Basic resources for iOS developers

The App Store is full of applications. Most of them are written in the Objective-C programming language, the native language to develop apps for iOS, basically iPhone and iPad. Other options to build iOS apps include JQuery, HTML5, C and other programming languages. There are also websites and platforms to build basic apps by dragging and dropping buttons, labels and images.  However, the native iOS is the best option in terms of performance, management of resources and user experience.

Apple provides lots of resources to help developers build their apps. Native apps are built using XCode, Apple’s IDE (Integrated Developer Environment) which includes tools to build the app’s interface, program the code, simulate the app on a simulator, and test the memory, CPU and resource usage. The apps are programmed using Objective-C, the Apple’s object oriented programming language.

To build an iOS app, developers must use a Mac OS X since other operating systems are not supported. The development tools needed are iOS SDK and Xcode. Both are free of charge and available on the Apple’s Developer Website. These tools allow any developer to build and test it using the iOS simulator, which is part of the iOS SDK. However, to run the app on a real device, developers must pay $99/year, which includes the license to publish unlimited apps in Apple’s App Store.

mac_xcode

The basic resources to learn iOS programming and build apps for iPhone and iPad among other iOS devices are:

  • Apple’s Developer Website: the developers website allows to register as an iOS Developer and download Xcode and iOS SDKs. It also includes lots of resources to learn how to build apps, API references, etc.
  • iOS Developer Library: detailed API information. References are classified by resource types, topics, and frameworks. All the information you need is here.
  • Stamford University Course: There are hundreds of courses and tutorials but the iPhone Application Development from Stamford is the most popular and well-regarded course. The video lectures, demos and sample code are available to watch and download on iTunes.
  • Ray Wenderlich’s Blog: this blog, owned by Ray Wenderlick, contains thousands of programming tutorials. The tutorials cover almost all topics and are very easy for everyone to understand and learn.
  • AppCoda’s Tutorials: Blog about iOS programming which includes lots of tutorials and a big community of programmers who share and discuss development tips.
  • Stackoverflow: Any developer knows stackoverflow. It is a question and answer site for programmers. Developers help other developers answering their questions and discussing programming topics and issues.

iphone_stamford

Besides of these websites, Internet is full of tutorials, blogs, forums and other resources. You only need time and enthusiasm to start building amazing apps for iOS devices. Hands on!

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Studying with an iPad

Listening to music, watching movies, reading books, playing games, surfing the web, checking your email, locating a place… a world of possibilities are concentred in such a minimal thing as the iPad. A very useful tool specially if we use it for productive tasks, for example, studying. We have everything in an interactive screen, which makes it so much comfortable than carrying thousands of documents and papers.

Gadgets

No additional hardware is needed to use the iPad at the university or school. However,  there are some useful gadgets when you take notes:

  •  Stylus: to sketch, annotate, draw, handwrite and mark up documents with more precision than your fingers.

Applications

  • GoodReader: one of the best apps to write notes on your documents (PDFs, TXT files, Powerpoints, images…). You can use typewriter text boxes, sticky notes, lines, arrows, freehand drawings…
  • iAnnotate PDF: one of the best apps for PDF reading with dynamic highlighting, a pen tool, notes and bookmarks.
  • iStudiez Pro: a good way to manage your courses: calendars, timetables, tasks, professors, exams…
  • Pages: word processor to create documents with written text, images, tables, graphics….
  • Keynote: to create beautiful presentations with graphics, animations and effects.
  • Documents To Go: to view, edit and create Microsoft word, Excel and Powerpoint files.
  • Moodle EZ: to access and manages all your M courses.
  • iTunes U: if you want to keep learning, iTunes U is full of courses, tutorials, resources for students.

How to replace your macbook’s hard disk

Replacing the macbook unibody hard disk is increadibly easy. I have just replaced mine, so I will show you the steps to do it.

Don’t forget to do a Time Machine backup (or copy your files in an external hard drive) in case of something happens.

0. What do you need?

The first step consists on buying a new hard disk and all the tools needed for the replacement:

  • a SATA hdd 2.5”. You have to take in consider capacity (120GB to 1TB), speed (5200 or 7200rpm) and cache (8MB or 16MB). I bought Seagate Momentus 500GB, 16MB of cache and 7200rpm.
  • an external case for 2.5” hard drives.
  • a star screwdriver 75mm.

1. Format your new hard disk

Connect the new hard drive to the macbook using the external case and open Disk Utility (Aplications -> Utilities -> Disc Utility).

Select your external hard drive (PAY ATTENTION on selecting the external hdd, otherwise could format another hdd or pendrive and lose the information) and go to Erase tag. Choose MacOS with register, type a name and click on Erase.

2. Clone your new hard disk

A lot of software has been developed to clone the hard drive. SuperDuper is one of the best free options to create an exact copy of your hard drive.

Download and install the free version of SuperDuper from this link. After that, open the application and choose the locations of your origin (internal hard drive) and destination (external hard drive). The default option of  Backup -all files will automatically create a boot-able backup.

Once the copy is completed, you will have a full boot-able backup.

To test the full boot-able backup, restart your macbook. While it starts, hold the Option (Alt) key until a display appears. This asks you to choose a hard disk to boot from, so you will know that you have successfully booted to your backup if the backup appears.

3. Install your new hard drive

The basic procedure to replace the hard disk consists on turning off the notebook, disconnecting all the cables and leting it cool. After that, flip it over and push down the latch to release the access door.

Now you can unscrew the drive bracket, disconnect the SATA connector, install the new drive and reassemble the computer.

At this point the replacement of the hard disk is done. Turn on your macbook and enjoy it!

My Top10 iPad apps

The iPad Apple Store holds around 300.000 apps for sale. In this post I will show my 10 choices trying to cover the main categories of apps. These choices are based on the apps I use the most.

  • GoodReader: app to read, annotate and highlight documents (pdf, doc, ppt, txt, images, videos…) in a variety of ways (even with the finger).
  • Pages: word processing app with powerful tools and charts.
  • Penultimate: app to take handwriting notes, kep sketches and much more.
  • Things: task manager app to manage to-dos, notes, due dates and projects.
  • iBooks: download and read books on your iPad.
  • Dropbox: sync all your computers and devices to a cloud in order to access to your documents anywhere you go.
  • TweetBot: the most powerfull twitter app.
  • iDraw: drawing and illustration app where you can create multiple layers, add text & images, use brushes…
  • Snapseed: app to edit photos, add special effects and more.
  • AVPlayer HD: play all video formats (without mp4 conversion). Options of subtitles or streaming from the computer are also supported.

Do you agree with my top10 iPad apps? Which are your favourite ones? Comment and share yours.