Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Multiple Views

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

See this heinous looking screenshot? This represents the culmination of several days of effort to completely rehaul my code so that the dice rolling occurs in a custom view. Now, I can create the dice boards dynamically. More importantly, it means that I can have more than one and hopefully switch between them.

Also, I figured out a way to hide the navigation bar so I should be able to retain much of the original look, which people seemed to like.

Navigation Bar

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008


Apparently, there are some issues with transparent navigation bars so I won’t be using those. But I managed to get an opaque navigation bar set up. Here are three versions:

Which do you like best?

  • a) the original without any bar
  • b) the one with just a bar on top
  • c) or the one with both

Doing navigation without a bar (getting it to look back like the original) would be kinda tricky for me because I’d have to write custom code to do all the switching and the other pages (history and settings) look better with the bar since they’ll be more standard iPhone interfaces. So I wanted to get a gauge of people’s opinion as to whether it was worth putting in the effort to do something like that.

Reply in the comments section!


Friday, August 15th, 2008

I’ve been in L.A. this past week attending SIGGRAPH, a conference on computer graphics. I enjoy going because it’s a chance to catch up with old friends and meet other people in the same field. I also got a chance to show off my latest version of Mach Dice. People thought the tilting 3D effect was cool but hey, we’re a bunch of computer graphics geeks.

So, the good news is that my app has been approved by the reviewing group! Sadly, it hasn’t actually made it onto the store yet, but I think it’s just a matter of time. I can imagine that they’re quite flooded with app submissions.

Developing for the iPhone Part 3: Software

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

When it comes to software, there’s really one thing you need: the official iPhone software development kit. I can’t go into much detail about the SDK because they require confidentiality when you sign up for it, but I can tell you it’s good. It contains Xcode (Apple’s software developing environment), Interface Builder (to create user interfaces), the iPhone Simulator (which does just about everything the real one does except take pictures, use the accelerometer, and make calls), lots of documentation, and lots of sample code.

To get the SDK, you just need to have an account with Apple (like iTunes) and you have to agree to their terms and conditions. Mostly, it’s stuff like confidentiality and that you agree not to write abusive software. They says it’s $99 (for the Standard Program) and $299 (for the Enterprise Program if you want to write programs that are only for your company). But you don’t have to pay until you are accepted to the program (which may take several months) and even then, you can change your mind and choose not to enroll. In the meantime, you can download the SDK for free and try it out.

The only thing the SDK doesn’t come with is media creation stuff, like graphics and sound creations tools. For graphics, the standard is Photoshop but if you’re just starting out and you’re on a budget like me, you might want to take a look at the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (gimp) which is free. That’s what I used to create all the graphics on this site and in my dice rolling app. Sure, they’re not the greatest graphics in the world but to be honest, the limiting factor isn’t the software, it’s me. Da Vinci could do more with charcoal than most people can with a full set of oil paints. Don’t let lack of graphics software be a hurdle. Just get out there and do what you can with what you’ve got.

Developing for the iPhone Part 2: Hardware

Friday, August 8th, 2008

The first consideration when developing an iPhone app is the hardware. And it basically boils down to two devices:

  • a Mac
  • an iPhone (or iPod touch)

As I mentioned before, I had never owned a Mac and I didn’t own an iPhone when I first became interested in writing an app for it so this was a bit of an expensive proposition. My advice? Try hitting up your friends who have more disposable income than you do. I’m married (no kids but single income), living in the Bay Area, and paying off a mortgage so my disposable income is close to zero. Oh yeah, good times… But fortunately, I’m in a techy kind of industry and I know lots of people who love their gadgets. Some of them even have spare laptops and phones.

About the computer: be sure you get an Intel Mac. Yes, it’s theoretically possible to get the SDK running on a PowerPC Mac but I tried it and I wouldn’t advise it unless you just want to see what the SDK looks like. I was able to get the SDK to compile my applications on a PPC Mac but after beta 5 or so, my apps stopped running on the simulator. Maybe I didn’t set all the configurations right, maybe my machine was a bit flakey, or maybe it was the OpenGL stuff I was doing. But trust me, there are enough challenges to programming for the iPhone that you really don’t need to add this one.

About the iPhone (or iPod Touch): you actually don’t need one, at least for a while. Yes, you’ll need it to test out things with the accelerometer, camera, etc. But otherwise, the simulator is very good. If you don’t have an iPhone but you’ve already got the Intel Mac, I suggest downloading the SDK and just trying it out. The simulator is good enough to give you a sense of what your final app will be like.

In the next post, I’ll talk about software issues.

Developing for the iPhone Part 1: Background

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

So, you’re thinking about developing for the iPhone. Great! It’s lots of fun and very rewarding to see your own little program running on an iPhone. There are plenty of tutorials out there but I thought it might be useful to talk about my own experiences.

I have a fairly technical background, mostly in computer graphics. I’ve programmed in C++, used Open GL, and even wrote a couple apps for my Palm OS device back in the day. When I started this project, however, I had never owned a Mac, programmed in Objective C, or even owned an iPhone. But I managed to get a simple version of my dice rolling app up and running after several weekends.

I’ll go into various aspects of my experiences, starting with hardware concerns in the next post.

Special Thanks

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I know I’ve only barely started with this whole iPhone thing, but I wanted to take the time to thank three friends without whom I wouldn’t be doing this now:

  • Bena, who gave me a really great deal on her old MacBook Pro. This is the first Mac I’ve owned and without it, iPhone app development would have been pretty tricky.
  • Josh Qualtieri, who gave me his old iPhone when he upgraded to the new 3G. Yeah, I know … pretty sweet, eh? In return, he just wants me to develop a good game for his phone. I guess that’ll be the next project.
  • Josh Anon, who helped me with general iPhone development stuff. He’s much more experienced in writing for the Mac OS (in that he actually has experience). Check out his FlipBook application.

I’d also like to thank my brother Paul who lent me his Power PC MacBook. It was good starting with that, but unfortunately the dev kit doesn’t work so great with PPC machines. I’m also indebted to my friends Matt Webb and Mike Fu who have provided moral support for general iPhone stuff. And of course, I’d like to thank my wife, Tracy, who provides constant support and critical analysis like, “Those graphics suck!”. No, just kidding. She never says stuff like that! She just thinks it. But that’s okay, it keeps me humble.

Hello world!

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

So, I’ve decided to join the 21st century and create a website. I started developing a dice rolling application for the iPhone and I need a place to point to.

Someday, I’d like to fill this site with a few more apps and maybe even a comic. But first thing’s first, better make a decent WordPress theme for this site.