iOS Dev Break Episode 009: It Was A Very Googly Experience

The latest episode of iOS Dev Break has arrived! This one was recorded just before WWDC, and a new episode will be published shortly!

It Was A Very Googly Experience – IDB009 | iOS Dev Break

In this episode: The return of iOS Dev Break! Adventures with the Google Play Store, Swift 4 and the Codeable protocol, plus AirPods and their amazing user experience!

Google Chrome Pro Tip: How to Merge Multiple Tabs from Two Google Chrome Windows

I have been wanting the ability to merge two window’s collections of tabs in Google Chrome for some time now, because moving one tab a time from one window to another is tedious at best.

I thought I’d need an extension for it, but it turns out that you can already do it in Chrome without any extra extension! I found this tip on the Google Chrome Product Forums, which tells how to do it:

Merge two windows with multiple tabs

Left-click the first tab in the window you want to merge. While holding the shift key, left-click the right most tab. All of tabs for the current window are now selected, so you can drag and drop them as as group on the other window.

One thing the tip doesn’t mention is that you have to keep holding down the Shift key while doing this process to move all tabs, otherwise it shifts back into single-tab-move-mode.

Hope this helps!

Video: Forward Swift 2016 – “How Hot Is My Coffee? Sensors, Core Bluetooth and Swift!”

Somehow I don’t think I broadcasted this when it was available so now seems a good a time as any…

My Core Bluetooth talk from Forward Swift 2016, “How Hot Is My Coffee? Sensors, Core Bluetooth and Swift!” has been up since last year, but thankfully it’s still up!

Evan K. Stone: How Hot Is My Coffee? Sensors, Core Bluetooth and Swift! – Forward Swift 2016

Fitbit, Withings, Nest. The Internet of Things (IoT) innovation tidal wave has just begun, and those are just three of the more well-known players in the IoT and connected gadget landscape. It’s critical that iOS developers know how to connect and interact with BLE prototyping devices using the Core Bluetooth Framework provided by the iOS SDK. In this session, you’ll get the jump-start you need to begin creating engaging apps that bring these devices to life.

Big thanks to the awesome folks at Forward Swift!

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:

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!

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.