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Apps

Google Developer Summit 2015

By | Android, Apps, Cape Town, Cobi News, development, Events, Mobile Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

Cobi attended the Google Developer Summit on Tuesday, 25th August 2015. The event was organised by the Google Developers Group for Sub-Saharan Africa and was divided into two tracks: Android and Web Development/Cloud. The team attended the Android track to gain more knowledge on this rapidly changing platform.

The first of the morning’s talks was called “Building for the next billion users” and was presented by Abodunrinwa Toki, a software engineer at Google focusing on Android UI Toolkit and Google Docs. The talk discussed the challenges that developers face when developing Android apps for users in emerging markets. These challenges include:

  1. Smart data usage
  2. Minimising APK size
  3. Smooth and responsive user interface
  4. Minimising memory usage
  5. Minimising battery usage
  6. Optimising app architecture

The following talk gave us deep insights into Material Design and was presented by Takuo Suzuki, Developer Relations Japan Lead at Google. Takuo explained that Material Design is a set of design principles that unifies apps across all platforms whether it be mobile, web etc. The talk explained the four tenets of Material Design: tangible surfaces, print like design, meaningful motion and adaptive design, followed by a discussion of the design support library.

The afternoon was devoted to a code lab that was coordinated by Alex Koller. This gave developers an opportunity to experiment with the new material design features available in the design support library. We implemented some of the most common features such as Toolbar, RecyclerView, CoordinatorLayout, SnackBars and the FloatingActionButton.

Google Drive

Consulting Rate Calculater iPhone App available now on the App Store

By | Apps, Cobi News, iPhone | No Comments

Cobi Interactive, in partnership with Beyond438, have developed a business utility application for the iPhone. The app enables you to quickly and easily calculate your hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rates and profit. The app offers an intuitive and simple interface with the ability to view, edit, save and email your rate sheets. Switch currencies with ease or updating any charge out rate or cost rate cell in the sheet to assist in determining the optimal rate structure for your next project.

Paid version available here and free version here.

Key Features:
>> Hourly, daily, weekly and monthly values all editable and visible in a single sheet.
>> Multiple currencies with selectable base and comparable currencies (Limited currencies available in lite version).
>> Exchange rates updated in realtime.
>> Save rate sheets for later viewing/editing (Full version only).
>> E-mail rate sheets in CSV format (Full version only).
>> Configurable hours per day, week and month.

Usage Examples:
1. A consulting manager can save his/her team’s rates for quick lookup. Quickly lookup a consultant’s rate structure when getting a call at the airport for a specific position.

2. The manager of a multinational consulting firm can enter the charge out rate in GBP and the cost rate in USD to review the profit of a US-based consultant working in the UK.

BlackBerry Developer Day – Johannesburg 2010

By | Apps, BlackBerry, development | No Comments

I was fortunate enough to attend the BlackBerry developers day conference in Johannesburg yesterday. The basic idea behind these conference days is to allow RIM to meet up with the local community of BlackBerry developers and to discuss new features and future prospects of the BlackBerry platform.

Despite a recent spate of negativity and pessimism surrounding RIM’s decision for an evolutionary  – rather than a revolutionary – approach to its OS in order to compete with the likes of iOS, Android, etc. it was immediately clear from the day’s agenda and the initial overview that RIM is genuinely excited and 100% behind the BlackBerry 6.0 OS release. Whether or not the excitement is completely justified or not, one very important signal coming from all of this is that RIM is putting in a substantial effort to improve conditions for its developers, not only from a new features and APIs point of view but also technical documentation and online code samples; this can only be a good thing going forward.

As part of the agenda, BlackBerry covered a wide array of new improvements coming from their latest OS releases. Of the topics discussed, I found the following most interesting:

  • RIM is making a big push to encourage developers to forget about targetting pre 5.0 releases with new development and to rather focus on 5 and 6 releases onwards. Their main argument for this comes from OS statistics showing that the OS 5 release alone is being used by more subscribers (around 38%; see pie chart below) when compared to the previous OS versions individually. RIM also argue that subscribers are upgrading (software and devices) rapidly and the 5.0 slice will continue to grow from day to day. I also think that this push by RIM reflects in some way as a self-acknowledgement of the unfriendly environment that pre OS 5.0 releases have provided its developers. I found this quite interesting being in South Africa and I’m not sure if I entirely agree with RIM here. Yes, the 5 OS update is a significant improvement, however, I’m not sure if it is in the best interests of developers to neglect pre 5 OS releases,  considering the following: 1) the combined subscriber count of the 4.5 – 4.6.1 releases still outnumbers that of the 5.0 release; 2) OS updates reaching the end user are carrier dependent; and 3) the BlackBerry Curve 8520 – which has been mega in South Africa – still runs a pre 5.0 BlackBerry OS.

  • BlackBerry are set to release APIs for use with their BlackBerry Messenger Service (BBM). The APIs will allow applications to build functionality on top of the already extremely popular IM service. Some of the functionality includes embedding chat within an application and sharing content amongst users. Essentially, this will allow developers to integrate the social platform provided by BBM into their applications.
  • New APIs and components available to BlackBerry OS 6.0. Without going into too much detail here, several new APIs, UI components, and the ability to tightly integrate an application with the OS (something referred to as a “Super App”) were explained at the conference.
  • Fragmentation. The issue of fragmentation amongst the BlackBerry OS versions and devices was flagged as a concern for the future prospects of the platform. I’m not really certain how BlackBerry are going to get around this, particularly as their devices cover such a wide range of the market audience. It also doesn’t help that their new tablet – the BlackBerry PlayBook –  will be running an entirely different operating system in QNX.

All in all, the conference day was a success and a first step towards growing a stronger local developer community. RIM is putting a tremendous amount of faith in their OS 6.0 release to help them grow their smartphone market share against some stiff competition. Let’s wait and see…. time will tell 🙂