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Apple's Swift Logo
Recently on my journey learning Swift, Apple's new programming language, I decided to re-write my Objective-C View Stack utility using only Swift and it turns out you can't. Well you can't at the moment, it's worth bearing in mind that Swift is in Beta at the time of writing and could change at short notice.

Working around the problem is really easy though and it is this type of situation where Objective-C knowledge is going to remain important for developers focussed on Apple’s iOS and OSX platforms.

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European Patent Office Logo
Last year I was approached by the European Patent Office and asked whether I could help them with their plans to produce a mobile version of their Espacenet product. The proposal provides an interesting case study in the type of consultancy that precedes the production phase of enterprise grade mobile applications..

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That's Advertainment17 November 2013

While I only have eyes for Crystal Palace someone I am friends with on Facebook is a Sunderland Football Club supporter. At the beginning of this season when Paolo Di Canio’s position at the club was looking to be under threat, Sky Bet started offering odds that he would be the first manager of the season to go.

They posted the question on Facebook and when my friend interacted with the post it appeared on my timeline. At first I was curios, I am not connected to Sky Bet but how had this advert for one of their current bets appeared amongst the pictures of cats and babies that make up most of my Facebook content?

I started reading the comments and read the type of responses you would expect from a football topic. Opinions and the ability to express them ranged widely. I got drawn in, it was very entertaining and that in a nutshell, is Advertainment.

Facebook Ad

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The Craftsman iPad Game 11 November 2013

Portal Entertainment Logo
Very recently ‘the world’s first thriller for the iPad’ hit Apple’s App Store. The Craftsman is an immersive digital, plugged in to The Internet, experience which was born out of the answering the question “How would Alfred Hitchcock tell a story today”? Earlier this year I was hired as an Objective-C developer to join the team Portal Entertainment, a London startup, put together to produce an early version.

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Raw Duck Incubator Logo
Two factor authentication is all the rage. Many banks have sent their customers tiny plastic devices, that look like calculators, to put their cards into when doing online banking, and Git has recently introduced it. Usually supplying a username and password is a single factor as these are things you know. By adding in a second factor, something you have, systems can be made much more secure. Recently I worked on a system that turns your mobile phone into the second factor, the thing you have. Great idea, you probably already have it with you.

2013-10-04-ios-authentication.png

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App Prototype Developer

Going from prototype to market is a pain.

This article is aimed at product owners, project managers, budgets holders and business executives. Technical people are probably going to nod and repeat “Yes, I know” as they read it.

Whenever the intended audience want to create a large amount of emotional turmoil in the hearts and minds of technical folk they ask questions such like :

“Why is it that a prototype can be produced quickly and the first release to market takes exponentially more time?”

“Surely a good portion of the work was achieved creating the prototype?”


These sorts of questions are asked all the time and this thinking is quite often the seeds of later unhappiness. A clear majority of the time the prototype is used to create the first version, whether it is a minimum viable product (MVP) or not. Money and emotional investment has been spent creating a prototype and apparently an efficiency can be realised by using it as the start point for the next phase.

I propose the chances of easier early, and also sustained, success can be promoted instead by engaging with the exact opposite idea. Once the decision has been made to move forward throw the prototype away and create the first production version from scratch.

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Xcode Logo
One of the central mechanisms in the architecture of an iPhone or iPad app is a UINavigationController, there is at least one in most apps. This class is similar to a view stack found in other application frameworks and for the most part works very well. One drawback, and this has as much to do with iPhone and iPad application architecture as it does the UINavigationController itself, is the decentralised approach to navigating between children UIViewControllers. Not having details that relate to one aspect or your application, in this case navigation, in one place in your code can make things hard to find and this frustrating situation can be made more so by the use of storyboards, but that's another conversation entirely.

The situation can very easily be improved ...

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Rare Breed Digital Agency Logo
Rarebreed, a London digital agency, recently arrived at the place all agencies visit where they wanted to create something for themselves rather than for a client. Something the design team could sink their teeth into. They chose to build an iPhone App which they could use internally with clients when scheduling meetings and they asked me to develop it.

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Xcode Logo
I am sure many Objective-C developers, iOS or OSX, have been in the situation where the backend API needed for the project they are working on has not been developed by the time they need to start writing the code that will access it. In organisations such as creative agencies, startups and software companies it is not always possible to synchronise resources to perfectly suit all the current projects' timelines but with a mixture of creativity and technology, conveniently wrapped up in a utility called SimpleObjectiveCAPIService, this simple bottle neck can be negotiated.

It is only correct that I point out now that this utility has been created more to assist with iOS app development rather than provide production ready network utility. If you are developing an enterprise iPad app or an iPhone app that has to cope with dynamic connectivity situations this utility is more than likely going to fall short of your needs.

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Groupstr Ipad App Logo
Written in Objective-C, Groupstr is a native iPad app aimed at users of Flickr Groups which you can download from Apple's Appstore. Should you not have a Flickr account or any Groups associated with your account, I have set up some demonstration credentials. Username : groupstr_tester and Password : gr0upstr_t3st3r, let me know how you get on. If you are looking to hire a London based freelance iOS developer I have also included are details of the concepts I covered, and tools used, while building this app on this blog post.

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