Mobile Development

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Metal Toad has been been building mobile applications for a while and we've found building iPhone and Android can be a lot of fun. Mobile development has significantly more gotchas so we've created a catalog of all of the mobile development tips and tricks we have cataloged over the years, sorted in order with the newest first. Enjoy!

  • What is Xamarin?

    What is Xamarin?

    Maybe I should start with a better question. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Guess what?  Xamarin is F-R-E-E!!!! Yep! I’ll explain why this is exclamation point worthy in just a bit.  

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    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?”.

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    Thumb Zone

    I’m used to thinking of ergonomics in terms of chairs, desks, physical plant, tennis rackets, etc., but this week our expert UX designer, Cami, blew my mind when she shared a “natural thumb extension” image that she uses to help design for mobile.

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    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.

  • iOS and Android

    6 Design Tips for iOS and Android

    Recently I've been designing a few mobile apps. The first app was designed from scratch for both iOS and Android. The other was taking a pre-existing iOS app and translating the design and UX to be more suited for Android.

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    Force Touch for Safari in Javascript

    First I explored Force Click on the Mac. Now it is on the web with javascript in Safari. There has long been hooks for touches and gestures on Safari for iOS devices.

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    iOS: Retain Your Sanity With CoreSimulator Folders

    Previously, we published a script to work around the opaque iOS Simulator folder structure on Xcode 6. With the recent release of Xcode 7, the naming structure changed a bit, so we've updated the script below:

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    iOS: A Quick Script to Retain Your Sanity With CoreSimulator Folders.

    Note: This is outdated. See our update for Xcode 7

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    Integrating Faux Pas into your iOS Continuous Integration Workflow

    Faux Pas is a OS X app that analyzes your source code for possible bugs and stylistic issues (among many, many other things). It also has a nifty command line tool that we wanted to integrate into our continuous integration process.

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    Continuous Delivery for Enterprise on iOS

    In part two (part one) of a series on iOS automation, we'll discuss continuous deployment. Thankfully, due to wonderful tools like Hockey, it’s never been easier.

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    Short-circuiting SpriteBuilder to use Cocos2d-swift Programmatically

    The goal is to create a project with SpriteBuilder and then not use the nice GUI and ccb files that it provides.

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    iOS Continous Integration for Enterprise

    Updated Oct 19, 2015: Added updates for OS X El Capitan. Updates highlighted in yellow. Updated Jan 23, 2015: this post is part of a series on iOS Continuous Integration.

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    PhoneGap Day! Michael Brooks on Contributing to Apache Cordova

    Michael Brooks, @mwbrooks Open Source Designers are needed. Tech writers are really, really needed.

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    PhoneGap Day! Andrew Lunny and Hardeep Shoker on Phonegap Build

    Andrew Lunny @alunny & Hardeep Shoker @hardeepshoker Andrew was the person who named it Callback, he's the bad person.

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    PhoneGap Day! Patrick Mueller on Weinre

    Works at IBM @pmuellr

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    PhoneGap Day! James Burke on RequireJS and Phonegap

    James Burke - works at Mozilla @jrburke Why webapps? They deploy everywhere!

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    Phonegap Day! Pamela Fox on Phonegap Pain Points

    Pamela Fox - @pamelafox She used to work for google, was on the Wave project.

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    Phonegap Day! Fil Maj on what's new in PhoneGap 2.0

    We have two toads at PhoneGap Day here in Portland - you can follow the conference on Twitter #pgday. I'll be live blogging the event. Here is what's new in PhoneGap 2.0:

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    Mobile Drupal optimization results

    Our responsive redesign has been a great improvement for I was still not entirely satisfied with the speed of our site, especially while waiting for my train at the busy Pioneer Square! One of the major obstacles for mobile networks is lag, and so I set out to cut down the number of HTTP requests. By improving the site's stylesheets and scripts, I was able to eliminate a dozen extra requests.

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    A Short List of Handy Web/Mobile Debugging Tools

    I recently helped a friend with a couple bugs they were fixing on a mobile site, and suddenly realized that there is a good basic list of tools that folks should have in their frontend dev kit.

  • Android & iOS

    A Simple Device Diagram for Responsive Design Planning

    Updated for 2015! Check out Analytics-driven responsive web design planning

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    Improved Lazy Loading for iPhone & Android

    The latest version of the jQuery Lazy Load plugin (released Jan 29th, 2012) included the ability to customize your data attribute parameter.

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    When it comes to Mobile Development, Stop Worrying about Bandwidth

    When it comes to mobile development, I've seen a lot of buzz recently on how CSS3 can help people eliminate images and cut the bandwidth requirement for their websites, however if a good mobile experience is important to you, you may want to think twice before deciding how to retrofit your websit

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    Pitfalls When Writing a Canvas Game for Android

    Recently a client approached Metal Toad to develop a prototype game for Android devices and leaving the option of porting it to other devices open.

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    Responsive Web Design and HTML5 are the Future

    With the latest launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet, the world is now up to more than five major Android hardware providers. Among each of these, there is also a wide variety in the screen sizes, from the smart phones to mid and larger tablets. Outside of the Android market you have the 800 pound gorilla, Apple with their iPhone, iPod & iPad. And you have RIM with the Blackberry and Nokia (who still can't decide what they are going to use).

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    Mobile First – a mirage?

    You've heard the hype. The mobile web is exploding, and device sales will soon outstrip PCs. Our desktops and laptops will join VCRs and fax machines in the dustbin of history. Yet, mobile usage share is totally flatlined (perhaps even declining slightly). What is going on?

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    How we made the Metal Toad site more mobile-friendly with media queries

    There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Responsive Web Design, and in particular about CSS3 Media Queries.

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    Mobile Traffic is Up

    Mobile website traffic is up. While this is hardly news, as a small case study I'm posting findings from (you can see the exact numbers in the tables below). Here's the most important information I gleaned from our mobile analysis:

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    Stop! You are doing mobile wrong!

    For as long as mobile sites have been around the conventional wisdom has been: build your website first and then create a mobile site as an add-on; creating a distilled, streamlined version of the desktop site. This makes sense, no? A few weeks ago I discovered that we've been doing it wrong*. Here's why:

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