Estimates or #NoEstimates

NoEstimates might be the way to profit from estimation without the burden of dealing with Story Points.

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

—Niels Bohr (and others)

For years now, agile teams have been using planning poker and other methods to estimate the effort needed to implement a product backlog item (PBI). The practice not only helps to prepare future iterations; it’s also a helpful indicator for the prioritisation of PBIs. Of two items with similar expected benefit, you’ll usually want to implement the one first that will cost less to build.

Perhaps most importantly, estimating effort has proven to strongly support conversations about the details of a PBI. Understanding the requirement precedes building an opinion on its required effort.

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8 years at Liip

David LinkedIn 8 years

A couple of congratulations on linkedin made me notice that I now have been working for Liip since 8 years.
This is a very long time indeed. But I am not tired of working at Liip at all.

Of course, i occasionally thought whether I should move on and see other companies. But there was always some cool project to do or some interesting new challenge to tackle. When looking back at what I did in those past 8 years, it actually feels like I got a new job every couple of years.

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Time for Coffee for iOS and Apple Watch

Jan Hug, Cyril Gabathuler and myself worked hard in our free time the last few weeks on an iPhone app for the great website timeforcoffee.ch, a private project started by François Terrier and his friends Serge Pfeifer, Jean-Luc Geering and Kristina Bagdonaite. It also has newly addded support for the upcoming Apple Watch. As this is a project done by Liipers and non-Liipers alike, we talk about it more on medium.com, go and read it! And apply for the beta and follow us on twitter: @time4coffeeApp

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WebSpeech APIs

Ever since I saw the film Iron Man I wanted to build a voice controlled personal assistant, similar to Tony Stark’s Jarvis. Thanks to the WebSpeech APIs provided by Chrome you can now build something similar in your browser.

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Falling Barriers or how to hack IKEA

DIY – abbreviation for do-it-yourself as well as the style of new luxury!
How do designers deal with this trend? How can companies benefit? These questions were the basis for the round table Digital Shift in March 2015, located @Liip.

Actually, easy-to-use digital tools in various application areas aren’t completely new. Even when I was twelve or thirteen, I built my own Website with Beepworld. I have to admit that it looked terrible and no company would build its website with Beepworld. But hey, that was in the early years of the 21th century!

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Fulltext search with PostgreSQL is definitely an option to consider

PostgreSQL is an excellent open source RDBMS. It has established itself as one of the most reliable database system available in the open source world. Over the years it even grew new features that very few competing systems offer: GIS functionalities, Foreign data wrapper, NoSql features with the recent integration of JSON datatype and V8 engine and Full Text Search (FTS) capabilities. In this blog post we will investigate on the FTS features it offers.

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REST API for a content repository

When we launched the Symfony CMF initiative back in 2010, one of the first decisions that was made was to adopt JCR as the basis for our work as we felt that one of the biggest short comings of CMS at the time was in the hard coupling of the storage and business layers. However JCR only defines language level interfaces and APIs. It doesn’t define a remoting, let alone, REST API. Thankfully the reference implementation of JCR, called Jackrabbit, did provide an WebDav inspired HTTP API with some JSON mixed-in. We submitted several patches to improve its performance and reduce round trips. We also actively participated in the definition of the JCR 2.1 version of the spec to make it more useful in a client-server scenario. On top of that we have invested a lot of time to create Jackalope, a reference implementation for PHPCR, a port of the JCR spec to PHP. In fact liip.ch runs on Jackrabbit using Symfony CMF.

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Conferences that are parties with talks – PHPBenelux and SunshinePHP

I recently read this tweet by @CalEvans, I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

“Sunshine PHP

http://bit.ly/1zsFMwK 

@adamculp threw a party in Miami and a conference broke out. :) #ssp15”

When I return from a conference, I feel like I return from a party, I’m exhausted but I will always have had the time of my life. 

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Landscape of Banks

Yesterday, in line with the campaign #mapthebanks, a bunch of opendata interested people met at Liip Zurich. Organized by OpenCorporates in cooperation with Opendata.ch and Open Data Zürich, we discussed about mapping companies – not just for banks, also non-financial companys like Monsoon Accessorize or Facebook. But how should this work?

Actually it’s just a simple idea of bringing existing information in a visual context – creating a systemic view. So no one needs to read through all the documented company information on opencorporates.com or other sources and build the connections itself. An impressive example is the universe of British Petroleum (BP). I had no idea about all the existing connections in the BP Company! Do you know, how many affiliate companies belongs to the BP Universe? Have a look: http://tinyurl.com/opencorporates-bp.

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AngularJS – End-to-end testing with Protractor

We use AngularJS here at Liip, and as developers concerned with the quality of our work, we employ a multitude of tools and patterns to ensure that everything works as expected. In short, we test our software.

The goal of this post is to give you a short overview about some of our experiences with testing AngularJS applications.

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