Free e-books for developers

E-books written by experienced developers and is available free. Site has vast categories with many books on popular as well as new technologies. Check it out – DevFreeBooks.

 

Another similar website is – DZone. It has reference books as well as guides.

 

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Syntax reference for programming languages

Found another great website that allows reference as well as searching for syntax for different programming languages along with integration with DuckDuckGo, Slack and Visual Studio Code as well as API’s. Check it out –The programming syntax database: SyntaxDB.

 

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View popular Java projects online

Found a great website – GrepCode for searching and viewing source code for popular Java projects online. It also has plugins for Eclipse and InteliJ IDE. It also supports searching by stack trace. Check it out.

 

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Building Apps JSON style

Prologue:

Developing apps for mobile devices requires considering the constraints and features of these devices. Mobile devices run on battery and have less powerful processors than personal computers and also have more features such as location detection and cameras. Developers also have to consider a wide array of screen sizes, hardware specifications and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms. Then there is challenge to make app as interactive and user friendly as possible. Mobile content management is also another major key area.

Recently, I started an Android project on an idea I got. It was supposed to be an simple app for my parents and own personal use. Due to limited time I had, was looking for an framework or system which would make app development less complicated. I didn’t had anything particular in mind but wanted a system that can abstract many complicated things in underlying layer(Android in my case) and let me work on just the important core stuff.

Sometime back, while surfing on Github explore projects section, I came across this project. It was exactly what I was looking for. Jasonette, as it is called, takes a JSON file from any server pointed to, parses it and delivers a app on the fly. This JSON contains all the required properties such as layout details, data to be populated and external event management. True to what their project states “One JSON to rule them all.

2017-04-27 13_20_58-Jasonette - Native App over HTTP

I downloaded their project and tested a quick sample. It worked!!! The project is actively supported on GitHub and new features are being added even as I write this. As an programmer will know, it has bugs and some features missing. But one big advantage is that it is open source. It can be extended as per requirement or users can contribute directly into its development.

Their official website has extensive documentation on usage and even have samples. Some users have apps live on Google Play developed on using this framework. For me, it makes sense as I need to update s single JSON file each time I wanted some minor changes instead of going and making code changes and re-generating apk file. Of-course, this will won’t work much in case of big complicated and large scaled apps but small, simpler ones will fit perfectly.

Give it a try if you are into app development. It is even more interesting for it’s working perspective if you wanna dig deeper into it’s architecture and functionality.

The whole project is hosted on GitHub. Get Jasonette for Android from here and for iOS from here.

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Best Browser Extensions to Block Ads

All publishers need to run ads to keep the lights on. Nothing in this world comes for free and it applies to websites on internet as well. Most of the websites earn money by showing advertisements to the end user. For some, it is the only source of income to keep the website up and running. But sometimes it can go too far. Intrusive and irrelevant ads, irritating users struggling to focus on the things they were supposed to be doing in the first place. Then there is also the question of privacy. Some sites are very intrusive and tend to insert ads in every we page. They term it as cost of their services. Their is also another downside to this. Opera CTO Bruce Lawson recently quoted a report to say that over 50 percent of all Internet traffic is just ads. That means that half of the limited FUP of users is probably wasted on advertisements. This also indirectly means that we pages will load significantly faster if ads are blocked and not allowed to load in the first place.

If you want to take control of this and also save bandwidth then you’ve probably thought about installing an ad-blocker. If you’re wondering about how to block ads on the Internet, the best option is to just install an ad-blocker on your browser. For the sake of this blog, I will be talking about ad-blockers for Google Chrome since it is the one I currently use as primary. The options and steps are pretty simple and pretty similar even for other browsers such as Safari, Firefox or Opera.

Here are the ad block extensions for Chrome that I liked, and why I liked them.

1. AdBlock Plus

One of the best known ad blockers on the market is AdBlock Plus or ABP. It’s available on most browsers and has its own Android app as well. It is an install-and-forget app extension. ABP does allow some ads through – the advertisers have to meet some requirements to be ‘non-intrusive’ but it can be changed this in the settings. ABP also blocks video ads in YouTube, and all noisy ads, and it can be set it to block tracking, malware, and social media buttons.

abp before after abplus

 

2. AdBlock

Both AdBlock, and then AdBlock Plus, came up as two separate adblockers for Firefox. When Chrome came along, AdBlock was launched for Chrome by another developer, before the AdBlock Plus team started to support the browser. And so, despite not being connected, the two most popular ad blockers ended up with similar names. AdBlock works a lot like AdBlock plus. Install, leave the defaults on and just get browsing. With AdBlock, malware protection is on from the start. It can also be disabled on individual pages, not just sites, and all the resources it is blocking is also visible in real time to the user. It also allows to whitelist specific sites.

adblock Adblock

 

3. Ghostery

Perhaps the most comprehensive tracker blocker available, Ghostery has a slightly involved setup process. Once it is added in the browser, a setup page will open and it will list all the different types of trackers that it can watch out for, and giving the option of choosing which ones to block specifically. Most users will typically opt to block all, but do note that this can also disrupt some site functionality, such as chat assistance on sites, or comments sections. Ghostery is extremely popular, not just for the blocking, but also the analytics it does – at any time, information such as how many trackers are present on the site and info on what these trackers actually do.

ghostery tracker data ghostery

 

4. Privacy Badger

Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group based in the US, Privacy Badger isn’t exactly an ad-blocker. Instead, it focuses on disallowing any visible or invisible third party scripts that can track you over the Internet. As it happens, most of these trackers are used for advertisements. This means that Privacy Badger does not block ads that are not otherwise harmful or tracking you. As a result, some ads will still show up. But at least it lets users know that what companies are spying on them through ads.

privacy badger badger

 

5. uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin has received praise from technology websites, and is reported to be much less memory-intensive than other extensions with similar functionality. uBlock Origin’s stated purpose is to give users the means to enforce their own (content-filtering) choices. It can also read and create filters from hosts files. Also, be aware that selecting some of these extra lists may lead to higher likelihood of web site breakage — especially those lists which are normally used as hosts file.

2016-11-3011-54-43

 

6. uBlock Origin
uBlock Origin has received praise from technology websites, and is reported to be much less memory-intensive than other extensions with similar functionality. uBlock Origin’s stated purpose is to give users the means to enforce their own (content-filtering) choices. It can also read and create filters from hosts files. Also, be aware that selecting some of these extra lists may lead to higher likelihood of web site breakage — especially those lists which are normally used as hosts file.

2016-11-3011-54-43

 

Personally, I use last three on chrome browser. I have tried all of them and felt that last three are the most efficient at both blocking ads as well as on the system resources. There are some rare occasions where the trio breaks the website but that’s the price I pay for uncluttered browsing experience. And I am happy with it. Here is the screenshot at the time of writing this blog where trio blocks more than 60 ads and other unnecessary stuff even from WordPress site itself!!!

2017-04-25 16_25_54-Edit Post ‹ Tech Overloaded — WordPress.com

 

Pass it on and let others know too.  Thanks.

 

 

DuckDuckGo features that stand out

Search engines have evolved to make it easier to find the information you need without having to go through different websites. Google has the Knowledge Graph feature that shows a neat box with useful information above (or beside) search results. It can do cool things such as calculations, show flight information and even currency conversion.

Although these features are incredibly useful, Google Knowledge Graph has its shortcomings. The biggest problem is that results are not uniform. When we were digging through Knowledge Graph features to find cool things you didn’t know you could do with Google, we noticed that the results were not always the same. When one person searched for Apple stocks, Google showed him regular search results, but when a colleague searched for the same term, he was shown current stock information along with a nice price versus time graph.

These limitations made us look for alternatives and we found one that impressed us with its utility – DuckDuckGo. We’ve previously mentioned DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focussed search engine, in an article on how to stop Google from tracking you. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that shows the same results for a search term to all its users. This is unlike Google, which filters search results based on the sites you have been visiting. It is also now possible to set DuckDuckGo as a default search engine in iOS 8 as well as OS X so you can get the instant search results just by typing your query into the Safari browser. Of course you can also use DuckDuckGo in Chrome or Firefox by visiting DuckDuckGo.com and clicking the Use in Chrome or Use in Firefox button.

Because it doesn’t try to personalise results, DuckDuckGo’s instant answers work for everyone and it has a great community of developers and users that are constantly adding new sources for answers. After using DuckDuckGo as our primary search engine for quite some time, we found that its instant answers are often as good as or better than Google’s Knowledge Graph. Here are 12 amazing things DuckDuckGo can do that Google can’t.

1. Social media bio
DuckDuckGo lets you see the social media profiles of people without leaving the search engine. So, search for @ndtvgadgets and you can see full the profile information on the same page. The same thing works for Google+ and Gravatar as well. To look up a Twitter bio, you need to search for the handle. For Google+, type G+ and then the name of the user. For Gravatar, just type Gravatar, and then the username you want to look up.

Another cool feature that is related is letting you search inside other sites. With Google, you can use the site: modifier to search for results within a particular site, but then you still have to open the link to see the results. With DuckDuckGo, you can use the site’s own search functions.

For example, if you want to search for someone’s details on LinkedIn, you don’t need to open the site. Just type “!linkedin” followed by the person’s name, and you will see the LinkedIn search results page. You can do this with a large number of websites; !g lets you search with Google, !a is Amazon, !r is Reddit, just to name a few. You can see the full list by just typing ! in the DuckDuckGo search bar.

duckduckgo_twitter_bio.jpg

2. App store search, alternatives to apps
Search for any popular app on DuckDuckGo and you will find that it shows a carousel full of apps with similar names. Just search for NDTV Gadgets app to see what we mean. Clicking on any one of the cards on the carousel will show you the price of the app, a description and links to the store. We found that this feature doesn’t work with very obscure apps, but it can find most of the well-known ones.

Another useful feature shows alternatives to apps in a neat carousel. Tired of MS Office? Just search for “Alternative to Word” and see the results for yourself. It also works for Web services, so you can even search for “Alternative to DuckDuckGo“, if you like.

duckduckgo_alternativeto_1.jpg

3. Shorten and expand links
Want to find out which websites are at the end of shortened links such as http://bit.ly/1tYrmaB ? Open DuckDuckGo and search “expand http://bit.ly/1tYrmaB“. Also, if you want to shorten long URLs, enter “shorten http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/android-browser-security-hole-affects-millions-of-users-says-expert-592578” to get a URL shortened using is.gd.

duckduckgo_expand.jpg

4. Generate passwords
Can’t think of a strong password? Just head to DuckDuckGo and search for “Password 20”. You’ll see a strong 20-character password. You can replace the number to change the number of characters in the password. If you find those random passwords hard to remember, you can make DuckDuckGo generate XKCD-style passwords. These passwords comprise four common words put together, which are easy to remember and hard to crack, and were first suggested in the popular Web comic XKCD. For these passwords, search “Random passphrase”.

duckduckgo_passphrase.jpg

5. Quick stopwatch
Both Google and DuckDuckGo let you create a quick timer (search for “timer”) but DuckDuckGo also has a stopwatch. Simply search for “stopwatch” to use it.

duckduckgo_stopwatch.jpg

6. Change case and check number of characters
Want to change a sentence to Title Case, lowercase or UPPERCASE? Just add one of those three terms before your sentence and key it in on DuckDuckGo. For example, “Uppercase ndtv gadgets” leads to “NDTV GADGETS”.

Another interesting feature is the number of characters. You can quickly check how many characters are in your search query by adding “chars” before or after the query. Try searching for “chars I really like this article” without the quotes and see the results.

duckduckgo_titlecase_1.jpg

7. Checks whether websites are down
If you can’t open a website, you might want to check if it is not opening anywhere or just on your computer. You can use websites such as isup.me to check this or you can simply search DuckDuckGo with the keywords like, “Is gadgets.ndtv.com down for me“.

duckduckgo_isitdown.jpg

8. Does mime rhyme with time
You read that right. DuckDuckGo also has an instant answer that finds rhyming words. Search “rhymes with ndtv” or any other word you can think of. You’ll see an instant answer with rhyming words, from RhymeBrain.

duckduckgo_rhyme.jpg

9. Calendar
Google and DuckDuckGo can show you the current date and time. But DuckDuckGo goes one step further by supporting calendar as an instant answer. Search “calendar” to see one, with the current date highlighted. It can also show you the calendar for any month and year. Try searching for “calendar january 1899“.

duckduckgo_calendar.jpg

10. Loan calculator
Another useful DuckDuckGo instant answer is a loan calculator. It’s useful if you want to see how much your monthly installments will be and how much interest you’ll be paying in total. The search query for this is a little hard to remember, like the terms and conditions for most loan agreements. It is “loan AMOUNT at INTEREST with PERCENT down for DURATION”. All the uppercase words are what you need to key in – total amount, interest rate, down payment percentage and the duration of the loan. We tried “loan Rs 50,00,000 at 4.5% with 25% down for 15 years” to get the answer in the picture below.

duckduckgo_loan.jpg

11. Cool features for developers
There are several instant answers that will be useful to software developers, but might be less important for the general public. Here’s a quick list of what DuckDuckGo can do:

duckduckgo_html.jpg

12. Add instant answers to other search engines
If you like all these instant answers but don’t want to leave your favourite search engine, just download the DuckDuckGo extension on Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Now whenever you search, you’ll see DuckDuckGo’s instant answers above search results in any search engine.

Bonus
There are several other instant answers on DuckDuckGo that are quite cool, but not very useful. That’s why these are included as a bonus in this article. Here’s a quick list of some of the best we could find.

duckduckgo_ascii.jpg

 

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Original post here.