Building Desktop Apps with Electron for Xiaomi

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Smart apps designed to make our lives easier are becoming increasing popular. These range from fitness trackers to lightbulb controls.  When designing these apps, you may find you need to improve the user experience.  Or you need to access the raw data, but setting up a full stack project would be overkill for this purpose. That is when Electron comes into play.

Electron is a new way to develop modern desktop apps with all the power of Node.js, HTML, and CSS.  You can easily complete a functional app in a short time frame, which could solve 80% of your day-to-day needs.

In this example, we are going to explore the Electron universe by creating a simple app that will give us access to the IoT world.  Integrating scales from Xiaomi, we will build a “Smart Scale” app that will show the user’s weight in real time. With Electron, the data will be collected and presented in a nice, clean format. Read More


Ampersand.js: An Alternative to Backbone.js

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When trying new, modern frameworks, developers often face problems like poor official documentation and a lack of real-world examples. A guide that explains using the framework according to best practices/approaches may also be absent. In this article, I provide an overview of Ampersand.js, a more or less modern framework, that could be a solution to many such problems. I encourage those who interact with the client side to try Ampersand. It is well-equipped and developer-friendly, so some of its approaches can be helpful when improving existing frameworks or creating your own.


What is Ampersand, and how does it work?

Ampersand can be seen as a successor or an improved version of Backbone. If you are familiar with Backbone, you will find many similar components. The creators of this product, &yet, describe Ampersand as a “non-frameworky framework.” This means you are able to assemble the framework from the components they provide. The creators also describe Ampersand as “highly modular” and “loosely coupled.” If you don’t need a certain component, you just don’t use it. In other words, you can use Ampersand as  the main UI framework for your web application, or for only one part or module, like the wizard. Read More

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