DevFest 2019: conference tradition established!

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In the beginning of October Qualifast was an organiser of GDG DevFest conference for a second year in a row. We are very excited to be part of this global event that annually features more than 1000 conferences and million attendees around the world. This year the event grew even bigger: we had two parallel tracks: one Cloud/Web and one for Mobile. Obviously, due to the nature of the work we do, we had interest in both tracks and we are left with regret we could not attend all sessions. Additionally, this year there was definitely more startupy – nuance in the program, something that appeals to us a lot. Expert lecturers coming from all around the world showed us how to effectively utilise GCP, how to structure better our web and mobile applications, how to conduct user research and many more.

We love opportunities to get in touch with other IT professionals. Once again we established new partnerships and reiterated over some existing ones. It is really great when private interests coincide with those of the community!

Android functional testing made easy with Kotlin @ Hopper

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Yesterday our CEO Boris Strandjev took part as a lecturer in Hopper tech talk. Qualifast is partnering with Hopper in a strive of improving code architecture and structure of their Android app. The ultimate goal is improved maintainability and extensibility. As the plans are for significant code rewrite and reshuffle, the team will need to guard against regressions and, thus, automated test suite came in as mandatory.

In his talk, Boris told us about the tool of choice for achieving this task (UIAutomator). Additionally, he listed a great deal of extensions and customizations over the basic framework that improved the efficiency of writing tests. Hopper is incredibly successful application, with millions of users. Thus it is not surprising they are willing to invest in improving quality and in paving the way of further features and extensions. What came in as a pleasant surprise was the level of engagement and interest in the audience. It is very often that automated testing is neglected when mobile application is developed. However, as people get to know the basic stepping stones in building a test suite, we believe more will dare it. Hopefully, this will make more of us as successful as Hopper.

Colibra application is out!

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One of the most exciting applications we have worked on is released to the world! You can find the android version here and ios version here.

We love how the design makes the application extremely easy to use! With just couple of clicks you can add your upcoming flights. After that, you can use the application as boarding pass wallet, keeping all relevant information in a single place, being sure that the most recent info, e.g. gate changes, will be reflected. Further to that, if your flight has a delay, you receive instantaneous compensation. Alternative providers compensate on delays of 3h+, but Colibra compensates for 1h+! making money out of thin air has never been simpler!

This is the biggest investment of Eleven VC up to the current moment, which means that the investors also strongly believe in the success of the product. The initial reception this application received is incredible and we are sure that soon this will be a must-use for any flyer within Europe! At Qualifast we love being part of successful and useful startups.

Start to Flutter @ Flutter Live Sofia

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Flutter is a technology that has gained a lot of friction in the recent months. Now a big number of mobile developers and mobile-developer-wanna-bies develop their apps with it. Flutter has become so central for Google that they dedicated a whole event to it, broadcasting all around the globe.

Qualifast’s partnership with GDG Sofia has been long standing already, thus it is not surprising that our Mobile Development Lead Vassil Angelov opened GDG Sofia’s Flutter live stream with an introductory session. It seems Vassil himself is not big fan of the technology, bu, still, he decided to share with the public the basics of the technology, describing the initial steps one needs to make in order to start with Flutter.

Qualifast, as always, is delighted of the opportunity to share our knowledge with the community.

Qualifast – organiser of GDG DevFest Sofia 2018

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It is never easy to organise an IT conference. It is even harder, when the conference is part of international franchise with tens of thousands of attendees worldwide. Still, we at Qualifast are not scared of the difficult - we were a core part of the three-company pact that made the first Google Developer Group DevFest happen.

DevFests are great events where IT professionals of all functions gather and learn from internationally-recognized experts. DevFest Sofia featured interesting sessions from diverse domains, from Cloud, to mobile, ML, marketing and smart assistants:

  1. Cloud Native - effective computing at scale - Ignacy Kowalczyk - Software engineering manager, Google
  2. Google Maps Platform - Selen Basol - Tech Lead Manager, Google
  3. Building assistive apps with App Actions - Elaine Dias Batista - Assistant Google Developer Expert
  4. Mobile DevOps - Boris Strandjev - CEO, Qualifast
  5. How we built a successful cloud-scale product with GCP - Borislav Pantaleev - Full Stack web developer, MobiSystems
  6. The case for experimentation using Google Optimize - Peter Perlepes
  7. ML and I - Daniel Balchev, ML engineer Hyperscience
  8. Cultivating a Microservice Culture Via Tooling - Tom Vance - Holiday Extras
  9. The best of both worlds - achieving next-level code sharing between Flutter and the mobile web - Iiro Krankka - Flutter Google Developer Expert

We received great feedback for the sessions, which makes us especially proud as Qualifast was responsible for choosing the sessions,

About 24 hours before the event a huge blow to the planned program happened - two of the featured speakers were forced to cancel their sessions. Given this short notice, the organisers did the best they could - the keynote of Ignacy got longer and we added one additional session - Boris Strandjev, our CEO, re-did the "Mobile DevOps" session he did a week earlier at ISTA. The attendees appreciated this talk too and we were given the great honor to contribute content to the first DevFest in Sofia!

Presentation from Qualifast @ ISTA 2018

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Our CEO Boris Strandjev presented a session called “DevOps disrupted – mobile is the new master” during ISTA 2018 conference. He put the prism of the mobile development over the one of DevOps to show how those two combine for effectively done and successfully delivered mobile projects. It is a great honor that his submission was one of the few chosen for the main stage in a competition of many great speakers and topics.

“ISTA is a great conference, that started off as QA-only event, but gradually, in time, expanded to cover diverse topics across the IT industry. This year the attendees were more than 800, with many foreigners joining people from most big IT companies in Buglaria. One of the things that I particularly like about ISTA is that it is a joint venture between several companies from the very beginning, a proof that when we combine forces we are stronger than the separate parts.” Boris said after the event.

He also explicitly wanted to share his attitude to public speaking “I like speaking in front of public, sharing what I know with the community. You can ask anyone that gives lectures and he / she will tell you that you get to learn the topic a lot deeper when you present it to others. This occasion is yet another proof of that – after the session people taught me of tools and frameworks that I have not even heard of, but sound very promising!”

Qualifast’s Source Dragon fe(a)st season is over

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It turned out that many of the Qualifastians are fond of going to (rock) music festivals. How cool is that - we have a common passion! We unanimously decided to print a company banner with the Source Dragon and start taking it with us at the places we go. Now, with the festival season concluded and four events later, it is time to tell you a bit about our experience.

Rock am Park / Rock am Ring

Rock am Ring (and its twin festival Rock in Park) is one of the main highlights of the festival season in Europe for rock, metal and alternative music. Headliners this year included Muse, Gorillaz and Foo Fighters, besides which there were also some other renown names, such as A Perfect Circle, Shinedown, Avenged Sevenfold, Nothing More, Parkway drive, Kaleo, Black Stone Cherry, Merilyn Mason, Rise Against, Nothing but Thieves and more. With so many worthy performances, we were left exhausted, but satisfied attending all of our favourites. The organisation of the event was decent for a ~100 000 strong crowd, although there were some big delay with the tickets on the first day. There were also some notable experiences around the festival camp, such as being transported with a bus on the actual F1 track Nurburgring (sometimes even at somewhat high speed), shopping at the "Rock LIDL", that was set up for the event and the fondness of the German crowd for mosh pits, which were happening in the dozens, even at peaceful performances.

Graspop Metal Meeting

Graspop is one of the most popular events in the rock calendar. This year some of the headliners featured Guns'n'Roses, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbrourne, Avenged Sevenfold. The festival started with not-so-nice experience with poor setup at the entrance and more than 4-5 hours of waiting. Overall the organisation of the fest was below the expected level with insufficient camping space, complicated setup for payments and limited working time for both baths and shops. As for the stage performances, however, no complaints are possible. We went there especially to hear one of the very few performances of Ayreon history and we were mindblown with a perfect show. Other groups that we enjoyed really much include Arch Enemy, Powerwolf, Accept, Limp Bizkit, Tyr.

Plovdiv Hills of Rock

Hills of Rock is happening for just a second year, but the good organisation and lineup have already made it into one of our most favorite events. This year a good number of people attended and there were three days of quality music. We hope that the event will stick and grow even further. From musical perspective we enjoyed the performances of the headliners Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Sabaton, but also Tremonti and Crematory made good shows. One a bit annoying part were the mosquitoes, but when Sabaton began their pyro-show the problem was burned away, as if by the flame of a dragon.

Varna Mega Rock

The first and, as it turns out, only edition of this brand. Frankly, the venue was far from best fit for such event with overheated concrete endangering spectators of heatstroke.  It felt like we were in the stomach of a dragon.

Additionally there was not a single poster of the festival, which is why the photo from this fest is with a ship on the background in an attempt to show we are at the sea side. Additionally,the sound setup was really poor, which only Glenn Hughes was able to overcome. We were with big expectations of the groups and they really gave the maximum they were capable of - Nightwish, Kamelot, Appocaliptica and Glenn Hughes all made the trip to the sea capital of Bulgaria worth it.


If you are planning on attending some of the rock festivals in 2019, you could drink a beer with us at Wacken, Nova Rock, Rock am Ring, Hills of Rock and perhaps even more. 


PS: If you now started wondering - why all these dragons, let me give you a hint: Source Dragon is the code name for one of our first products.

AngelsFX- your trade advisor app

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In the recent months we have worked with the team of AngelsFx to build their advisory application. Now we are ready and have launched the Android and web clients (iOS will follow soon ;).

AngelsFx is a team of traders that have gained great experience in operating on the ForEx market. They are making good deals, a promise of a significant profit. Now they want to share with everybody their transactions so that people can learn from the experts. If you are not into the currency markets, you can still make use of the app – one can just mimic the signals of AngelsFx and this should already lead to a good profit.

In Qualifast we are not expert traders, but we are excited to help yet another startup realize their product idea and certainly hope that the application will help many people achieve greater prosperity – both AngelsFx and their end clients.

PS: We want to explicitly thank Graphactory for the great design they made for all clients!

Public lecture – Get better with Stackoverflow

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Our C.E.O. did an open session in Work and Share coworking space. In it he shared what he has learnt from his six and a half years of interaction with Stackoverflow. He listed several practices he follows in his interaction with this website that helped him develop as professional. The bottom line of the whole presentation is that if you are an active member of the Stackoverlow (or any other) community, rather than passive consumer, you can get far greater value from it. Boris used many examples of his own experience to convey this message.

In Qualifast we believe that each one of us can be better expert if we join our forces in communities and exchange knowledge. That is why we have been core supporters of GDG / Google developers group and WTM/ Women Tech Makers in Sofia for years. That is why we intend to do other similar educational sessions in the future.

You can find all slides from Boris’s presentation here.

OceniMe web app – implemented & released

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We are excited that the team of OcenimeBg chose us to implement the frontend application of their product. You can see the end product here:

If you are renting / leasing or buying / selling an apartment you can not help but wonder if the chosen price is good. The team of OceniMe have gathered huge data base of real estate transactions in Sofia, Bulgaria. Based on it they are ready to give you insights on what kind of deal are you entering in. In addition to expected price you will be presented various neighborhood condition analysis and demographics details that will help you get a feeling of other important parameters you take into account when considering relocating.

The application is just launched, but it is already becoming quite popular. It gives us great satisfaction, as we really believe it will benefit the society.