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Pixate Reboots Their Kickstarter (Scandal)

Paul Colton contacted me on July 17th, a week before they went live with their first Kickstarter campaign. Always happy to support my fellow iOS developers I agreed that I would make Linguan available for a reward if they could make it work. Unfortunately Kickstarter’s rules prohibit offering of products that the project owners didn’t make themselves. So that tie-in never materialized.

Colton launched Pixate as a product that promises to allow you to use a CSS subset to style UIKit controls instead of doing that in code or Interface Builder. People who hear this tend to fall into two categories: “WTF? Keep that non-native HTML crap away from me!” and “Awesome, now I can design my UI in Safari”.

Their promise certainly is a polarizing one. I find it even more fascinating and unsettling what seems to be going on behind the scenes. The latest developments triggered my sense of fairness quite a bit and this prompted me to summarize what I feel deserves to be called a scandal.

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Time-Limited Demo of Our Components

I’m happy to announce today that we will begin to make available test versions of our components so that you can try them out in your apps. This is possible with the help of our Jenkins build server which installs a “time bomb” on every nightly build of the components. This limits the utility of the static universal frameworks to 30 days of testing. Of course you can download a new copy as often as you like to further extend the testing time. But you cannot publish any production apps with that.

Our best-selling component is DTRichTextEditor and also by far the most complex because of the multiple sub-projects. Here’s a guide how to get set up for evaluating the component.

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Podcast #41 – “Megabytes of Who-Knows-What”

Apple updates Xcode 4.4, seeds the first point release for Mountain Lion, and somehow manual symbolicating of crash reports has become broken.

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iCatalog+

Our partners at International Color Services (ICS) have been rather busy throughout the summer. The main reason is that we released the next major update to the iCatalog.framework, adding several new features which are nowadays a “must have” for a state-of-the-art digital catalog experience. We call it simply iCatalog+ because it offers way more than just catalogs.

Several catalog clients already have their free iCatalog+ on the App Store, you should definitely check these out.

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Software Update Server Guide

Once you get to a level of having more than a single Mac you might find it a bit of a hassle having to download and install all updates for all your Macs from Apple over the Internet. When you check for updates then every Mac will by default connect to Apple’s catalog of updates and download the updates from there.

This is where a Software Update Server (SUS) starts making sense. Let me share some things that I learned over the past 2 days investigating how to best set this up for our work group in the office as well as for all the Macs I have at home.

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iPhone 5 Fake Rumor Roundup

Current rumors about the next iPhone are that it will have a 4″ screen, a smaller SIM card and will probably start with pre-orders on September 12th. We’ve heard all that, that’s old news.

Following in the footsteps of the fake Asymmetric Screws rumour which was planted by Swede Lukasz Lindell (and friends) I felt a sudden wave of sadness crush on me when I realized that I simply lack the amount of creativity that goes into constructing a good Apple rumor. If only I was creative enough to think of several such good and believable rumours, I could probably make a living just from the blog traffic alone. #linkbait

So I vented this frustration on Twitter and to my surprise many people took this as an invitation to chime in and also play the game. Here’s a roundup of the best fake rumors I’ve heard. If you respond with a good one I’ll add your contribution as well.

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Smart App Banners

How often do you get annoyed by the following? You look up something on Google on your iPhone and you find an answer in a forum. When you click-through the search result the forum does not just show you what you were looking for, but it pops up a large annoying alert informing you that with their native app the reading experience would be so much nicer. And it does so even if you gave in some time earlier and had already installed the app.

Fortunately it has been announced that Apple will include a smart solution to this problem in iOS 6. Safari will gain the ability of automatically displaying such banners.

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Podcast #40 – “Happy App.net Day”

App.net reaches their funding goal, Apple releases Xcode 4.4 and almost kills armv6 support and a crowdsourced system estimates review times more accurately.

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Cubed CoreAnimation Conundrum

Closed Box

One of the big mysteries of CoreAnimations are 3D transforms. You might have seen them used in popular apps like Flipboard (page turn) but there are hardly any good tutorials in how they actually work. In fact, you find only one from 2008 what was written when OS X Leopard was still around.

I blame that there are several things that are counterintuitive about using 3D transforms and perspective with CoreAnimation why not more people play with it … and then write up what they learned in some useful guide.

Session 421 Core Animation Essentials  from WWDC 2011 had an example of 6 squares that would animate into a three-dimensional box that the presenter could even rotate around. That inspired me to figure out how to do this as well, and with the help from several people on twitter I was successful.

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Unit Tests Don’t Bite

You might have heard about the term “Test Driven Development”. The idea is – as I understand it – that for every problem you find in a component of your apps you create a Unit Test that fails. Then you fix the bug. The Test now passes. This can be carried further by writing your test cases even before you write any implementation code.

Especially when encapsulating your frequently-used code in static libraries or frameworks those unit tests can help save you a lot of grief. Imagine adding some nifty new feature to inadvertenly  introducing a bug that would break some other existing functionality. If you run the unit tests they would show you immediately that your change broke something.

In this blog post I’m summarizing a couple of things to help you get your own unit tests started.

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