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From Merlín to Tamariz

Esther Toraño Yribarren

06/30/2015 10:18

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We shouldn't fool ourselves –we developers are often regarded as the magicians of the 21st century, but nothing could be further from the truth. Illusionists? Perhaps –I won't deny that we raise expectations and have a certain power of attraction, although in actual fact we get that power by using things that someone has done before us and has been kind enough to share with all the other illusionists, just as though the profession worked as a perfectly synchronized whole. Our best tricks are based on libraries, plug-ins, APIs and in some cases SDKs.


Without wishing to patronize the reader, when we say library we're referring to a series of programming resources that we use to reduce the lines of code. It's important to remember that all good developers worth their salt try to write as little as possible! Among the most commonly used libraries –if not the most– is the arch-famous jQuery, a type of abracadabra that makes our lives easier when doing our tricks on most web pages. Google, just like the head teacher of Hogwarts, has its own –AngularJS– which streamlines, speeds up and powers our developers; Panoramix will be able to demand royalties from Google, there's no doubt.

Far from being Merlin's Chinese cousin, this is a small program that does something specific and can be connected quite simply to my project. In other words, if I wanted to make the Empire State building disappear under a star-spangled black silk cloth, I could look for a plug-in that would make me a cloth with those features. This plug-in would almost certainly give me the possibility to choose the color, the size and even the pattern. In this regard all technologies –magician's schools– have their own plug-ins. Who hasn't at one time or another done a simple magic trick with a pack of cards?


When things get complicated, our own private Gandalf mounted on a great eagle swoops in to rescue us in the shape of the API. API stands for "application programming interface", and it makes it easier for us to obtain a large quantity of data in a readable format, structured by any web project or app. Some of the best examples include Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, FourSquare, Tumblr, Instagram or Twitter. They give you the data you need –once you supply a special password– using their APIs. It's no coincidence that the social networks have their own API –after all, they have millions of data that can be exploited.

Although many of us regard SDKs as being the Santa Claus of programming, these are nothing more than packages of software development tools (Software Development Kit). Or to explain it by giving the best-known examples, the tools that Facebook gives us to develop apps or programs in technologies like Android or JavaScript. Today the most widely used SDKs are for mobile technologies like iOS or Android.

And unsurprisingly, among the great tricks of App For Brands we use countless plugins and APIs for various projects, such as those we use in Ballantine's, Marca España, E-On or the Red Cross.Also the APIs in Credito y Caución or Acción Contra el Hambre.We use SDKs such as those for iOS or Android to develop the official application of Fútbol Club Barcelona or Redbull’s Battle of Roosters. And in all of them, absolutely all of them, when delivering them to our customers, we stand up and take the position of a violinist, believing that we are the most charismatic and peculiar Spanish magician of all times -Juan Tamariz-, we say out loud: "Chiananáaaaaaa".




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