brandontreb.com Tips And Resources For Software Consultants

Creating A Twitter Client For OSX – Part 1

With the upcoming release of the Mac App Store, I can only imagine another gold rush is upon us. Clever Indie developers making money hand over fist while the store as well as developers find their identities. With that being said, I feel that there is a serious lack of interesting (maintained) Twitter clients for OSX. I say “maintained” because Tweetie for OSX is just fantastic, however Twitter said they don’t have any plans for it at this time. So, I want to provide devs with the tools to create an amazing Twitter client for the Mac that I will want to use :)

Quite some time ago, I began (and never completed) a series on writing a Twitter client for OSX. It was very well received by the development community, however once Twitter switched over to OAUTH, I became too lazy to update it :( . So, I figured a tutorial series for #iDevBlogADay would be the perfect opportunity to complete it.

So we are going to start from the ground up. In today’s tutorial, we are going walk through getting the initial resources and setting up Twitter to authenticate our application. We will also post a basic tweet.

Setting Up Twitter

In order for your application to interface with Twitter, you must register it with them over at http://developer.twitter.com.

  1. Go to http://developer.twitter.com and sign up if needed
  2. Click on Your Apps
  3. Click Register A New App and fill out all of the information about your client
  4. You’re all set!

Getting Necessary Resources

I spent a bit of time researching the various options for handling OAUTH and all of the fun stuff that goes along with Twitter integration and found that MGTwitterEngine was the least painful to implement. I say least painful because it has a few quirks of it’s own along with not having the best documentation in the world.

So after battling for a bit to get the thing compiled, I have figured out the setup process :). You could also read Matt’s installation instructions, but I will regurgitate them here a little differently and hopefully be more clear. So here it is:

  1. Make sure you have git installed. If not, download it for OSX here.
  2. cd to the directory that you want to clone the files to
  3. Clone the MGTwitterEngine repository. Type:
    $ git clone git://github.com/mattgemmell/MGTwitterEngine.git
  4. cd into the MGTwitterEngine folder (we will install the dependancies at this level)
  5. Now install the dependancies (TouchJSON and OAUTHConsumer). Note: There is an option to use yajl (yet another json library), but I found it a pain to integrate, so we will just throw it out.
    $ git clone git://github.com/schwa/TouchJSON.git
    $ git clone git://github.com/ctshryock/oauthconsumer.git

Altogether, this is the order of commands you should have:

<code class=’bash’>$ cd ~/Desktop
$ git clone git://github.com/mattgemmell/MGTwitterEngine.git
$ cd MGTwitterEngine
$ git clone git://github.com/schwa/TouchJSON.git
$ git clone git://github.com/ctshryock/oauthconsumer.git</code>

Building MGTwitterEngine (What a freakin pain)

I find it interesting that this project is riddled with errors directly upon download. So much work went into it, yet it’s so challenging to get working.

Now open up MGTwitterEngine.xcodeproj. You will notice that there are quite a few missing files (they show in red). That’s fine. DELETE THEM ALL…

  1. Delete the yajl group with everything in it
  2. Delete the Twitter YAJL Parsers group and everything in it
  3. Delete OAToken_KeychainExtensions.m and OAToken_KeychainExtensions.h (they are not used)
  4. Delete CJSONDataSerializer.h and CJSONDataSerializer.m
  5. Delete CSerializedJSONData.h and CSerializedJSONData.m
  6. Click the arrow on the OAuthConsumer group and you will notice that the Crypto is missing. We still need this group, but it’s in the wrong place. Delete this group and then open up your MGTwitterEngine folder in Finder. Navigate to MGTwitterEngine->oauthconsumer. Drag the Crypto folder into your project.
  7. We need to change the C Language Dialect to C99. To do this right click on MGTwitterEngine in XCode and click Get Info. Scroll down to C Language Dialect and click the drop down changing it to C99
  8. Finally, we need to tell MGTwitterEngine that we want to use TouchJSON instead of yajl. To do this open up MGTwitterEngineGlobalHeader.h and set TOUCHJSON_AVAILABLE to 1.
  9. If you still have any hair left at this point, click Build and Run to and check out the output in the Console
  10. If you don’t feel like jumping through all of these hoops you can download my MGTwitterEngine project with all of this fun stuff completed. Download it here.

Testing MGTwitterEngine

For today’s tutorial, we will just be displaying our timeline and updating our status using the demo file provided by MGTwitterEngine. In the next tutorial, we will actually be integrating the engine into a new project. So, open up AppController.m in the Demo group. Matt has given us some nice variables to fill in, in order to make this thing work. Let’s update to applicationDidFinishLaunching method to look like the code below:

<code class=’objc’>- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(NSNotification *)aNotification
{
        // Put your Twitter username and password here:
        NSString *username = @"brandontreb";
    NSString *consumerKey = @"aKKEsJHTDNsv4xVlMHmMqw";
    NSString *consumerSecret = @"oldpeoplenakedcriscotwister";

        // Create a TwitterEngine and set our login details.
        twitterEngine = [[MGTwitterEngine alloc] initWithDelegate:self];
    [twitterEngine setUsesSecureConnection:NO];
    [twitterEngine setConsumerKey:consumerKey secret:consumerSecret];
    [twitterEngine setUsername:username];

    token = [[OAToken alloc] initWithKey:@"16369316-GgqA00WO0poCAj0XAFhJYDDRthVvWMxTnVyKdfWa1"
                                  secret:@"StrongEnoughForAManButMadeForAWoman"];
    [twitterEngine setAccessToken:token];
    [twitterEngine getHomeTimelineSinceID:0 startingAtPage:0 count:20];
}</code>

So obviously I changed my consumer secret and Access Token Secret. You will need to fill this out with your information. Here is how to obtain them.

Consumer Key & Consumer Secret

When logged into http://developer.twitter.com/apps/ , click on the application that you created in the first step:

Scroll down and you should see the Consumer Key and the Consumer Secret.

Access Token & Access Token Secret

In the right column, you should see a link titled “My Access Token”. Click on it.

Now you should see YOUR Access Token and Access Token Secret

Have Fun!

After you copy the tokens, keys, and secrets into the app, you should be able start making calls to Twitter using the engine. Build and run the application at this point and watch your home timeline get output to the console. One thing I want to point out is we are displaying an NSDictionary. That means MGTwitterEngine did all of the parsing for us (using TouchJSON), which is super rad.

One more thing to try for fun is to update your status. It will even show that you updated it from YOUR application on Twitter. Add the following line and run it again.

<code class=’objc’>[twitterEngine sendUpdate:@"@brandontreb is a code gangster!  Check out his #iDevBlogADay post on making your own Twitter client here http://bit.ly/gGrZvI"];</code>

Well, that does it for today. Join me next week when I will show you how to move the engine into your own project and we will begin displaying tweets in a basic table view.

Happy Coding!

Click Here To Go To Part 2

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</p>

This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iOS development blogs featuring two posts per day. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web site, RSS feed, or Twitter.

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Promoting Your Other Apps Within Your Apps

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. And a happy Thursday to everyone else. I’m sitting here on Thursday morning drinking coffee and eating Sticky Buns (kind of like gooey doughnuts). It’s been a hectic week of family and travel, so please forgive me if this is not the most verbose post.

Showing your other applications within each of your applications (wow, the word application is starting to lose meaning) can have a tremendous impact on your sales. It’s a great way to promote your other apps for free and will give them much more exposure across a wider audience. Moving all of the promotion logic out to the web allows you to dynamically add and remove apps from the view without updating your apps in the store.

[Insert Cool Graph Backing This Statement Up Here] //I’m not that cool yet :(

We have seen this in many popular apps. Here is a screenshot from an iDevBlogADay veteran Owen Goss promoting his other applications from inside of LandFormer.

We are going to learn how to make something similar and I will provide you with a web template as well as the view controller to load it.

Download The Template

So, I’m sure there are a million more “elegant” ways to display your apps, but I went for super simple. So, 1337 web dev idevblogadayers, please go easy on me in the comments. Download the code below and look in the Web folder.

Download The Code Files Here

Here is a screenshot of what the template will look like:

It will also work in portrait mode.

Upload The Template Files To Your Web Server And Replace My Sample Data

If you have your own website (which you probably should 😉 ), upload the template files to a subdirectory. If not, or you don’t want to waste bandwidth on it, you can always host the files on Dropbox.

Next, upload your icons (the template auto rounds the corners so you can just use the one’s bundled with your app) and replace my sample images with yours.

Finally, replace the URL’s with the URLs to your applications. You can also add/remove table cells to match the number of applications you are promoting.

Add The Promotion Code To Your iPhone App

Look in the iPhone folder from the unzipped file you downloaded above and copy the following 3 files into your project:

  • PromotionViewController.m
  • PromotionViewController.h
  • PromotionViewController.xib

Check the box to copy them into your project folder when prompted.

We will now take a look at how to display the promotion view when a button is clicked.

<code class=’objc’>- (IBAction) moreAppsTouched:(id) sender {
    PromotionViewController *controller = [[PromotionViewController alloc]
        initWithNibName:@"PromotionViewController"
        bundle:[NSBundle mainBundle]];
    controller.promotionAddress = @"http://brandontreb.com/apps/idevblogaday/promotion.html";
    [self presentModalViewController:controller animated:YES];
    [controller release];
}</code>

Make sure you set controller.promotionAddress to the web address of your promotion.html file.

And there you have it! When the user tapps on a button it will display our promotion view modally and will load up your promo page. I have provided a sample application that pulls up the promotion view when a button has been clicked.

Download The Sample App Here

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Happy Coding!

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</p>

This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iOS development blogs featuring two posts per day. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web site, RSS feed, or Twitter.

</p>



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XCode Tips And Shortcuts To Improve Your Workflow

Intro

This is my first #iDevBlogADay post and I wanted to give a quick intro before jumping in. My name is Brandon Trebitowski and I’m a software developer and author from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2008 with a bachelors degree in computer science. For the past 2 years, I have been writing mobile applications (primarily for the iPhone) for ELC Technologies.

I also started http://icodeblog.com and currently write on it about once a month.

A Post On XCode Shortcuts?

Well, I’m sure by now, you have seen countless infographics and “cheat sheets” chock full of XCode shortcuts, tips, etc… These can be great resources, however, if you are anything like me, you see these, tweet the link, and move on never looking at them again. The only difference between these and the XCode key-bindings menu IMHO is a fancy background. So, I thought I would share some of the most important shortcuts that I have adopted to really improve my workflow. We spend so much time inside of XCode, it is worth the time to learn some of these.

Build Commands

By now, I would hope that you don’t click the “Build and Go/Debug” with your mouse whenever you want to run your application. If you do, no worries, here are some of the build quick keys.

**⌘ return – **This builds and launches the application in debug mode.
**shift ⌘ return **– Kills the running application in the simulator.
**shift ⌘ k – **Cleans the build target.
**shift ⌘ a – **Build and Analyze. This is quite possible the most important command to learn. This invokes the static analyzer to help spot memory issues in your code. Run this as early and often as possible.

My general workflow after writing a bit of code is to kill the last run, clean, analyze (hopefully not spend time on memory issues), and then build and debug. These 4 commands in sequence are much faster than searching out the menu items for each of those commands.

File Management and Navigation

Navigating around files is one of the most common tasks you will perform in XCode. It is really to your advantage to speed things up.

option ⌘ ↑ – This quickly switches between your .h and .m file.
**⌘ ↑ – **Move to the top of the file
**⌘ ↓ – **Move to the bottom of the file
**shift ⌘ d – **This was recently showed to my by @cruffenach and it has drastically sped up my workflow. This is the command for “Open Quickly”. It brings up a small window with a search box at the top. Typing in the box instantly searches your project and allows you to quickly open up files by pressing return on the selected file. I can’t believe I had been using XCode for so long before I found out about this command.

Binding Your Own Quick Keys

Some commands simply don’t have quick keys. For example, I constantly use the Edit -> Sort -> By Name command to sort my source files alphabetically. By default, you must click through all of the menus and select the command to get it to work. However, XCode (like most OSX applications) will allow you to define your own quick keys and here’s how.

  1. Open up the XCode Preferences
  2. Click on the Key Bindings tab
  3. Navigate to the command that you want to bind keys for. (hint: they are organized the same way they in the top menu)
  4. Once you have found the command, double click in the Key column
  5. Press the keys that you wish to bind (I bound option shift ⌘ s for sorting)
  6. If there are any conflicts, XCode will let you know. Otherwise, press apply and you’re good to go.

Wrap Up

Well, this concludes my relatively short first post for #idevblogaday. If you have any shortcuts of your own that you can’t live without, please share them in the comments. I’m always up to improve my workflow.

Thank you to everyone (especially @mysterycoconut) for allowing me to be a part of this community and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with you.

Happy Coding!

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</p>

This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iOS development blogs featuring two posts per day. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web site, RSS feed, or Twitter.

</p>



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Core Data QuickTip: Inverse Relationships

One thing I always wondered about Core Data is why the compiler would warn you if you didn’t specify the inverse relationship. After reading through Apple’s docs, they essentially say its to make your database more robust by reinforcing those relationships. Plus, you never know when you may have one thing and need to get to the other.

After working on a project with an Enormous Core Data database, I found one very useful thing about inverses. When you specify one side of the relationship, core data automatically hooks up the other. Allow me to explain in code.

Let’s say we have a person object with many pets…

<code class=’objc’>Person *john = [[Person alloc] init];
Pet *pet = [[Pet alloc] init];

// Add the one to many relationship from john to pets
[john addPetObject:pet];

// Add the inverse relationship
[pet setPerson:john];</code>

So, I was doing this in all of my code and then forgot to one time. However, to my surprise, everything still worked. Why, because once you set up one of the relationships, Core Data automatically handles the other. So, the above code is redundant and could just as easily have been.

<code class=’objc’>[john addPetObject:pet];</code>

OR

<code class=’objc’>[pet setPerson:john];</code>

and both directions of the relationship would have been established.

Not super exciting, but I found it to be pretty handy and also saved me quite a bit of extra code.

Happy Coding!

RE: Android Developer Income Report

This article was a very interesting with some insight into the Android Market. Basically, this indie Android developer has published 6 free applications and is making more than $1,000.00 per month off of advertisements.

None of my apps has been ever promoted in Top of Android Market

I am providing only free apps (mostly due of Android Market limitations)

Even if I would be able to sell apps I would not use it as main income source… (I believe that you still can make more from ads…)

via Android Developer Income Report.

I think there is an interesting experiment here. I am going to attempt this. Making super simple novelty apps (very low barrier to entry) that are free with ad support. I know this just further convolutes the crap that is the Android Market, but it would be fun to test.

If I actually end up doing this, I will publish some results here.