Posts for 'Development'


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Laying iPokédex to rest

November 1, 2011 •

日本語版はこちらです!

Hey guys.

I thought I’d quickly let you know what’s gone down with iPokédex over the last few weeks.

When I originally received the first email from the Pokémon Company counsel for the first time, they had mentioned that even though the majority of Pokémon fan productions aren’t licensed, there are a few that had made it through the process.
Not skipping a beat, despite the fact that they also said that they don’t have the resources to license many more, I asked the counsel if they could perhaps check with licensing and see if there was any potential for iPokédex to be officially licensed.

I didn’t really broadcast this information too much (I mainly just kept saying ‘man it would be nice IF it got licensed’ XD) as I didn’t want to come off as ‘counting my chickens before they hatched’, so to speak.

Anyway, after a little while, about 2 weeks ago, I received the following email from the counsel: Continue reading

Creating the iOS 5 UITableView bevel effect

October 23, 2011 •

So, as you might be aware now, Apple decided to give a bit of an overhaul to the grouped UITableViews where each of the table sections now have a cool inset bevel effect as opposed to a solid gray line.

When I was playing with iPokédex in the iOS 5 betas, I started thinking that the new table style started contrasting with the plain white boxes in the table header (eg for the main profile pic and the buttons).

So deciding to keep the entire list style as consistent as possible, I decided to replicate the bevel effect as a CoreGraphics function that I could then apply to all of my own custom subviews. While I was initially thinking of doing the whole thing as a static stretchable image in Photoshop, it became apparent that due to the various sizes of the elements, being able to programmatically set the size of the corner radii would ultimately be a lot easier (Hooray for programming making stuff lazier!  XD).

So after a couple of hours of examining the effect pixel by pixel in Photoshop, I found out that it’s a pretty simple effect to draw, but it would require 4 layered steps to actually draw properly:
Continue reading

The new UITableView in iOS 5

October 22, 2011 •

It was immediately obvious from the get-go that Apple had decided to change a couple of the standard UIKit elemnts in iOS 5. Does anyone here actually like the new extra curvey ON/OFF toggle views? XD

Anyway. When I was playing around with iPokédex in one of the early iOS 5 betas, I quickly noticed that another UIKit element had received a somewhat subtle, but very welcome UI overhaul: the grouped UITableView!

Here’s a picture of what iPokédex looks like when it was compiled and run under the different versions of iOS. :)

Can you see the difference? It turns out in iOS 5, the groups of table cells now sport an inset bevel effect; with a 1 pixel white highlight along the bottom, a border colour that matches the background colour (as opposed to plain grey) and a VERY soft shadow running along the inner top. :D

It’s quite a subtle effect (Especially the inner shadow. That’s really hard to see. XD), so here’s what it looks like up close: Continue reading

iずかんとiOS5

October 17, 2011 •

It still works.... kinda

(This is a Japanese translation of this blog post)

iOS 5の配達より、iずかんはもっとエラーが出て、ちょっと壊れちゃった。 残念ながら通信を停止しなきゃいけなかったから、もう直せない。 もし手伝いたかったら、この請願をサインください!

やあ皆!

iOS 5がやっと出たね! 楽しみ! もうiPadを完全にアップデートして楽しんでる! いっぱい新しい機能があって、これから来る新しいアプリをよく楽しみにしてる! しかし、実はiOS 5が出る日をちょっと絶望的に待ってた。 なぜなら、iOS 5でiずかんがちょっと割れる事が分かってたから。 今まで、アップル開発の契約のとおり、iOS 5の機能は秘密で、何も言えなかった。

とにかく、アプリの本体はだいたい大丈夫みたいだね。 クラッシュとかは今まであまり見てなくて良かった。しかし、結構大変なバッグが現れたようだ。 もし、どこでもの「並べ替え」のボタンを押すと、普通のようにメニューが現れるが、終了とカンセルのボタンが消えてる。 実はそのボタンはまだあるが、上のメニューの下で表示されていて、もう押す事ができなくなっちゃった。 ^_^;

色々な方々にこのバッグのフィッドバックをもらってきたから、ここで皆に知らせを報告しようと思った。

コード敵にはこれを直すのがとても簡単だが、前に株式会社ポケモンにアプリ配信をやめるようにお願いされたから、そのアップデートが出せない。 :(

これで、とてももうしわけございませんみんな。 これじゃもうなにもできない。 そしてこれからも、iずかんがもっと悪くなる可能性があって、心配してる。 ^_^;

それに、先週の金曜日、ポケモンの弁護士さんと新しいメールがきて、何があったかを次のブログで報告する。今、iずかんをまた配信する事ができないと思うが、おそらく公式のアプリが来るかもしれない。

とりあえず、僕らができるしかない事はただひとつがあると思う。 それはポケモン会社にどれほどポケモン図鑑アプリが人気な物を知らせる事だと思います。 とにかく、ネットで請願があって、もし暇な時があったらサインください。 :)

とにかく、iずかんをよく使っていたら、iOS 5にご注意ください。 そして、アップグレードの時に、iずかんをパソコンにバックアップしてください。 アップグレードではエラーがあったら、削除されちゃうから。 ^_^;

 

iPokédex and iOS 5

October 13, 2011 •

It still works.... kinda

(日本語版ならこちらです!)
TL;DR iPokédex has become slightly broken in iOS 5. No, I can’t fix it. If you want to help out, register your interest by signing this petition!
Hey guys! :)

iOS 5 is finally out! As I write this, I’m currently taking my iPad through the long backup and upgrade process. As excited as I am about iOS 5 (I can tell you, there’s some AWESOME new stuff in there :D), I’ve actually been dreading this day. Why exactly? Well I’ve known for some time that iOS breaks iPokédex in a pretty epic way. I probably could have mentioned it earlier, but I decided I should wait until the NDA is good and done with. ^_^;

Now, while the app itself is still stable, due to a bit of my dodgy coding and lack of foresight (this was my first major version upgrade as a developer!), an issue has arisen where if you press ‘Sort’, you’ll no longer be able to dismiss the sorting menu. While the ‘OK’ button and the ‘Cancel’ buttons are still being drawn, the code I’ve written that re-positions them to be placed under the scroller view has stopped working (so they’re appearing behind it right now, out of reach). At the moment, the only way to dismiss the dialog is to fully quit out of the app (ie, remove it from the multitasking bar) and start it up again. :(

As far as functionality and usability goes, this is a pretty bad thing, and if I had submitted the app to the App Store with a bug like this in it, it would have most certainly been rejected. ^_^;
I’ve already started receiving emails from users who have upgraded to iOS 5 and have found the error.

Code-wise, this is a VERY easy thing to fix (it’s like 1/3 of a line of code). I’ve already fixed it in the version I carry around on my iPhone. XD
Sadly, however, as I was requested by the Pokémon Company to take the app down, I am unable to distribute this fix to anyone else. :(

I’m really sorry about this guys. The user experience is going to start deteriorating and there’s nothing I can do about it. And I fear it’s going to become more frustrating to watch as time passes, and more emails from users start piling in. ^_^;

Either way, I’m not going to give up until the very end. The lawyer I talked to at TPCI was very kind to me and told me they might take iPokédex over to licensing to see if they might be interested in working something out. I haven’t heard back anything at all on that front in a while now, but as it’s most likely the final avenue, I’m more than happy to wait.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help out, there may be a way for you to do so. :) When Nolan Lawson’s app Pokédroid was pulled, a dedicated young lady named Amber set up a petition to try and convince TPCI otherwise. The petition goes on the record to state that since these kinds of apps are free, and that the information contained within is easily accessible on a multitude of sites, there shouldn’t really be a compelling reason for TPCI to want to shut these apps down. Now, while the lawyer from TPCI explained to me that it’s a pretty open and shut case in that TPCI has simply decided not to allow unauthorized apps, I think the petition is a good idea, if not to simply raise awareness on the amount of interest there is on having some kind of official Pokémon reference app.

At the moment, the petition only has a handful of signatures, so head on over there and sign it!

In any case guys, if you’re a heavy user of iPokédex, I’d recommend hanging off upgrading to iOS 5 as long as you can. ^_^;

SteamerCard.

August 27, 2011 •

SteamerCard circa 2008

For the majority of my blog posts in the previous couple of days, my good pal Dean keeps point out to me that the SteamerCard entry (on the right of the page) is currently down. :P

While I’m actively fixing it now, since I don’t think I’ve actually done this before, I thought I’d explain what SteamerCard is. :D

Back in the summer of 2008, before I succumbed to buying an Xbox, I was really jealous of all of my friends who had Xbox Live! GamerCards. The whole concept of being able to embed your current gamer status as a discrete, interactive card really appealed to me for some real reason, and I was feeling sad there wasn’t much of an equivalent on the PC. That being said, considering how much I loved Steam, I thought that would be an excellent platform to have one on. :D

So I decided to build SteamerCard as another service under the UberGames banner. :) Unlike most other third party GamerCard services though, I wanted it to be a fully interactive HTML <iframe> element, and given the design considerations, completely ad-free.

The SteamerCard webapp is written entirely in a PHP/MySQL solution and works on a system of parsing the information from the Steam website with regular expressions. In the interests of reducing the number of requests made to the Steam site, the system caches the user’s information in its own local store, and updates itself on an hourly basis.

Unfortunately as of last month when the UberGames system was updated to PHP 5.3, the combination of deprecated code in its base classes caused the entire system to die. Given how heavily the base classes were integrated with the upper-level code, unfortunately it turned out that I couldn’t really resurrect the code without doing a near-complete rewrite.

So at the moment, I’ve pretty much decided to rewrite the majority of SteamerCard from scratch, whilst revamping as much of the old code in the process.

Looking back on the old design above, I’ve also decided to redo the visual look of SteamerCard while I’m at it:

SteamerCard 2011 Design Mockup

This time around, I’m building the whole thing in as much of an OOP fashion as possible, and I’m hoping to set up a system where other themes can be added as well. :)

Also, in a follow up to the blog I wrote last night, once it’s done, I’m considering open-sourcing SteamerCard when it’s finished. :D

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