Web Design for Toronto Businesses

Hello! If you are operating a local business in Toronto, one of the most important things you need to do is maintain a web presence. Whether your business is a startup, business services or restaurant : your web presence is key to the fundamental survival and operation of your business. What does it mean to have a web presence? Well the most important aspect that reaches across any niche market or industry, especially in a local market like Toronto, is having your address and phone number indexes properly as a local Google business. We have put together a checklist of steps to ensure that your business is positioned as best as possible and as visible as possible. In a dense city like Toronto, it is more common than not to have very high competition for even basic visibility.   1. Create a Google My Business Account You need to create […]

How to build a port scanner with Javascript using React Native

Hello! Why bother writing a port scanner in Javascript you might ask? Well javascript is many things, however the majority of its use is based on its original design to be synchronously executed in-browser using a single thread. Because of this, it becomes a challenge to write code outside of this original use case, though not impossible. The challenge of interacting with a local network using a language like Javascript then becomes an interesting endeavour (at least to me). If you take this type of a challenge and integrate it into a javascript based framework like react native, the potential increases exponentially. If one can successfully implement this type of network analysis on react native, then the use-case expands to platforms like iOS and Android. Same goes for AngularJS or Apache Cordova. There are many functions, libraries and modules that will help write asynchronous code. One of which is async. […]

Create a custom mobile and tablet friendly dropdown menu in WordPress

Hello! In our many instances where we are developing, designing and deploying a WordPress site for a client, it is a constant necessity to implement a mobile / tablet friendly dropdown menu. Because this happens often, we have developed a “starter” mobile menu for our WordPress implementations. We prefer to create a CSS based responsive mobile menu from scratch instead of using an out-of-the-box plugin because although the commercial (or free) WordPress menu plugin may make it much easier to roll out a mobile menu, as soon as the client comes to us with requests for customization, changes, positioning and styling it can become problematic. This is because often times a WordPress plugin such as Superfly or Uber Menu will have their own stylesheets that are prioritized and sometimes difficult to override. This is also true with the built in jQuery effects such as slideouts, fade-ins and anything along those […]

Use PHP to send APNS iOS and GCM Android push notifications

Hello! Through our own internal projects it has become a requirement in the past to implement a system that integrates with a mobile application. Specifically we have implemented systems that send out push notifications to iOS and Android based devices. The conditions through which we would be sending the notifications are somewhat irrelevant, though it is important to indicate in this post that we are parsing a database of device IDs and tokens in order to build an array of devices to submit to the function that actually handles the push notifications. This means that the workflow for this type of integration would involve someone downloading an application on their iOS or Android device that requests their permission to send push notifications. Once permissions are given, the application will send the device key to our systems which will then record it in a database for further use. For APNS (Apple […]

Ajax Long Polling to your RESTful API

Hello! Whether your developing a mobile or web based application, keeping on top of constantly changing data is a challenge on its own. Sometimes its necessary to make repeated calls to your API to pull updates at regular intervals. We wrote a previous blog post describing how to use Ajax to pull JSON data via a RESTful web API (click here to read it). Somewhat extending that sentiment a bit, we would like to walk through the process of creating an Ajax “polling” process that repeatedly polls the API to pull data over and over again. This will allow you to receive, process and manipulate or display the data as it changes. The context through which we are using this process is to display changes made to a google map via geo-location updates to a centralized API server that processes updates and returns them to the end users. This particular […]

Use PHP to set up a RESTful API with simple authentication

Hello! It is sometimes necessary to bridge different web applications together in order to transmit or receive information and process it. One scenario could be a mobile application that connects to a web service to pull or push data in order to update the app or provide “real time” services with centralized data. One of the PHP frameworks we have been working with lately is the aptly named Slim. The Slim framework is a very lean PHP framework that allows for a straight forward path to creating the commonly needed building blocks to produce dynamic web services. First, before we do anything, it would be ideal to set up a web site to host the Slim based API service. In the interest of security it is a good idea to force SSL for all requests. That means you will have to purchase an SSL certificate for your website. This will […]

Pull JSON data from your website to your mobile application with Ajax and PHP

Hello! Making mobile applications is much easier than it used to be. As with previous posts, we have been experimenting with Apache Cordova Framework for easily building mobile applications, leveraging web frameworks like AngularJS. Many mobile applications communicate with a centralized “server” or website that retains all the data that may be useful for the mobile app. For example you might want to have a mobile application that retains a centralized “friends list” that the end-user can modify. You can store this friends list in a database, and access that data by making an Ajax request to pull the data in json format. For the website that retains and manages this data, we have decided (for this example) to use the PHP Slim Framework. We mainly chose this because it makes rolling out a web based application API with a database backend very simple (in under 30-50 lines of code). […]

Create an iphone or android app with geo-location targeting

Hello! Creating mobile applications can be a grueling process. There are many factors that can complicate the process and it is very specialized. One thing we have been looking at recently is utilizing an AngularJS, Node.js based framework to utilize HTML5, javascript and jQuery based technology to implement mobile applications. Specifically the Apache Cordova framework has proved to be very promising. The Cordova framework is ideal for a mobile application that is not graphics intensive and one that may provide a more realistic learning curve for a developer that has little to no previous mobile application development experience. One of the more interesting things we have been looking at is, while using the diverse Cordova plugin library, implementing Geo-location and Geo-targeting features that are built into all IOS and Android phones. Leveraging this with Objective-C as you would in a classic IOS application would prove to be a bit more […]