iOS Courses on Code School
Brush up on the basics, sharpen your MapKit and Model skills or take a deep dive into iOS 7 on Code School. Learn in the comfort of your browser with video lessons, coding challenges and themed courses.
CocoaPods Search and Other Updates
The CocoaPods home page got a major update this week. Front and centre now is a new search box which, given that the majority of open source Objective-C libraries now have a podspec, is probably the easiest way to find any open source Objective-C library. The guides and documentation have also had a refresh. Great work.
Contribute to ASCIIwwdc
I linked to ASCIIwwdc back in Issue 113 and it's been a tremendous resource to have over the last couple of months (I'm also glad that it didn't get taken down, thank you Apple). Mattt Thompson made a call out this week for some help in expanding the project to include transcripts of WWDC 2012 presentations. If you have a couple of hours spare, why not pick a video and write it up into a transcript?
A new version of SimPholders was released this week and has the feature I have been wishing for since I first came across it. The menu now shows a list of recently modified apps and I haven't had to dive into the full list of apps (which are still there) since installing the update. Great update.
Gathering real world usage data is always a tricky thing to do, especially on iOS. Lookback is a library that embeds a tiny usability lab inside your app to record the device screen and any user interactions alongside (optional) video and audio of the user so you can really see that WTF face when they trip up on your UI. The idea for this kind of app isn't new but the automatic upload and the lovely web playback interface make this worth a look.
Xcode 5 seems to be much better at not causing unexpected phantom issues through its use of DerivedData directory. However if you are still having problems then Watchdog should be able to keep Xcode on the straight and narrow by taking control of what is allowed to survive in DerivedData. I still use a simple alias to just rm -rf the whole folder but I must admit I don't have to do it very often these days. Worth a look if you are still plagued by caching problems though.
Developing for the M7
Conrad Stoll takes a look at the APIs available if you want to query motion information from the new M7 chip in the iPhone 5s and new iPads. The obvious use of these APIs are in fitness and "pure" motion tracking apps but I liked the comments at the bottom of the post about the use of the M7 in Day One and it set me wondering where else we will see this data popping up in the future.
Unfortunately the contentView property which was hinted at during iOS 7 betas never materialised and modifying the view hierarchy has always been discouraged by Apple. Love it or hate it, Scott Berrevoets has put together a pixel perfect complete replacement for UIAlertView. He has concentrated on getting the basics right first but also has plans for adding a block based syntax and other features going forward. If you can't avoid UIAlertView altogether then this might be some salvation.
Understanding the properties which affect view positioning was one of the breakthrough moments for me when I was learning Mac development. This post by Bartosz Ciechanowski takes an in depth look at how views on the screen get where they are meant to be.
Business and Marketing
The cost of a new mobile user exceeds their generated revenue
Not a particularly surprising headline if you have been following along but the tragic part is that this will hurt independents and smaller publishers far more than the bigger publishers that can diversify across multiple revenue streams and platforms (not just mobile platforms). For games especially, the mobile market is brutal and it's hurting playability as a result. I know I am not alone in being disappointed with Clumsy Ninja that I mentioned last week, I don't want to play that kind of game but if they are the only way developers can make money then that's what we will end up with.
To Annotate App Store Screenshots or Not
It's surprising to see Apple using device images in their App Store screenshots with the release of the Apple Store app for iPad this week (which curiously doesn't seem to be available in the UK) with their marketing guidelines specifically warning against doing this. This rule has been very weakly enforced up until now so maybe this is a rule which will be making an exit soon.
Debugging a Live Saturn V
... and you thought you had problems trying to set the right colour for your status bar.
If you're based on that side of the Atlantic then Happy Thanksgiving! If you're based on this side (or anywhere else) then Happy Friday!Dave Verwer