Make the most of limited coding sessions

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Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Writing an app in your spare time is difficult. Spare time is a luxury that many of us have little of. Opportunities to work on your app are few and far between, and sometimes you can go long periods of time without being able to sit down and focus on your app. Drawing on my experience as both a spare-time developer and professional engineer, I’ve refined my process for getting the biggest bang for my buck out of my spare time hours, and I’ll share some of my tips with you in this article.

There are many reasons you might be writing an app. It could be for fun, to learn new skills, or to create a portfolio. It could be a side hustle, or you might be bootstrapping a new business. If you’re really lucky, it could be all of those things. Whatever your motivation, the key to faster results boils down to these…


Why shipping regular updates is good for your development process and more

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Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

When you’re developing apps, at some point you need to release updates to your users. There are benefits to releasing updates frequently, but there are lots of factors that make it hard to do.

In this article, I’ll explain why it’s good to make regular releases, what can get in the way of doing that, and outline some strategies that you could use on your project to help you get your releases out more regularly.

Why It’s Good to Release Updates Frequently

Users like new features

Users want to see new features, improvements, and bug fixes — particularly if they’ve paid for the app or a subscription to it. …


For test, production and everything in between

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When you’re developing iOS and android apps, your primary focus is on getting your apps out to end users. But when you’re making apps commercially, there are many stages they have to go through before they get anywhere near public release, and each stage requires our apps to be distributed in different ways. In this presentation, I’ll explain how we manage this at Intercept IP.

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First of all, lets look at our requirements for app distribution.

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We need to distribute our apps for various different purposes.

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  • Feature testing — are our code changes fit for purpose?
  • Regression and integration testing — did we break anything, and does the app still talk to the other parts of the system it should? …


The definitive guide to installing and updating pods

The difference between pod install and pod update is subtle, and it isn’t always clear which you should use. But having a good understanding of what these commands do gives you much finer control over how dependencies are managed in your project, so it’s worth knowing the difference.

In the first part of this article I’ll give you a list of recipes showing whether you should run pod install or pod update in some common situations. Then in the second part I’ll explain why the different commands do different things, and how CocoaPods uses the Podfile.lock


Make unit tests easier to code, review and maintain

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Photo by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash

Introduction

Unit tests are essential for software projects, but they add overhead. In this article, I’m going to talk about how to leverage the builder pattern to make it more efficient for your team to write, review and maintain unit tests. I’ll start by talking about what the pattern is and why it is particularly useful in unit tests. Then I’ll explain the gains you can make by using the pattern. Finally I’ll show you how to create builder classes in your Xcode project.

This article uses examples for iOS code using Swift, but they apply equally well to just about any language and platform. …


Change text styles in Xcode as easily as in your design file

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With Sketch you can harness the power of a design system to save hours of design time. First you set up text styles in Sketch. Then you apply them with a click to create a beautifully consistent design across many screens. As your design evolves you can change your fonts, sizes, colours and more in one place, and cascade them across your project.

As a developer coding up a design in Xcode, you soon find life isn’t so simple. There is no out of the box way to apply text styles consistently. Setting them in storyboards and XIBs is time consuming, because you have to set each property (e.g. font, size, colour etc.) one by one in a drop down. If you prefer to set up your views in code, you have to remember the different ways of setting properties on different text elements. …


How to create all of your icon sizes in seconds

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Overview

Generating icons for your iOS project can be time consuming. This is the third part of a three part article that explains how I’ve condensed the process of exporting an icon from Sketch into Xcode down to less than a minute, even for a brand new icon.

In the first part of this article I covered how to use Sketch to export a full icon set from a single artboard.

In the second part I described how to set up your icon sets in Xcode to link icon files to their placeholders in a flash.

In this part I’ll share some tips for setting up your artboards to manage multiple icons at once. …


How to create all of your icon sizes in seconds

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Overview

Generating icons for your iOS project can be time consuming. This is the second part of a three part article that explains how I’ve condensed the process of exporting an icon from Sketch into Xcode down to less than a minute, even for a brand new icon.

In the first part of this article I covered how to use Sketch to export a full icon set from a single artboard.

In this part I’ll describe how to import the icon files into Xcode so you don’t have to ‘drag and drop’ individual icon files each time. …


How to create all of your icon sizes in seconds

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Generating icons for your iOS project can be time consuming. The last icon set I created in Xcode needed 18 different individual icon sizes. The real killer is that this isn’t a one-off job, you have to create them again every time your icon design changes, and every time you need a new icon. Before you know it you’ve spent hours creating, copying and pasting different icons into Xcode.

I’ve condensed the process of exporting an icon from Sketch into Xcode down to less than a minute, even for a brand new icon. You don’t need to be a designer (although you can get your designer to do the Sketch set up), and you don’t need any tools apart from Sketch and Xcode. …


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When and how to increment your version numbers

We all know that a project should have a version number. When you release new features, you should increment your version number, right? But exactly when in the development process is that? And how do you keep track? This article describes the simple strategy that I use across our mobile app projects at Control F1.

Although I’m writing about mobile apps, the principles apply to any software development project. So please read on, even if you’re not part of the mobile revolution.

Aims of versioning

Before getting to the when and how, let’s start with why. My main aims are that:

  • Everyone should know what features are available in the version of the app they…

About

Gabrielle Earnshaw

Mobile app strategy and development. Principal Consultant at @InfinityWorks and creator of @Tasktimerappuk and Windsurf Caddy

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