other programming languages so it will take less time to start practical coding. Getting the basics of development in this way, don’t forget to add Objective-C to the practice and polish skills in both languages. It will definitely give result if approached thoughtfully and rigorously.

 

iOS development swift objective-c

 

Here in Tubik Studio we believe that the only single thing that a designer and developer should think about is the high quality of the final product. The highest. Quality. Possible. Period.

 

Any tool and method chosen for this aim is a good way as long as it provides the efficient product to the client and the final user.

 

Don’t miss our next articles on iOS development giving practical tips and case studies of coding complex design decisions.


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