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!

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!

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!

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!

How to Add an Internal Tester to TestFlight If They Already Have an iTunes Connect Account

As a consultant, I’ve had this situation come up many times, and it’s very frustrating because Apple doesn’t allow an Apple ID to belong to more than one iTunes Connect account.

The scenario is that you have a client or friend that you would like to be an internal tester in your organization’s iTunes Connect account, or, perhaps it’s the corollary situation in which you have a client who has their own iTunes Connect account and you need access to their account as a tester or admin or developer. I’ve had this situation come up both ways, and here is how I’ve dealt with it.

The main requirement is that your prospective tester has a Gmail account. I’m not sure if this trick works with other email systems but it definitely works with Gmail. So if they they do, then you should be good to go. These days most individuals and companies are using Gmail as their provider so I haven’t run into anyone that this didn’t work with yet.

On with the process!

In nutshell, to circumvent Apple’s crazy limitation, you can do the “+appname” trick on their Gmail email address. For example, if the person I want to add is “fred@myclient.com”, and the name of the app I’m working on is “Awesome App” I would send him an invitation as “fred+awesomeapp@myclient.com”. Their Gmail-based mail system will let the email through just fine.

Then, they create a new, separate Apple ID with “fred+appname@myclient.com”, and iTunes doesn’t complain. iTunes Connect emails get sent to the right place because Gmail just treats them as the same account, and then your client (or you) can have multiple iTunes Connect accounts with what amounts to the same email address.

Then when they receive the follow-up notification to join TestFlight, it arrives at the right email address, and when they tap the button in the email it opens TestFlight on their device, they sign in with their normal Apple ID (even if it’s fredjones@gmail.com), and then they’re in.

It feels a bit hackish, but it works!

I’m pretty sure I learned this technique from this blog post, which also has some other great suggestions for working with clients and getting their builds up to the App Store, which is a subject for another day…

Announcement: Lightning Talk @CocoaConf San Jose 2015!

This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

I was already signed up for CocoaConf San Jose 2015, and just a couple of weeks ago they announced in a conference email that they had four slots open for Lightning Talks. I immediately jumped at the chance.

Thankfully (and amazingly)… they accepted!

I don’t want to spoil the presentation since, after all, it’s only a five-minute presentation. However, I will say that the theme is Saving lives with iBeacons and it focuses on the combination of iOS, iBeacons, and Healthcare.

The talk came out of a recent project I was working on for a client of Cloud City Development and I thought would be perfect for a talk at a conference, and the client agreed!

Therefore, I am super excited that I can do an abbreviated version of the talk at CocoaConf San Jose, and I really hope I can do in a more robust, full-featured version in the future… but first things first!

See you there!

Quick list of what’s new in Xcode 7.1

What’s new in Xcode 7.1

Xcode 7.1

Xcode 7.1 adds support for new iOS devices and the new Apple TV. Xcode supports storyboards, unit and UI testing, playgrounds, and crash logs features for tvOS.

Interface Builder

  • Storyboards now support 3D Touch gestures such as Peek and Pop.

Debugging

  • Swift error breakpoints can be created in the Xcode debugger.

    Swift errors activate defined Swift error breakpoints when the error is thrown. You can edit Swift error breakpoint so that they are activated only for a specified Swift error type.

Enjoy!