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Implementing Dark Mode Using the Observer Pattern

November 8th, 2019 by Matias Villaverde

Last week’s update to the SoundCloud iOS app includes support for Dark Mode. This took several months of work and collaboration between design and engineering teams across the company, so we wanted to share our approach to implementing Dark Mode and some of the obstacles we encountered along the way.

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Solving Remote Build Cache Misses by Annoying Your Colleagues

October 1st, 2019 by Nelson Osacky

Part of a build engineer’s role is to speed up builds. Improving build performance and avoiding work with caching is one way to achieve this, but another tool in the build engineer’s belt is that of disallowing slow builds. This is part two in a series about solving Gradle remote build cache misses.

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Gradle Remote Build Cache Misses

August 30th, 2019 by Nelson Osacky

Until recently, one of the top technical risks facing SoundCloud’s Android team was increasing build times. Our engineering leadership was well aware of the problem, and it was highlighted in our company’s quarterly goals and objectives as modularization. Faster build times means more productive developers. More productive developers are happier and can iterate on products more quickly.

Modularization is key to decreasing build times, but avoiding work is another important part of the puzzle, and build caching is one way to avoid that work. Gradle, our tool for building Android, has a local file system cache that reuses outputs of previously performed tasks. We have been using the Gradle remote build cache in order to save our developers’ time. It helps us avoid redoing work that other teammates have already done or switching to old branches. However, to get the full benefits of caching, you have to go beyond simply setting it up.

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SoundCloud Is Playing the Oboe

June 21st, 2019 by Miloš Pešić and Julio Zynger

Media and playback are at the core of SoundCloud’s experience. For that reason, we have established and grown an engineering team that is specialized in providing the best possible streaming experience to our users across multiple platforms.

To do this, we combine the industry’s best-fitting solutions with our own custom technologies, libraries, and tools. In this article, let’s dive into how we improved latency in our Android application by leveraging a new engine for our player’s audio sink.

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Release Quality and Mobile Trains

April 3rd, 2019 by Julio Zynger

Once every two weeks, we prepare new versions of our mobile apps to be published to the app stores. Being confident about releasing software at that scale — with as many features and code contributions as we have and while targeting a wide range of devices like we do at SoundCloud — is no easy task. So, over the last few years, we have introduced many tools and practices in our release process to aid us.

In this blog post, I’ll cover some of the techniques we use to guarantee we’re always releasing quality Android applications at SoundCloud.

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Running Android UI Test Suites on Firebase Test Lab

May 4th, 2018 by Marvin Ramin

Testing mobile applications is not always an easy feat. In addition to defining what to test and determining how to write those tests, actually running tests can also be problematic — in particular, UI test suites running on real mobile devices or emulators sometimes run for an extensive amount of time.

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Automatic Stubbing of Network Requests to Deflakify Automation Testing

January 26th, 2018 by Donal O'Brien

Apple introduced automated UI testing in Xcode 7. This was a great addition for developers because this native support promised, among other things, an improvement in the flakiness notoriously associated with automation tests. As many of us developers have experienced, tests can sometimes fail even when there has been no modification to the test or underlying feature code.

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Remote device sign-in

June 28th, 2017 by Tiffany Conroy

A method for signing in to a device that doesn’t have a keyboard

When we were developing our SoundCloud app for Xbox One, something became very obvious during usability testing: signing in with a game controller really sucks. Entering text requires navigating a virtual keyboard to individual letters, numbers, and characters one at a time – such a nightmare! Plus, letters, numbers, and special characters are spread across three screens. The more secure your password is, the worse the experience is.

Entering a password with a game controller using an onscreen keyboard

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React Native at SoundCloud

August 3rd, 2016 by Jan Monschke & Peter Minarik

About a year ago we faced an interesting question at SoundCloud: can we build SoundCloud Pulse — our app for creators — with React Native? Is a five-month-old technology mature enough to become part of SoundCloud’s tech stack?

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Open-sourcing LightCycle for Android

March 21st, 2016 by Guillaume Lung

Last week, we open-sourced LightCycle, an Android library that helps break logic out of Activity and Fragment classes into small, self-contained components called LightCycles.

Components that typically need to be aware of Activity and Fragment lifecycle events include presenters, UI tracking code, input processors and more. We’ve been using LightCycle extensively in the SoundCloud Music & Audio and SoundCloud Pulse apps over the last year.

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