Posts for 'Development'


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iComics is one year old!

October 1, 2013 •

Blimey, I’d been so busy working on iComics these past few days that this completely slipped my mind!

On the morning of September 25, 2012, Apple approved version 1.0 of iComics and made it visible on the App Store. iComics has now been officially available to the public for over a year. Holy crap, that was fast. XD

If I am able to reflect on iComics and its development right now, all I have to say is this: this project has been hard. Bloody hard. Possibly the hardest one I’ve undertaken yet. For something you’d think as simple as opening up an archive file of images and rendering them to the screen, it’s actually WAY complex than what I was ever anticipating when I first opened the project in November 2011.

The app is a constant psychological battle with the user to try to distract them from noticing any load times, at the same time, being a technological battle of co-ordinating multiple concurrent threads, ensuring the next set of pages is ready to go… hopefully without some kind of conflict crashing the app. If anything, this has made me appreciate all of the other comic reader apps on the App Store as well, as they would have all gone through the same thing.

Ultimately, when it came to the design and feature-set of iComics, I’ve ended up pretty much choosing the hard route for every design challenge I’ve faced. I’ve written pages of custom UI code for a tailored look and feel, I’ve re-implemented Apple code from later versions of iOS so it’s backward compatible down to iOS 5 (So I can PROUDLY say that iComics supports ALL iPad models :D ), and I’ve spent months developing a multi-threaded algorithm that can cache pages of a comic, simultaneously as the user is reading through it. For each of these things, there was always an easier solution, but I firmly believed that by taking the time and effort to perfect each of them (well… getting them to stop crashing), iComics will have become a great app that users will feel is better than the rest. :)

On the App Store, I couldn’t be more happy with the current ratings of iComics. It’s more or less 4.5 – 5 stars in most countries, with many glowing reviews. In any case, simply knowing that I made an app that most people agreed wasn’t a complete waste of their money is enough to put me over the moon. XD

At this point, however, iComics is absolutely no where near finished. While I was really hoping to implement collections quickly, I spent the majority of this year tracking down critical bug reports users were reporting (Mainly involving certain comics loading pages incorrectly, corrupted RAR files, and solid archives breaking) and having what new features I’ve added ruin the threading algorithm again. And on top of that, trying to work out a new design for iComics after Apple dropped iOS 7 on us. XD

In any case, while I can’t promise when the next version of iComics will drop, I can definitely promise that I will not give up until iComics is the most awesome DRM-free reader on the App Store.

Thank you very much to all of iComics’ users! I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

iPokédex. Now one year.

July 15, 2012 •

Hey everyone.

I almost missed this, but thankfully I was somehow reminded of it last Friday.

As of the instant this blog post was published, iPokédex has officially been offline for precisely a year now. Wow. That was fast.

I thought I’d just quickly say, thanks again for all of the support everyone has given me. It was thanks to all of this kind feedback that made me think it was something worth pursuing.
(Also, even though it’s taken down, please stop asking for an Android version! XD)

I can’t really say anything for certain right now, but thanks to my trip to GDC earlier this year, iPokédex making a comeback isn’t fully off the table at this point. And as such, I haven’t given up. :)

However, there’s nothing I can do about it in the immediate present, so right now, I’m continuing my work with iComics. :)

In any case, fingers are still crossed! Don’t give up hope! :)

Zooming to a point in UIScrollView

January 14, 2012 •

(Updated March 2015) I’ve rewritten the code for zooming to a CGPoint in a UIScrollView to be even better in a new blog post. Go check it out!

If there’s one piece of functionality that has become basically boilerplate on iOS, it’s the concept of double-tapping a zoomable UIScrollView to quickly zoom in on a given point. When I was writing the code for displaying pages in iComics, I assumed that this would be a really simple thing to do. I mean, surely all you’d need is a UITapGestureRecognizer attached to a UIScrollView that passes the location of any double-taps to the scroll view… right?

Nope. XD

Turns out that although there is a UIScrollView method called ‘zoomToRect‘ (which lets you zoom to a specific CGRect region of a UIScrollView), out-of-the-box, there is no official way to procedurally zoom into a specific CGPoint. This actually surprised me greatly since I would have thought it would be a standard part of UIKit.

In any case, I did a bit of searching around on Google, looking for some code that would let me do this easily. I found a few bits of code here and there, however they were written in such a way that unless the minimum and maximum scales of the scroll view were set up in a specific way (Uh, which in iComics’ case, they weren’t), the zooming wouldn’t work properly at all.

So, cutting to the chase, I decided to just roll my own category for UIScrollView to add that functionality to it. All it does is take a CGPoint (relative to the bounds of the scroll view itself) and a scale, and translates those to a CGRect that can then be passed to UIScrollView’s drawToRect method. :)

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Introducing iComics!

January 13, 2012 •

 It’s the final day of my holidays today, and I’ve been silently beavering away on a little project of mine. As with all of my projects, I usually keep them absolutely off the internet until I’ve proven that they actually are viable, and I’m not just blowing smoke. XD

One of my reasons (if not, the main reason) for me buying an iPad was so that I would be able to read digital copies of my books, without needing to lug around their paper counterparts. In terms of being able to read eBooks as ePubs or PDFs, my iPad experience has been perfected thanks to the collective efforts of iBooks and GoodReader.

Unfortunately, up until now, when it comes to reading digital comic books on iPad, while there’s a nice selection of third-party comic readers available, for many varying reasons, I haven’t found one that I’ve been truly content with. Whether it be the way page turning is handled, or even getting the comics onto the device, I haven’t found one I’m happy to stick with.

So with that in mind, I would like to announce my next iOS app project, and I’m calling it iComics. :D

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MacBook Air!!

November 25, 2011 •

Shiny...So, in my last post, I added a rather cryptic photo of an Apple product I received for my birthday. Now that I’ve spent a week breaking it in,  I can write a blog about it!

It’s a shiny new MacBook Air. Core i7. :D

Up until now, the 13″ MacBook Pro I’ve been using has been a loaner from work. And while that laptop has been absolutely fantastic, being absolutely invaluable in at work, not to mention being a great help with some of my side projects in helping further my knowledge of iOS dev, I figured that now that I’m actually starting to get requests for paid commissions, I’d be in a much better position if I bought my own hardware dedicated for that. It also means ensuring I have the proper licenses for all of the software I use is a lot easier too. ^_^;

So, after much research, and coming very close to buying a 15″ MacBook Pro, I decided to go with an Air.

Ultimately, when it came down to the tradeoff between power and physical weight, I decided that I’d rather go with a lighter laptop than a more powerful (but more heavy one) one. While the 15″ Pro is amazing, and from what I’ve seen, even runs rings around my desktop PC, I decided it was too big and too heavy for my liking. And going off the assumption that the Air would be at least as powerful as my 13″ Pro at that point, I figured it should handle everything perfectly.

And boy does it ever! :D

If you’ve had any doubts that the MacBook Air doesn’t really stand up to the Pro series (at least the lower end), you can put them to rest. This thing is extremely snappy in pretty much every case I tried, and the graphics processor can handle running at 2560×1600 at no trouble at all.

Obviously, it isn’t as powerful as most of the Pros can potentially be (eg 8GB RAM, truly quad core CPU etc), so if you’re looking to do really intense things like edit video or play games, I might recommend the Pro. But for my kind of daily usage, which consists mainly of Photoshop design, web code,  and/or iPhone app design, this thing is perfect on all counts.

I’m still wrapping my head around Lion here. There are quite a few new features to get used to. Also, I’m still trying to figure out what other apps I need to fully deck it out. I might write another blog later… XD

Alright. Here endeth the Apple fanboy post. XD

ま、iずかんはここまでだみたい。

November 19, 2011 •

やあ、みんな! ちょっと前に英語の投稿を出したが、やっぱり日本語でも投稿した方がいいと思った。 最近、株式会社ポケモンの弁護士さんから聞いたんだから。

ポケモン会社からの最初のメールをもらった時、弁護士さんはどうかほとんどのポケモンのファン作成は許可をとってなくても、許可をとった作成もあるって言った。 それを待たずに、すぐに、iずかんが許可を取る可能性があるかどうかをきいてみた。

ま、その時から、あまりちょうしに乗ってる気をしなかったから、それをあまりだれにも教えていなかった。

そして、10月に、やっと弁護士さんから返事が届いてきた。

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