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iPhone SDK And iPad SDK

iPhone SDK 3: Visual Quickstart Guide – Book Review

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I recently checked out another iPhone development book, this time one the iPhone SDK3: Visual Quickstart Guide.  I have to admit I’m a fan of the Viual Quickstart series of books, they are usually very straightforward, and if possible I like to choose short direct books before really getting into the details.

You can view a list of the table of contents along with a preview of the book by going to the Amazon page here, and clicking on the search inside the book link.

Pros

– Great for iPhone development beginners who know an OO language
– The introduction to Objective-C section is better than most iPhone dev books
– Very straightforward examples, and explanations
– Organized enough to be used as a quick reference guide

Cons

– Screenshots are nice, but can be somewhat hard to read
– Nothing about using databases on the iPhone (no SQLite or Core Data)
– Doesn’t cover many OS 3 libraries (does go into the MapKit)

My Conclusion

I would have to say that this lives up the Visual Quickstart name and is very straightforward. If you already know an Object-Oriented language then this book provides a very straightforward way to learn about programming many aspects of iPhone programming, and certainly prepares you for understanding the material provided free on the Apple website. This book isn’t for detail freaks, if you want to know every detail about something you can go looking elsewhere for an iPhone programmer’s bible. I would have liked to see more iPhone OS 3 features given coverage such as Core Data, and in app purchases.

Overall I would say this is a great way to get started, or if you’ve had trouble with one of the more in-depth books you may want to give this a shot.

The book can be ordered here for $11.90 off retail.

Thanks for reading, and please post any comments below.

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Core Data Tutorial – NSFetchedResultsController

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Core Data is an extremely hot topic, and one of the key difficulties people seem to be having is integrating Core Data with a UITableView.  This is where the NSFetchedResultsController comes in.

Marcus Zarra of Cocoa is My Girlfriend and author of the Pragmatic Programmers Core Data book has written an excellent tutorial on Core Data in the January 2010 Issue of Pragpub magazine (PDF link).  The tutorial begins on page 24.

In this tutorial Marcus explains how integral NSFetchedResultsController is in keeping the UI updated.  He goes through explaining the complicated construction of an NSFetchedResultsController, and it’s usage in a UITableView.

Marcus also goes through the implementation of four NSFetchedResultsController methods that are used to automatically notify the interface that changes have been made, and to update accordingly.

Marcus has posted a full example of  NSFetchedResultsController in an RSS reader code on Github.

Be sure to check out the above links, and post any comments below.


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If You Could Ask Someone With A Successful App Anything…

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I decided to ask a couple of successful iPhone developers if they would be willing to be interviewed for a podcast I am adding to this site, but I need your help.

I don’t want the podcasts to sound like the audio press releases that I’ve heard on so many blogs.  For one, I don’t want these calls to take longer than 15 minutes as I’m an efficiency freak, and I would also like to transcribe the calls.

So what I’m asking for is some questions, so, what would you ask if you could ask someone with a successful iPhone app anything?

Please enter your question ideas in the form below, tweet them at me, or paste them in the comments.

 

Also, if you have a successful app, and are willing to share your story (this is considerable free PR as this site gets 60k+ pageviews per 30 days) please contact me at [email protected]  Please note I’m just looking for independent developers as they make up most of the developers to this site.


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What iPhone Development Content Would You Like To See?

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I’ve been at a bit of a loss for the last few days as to what sort of content to add to this site.  There’s so many visitors coming now from the different search engines, and using the sites search engine that there are so many different things that people are looking for that I just don’t know what to talk about.  So I’ve created this survey.

Now you can take this survey here at SurveyMonkey:
ManiacDev.Com Content Survey

It took a bit of looking to find a straight up place to create a survey on for free, but you won’t need to enter your e-mail address or anything like that.  The questions are simple, they are:

1. Are there any specific iPhone development tutorials you would like to see?

Now, you can answer with any tutorials you’d like to see if you have something specific in your mind like game development, the store kit, whatever.

2. Do you feel video tutorials are helpful?

If you’ve ffollowed this site for awhile then you know that I used to create video tutorials on here (or at least try to).  While most of the responses were positive I had alot of people send me messages saying my tutorials weren’t of the highest quality audio and video (well, I’m not in a studio here), I sound like I’m out of breath etc. and this discouraged me from creating videos.  If you’d like to see videos again please say yes.

3. Should I continue the Soundboard creation video tutorial series?

I started, and got about 1/2 way though a soundboard creation series, but received alot of messages saying please just send the source code and forget the tutorials.  If you’d like to see me continue this series please vote yes.

Anyways, thanks for reading, and if you do want to answer the survey you can find it here:
ManiacDev.Com Content Survey

 


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Easier Debugging With NSLog Statements

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Something that comes up frequently, and something I’ve had difficulty in the past with myself is debugging iPhone apps.  There is a fairly easy way to alleviate that problem, and that is to place NSLog statements that print out the name of the method, class, whatever information you like to the console so that you can find out the problem area of a program, however there is a big problem with NSLog statements, and that is that they seem to use a an overly large amount of system resources.

I’m not exactly sure why it is, but I’ve found NSLog statements can really slow down a program, and having any running in the release version of your app (even though there’s no console displayed) seem to have a dramatic impact upon performance.  So you will want an easy way to turn them on, or off. 

Unfortunately, this is generally done by placing #ifdefs all over your code so that the NSLog statements are not compiled out of debug mode, but I have found a better solution.

Karl Kraft has created a debuglog statement that does everything that NSLog does, but turns off outside of debug mode.

You can download the full project here: Debuglog

The details on how to use Debuglog are included in the link on Karl’s blog.  Check it out, and it will speed up your debugging, you can even better the details of NSLog statements easily.


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