Entries by Larissa Dawe

3 Lessons Learned from Web Unleashed 2016

Web Unleashed is an annual conference for front-end developers and designers held in Toronto. Many hot topics such as the state of the industry and future trends are discussed by developers, designers, freelancers and everyone in between.

I attended numerous sessions, including panels, tip-&-tricks talks and inspiring monologues at this year’s event. Here, I’ve put together a list of the three lessons I learned over the course of the conference. So let’s jump in.

Lesson 1: Think outside of the browser

The first lesson and one of the biggest eye openers for me is that the future of web technologies isn’t in the browser.

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How to avoid getting burned by your Android

Have you ever woken up to a phone that looked like a toasted marshmallow? I’m hoping the answer to that question is no. But, you’ve probably experienced an overly warm Android in a less extreme way. Phones heat up when they’re working hard and hungry for power. And, that’s not a good thing unless maybe you actually want to use it to toast marshmallows.



As developers, we have a responsibility to our users. They don’t expect us to abuse their battery life — nor should they.

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Getting on Track Towards Continuous Deployment

In November of 2015, my three-person team was given a rather high-level, “make-our-development-process-better” mission and we were struggling to figure out how to start. The CTO decided to stop by and share his vision of how we would develop software going forward. His goal was to get to Continuous Deployment; to be deploying to our production servers every 30 minutes. To put this into perspective, at that point we deployed hotfixes weekly and major feature releases twice a year — and we were supposed to get to Continuous Deployment; pushing code every 30 minutes every day.

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Quick and Easy API Testing with NodeJS

Continuous delivery is difficult and here at Achievers, we embody all of it. With several deploys a week, it’s important to stay on top of things and ensure that our API is functioning correctly. Several of our applications, as well as third-party clients, rely on our API. Here’s how we developed a test suite for our platform’s API within three days.

Before diving into libraries, let’s talk about JSON Schemas. A JSON Schema is JSON that can be used to validate the structure of other JSON.→ Read More

The Perks In A Great Development Culture

What makes a great development culture? Free drinks? Free breakfast? Every day happy hour? Sure, those things are attractive. But, cool perks are par for the course these days. Virtually every startup and their uncle with a round of funding have perks of some sort. So, if perks are ubiquitous, there must be more to a great development culture than perks.

I’ve been a Developer, a Team Lead, and now a Manager at Achievers. Throughout my career here, I’ve been exposed to many habits and behaviours that have really influenced my own day-to-day happiness and engagement.

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Accessibility Evaluation Checklist

At Achievers, we started the journey of making our platform accessible about a year ago. It involved making existing and any new features accessible. I have created a handy checklist of the tools and techniques used in this process. This checklist can be used by developers and testers to test features and identify areas of improvement.

Before going through the checklist let’s have a look at what accessibility is and why you should even care about making your web content accessible.

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Realtime Blurring on iOS

From bokeh to that fancy iOS Control Center overlay, blurry backgrounds just look cool. Unfortunately, programmatically blurring things is an expensive operation. It’s a convoluted process by definition! This means that realtime blurring of dynamically displayed images in an interactive user interface can pose a performance challenge. And, great performance is something our team takes very seriously.


To further illustrate where the challenge comes in, let’s consider an example. Smooth scrolling of a UITableView (or any animation for that matter) requires displaying frames at a desirable frame rate.→ Read More