July 2013 meeting recap

[Update: Michele will be speaking at MacTech Conference, which is Nov 6-8, 2013 in Los Angeles, with pre-conference workshops and accreditation available on Nov 5.]

Our guest speaker was Michele Titolo, who gave a talk about "Mastering the Project File":

Do you frequently hear yourself say "Don't touch the project file!", "Who overrode my changes?" or "Where did my file go?" If so, this talk is for you. We constantly put the project file on a pedestal of things-you-do-not-mess-with, but is this much caution really warranted? We'll cover tips, tricks, and solutions to promote harmony between you and your project file.

Luckily for us, Michele happened to be in town, happened to learn about the CocoaHeads meeting, and happened to be willing to be our speaker on short notice.

Daniel Jalkut happened to be in town as well, and also made it to the meeting.

Thanks as always to Dulio Denis for shooting and editing the video.

CocoaHeads NYC July 2013 from Dulio Denis on Vimeo.

June 2013 meeting recap

At our June meeting, Anup gave an intro to CocoaPods, I demoed an early draft of an app I've been working on for watching and searching WWDC videos, and Ed led a discussion on the new stuff announced at WWDC.

We'll be back on the normal schedule for next month's meeting, which will be on the usual second Thursday (July 11). I'm going to look for a different place to have July's post-meeting dinner — suggestions would be welcome. I love Patsy's and wouldn't mind eating there twice in two weeks, but others might feel differently, plus I've been told that a little variety in general would be appreciated.

We don't have a speaker yet for July, so if anyone would like to volunteer, either email me at aglee@earthlink.net or post to the list if you'd like to gauge the group's interest.

Here are Anup's slides and resource links:

May 2013

Ben Ragheb was our speaker this month. Ben talked about two techniques he combined to implement a photo upload feature in his iOS app: (1) WebView/UIWebView JavaScript tricks, and (2) using Amazon Web Services. His approach allowed him to provide web-based functionality without investing prematurely in writing a full-blown web service.

Dulio Denis shot, edited, and uploaded a video of the talk, complete with intro and outro music, rolling credits, and screen-within-screen. Terrific job! The video and Ben's slides are embedded below.

Here are "show notes" on things that came up during the meeting or afterward:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Dropbox API
  • Parse (recently bought by Facebook) — "A powerful web presence without all the hassle."
  • Isaac Schmidt's presentation last April about Parse.com.
  • StackMob — "Accelerate your app development and eliminate the headache of maintaining your infrastructure."
  • Firebase — "Build apps fast without managing servers."
  • NSHipster, Mattt Thompson's great Cocoa developer blog. It's highly technical in the same way as Mike Ash's NSBlog. Ben mentioned an NSHipster article about remote views in iOS, but I wonder if he meant this article which references an article by Ole Begemann.
  • In response to a question from Mike Akers, Marc Van Olmen emailed a bunch of links to crash reporting libraries that might be worth looking into.
  • Demitri gave a talk about crash reporting back in March 2011. Here's a zip file with his Keynote slides and demo code.

April 2013 meeting recap

Kevin Wolkober demoed his free app NYC Wi-Fi, which shows nearby Wi-Fi hotspots in NYC. The app draws on a set of data called NYC Open Data.

This was Kevin's first iOS project and his first experience with Objective-C. He drew on a number of open-source libraries which are mentioned on his slides.

  • Kevin's slides.
  • Tutorials by Ray Wenderlich. Either Kevin mentioned these as a resource he used, or someone recommended them; I forget which.
  • CocoaPods. I think it was Anup who recommended CocoaPods as a way to manage the open-source libraries in Kevin's project. Anup definitely did vouch for CocoaPods during dinner afterwards.
  • During open discussion, Brian Papa mentioned the Academy for Software Engineering, which teaches computer science to high school kids. They partner with the iMentor NYC program, which matches high school kids with adult mentors. You can apply to be a mentor on their web site.
  • Someone mentioned this blog post by Daniel Pasco. Pasco lists a bunch of interview questions that he asks his coworkers at Black Pixel to use to gauge a candidate's iOS or Cocoa expertise. I think it's a good list, and a sobering reminder of my own shortcomings.
  • I asked a question about Sparkle, assuming everybody knew what I meant. I had forgotten how many developers are iOS only.

Meeting recaps, Q1 2013

Here are quick recaps of our first three meetings of 2013.

January: Anton Marini talked about OpenGL in the context of Quartz Composer plug-ins. It was a fast-paced meeting, with one of the longer presentations and Q&A sessions that we've had. If I ever find my notes from the meeting I'll add them here.

  • Anton also works on Syphon, which was his alternate option for his presentation topic.

February: Demitri gave an introduction to Core Image. I'm really glad Demitri presented, because this was his last CocoaHeadsNYC before moving to Columbus, OH.

March: I talked about how I resolved four problems I ran into while working on UI details in AppKiDo. Kevin Doughty did a show-and-tell of what he's doing with additive animation.

  • My slides. Note: I've sinced changed my approach to the key-view-loop problem, so it's no longer as described in the slides. I added a class called AKTabChain (.h, .m), which takes a delegate, and I overrode sendEvent: in my application class. At some point I'll write a class comment that explains it all. I'd also like to try Avi Drissman's suggestion to use an event tap.
  • Kevin's sample code on GitHub.

Peter Hosey's favorite AppCode features

If you missed Peter Hosey's talk about AppCode last month, here's a 47-second demo of the features he uses most.

Here's Peter's description for the video:

Quickie demo of some of AppCode's features. In order:

  • Live template (⌘J) "alloc" (inserts alloc/init)
  • Automatic import insertion (as soon as I use PRHTestView, AppCode adds the #import for me)
  • Smart completions for placeholders
  • Use, then create (in this case, a local variable)
  • Extract to Instance Variable (creates ivar for me, inferring the correct type from the result type of the expression and guessing what name I'll want from the available clues)

UPDATE: Peter followed that with another short video:

More of AppCode's features, including:

  • Generate (⌃⏎) → Override Methods (inserts blank implementations of specific superclass methods)
  • Intention: Create method (inferring selector, argument types, and return type from message expression)
  • Extract to (local) variable (⌘⌥V)
  • Unuse detection (note how the prefab return statement turns gray when I insert my own above it)

January 2012 (yes, 2012) – Ben

I just finished posting very belated recaps of the last four meetings of 2012. I was all pleased with myself for getting that done by the new year, until I noticed that I did not post a recap of the January meeting. I wasn't able to attend that meeting, but I should still have posted here about the speaker and topic.

Let me rectify that and close out 2012 by recognizing how the year started. Benjamin Ragheb was our speaker on January 12, and he talked about how to create custom input controls on iOS. Thanks, Ben, as always! And thanks to everyone in the merry little band that is CocoaHeadsNYC. Thanks to the newcomers and the old-timers. Thanks to the speakers and the lurkers. Thanks to Google for hosting us and to Ed Marczak for being our sponsor.

I feel very, very fortunate to be part of this group, and I look forward to another twelve months of nifty presentations and lively dinners.

December 2012 – Peter Hosey

We closed out 2012 with a presentation from Peter Hosey, who joined us from California by way of Google Hangout. Peter gave a demo of AppCode, the Objective-C IDE from JetBrains, a topic which has been asked about several times at meetings.

I think the Google Hangout format is a promising option for future meetings, if there are speakers who would like to present but can't easily make it to New York. We'll need practice to smooth out the rough edges, but as you can see it's a perfectly viable solution:

(Note to Peter: I owe you dinner!)

During open discussion time Demitri had a question about how to structure his code so that the inspector window in his app would always inspect the right object. Suggestions were offered, and later there was a follow-up thread on the mailing list.

[Update: Peter's posted a 47-second demo of the AppCode features he uses most.]

[Update: Peter followed that 47-second demo with another short video.]

November 2012 – DTP (Direct to Pizza)

The November meeting came on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. As a group, we decided to skip the usual presentation part of the meeting and go directly to Patsy's for pizza. We had a good turnout (10 people) and Patsy's treated us very well as usual.

Demitri did come prepared with a programming question for the group, about populating a table view with a huge number of rows when the acquisition of the data to display could take a noticeably long time. His question was a follow-up to this thread on the group mailing list.