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The Craftsman iPad Game 11 November 2013

Portal Entertainment Logo
Very recently the world's first thriller for the iPad hit Apple's App Store. The Craftsman is an immersive digital, plugged in to The Internet, experience which was born out of the answering the question "How would Alfred Hitchcock tell a story today"? Earlier this year I was hired as an Objective-C developer to join the team Portal Entertainment, a London startup, put together to produce an early version.

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Raw Duck Incubator Logo
Two factor authentication is all the rage. Many banks have sent their customers tiny plastic devices, that look like calculators, to put their cards into when doing online banking, and Git has recently introduced it. Usually supplying a username and password is a single factor as these are things you know. By adding in a second factor, something you have, systems can be made much more secure. Recently I worked on a system that turns your mobile phone into the second factor, the thing you have. Great idea, you probably already have it with you.

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App Prototype Developer

Going from prototype to market is a pain.

This article is aimed at product owners, project managers, budgets holders and business executives. Technical people are probably going to nod and repeat "Yes, I know" as they read it.

Whenever the intended audience want to create a large amount of emotional turmoil in the hearts and minds of technical folk they ask questions such like :

"Why is it that a prototype can be produced quickly and the first release to market takes exponentially more time?"

"Surely a good portion of the work was achieved creating the prototype?"


These sorts of questions are asked all the time and this thinking is quite often the seeds of later unhappiness. A clear majority of the time the prototype is used to create the first version, whether it is a minimum viable product (MVP) or not. Money and emotional investment has been spent creating a prototype and apparently an efficiency can be realised by using it as the start point for the next phase.

I propose the chances of easier early, and also sustained, success can be promoted instead by engaging with the exact opposite idea. Once the decision has been made to move forward throw the prototype away and create the first production version from scratch.

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Xcode Logo
One of the central mechanisms in the architecture of an iPhone or iPad app is a UINavigationController, there is at least one in most apps. This class is similar to a view stack found in other application frameworks and for the most part works very well. One drawback, and this has as much to do with iPhone and iPad application architecture as it does the UINavigationController itself, is the decentralised approach to navigating between children UIViewControllers. Not having details that relate to one aspect or your application, in this case navigation, in one place in your code can make things hard to find and this frustrating situation can be made more so by the use of storyboards, but that's another conversation entirely.

The situation can very easily be improved ...

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Rare Breed Digital Agency Logo
Rarebreed, a London digital agency, recently arrived at the place all agencies visit where they wanted to create something for themselves rather than for a client. Something the design team could sink their teeth into. They chose to build an iPhone App which they could use internally with clients when scheduling meetings and they asked me to develop it.

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Xcode Logo
I am sure many Objective-C developers, iOS or OSX, have been in the situation where the backend API needed for the project they are working on has not been developed by the time they need to start writing the code that will access it. In organisations such as creative agencies, startups and software companies it is not always possible to synchronise resources to perfectly suit all the current projects' timelines but with a mixture of creativity and technology, conveniently wrapped up in a utility called SimpleObjectiveCAPIService, this simple bottle neck can be negotiated.

It is only correct that I point out now that this utility has been created more to assist with iOS app development rather than provide production ready network utility. If you are developing an enterprise iPad app or an iPhone app that has to cope with dynamic connectivity situations this utility is more than likely going to fall short of your needs.

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Xcode provides integration with Git which remains of the most popular distributed repository systems choice for developers. The only other one I have used recently is Mercurial, SVN seems to be fading into the background and as for CVS, I am probably just showing my age now. This tutorial will demonstrate how to back up the Xcode Git repository for your iOS project. This includes how to bundle up all of the Objective-C you have written, the Nib files and all the supporting files for your project and upload them from your machine on to an Amazon S3 bucket in two clicks.

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Adobe Air Runtime
Following on from my research into the differences between native or cross platform mobile phone / tablet development I decided to build an app that would run on both an Android phone and my iPhone. I chose to develop it using Sencha Touch (and PhoneGap) as this framework easily lends itself to similar application architecture encountered when undertaking Flex application development with Robotlegs or PureMVC.

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University of Kent logo
Earlier this month I enjoyed one of the perks of being a member of the universities' Digital Media Industrial Panel and delivered a lecture to the students studying digital media. There was obviously only one thing for me to talk about ... Native vs Cross Platform Mobile Development.

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Recently I have been looking into the popular choices, platforms and frameworks, currently used to develop mobile phone apps and I have collated my findings here. This post has a day to day production considerations, is reasonably technical and is aimed at decision makers, team leaders and senior developers. If you are a freelance mobile developer you may find this article a primer when deciding which mobile phone technology you feel is worth pursuing.

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