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Company Hike

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This morning started off early with short drive from the office up OuKaapse to the entrance of Silvermine where we met for a company hike to, what I hoped would be a flowing waterfall.
We set off just after 9am, taking in the scenery that was still recovering from the fire, there were many green shoots still and fresh plant life abound. After 20min we could hear the gushing water of the 14m drop over the rockface.

The top

After a few minutes resting and exploring the river and surroundings we descended the cliff side into the canopy below where we were able to enjoy far more than just the glorious shade.

The walk down

Katy for scale

Another angle

A little further down we found a nice spot to sit and chat about important things, such as how this is a much better way to start a friday or how hot it was.

Loyiso in all his majesty

The cobi team

Unfortunately all good things do come to an end and it was time to head back up the trail and onwards to work.

Just a couple of snaps on the way up for artist’s sake.

#fauxpetzval

Google Developer Summit 2015

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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

It’s here! The Oculus DK2

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Cobi received an Oculus DK2 today to help us play with VR. We’re hoping to implement some interesting ideas in the coming  months on the Oculus and Google Cardboard.

Loyiso couldn't wait to try it out

Loyiso couldn’t wait to try it out

Justin fully immersed in a VR demo

Justin checking out a VR demo

Coupling the Oculus with the LEAP motion makes for a immersive experience.

A Developers Guide Part 2

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So, carrying on from the last article, how DO you achieve the designs programmatically? Provided of course you don’t know at present and have no access to a comparable example or person that worked on something similar. If that’s the case, you’re a-for-away. Merely adapt the example or plumb the brains of the hapless programmer!

Granted, this is a luxury most of us don’t have. What stands one to do then? Well, the most obvious answer is often the right one, so Google it! Simply entering “How do achieve X on Android” (where X is the feature you are looking at obviously) will return a whole host of returns (hopefully). Heck, for all you know one of the first results may very well be a link to a library that does exactly what you need and the search is over.

Barring the lucky find of a library or two, the next site that almost certainly will appear in the results is www.stackoverflow.com. This gem of a site enables programmers to ask questions of other programmers, and allows you to answer a question with your own solution to the problem. Chances are that if the design is in widespread use, it has been posted on Stack Overflow. If it hasn’t, you can post your own problem, although there are guidelines concerning the posting of questions. An attempt at a solution in the form of a code excerpt is welcomed, although this isn’t a hard and fast requirement.

If the solution has been documented on the Google, Apple or BlackBerry sites, they are next in line to be perused. These sites can be found at developer.android.com, developer.apple.com, and docs.blackberry.com for the three largest smartphone manufacturers. Usually, more formal design patterns (for instance the Action Bar on Android devices) are documented, but it can prove a valuable resource to expanding on these ideas.

Apart from the major sites, you may find some random blog or forum post that explains what you are trying to achieve. If nothing turns up, try modifying your search slightly. Google can be a fickle beast, so cast your net wide! Maybe what you’re trying to do has been achieved for a completely different design paradigm. And if, after trying all the above and coming up with nothing…well, time to roll up your sleeves and code from scratch! Good luck!

Johann Van Den Bergh

Mobile Developer

Cobi Interactive