On Speak Like a Pirate Day 2013, the 18th of September, Apple decided to release their latest and (apparently greatest) operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices: iOS 7.
Developers like me have had it since June and we were eased into what may well be a culture shock to many users. We were not allowed to talk about iOS 7 until today due to the non disclosure agreement that comes with the territory of using pore-release software.
Because I’ve been using iOS 7 for the last few months, I can finally tell you what’s changed, what’s better and what’s perhaps not so good about the latest release. Even if you’re itching to press that upgrade button, have a read and get into the mood.
Every major software company has a collection of internal tools to help them develop their software. These are either off-the-shelf apps like Photoshop, or they are so specialised that they have to be custom written in-house by a team of specialists, often by a dedicated department.
Right now I’m in a similar situation myself: We need a dedicated tool to create the data structure for future reference apps. Specifically we need a simple input mask that makes my iPhone App understand what data I’d like to display without having to tweak a text file.
I can’t quite believe that I have successfully written such a tool for precisely this purpose. Best of all, I did this almost without any code using Cocoa Bindings. Aptly titled PatchBay, this app allows us to create a Core Data store file which I can pick up in iOS and display on the iPhone.
Let me tell you how it came to be, why it’s useful for us and how gobsmacked I am that this has become a reality.
For the last week and a half I’ve been having fun researching and coding the search function in iOS Table Views.
You’d think there’s just a “thing” you drag into your view, hook it up somehow and “hey presto, it works” (alas that’s how you do it in jQuery Mobile).
Not so in iOS: we’ll have to deal with a search bar, a search display controller and its many intricacies, and then something called a Predicate.
I don’t mind telling you: my head has been smoking… but my hard work and perseverance has paid off, and now I can finally add a search function to all my iOS Apps!
I was just browsing through my archive and stumbled upon an iOS App I’ve made a few months ago. It looks great on the new iPad due to really hi-res images – but what’s even better is that it’s written almost entirely without code!
It’s still using Xcode so it’s a native app of course, but there are no complicated Objective-C statements in there (apart from one but it’s not essential to the app).
Here’s how I did it – I even give you the source code too.
Today you find me rather speechless: because I’m sitting here with my iPad which is running a web browser that I’ve just written in Xcode!
As in “written myself, working and doing what I’m expecting it to do”. I’m in SHOCK!
This is seriously cool – and it didn’t take long either. Let me tell you how this happened, how it works and even share the code with you.
I thought I’d share a couple of Splash Screens I created for my (since rejected) iPhone Apps. Splash Screens are loading screens which are shown while the sometimes lengthy startup process would show a black screen – unless you provide an image. Makes for a much nicer user experience.
Dancing Robot (above) is lovely cartoon figure called Klank by 3D Universe – I absolutely love their style! I have a couple of other figures made by them and I’ll show you some pre-production artwork a bit later.
As you may have guessed, Dancing Robot is essentially the same app as Dancing Alien with a different character, an animated background and different music. Guess I won’t be submitting that one to Apple…
On Tuesday, my “Dancing Alien” App has been rejected by Apple on the grounds that “it wasn’t very useful”. They pointed me to Section 2.12 of their submission guidelines which explains this.
Today, only a couple of days later, my good mate Steve Jobs resigns from Apple, probably as a direct response to this appalling decision. This is the second time in his career that he had a falling out with management over decisions he’s just not 100% behind.
I’d like to say from the bottom of my heart: thank you so much for your support, Steve – but this wasn’t necessary. I appreciate the gesture though, and I’ll put you on my list of Beta Testers so you can run t he app anyway.
I’m already planning my next app which will include the alien, so I’ll let you know how that’s going. So please, nobody else needs to quite their job over this!
I’ve just spent the last three hours trying to make sense of how to submit my first iPhone App to Apple. This is not an easy task, I can tell you that!
Now the waiting game starts – let’s see if I’ve done everything correctly. As nice and easy as the end user experience is, you’d imagine once you’ve built your app there’s a “submit” button that you press and your hard work gets uploaded. Sadly that’s not quite the case.
I’ll tell you more about this another day since it’s time to hit the hay. Watch our for Dancing Alien – coming to an app store near you very soon
It’s been an exciting day here at The Render Farm: we’ve decided we wanted to release our first app by tomorrow evening, and the next thing we knew was that Julia’s soundtrack was ready for it. Not even half an hour later we previewed stunning animations with several characters… we couldn’t believe it ourselves – since we’re neither musicians, animators or coders!
I had conducted several tests based on the ImageHop exercise from SAMS Teach Yourself iPad Apps by John Ray, all OK but implementing several views really was hard. I’ve decided instead to keep it ultra simple and literally only have one view for Dancing Alien and one lone “i” button at the bottom right as an About / Credit page with link to our website. Works much better, is much simpler – and more to the point it’s possible to implement by tomorrow evening.
It’s been a tough couple of days with my head spinning and – as my wife says – me being not very happy. This is because every book i read about iOS developing appears to be hopelessly out of date. My fault for wanting to get my hands dirty with bleeding edge shenanigans.
Book No. 1 “iPhone Apps for Absolute Beginners” is written really well, however 9 out of 10 examples don’t work. Outdated code, code not reprinted properly, instructions are for Xcode 3, you name it. There’s only so much frustration you can take until you put this to one side and look elsewhere.
Book No. 2 “Teach Yourself iPad Apps” started out a bit tough, but now that I’ve got my head buried deep in this matter sounds more promising by the minute. At least: the examples work, even if they’re based on Xcode 3 too. The author was nice enough to include an updated Xcode 4 chapter on his homepage.
Frustration and agony to one side, let me share with you the exciting things I have managed to build these past few days.