Differences Between Writing tvOS and iOS Apps

A couple months back I completed my first tvOS app, FeaturedDisplay. While the process is very similar to making an iOS app I found there were a few differences:

  1. How you make icons – tvOS uses layered icons to give a parallax effect when focused. Instead of using a single file, multiple files are placed in an assets catalog and are then laid on top of each other to make the final product. Here are Apple’s images and icons guidelines for tvOS that cover all of the icon/image requirements.
  2. Library support – Even if a third party library does not explicitly support tvOS it is just a derivation on iOS so with a few minor tweaks (e.g. commenting out some iOS-specific version checks) you can likely get most iOS libraries out there to work with your tvOS app.
  3. Focus Engine – One major departure from iOS is the Focus Engine which is used to drive the tvOS interface. While it mostly “just worked” right out of the box for me there seems to be a fair amount of tutorials out there if you do run into any issues.
  4. Not a huge amount of tvOS-specific help resources – Not a big shock here but there just aren’t as many people making tvOS apps so there is less existing answers out there if you bump into something. One that I encountered was adding license text to the settings bundle similar to how the Music app does it.
  5. Linking to your app – When I first released my app this fall I noticed that there was no way  to link to it. There was no option to generate an iTunes link like you can for other apps/music/books and the Apple TV has no web browser so it was pretty much impossible to point users to your app. Luckily Apple remedied this issue in early November and you can now make iTunes links for tvOS apps.

 

WWDC 2016 – Initial Thoughts

WWDC 2016 ended last week and though I’m still working through the mountain of session videos it generated here is a list of the things I’m most excited about so far:

1. New Core Data Additions – Lots of neat new Core Data stuff, namely NSPersistantContainer. Being able to set up your whole Core Data stack in a few lines of code is awesome.

2. ISO8601 DateFormatter – Finally some first class support for the only sane date format in existence, yyyy/mm/dd. XKCD agrees.

3. Visual Memory Debugger in Xcode 8 – This looks so much nicer than the current memory debugging experience, I can’t wait to take it for a spin.

 

ChronoCat 3.1 Submitted to the App Store

After finally getting myself to sit down to finish new screenshots ChronoCat 3.1 has been submitted to the App Store. New features include being able to set colors on events, change the color of the app’s navigation bar, and a changed date picker (migrated from RMDateSelectionViewController to HSDatePickerViewContoller).

AppReviewTimes is showing 9 days on average right now but I imagine that is largely due to the holiday closure and will hopefully take a bit less time.

Simulator Screen Shot Jan 4, 2016, 11.14.08 PM

Moved to WordPress, Hopefully Nothing is Broken

Just completed a move over to WordPress from Squarespace for Overall Enthusiasm and I think I managed to keep mostly everything on the site working 😀

Nothing too exciting in the reason for the move from Squarespace, I just work with WordPress more in my day job now and wanted to get more familiar with day-to-day life on the platform. Since you can import/export back and forth between the two it ended up being a pretty easy process.

The one thing I couldn’t be bothered to fix from the import was the time zone messed with some post dates which in turn tweaked some post URLs as I use the post date + page title for those.  Since it only effects posts that were published late in the evening I’m going to just let it slide, yay lazy!

Top 3 Annoying Aspects of Submitting an App Update to the App Store

Here is a top 3 list of the of what I find to be the most frustrating/agonizing/table-flipping/teeth-gnashing aspects of submitting a new app update to the iOS App Store. 

  1. Making new screenshots for the App Store because a UI element was changed.
  2. Making new screenshots for the App Store because a UI element was changed.
  3. Making new screenshots for the App Store because a UI element was changed…

Huzzah! New ChronoCat Update Almost Ready

Finally wrapping up the new 3.1 update for ChronoCat, will be very happy to finally kick this one out the door. Changes include:

  1. Colors! – You will now be able to set a color your event countdowns and change the app’s navigation bar color. 
  2. New Date Pickers – Brand new date pickers used for the add and edit event views.
  3. Bug fixes – Lots of bug fixes. What started out as a pretty simple feature add (colors) ended up triggering a rewrite of a large portion of the app.

There is still a little bit of work still to do before submitting but I’m hoping to have it in to Apple later this week.

ChronoCat 3.1 on the Way!

No posts or ChronoCat updates for months? That’s super lame….

Well all that is about to change, ChronoCat 3.1 is on the way! The next ChronoCat update will include the option to set a color for your events instead of just the default blue that the app has now.

More info and screenshots coming very soon 😀