Waytte has been launched!

I’m pleased to announce that my first app: Waytte has been released today in the App Store! It’s been a long road getting here and we couldn’t be more excited! Waytte is a productivity tool that allows you to track time against important events in your life while sharing the expectation with family and friends.

For more information about the app and downloads please visit our info page.

Automating your build numbers

There are two keys in your project’s .plist file that allow you to identify your application’s build, wether it’s an Apple submission, an ad-hoc, a development or enterprise build. Good management of these keys can simplify your development workflow specially when it comes to submitting builds to iTunesConnect and getting debug information from users and test devices.

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Simplify Your Keychain Access

Understanding how to work with and leverage the power of Keychain Services is an essential part of iOS development. The SecItem API’s comes as part of the Security framework in iOS and allows you to save sensitive user information inside the Secure Enclave built into all iOS devices. In case you need to be in the know, the Secure Enclave is defined by Apple as:

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Pro Tip: Boolean chaining

You might occasionally reach a state where a status is defined by a sequence of boolean values. This is common occurrence when dealing with state machines, here’s an abstracted example:

var isConnected : Bool = true
var hasData : Bool = true
var isDataStale: Bool = false

var isDataReadyForPresentation : Bool {
  return isConnected && hasData && !isDataStale

Depending on the complexity of your state machine, the definition of the variable ‘isDataReadyForPresentation‘ would be sufficient, but if calculating this value depends on a sequence of  a large number of values, you quickly will loose readability on a long line of boolean conditions.

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Managing user input

When dealing with user input, Murphy’s Law will always apply in full force: “Anything than can go wrong will go wrong”. Or as Douglas Adams would have it:

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools”

This is a common crux for us developers: how do we architect a completely foolproof system? There are many routes you can take to do this, but in this particular blog post, I would like to focus on a specific aspect of this: managing user inputs.

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I find it hard to believe that any developer can deny the importance and usefulness that a right use of hashes can offer their applications.

From security and data management to object comparisons, hashes are used extensively throughout the framework and should, in the right circumstances, be used by you as a developer when the time merits them. But, what exactly is a hash? Simply speaking it’s a form of encryption that maps data of arbitrary length to a data object of a fixed size (number, string, etc),  but if you want to get all technical you can read this article on Wikipedia, wherein it explains hashes and it’s use through hash functions:

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Automating keyboard layouts

Normally, developing a keyboard interface starts with putting a UITextField, a UITextField, or another UIResponder into your application’s view hierarchy…

And then this component becomes a statement: “From here forth, I declare this view to be a keyboard input view”. Except… Well… it isn’t, or at least doesn’t act like it. Unless you manage the layout of your content by implementing your keyboard notifications, the app’s main view will not respond or adapt to the keyboard update, and all sort of messed up situations can arise from this, like the keyboard overlaying your UITextField, UIScrollViews not being able to scroll or UITableViews not being able to display their last rows of content.

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Extending UIColor

After writing my previous article: “Subscripting Shortcuts” I tried to come up with a good usage of string subscripts in iOS, and decided a good example was to boost the power of UIColor by adding a couple of initializers that catered for two more widespread colour notations that are more common in the design and web industries: 255-RGB and HEX.

In this tutorial we will make use of our favourite tool, categories, to extend the base power of the framework’s UIColor class and allow for new ways of creating colours. Bear in mind that these initializers are geared towards speeding up development processes in sacrifice of  performance, specially when it comes to communications between developers and the design team. They will inherently produce a very small performance overhead on any app that adopts them (specially the hex conversion, as we will be doing string parsing and string parsing is ALWAYS expensive). Having said that, unless we iterate though a huge amount of colour objects, we can safely consider the knock-on effect as dismissible.

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Subscripting String Shortcuts

The use of subscripts in Swift has added a few nice features to its predecessor in Obj-C, not only for reading, but also for writing your own implementations.

If you are not familiar with subscripts, they define the logic that allows you to write shortcut accessors and setters for objects that can be understood as a collection, and are most commonly used in Arrays and Dictionaries:

var array = ["Hello", " ", "World", "!"]
array[2] //subscript returns "World"
array[2] = "Everybody" //The word "World" is now replaced with "Everybody" using a subscript

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