WebRTC Made Simple

WebRTC is a set of JavaScript APIs that enable peer-to-peer, realtime communication between web browsers. It offers some pretty amazing capabilities, but getting through even a basic introduction to it can be daunting. The variety of new APIs and protocols is a lot to digest. This post is a simple guide to getting up-and-running with WebRTC.

pushrtc
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Needles in Haystacks: Find The Job that Fits You Best

Steve McConnell wrote a book called “After the Gold Rush” that was published back in 1999. He wrote about how the software development industry would benefit by maturing and becoming a professional industry that had learned from the mistakes made during the tech bubble of the late 90s (Steve is actually better known as the author of “Code Complete,” a great book that influenced very many developers). We, as an industry, have learned a lot since then and there are far fewer colossal failures, but we still have plenty to learn about building successful software products. This is especially important when you’re considering your next gig.

The (tech) Gold Rush is still going strong, having dipped only a bit in the mid-naughts. If you’re an experienced designer, developer, or product person… you have more opportunity than most people out there. That’s a great position to be in and we should all be thankful.

All that opportunity makes deciding where to exercise your talents harder. There are many factors at play when you’re looking for a job, some of which may be obvious (e.g. size and location) and others which require looking inwards (e.g. culture, work style, and hierarchy). If you’re looking for a new gig, here are some tips that will help with the process.

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Bash-pocalypse 2014!

Hopefully by now everyone has heard about the Bash remote execution vulnerability, and is sufficiently terrified. We here at Carbon Five all use Macs, and so we are all by default vulnerable. Here are the steps we took to secure our computers. Maybe they can help you too.

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Bacon.js + Node.js + MongoDB: Functional Reactive Programming on the Server

In this article, we’ll demonstrate usage of the Bacon.js library, implementing a Node.js chat application in functional reactive programming style. We’ll use the Socket.IO chat application example as our baseline, adding on some additional asynchronous workflows, interaction with MongoDB, error handling, and logging.

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Junior Jump – Speaker Panel

Here at Carbon Five, we have been making an increased effort to reach out to the growing junior developer community to provide guidance and mentorship. We piloted an event series dubbed Junior Jump, catered towards helping entry level developers prepare for their engineering careers. A few weeks ago, as a part of this event series, we brought in a group of junior developers and had an fishbowl-style open conversation about various topics concerning the current climate of junior developers including: the current difficulties of job searching, what kinds of expectations should be placed on a junior developer, and what the heck is a junior developer anyways. You can find the full video of this event below.

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Stickies.io Updated – More Color, Less Shadow

We’ve heard lots of feedback from those of you using Stickies.io. Today, we launched a few small updates. Here’s what’s new:

1) New landing screen – with an easier way to give us feedback

Feedback

2) More color, less shadows – for a brighter day

Colors

3) New background – behold the dots!

Dot background

4) Most importantly – we dropped the name Boardroom. You might be thinking – what’s Boardroom? Exactly.

For those of you who don’t know, Stickies.io is Carbon Five’s free online, collaborative brainstorming and retrospective tool. The project started as a Node Knockout submission years ago (originally called Boardroom…well, originally-originally called Retroflection which was a mash-up of…nevermind). Anyhow, we’ve been slowly work on it – responding to Tweets and pull requests on Github ever since.

Try it out and feel free to send us your thoughts at stickies@carbonfive.com. We have a couple of big new features in the pipeline, but we’re excited to hear your thoughts as well.

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Writing Reliable iOS Tests

Tests help me write better apps. Writing tests informs my interface designs, expresses some of my intentions, and guards against regressions. As applications grow so do the number of tests I’m running as a regular part of my development workflow. If I’m not careful those growing test suites can slow down, become inconsistent, and eventually lose the trust of the development team. Fortunately, test driving software design is not a new idea and we can look to other languages and frameworks with good testing practices for inspiration on how to avoid pitfalls we encounter when writing tests.

I ran into a couple of cases on recent projects where I wrote unreliable iOS XCTests. Let’s take a look at what went wrong, what a better test might look like, and what tools we, as iOS developers, might be missing.

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Blocked by Design? Get Into a Design Flow with Story Triage

In the years since we’ve been providing integrated design and development on agile teams, we’ve noticed something that seems to emerge naturally on projects that are going particularly well. While we always set out to design our products in small releases, refactoring along the way (i.e. “the smallest whole“), often designers find themselves quickly under a ton of pressure from the developers, who are looking for well-defined stories to work on, sometimes after only a week of product definition.

Needs Design

Even once the overall product design is in place, each week brings a handful of new features that developers are eager to start. In addition, sometimes a teammate will throw a story into the backlog that is just an idea, not even ready for a designer to elaborate. At times it can feel like our team is a fiery coal-burning engine (our product manager and developers) starving for fuel (the design).

Without time for a complete set of wireframes (let alone visual designs) designers sometimes have to get a little creative. Not every story can get the same level of definition, and a one-size-fits-all workflow (e.g. design, build, deploy) doesn’t really make sense for every feature. We’ve found a set of activities useful when the team feels “blocked by design.” I like to call it Story Triage.

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What CODE2040 Teaches Us About Building Community

CODE2040 Fellows celebration

Recently, we joined the CODE2040 community for a celebration of the 2014 Fellows. The evening started with a career fair where Marc, David and I had the chance to talk with the Fellows about what was next.  A few of us had met some of the Fellows at previous events and we had briefly meet Estefania as she works with one of our clients, Good Eggs.  But the career fair was a rare opportunity to speak with them one-on-one.

CODE2040 is addressing a real need to close the gap between the vast opportunities in the technology space and the lack of diversity in the workforce. Right now, the program is focusing its efforts on a Fellowship program for high achieving Continue reading

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Building a Real-time Scoring System for the NPGL

This Tuesday in Madison Square Garden, the National Pro Grid League will have its first regular season match. Three months ago, we started building the real-time scoring system that backs its events. Here’s how we did it:

MSGMadison Square Garden

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