Agile methodologies are now mainstream. But what about the principles of the Agile Manifesto that spawned these methodologies? Here’s how Big Nerd Ranch thinks about Agile.
Agile methodologies are now mainstream. But what about the principles of the Agile Manifesto that spawned these methodologies? Here’s how Big Nerd Ranch thinks about Agile.
There are three versions of the React Native story. One says that React Native is a silver bullet that allows you to ship two apps for the price of one. Another would have you believe that React Native is the same, disappointing cross-platform novelty we’ve seen before with familiar shortcomings. The third story is the truth, and it’s somewhere in the middle. When a project is aligned with React Native’s strengths, it’s a very attractive option. The following are some questions that you can consider to determine if React Native can benefit your organization or project.
I was exhausted after my first few months, under the impression that I would be devoting a huge amount of emotional energy to every project that I would ever manage for the unforeseeable future… When I shifted my thinking from trying to be good at everything to being excellent at a few things, I finally felt settled into my role.
As a Product Manager, developing a deep understanding of the root problem is critical to helping you save time and money before writing code.
Have you ever wondered what goes into a mobile app that you use on your smartphone? Wonder no more! There’s no magic to the apps we use. While we won’t dive into nitty-gritty details of a mobile app’s architecture, this easy-to-understand diagram should give you a good foundation to communicate your needs with us.
How can tech leaders create alignment between their group and the rest of the business organization? We covered this and more in a live webinar.
Big Nerd Ranch esteems code review. We’ve seen it pay off time and again. It is core to our workflow and process. If you want to experience the benefits in your team, here’s what that means in practice for everyone involved.
Now more than ever it is imperative that you understand your customers before you write a single line of code. Product discovery is the process in which budding entrepreneurs and enterprise products teams alike can put their customers first and build astounding software.
Hiring a third-party company to build your app may seem overzealous when you have in-house developers and designers. Here’s why you should consider it, and how it will ultimately help your team.
WWDC 2017’s Design for Everyone challenges developers to work for all our users. This post will teach you to rise to the challenge through concrete examples of accessible design. The examples I list are iOS-specific, but the ideas aren’t—developers across all platforms should keep accessibility in mind.
Year after year, Apple rolls out platform features that greatly improve usability when they’re used correctly. Unfortunately, many apps that have been around for awhile still don’t take advantage of these features. With the release of iOS 11 on the horizon, now is the perfect time to start incorporating them. To help you along, I’ve listed out some under-used features and reasons why your users will thank you for using them in your app.
One of the things that separates Big Nerd Ranch from the competition is that our clients walk away with better ways of building products and managing the development, in addition to their finished application. Learn why the Product Owner role is so important, and why we ask our clients to fill it.
Perhaps you know the value of training your development team, but you’re not sure exactly how to get started. You have to ensure that the option you choose is the best value for your employees, and your company. So what exactly is the best way?
With iOS 11 and Android O launching later this year, you may be curious as to whether or not you should spend the money updating your apps. The answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why.
Eric Ries’ methodology of building and growing a company through the minimum viable product (MVP), codified in The Lean Startup (2011), has caught on rapidly among tech entrepreneurs. But it can also be used by enterprises to drive business forward.
mobbed.io recently chose Big Nerd Ranch as a top company on its “20 Best iOS Development Companies in the World” list.
Having high-quality code in your app saves time and budget in the long term and gets an overall better, more sustainable product. But high-quality code doesn’t come easy—there are principles and best practices that must be maintained throughout the entire development process.
A famous economist once said about consumers, “People don’t want a 1/4 inch drill. They want a 1/4 inch hole.” While not formally a designer, Theodore Levitt understood the difference between identifying the problem and coming up with the right solution for your customer.
Investing in your team’s professional development is a great way to attract talent, increase performance levels, and sustain your competitive advantage. But the success of training depends on how well your organization understands its own needs.
In most scenarios, designers can make accurate assumptions about a user’s typical environment; however, highly specialized users and environments require us to rethink and reconstruct our knowledge of the situation. Recently, I did just that when designing an iPad app that allows F-18 pilots to comfortably complete various in-flight tasks.
When we work with our app development clients, we find that they want to get to a solution as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. And we want the same thing—but not by letting the quality of our work slip. In many cases, “good enough” is simply not good enough for our clients.
In the world Big Nerd Ranch occupies, there are agencies and consultancies. And among agencies and consultancies, we stand apart.
The Nerds at Big Nerd Ranch are instructors, authors and prodigies. They are passionate about waht they do, and they make working fun, whether we’re designing an iOS app for a client or putting together a web application for our internal team.
When a new client starts working with Big Nerd Ranch, they hear about a role called the Project Strategist. And while we do not have an exclusive claim on that job title, the Project Strategist’s responsibilities are what sets up apart.
Choosing the wrong partner to build your company’s app can result in bad code, a poorly designed user experience, weeks of delay or tens of thousands of dollars wasted. Avoid these issues by figuring out what you need to know before you start the process.
Many of the native mobile apps you love weren’t always native. Will a hybrid web app help you build a successful MVP, or kill your startup?
Many companies believe that developing an app for their company means only developing an iOS app. Here are three reasons why you should consider building an Android app too.
If current trends continue, most babies born today will never own a laptop or a desktop computer. They will carry a smart phone, and at home they will have a streaming device connected to their TV. That streaming device will run apps. And that leads us to why your company needs a tvOS app.
Big Nerd Ranch builds products with agility. However, we’re not strict adherents to any particular methodology. We’re not Scrum zealots, extreme programming purists or kanban fanatics. Why? Because we accept that no one methodology will solve all of our problems.
In all areas of the app development world, designers and developers run into the issue of not being able to communicate efficiently. At Big Nerd Ranch, we’ve encountered this problem before, but have improved our communication over the years. Recently, my colleague Kristin Marsicano and I sought to identify what designers and developers at Big Nerd Ranch have done to improve our ability to communicate effectively with one another.
A few weeks ago, I was planning a design discovery for a client. When we do discovery, we collect and distill necessary information about the product and users before starting design and development. Part of that discovery process includes a competitor analysis. But how do we keep group analysis on track?
Big Nerd Ranch has been chosen as one of the top software training providers in the world by Training Industry.
We’re excited to announce that our client Roadie has won the Best Mobile Startup Award at the 2016 Atlanta Mobile Awards. Presented by the Atlanta Mobile Marketing Organization (AMMO), the awards celebrate innovation in mobile technology and bring attention to mobile marketing, mobile development and mobile hardware created in Atlanta.
Right now is a great time to be a mobile-centric business because more than 6 billion people have access to a mobile device—that’s more than 80% of all people worldwide. On top of that, the average consumer spends over 30 hours per month in mobile apps. Is your company positioned for success in this mobile-centric world?
Several of our instructors just returned from Poland, where they taught development and design at media brand Onet. See what the Onet team had to say about the experience.
Custom app development can get complicated, fast. Business needs and use cases must be taken into account, and technologies change rapidly. When projects enter stormy seas, they can often be steered back to safety, but not without costing time and money. The first step to preventing these challenges is awareness, so today I’m outlining the five common trends that can sink your app development project.
We will soon live in a world where everyday items like cash, credit cards, and passwords will go the way of the dinosaur, replaced by digital cryptocurrencies, mobile wallets, and facial recognition. What do leaders in FinTech need to be aware of, and how can they make the right choices for their customers?
If you’ve ever wondered how Big Nerd Ranch consults with clients, look no further.
Today’s the day—the schedule is clear, the agenda is set. It’s time to start work on a third edition of the Android book.
It is a common assumption that coding bootcamps are only for students just entering the programming world. But what about those who already code professionally? They can benefit from training, too.
The Internet of Things is becoming a popular topic of conversation, both within the workplace and outside it. But what, exactly, is the Internet of Things? And what impact is it going to have on you and your business?
We have the privilege of working with clients big and small, and partnering with them to see their visionary dream through is a wholly rewarding experience. Over the years, we’ve fine-tuned our understanding and approach to consulting for startup entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to start a business with a technology hook like a mobile app or a website, here are some basic fundamentals to help you in partnering with us.
If you’re a manager, it may seem like a risky investment to offer professional development to your employees. The fear is that employees can take their new knowledge elsewhere, but in reality, when employees receive the training they need, the returns exceed your monetary spend.
It’s my third year working at Big Nerd Ranch as a developer and instructor. Inevitably, I have a lot of friends (and recruiters) asking me why I am still working here. It all boils down to two non-negotiable values—trust and kindness.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that app developers earn a median of $98,260 annually. With such a high salary, more and more people are beginning to learn the skills needed to obtain a job as an app developer. But which programming language should you choose?
Learn about voice user interfaces and persistence in Alexa Skills Kit development with our videos.
Earlier this year, we announced that we had teamed up with Amazon to deliver immersive, free training for the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). We kicked off the training with a series of blog posts, and today we are excited to announce the release the first two videos.
As I type, Apple’s yearly developer conference, WWDC 2016, is in full swing. The keynote can be watched via Apple TV and their website, or you can catch summaries and highlights on every site that covers Apple’s doings.
Big Nerd Ranch has been featured in a number of publications lately. Check it out!
Properly spec’ing your document eliminates misunderstandings and communication errors with developers. However, it is also time consuming to spec manually, and your measurements can be subject to errors. Luckily for us, there are tools that will help you more quickly provide accurate details to pass along to your developer.
One of the greatest features of Alexa is that it functions as a personal assistant you can interact with without having to physically touch the device. This allows you to get information or accomplish tasks while you are, for example, baking a cake. One of the tasks you could accomplish in such a sticky situation could be to post a tweet about your baking adventures.
If you are reading this post, it is likely that you have finished writing a shiny new Alexa skill and you are ready to submit it to Amazon for review and publication. In this post, we’ll guide you through the submission process and help you get your skill published as quickly as possible.
By now, we’ve made a lot of progress in building our Airport Info skill. We tested the model and verified that the skill service behaves as expected. Then we tested the skill in the simulator and on an Alexa-enabled device. In this post, we’ll implement persistence in a new skill so that users will be able to access information saved from their previous interactions.
I’m a big fan of improv comedy—I love seeing how each troupe works with varying rules, actors and kinds of performances. Here in Atlanta, we’re lucky to have several improv groups to check out. And when I’m traveling, I seek out different groups to visit. In fact, a group of us at Big Nerd Ranch participated in an internal improv workshop. We learned some of the basics of improv, but most importantly, we learned to fail fast—and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to building and designing projects for clients.
Now that we have tested the model for our Airport Info Alexa Skill and verified that the skill service behaves as expected, it’s time to move from the local development environment to staging, where we’ll be able to test the skill in the simulator and on an Alexa-enabled device.
In our last post on building Alexa skills, we implemented a model that knows how to talk to the FAA. Now we’ll see how to hook it up to a new Alexa skill. We’ll be using alexa-app as a framework to build our skill, and alexa-app-server will allow us to test interacting with the skill locally.
If you want to build Alexa Skills, where should you start? You could begin with building one of the sample skills like the color picker or the trivia game. But when you’ve already tackled “Hello, World,” you’re ready to dive in. Well, not quite. You can more efficiently with a local development environment, so let’s set one up with Node.js.
We’re starting off 2015 right, here at the Ranch.
Thanks to the work of The Carter Center, Guinea worm disease is nearly eradicated—and Big Nerd Ranch contributed to the cause.
We write really good software. We do continuous integration and automated testing throughout the process. We are embarrassed when the client finds a bug that we don’t know about. But we don’t do QA on our clients’ projects. That is the client’s job.
Last October, I spent two very rewarding and educational weeks in Athens, Greece, to help build an app for a client. We started with legacy code and an unfinished app, but ended with one that elegantly meets our clients’ needs. Oh, and we had only two weeks.
It’s no secret that Big Nerd Ranch is known around the world for developing mobile apps and teaching mobile app development. As the company grew, we headquartered our European office in Amsterdam and have been thriving ever since.
Have you tried selling an app in Apple’s store? You’ll quickly find out that there’s a lot more to building a successful business than just technical development! As we launch the new version of Roominant, our conference room and meeting scheduling app, I want to share what we’ve learned along the way.
I just got back from attending SxSWi for the first time. I met a ton of people and saw a lot of great talks, but I also learned a lot about strategies for navigating the event itself. Here are my top tips for SXSW.
As some of the frequent readers of this blog may know, Big Nerd Ranch was recently at SxSW in pretty full force. We threw an epic party the night of the 11th.
I’m the Chief Technical Officer at Think Through Math, one of Big Nerd Ranch’s clients. In my spare time (such as it is), I’m a long-course triathlete and marathoner. We recently partnered with Big Nerd Ranch to rebuild our core e-learning platform. During the process, I realized that there are a lot of similarities between training for an endurance event like a triathlon and launching a major web initiative.
I’m excited to share with you some great news about Highgroove Studios. As of yesterday afternoon, we have merged with the Big Nerd Ranch.
Highgroove President and developer Charles Brian Quinn explains our commitment to experimenting to find out what works best for us–and our clients.
Editor’s note: This post pre-dates the merger of Big Nerd Ranch and Highgroove Studios. Big Nerd Ranch now offers end-to-end solutions that include design.
How do you turn an unhappy client into a satisfied one? No matter how long you’ve been in business, you’ll eventually have a client who isn’t pleased. Highgroovers strive for constant client satisfaction, but we have tips for turning a frustrated client into a repeat one.
When developing software, face-to-face conversation is often the best form of communication (Agile Principles). While Skype and other tools allow you to get face-to-face from pretty much anywhere, there is really no substitute for spending some time in-person with everyone involved in developing software. At Highgroove, we often do remote work for many of our clients. Since travel can be hard and expensive, here are 3 tips for maximizing the value of your next business trip.
Special guest post by Emily Herman, Director of Software Products.
It’s true. We’re hiring. Like a lot of technology companies. But, did you know that we are turning down many qualified applicants? Since we started tracking, only 11% of applicants who go through our hiring process become “Hired Full Time” employees of Highgroove. That means about 1 in 10 who apply receive an offer letter. Why is it we can–or rather why we have– to be so picky in who we hire?
At Highgroove, we love giving each other compliments. In fact, since everyone at Highgroove kicks ass in some way, compliments are constantly flying around (actually, I think that in and of itself was a compliment).
Far too often there exists a chasm between the client paying for and the developer working on a particular project. One party has a longterm vision; a vision that will ultimately impact his/her financial future. The other party has a much closer view of the project, which creates the risk of getting tunnel visioned. The client worries about when the project will be completed; the developer worries about how the project will be completed. When this happens, communication becomes difficult and frustration builds. How can this be avoided?
Highgroove Studios has taught me a lot about Software Development, Consulting, and building new web applications. Apart from the myriad of technical skills I’ve added since I came on board, Highgroove is a fantastic company to learn how to build your own web apps, how to design them, and how to remain focused on the most business critical aspects of the system. Highgroove taught me these things by adhering to a process which manages Agile development, responds to changing software requirements and business needs, and encourages constant communication. While these are all noticed by clients, there is one part of the Highgroove process that goes largely unseen; however, it is just as integral as the former three. That behind-the-scenes aspect of the Highgroove development process is keeping the software as simple as possible to meet current demands.
“With all of the people doing this, why hasn’t anyone ever just made a …”
At Highgroove, we like using the right tool for the job, but we also don’t like getting too bogged down in thinking about what we should use. We recently switched our internal company chat from Skype to Campfire, but it wasn’t a just simple switch to flip.
Today, I attended a workshop from the Atlanta EO chapter led by the charismatic Jim Ryerson of Sales Octane on improving your sales process, through the use of a Sales Playbook. I’ll admit, I’ve always been pretty good at selling (it helps to have an awesome team and product behind you), but the Sales Playbook we have (and that went through a ton of editing today) makes it even easier.
As an index investor, I was fascinated when Y Combinator launched their innovative style of startup investing.
At Highgroove, we value customer service along with programming. Our customers arrive at our shop with concerns needing attention. Here are a few common ones:
At Highgroove, we’ve been consulting on software projects since 2006. I can tell you that it’s been a long, hard learning process on how to sell service based consulting. We’ve certainly come a long way in helping our clients be happy about the services we provide.
I, along with Charles Brian Quinn, recently attended
A Day in the Life of Agile: Hands-On Workshop presented by Pillar Technology Group.
At Highgroove, we’re not designers. We’re back-end Ruby on Rails experts. However, we love working with designers of all types: UX/UI experts, wireframing experts, PSD to HTML gurus and other hyper-specialists as well.
At Highgroove we do iterative development. There’s no better way to create software than incrementally, with planned releases every week (or every 2 weeks). Here are some tips that we’ve learned that make Iterative development work.
I’m not a technical gal. I can navigate my way through any application, but don’t ask me how it works. As a manager I am often frustrated by the limitations in our management software. For the most part I grumble my way past the inefficient idiosyncrasies and find little cheats to cut 5 seconds off my process here, 10 seconds there. Fortunately for me my desk is rather close to that of our president and development guru Charles Quinn. When he tires of my grunts, mumbles, and groans he inevitably turns to offer assistance. To my surprise he often responds to my frustrations in agreement, “Yes, that feature should be available. That is a great idea. You should request that feature be added.”
nephophobia. Part of Speech: n. Definition: a fear of clouds. Etymology: Greek nephos ‘cloud’. dictionary.com
Last night, I spoke at the Georgia Tech Entrepreneur Society on “Building a Product.”
InfoEther has finally released their Ruby and Rails Ecosystem White Paper to the public. It’s a thorough look at the Ruby and Rails community, the individuals, vendors, services, and shops that all comprise this wonderful ecosystem.
As relatively new parent, my oldest is about to turn five. I’ve attended enough young kids’ birthday parties to develop a standard rating system for a
successful party. My rubric is simple and effective.
One of our client’s web services (an API) experienced some brief downtime recently, related to an error on our part in rolling out some new data.
On the rails-business list, someone asked recently about Iteration Based Contracts.
ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
I’ve been in the New York Times newsroom at 5 pm on a Friday, when a reporter dropped in with brand new test score results from across the New York public school system – suddenly, it was like a machine springing to action. There were graphic designers loading SQL dumps of data, collaborating with developers and reporters, all working with the numbers to culminate and disseminate the information, and create factual reporting. It was truly amazing - even better than the afternoon I spent in the pits at a NASCAR race.
We’ve made a few slight changes to the Highgroove Studios site. Here’s the lowdown:
One issue we face with PlaceShout, our short-form local reviews site, is that many of the shoutouts may not be relevant to you. If you haven’t been to Nihon in San Francisco, you can’t agree or disagree with Natasha’s shoutout: “Swanky whiskey bar/restaurant. Food was good-small plate Japanese and sushi”.
When training, I hate using ‘foo’ and ‘bar’ in examples. It means I’m ignoring a major portion of my responsibility – relating the Rails concepts I’m teaching to the problem my students are trying to solve.
In just 4 years, Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski turned one of the worst franchises in professional sports into one of the best. I thought this portion of a recent Detroit Free Press column really summed up why:
Last week, I had the single best neighborhood cafe experience of my life. Amazing service. Gorgeous interior. Spotless. Plenty of unhidden power outlets. A luxurious back patio. Reasonable prices.
We’ve just launched PlaceShout (http://placeshout.com) – a “cheatsheet”-style summary of places around town, created by you and arbitrated by the community. Now you can see what’s important about a place without wading though stories about someone’s neighbor’s dog.
Andre and I recently finished the initial launch of Placeshout’s Facebook application. There are several “getting started” tutorials available on building Facebook applications with Ruby on Rails, but there were quite a few issues we ran into that are beyond a “How To” blog entry.
There’s a very easy way to ensure that your project won’t be quoted by a quality, not-starving-for-work web development firm: make the firm sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before you provide an overview of the project.
At the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station, CA, there’s a custom shelf on the wall that holds a collection of coffee cups. I thought it was a nice decoration, but then I read the posted notes - people can leave a coffee cup and use it instead of a throw-away paper cup. It’s a win for the Bovine Bakery, the environment, and the Point Reyes community.
Recently I moved from San Mateo to San Francisco. Like any move, it involved a couple phone calls to utility companies.
I’ve been lucky enough to work on many client projects that make me (and my friends) generally excited. Blurb, a client of ours and a recently launched Ruby on Rails application, is one of those projects.
Atlanta Technology Executive (and recent friend) Scott Burkett blogged recently on what Atlanta can do to emulate the entrepreneurial environment of Silicon Valley. Having lived in both areas, I’ve had a chance to meet and work with many remarkable entrepreneurs.