Video: Forward Swift 2017 – “What’s this React Native Thing I Keep Hearing About?”

Here’s the video for the talk on React Native I did for Forward Swift in March of 2017 in San Francisco! I’m very glad I didn’t have to wait until November for this one – the Forward Swift team has done an amazing job of getting out their videos in record time!

Evan K. Stone: What’s This React Native Thing I Keep Hearing About?

In our daily lives as iOS developers, we can usually happily keep coding away in Swift and ignore what’s going on in other software development communities, like that of JavaScript. However, there may be some advantages to at least becoming familiar with what’s going on in the world of React Native, and in this session you will get an overview of what React Native is, and why it could be a useful addition to your toolbox an iOS developer.

Video: AltConf 2016 – “Saving Lives with iBeacons”

Evidently this got posted to Realm’s website back in November, and I was not informed. Better late than never!

Evan K. Stone – Saving Lives with iBeacons

You’ve probably heard of iBeacons, but have you seen them up close or developed apps for them? iBeacon technology is a fun and easy way to start working with Bluetooth Low Energy devices. Cloud City Development has been working with Pop Up Labs at MIT to help develop a solution for educating health professionals about the Maker Movement and how it positively affects the medical community. With the help of iBeacons, health professionals have learned how to start creating their own devices and tools!

In this talk from AltConf 2016, Evan will introduce you to iBeacons, show you examples of how to interact with them in an iOS app, and demonstrate how iBeacons were implemented in a Medical Maker Kit. By helping medical staff learn about the items in the kit, they are able to get creative, build new projects, and ultimately save lives! This talk will give you a glimpse of what can be accomplished with iBeacons and will encourage you to think of new ways in which Bluetooth Low Energy devices like iBeacons can be used to design and develop creative solutions that enhance the experience of life!

React Navigation: a Collaborative Effort in the React Native Community

React Navigation for React Native is “collaboration between people from Facebook, Exponent and the React community at large” as this comment on the project’s GitHub page indicates:

React Navigation is born from the React Native community’s need for an extensible yet easy-to-use navigation solution. It replaces and improves upon several navigation libraries in the ecosystem, including Ex-Navigation, React Native’s Navigator and NavigationExperimental components. React Navigation can also be used across React and React Native projects allowing for a higher degree of shared code. Once stable, NavigationExperimental will be deprecated in favor of React Navigation. React Navigation is a collaboration between people from Facebook, Exponent and the React community at large.

Also interesting is the revealing that React Native’s NavigationExperimental will be deprecated in favor of this new navigation system.

Details can be found here:

How to Bring Back the Star Rating in iOS 10 Music App

This was really bugging me because I don’t care for the Heart button Love/Dislike function in the latest versions of the Music app.

Therefore, to bring back the star rating in iOS 10 Music app, you can do the following:

  1. Open the iOS Settings app from your Home Screen
  2. Find the settings for the Music and open it.
  3. About the fourth item down is the “Show Star Ratings” switch.
  4. Switch it on.

When you enable the star ratings, you will find a new “Rate Song…” item when you tap on the song’s ellipsis button in the detail view of a playing song, with which you can rate the song with stars instead of Love/Disliking it.

Based on information found at iPhoneHacks.com

 

Posted in iOS

Zero to BLE Part Two Core Bluetooth Post Updated for Swift at Cloud City Development Blog!

I’m happy to announce that I recently updated Part Two of my Zero-to-BLE series on Core Bluetooth Post Updated for Swift at Cloud City Development Blog! It’s been updated for Swift 2, because when I wrote it, Swift 3 hadn’t officially been released and I honestly thought it would be published well in advance of the September 7 Apple Event.

Zero to BLE on iOS – Part Two – Swift Edition

Better late than never!

Who knows? Maybe there will be a Swift 3 version in the future? For sure all my code samples will be in Swift 3…

Hope you like it!

A New Adventure

This weekend I finished and uploaded to the App Store a new version of an app I’ve been working on for the better part of this year. I uploaded version 1.0 in June and it took an extremely long time to get just one or two extra features into 1.1, and I was at long last able to get it submitted. With the average times for reviews being in the two-ish region, I’m hoping it will be up in the middle of this week.

But then there comes the next project.

This is one that I started in 2014, when I was desperate to get back into iOS development. I was stuck in a bizarre job situation in which the commute to my job was amazing – twenty minutes long through the rolling hills of Sonoma County! However, the work was clearly not in my primary domain (as far as iOS and mobile development was concerned), since it was doing Windows and a ton of SQL Server-related development. It was a pain that I could not deal with any longer.

During that rather painful time, an idea had germinated in my brain about a new app that I could develop. It is that same design that I came up with in 2014, which I have decided to reboot and develop in my off-time.

Who knows how long it will take. Perhaps I won’t be able to release it until 2017 or 2018, but it will give me the focus and drive for the Next Big Thing for myself and Interactive Logic.

In the meantime, if you need an app developed during the 9-5, please contact me or Cloud City Development, as we would be more than happy to make your app idea come alive much sooner than my humble side project!

iOS 9 Tips: Convert a Website to a PDF in Mobile Safari

I do this all the time on my Mac. I like having a PDF version of websites (as opposed to printed versions). This really comes in handy with pages like receipts. Now we can have this functionality on iOS too.

Thanks to TechCrunch for this tip!

Convert Website to PDF in Mobile Safari

Need to save a website to a PDF for some reason? You can!

It’s a bit obfuscated, but there’s a button for it in iOS 9’s build of Safari. Bring up the share sheet, then scroll the middle section over a bit until you see “Save PDF to iBooks”. Tap that, and voila! You can then share this PDF via email via the iBooks app.

How to Query Custom URL Schemes in iOS 9 (Hint: it’s different now.)

This was a new one on me and I discovered it accidentally.

In one of my apps, NineOneOne ~ One-Touch Emergency Dialer, I query for the presence of the Skype app, so that an emergency call can be placed using Skype instead of the phone app.

Why would one want to do this? Well, as it turns out, I wanted users who had an iPad or an iPod Touch to be able to use NineOneOne on those devices without the presence of the phone. The obvious candidates were Skype and Google Voice, and at the time Google did not provide a way to launch Google Voice via custom URL scheme. Therefore Skype was it.

Prior to iOS 9, this process was super easy. Just call UIApplication’s canOpenURL method:

self.skypeEnabled = [[UIApplication sharedApplication] canOpenURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@"skype://"]];

Unfortunately I noticed that this was breaking in iOS 9 and there was a little message in Xcode’s console:

This app is not allowed to query for scheme skype

…and this baffled me since I hadn’t heard of any changes to this API and it seemed like a pretty standard and common function to use.

The New Way
It turns out that, while this method still works in iOS 9, you have to take an extra step beforehand. At about the 10-minute mark in the video for Session number 703 at WWDC 2015, you will find that the presenter shows the new process going forward.

You need to open up your Info.plist file, and add a new record, LSApplicationQueriesSchemes, define it as an array, and then add the schemes that you will be querying in your app to that list:

LSApplicationQueriesSchemes-skype

Once I added that key and the “skype” URL scheme to the array in the Info.plist, the URL scheme querying immediately started to function again!

This strikes me as a way for Apple to keep track of who’s-querying-who’s-app by using the app’s metadata, and also for iOS 9 to deny any URL scheme queries that are not in the list, so we need to now be explicit up-front about which URL schemes we are interested in.

Understanding How Notifications Work on Apple Watch

I’ve had my Apple Watch for a little while now, and I have really found myself relying heavily on it as a device primarily for notifications.

The one thing that has really bothered me, however, is the somewhat random nature in which notifications are delivered to The Watch. I’m not sure I want all notifications to go to the watch, but I’d certainly like to know why some don’t end up on my watch and others do.

Finally I thought I’d take the time to find out, since I happen to be doing a lot of work lately with push notifications in iOS and I was wondering why certain notifications were delivered on my watch and others weren’t.

Turns out Apple has a little explainer on their support site that addresses that very subject:

About notifications on your Apple Watch – Apple Support

In a nutshell the rules go like this:

  • If your iPhone is unlocked, you’ll get notifications on your iPhone – not your Apple Watch.
  • If your iPhone is locked or asleep, you’ll get notifications on your Apple Watch, unless your Apple Watch is locked (i.e. you haven’t entered your passcode).

As a side note, the support article also mentions the following:

When you dismiss notifications on your Apple Watch, they’re also dismissed from your iPhone. You might get certain notifications on your watch that you need to respond to using your iPhone.

I hope this helps others who may have been a little mystified about how notifications work on Apple Watch!