This year we went to Prague for our team building. On the first day, we went to mDevCamp conference, a top-notch (just like iPhone X) event for mobile developers & enthusiasts. It was held in a very cool location, close to the city centre of Prague.
The conference schedule was quite full with over 24 dev talks and presentations on 3 separate tracks, held by speakers from all around the world. The talks were all about mobile development, they were equally divided between iOS and Android and some also contained cross-platform technologies. Mainly they focused on technical aspects, architectural patterns and trending topics like integrating AI, AR, VR, speech, IoT into mobile apps, and also a few talks about gaming in the mobile world.
The team really enjoyed the talks about Flutter and about Kotlin, and also the talk “Architecting your App with VIPER effectively” by Dominik Hadl. He showed us how VIPER can be used as an alternative and improvement to MVC, MVP, MVVC. Also, we found Daniel Novak’s presentation on “Practical view on Android Architecture Components” very useful. He focused on facts and limits of each component to help the audience decide where and how to use them more efficiently.
We had a Trello board to organise our teambuilding and we’ve made cards with summaries from each talk we’ve participated at, so everyone could see who is attending what and live updates with facts and pictures. This way we could all learn from the talks that were ongoing on the other tracks.
There was also a cool gamification system made for the conference, the mDevCoinExchange. David Vavra talks in his post about the system design, open-source code and shares some statistics. Check it out here.
The mDevCoinExchange was a crypto exchange system based on a real economic model with 3 currencies named Android Dev Coin (ADC), iOS Dev Coin (IDC) and Cross-platform Coin (XPC), created specifically for mDevCamp participants. Each participant had an account and could transfer or trade with others or could earn coins by solving puzzles and games at the partner company stands from the conference. The coins could be then cashed out for real prizes so we got a set of quality teas for our office, a bug removal kit, a rubber duck and some discounts on dev tools.
Flutter for Pessimists
by FILIP HRÁČEK
Filip’s presentation was about Google’s SDK, Flutter, and why it should be used for building native iOS and Android apps.
We learned that using Flutter, not only you can build iOS apps using Android Studio but you can build apps with native performance easier. For example, it has the hot reload feature which is super fast and allows you to instantly see the changes in your code after saving.
Ethical Software Development
by JOSEF HOLÝ
Josef talked about building apps which make a good first impression towards the user and are policy neutral. First impressions matter, so apps should have a simplified design and be transparent regarding the intended purpose.
We heard opinions on habit-forming design & app usage, gamification vs. manipulation, fairness in testing, sending contextualized notifications and using the dopamine hormone to engage our users. As a conclusion, Josef talked about the shaping of the digital reality and how it’s based on ethical software development.
Design + Develop + Test
by KELLY SHUSTER
Kelly and her team have a lot of experience in development. She presented us the key strategies they use to make better products. She focuses on knowing the team’s perspective and encourages them to speak up if something doesn’t feel right. This helps them identify blockers and increases effectiveness.
She also spoke about how a style guide for designers and developers can avoid 80% of the miscommunications. A style guide should consist of a color palette, text styling, generic zero state design, generic loading design, button states (primary, pressed, disabled states) and pressed states for icons.
She even made a small survey for the presentation. She asked people if they could do one thing to improve their products what would it be. The answer was more time for testing, so she spoke about a few scenarios we always forget. She recommended a few useful tools: Usability Hub, Marvel, Zeplin.
Creating conversational interfaces in iOS
by WENDY LU
Wendy compared functionality, features, prices from several services which we can use for creating conversational interfaces in iOS apps. She showed us a pizza bot she created as an example with Amazon Lex and showed us around the tool. She explained how she has set up her bot and how the speech recognition tool works.
Upgrade Your Apps with AI, Using Cognitive Services
by BRANDON MINNICK
Thanks to Microsoft Cognitive Services, AI is easier to use than ever. Brandon showed us how to add facial recognition, text recognition, speech and a lot more very easily. Nowadays you can do this without a team of Data Scientists & Machine Learning experts and use a simple REST API call. He also reviewed the services in a live demo on sentiment analysis.
Multiplatform Kotlin in 42 minutes
by EUGENE PETRENKO
Eugene spoke about the advantages of Kotlin and how you can benefit from it in the long term. Kotlin is indeed a good tool as compiles the same code to different platforms. This way you will save time by reusing your code and reducing the number of languages in your apps.
Creating VR games in Unity
by JÁN ILAVSKÝ
Jan covered their experience from the beginning of the development of Beat Saber. Beat Saber is a VR game where you have to slash the beats coming towards you. Small cubes represent the beats. The game is a combo between Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja.
Jan spoke about how their game’s architecture looks like in Unity and shared useful tips about developing games in VR. We found out that as VR games run at 90fps, framedrops can really affect the user experience. Also, hard edges are much easier to notice so fixing them should be your priority. Bonus fact: a girl lost 8kg playing the game.
Successes and failures in development of WarFriends
by PETR VODÁK
Petr presented the process of developing their game, WarFriends. He talked about how they started out & what they learned throughout the development process. Petr emphasised that if we are considering to develop a game we should be ambitious but realistic. Some changes will not look attractive in the beginning, because we will have to give up on things we consider important. In these cases, we have to think about what is best for the project and if the outcome will be more significant.
Petr also stated that it is important to identify the unique selling points at the beginning of the development. This way, the whole team knows the goals and can focus on them. Before getting the game out, it is significant to perform playtests, user testing, internal testing and also making surveys. Measuring and reacting quickly is crucial, but so is the onboarding experience, a clear communication and store localization. And finally, expect the unexpected and get ready for it.
Add Reality to your App with ARCore
by YULIA KALEDA
Yulia talked about her experience with ARCore and its advantages. ARCore doesn’t cost much, supports multiple devices and Android API 24, doesn’t require a camera and has low sensor requirement. Yulia also discussed main concepts in AR such as installation, compatibility, geometry detection session configuration, 3D rendering and pain points.
5 things we learned building global mobile games startup from Europe
by BOŽENA ŘEŽÁBOVÁ
Bozena walked us through their startup’s journey. She mentioned a few difficulties they have experienced while growing their business but also tips and tricks they learned.
Bozena also recommended a few PR strategies they implemented and talked about how they approached various situations. She spoke about investors and what you should consider when choosing them. And finally, how partnerships helped them but also held them down and how the team influences the work you do.
We had a really good time, enjoyed the conference talks and appreciated the venue which offered us a beautiful view of Prague, a cool atmosphere, delicious food and drinks. Congrats to the organisers!
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