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Another Valuable Dev Tool

21Feb2013 Vancouver, BC

I recently wrote about a tool I found quite valuable for mobile development and have found another I thought I'd mention.

While it's not a specific 'tool' per se, it's certainly allowed me to do some great dev work for Playerize, a company I'm currently working for. Playerize helps app publishers grow their install base as well as monetize apps, but I'll save more detail for another post. The tool that's helped me with my development work is a VPN.

A VPN, or 'virtual private network' allows you to connect to a 'network on top of a network' in this case, a virtual network over the internet. Data flowing through this network is encrypted, keeping it from prying eyes, and only people with specific keys can access the virtual network.

One of my tasks at Playerize required me to do some testing as if I were accessing Playerize's network from other parts of the world, specifically the U.S. and the U.K. This is where BlackVPN came into play. BlackVPN is a VPN provider that allows access to their network and its endpoints in various places around the globe. This allowed my testing appear to originate from an IP address in the U.K. as well as one out of the U.S.

I had spent some time researching various VPN providers and BlackVPN consistently came on top based on pricing, ease-of-use and most importantly support across various devices. While you should be able to get just about any device such as your computer and your iPhone or Android phone onto a VPN, BlackVPN had clear and concise documentation on how to do exactly that; a definite plus in my books.

While that kind of network use may not be relevant to you, there is one other use of a VPN like this that might be: access to IP-restricted content on the internet. How many times have you tried to watch a video and received an error that 'this content is not available outside of the U.S.'? A VPN allows you to get around those geographic restrictions.

In the end, BlackVPN's services has allowed me to do some critical end-point testing during development, as well as having the added bonus of access to the BBC's excellent programming out of the UK.