Posts tagged with "developers"

Apple Updates iTunes Connect App for iOS 7

Following OS X, iTunes, and Podcasts for iOS, Apple released a long overdue update to the iTunes Connect app today, bringing a new iOS 7 design and wider support for media sold on the iTunes Store.

If you're a developer or content creator, you can now enjoy a redesigned app (nothing special, but nice icon) and view stats for music, movies, and TV shows available on iTunes.

iTunes Connect 3.0 is available on the App Store.

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Motion UI Design Principles

Great collection of motion patterns in iPhone user interfaces by Grant Liddall (via iOS Dev Weekly and collected from Capptivate):

Steer clear of distracting or even confusing the user with too much animation, Subtlety is key. It should be used to maintain or help focus. Not take it away. Also don’t over elaborate aspects such as screen transitions. This becomes increasingly frustrating to the user over time. Or if they are simply left waiting for what seems like “forever”.

Since iOS 7 came out, I've seen developers who failed to acknowledge the new OS' reliance on context through motion and, on the other end of the spectrum, those who implemented too many heavy-handed transitions and animations that always become gaudy and detrimental to the user experience after a few days. Even Apple is guilty of this with some of the animations throughout the OS.

As usual, it's hard to balance the abundance of available tools with good design, but the best iOS 7 apps are the ones that meaningfully rely on motion when necessary, not just because it looks good or new.

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Facebook Open-Sources Pop, The Animation Engine Behind Paper

Facebook has open-sourced Pop, the animation engine behind the company’s alternative client for iPhone, Paper. Used to power transitions and animations inspired by real-life physics and interactions, Pop has allowed Facebook to build Paper’s popular gestural controls, which have become one of the app’s marquee features. In Paper, many of Facebook’s functionalities are only available through gestures, as the app focuses on content and stories while removing chrome and other standard UI elements in its reimagination of the classic news feed.

Writing on the Facebook Engineering blog, Kimon Tsinteris (co-founder of Push Pop Press, which Facebook acquired in 2011) has explained the motivation behind Pop and the kind of animations it offers to developers willing to implement the framework in their apps:

When I co-founded Push Pop Press in 2010, our goal was to create a realistic, physics-everywhere experience. We wanted a solution that would allow us to evoke the same delightful experience of UIScrollView throughout the whole application. Pop is the latest manifestation of that vision, allowing us to keep the familiar and powerful programming model of Core Animation while also capturing a gesture’s velocity and better reflecting user intent. Paper has given us the opportunity to further refine both the vision and the animation engine behind it.

“Spring” and “decay” are dynamic animations that help bring Paper to life. “Spring” gives Paper elements their attractive bounce. “Decay” brings movement to an eventual slow halt. Both take velocity as an input and are good candidates for realistically responding to user gestures.

According to Tapity’s Jeremy Olson, Pop can be used to “revolutionize the way you think about animation in your app”; Olson has been testing Pop to create animations for Tapity’s upcoming iPhone app, Hours.

Two weeks ago, members of Facebook’s Paper team shared details on the making of Paper and some of the interface, framework, and user experience decisions behind the app in a developer event available on YouTube (embedded above). Facebook will also integrate Pop in Origami, the free design prototyping toolkit used by the Facebook design team to create interactive mockups without programming.

Pop is the latest entry in Facebook’s library of open-source projects, joining KVOController, Shimmer, and Tweaks. Pop is available now on GitHub.


Jack for iTunes Connect

New app by Christian Beer to compose and upload descriptions for iOS and OS X apps from your Mac to iTunes Connect.

Managing screenshots with drag & drop. Updating localizations without waiting for page loads. Add sale price intervals via a convenient date picker.

Jack uses the iTunes Connect Transporter tool to communicate with Apple's backend, storing credentials securely in the OS X Keychain. If you're a developer, Jack makes it easy to add and edit metadata for localization purposes, select pricing tiers, and manage screenshots with drag & drop from the Finder.

There are some limitations, but overall Jack looks like a handy utility to save time when managing app metadata in iTunes Connect. There's a free trial (limited to 10 days and 2 uploads), and the app is 40% off until the end of April.

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Facebook’s “Tweaks” For iOS Developers

Today, Facebook spent $2 billion and open-sourced a library for iOS developers.

Tweaks, available on GitHub, provides an interface for developers to make minor adjustments and tweak parameters of an app directly inside the app, in a few seconds. Those changes can be the color of a button or the speed of an animation, and Facebook says that Tweaks helped them build Paper, the highly praised alternative Facebook app.

Here's TechCrunch's Greg Kumparak on Tweaks:

For developers, it means being able to fine-tune applications faster and with less code. As an added bonus, it lets any of their designers who might not love to code help figure out the best settings without having to pop into the source or pester the dev team for a million new builds.

And Facebook, on the project's page:

Occasionally, it's perfect the first try. Sometimes, the idea doesn't work at all. But often, it just needs a few minor adjustments. That last case is where Tweaks fits in. Tweaks makes those small adjustments easy: with no code changes and no computer, you can try out different options and decide which works best.

Some of the most useful parameters to adjust are animation timings, velocity thresholds, colors, and physics constants. At Facebook, we also use tweaks to temporarily disable new features during development. That way, the designers and engineers involved can enable it on just their devices, without getting in the way of others testing the app.

Tweaks looks like a handy solution for developers, designers, and, to an extent, even testers of apps. It's available here.

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Crashlytics Announces New Beta Distribution Tool

Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch highlights a new beta distribution tool from Crashlytics, which was acquired by Twitter last year.

The new distribution tool is cross-platform — meaning that it works on both Android and iOS. That puts it on rough parity with Hockey, the other major player in the beta distribution space, though Hockey also supports Windows Phone.

The new tool comes out of Crashlytics Labs, the experimental arm of the crash-reporting and analytics firm. It’s been in private beta for a bit but is now expanding into public beta ...

Crashlytics has their own blog post about the new venture here, where you can sign up to try their new tool.

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Releasing Games Through Apple, Valve, Nintendo And Sony’s Digital Storefronts

Swedish indie development studio Image & Form has released games for iOS, Nintendo devices, and Steam; next month, they will release Steamworld Dig for PS Vita and PlayStation 4. CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson spoke to Edge about the differences between digital storefronts, suggesting that Apple could do a better job at selecting and working with indies:

The developer’s experience with Apple – or rather, the lack of it – suggests that the App Store’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. “So many games are coming out every day and the largely DIY submission procedures are so effective that it’s impossible for Apple to keep up personal relations,” says Sigurgeirsson. “A year and a half after having released a Game of the Week I met my first Apple representative in person, and many developers probably couldn’t tell you who ‘their’ person is. The ‘right’ Apple e-mail addresses used to be hard currency, real bargaining chips.”

In throwing its doors open and welcoming all comers, Apple has made it easy for developers to release a game, certainly, but perhaps it’s too easy right now. Sigurgeirsson would like to see Apple raise the entry level to the App Store – “make it a tiny bit harder to become a licensed developer, so that the average quality of the games goes up,” he says.

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Fleksy Launches SDK for iOS Developers

Fleksy is an alternative keyboard for iOS that I first tested when Launch Center Pro, an initial partner, implemented it a few months ago. Within the limitations of iOS, Fleksy provides a different typing experience that can be faster than Apple's default keyboard.

Today, Fleksy has opened up their SDK for any iOS developer to implement in their apps. The public SDK allows apps to feature colorful keyboards (there are themes) and a button in the Copy & Paste menu to quickly switch to the Fleksy keyboard. These system replacements are much more useful on Android because they can be activated anywhere in the OS, and it'll be interesting to see how many iOS apps will add support for Fleksy as a user option.

Check out the Fleksy SDK here.

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