Swiftly play on the playgrounds

Playgrounds are fun !

The playgrounds in Xcode was a very welcome addition – saving time and testing simple functions. Xcode allows for previewing your mobile projects, nearly live. The ‘playground’ capability in CodeNeighbor is not a 100% mirror of what Xcode provides, but does allow for non UI (for now) Swift code invoke actions and shows the results, or errors (hopefully not).

The next version of this will support UI invocations and screen captures of your creative masterpieces.

My cat has no bones

Just a bit of brevity … we all spend a lot of time absorbing tech, attending meetings and missing our deadlines (hopefully not too much). Since we are largely remote, all we have to talk to, in person, is either our mailman, our dog, or our cat.

We will focus on the cat in this entry.

My cat (and she has two step sisters – a german shepherd and a labrador retriever) has been well fed … well snacked and has a weekly offering of tuna to honor her presence.

Over the years (Amelia is 4.5 years old) … she has accumulated more mass, and less bones, to the point there I truly believe, she no longer has any bones. When I pet her, I dont feel any bones and clearly, due to the massive volume of fur (a calico) has, she exposes no evidence of bones whatsover.

So, blame it on the parentage, the over consumption of snacks (tuna can’t be blamed, as it is lean) or the lack of forced exercise (have you ever tried to take your cat for a walk) … she has experienced what Wall-E has verified – bones have diminshed.

Take this moment, to reflect on your own household and whether you over-snack your animals, as we do, but, don’t feel remorse, but rather – joy, that at least, your animals are, and have forever, worked from home.

Collaboration – lets go team !

Working in a ‘silo’, as they call it, is more normal these days now that we are (mostly) not in the office daily. Even so, when we get a user story or task, off we go to the races and start work. There are times however, when we need to work with others for inspiration, share ideas and code (snippets) and to discuss the latest episode of Stranger Things.

This is where collaboration comes in – between sharing assets with team members (and building team member groups), engaging in chat and now, whiteboarding, collaboration takes team interaction to a whole new level. CodeNeighbor has started the journey of interactive whiteboarding amongst teams and this will truly enable remote workers to stay in touch, share ideas and collaborate easily.

Get out your markers (virtual ones) and start planning to share with your team !

Visual development – seeing is believing

Flow based design and development is nothing new, from early versions of workflow tools to ESB platforms, they execute payloads with seemingly ease. However, that’s typically where the magic gets lost – there is always a complicated side of the house when the work gets started.

CodeNeighbor is building a toolset for visual development that embodies the drag and drop and visual design metaphor with ease of use. The secret lies in …. (well, we cant tell you too much about the magic) keeping things simple. There are flows that aide in building functions, classes, projects. Then there are flow for designing models, services and testing.

Lest not we forget about the flows that are used for handy, daily automated things, like visual search, scheduled messaging and … well, all will be laid bare soon. For now, be patient while the paint dries and know that when the time is right, we will notify our neighborhoods for these great new features ! As always – stay tuned !

— Pete (landlord)

Custom type – sort of

Snippets are the backbone of CodeNeighbor – they define a one-liner, a function or something larger. When CodeNeighbor started out, the concept of snippet types grew and this outpaced the system defined types where it all began.

As the imagination and creativity of our neighbors increased, it became clear that there was a need to allow them to create custom snippet types, to better organize and categorize what they were saving. To that end, there now exists the ability to create custom snippet types which enables snippets of any type.

As always, you feedback on this new feature is welcomed and we hope you can use this new capability to its fullest! Happy type-ing.

Code generation – no code / low code

This whole business of ‘low code / no code’ has its merits – for non developers. Those of us who are ardent fans of coding, dismiss this thinking as ‘for others, not ourselves’ … but is that totally true ?

The concept of no code / low code stems from those business models that aim to entice non developers into believing that an app can be built with no or very little code, OR, those pundits that aim to push a new paradigm that this approach represents less effort / time / cost and improved speed to market.

Well … some of that does ring true, but what CodeNeighbor believes is that code generation is in this camp as it relates to the effort, or lack of, using templates. Generating code is nothing new – many tools and IDE’s have been providing this for years, but typically the boilerplate mutators or syntactical structures such as loops or blocks. While all of this is fine and good, what is really valuable, is building using structures of code that have defined purpose and can be connected like Lego blocks.

Imagine, if you will, the ability to connect the core architecture aspects of an app together with blocks that work, have been tested and can easily be plugged in (pluggable architecture) into the scheme of things and allow the developer to focus on the really important stuff. In that sense, this does provide an aspect of low code / no code, allowing you to spend you valuable time on the high brow stuff.

This is by no means simple, but it is also not rocket science (does anyone actually attend school for rockets these days ?) … so stay tuned for what lies ahead.

A diagram is worth … a thousand words

We all love diagrams (well, pictures). Sitting back and admiring works of art can take us to a peaceful place where we can reflect … yet I digress.

The ability to have a visual display of our project can aide in understanding the ‘big picture’ (pun intended) and help identify issues before them become … um … issues. CodeNeighbor has begun researching how to generate diagrams for XCode projects, models for data design and other such fun stuff.

Our roadmap takes us all over the land before us and project diagramming is just the tip of the iceberg – but we do need the ice. Thoughts of pretty pictures which represent our own mobile works of art is just the beginning … you will have to stay tuned to see what lies ahead (hopefully, not an iceberg).

— Pete (landlord)

Searching … for the haystack

Finding a needle in a haystack – that proverbial elusive thing (needles are not expensive, just buy another one). First, one has to find a haystack – those should be easy enough and CodeNeighbor has lots of haystacks. But … that tiny needle, how did we lose it in a haystack anyway ?

After finding that needle, or in our case an asset, notifications will be sent to our neighbor through the channels they have chosen. Search results can be reviewed to validate whether the located assets align with the search criteria and can be added to their asset library for later use. These types of searches can be automated by adding the search criteria to our machine learning minions and once they locate those needles, have those results brought to your attention.

The search feature has been enhanced to search for assets by library (or kit), further improving the changes of finding exactly what you are looking for. Multiple kits can be used to search across multiple vectors to locate those assets you require.

Has your machine learned anything yet ?

Machine learning. It brings about thoughts of computers playing chess, identifying food (hotdog / not hot dog) or finding information from a mountain of data. At CodeNeighbor, we focus on the value of our assets and have begun research on identifying valuable content that matches your needs and expectations.

A short questionnaire is provided to learn the types of assets you are looking for and that is used to seek out those assets automatically and notify you when they have been found. We know that everyone’s time is valuable and what better way to save time than to have those metal servants find the things we are looking for while we enjoy binge watching Silicon Valley.

Voting is your right

CodeNeighbor is adding a voting capability to voice your thoughts on features that should be added, removed or enhanced. This platform is for you and is only valuable if it provides … value to you. In order to maintain this value, your input is crucial to ensure each neighbor has what they need to build their next masterpiece.

Topics will be gleaned from the neighborhood and those topics will be voted on, for what features are in demand. Those will then be voted on regarding priority and specifics for how they will be provided. CodeNeighbor, from its’ inception, was to provide a portal to what the neighborhood needs and to learn and grow to support those needs. A healthy neighborhood is one that grows, keeps neighbors talking and occasionally keeps the grass mowed at the correct level.