From the "why did I take so long to try that" department by Paulo Fierro

CocoaPods

I'm really glad I took the time to learn and use CocoaPods on this latest project. Such a massive time saver for iOS devs. No more adding linker flags, copying bundles and keeping external frameworks up-to-date manually.

I simply write a Podfile (similar to a Gemfile if you come from the Ruby world), and run "pod install." If a library I'm using has been updated I run "pod update". If a library I want to use isn't available, you can easily submit it to their list of specs on Github.

Great stuff.

Spark Inspector

Its like a Web Inspector for iOS apps. Modify your UI's properties and see the changes live in the Simulator or on your iOS device. you can also see your views in a 3D extruded mode to get a better grasp over how your UI is being laid out.

There's also a notification monitor to see notifications and their payloads as they are fired with the added ability to go back and resend them. Not used this much yet but it looks snazzy.

Crashlytics

I like TestFlight for distributing builds though I will be using Hockey on our next internal app because I've heard great things.

However I no longer ship the TestFlight SDK in our apps because I find the crash monitoring in Crashlytics to be far superior. You can group similar crashes and mark them closed once you've fixed the issue. You also get so many more useful details like available disk space, how many users are affected, etc so I would recommend you give it a shot. I'm a fan.

We're in the business of building things that makes our lives easier and these tools make the development easier.

LockMe by Paulo Fierro

Lately Niqui has been having some issues with her iPhone 5's lock button. It works now and then, but you have to press it 6-7 times before it actually locks the screen which is quite annoying.

You can set phone to Auto-Lock after a minute but sometimes you want to lock the screen at a particular point in time.

Enter LockMe.

lockme.png

LockMe is a tiny app that simply locks the screen and quits. It uses an undocumented function called GSEventLockDevice which does just that. Its part of the private GraphicsServices framework so the app can't be submitted to the App Store, but it does the job until she can get her phone fixed.

There's a few ways to use private frameworks but I found the simplest route was to load it dynamically at runtime. The meat of the app is just ten lines of code.

That's pretty cool if you ask me.

So if you or someone you know has the same issue, grab the app from our GitHub repository, build it for them and be a hero :)

Disabling emoji characters with Unicode variants by Paulo Fierro

I'm currently working on an internal iOS app and while I was working on putting together the About screen I ran into an issue where unicode characters in a UILabel were being displayed as emoji by iOS. While this is kind of awesome, its not really what I was going for.

So my code:

label.text = @"Made with ❤ by jadehopper ltd.";

results in:

madewithemoji.png

To disable the emoji character we have to tell iOS to use the variant of this character. In order to do this we change the label text to:

label.text = @"Made with ❤\U0000FE0E by jadehopper ltd.";

which results in:

madewithnoemoji.png

Much better! If you want to read up on Unicode and its variants check this out.

 

Update Jan 20, 2015

Recently I tried to do this in Swift and it didn't quite work. The trick is to set the text as the following:

label.text = "Made with ❤\u{0000FE0E} by jadehopper ltd."


interactive.ky by Paulo Fierro

When Niqui and I moved over to Grand Cayman last summer we realised that one of the things that we had been completely spoiled with while living in Brighton was the great tech-community and the amazing people that live and work there — some of which we are lucky enough to call friends.

interactiveky

Soon after moving over, Garth Humphreys invited me to a couple Facebook groups which allowed me to (virtually) meet other people in our industry living on our tiny island. Recently we'd been chatting with some friends at BB&P, a local agency, who were also looking to get the local community together and they kindly invited us to use their space.

So earlier this month we had our first get together so we could meet in meatspace. Our first meetup was a great success and everyone that turned up was keen for more of them.

And so we have interactive.ky — a meetup for designers & developers living in the Cayman Islands. Our next one is next Wednesday, April 3 and you're more than welcome to come join us.

Earlier today Ingrid Riley wrote a lovely piece on our group over on Silicon Caribe.