Archive for 'iPhone'

Sales Tracking: AppViz 3 and App Annie Advertising

Well, it’s been quite a while since we last made any note of developments on the sales tracking tool front … oh, wait, that’s because there really haven’t been any of note until this week. But then, there were two!

First off, our desktop tool of choice AppViz has undergone quite the revamp, becoming now a cloud-stored subscription. As should shock to the core nobody sensible really, as the economics of maintenance for a tool of this type are pretty ridiculous.

So what’s new? It would be easier to say what isn’t. In partnership with the Iconfactory, we’ve rethought, redesigned, and redeveloped AppViz, resulting in a more polished, elegant and powerful experience. The app was rewritten from the ground up, its code reviewed and optimized. In addition to a beautiful new interface, we focused on improving performance so that the new features and UI will scream on even modest hardware.

AppViz 3 is packed with powerful features we think you’ll love, from a Dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of your market performance, to the Financial module that can reconcile your bank statements with Apple’s financial reports and compute revenue splits with partners. Even our graphs have been redesigned, providing a greater level of detail and analysis…

You can check out all the features here, but we’ll just highlight the two we stopped reading at:

• Partner Splits – Add partners to your apps & calculate monthly splits

• Financial Reconciliation – Reconcile monthly reports with your bank account

Shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg

That ‘Reconcile’, that’s the key. If there exists any other method to have that sorted for you, we don’t know of it. Good-bye, annoying spreadsheets!

Of course, if that isn’t a compelling feature for you, hey have a look at appFigures’ current feature set. We paid for it for a while to get the email reports, which caused us more headaches than they saved anyways because exchange rates are estimated (see ‘Reconcile’ above, did we mention we find that compelling?) but dropped it when App Annie started sending out sufficient enough emails to satisfy our reporting requirements; and if anything new and exciting has happened over there we’ve missed it, but check if you want and let us know if you find anything overly useful that AppViz is missing.

Which brings us to App Annie, where the big news is integrated ad network reporting:

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.03.27 PM.png

Our Advertising Analytics service is free and simple to set up, no SDK or app-coding required. Just log-in to your App Annie Analytics account and click on “Connections” to get started. To find out more, we’ve set up a page to tell you about all these new features.

It all begins with 7 ad networks today, but over the coming months we’ll be aggressively adding more and more so you get the most comprehensive list of networks possible. Currently, you can connect to AdMob, Chartboost, iAd, Jumptap, Tapit, TapJoy and MDotM. If there’s a particular ad network or feature you would like to see added to Analytics next, email us at iwantthis@appannie.com and let us know.

So if you use any of those networks, hey it’s free. As is their basic tracking service, which might be all you need. As long, of course, you can live with the discrepancy problem noted above with appFigures:

Currency conversions. Apple’s “Financial Reports” use Apple’s own currency rates, whereas App Annie always uses today’s exchange rate.

Did we mention already that ‘Reconcile’, that there’s a killer feature we’ll happily pay for? Why yes, yes we think we did. And far as we know it’s only available in the new AppViz, and there aren’t any particular pain points we’ve noticed troubling us about sales tracking otherwise, so that pretty much narrows down our choice of service to no choice needed. With a mental note that if we ever get into the ad-pushing business on our own behalf, App Annie has a unique to our knowledge integrated offering there. But if any of you think I’m dismissing or have overlooked some important consideration in one’s sales tracking tools, be sure to let us know!

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iOS Dev Tools List

Here’s a handy site to add to your feeds collection:

iOS Dev Tools

iOS Dev Tools is a list showcasing the greatest iOS development tools, including websites, desktop and mobile apps, and back-end services. I’ve tried to group the tools into logical categories and will mark any newly added tools as NEW.

Think most everything there of great interest we’ve bothered mentioning at some point over the years — with the notable exception of the ‘Networking and APIs’ section, have to check those out sometime —but it certainly is nice to have them all nicely curated in one place!

While we’re on the subject, here’s a recentish list along the same lines:

75 Essential Tools for iOS Developers

and here’s another:

My Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for OS X (2013 Edition)

The only real comment we have here is, where the @)(#$&!! are the translation/localization helpers? Yes, we’re thinking in particular of that poor sad orphan which has been THE. MOST. AWESOME. EVAR. at making our multilingual duties much less effort and far more correct, but none at all? Really?

Any-ways, check those out in case there is something you missed.

And here’s a last one to throw in here, as hey managing a website is a fairly common aspect of iOS development too, right?

Inside BraveNewCode.com: Some Tools We Use

I was going through our own administration panel here at BraveNewCode today and thought it would be interesting to share our set-up with other people. Our WordPress website isn’t just a blog, it’s also a full-featured eCommerce store, support centre and product licensing/upgrade server. To turn a normal WordPress website into one that can handle all of that takes quite a few tweaks, external services, and WordPress plugins.

Here is a list of all the tools we use here at BraveNewCode.com – from hosting, to sales, to support…

By the way, in case you didn’t know, the best way to get your WordPress site mobile painlessly is BraveNewCode’s

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 9.01.05 PM.png

Buy and enjoy!

UPDATES:

The nice people at Binpress would like me to remind you all to check out their commercial open source offerings when you’re putting together your toolkit. And hey, if CocoaPods and CocoaControls don’t turn up anything absolutely perfect for your needs, that looks like the next possibly worthwhile stop, sure.

100 Great Resources For IOS Developers

Krzysztof Zabłocki’s iOS Developer Tools

13 Valuable Tools for iOS Development

Tools for Running an iOS Consulting Studio

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Tutorial: MapKit Clustering

Now this is a tutorial you should bookmark for next time you need to display point info on a MapKit map:

How To Efficiently Display Large Amounts of Data on iOS Maps

This tutorial will demonstrate how to handle and display thousands of points of data on an iOS map in a way people understand and enjoy.

We are going to make an iOS app which ships with 87,000 hotels, each with a coordinate, a name and a phone number. This app will never ask the user to “redo search in area”; it will update the map as the user pans and zooms, allowing the user to freely explore the data.

This will require us to come up with an ultra quick data structure built for the task. We will need to build it in C for it to be performant. Once we have constructed our data structure we will come up with a clustering system, as to not overwhelm the user. Finally, we will give it the professional polish that is required for apps to compete in today’s market…

That is one seriously detailed tutorial. Check out the accompanying app at thoughtbot / TBAnnotationClustering!

h/t: iOS Dev Weekly!

UPDATES:

choefele / CCHMapClusterController implements this as a simply usable component.

Open Source iOS Library For Maps WIth Directions, Travel Estimates, Places Search And More

Open Source iOS Library For Quickly Generating Heat Maps For MKMapView’s And Other Views

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Monetization: Bitcoin

Now here’s a truly novel approach to monetizing your apps:

New Plugin Allows Developers to Turn iOS Devices Into Bitcoin Mining Bots

Unity plugin developer Icoplay has come up with a new way for developers to monetize free apps on the App Store while avoiding in-app purchases, through the use of bitcoin mining.

Because new bitcoins are generated via complex math problems, Bitcoin mining requires an incredible amount of processing power. Icoplay is aiming to use mining software hidden within apps and games to take advantage of the latent processing power of mobile devices, rewarding the developer with bit coin…

Mind you, the economics don’t seem to make any sense. Checking the latest stats,

Bitcoins Mined — 3,525 BTC

Electricity Consumption — 55,866.44 megawatt hours

we’re somewhere in the range of 16 megawatts per Bitcoin. Takes an awful lot of iPhone 5.5-odd watt-hour charges to add up to one of those. And somewhere in the region of $2300 of electricity. Which would only produce you a couple cents per user-year expected return, at best, and burning out a couple dozen Li-Ion batteries along the way. That would seem to put the usefulness of this somewhere between “laughably negligible” and “wasteful on a scale qualifying as downright evil”.

But hey, if you want to give it shot, check out their FAQ; maybe if you’re really super lucky, you’ll earn enough to buy a coffee in the trendy places around town here sprouting Bitcoin ATMs these days!

h/t: @justinlbaker!

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cocos2d-iphone v3

So the last while you’ve probably come to the conclusion that we’d reached the end of the line for cocos2d as a good development choice, what with the original author dropping support and the introduction of SpriteKit, yes?

Well, not so fast there. The good folk at Apportable stepped up to support continued development of both the library and toolchain, and you can take a look at what’s been brewing away there now:

Cocos2d version 3 preview

The Cocos2d-iphone team, is very excited to share, what we have been working on for the last couple of months; namely the first preview version of Cocos2d version 3.

Version 3 will be the most extensive update to Cocos2d up to this day! This preview is still in alpha, and is not yet meant for use in production. Instead the idea behind the release, is, to collect feedback on the features and API, before everything is finalized.

Together with the release of Cocos2d, a first version of SpriteBuilder is released. SpriteBuilder is developed out of CocosBuilder, with a focus on improved user experience and new features. SpriteBuilder will manage your resources, graphically build your scenes and levels, do your animations, and your particle systems…

There’s a nice demo of SpriteBuilder in this video, “Apportable – One step iOS to Android”:

Compile Android apps directly from Objective-C and Xcode. Watch Zac Bowling explaining ‘Apportable’ and how to create Angry Birds in a couple of minutes using SpriteBuilder.

Yeah, getting to use a tool like and cross-compilation to Android whilst remaining in the friendly … ok, accustomed … environs of Xcode and native iOS development, that’s a pretty solid argument for preferred choice of platform, isn’t it. And there’s a good bit of other upgrading besides, here’s the full highlights list:

  • Starting with version 3, Cocos2d will conform to semantic versioning. This means that point updates will not break backward compatibility.
  • The whole API has received a thorough spring cleaning. Private properties have been hidden, naming is more consistent and old broken or unused classes have been removed.
  • Much improved touch handling. Any node can now handle touches and multiple touches can be handled on a per node basis.
  • Physics has been integrated with Cocos2d and will work seamlessly with your sprites or any other nodes. Best of all, it’s all objective-c!
  • Cocos2d now comes with a UI-kit. Add your buttons, text fields, scroll views or sliders with only a few lines or code.
  • Improved multi-resolution support. With the new positioning and scaling options making your game work on different form factors, such as tablets and mobiles is a breeze.
  • Graphical editor support. Integrated support for SpriteBuilder, where you can lay out all your interfaces, components and even edit your games physics.
  • Much improved truetype labels that support outlines, shadows and attributed strings.
  • Official cross platform support through Apportable. Your games will now compile for native Android without modifications!

All this, and it still runs back to iOS 5. So be sure to keep the cocos2d option in mind when deciding on a platform for your next game!

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cocos2d-iphone v3

So the last while you’ve probably come to the conclusion that we’d reached the end of the line for cocos2d as a good development choice, what with the original author dropping support and the introduction of SpriteKit, yes?

Well, not so fast there. The good folk at Apportable stepped up to support continued development of both the library and toolchain, and you can take a look at what’s been brewing away there now:

Cocos2d version 3 preview

The Cocos2d-iphone team, is very excited to share, what we have been working on for the last couple of months; namely the first preview version of Cocos2d version 3.

Version 3 will be the most extensive update to Cocos2d up to this day! This preview is still in alpha, and is not yet meant for use in production. Instead the idea behind the release, is, to collect feedback on the features and API, before everything is finalized.

Together with the release of Cocos2d, a first version of SpriteBuilder is released. SpriteBuilder is developed out of CocosBuilder, with a focus on improved user experience and new features. SpriteBuilder will manage your resources, graphically build your scenes and levels, do your animations, and your particle systems…

There’s a nice demo of SpriteBuilder in this video, “Apportable – One step iOS to Android”:

Compile Android apps directly from Objective-C and Xcode. Watch Zac Bowling explaining ‘Apportable’ and how to create Angry Birds in a couple of minutes using SpriteBuilder.

Yeah, getting to use a tool like and cross-compilation to Android whilst remaining in the friendly … ok, accustomed … environs of Xcode and native iOS development, that’s a pretty solid argument for preferred choice of platform, isn’t it. And there’s a good bit of other upgrading besides, here’s the full highlights list:

  • Starting with version 3, Cocos2d will conform to semantic versioning. This means that point updates will not break backward compatibility.
  • The whole API has received a thorough spring cleaning. Private properties have been hidden, naming is more consistent and old broken or unused classes have been removed.
  • Much improved touch handling. Any node can now handle touches and multiple touches can be handled on a per node basis.
  • Physics has been integrated with Cocos2d and will work seamlessly with your sprites or any other nodes. Best of all, it’s all objective-c!
  • Cocos2d now comes with a UI-kit. Add your buttons, text fields, scroll views or sliders with only a few lines or code.
  • Improved multi-resolution support. With the new positioning and scaling options making your game work on different form factors, such as tablets and mobiles is a breeze.
  • Graphical editor support. Integrated support for SpriteBuilder, where you can lay out all your interfaces, components and even edit your games physics.
  • Much improved truetype labels that support outlines, shadows and attributed strings.
  • Official cross platform support through Apportable. Your games will now compile for native Android without modifications!

All this, and it still runs back to iOS 5. So be sure to keep the cocos2d option in mind when deciding on a platform for your next game!

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Open Source: Inkpad and Brushes

Well, this is a pretty sweet gift to the iOS world: Steve Sprang has open sourced full fledged drawing and painting apps!

sprang / InkpadInkpad in the App Store

Inkpad is a vector illustration app designed from scratch for the iPad. It supports paths, compound paths, text, images, groups, masks, gradient fills, and an unlimited number of layers.

Inkpad was designed with performance in mind – it can easily handle drawings with hundreds to thousands of shapes without bogging down. Export your finished illustrations directly to your Dropbox as SVG or PDF…

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sprang / BrushesBrushes in the App Store

Brushes is a painting app designed exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Rewritten from the ground up, Brushes 3 is universal — the same version runs on both your iPhone and your iPad. Move paintings between your devices and keep working wherever you go!

An accelerated OpenGL-based painting engine makes painting incredibly smooth and responsive — even with huge brush sizes. Brushes also records every step in your painting. Show off your creative process by replaying your paintings directly on your device…

brushes.jpg

That’s quite the additions to your sample code reference set, ‘tisn’t it now?

h/t: ManiacDev!

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QuickLook Provisioning

Been upset about that QuickLook provisioning profile from a couple years back not working on Mavericks? Why, look here, there’s a shiny new and improved replacement out:

A Quick Look plug-in for Provisioning

Eventually, I decided to write my own Quick Look plug-in and add a bunch of new stuff that I had been wanting to display:

  • Developer certificates: Making it easier to verify that your keychain items match what’s in the profile.
  • Provisioning Profile UUID: When someone on the project team checks in a new Provisioning Profile in the Build Settings, the only information you have is that UUID of that new file. Showing the UUID lets you find the right match.
  • Entitlements: Checking the Push Notification environment, ubiquity container identifiers, and keychain access groups are essential for any app that uses Apple’s services.
  • Links: Whenever the provisioning is broken you spend a lot of time in various sections of the Dev Center. Why not make it easy to get there?

The results of a few days work can be found on GitHub. If you’re lazy like I am, just download the .qlgenerator file and pop it in your Library > QuickLook folder…

Et voilà, all the information you’d been used to getting, much more, and links everywhere:

Screen Shot 2013-11-02 at 7.16.56 PM.png

Kinda needs relabelling “ComprehensiveLook” with all that available, doesn’t it now? Big round of applause for Messr. Hockenberry!

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UI Pattern: Float Label

This is a nice bit of clever for more elegant layout of your form entry screens; have the placeholder text animate into a label!

How the Float Label Pattern Started

I first had the idea for a new input pattern back in August. The idea was simple enough – animate placeholder text to show an icon beside the input so you don’t lose your context. I’ve been doing 99% mobile work for the past 2 years and little things like this can really add up. I wanted a solution that saved space, looked clean and clear, but didn’t forego usability…

… I designed a new version using text only, plus a slight animation for the float label. I spent a long time thinking about the micro-interactions of when the active color would change and how soon would the text animate after someone typed. These were tiny decisions made down to the very last keyframe in my 30 FPS file.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 7.08.44 AM.png

… A few days later a long time Twitter friend, Jared Verdi, busted out the first real implemenation in Obj-C. Super cool. Somehow Jared’s github post blew up a bit and everyone seemed to be tweeting about it. Thankfully he named it something cool when he first implemented it because I never did – JVFloatLabeledTextField. The “float label pattern” was born.

And people who struggle with the design space on small screens — oh, wait, that’s everybody — are finding the concept of great interest; check the ‘Resources’ section at the bottom of that post and you’ll find links to proof of concepts in a variety of environments. Specifically to try it out in iOS at the moment, you have:

jverdi / JVFloatLabeledTextField — the original UITextField POC described above

iwasrobbed / RPFloatingPlaceholders — UITextField and UITextView versions

h/t: ManiacDev!

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Animation Helpers

So what with animation becoming more of a thing in the brave new flat interface world, it behooves us to know a little more about it than we’ve probably bothered to so far, and there’s a really great read on it here (h/t: iOSDevWeekly):

Controlling Animation Timing

There is a protocol called CAMediaTiming which is implemented by CAAnimation, the base class of CABasicAnimation and CAKeyframeAnimation. It is where all the timing related properties – like duration, beginTime and repeatCount – come from. All in all the protocol defines eight properties that can be combines in a number of ways to precisely control timing. The documentation is only a few sentences per property so you could probably read it all and the actual header way faster than this article but I feel that timing is better explained with visualizations…

If you like the SpriteKit action paradigm, and wish Core Animation had something like it, why look here (h/t: @romainbriche):

CodaFi / CFAAction — Core Animation Actions in the key of SK

CFAAction is a wrapper around several common Core Animation animations that provides additional modularity and the ability to group and sequence actions.

CFAAction’s should be treated like SKAction’s, which means they are only run when they are submitted to a variant of -[CALayer runAction:]….

And if you want some really easy keyframed animation, check out (h/t: iOSDevWeekly):

IFTTT / JazzHands – A simple, keyframe based animation framework for UIKit.

Jazz Hands is a simple, keyframe based animation framework for UIKit. Animations can be controlled via gestures, scroll views, kvo, or ReactiveCocoa…

Currently, Jazz Hands supports three types of animations:

  • IFTTTFrameAnimation moves and sizes views.
  • IFTTTAlphaAnimation creates fade effects.
  • IFTTTHideAnimation hides and shows views.

And don’t forget our Grab Bag: Graphic Tweaks post for other stuff along these lines we noted over this last year, a good bit of it is still at least somewhat relevant.

UPDATES:

iOS 7 Tutorial Series: Introducing UIKit Dynamics

iOS 7 Custom transitions

Extensive UIKit Animation Library Allowing Block Based Animations, Spring Animations And More

Clear Animation Code

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