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Custom UIView Tutorial – 5-Star Ratings View

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There are many iPad and iPhone apps where custom ratings could be useful, such as news apps, and picture rating apps.  The problem with programming a custom UIView is that it is a pretty laborious process, and it’s easy to get something wrong along the way.

If you decide to go with the UIView approach, some of the tougher things are having the ratings follow along with your finger, and displaying the correct number of stars.  You may have noticed when browsing the web that some of these don’t work at all on iOS devices.

Building The Custom UIView

Ray Wenderlich,  the creator of the Space Game Starter Kit and co-author of the Learning Cocos2D book, has created an excellent tutorial on How To Make a Custom 5 Star Rating UIView that goes through the process of creating a custom UIView.  It is a bit laborious for something so simple, but it definitely works, and works well.

Ray’s guide is also very useful for just learning how to customize UIView’s for other purposes 🙂

A custom 5-star rating UIView is also included in the handy TouchCustoms library.

Thanks for reading, please share this using the buttons below!


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Will You Develop For Windows Phone 7?

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It’s no secret that the iPhone app store has become a crowded place.

There are hundreds of thousands of apps, and the total number of apps seems to just get exponentially larger.  It’s obvious that the iOS app store, and iOS app usage will

It’s also no secret that Microsoft Windows Phone 7 is due for release later this year and Microsoft has been trying to get developers to check out their development platform.

Some developers are so passionate about iPhone development that they won’t even give the Windows Phone 7 platform a sniff, check out this response from Dr. Touch when Microsoft sent him a letter telling him where to download the Windows Phone 7 SDK:
Dr. Touch Is Untouchable

In case you were wondering, you can download the SDK through this site:
Windows Phone Developer Site

I haven’t seen much info from those who have actually seen the Windows Phone 7 SDK up close and weren’t working for Microsoft, but the negativity of this preview from Infoworld is pretty scathing:
Windows Phone 7: Don’t bother with this disaster

Personally, I don’t see it as being that bad from what I”ve seen so far.. and I think a tech journalist writing a scathing piece like that of some software that is not even released is rather unprofessional and silly.

Here’s a video of a beta phone in action:

I did decide to download the SDK, unfortunately it took so long to install (for some reason it locked up my Vista running laptop for hours) that I wasn’t able to give it a good look through yet.

I’m not sure if I will have the time to develop on the platform, but I think it’s worth a look if you do.

I thought it would be interesting to poll to see how developers felt about it, so if you could vote below that would be great.  Thanks!


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iOS Development On Windows – 7 Options

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Some time ago I decided to list a couple of options available for iOS development on Windows. Now, months later this is still something that has been brought up recently. So I have decided to expand the list, and include some of the other solutions that have cropped up since the original posting, and some upcoming that look interesting.  Please note, that there is no official solution for developing for the iPhone SDK on Windows (and it’s doubtful there ever will be).

At this point you will need to compile your app on the official iPhone SDK running on Mac OS X if your goal is to get your app in to Apple’s iPhone and iPad app stores, use Flash’s iPhone packager, the Airplay SDK, or send someone else your code for compilation.  Now, I know there is the obvious “hackintosh” solution, but I won’t get into that, not only is it possibly illegal, but I’ve seen someone try it… and it was a major continuous hassle — every update of the OS and SDK cost them valuable hours, when they could  just get a sub-$700 Mac Mini and avoid all hassles.

That being said there are ways to develop iOS apps on windows.  Let me repeat that there is no real iOS SDK Windows edition — and most certainly not any official options despite what the marketing material of some vendors might tell you.   If you see a vendor posting false information suggesting their solution is an official Windows iPhone developer SDK then I suggest staying away.

Disclaimer: Everything on this page is subject to change. iOS development is in constant evolution. This page has been updated many times, but there is no guarantee that things will be 100% up to date at the time you read it. Deal with it.

I am limiting those shown here to those from which apps already available in the store have been created with, and some that appear to be exceptionally well done.

These Windows alternatives include game engines, html/javascript solutions for hybrid app development, and general iPhone/iPad app creators.

The iPhone Development On Windows Options

1) Flash CS5.5 – Has become a very good solution with the Flash iPhone Packager.  The packager for iOS allows you to compile apps on the windows platform.  If you’ve been using flash you can rejoice in Apple’s latest policy, it performs ok, but don’t expect highest performance games, and Papervision to run in here.  No mac required.  Something that has been asked is if it is possible to create flash iOS apps in an evironment other than the official Adobe one.. absolutely, you can compile with the Flex compiler, and package your apps for iPhone as long as you follow the asme guidelines.

2) Airplay SDK – The airplay SDK allows you to create games, and sign your app on Windows PC’s.  A great solution for both 2D and 3D games and apps because of the free offer made to indie developers.

Both these solutions can compile to code that is native to the iPhone right on your windows PC and many apps available in the app store have been created using them.

3) Unity 3D – Game development engine and editor that utilizes Boo and C# and the editor works on both Windows and Mac.

4) Stonetrip S3D – Game develop engine and editor utilizing LUA, the editor runs within Windows.

These game engines allow you to develop your apps on Windows, but you’ll need a Mac to test/compile

5) Appcelerator Titanium – This is a good solution, and has a very popular and vibrant community.  Apps are limited in performance because while they can be compiled as native apps and sent into the app store they are html/javascript based.

6) Genuitec MobiOne – This is an interface designer that uses the Phonegap framework to deliver native functionality.  It only runs on windows.  HTML/Javascript based.

These solutions allow you to create apps using web technologies (HTML/CSS/Javascript) and then run them through an Objective-C framework that responds to actions within a UIWebView, thus allowing you to access native functionality on the iPhone.  These frameworks are free.  You will need a mac for native testing/compilation.

7) Dragonfire SDK – An interesting option that allows you to develop apps using their SDK on windows.  Then you send them your uncompiled source which they compile and you download the compiled iOS application file.  You upload your code for compiliation on their server (as long as you have the Ultimate edition).  I like the syntax and it’s pretty popular so I’ll mention it.  It is a good wrapper with a nice simulator on Windows.

There are a couple of other solutions that were either in testing, required payment without any form of trial (or in some cases even screenshots), or just aren’t out yet many of them seemingly lesser versions of the Dragonfire SDK that enable iPhone development on Windows by compiling your source code for you.. Airplay SDK is probably the most advanced “iOS SDK on Windows” available free at this stage.

iPhone Development On Windows Now A Real Possibility

My suggestion is that you are really set on windows iPhone development and rdon’t even want to buy a Mac Mini is that you create your app using an html/javascript solution such as Phonegap/Appcelerator or the Airplay SDK and then find someone with a Mac and hit them up to do the submission for you.  Airplay SDK is the only free solution for creating high performance iPhone/iPad games using Windows.  You can use the Flash builder, but there are currently some performance limitations – a new edition is coming out soon.

Update: Airplay SDK has unfortunately been renamed Marmalade SDK and no longer provides a free solution for indy developers.

Best of luck, if you know of any other alternatives that enable iOS app development on Windows or if any of the info above has changed then please mention it below in the comments.


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iPhone Game Tutorial With Videos – Programming Tutorials

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Just like to turn you guys on to what is the best iPhone game tutorial with videos on the web so far in case you haven’t seen them.  Please note that this is not the simplest iPhone game programming tutorials as you will be building an OpenGL game engine from scratch.  This does also make this a great iPhone opengl tutorial.

These tutorials are from 71 squared.  They run through the steps to creating a game on the iPhone in tremendous detail, and include source code.  Included are in-depth videos.

Update:  Links no longer valid – sorry to those visiting this page, please see other game tutorials here.

Together These Make One Excellent iPhone Game Tutorial

iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 1
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 2 – Image Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 3 – SpriteSheet Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 4 – Bitmap Font Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 5 – Animation Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 6 – Tiled Map Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 7 – Singleton Class
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 8 – Particle Emitter
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 9 – Sound Manager
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 10 – Game Structure
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 11 – Joypad
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 12 – Saving Game State
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 13 – App Store Submission
iPhone Game Programming – Tutorial 14 – Moving To 3D

Update:  Links no longer valid – sorry to those visiting this page, please see other game tutorials here.

 

Now these gents are also writing a book on iPhone game programming.  So absolutely if you like their tutorials I suggest you check it out.  I don’t think it’s available for pre-order yet but you can read some info about it here.


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Building Your iPhone App’s Interface Quickly

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Hi everybody, this is the fourth installment of my series Your First Apple iPhone App Store App Step-By-Step tutorial series.  This is a 2-part lesson on building your App’s interface in Xcode’s interface builder.

Here is the video:

In this installment I create a basic project, and explain a little bit about interface builder.  I also present a small exercise at the end where I ask you to place the interface elements onto the view, and as promised I have placed the project that I created where I laid out the elements here:
>>> Download Soundboard Project With Basic Interface <<<

Please do not download the Soundboard project unless you were having trouble laying out the elements yourself, or you already understand how to do this, and don’t want to spend the time.  

This will be fairly easy for many of you, we will be getting into code soon, I promise!

Here are the action steps that I took in the video.

1) Create a new project, select iPhone application, and choose a View-Based Application (I will assume you gave it the name Soundboard)
2) Open The SoundboardViewController
3) Set Identity Inspector To List Mode
3) Remove the fake status bar at the top of the soundboard

Exercises:
1. Take components from Library, place them in View (UINavigationBar, 2xUIButtons, UITextView, & UILabel)
Optional:
1. Run Apple’s UICatalog example and learn names of common UI elements.

In the next video in this series you will look over my shoulder, design the interface, the class skeleton for our view app complete with attributes and methods, and do it in less than 5 minutes.

The first lesson in this series can be found here Your First Apple iPhone App Store App Step-By-Step Part 1


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