Posts Tagged 'Programming'

iOS Media APIs

Excellent post from Matt Gallagher here for anyone working with media APIs:

A history of iOS media APIs (iPhone OS 2.0 to iOS 4.3)

After initially starting with a small set of fairly basic media APIs in iPhone OS 2.0, the APIs and the features they provide have dramatically increased in the past 2 years and provided a rapidly moving target for developers trying to remain current. In this post, I’ll try to summarize all of the different APIs in iOS 4.3 for playing media, when they arrived, what their purposes are, what their limitations are and what it’s been like to remain up-to-date and support new features…

Best succinct yet comprehensive writeup on the subject we’ve seen anywhere, give it a read!

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Tip: Embossed Text

Here’s a simple method to get that embossed text effect all the cool kids like:

Achieving an Embossed Text Effect With Interface Builder

… Select the label and change the shadow to a white color. Then change the V. Offset setting to positive 1. This will position a white “shadow” one pixel below the text making it appear as though light is glaring off the lower edges of the text border and creating the illusion that the text is embedded into the background…

… The effect can similarly be produced with white or light-colored letters. To do this, instead of using a white shadow with a vertical offset of +1, you would use a black shadow with a vertical offset of -1…

Huh. Thought embossing was a little more complex than that, for some reason. But hey, if that looks good enough, there you go then!

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If you’re so unfortunate as to have to deal with porting .NET code to the Mac, or if you actually like C# (???) this might be of interest to you:

MonoMac 1.0 is out

Almost a year ago we started building a set of Mono bindings for building native MacOS X applications.

Our original goals were modest: bind enough of AppKit that you could build native desktop applications for OSX using C# or your favorite .NET language. We leveraged a lot of the code that we built for MonoTouch our binding to the CocoaTouch APIs.

During the year, the project picked up steam, we got plenty of contributions to MonoMac and grew beyond the original conservative goals.

In a year we:

Indeed. That’s some enthusiasm there, certainly. Can’t muster up quite that level ourselves, but hey, it’s always nice to know what options are out there!

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If you’ve got an app that involves images worth printing, you might want to check out the tap2print service:

Why Use Tap2print API?

Tap2print is the only service that provides you with a complete process of ordering print directly from your current and future application screens.

By using the Tap2print API, you can seamlessly allow your users to enjoy the benefits of a print order process, while creating a new revenue stream for current and future applications.

How much does it cost?

Integration with the Tap2print API for you as an application developer is free of charge. The cost for your users depends on the product and the delivery destination. We keep prices competitive and fair.

What kinds of items can be created with your photos using Tap2print?

Currently, we have three product types: Photo accordion, greeting cards and magnets. Additional products will be supported as part of the Tap2print roadmap.

Who earns money here?

Tap2print is based on a revenue sharing model between the application developer, the print service provider and Tap2print. We believe this method increases the motivation of both parties involved in the offering, ensuring a constantly improving product and a continuous high level of service.

That sounds kinda interesting, doesn’t it? If you’d like to see it in action, there’s an app using it here on the App Store, check it out!

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So no doubt you remember that last ad hoc distribution post where we thought the Hockey framework looked pretty interesting? Well, if you were following @hockeyapp you noticed today

Introducing HockeyKit: a rewrite of Hockey, the iOS Ad-Hoc updater. New UI, more features & basic Android support

Definitely looks worth checking out if you like to run your own betas, code is on github; and if you don’t, apparently there is a hosted service planned with signup landing page here.

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Tip: Device Console Logging

Did you know that you can access the system console log from an iOS app? We did not know that. Here’s the detailed explanation:

Accessing the iOS System Log

But briefly, the trick is that the Apple System Log facility is present on the device, as you’d probably expect, but you might not have expected that asl.h is in the official SDK if you go browsing about /usr/include … and the chances are pretty good you wouldn’t have expected that apps that use it would get approved by the review team. But as there are shipping apps that use it, apparently it’s totally legit. A logging facility would be pretty handy to build into our ad hoc builds, indeed!

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Design Inspirations

So we’ve mentioned examples of bad design lately, but it would be more productive to have examples of good design to refer to, wouldn’t it? Conveniently enough, sites to help you with that seem to be springing up all over these days; starting from the collection in this post, here’s some good ones:


236 app screenshot examples in 32 categories as we write, from “Activity” to “Wooden Shelves”.

Mobile UI Patterns

Similar idea to pttrns, app screenshots collected into categories.


This one categorizes by app type, not task type, but likewise a collection of the pretty and shiny in app UI.

iOS Inspires Me

Contains icon, website, and miscellaneous resource sections as well as app UI examples


Breaks out iPhone and iPad app, game, website inspirations.

Design then Code

A collection of tutorials and resources that look pretty darn good, check out these recommendations for starters.

So those sites all look worth keeping track of. Moving on to specific articles on design, check out

7 Hot Trends in Mobile App Design

How To Create Great Looking iOS Apps Even If You Are A Design Noob

The 3 Ingredients of Successful iPhone Apps

How UX Can Drive Sales in Mobile Apps

And for a couple vaguely related to design things that are worth reading too:

Hits By Design

Taking the Advantage with App Store Screenshots

Sharpen Your Blink Test

Why Angry Birds is so successful and popular: a cognitive teardown of the user experience

As always, Dear Reader, if there’s anything you think should be added, let us know!

h/t: @globalmoxie, @Dylan_Beadle, @joe_carney, @chockenberry, @renderplace, and everyone else we forgot!


Couple more design showcases from this post: TapFancy™, Well-Placed Pixels

12 Eye-Catching iPhone App Websites: Plus Resources to Start your own

And more screenshots: LovelyUI – a collection of mobile UI elements

More design showcases:, Mac Apps That Rock

Top 18 iPhone App Design Inspiration For 2012 That Really Rocks

“Steal Good Stuff” – iOS Design Pattern Collections

IICNS – Pretty icons!

27 Must have iOS Design Resources to Bookmark

iOS Icon Gallery

The 20 hottest trends in app design for 2012

50 tips for designing brilliant iOS apps

How I Data Mined the top 300 paids apps to create Tehula’s icon

Showcase of 40 Insanely Detailed iOS Icon Designs

This Year’s iPhone Design Trend: Side navigation

35 Mobile and UI App Design Inspiration

UX Archive

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App Checkin: Appboy

Well, this is intriguing; these guys decided to cross Foursquare with Game Center, kinda:

AppBoy Releases A Check-in SDK For iOS Apps

/// Now, straight from the “What Took So Long for Something Like This to be Released” department, mobile developer community site AppBoy has released an iOS app check-in SDK.

The SDK requires pretty simple integration. Once wired, users can check-in to apps in much the same manner they check-in to locations on Foursquare. Check-ins can be pushed out, of course, to Facebook and Twitter.

AppBoy included additional functionality that helps developers reward users in contests. Badges are available for most check-ins during a contest, for timing-based check-ins (for example, the 50th check-in past a certain hour), and for checks-ins closest to specified times…

Another article here explaining why you’d want to do this:

Appboy Takes on the Discovery Issue with App Checkins

At the very least, it seems to make more sense than the Facebook/Twitter bloviating code that people keep insisting we put into their apps, ignoring my confident prediction they’re wasting time and money, and then are shocked to find nobody uses.

Besides, how can you not want to apply to someone with a CTA button like this?

Screen shot 2011-03-11 at 10.41.13 PM.png

Heh. We’re not completely compelled, but we are rather intrigued. Any of you Dear Readers take a shot at deploying it, let us know how that works out for you!

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So you don’t like the Dropbox data synchronization idea we’ve been talking up lately for your iOS apps? OK, how does a native CouchDB grab you then?

Couchbase Releases Developer Preview of Its CouchDB for iOS Package

… Mobile Couchbase is a package of Apache CouchDB designed for iOS. It is pre-Beta right now, but we are taking the wraps off the source because we’ve had an application that uses it approved by Apple for sale in the App Store. We are soliciting open source contributions and feedback from users…

Who’s Couchbase, you ask?

Membase, the leader in production-ready, high-performance data stores, is used by the world’s busiest web applications including Zynga, because of its simple, fast, elastic architecture. Apache CouchDB is truly loved by developers for its RESTful interface, incorruptible storage, world-class sync and mobile development platform.

Couchbase is the name of both our new company and our new product family. Apache CouchDB document database technology is at the core of our combined solution. Membase, with its integrated memcached caching technology, adds technology enabling dynamic cluster elasticity and sustained low-latency, high-throughput data operations. Couchbase becomes the only document database capable of safely storing your data whether stored on a single server, or spread across hundreds.

Only Couchbase technologies scale from AOL-sized data center clusters all the way to smartphones. Only our solutions meet the needs of developers and conform to the mission-critical demands of ops teams. And as users increasingly access applications via smartphones and tablets, we alone are able to support the entire range of interactivity and connectivity…

Well, that’s certainly got some awesomeness potential inherent, doesn’t it now? If you’re excited enough to check out what is definitely a work in progress judging from the release notes, head on over to github!

h/t: @rentzch via @kwigbo!

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Xcode 4 Migration

So no doubt by now even if you are hiding under a rock you’ve heard that Xcode 4 is the default download with the iOS 4.3 SDK, so if you’ve been putting off looking at the seeds like we have … now’s the time to upgrade! And here are some resources to help you with that, beyond the obvious ones at the mothership and in the WWDC 2010 videos.

First off, read this — as advertised, super mega awesome — review by Martin Pilkington:

Xcode 4: the super mega awesome review

So it is finally here. Xcode 4 has been released into the world and we are now allowed to talk about it. As my review of Xcode 3.2 went down really well I thought I would have a go at reviewing Xcode 4 in depth. I’ll also be publishing other posts over the next few days going in to some of the bigger changes since 3.2 in more detail and hopefully helping you migrate. I’ve also put in radar numbers for all bugs and feature requests, so you can file duplicates or so any of the Xcode dev team reading this can find them…

At writing time images had been removed due to excessive popularity; fireballed version here if that’s still the case for you.

If you like screencasts, Pragmatic Studio has six of them here to introduce you to various features:

Bonus Tracks tagged ‘xcode4′

You will almost certainly want to print yourself out a copy of Cocoa Samurai’s

Xcode 4 Keyboard Shortcuts

If you aren’t subscribed to the xcode-users list, you might want to drop by the archives to see what informative tidbits pop up the next little while. Like this one for instance:

… I proceeded to install it over my current installation. After the installation, I was still able to find IB plugins that were now appearing as standard directories, since Interface Builder is gone. Well, maybe I should retract what I just said. It does seem that the installer package correctly removes Interface Builder but it also seems that it “forgets” some obsolete files as well. I then proceeded to uninstall the developer tools with the script, then re-installed Xcode 4. I saved around 3GB over the installation that was done over the existing Developer directory…

If you’d like a book, there’s one coming from Peachpit, although hopefully their writing quality is better than their predictive ability:

… Here’s my not-so-surprising prediction: Xcode 4 will likely be released to the masses alongside Lion sometime around Summer of 2011…

Given that, not surprising that today they tweeted:

… Xcode 4 has been released. In other news, Josh is writing faster …

… Author’s current status: /

Heh. Good luck with that!

That’s about it we’ve noticed so far; any other resources, intros, hints, tips, or tricks to add, Dear Readers?


If you’re an AppKiDo user — try regular or iPhone interim builds, or visit github for source.

A minimal project template for Xcode 4

Well-taken documentation rant; note the pointer to the Ingredients documentation viewer.

Video: How to setup XCode 4 and GHUnit to do TDD on iOS

If you really *really* need to … Using ppc and 10.4 SDK With Xcode 4

Xcode4: make a library in one file that works on BOTH device AND simulator

Using Git Versioning inside your XCode Project

Xcode 4 Tips and Tricks at Stack Overflow

Xcode 4 Performance Tips at Stack Overflow

Xcode 4 Hidden Features at Stack Overflow

Top 10 Annoyances XCode 4 Fixed For Me

Objective-C Singleton Template for XCode 4

Xcode 4 versions of Solarized Color Theme; and xcode4themes github repository

Creating Static Libraries For iOS

How to create an IPA (Xcode 4)

Can’t symbolicate XCode4 archive builds?

Show TODO’s and FIXME’s as warnings in Xcode 4

How to check memory leaks in XCode 4? is a gentle introduction to Instruments

Fixing Xcode 4′s symbolicate utility to get comprehensible crash logs

About XCode 4 Project Template

Creating custom project templates in Xcode 4

Automating Xcode 4 Template Generation

Clearing Xcode 4’s Derived Data

Creating Custom Xcode 4 File Templates

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