David Bolton

David Bolton was a game developer and a past game designer at MicroProse. He now works as an independent developer creating mobile and desktop applications and writes on programming for About.com and News.dice.com

5 Top Python GUI Frameworks for 2015

pyGUI
As a Python developer, sooner or later you’ll want to write an application with a graphical user interface. Fortunately, there are a lot of options on the tools front: The Python wiki on GUI programming lists over 30 cross-platform frameworks, as well as Pyjamas, a tool for cross-browser Web development based on a port of the Google Web Toolkit. How to choose between all these options for Python GUIs? I started by narrowing it down to those that included all… continue…

Substitute PostgreSQL for Your NoSQL Needs

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Over the past five years or so, NoSQL databases have enjoyed a spike in popularity compared to relational (i.e., SQL-driven) databases, thanks in large part to industries such as online gaming. A typical NoSQL database can write data 10 or 20 times faster than a relational one, although this speed comes at a price: The data is cached in memory longer before being written to disk, so the data update remains inconsistent longer. As a result, applications that require fast… continue…

Python 3 String-Processing Causing Problems?

Python
Widely known as a general-purpose programming language, Python is excellent at string handling—but a few things have changed between Python 2 and Python 3. This article is a reminder of what Python strings can (still) do for you, as well as a look at what you need to know about Python 3 strings. We discussed some of these Python 3 changes in a previous article. Python 3 relies on Unicode Characters, more specifically UTF-8 as the default source encoding. This… continue…

Here’s Why Apple Rejected Your iOS App

iOS Screen
After six years, do you think the number of submissions to the App Store has stayed level, climbed, or fallen? As demonstrated by this chart of the App Store’s metrics (hat tip to Pocket Gamer), the number of submissions per day continues to rise, likely driven by a combination of new apps and updates of existing apps. (There was also a surge over the summer as developers prepared for the launch of iOS 8, the latest version of Apple’s mobile… continue…

Building Apps in Swift: Using Storyboards

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In our previous article on building apps with Apple’s Swift, we demonstrated how to use view controllers and views in code to craft a simple app. Before we begin with this next lesson, using storyboards to build an app in Swift, it’s worth revisiting that first piece. (The code that accompanies the piece is stored on SourceForge as “First Example.zip.”) Remember that view controllers in Swift manage two roles: they controls views on a page or part of a page,… continue…

A Look at 5 Free Python Editors

PyScripter
Python programming can be done from the command line, but an IDE makes life so much easier. With so many options out there, which one should you use? To help you decide, I’ve looked at five Python editors (all free). Although Python has been more of a Linux programming language, the last few years have seen its increasing use on Windows, so many of the five are cross-platform. They are: Eclipse plus PyDev and other plugins PyScripter Eric Python IDE… continue…

How to Build Apps in Swift

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Earlier this year, Apple executives unveiled Swift, which is meant to eventually replace Objective-C as the programming language of choice for Macs and iOS devices. While Objective-C remains popular, developers frequently complain about how difficult it is to use; Swift’s features will supposedly eliminate at least some of those issues. Despite its ease of use, developers will still need to spend some time learning how the language works. This is the first of a few articles that show how to… continue…

Passing Functions as Parameters

Passing a Function as Parameter in C#
When I first started programming in the late 1970s, I was heavily into Pascal and the concept of passing an address as a parameter was just unheard of outside of academic circles. Procedural programming treated functions as something that were called, not passed around. Had I known C then—which had been around since the early 1970s—I might have been more aware of function pointers. If you don’t know C that well, a pointer is a variable that holds the memory… continue…

Creating Random Access Text in C#

Contents of the Two Files
Back in April I looked at disk folders as a possible alternative to NoSQL or using a relational DB. My conclusion wasn’t encouraging—I was concerned about poor performance, especially on Linux. The use case I examined was for a server that had from 100,000 to 1 million users. I wanted to store and retrieve text files for any user. Those files could vary in length from a few bytes to a few KB. Back in the dark ages—before the Web… continue…

6 Developer Tips for Better Disaster Recovery

Blue Screen of Death
You go through life thinking that it won’t happen to you, but someday it will: Your development PC suddenly goes from being state-of-the-art to having the computing power of a brick. How quickly you get back into action depends upon your budget and preparedness. Over the recent July 4 weekend it happened to me. The disaster was partially of my own making. Thanks to a slightly dodgy set of RAM—both Ubuntu and Windows 7 memory tests agreed on this—I was… continue…