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This guide will learn all the essential steps for developing your iOS app. Perhaps you don't know how to create your iPhone application. You might already have drafted several dozen but need one point of reference. Heaven knows that Apple has horrible human interface guidelines.
iPhone page layout
When you plan your application, it is best to use storyboards. The previous screen where the user enters data will be referred to as the data entry screen. That is because this is where users input what they need. You can think of it as a form or window for exchange between the user and the app.
The following article provides information on working with views in storyboards, building page layouts, implementing navigation structures, designing system controls, and responding appropriately to various events. It does not matter whether you are looking for specific guidelines that Apple has not yet published or if you want an excellent source of inspiration – here's everything you ever wanted to know about iPhone UI design!
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Overview of Interface Builder
You can think of the data entry screen as a form or window where users enter information. It is not just an interface element. Instead, the entire home screen is the user interface.
The best way to create your iPhone application's layout is with storyboards. This lets you design how various screens look and then implement them in code later. You can even create different "scenes" within your storyboard for each view controller in your app by dragging individual views onto the canvas.
UIKit contains many common elements used to build application user interfaces at runtime using Interface Builder (IB). For example, UIKit has graphical objects such as buttons, switches, and text fields that you drag into position on IB's ios app design surface—which itself is a type of object in UIKit called a view.
iOS, App Interfaces, and Views
The user sees the final result on the device's screen, but many objects communicate with one another behind the scenes to display an interface. You can build your app from scratch by creating these objects yourself, but Apple provides the option of using the Interface Builder integrated development environment (IDE), so you don't have to do all this work. Use it to move controls around and set connection information for them quickly. It saves you a lot of time using IB instead of writing code to create views and manage your application's primary views.
IB does not just give you a way to configure your elements—it also makes editing easier. For example, you can change the look of a text field without writing any code. IB lets you configure all kinds of information for views, including icon size and position. This makes it much simpler to create layouts for your app. You can also preview connections from Interface Builder as soon as they are created.
Note: Interface Builder is used in iOS development to build GUIs for an application's interface. It automates the process by writing the necessary code that supports user interaction with those interfaces into a view controller class.
Creating Layouts With UIKit Views
Every screen in a typical app includes several elements such as buttons, labels, images, and other objects that users see on the display when using an application. These items are contained within views (also called windows or screens on devices with a touch screen).
Some of these objects, such as buttons and text fields, can be included in your app's user interface (UI) immediately. Like the UIView object that represents an entire view controller onscreen, others will need to be added to your code. However, at some point, ALL of these items will need to be represented in a storyboard file for them to appear in an application.
Creating an Interface With Xcode
If you're creating a user interface by using only one view controller – that is, if all the information presented onscreen fits into a single-window – then you do not need to use the Storyboard feature in Xcode. You can add objects by dragging them from the library to either a view controller scene or the storyboard's canvas.
However, you cannot drag items between levels of your storyboard scene hierarchy if they are not siblings in that hierarchy. For example, you can't drag a button from one level into another level deeper in the scene tree hierarchy. Also, your controls must have unique identifiers so IB can identify them at runtime when it creates instances of UI elements.
You do not need to create outlets for every UIView object created in Interface Builder unless you plan on modifying it later using code or want to write an outlet collection class instead of an individual outlet for each object. However, if you forget to create IBOutlets for your elements, you can always create them in code after the interface has been built.
Creating a Storyboard Programmatically
You might have a situation where you need to add user interfaces created in Interface Builder to views that are not direct descendants of another scene (for example, when using an overlay controller). In such cases, use the method present view controller:animated:completion: of class UIViewController for presenting and dismissing these controllers programmatically. Your implementation should also set up additional features or interactions with other objects in your interface.
Designing Custom Controls and Collectors
Although iOS provides many controls and layouts, occasionally, it's necessary to design custom ones; for example, if you want unique hardware-specific gestures enabled on a view.
When designing your controls, you need to create a UIControl class subclass that defines these events and adds them to the standard gesture recognizers. You also need to define the control's look in the application code instead of using resources. Because this is necessary for every custom control, Interface Builder makes it easier by providing visual tools that let you design custom views programmatically or in your storyboard file.
Creating an Instantiated Object in Code
Although creating objects in Interface Builder is useful when you're working with Xcode, there are times when you'll want to do it programmatically without Interface Builder. To implement this in iOS development, use the method instantiateViewControllerWithIdentifier: of class UIViewController for instantiating view controllers that are not the root view controller.
Working with Storyboard References
Interface Builder lets you create references to objects in other storyboards without repeating the same code repeatedly. Instead, you can include them as resources in your project, so they are compiled into your application binary at build time. This is another way Xcode makes it easier for you to manage projects containing multiple storyboards or multiple views within a single storyboard file.
Protocols Used by UI Objects
UIKit defines several protocols that support specific tasks performed by iOS applications. For example, the UIApplicationDelegate protocol defines methods that are called by iOS when an event occurs or when specific timeouts occur after an event. Although most UIKit classes implement this protocol, you can add your custom code to any of these methods and still use Interface Builder's visual layout features.
iOS Error Handling Using NSError
Although iOS provides a lot of built-in error handling for its applications, there is no standard way to return errors in an application that uses UI elements; however, with some simple changes, you can process and display errors using the NSError class and objects created from it. Creating Custom Property Attributes
You might want to create a custom attribute for one or more properties on a property list (plist) file. If so, you need to define a new property declaration dictionary inside your custom property attributes implementation file by copying the contents of the NS_ENUM macro.
Allocating and Initializing Objects Programmatically
Objects created dynamically through the new operator are automatically initialized using their init method, but if you want to allocate objects programmatically or initialize them in your code, define a custom initializer. The following article will discuss how to implement custom initializers for objects created dynamically through new.
Using Custom Types in Your Interface Builder File
If you have defined custom classes in your project so they can be compiled into your application binary at build time, it's straightforward to implement objects or collections containing these types in Interface Builder files. When declaring references to these objects or collections, it would help if you used @property (strong, nonatomic) IBOutlet id type identifiers.
Creating Custom '+' Overloading Methods
Although it's not recommended, you might want to create a custom method that uses the + operator. If so, you need to implement a custom method that overloads the "+" operator by adding a custom (+) typecasting operator. This is easy to do and lets you efficiently use your custom class objects with other object types.
In Memory-Mapped Files In iOS Apps
One advantage of using memory-mapped files in iOS apps is that they can be used for temporary file storage, especially if security isn't an issue where the data is stored on a disk. This lets you centralize your app's file I/O routines instead of polluting them throughout your code. So, the following article will discuss how to use memory-mapped files in iOS apps.
Creating a Custom Control for Cocoa Touch Apps
Although Interface Builder lets you visually layout UI components and defines their attributes using simple editing methods, sometimes it's more convenient to create custom reusable controls that you can reuse throughout your application or share with others. If you have a control that might be useful to other developers, they don't need to pay for this functionality again by buying your app or building their version of this control. The following article will show you how to create custom reusable controls for cocoa touch apps using Xcode 4.3+ and Objective-C.
iPhone Screen Sizes
You can't call yourself an iOS developer if you don't know the ins and outs of iOS screen sizes, pixel densities, retina display, etc. One of the most critical parts of developing for iOS is knowing how device orientations work so your layout will look good on all devices. So let's start with that.
Using Predicates in NSPredicate Format Strings
The predicate format specifiers inside the NSPredicate class are versatile. They can filter arrays based on their contents using simple predefined formats or custom strings that use specific formats to create highly complex sets to find items within arrays. The following article will discuss using predicate format specifiers when creating predicates for searching through arrays.
iOS UIView Subclasses
Before subclassing UIViews in iOS, you need to know how to use their root view controller, create custom subclasses, retain your objects using reference counting principles, override methods with custom code instead of using class members or properties. All these concepts are discussed in the following article.
Working with NSCalendar Units
The date components used by the iOS SDK calendar classes are defined within an enumerated type called NSCalendarUnit that lets you work with all possible date-time values and easily calculate dates based on unit values that represent seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. So let's see how this works by implementing some reusable functions inside our custom UIView subclasses for working with NSCalendarUnit types.
Custom UITableViewCell Subclass for iOS Apps
Before you can create custom table view cell subclasses using Xcode, you need to understand how table views work, what kinds of data sources they use, what kind of UITableViewCell styles are available, and how the iOS SDK helps simplify this process so you can gain more control over your app's user interface mobile app design. The following article will introduce these concepts and show you how to create reusable custom class subclasses for table views in iOS apps.
Creating Custom Gesture Recognizers
iOS touch events are handled within Objective-C event callback blocks that implement the touchesBegan, touchesMoved, etc., methods. Although it's a relatively simple process to track a user's finger/stylus movements on the screen and detect single-taps, double-taps, long presses, etc., you have more options when creating custom gesture recognizers that can be reused throughout your applications for unique multi-touch events. The following article will show you how to use the touch event callback blocks and create reusable gesture recognizer classes in iOS apps.
Implementing Custom Navigation Bar Icons
To support regular images and full-colour images for navigation bar items - or any UIButton subclasses used within your application - you need to quickly provide different versions of each image file with some standard naming conventions applied. So let's discuss this by using Xcode to create reusable images for custom navigation bars in iOS apps.
Using NSOperation with the UIApplication Class
The easiest way to add multithreading capabilities to your iOS apps is by using the methods provided by the UIApplication class that do all the heavy-lifting required for adding concurrency features. The following article will show you how to use these standard APIs and update your application's user interface when it works in the background on distinct concurrent tasks using operation objects within an NSOperationQueue.
Creating Custom View Controller Transitions
Custom view controller transitions are significant for providing visual cues between different content screens or during specific actions performed within your app. During these transitions, you can even animate views, controls, or other elements onscreen. And the good news is that it's easy to get started with custom view controller transitions in iOS 5+ apps by using Xcode and a few simple lines of code.
Custom Table View Cells for Multiple Views
When creating table view cells for multiple views, you don't want to rebuild your cell every time you change its design or content - especially if it's complex and takes a while to build and configure properly. The following article will show you how to create reusable table view cells in Xcode 4 that are capable of supporting both single-view iPad apps as well as multiple-view iPhone apps when running the iOS 5+ SDK.
Creating Custom Activity Indicators
Activity indicators provide visual cues about long-running tasks and can be configured to match the design of your iOS app. The following article will show you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code to create reusable, custom activity indicators for iPhone/iPad apps that work great with the latest iOS SDK and older versions that still support objective-C.
Building Custom Alerts
The various ways that alerts are presented in iOS apps is another example of Apple doing a lot of heavy lifting for us, so we don't have to worry about all the details required to do it properly. But if we want certain types and styles of alerts and we also need them customized, then this is one area where we need more control over what's displayed onscreen and how our users interact with these alerts. The following article will show you how to create custom alerts for iOS apps using Xcode and the new Swift 2 syntax.
Using NSNotificationCenter with iOS Apps
The Objective-C frameworks have provided us with many valuable ways of communicating within our applications. Still, the good news is that some of these methods are being replaced by more recently added features of Apple's CocoaTouch SDK - especially when it comes to iOS app development. And one example of this is how notifications are now used to communicate between objects within an application or even between separate applications on a device. We'll look at some primary uses where notifications can benefit your apps!
Creating Custom Overlay Views
If you need to display custom views that appear on top of your application's view hierarchy, you might want to use overlay views. The following article will show you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code to easily create and manage such views and use them in your iOS apps.
Creating Custom Alerts for iOS Apps
iOS provides us with many different ways of alerting our users about important events or problems within our applications. There are the standard alerts mentioned earlier, and we also have options for creating custom alerts via AppleScript and custom menus. But if we need an alert displayed from our app logic, we'll need to build it ourselves using the various UIKit elements provided by the touch SDK. So let's take a look at how to do that in Xcode 4.
Name That Tune: Play Songs from Plist
The following article will show you how to use Xcode 4 to play music files stored in a property list (plist) file. We'll add sound effects and other audio elements to create simple games, ringtones for our iPhones/iPods, or even build an alarm clock application that'll never fail to wake us up on time!
Creating Custom Gesture Recognizers for iOS Apps
As Apple adds new features and enhancements to the latest iterations of their SDKs, they also provide ways of doing things that were either difficult or even impossible before. One such case is gesture recognizers, making it easy for us to recognize "touches" from our users' fingers on touch devices like the iPhone/iPad. The following article will show you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code to create custom gesture recognizers that we can use in any of our apps that support the latest iOS SDK and older versions, including iOS 5 and earlier!
Creating Custom Tab Bars for iPhone Apps
Adding a tab search bar controller to your Xcode storyboard view controllers is pretty straightforward. Still, suppose you need more fine-grained control over how it displays onscreen within your app or even want to add additional features like "more" buttons. In that case, this is where we could use some help by using custom views or views that implement additional protocols such as those which control zooming (UIScrollView, for example). The following article will show you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code to create custom tab bars that can be used in any of your iOS apps!
A New Approach For Compiling Apps With Xcode 4
Test your Objective-C code during development has always helped debug. Still, in more recent versions of Mac OS and iOS, we also can use something called Automatic Reference Counting (ARC). This can be great for making our code more concise and can help improve memory usage by applications that use large amounts of data (such as games). ARC has been around for a while now, but instead of using it to compile apps, we've had to make sure our projects are set up correctly. Well, the following article takes a look at Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) and shows you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code to build applications under the new compiler options.
Migrating Your Xcode Projects To Use Swift 2
Not only is Apple adding features and capabilities to its SDKs with each update, but sometimes they're also deprecating support for older technologies in favour of newer ones which often provide better functionality or improved performance. The following article shows you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code and the latest SDKs to migrate your apps from support for older versions of Objective-C, C, and C++.
Using iOS Frameworks With Your Xcode Projects
Apple's frameworks provide us with access to functionality that we can then use within our apps on devices that support iOS, such as iPhones and iPads. The following article shows you how to use Xcode 4 and Swift 2 code with frameworks from Apple, including Foundation, UIKit, MapKit, Core, Accounts/Social frameworks for iCloud, or social media networks like Facebook or Twitter integration. We'll also take a look at some third-party frameworks, such as those which help make it easy for us to create games.
Programming With Xcode Playgrounds
One of the most useful new features in recent versions of Xcode is something called playgrounds which make it easier for us to learn how to use new technologies like Swift 2 (Apple's latest programming language) by showing us step-by-step what our code will look like as we type it along with all the results that our code creates. The following article shows you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code and playgrounds to test your custom classes, functions, or methods.
Getting Started With Auto Layout In iOS 8 Apps
Until now, using multiple screen resolutions was impossible unless we wanted our iPhones/iPods/iPads users to see only part of the app's UI or use extra resources to upscale graphics, which would also take up more processing power. All that is about to change with Apple's new Auto Layout technology in iOS 8! The following article shows you how to use Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code and its new auto layout support for creating apps that look great on all devices.
Advanced UICollectionView Programming With Xcode Playgrounds
The Collection View class provides us with an easy way to present data in rows and columns, but what if we wanted our collections within our apps to be displayed in a grid instead? We can now do that using one of Apple's newest frameworks called GridView (part of the brand new UIKit), and the following article shows you how to use Xcode 4/Swift 2 code with playgrounds for testing custom Collection View layouts.
Integrating Third-Party Frameworks With Your iOS Apps
There are a lot of valuable frameworks out there which make it easier for us to access various features. Still, sometimes they don't work well together or might even conflict with one another if each framework uses similar classes or methods that do things slightly differently. The following article takes a look at how we can avoid these issues by using Xcode 4 with Swift 2 code and third-party frameworks from Apple, including MapKit, Accounts/Social frameworks for iCloud, social media networks like Facebook or Twitter integration, or any others that may be available in the future.
Using SpriteKit With Xcode Playgrounds For Fun Game Projects
Apple's new SpriteKit framework provides everything we need to create 2D games, complete with textures, sprites/characters, animations, physics simulation, sound effects, and more. The following article shows you how to use Xcode 4/Swift 2 code along with SpriteKit playgrounds for testing out sprite drawing/animation code or creating fun game projects that can be played on devices that support iOS 8.
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We set up a blank Xcode 4 project in our last lesson that uses Apple's new SpriteKit framework with Swift 2 code. We showed you how to use SpriteKit's SKView class (which provides everything we need to draw textures, sprites/characters, animations, physics simulation, sound effects and more). The following article shows you how to create fun projects complete with sound effects using Xcode 4/Swift 2 code and SpriteKit's SKS sound effects class.
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