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Design: Creating An App with HTML/CSS And Sencha Touch

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As you probably know there are many frameworks that allow you to develop native iOS apps with the interfaces designed with HTML/CSS.

The big question then is how do you create that app’s interface?  Sencha Touch is one possibility.

I’ve found a  tutorial that goes into detail on how to design a great looking mobile web app that looks like a native one using HTML/CSS using the Sencha Touch library that looks and feels just like a native app.   What I really like about the tutorial is that it goes through the design process step-by-step.

The tutorial is from Jen Gordon who’s set of beginner native iOS app design tutorials I previously mentioned.

You can find the tutorial here:
Create An HTML/CSS Mobile Web App Using Sencha Touch

You can test out an expanded version of the app built in the tutorial here (use your iPhone):
http://senchalearn.github.com/roookies/?style=demo

This information is great to know not just for web apps, but a useful guide if you plan on creating a native app using a wrapper framework like Phonegap.


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Tutorial: iOS Map Kit For Beginners Guide

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In the recent past I mentioned a great open source example for beginners interested in using the Map Kit on iOS devices, and utilizing several open source projects.

I’ve come across a couple of excellent beginners tutorial on how to parse an XML feed, and display the contents on the map.  Another giving a good explanation of the Map Kit class and several code snippets for solving common Map Kit problems.   These tutorials take a different approach form the open source example that I mentioned, and no libraries outside of the iOS sdk are used.

The tutorials are from Azam Sharp and can be found  in 2 parts here:

Introduction to MapKit Framework for iPhone Development

Consuming XML Feed and Displaying Public Information on the MapView Control

Great stuff if you are just beginning to use the iOS Map Kit.


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Tutorial: iOS Multithreading With Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) Basics

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As a user it can be extremely frustrating if you’re using an application and you have to wait an extended period of time while the application updates.

Sadly this was pretty common when the app store was new.  The devices were slower, the networks were slower, and many apps weren’t using multi-threading in places they probably should have.  I remember becoming frustrated many times using an RSS reader, waiting for the article list to update, and then waiting again for the article to display.

Thankfully Apple introduced Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) with iOS 4.0.

Multithreaded programming with GCD can still be intimidating.  I’ve found a great step-by-step guide which breaks things down into a step by step guide explaining things fully every step of the process of downloading data asynchronously and updating in real time.

The tutorial is from Ray Wenderlich, the creator of the Space Game Starter Kit and co-author of the Learning Cocos2D book, And Can Be Found Here:
Multithreading And Grand Central Dispatch On iOS For Beginners Tutorial

An excellent example of a tutorial that makes a complicated subject seem so simple.


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Open Source: Library For Easy Data Saving/Loading

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There are many ways to save data on iOS devices.  Some like a database are likely overkill for a game, and other methods like serialization are great, but things could still be easier.

I’ve found a very cool time saving library that allows you to easily save and load ints, floats, and NSString’s to an automatically created .PLIST file.  No fuss at all just one line of code to save, or one line to load each of these datatypes.  A nice simple quick solution if you want to install some simple data saving into an app.  If you need to save a few floats of game data it is an ideal solution.

The library is ABLFXSaveSystem from Alexander Blunck and can be found on Github here:
https://github.com/ablfx/ABLFXSaveSystem

A cool example of a simple, but useful open source library.


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