James Simshaw's Blog

The Value of Android, iOS, and React to the Cloud

As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, Metal Toad helps our clients identify their cloud solutions.  However, one question I frequently hear is, “If we are building cloud solutions, then why is there a need for engineers in Android, iOS, and React specialties?”.

 

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
July 31, 2019

Effects of Siloing

In my first blog on this topic, I covered the root causes of siloing. This time around, I am going to provide a few positive and negative effects that siloing can produce, starting with productivity.

 

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
April 12, 2019

Hackathon Team Whack-A-Toad: An Exploration of Daydream Using the Android SDK

Going into the latest hackathon, I knew there were several options for building a virtual reality (VR) app for Android devices. Google currently has two platforms for VR available: Cardboard and Daydream, not to be confused with the screensaver mode on Android phones. Cardboard is Google’s original foray into the VR headset realm, released June 25, 2014. With it, you could put your phone into a cardboard headset to view 360 degree video and some VR content. Interactivity outside of head tracking was done with a singular button that you could press.

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
January 18, 2019

Silos in Tech

What is siloing?

 

In order to better discuss how engineers and teams become siloed, as well as the positive and negative effects it can have on a team, I should define what I mean when I refer to a siloed engineer and a siloed team.  The best definition I have seen for siloing is the distinct separation between engineers and teams from the rest of the company. While siloing can take many forms, this particular definition includes having minimal interaction with other members of a team and company.

 

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
October 29, 2018

Google IO 2018: Android has a Jetpack

One of the biggest announcements for Android™ developers from Google IO 2018 was the announcement of Android Jetpack.  Android Jetpack is a collection of libraries and guidelines for developing Android applications. Most of these libraries we have seen before, including the Architecture Components released last year at Google IO.  Some, are the newly refactored Support libraries, which have been renamed AndroidX.

 

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
May 11, 2018

Google IO 2018: Android Things 1.0

We’re just starting the week of Google IO 2018 and already there’s a major announcement, before the event’s official start.  Android Things has been moved out of beta is now at version 1.0.

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
May 7, 2018

Android P and Wi-Fi RTT

Recently, Google launched the first developer preview build of Android™ P.  With this, several new features were announced, including two that caught my attention.  Those being Neural Networks 1.1 and Wi-Fi RTT. Wi-Fi RTT peaked my initial interest because it was something completely new in Android P.

 

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
March 9, 2018

Turning Your UI Into a Well Organized Symphony With Conductor

User interfaces have evolved over time. However, the archetypal approach to creating great user interfaces on Android™ has not. The first party tools available to all Android developers for crafting elegant user interfaces are Activities, Fragments, and Views. For the sake of this article, we will define a custom View to be a class that extends the View class and handles the actions of the user interface component.

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
December 11, 2017

Initial Impressions of Kotlin

As almost every Android developer has heard of by now, Kotlin is being included as a first class language in Android Studio. Kotlin is a language created by JetBrains, the same company that is responsible for IntelliJ Idea, the core of Android Studio. Originally, a plugin was required to use Kotlin from within Android Studio.

By James Simshaw, Senior Software Engineer
July 11, 2017

Ready for transformation?