The Week in iOS Development, 23 – 29 May

The Week in iOS Development, 23 – 29 May

Many of us are preparing our journey to San Francisco for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. It hopefully brings us at least a preview of iOS 5. And iCloud. And so much more.

So it comes as no surprise, that this week in iOS development has been pretty slow.

  • Last week I pointed out that from my discussion with peers I learned, that many still struggle with subtle memory management details and the inner workings of at least parts of Objective-C. In iOS 4, Apple introduced a new language construct, called Blocks. Joachim Bengtsson has what I regard as the most comprehensive and clearly written introduction to Blocks. It’s a little bit hard to digest, but I highly recommend giving it a try. Thanks to @lippling for the tip.
  • When Tweetie Twitter hit the iPad, the blogosphere was abuzz about its remarkably fresh user interface. Ever wondered how it’s created? Aaron Brethorst explains how to build the Twitter iPad user experience. GitHub hosted source code included!
  • Nielsen Norman Group published a 116 long pages report on iPad Apps and Website Usability. The free download is based on “two rounds of usability studies with real users, reporting how they actually used a broad variety of iPad apps as well as websites accessed on the iPad”. I admit, it’s a massive read for those of us, who like to code. But if you happen to be on a plane to San Francisco next week anyway, you might really want to dive into it. Thanks to @jdandrea for this and the one before.
  • If you are still with us after heaving read the Nielsen Norman Group’s report, Guy English has a fascinating article in which he revisits a five years old Ars Technica post. It deals with the history of Objective-C, its possible shortcomings and what Apple should do, to further evolve the language into a good direction. You just want his conclusion? Here we go: “I believe that UIKit and AppKit (well, mostly) are well enough abstracted that they can serve their purpose for many more years.”
  • This week, one of my customers was complaining that in one of the apps I’ve created, the ringtone mute switch was also killing the media player’s audio when playing back video. Not only is this contrary to how Apple’s own YouTube app behaves, it really tends to confuse users. Unfortunately, it also is the media player’s default behavior! Turns out, the fix is pretty easy. Find my explanation here.
  • Many developers use the open source ShareKit to integrate into Facebook, Twitter and other parts of the Social Web. Last week we experienced yet another breaking change in Facebook’s APIs, causing ShareKit to stop working. Apparently, a fix has been submitted to GitHub. I was not able to confirm it myself as of this writing, so if you’ve updated ShareKit and it works – or doesn’t – please let us know in the comments.

That’s it for week 21 in iOS Development.

Should you stumble upon anything great we should cover in next week’s rundown, please tip me over at Twitter (@24z).

Last but not least, for those of you attending WWDC, Mac Indie has The Definitive WWDC’11 Party & Event List.

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