My first Test App: “How ya’ll doin?”

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It’s exciting times here at the hacking front: I’ve deployed several test apps today and had a closer look at Xcode 4.1 – the latest coding environment for iOS and Mac.

After having spent most of the day downloading and installing Mac OS X “Lion” I found out the hard way that Xcode 4.02 was no longer working… so I had to download that as well. Once it was all working I found no major changes had been made in the software other than a spurious error message because I didn’t sign up for the Mac Developer programme and some library couldn’t be downloaded. Let’s ignore this message, shall we?

Light Bedtime Reading

I’ve already read a couple of books on the subject matter: SAMS Teach Yourself iPad Application Development in 24hrs and Mad Professor Rory Lewis’ iPhone and iPad Apps for Absolute Beginners. I’m following the code examples and now have several test apps running on my iPod – one of which creates the above picture. Isn’t that amazing?

Between both books I have to say that the SAMS one – like many of them – takes you by the hand like a “normal” person for the first couple of chapters, but then delves so deep into the code that without knowing the subject matter it’s just confusing and way too much to take in. I’ve read a few others in the series and they all suffer from the same thing. It’ll get better when I understand more, I know, but getting there can be tough.

Rory Lewis’ book however is ace – even though only one out of three code examples worked in Xcode 4. He’s a professor and actually teaches the subject matter of iPhone coding to his students, but it’s the way he does it that really speaks to me. Yes it deals with confusing Objective-C Code that bears no resemblance to anything I’ve ever seen (apart from how to comment) but he drives it home so that human beings can understand it.

I highly recommend this book if you’re an absolute beginner like me. Get it from Amazon in Paperback or as Kindle Edition.

I have also invested into the latest and greatest version of Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 since my cracked copy of MX 2004 is rather er… outdated and doesn’t run on Mac. I have a legal version of CS4 and I love it. CS5.5 however includes superb improvements such as the inclusion and support of the PhoneGap Framework. WHOA!

What’s PhoneGap again?

PhoneGap is an Open Source Framework that allows you to write Apps in HTML, CSS and JavaScript and thanks to some clever trickery behind the scenes converts this into a native App for iOS and Android. I could be writing cross platform without the necessary knowledge for Objective-C and Cocoa Touch to make my iOS endeavours work.

I’ve already tested it and it works like magic! All that needs to be done now is sit tight, read these books, test the code, amend as necessary, watch and drink coffee.

Just need to make sure that my head doesn’t explode…

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