Zero UI: human-centric interactions & the dissappearing screen

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At this summer’s SOLID conference in San Francisco, Andy Goodman of global design consultancy Fjord gave a talk about a topic we’ve often discussed on our team: the impact of the user interface (UI) moving away from screens and towards more intuitive, human-centric interactions like haptics, ambient intelligence and voice control.

This will surely have implications for the way companies design and develop products, and alter what it means to be a developer, product manager or designer in the future. continue reading >

How does the shift of Java 8 towards functional programming impact Scala?

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This post was made possible with the expertise of two local developers: Kenneth Rose, Principal Software Engineer at PagerDuty (who just returned from ScalaDays in Amsterdam) and Jason Goodwin, and experienced developer who has worked on complex technical products at companies like Rogers, mDialog and BlastRadius.

Developers are solving problems at a bigger scale today than ever before. Functional programming paradigms have become increasingly attractive because they work so well with concurrency, especially with non-blocking (asynchronous) I/O. Scala has gained a following as a programming language because it has been built from the ground up to be a highly scalable, functional language. It also compiles down to bytecode just like Java does, making it possible to mix Scala and Java.

With the release of Java 8, Oracle made the biggest changes ever to Java by introducing some key functional programming concepts, moving it closer to languages like Scala. Where does this leave Scala and its relationship with Java?

Here are two things to know about the state of the Scala/Java 8 relationship today.

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The Toronto tech community is missing out on a big opportunity to share. Here’s what we’re doing about it.

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Toronto’s startup community includes a number of companies with great potential, an increasing amount of venture funding to support growth and a solid talent base. The ecosystem is really just beginning to mature.

While there are a number of Meetups and a growing number of high-calibre events that highlight some of our top leaders in the community, there are few small settings that facilitate discussion with product development peers. I’m sure we could all learn from one another. Why not have development teams from awesome startup A talking to product managers from awesome startup B? Or test engineers from big tech company A talking to a test lead from tiny startup B? There are so many ideas that could be shared, but there’s no forum for this learning.

We think we’re missing an opportunity to improve the overall knowledge of people in Toronto tech and to maximize our ability to collaborate to build amazing companies. We think the tech community would benefit from more conversation and collaboration across these silos. It’s essential to the continued success of the local tech ecosystem that we create a venue for people to talk to one another.

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Four ways Java Developers are feeling the impact of microservices

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This post was made possible by speaking with several talented local Developers: Matthew Smith (Product Manager/Architect at Pivotal Labs), David Kiss (Sr. Java Developer at Sysomos) and Jagtesh Chadha (Software Engineer at Bibliocommons).

With the increasing complexity of web applications and the rise of the cloud, DevOps and continuous delivery, there has been an increased move by software companies to using containerized microservices. We’re living in a world with a higher demand for performance and an expectation of reliable service available anytime, anywhere.

I turned to several experienced Toronto Java developers to ask: how have microservices changed the way you work?

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