Posts from the ‘Development’ Category
August 29th, 2014
I just ran across something that had me stumped for a while, I just couldn’t see it, and I would have thought the compiler would have choked on it. It didn’t, it built, and ran, and produced interesting results.
Confession time: I’m not using auto layout, yet. Why? I haven’t had the time to commit to it. Yes, I’m aware it would probably save me time in the long run. I will learn it, of course, just not today.
Anywho, back to the story.
I hade some code that looked like this, I must have been distracted mid-thought, and did a build. This code built.
self.thingView.frame = frame; self.thingView.frame
Anyone see a problem there? No assignment, no closing “;”. The code built and ran! The outcome was my view moving into strange positions during rotation for no apparent reason. Wow.
I finally had to do a diff to find it, I just couldn’t see it.
August 5th, 2014
Jared Sinclair: “Focus on a difficult problem that matters to a significant number of normal people. Don’t worry about being the prettiest or the most featured. Get your hands dirty and find out what the rest of the world is struggling with.”
These words apply to any software indie, not just someone developing an iOS Application. I’m convinced now, more that ever, that services are the way to go. Create something people are willing to pay for and give them access to it from the desktop and mobile (iOS and Android), and possibly other platforms. Guys like Rob Walling have been spreading the gospel of the micropreneur for years.
A perfect example of this in the iOS world is the work Justin Williams is doing with Glassboard. He’s following the micropreneur playbook, even if he doesn’t realize it. He’s found a nice niche market, he’s asking people to pay for the service (the nerve!) He also has a blog, where he runs ads, and has just recently changed his podcast from advertiser supported to listener supported. All very smart ways to earn a living. These ideas all run counter to the Silicon Valley idea of blowing large sums of money in hopes of an “exit.” These guys are actually running businesses, bravo.
If anyone thinks this is easy, they’d be wrong. It’s not easy. It requires long hours and sleepless nights to get things off the ground, then it requires constant supervision to make sure it doesn’t fall apart. Oh, and even if you do all of that, it can still fall apart. Hey, it’s a business. Some people have the midas touch when it comes to business and many of us do not. The majority of us will fail.
Something else in another of Jared’s posts that really struck accord: “My marriage and mental health suffered a lot because of that punchcard. I worked on Unread seven days a week, at almost any hour of the day. I think the quality and polish of Version 1.0 is due to all that extra effort, but it was physically and emotionally taxing. It’s not a sustainable way to live, and I don’t recommend it.”
This reminds me of something I read on a CompuServ (I believe?) forum circa 1988-89, back before the internet. My manager would check the forums on occasion for tips and tricks for Clipper developers (wow, what an awesome dBase compiler.) If memory serves it was in one of those forums we found a quote that sticks with me to this day. An indie developer of C extensions to Clipper said something like:
“Being a self-employed software developer is great. I can work any hours I want to work. Any 80 hours in the week I want to work.“
Food for thought if you’re thinking of going indie. I don’t mean that to discourage you. I only say that because it’s going to take a lot of work. Be prepared to do more than have a great idea. Be prepared to put in the time to make it work. Oh, yes, one more thing. After you develop this great application you have to market it. I think that’s where most of us will fail. Marketing. I’d imagine that is more important than actually developing a great service, or application.
August 2nd, 2014
I do freelance work. As a freelance developer I’ve had times where I need to write code I know others could use. I use plenty of open source software, so I figure I should try to contribute something back.
That said, I’m working on a project right now that needs to parse RSS feeds. I know there are some existing RSS parsers available for Objective-C, but I’m going to write my own for a few simple reasons.
- I need it for this project
- I can reuse it later
- I’d like to give back
- I wanted to do something block based
- I wanted to publish it using CocoaPods
This exercise is primarily about two things; Sharing and self learning.
If I’m the only person that ever uses it, at least I’ve learned something new (packaging with CocoaPods) and I have something I can use again.
Update (6PM): I’ve published what I’ve completed. Some warnings. This code is very much as is. I’ve only tried it with well behaving RSS 2.0 feeds. The code definitely stands on the backs of giants. It depends on TouchXML to do all the hard work, all this code does is create RSS objects. Do not expect much.
I still need to add CocoaPods support and it could use a bunch of unit tests. I’ve done a few, but I can go a whole lot deeper.
Anywho, lots to do.
July 3rd, 2014
Martian Craft: “Do you want a one bedroom shack for $50,000 or a mega mansion for $2M+ similar to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? As with homes, many clients opt for a starter size for their first app. This allows them to build a solid foundation that will be setup to grow with them for years to come.”
This is another great article on the true cost of mobile app development. No, it’s not the first and probably won’t be the last. As a freelance app developer I have to share this kind of news with folks all the time. I’m sure other developers have these conversations, they go something like this…
Potential Client: “I’d like to build this application.”
Developer: “Ok, let’s talk about your application.”
Potential Client: “I would like this and this and this.” (Of course I’m paraphrasing, the client is obviously excited about their product, as they should be.)
Developer: “Great, what kind of budget do you have?”
Potential Client: “I don’t have a lot to spend, how much would you charge for everything I’ve outlined?”
Developer: “It will take X dollars to develop your app, just a ballpark figure. It could be more, it could be less.”
Potential Client: [Silence. Never heard from again.]
I don’t say this to embarrass anyone. I’m only sharing it because it is true. For every 10 people I speak with about developing an application I may only get one of them to talk to me past this point.
I’m not sure if there is some sort of psychological barrier because these are mobile applications and not taken seriously, or what? In the end this is serious software that takes time, and a lot of effort, to develop.
When you have an idea for a mobile application and need a developer, remember this: Mobile Applications are real software. Think of them as your web site, or that accounting software you use every day, or maybe a word processing package from your favorite software company. Maybe that will help with the sticker shock?
If you need an iOS Application for your business or need a developer to bring that app you’ve always wanted to life. Get in touch, I can help.
June 7th, 2014
ZDNet: “In essence, Apple had one job — create a new baseline tooling for iOS and show a sympatico approach with how the rest of the industry actually operates — and they blew it.”
I don’t know anything about the author, but based on his statements I have to conclude he’s never written a line of production quality code in his life.
Would C# be great on the platform? Yes, but there is no need for the .Net runtime because Cocoa gives us everything we need and it’s not garbage collected. No need for the additional overhead.
If you’re ok with the Xamarin approach, which is very nice, then you should, by all means use it. There may come a day when I’ll have to create an app that works for both iOS and Android and that may be the best approach, until then I’ll focus on learning the native platform tools so I can provide the best experience for my users.
May 22nd, 2014
I have the pleasure of working with some great folks every day. These great folks just so happen to be great developers.
Here’s a classic quote from one of them. I just had to record it.
“It may be elegant and encapsulated, but it also has to work.” – Marius Matioc, May 20, 2014
April 19th, 2014
I happened across some old C++ code I wrote back in 2001. I decided to put it up on GitHub for kicks, might as well put some history up for future generations, right?
I was curious to see if I could build it. The original project was built with Visual Studio 6.0, circa 1998. I have a copy of Visual Studio 2010, so I fired it up pointed it at the original cp.dsw file and was pleasantly surprised it converted. I selected Build All and got a few warnings about some ATL include files I no longer needed, so I removed those. The only other thing that needs correcting are a few warnings related to use of older CRT string copy functions that are not secure. If you’ve upgraded a C or C++ project over the last few years you’ll be familiar with this warning:
warning C4996: '_tcsncpy': This function or variable may be unsafe. Consider using _tcsncpy_s instead. To disable deprecation, use _CRT_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS. See online help for details.
The code still builds and will execute, but if I were going to use it daily, I’d update it. For now, it’s OK, the code built. Maybe I’ll download a new copy of Visual Studio 2013, get it working with that, and check it in. It would be pretty nifty to create a Mac version by doing an implementation of the HttpIf interface using NSURL and NSURLConnection. This could be a GrilledCheese implementation. Hmmmmmm.
Anywho, once I got a build I hopped out to the command line, and ran it. I was surprised to see, it still works. Amazing.
April 9th, 2014
Chris Dixon: “This is a worrisome trend for the web. Mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.“
Emphasis is mine.
I don’t understand this school of thought. Most mobile apps use a web service. The web is not about a browser, it’s about the services on the web. A browser is just the lowest common denominator way to view a web service. Mobile apps are “winning” because the browser isn’t the best way to do the job on a mobile device.
On mobile we have native access to the device. We can whatever the platform allows, which is actually quite a lot. Interactions are just a lot nicer than they are in a mobile browser. We can handle everything locally then push the results into your favorite web service so you can get to it from other devices, including, but not limited to your web browser.
The browser isn’t the web. It’s one way to view the web.
April 6th, 2014
HHVM Blog: “As of WordPress 3.9, and HHVM 2.0 the following changes aren’t necessary as WP have updated their codebase to play nice with HHVM, and HHVM has updated itself to support more PHP stuff.”
I know it’s not in style to learn PHP, but it suits the old man C developer in me. I found myself reading about HHVM and Hack which lead me to think WordPress on HHVM might be kind of cool. One little Google search and what do you know, someone else had the same thought, and made it work. Not only did they make it work, but it looks like the HHVM and WordPress folks worked together to make it happen. Even better.
Maybe one of these days I’ll have time to get an HHVM based WordPress installation up an running.
November 9th, 2013
I think designing services first is the more appropriate thing to do. Don’t think about the UI first. UI’s are a dime a dozen and should be lowest common denominator (browser), up to native, high performance, best of breed (platform specific; iOS, Android, etc.) Because mobile is so important today you can’t leave that out of any discussion about web based services. Most web apps I’ve run on my phone are pretty horrible performance wise, but I can run them. If I have a choice to get a native mobile client I always opt for it because of that.
Dave accused me of calling him stupid.
@Fahrni — before you assume I'm saying something stupid, you might want to consider the possibility that I'm not.
— Dave Winer ☮ (@davewiner) November 9, 2013
Far from it, Dave. I know you’re not stupid, I just have a different idea than you, that’s all. A differing of opinion, and that’s ok. I think you’ll be very happy with your new model and out of that we’ll see some great browser apps.
I’ve talked about it before. I’d like to see the browser evolve way beyond what it is today if this is the new “OS” for the web based world. It must if we expect to create beautiful, highly usable, fully functional applications like we did on the desktop before the invention of the browser.
When the browser can evolve to a faceless shell that is language agnostic and allows us to control it like a native application controls the desktop environment, man, then we’ll have something special, until that time it will provide the lowest common denominator gateway to the web.
I’d love to see the browser community embrace the idea of a full CLI implementation and create a way to hit and endpoint URL that pulls a fully built application to the desktop that’s hosted by an “invisible” browser. [UPDATE: This part, about pulling a full app plays nicely with what Dave is talking about.] The browser should serve as the new OS giving the developer full access to a virtualized machine.
We’ll get there, some day.