12
Feb
2010
 

Accessing The Cloud From Cocoa Touch

by Matt Long

Everything is moving toward the cloud and unless you’re building calculators, unit converters, or miniature golf score keepers your iPhone app needs to know how to get data from it. In this blog post I intend to demonstrate how to set up a simple server application and how to retrieve data from it and post data to it using Cocoa Touch. I have chosen to use PHP on the server side because of it’s simplicity and ubiquity, and because I’ve know it, somewhat. You should, however, be able to implement something similar using your server side language of choice.

In many cases when you go to access remote data, you do so through a web service API. While services based on such technologies as SOAP or XML-RPC are standards that provide reasonable methods for retrieving and updating data, REST seems to be the methodology gaining the most ground lately. For our purpose in this post I won’t get into great detail of how to implement a REST base web service as, again, REST is not a specific implementation but rather a methodology. (Read up on it elsewhere if you don’t understand what this means). However, I will talk about it briefly so that you can get on the right path for doing your own REST implementation.
(more…)

 
30
Jan
2010
 

Getting “Real Work” Done

by Matt Long

I had to post a link to this one as well as Fraser does such a great job explaining why the iPad is so compelling . From Fraser’s post:

The tech industry will be in paroxysms of future shock for some time to come. Many will cling to their January-26th notions of what it takes to get “real work” done; cling to the idea that the computer-based part of it is the “real work.”

It’s not. The Real Work is not formatting the margins, installing the printer driver, uploading the document, finishing the PowerPoint slides, running the software update or reinstalling the OS.

The Real Work is teaching the child, healing the patient, selling the house, logging the road defects, fixing the car at the roadside, capturing the table’s order, designing the house and organizing the party.

Exactly! The iPad is genius and it will revolutionize not just books, magazines, etc., but it will revolutionize computing as we know it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the new SDK fired up and ready to start rocking some apps and it is a very exciting new platform!

 
28
Jan
2010
 

Fun With UIButtons and Core Animation Layers

by Matt Long

Upon first glance, the UIButton class doesn’t seem to provide what you might expect in terms of customization. This often causes developers to resort to creating buttons in an image editor and then specifying that in the Background field in Interface Builder. This is a fine solution and will likely give you what you need, but with Core Animation layers there is a simpler way to achieve the look you want without having to create an image. This post will demonstrate how.
(more…)

 
20
Oct
2009
 

Marching Ants With Core Animation

by Matt Long

Marching AntsOur Core Animation book should be available by the end of the year. Go ahead and pre-order it now at Amazon if you would like ;-). When we started writing for Addison-Wesley back in September of 2008, I had no idea how long to expect it to take to finish a technical book as this was my first. One thing I discovered though, is that it is when you are about ready to go to production you start to realize all of the things that you probably should have added to the book, but didn’t think of in time. This blog post will cover one such item as a way to make up for not thinking of it in time. I may include this in a second edition if there is one, but consider this one a freebie. (more…)

 
23
Sep
2009
 

UITableViewCell Dynamic Height

by Matt Long

At first glance setting a height dynamically for table view cells seems a little daunting and the first most obvious answers that come to mind are not necessarily correct. In this post I will show you how to set your table view cell heights dynamically based upon the text content without subclassing UITableViewCell. You can subclass it, however, doing so does not make the code much cleaner as setting the height is done in your delegate for the table view itself rather than the cell anyhow. Read on to see what you need to know to make dynamic cell height sizing a breeze.
(more…)

 
11
May
2009
 

Magical iPhone View Controllers

by Matt Long

Update: This is documented behavior.

Every now and again while doing development you stumble upon something that makes you go, hmmmm. Those are normally the moments at which you have to ask yourself, “is this a bug or a feature”. If it’s a bug, then you should file a radar with Apple, however, what if it’s a feature? You blog about it, of course!

I have done a bit less iPhone development than Marcus, so he was a little stumped while looking through some of my code where I created a view controller using a simple alloc/init. Most interestingly is that fact that the app works. It loads the correct nib and displays the view just fine without any trouble. Notice I said alloc/init and not alloc/initWithNibName. How can this possibly work? How did my controller “know” which view to use?
(more…)

 
3
Feb
2009
 

Record Your Core Animation Animation

by Matt Long

Every once in a while I find a way to combine multiple technologies that, while they don’t produce anything terribly useful, are very interesting when combined. In this post I will be taking a look at combining Core Animation and QuickTime. As you may or may not be aware, you can draw in a graphics context while your Core Animation animation is running and add each image created to a QTMovie object from QTKit. This enables you to create a QuickTime movie of your Core Animation animation. Here’s how.
(more…)

 
13
Nov
2008
 

Landscape Tab Bar Application for the iPhone

by Matt Long

As you develop applications for the iPhone, you will likely use the project templates provided in Xcode. One such template, called “Tab Bar Application” helps you get a tab bar application set up quickly, but by default the application it generates only supports portrait mode for display. So how can you make the application also support landscape or even only support landscape? In this post we will address that question.
(more…)

 
5
Nov
2008
 

Core Animation Tutorial: Interrupting Animation Progress

by Matt Long

Starting and stopping animations in Core Animation is as simple as adding and removing your animation from the layer upon which is being run. In this post I am going to talk about how to interrupt animation progress and how to determine whether an animation completed its full run or was interrupted. This is accomplished with the animation delegate -animationDidStop:finished.
(more…)

 
27
Oct
2008
 

Announcement: Marcus’ Core Data Book Just Went Beta!

by Matt Long

Core Data BookA lot of hard work has gone into this book already and I see it becoming the definitive text on the subject of Core Data. The release date is slated for March 30, 2009, but it’s great to see it in beta. If you want to pick up the beta in PDF, it is available now from Pragmatic here: Core Data: Apple’s API for Persisting Data under Mac OS X.

While new Cocoa programmers will find it a great help to getting started quickly with Core Data, the book also covers some really interesting and advanced topics such as data versioning and migration, Spotlight/Quick Look integration, Sync Services, and multi-threading. You can really see Marcus’ command of the subject shine in these chapters which are already available in the beta.

Give Marcus some feedback on the book as it progresses. It’s going to be a great reference for any Cocoa Developer looking to harness the power of Core Data.

$21.00 for the beta PDF
$41.35 for the beta PDF plus hard copy when it’s released in March.

Mad props to Marcus. Congratulations!

 
25
Oct
2008
 

Core Animation Tutorial: Slider Based Layer Rotation

by Matt Long

It is often helpful to create a custom control for you application that will display a value as a level like a gas gauge shows how full your tank is. In this post I will demonstrate how to create a three layer tree that will show the current rotation of a circular layer as the value from a slider (NSSlider) is updated in real time. The layers include the root layer, the rotation layer, and a text layer that will display the current rotation in degrees.
(more…)

 
1
Oct
2008
 

Cocoa Touch Tutorial: iPhone Application Example

by Matt Long

Similar to one of my first blog posts on building a basic application for Mac OS X using xcode 3.0, I am going to explain for beginning iPhone/iPod Touch developers how to build the most basic Cocoa Touch application using Interface Builder and an application delegate in xcode 3.1. This tutorial post is really to provide a quick how-to. I won’t go into any depth explaining why things are done the way they are done, but this should help you get up and running with your first application pretty quickly so that you too can clog the App Store with useless superfluous apps (kidding… just kidding).

If you are a visual learner, it may be helpful to you to instead watch a video presentation of this tutorial. I’ve posted it on the site, but you’ll have to click the link to see my Cocoa Touch Video Tutorial.
(more…)

 
24
Sep
2008
 

Core Animation Tutorial: Core Animation And Quartz Composer (QCCompositionLayer)

by Matt Long

Last night at NSCoder night, Fraser Hess was asking question about being able to draw in a Quartz Composer View (QCView) about which none of the rest of us had any knowledge or experience. As I’ve been doing a lot with Core Animation lately, I asked him if it was possible to just make the view layer backed and start adding layers to it. Fraser hasn’t worked with Core Animation much yet, so he was unsure. The other three of us set to looking at docs and making demo apps. The race was on… Oh. It’s not a race? Sorry about that. I thought we were practicing for Iron Coder…
(more…)

 
10
Sep
2008
 

Core Animation Tutorial: Rendering QuickTime Movies In A CAOpenGLLayer

by Matt Long

I’ve been experimenting a great deal lately with OpenGL and QuickTime trying to see how the two technologies work together. It’s been a bit challenging, but fortunately Apple provides two really great resources–number one, sample code. I’ve been able to learn a lot just from the samples they provide in the development tools examples as well as online. And second, the cocoa-dev and quicktime-api lists are great. Lot’s of brilliant people there who are willing to share their knowledge. It’s very helpful, prohibition to discuss the iPhone SDK notwithstanding.

Getting two technologies to work together can be a challenge especially when the bridges between the two are not necessarily clearly laid out in documentation. As I pointed out Apple provides some excellent sample code to help you along, but there is no hand-holding approach to any of it. I actually appreciate that having come from the Windows world as it seems that there all you get sometimes is hand-holding where Microsoft doesn’t trust you, the developer to figure things out and really own what you’re doing. But I digress (wouldn’t be a CIMGF post if I didn’t dig on MS a bit).
(more…)