The Cloud

The Launch of Swift 2.0

Ever since Grace Hopper came up with the A language programmers have been trying to create new languages and processes that make it easier to do work with computers.

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Ever since Grace Hopper came up with the A language programmers have been trying to create new languages and processes that make it easier to do work with computers. This has led to a constant flow of new ideas, syntaxes and programs that purport to make our lives as programmers better and easier. 

Developing for iOS

We've had many projects using Objective-C for iOS and Mac and now we are creating projects in Swift 2.0. It feels like a monumental change, but it is just one small change of many that the industry has undertaken in our lifetimes. Swift builds upon the incredible work of LLVM. LLVM itself was a research project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just over a dozen years ago. It is lightyears ahead of the previous technology, GCC, which because of its importance and penetration required LLVM to be a full feature-complete replacement. Funny enough, GCC was introduced in 1987 which was also the year that saw the first release of Steve Jobs' new OS, NeXTSTEP which foisted Objective-C with its Smalltalk-like extensions upon the world.

Objective-C predated NeXTSTEP and has evolved ever since the introduction of NeXT's computers, in fact, the iOS that runs on all of our iPads and iPhones inherits a lot of the same libraries and Mac OS X is direct lineage. The gain of a real abstracted object-oriented language allowed NeXT to have their OS on Motorola 68K, Sun Sparc, HP PA-RISC and intel x86 processors. This also enabled a smooth transition from PowerPC processors to Intel ones with the Mac years later. It also allowed iOS to rapidly gain functionality from OS X while being on the ARM processor. All of this points that good technology stays around for a long time. There has to be something that solves the problems better or presents new programmers with more power for there to be a change. That change is here now but it isn't a sea change in how we do business. It is merely a new tool to craft fantastic things.

Adapting to new technology

Historically the goal of Metal Toad has been to use the best technology and the best processes for each individual project. In fact, that is almost what Metal Toad's mission statement is, "To help people seeking the world's best technology and processes.". That means that the tools, languages and systems that Metal Toad uses for each client has changed over time. We task our best developers to find the perfect fit of technologies for each project. This has not only allowed us to best serve our clients, but also to branch into new technologies, new languages and ultimately the best interactions that we can create.

That means keeping current on tools and libraries but it doesn't mean an aversion to old technologies. Sometimes picking a client's software stack aligns with the client's goals or current codebase. It is all weighted by how great it is to use for the need and also how easy it is to use as a solution and also for maintenance.

Metal Toad has built incredible sites on Drupal and also has kept up with Drupal by contributing to Core and also being an implementation leader first with Drupal 7 and now with Drupal 8. Now it is a given that a site will be deep with data and integrations but also providing a mobile view with a fully responsive design. Other innovations from the open source community have been greatly utilized including Angular with Drupal, or as they call it, Drangular. This has allowed a lot more customization while keeping the power of the CMS within the client's hands. We've changed the tools but we've kept the processes. This allows Metal Toad to grow with the fast-paced world of Tech.

The Cloud & Innovation

Other behind-the-scenes changes have taken place as well. Metal Toad still has fully embraced Amazon Web Services (AWS) there are so many more tools to enhance availability, management and speed. This allows us to do previously unobtainable things like spinning up new instances of a site to allow bursting traffic through auto-scaling, providing rapid environment setup with cloud formation in conjunction with Puppet, and prevent database failures with immediate automatic database failover with RDS.

In regards to learning new technologies Metal Toad has a slow-food view of face-paced technology with our internal Special Interest Groups or SIGs. It's mostly slow-food because the food comes fast but the topics are of such interest that it's hard to get bites in. Previously there have been SIGs for learning Drupal, automated testing, unit testing, learning iOS programming, toying with Arduino electronics, learning about future-tech, topics focusing on Juniors and documentation and much more. This allows Toads to share their knowledge and also push themselves to learn more and be on the bleeding edge of tech.

This all shows that since the world wide web was invented on a NeXT computer in 1990, things have changed while kind of staying a bit the same. The solutions we provide are now more robust, more available and longer lasting. Also it doesn't matter what tech you have, Metal Toad is here to help.

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