Our DNA is written in Objective-C

Category Archive for ‘Q&A’ rss

Adding Fading Gradients to UITableView

Jason Jardim asked (4 Months ago):

This is just a screen shot I found with someone posting a similar question.  I am trying to fade out he top/ bottom cells in a tableview. How do I achieve this effect?

First of all, Jason, I am sorry it took so long. I was extremely busy during the past few months but I kept your e-mail at the bottom of my inbox as something that I am really interested in to give a good answer to.

Let me make it up for you by proposing several solutions to your question as well as show one that I find the coolest.

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Is it safe to install iOS 5 on your everyday iPhone?

On the heels of the iOS 5 announcement I started getting a multitude of e-mails asking more or less the same thing:

I have only my everyday iPhone for developing, so usually I am careful with updating. Do you think that iOS 5 is sufficiently developed and error free to install it on your main phone?

Sorry, but actually my first reaction to this question is to laugh out loud. But – once I have regained my composure – let me give you a serious answer to this question which is probably really not meant as a joke.

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Prepaid 3G Data for Visitors to the USA – Truth and Fiction

As a fellow iOS Developer you might find yourself in San Francisco for WWDC or maybe on assignment. If you’re like me then you cannot survive with a modicum of connectivity. Unfortunately AT&T has visitors jump through hoops and has loads of horror stories in stock to deter people from getting what they really want.

Thanks to my sponsors at Scribd I’m here in San Francisco for the second time this year and I would like to summarize what I have learned about your options when it comes to getting affordable wireless data for the short time you’ll be in the USA.

So far I have found two viable options, the easier one being with T-Mobile, the harder but ultimately more enjoyable one going via the main iPhone carrier in the US, AT&T.  Read more

Tons of Changes

Devin Snipes asks:

I’ve advanced in my iOS development and have officially started work on a client project. My client has requested tons of changes since I told them the application was complete. Should I keep doing these changes or just stop. I under-charged them, made several thousand changes and also felt like I over-worked myself. How would you deal with this?

My second question is related to the somewhat ‘legal’ matters of iOS development. Do you have a standard iOS development contract that you request your clients to abide by? If so, could you send me a copy or could I look over it to get some idea as to what I should do.

Both are really good questions. (“Good question” usually means that they don’t have a simple answer)But let me attempt to go back in my own experience and give you a couple of pointers as to how I dealt with exactly the same situation and what I learned from it.

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What Impact will new Web-Technologies have on iOS Developers?

Jamar Parris asks:

I’ve really been contemplating whether to focus my efforts on one versus the other as I’m still new to both technologies. What impact do you think will HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, etc have on Objective-C iOS developers?

The question web versus native is one that makes waves every once in a while when there is support for a new formerly native technology in browsers or when Apple rejects an app. Let me expand my answer a bit, as there were a couple of recent experiences that serve well to underline my opinion on this question.

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To Universal or Not

Daniel Wood asked:

Considering making a Blockees universal. What are people’s thoughts on universal apps? Good for users, but splits sales between devices.

My first gut response was, that IMHO users love universal apps, whereas marketeers and financiers hate them. HD or “for iPad” versions can generally be sold for a higher price.

Daniel then voiced his fear that if you have an universal app you might “dilute” your download rank on iTunes. Again I responded from my feeling that I don’t think that this is right. Daniel challenged me to prove it. And so I will.

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Accessing the iOS System Log

Peter Reinhardt asks:

The app AppSwitch displays the console entries from NSLog logging in the iphone app. I tried to figure out how they do it but couldnt find an API. Do you have an idea?

Intriguing question! My first gut reaction was that the guys from AppSwitch must have some magic sauce as I didn’t know of a way to access the console log on device like the Xcode organizer is able to. My first response was that probably they are doing some stderr bending as is possible with c++. But then I bought the app to see their trick with my own eyes.

In this blog post I’ll show you how that’s done.

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JSON versus PLIST, the Ultimate Showdown

Communicating with web services you have to decide on a way to transport the date back and forth. Recently – with the help of the popular Twitter-API – JSON seems to have come ahead in the race. Other contenders are property lists and XML. Property Lists (PLISTs) are available in XML-Text and a binary (“old”) format and are widely supported in the Apple APIs which makes them a joy to work with.

JSON files on the other hand are easy to be generated server-side as they are basically just concatenated text, much less verbose than pure XML. The binary alternative might also be a contender when it comes to performance in transmission and parsing, provided some component is installed on the server to generate them.

In this blog article we are trying to answer the question once and for all what you should use in your own apps.

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Bars Like the New York Times App

Elias Sanchez asks:

Hello Oliver. Quick? Do you have any tips in making a toolbar appear/disappear? Trying to mimic what the NYT app does when looking at an article. Is it using Core Animation perhaps? Can’t find anything out there. Any ideas? ThxU

Looking at the NYT App you can see that they do quite a bit of manipulation of the bars of which there are 3: Tab Bar, Navigation Bar and sometimes a Tool Bar.

For beginning iOS Developers it might seem daunting to combine all of these for the effect that the NYT App achieves. In this article I give you an analysis of what they did so that you have their techniques at your disposal, too.

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How to become GREAT at iOS Development

I’m interested in getting your questions because answering them helps me structure the material in my head. And there’s a saying that “what you teach you learn”, because of that.

Devin Snipes, an aspiring young iOS Developer asks:

Hello Dr. Touch,

My name is Devin Snipes, I’m 15 years old and I’m an iPhone Developer. I’ve been following your work for a little less than a year, and I’ve grown to love it. Your work is amazing, and I hope to someday be as good as you are in programming for the iOS platform. I currently have a few iPhone applications on the AppStore, but nothing compared to yours.

I’d like to ask you a few questions that will hopefully give me more insight on your developmental skills and how I can improve on my skill.

Well, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. If somebody asks so nicely I’ll usually try to respond with something useful.

1. How did you become so great at programming for the iPhone?

I’m doing it full time only since last December. And before that I was looking at code on most days for a couple of hours. Do you know the rule of 10,000? It says that if you want to be world-class in any field you have to invest 10,000 hours in total. Before I got into developing for the iPhone I was collecting programming time for many years. So I probably reached 10,000 a while ago. But that’s not strictly Cocoa time. At 10 hours a day it takes you around 3 years to reach 10,000. So I’m probably around 5,000 hours doing iPhone stuff.

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