Tag Archives: iPhone

WooThemes Launches Tumbleblog Plugin and iPhone App

WooThemes has launched an iPhone app, called Express, for their tumbleblog themes. It makes it easy to post Tumblr-style to your WordPress blog.

If you’re not using one of the supported tumbleblog themes, they have also built a WordPress plugin that will add the tumbleblog functionality. (I may have to take a look at the code one day to see how they have it set up. I assume it probably involves Custom Post Types or Custom Taxonomies somehow.)

I like this idea. It would be great if you could continue to use the normal post type, but add in some mixed media with the tumbleblog plugin (for links and the occasional podcast).

A Few Resources to Get Started With iPhone App Development

Want to write an iPhone app? Assuming you have a couple of necessary prerequisites, namely a Mac and an iPhone or iPod Touch, it’s not too hard to get started. It is best if you have some programming experience, as even I had a bit of a learning curve with my solid understanding of PHP and JavaScript. Assuming a little bit of programmatical knowledge, here are a few resources to help you get started with iPhone development.

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BuySellAds Now Offering iOS Ad Framework

BuySellAds, the ad marketplace popular among internet and computer blogs, recently released a Cocoa framework for displaying ad zones in OS X applications. In a not unexpected, but certainly intriguing, turn of events, they have now released a version of the framework for iOS.

Yes, that means BuySellAds is coming to the iPhone and iPad. Think about that for a minute.

There are now three major ad networks available for app developers to use in their products. Apple’s own iAd, with it’s fun and user-friendly interactive mini applications; Google’s AdMob banners; and now BuySellAds. The big difference between BuySellAds and the other two is that you get final approval before an ad is displayed in your application. Also, the advertisers pay a fixed amount to run their banner for a specific stretch of time, while Apple’s and Google’s offerings cycle different banners in using an automated targeting algorithm.

Choice is good, and some developers will definitely benefit from having BuySellAds as an option.

Why Are People So Irrational About the Price of iPhone Apps?

Why is it that iPhone/iPod owners can be so picky about the prices of apps after they fork over $300 on an iPod Touch or a few thousand for a 2-year iPhone contract? I see it all the time. People complain about a useful application that they would use every day costing less than half the price of a Big Mac at McDonalds.

I don’t get it.

There is some really great software in the app store, but the developers aren’t making as much money as they probably should be for their efforts. Believe me, software development isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and frustration to build an amazing application, whether it’s an iPhone app or a web application. It bothers me that developers can barely get away with charging $1.99 for anything but a game. Tweetie, back before Twitter bought it and made it their free official app, was well worth its $2.99 price tag. I might have paid more for if the price had been a little higher. Many users would not have. After all, there was a big “outrage” about 1.0 users having to pay $1.99 for Tweetie 2.

I don’t think most people fully appreciate what it takes to develop software. I imagine the same problem is true for other fields. (Auto mechanics come to mind. Everyone whines about how much it costs to get their car fixed, but the garages have to pay for parts and labor somehow…)

What do you think? Should developers be able to charge more without scaring away customers and/or sending them into an entitlement-fueled rage? Am I too biased? Or should all software be free and GPL’d and all that Stallmanesque craziness?

Are iPhone Apps Part of the Web?

It’s pretty obvious that I have a significant interest in iPhone apps and their development. I like to cover the subject here, despite the fact that the site is called “Webmaster-Source” and not “iPhone-Source.” Why is that?

I think mobile applications are as much apart of the field of webmastery as web pages are. Just as a web application can serve-up an HTML frontend or an RSS feed or a JSON result set, it can also have a mobile interface in “app form.” Modern websites generally separate the content from the business logic and the presentation layer, allowing for interface-agnostic systems like Twitter. I can use most of the functions of Twitter through the main website or through HootSuite or through one of the many iPhone apps.

True, mobile apps are not hypertext, but they’re yet another facet of the internet. Let’s face it, normal web pages don’t work terribly well on pocket-sized devices. The iPhone made it tolerable to browse the web on a mobile device, but it’s still not an optimal experience. Apps are the preferred interface, whether we all like it or not.

What do you think: is mobile app development as closely linked to web development as I consider it?

Ego: iPhone Statistics Dashboard

Want an easy, at-a-glance dashboard for monitoring basic website statistics from your iPhone? Ego fits the description, if you don’t mind the $1.99 price tag.

The app will aggregate statistics from Google Analytics, Feedburner, Mint, Ember, Twitter, Vimeo, Tumblr and Squarespace. You can even have multiple accounts from each service active.

The UI is great. It’s one of the best things about the app.

Ego won’t give you fancy in-depth information like bounce rates or the percentage of viewers who use Firefox; it just shows you the most important figures in one accessible place.

EpicWin: A To-Do List App With an RPG Theme

To-do lists are a great way to organize yourself and make sure you get things done on time. Unfortunately, I have trouble getting into the habit of using a list on a regular basis.

The new iPhone app EpicWin attempts to solve that problem. It’s a simple to-do list application that encourages you to use it with a unique RPG-style angle. You create a character and level up by completing the tasks you assign yourself. You can mark a to-do item as being worth a certain number of experience points, which go to the relevant skill you designate.

For example: I need to write a blog post today, so I add the task “Write blog post on Webmaster-Source” to EpicWin. I assign it 100xp and list it as a feat of Intellect (as opposed to a feat of Strength or something similar). Once I finish the task and check it off, my character is awarded the experience.

I downloaded the app as soon as it went live in the iTunes store last week, having been anticipating its release for a couple of months now. I think it will (hopefully) be the app that will finally put me in the habit of using a to-do list.

MediaElement.js — HTML5 Video Player With Flash Backup

Many modern web browsers have early support for the <video> and <audio> elements in the HTML5 spec. Unfortunately, their implementation varies depending on the ideals of the various browser developers. Safari expects video to be encoded in the high-quality H.264 codec, other browsers prefer Ogg Theora. Google is trying to push their own freely-licensed VP8 codec, which Mozilla is showing signs of adopting. Then there’s Internet Explorer, which doesn’t support the <video> element at all.

Thankfully, there’s a way to fairly easily support everything. You can offer HTML5 video in one or more formats and fall back on Silverlight or Flash if necessary.

MediaElement.js allows you to do that with a little bit of jQuery voodoo. After including all of the required files, you can serve-up an H.264 video for Safari and iPhone/iPad users like so:

<video src="myfile.mp4" type="video/mp4" width="640" height="360"></video>
jQuery(document).ready(function($) {

There is also a way to specify more than one video type in the <video> element, if you have re-encoded it into more than one codec:

<video width="640" height="360">
<source src="myfile.mp4" type="video/mp4" >
<source src="myfile.ogg" type="video/ogg" >
<source src="myfile.webm" type="video/webm" >

You will want to check it out if you’re interested in cross-browser compatible web video.

Xcode 4: The Coda of Compiled Software Development?

I noticed something interesting recently. The new version of Apple’s Xcode development suite (which is used to build applications of iPhones and OS X) is starting remind me a little of Coda and Espresso. The latter two applications are one-window development environments for web developers.

Coda, which is similar to Espresso but was released first, combines a powerful text editor with FTP syncing, visual CSS editing and support for the SVN versioning system. This has proven to be popular among web designers looking to streamline their workflow.

Xcode 4 is taking the same one-window approach, bringing the previously separate Interface Builder application inside of Xcode. The UI is also looking a lot more streamlined. The boring Windows-style file tree pane on the left hand side has been redesigned to look more like the iTunes sidebar. (Which is another interface feature of Espresso and Coda.)

Xcode is already a great IDE, and a pleasure to work with. The changes should make it even better, and more in line with the “Mac-like” feel the great tools that other developers have been building for web designers.

How to Delete GMail Messages in iOS 4

Upon upgrading my iPod Touch to iOS 4, I found one little change that really bothered me. My usual email workflow on my mobile device is to check-off and delete emails that are unimportant (server notifications, newsletters, etc.) and delete them. I would then proceed to read the important ones.

Unfortunately, Apple decided it would be a good idea to change the “Delete” button to an “Archive” button for GMail accounts under iOS 4. I don’t really need to keep messages about my server’s recent five minutes of downtime for any length of time, so I thought this was kind of stupid.

I was able to find a fix, however. Open your settings and navigate to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” page. Tap on your GMail account. Then turn off the slider for “Archive Messages.”

I don’t mind the idea of an Archive option in the Mail app, but not to the exclusion of a Delete function. Some things just don’t need to be kept.