Programming

Usually when you hear a good idea, the first thing you do is think of necessary features in order for that idea to work. You probably jot down (or think) of all the things you want this project to do and have. Most of the time, you’ll over feature the project. It’s ok; we’ve all done it. Up until recently, when new ideas were thrown at me, I would write down everything I wanted the project to do and would spend hours and hours building it. Most of these projects ended up nowhere. As it turns out, when you add too many features, your to do list becomes bigger and bigger. When your to do list gets too big, you tend to get unmotivated and end up never finishing. Even if you do finish, you won’t be 100% satisfied with your end product. Had I been smart back then, I could’ve used my time for better things. It turns out that all I had to do was think in simpler, more realistic terms. The first thing you have to realize is that your product is probably not going to make it. That’s depressing to hear and you probably hate me now, but let’s just think for a minute. If you spend all of your time working on these unnecessary features now, you’ll never know if your actual base concept works. Why not try it out first? Finding out whether or not people are interested in your core product should be your #1 priority. To see what you really need, just ask yourself “What do I need to have in order to see if this idea will take off?”. Look at it realistically – don’t dream of things. When you’re realistic about your idea, you’ll find your set of core features a lot faster. When you have something out there that people are using and that you’re getting feedback on, you’ll know what you need to add. It’s always best to add things to your project when you know what people are actually using it for. Look at Twitter for example;…

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It’s interesting to know just how often you’re sitting on your computer wishing that you could easily send whatever you’re looking at to your mobile device. Last year I was working on a project called Blurbii, which was a Mac, iOS and Web app that gave users the ability to do nothing more than drag and drop resources to the menu bar, and instantly receive a push notification to their iOS device with the content they sent. It never launched. Monetizing would be a nightmare. It’s such a niche product, etc. Today though, I’m releasing Blurbii for Mac. You still drag and drop pieces of text to the menu bar icon. Instead of receiving a push notification though, you get a QR code that you scan on your mobile phone. It’s awesome because you don’t need an iPhone (even Blackberry has a QR scanner). I’ll be improving Blurbii a bit more through the next couple of weeks. My goal is to get file sharing in there. QR Scanner will be updated to handle Blurbii displays and shy away from just being a QR scanner. There are hundreds of scanners on the App Store. I want mine to be different. If Blurbii interests you as a project, follow me on Twitter: @raphaelcaixeta. I’d love to hear your feedback! Download Blurbii, v1

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There comes a time after you’ve done the same thing for a while that you begin to feel like you’re an expert. That’s awesome for you. A great feeling. A feeling where you feel like you’re in absolute control. That’s also where a comfort zone is created – and although good, it can often prevent you from exploring new things. Things that you would love if tried, but you’re too scared because what you’re doing works. Try to step out of your comfort zone once or twice. It may feel weird at first, but after you get the basics down, it may be better than what you were doing previously! If not, oh well – you were good at something before that. Don’t ever settle for just good and stay complacent. Keep it moving until it’s perfect. And then make it even better.

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Although Google Chrome is *essentially* nothing more than a UIWebView skin on iOS, it’s still a much better browsing experience overall. The one thing that really kills Chrome is the fact that all apps will launch in Safari by default. But there’s a way to prevent this. It takes co-operation from all of the major developers, but if implemented, could be really, really cool. Here’s a quick run down on how it works: When the user clicks the “Open In Web Browser” option, here’s the code that needs to be implemented in order to default to Chrome, but fallback to Safari if Chrome is not installed. 1 2 3 4 5 if([[UIApplication sharedApplication] canOpenURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@”googlechrome:”]]) {     [[UIApplication sharedApplication] openURL:[NSURL URLWithString:[NSString stringWithFormat:@”googlechrome://%@”, myURL]]]; } else {     [[UIApplication sharedApplication] openURL:[NSURL URLWithString:myURL]]; } Why is this a good idea? If a user has Chrome installed, chances are they wish that it would be their default browser. And this method works. Very well, actually. Again, just an afternoon’s thought. But it would be awesome to see it come together. Agree? Disagree? I’d love to know why. Email or tweet me. Update: A lot of people have emailed/tweeted me saying that it’s unfair for me to say that Chrome is “just a UIWebView skin”. I definitely didn’t mean to downplay the hard work that went into making Chrome for iOS. The speed difference doesn’t bother me, and it’s my default browser on all my iOS devices. I simply meant that due to Apple’s restrictions, Chrome uses the UIWebView without all of the awesome things that make Chrome, Chrome.

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Creating an iOS web app is extremely simple, yet extremely underrated. Advantages to web apps include being able to instantly “push” updates of your app, not having to go through the Apple approval process, and multi device compatibility. Making your web app feel like a native app is not so hard, and with the following HTML tags, your app should be looking good in no time. Please note that all of the following tags go in between your HTML’s <head></head> tags. Setting the application’s icon The application icon is what the user will see when they add your web app to the home screen. <link rel=”apple-touch-icon” href=”app_icon.png”/> If you don’t want the gloss, use this instead <link rel=”apple-touch-icon-precomposed” href=”app_icon.png”/>   Setting the application’s loading image If you’ve used an iPhone app before, you know that before being able to use the application, a “splash” image shows up until the app is done loading. Setting this in your web app is super easy as well, here’s the tag you use – <link rel=”apple-touch-startup-image” href=”loading_image.png” />   Make the application “Full Screen” If you want to hide the Safari navigation controls so that your application appears “Full Screen”, the following line will do the trick. <meta name=”apple-mobile-web-app-capable” content=”yes” />   Changing status bar types iOS has several different types of status bars. Black, translucent and the default white gradient bar. If you don’t want the default white bar, here are the different META tags that can be used to switch them up Default <meta name=”apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style” content=”default” /> Black <meta name=”apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style” content=”black”  /> Black Translucent <meta name=”apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style” content=”black-translucent”  />   Allowing your user to scale your app If you don’t want your user to be able to pinch to zoom in / out of your app, the following tag will help you out. <meta name=”viewport” content = “width = device-width, user-scalable = no”   />

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