Photics Forums – The iPhone App

photics-forums-icon-thumbnailDespite the grumpy feelings, I decided to give iPhone development another go. So far, I’m pleased that I did. While converting my Photics Forums app to the iPhone / iPod Touch, I learned some new tricks. For the longest time, I was struggling with getting my iPhone apps to match my Android apps. I was having problems with Reachability and Landscape mode. With the completion of my new app, that’s no longer an issue. While waiting for my app to be approved, I have some time for reflection on my progress.

The wait begins again. One of the major differences between Android and iPhone OS development is the downtime. I have to wait almost two weeks for my app to launch. It slows things down. With Google’s Android Market, I can launch an app instantly and get quick feedback. I can launch improvements the same day… even within minutes of getting feedback. It doesn’t work that way with Apple, but I am making progress and I’m getting used to the procedure.

The Photics iPhone Library of Apps is growing! :-)
The Photics iPhone Library of Apps is growing!

The Photics Forums had an incredibly short development time because I was prepared. I had my 512×512 Photoshop document ready, I already knew how to digitally sign my app and I knew where to look for iPhone information. Yet, that’s what surprised me the most. The community has gotten better in the last month. It seems that we’re all learning together.

A lot of my previous trouble with Reachability and landscape mode was resolved by starting with a View-Based Application, rather than a Wiindows-Based Application. The former includes a lot of extra code that is commented out. Simply uncomment the needed parts to add functionality. This process was easier (and more effective) to work with. Well, for my WebView based apps anyway. The Photics Forums layout was designed for a 480 pixel wide screen, not 320. It was essential that I was able to launch the app in landscape. As for Reachability, my original solution worked, but it was not an elegant method.

By watching some YouTube videos, I learned ways to improve my iPhone WebView apps. What surprised me is how young these video creators seem to be. True, I’ve been writing programs since my pre-teen years, but I’m impressed with the next generation. They have a tremendous advantage with the Internet and these kids are taking use of it. What’s funny is that it would be so easy to dismiss the knowledge that they possess. Their videos are far from Hollywood level productions. Yet, if you look past the audio problems and other mistakes, they are an excellent source of information.

It made me think about my life. When I explain new and cool things, people are often suspicious, uninterested, doubtful, fearful… why? I didn’t feel old or threatened by these videos. It’s OK to learn new things from someone younger than you. I didn’t feel the need to make fun of these kids. Instead, I watched with respect. If they keep improving their skills, the future is optimistic.

The Photics Forums - running on the iPhone Simulator
The Photics Forums - running on the iPhone Simulator

What about my future? Well, I’ll have to get past the initial disappointment with iPhone Development. My apps might not be as popular as I hoped, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying again. There is a lot of potential here. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve gotten better. Taking a break isn’t bad though. With fresh eyes and a clear head, I was much more productive than I expected.

As for Guild Wars Fans, I know that some of you miss the old forums at this website. Don’t worry, I’m planning something extra special for you. :-D