Rapid Prototypes for Devices with Raspberry Pi

Since joining Atomic, I’ve worked on quite a few web projects, where rapid prototypes are common and quite easy to produce. Unfortunately, not all domains we deal in have such luxuries.

My latest project is a lightweight embedded linux device with a GUI and physical buttons. In such a stack, it can be hard to get rapid feedback cycles on your UI and UX. To try and alleviate this problem, I came up with a method for scripting interaction with rapid prototypes using a display attached to a Raspberry Pi. Read more on Rapid Prototypes for Devices with Raspberry Pi…

Obtaining a Thorough CS Background Online

I’d like to show you a way to obtain a computer science background that doesn’t involve enrolling in a university program. Maybe you’ve completed an introductory Java course, and now you’d like to pursue a software development position. Or maybe you already have some formal CS training, and you’d like to fill in a couple of knowledge gaps. By utilizing online learning resources, you can obtain that background without incurring the costs of the traditional university approach.

Read more on Obtaining a Thorough CS Background Online…

Turn Any iOS Task into a Background Task with ReactiveCocoa’s RACSignal

If an app performs a task that needs to complete even if the app is moved to the background, iOS provides a way to request a little more time to complete the task. You just need to let iOS know when you’ve started the task and when it has ended. If the app is moved to the background while the task is still in progress, iOS will allow the app to keep running (up to 3 minutes in iOS 7 and 8) to try to give the task a chance to complete.

Read more on Turn Any iOS Task into a Background Task with ReactiveCocoa’s RACSignal…

First Contact to Offer – Atomic’s Developer Interview Process

Much like working with our clients to design and build an application, putting together an interview process involves balancing competing constraints. We want plenty of time to get to know candidates, but keep time investment within reasonable bounds for everyone involved. We set up defined tasks and scenarios but also want to leave room for open-ended conversations and work.

Read more on First Contact to Offer – Atomic’s Developer Interview Process…

Testing Asynchronous Behavior in JavaScript with Selenium

Full stack browser testing of web applications is awesome. It validates that your application works end-to-end and allows you to check actual user workflows. For the last year and a half, I’ve been using Selenium to test a JavaScript web application we’re developing using Backbone.js.

Unfortunately, web apps that use JavaScript a lot can be challenging to test with Selenium. Read more on Testing Asynchronous Behavior in JavaScript with Selenium…

Taking Control of Logging in Clojure

Clojure inherits some interesting tradeoffs as a result of being built atop the Java Virtual Machine. One upside is the availability of many full-featured and mature Java libraries. But one downside is the need to survey the historical as well as technical landscape of your available choices.

Unsurprisingly, when it came time to add proper logging to my project, I had to make sense of the several available Java logging libraries. Here’s what I found. Read more on Taking Control of Logging in Clojure…

Pushing Past Logos: Weekend Blitz & Design’s Evolving Role

I had the pleasure, once again, to attend AIGA’s Design For Good Weekend Blitz, and let me tell you, the tides are changing in West Michigan’s field of design.

Weekend Blitz is a 3-day event where non-profit organizations are paired with teams of designers, developers, and poly-skilled creatives hailing from all over West Michigan. Teams must solve tough design and business problems in a very limited time span, all the while keeping their clients informed and team members busy and engaged. Read more on Pushing Past Logos: Weekend Blitz & Design’s Evolving Role…

What Being Job Shadowed Taught Me about My Job

Atomic recently hosted a couple of students from the Kent County ISD doing a job shadow as part of the Groundhog Shadow Day. They spent an hour at a time with different people at Atomic, and I volunteered to be one of the people to be followed and questioned. It was a fun experience, made a nice change to the workday and was even productive as I was able to use them for some quick ad-hoc usability testing on one of the apps I was testing.

Read more on What Being Job Shadowed Taught Me about My Job…

DevOps – Software Delivery Done Correctly

A successful software project consists of much more than actually writing software. There are product development concerns, usability concerns, aesthetic concerns, and, of course, delivery concerns.

It often seems that the delivery phase of software development project is neglected. The product is valuable, the design sleek, and the code well-written and tested—but the final handoff and deployment have been neglected. The problem is, “‘dev complete’ is a long long way from ‘live, in production, stable, making money’” (Nelson-Smith, 2010).

In recent years, the DevOps movement has emerged as a response to some of these problems—improving deployment and management of software that has already been written. Read more on DevOps – Software Delivery Done Correctly…

Fixing UI Elements that Float Away

While testing our iOS app, my team found a puzzling bug—repeatedly clicking some of the buttons on the main dashboard caused the whole row of buttons to gradually drift up or down, even off the bottom of the screen. It didn’t always move, but once it started moving, it tended to keep sliding in the same direction.

Read more on Fixing UI Elements that Float Away…

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