Still coding…

In the Trees

In the Trees by Jim Goodin

Despite lack of entries last few months the coding continues. After dabbling with various programming languages last few years about a year/half ago on a lark suggestion by my astute 17 years son I delved in to learning Objective C with focus on Apple’s iOS.  Last fall I published my first app for iPhone and iPad in the Apple store, a combination currency converter and tip calculator I titled Tips Across the Waters.

Since that publishing I released one update in late March, v 1.08 and have worked off/on on two more app ideas but have had several stops/starts arising from job, music work (another career and see other blog here), making progress, hitting obstacles and all that goes with self teaching a programming language.

Still I’m in it to stay and while on family vacation last week I stumbled on to the idea that bore app project number 2, after realizing it was missing from the core iPad apps and I thought okay there are million of them out there but all the more reason to develop one more :).  I shan’t say what it is at this time and it’s more functional than flash right now but making progress on it and just broke through a wall I had hit the last couple days and that’s seemingly the elixir of coding.  I will say it involves numbers and will probably be a free download.

The other app project has a focus on diabetes and I hope to get back on that one this fall and too, I hope to get back to more regular posting on WordPress, both with the programming venture as well as my music work and while tooting the horn I should also mention too, one music project that was a podcast has moved to video and a channel on YouTube.  It’s a series that I co-host with Paul H. Muller on ‘new music’.  Check it out at Words On New Music.  And follow me on Twitter at jimgoodinmusic.

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Happy Holidays

Happy holidays from Wood and Wire Ware. I hope it’s been a good year for all in my audience. I wish everyone a joyous holiday season and a great new year to to come.

If you or someone you know is traveling this holiday season please consider getting my app Tips Across the Waters, an 11 world currency converter and tip calculator. It’s available in the Apple store for .99 USD at http://iTunes.apple.com/us/app/tips-across-the-waters/id474128076?=mt8.

Should you already have purchased Tips I would like to let you know that I’m working on the first update that will include several new features, some gained from your feedback which I thank you for your input. The iTunes upload area will be down for maintenance during the holidays and I he to get this update out prior to that time otherwise it will be released in January. Updates to Tips Across the Waters are free once you have purchased the app one time.

I’m implementing additional UI fields to support showing the tip amount which should make it handier in restaurants and I’m including localization customary tip amounts for the various included currencies. Additionally there will be some design enhance and currency rate updates.

Time to get on with the day so wishing you well again this season and thank you for your interest and support in Wood and Wire Ware.

Writing Data and So Is I

Spent a lot of time last couple days working on my next app which is going to have a focus for diabetics. I have a personal interest in that in my family, designed the app initially for that need and am in process of making it for public consumption.

Writing or saving user data on the iOS mobile devices is in theory not difficult but for me in the programming it has been challenging though I think I’m seeing the light in the technical. Once this is acquired it will be very useful if not necessary in many apps to come. I didn’t deal with it perse in Tips Across the Waters , only temporary arrays holding data. On a future update there will be a use however.

I’m using picker wheels again on the new app and issues in refreshing those objects with the saved data has been partially the challenge. I may rethink the use of them in the interface but I find them very useful in this particular case.

Speaking of Tips though I’m about to shift gears and do three updates to the current version that i should release in next week or so. One will include conversion updates and the other two came from buyer suggestions and thanks very much to those folks for the suggestions.

Am image from errands today Shadows, metal, rubber and air. Taking a break to go play some fiddle…

Happy Thanksgiving and iPad Pic Daily tweets

For those here in the USA many wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving today with you and your family from myself and Wood and Wire Ware. For me I’m celebrating with my immediate family today and then traveling with my daughter tomorrow to my native land of Arkansas to celebrate with sibling, sibling spouse and parent there. Very much looking forward to both.

One area related to mobile apps and this blog is a random photo series I started several days ago taking one to two to three pictures a day made with my iPad camera documenting the day and tweeting them. I’m particularly enjoying photographing through the iPad as it feels like photographing through an 8×10 view camera.

Three images made this AM in celebration of the day and the fall are these, Thanksgiving Day Detail 1, Thanksgiving Day Detail2 and Thanksgiving Day Detail 3.

Follow me on Twitter to see my images and reflections daily at jimgoodinmusic.

Remember my first app available through the Apple store, a currency converter and tip calculator, is at Tips Across the Waters.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Just posted a walk-through video about Tips Across the Waters

This weekend I was able to put together a ‘walk-through’ how to video demoing my recently published iOS app, Tips Across the Waters.

The video is at URL Tips Across the Waters walk-through. The video is barebones and shot with the app active and running on an iPad and iPod Touch. It will give the user a good overview and ‘how to’.

With this video it’s also the official launch of a YouTube channel for Wood and Wire Ware.

Thanks for watching as well as following my news on this blog.

A Name, A Destination

With a purpose to do article every couple of days for my development blog I was scratching for an entry today. And without wanting to just tout my recently released app but yet have this blog have something more to say, I decided to give some history behind the making of my company/venture name, Wood and Wire Ware.

Wood and Wire Ware is a new chapter In new light of reinventing my muse if you will in the legacy of my music label of many years Wood and Wire Music which I formed in the late 90’s when I released my first cd of acoustic guitar compositions Celtic Journey to the Path.

Wood and Wire was then the marrying of the purity of the instrument, the organic, the aging folky with an edge which is what my music was about and though now more experimental, the sense of acoustic and organic roots remain.

As I wrote in the entry from a few days ago on my journey to this stage of software development, now known as ‘apps’ which I keep wanting to call programs or the longer ‘applications’, I started exploring this platform and the coding for it, objective c, a year ago. In many ways music, art, programming all go together as its all math, all calculated but even with software instructions for the machines we call computers, ‘heart’ is a key factor at least for me and I think truthfully for any creator of things.

So it’s all an evolution and hence the connection between my worlds of Wood and Wire, now with Ware from soft.

Though early in the ‘app’ game it was my goal to get a usable product in the Apple store before the year was out and I’ve been very proud to have pulled that off and still got time to geT a good start on another release before years end if all goes well. I do plan an update for Tips Across the Waters in about a month to at the least update the conversion rates. I have another view also in mind for an additional feature that was suggested to me in a FB comment if time allows. It’s a simple app but I think one that offers some useful functionality to the mobile user so please to check it out at Tips Across the Waters, buy a copy or maybe give it as a gift for the holidays and by all means if you do, please consider posting a review.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for checking out my blog here at Wood and Wire Ware.

My Journey to Mobile App Development, part 2

Picking up from My Journey to App Development… As i was talking about at end of that entry, my first finalization of Tips Across the Waters was coming together near end of July. Conceptually I had a workable useful mobile app but in testing discovered a problem with one of the currencies I had chosen for that release as well as a couple of potential ‘leaks’. Equally my son said made a few observations that led me to rethink the design. I saw i could release and then do updates or i could revamp and tighten the code. I decided to roll back down the hill a bit and revamp.

Revamping led to an overhaul of the graphics adding some ‘relief’ to the background by using an image instead of just a view color. With the first phase i had ported to a few test devices to see what the app was like out of the Xcode Simulator. One of the other observations on the first draft was that the interface felt too busy, too many choices as was suggested to me. Additionally as I was ‘learning as I went to a degree’, I had garnered more tools at my disposal so I employed a picker wheel in the new model which allowed adding more currencies and giving the app more international flavor and less busy interface.

There was also an issue with my original choice of names which I had dubbed ‘International Tip Calculator’ which was rather dry by my own admittance and I discovered someone already had it. It was unclear whether that would lead to rejection by Apple but made sense to find a new name as long as I was going back to the drawing board.

So by September my reworking, newly dubbed Tips Across the Waters, was taking shape with a nicer look and more functionality and less busier interface, all goals. I felt was near release again. I initially was going to port for iPhone/Touch and later iPad but i had gone this far so why not see that through and implement rotation, an iPad prerequisite.

On the basics adding rotation was relatively easy but getting the views to work out right and be in sync led to some challenges. I had chosen to manage the views in one XIB (Interface Builder) file which was conceptually easier for me to understand but led me on a few adventures working out. I was able to get the majority functioning correctly but had a few aforementioned view sync issues that were real head scratchers which friend and programming mentor Chris Robertshelped me see through.

So by mid October Tips Across the WatersTips Across the Waters was ready for sail and on the evening of the 21st I uploaded to Apple for submission to the store very jazzed but equally prepared for a kickback asking me to revise/fix this or that. I had read many online stories of the process taking weeks. Just after uploading they did pass back and ask me fix the ‘white space’ in the file name which means all words in the file naming needed to be connected. I did that and reposted and soon got a message back that said ‘waiting for review’. It sat at this stage till the following Wednesday morning when it changed (which through the iTunesConnect developer portal I could check) to ‘in review’.

Again I thought during the day well probably something I missed in the HIG (human interface guidelines) they will ask me to revise. But later that evening an email arrived that read in the subject line, ‘Ready for Sale’ and I was quite proud and it is indeed ready for sale at Tips Across the Waters.

Blazing the Path and Growing with the Muse

This weekend I spent some time researching review sites to pitch Tips to for reviews and try to grow/broaden my traffic to the store. I discovered and pitched to several places including AppCarver, AppStorm, AppShopper and few others. Also have been thinking about investing in some advertising. It’s a big puddle I have jumped in to but feels very good to be part of this and have brought an idea from first glimmer to product. It is and will continue to be learning process but getting there.

I’m also beginning to work on two new ideas, one is a collaboration with a bandmate from past projects and another is an app that like Tips Across the Waters, is starting as a personal need that I can apply in the commercial sense. That one will focus on diabetes.

And also putting word out about Tips by word-of-mouth as much as possible. It’s all another chapter of marketing akin to what I did for years in my music. Hopefully this will be a wider market and direction which is my goal. I have dabbled in programming over the years but have not until now been able to make the jump from learning to ‘doing it’. Feels great to have gotten to a level of that stage. Many thanks to Apple for opening these doors for all of us as well as on a personal level friend and mentor Chris Roberts.

Stay tuned for more on the growth of Wood and Wire Ware.

Using Tips Across the Waters, a User Guide

For those of you that have purchased or are thinking about purchasing Tips Across the Waters (e.g. TATW), though the interface is quite simple I wanted to offer a walk through for this entry.

The app in that it can rotate from portrait to landscape, encompasses two operating views or screens and a third view that is a help screen. In landscape view the layout is slightly different to accommodate the side view.

TATW is a percentage based tip calculator and eleven currency converter. The top and middle of the portrait screen are text fields and touch buttons that manage input from the user. The bottom portion utilizing a one segment picker wheel manages currency conversion. The user can either use the conversion inclusive of tip processing or the tip portion and. Guest share can be excluded.

Beginning at the top the user taps on the left most field labeled Amount. Doing so brings to the screen the tapping keyboard. The user enters their cost which they are calculating a tip followed by tapping the keyboard return key, an action required on all the apps input fields to tell the program the information entered is complete.

Next the user picks a tip percentage from the three preset buttons, 10, 15, 20 or in the right most field an amount of choice may be entered.

Following the percentage tap or a return key a Sub-total and Total are displayed. If the user wants to split the cost among party guests he/she will enter the number splitting the bill in the field in between. Pressing return completes that field and the Total will update.

Next the user can convert their total amount which assumes their own local currency to one of eleven including Australian Dollars, Brazilian Real, Swiss Franc, Chinese Yuan, European Euro, Great Britian Pound, New Isrealia Shekel, Indian Rupee, Turkish Lira, United States Dollar and South African Rand.

Spinning the From-To picker dial on the screens lower left to the desired currency returns the conversion. To receive a straight conversion from the initial amount without tip and guest share just enter that amount, tap the return key and spin the picker dial.

And that is a walk through of my new app Tips Across the Waters.

My Journey to Mobile Apps Development, part 1

Get Tips Across the Waters in the Apple storeWith a new app out and the start of a new venture I decided that I would do a blog to tell my story of how ‘Tips Across the Waters’ and hopefully many more came to begin.

I have a background of many hats including musician, photographer, video editor/maker, Information Technology professional of many years, hacker with a range of languages and web designer/coder so adding mobile apps development feels a good fit. I say hacker at range of languages, I came to computers late but ironically paralleling a relocation to New York in the early 90’s just about the time the corporate sector began to think about computer networks in their offices. I came to NY with a number years of experience in television production from my years in Arkansas. While trying to continue that in some way here in New York I fell in to initially admin assist and then help desk roles which led to various IT related over the years. Off and on during this period I would pick up a language and try to learn a bit hoping to find a door to crossover from the help desk/support world which never seemed to happen.

As my kids were growing up Apple computers came in to my world more and more, then the iPods arrived, then the Touch and then the holy grail the iPhone. I began to hear about the mini-programs through my son who said to me about a year ago, ‘dad you ought to learn the programming language to make apps’ and having delved in to BASIC, then C, then C++, then Java some, then some stuff based in the Unix/Linux world I was curious what was being used. We both thought C#. The search soon led to ‘objective c’ which I learned that I already had some foundation for, that it was essentially a custom C with classes.

So I began self teaching myself in the fall of 2010, initially with a couple of books, Head FIrst iPhone Development and then the Big Nerd Rand iPhone book, doing examples and plugging in some of my own ideas to see what would happen, then I started to google more and find examples and tutorials and by spring of this year I began to ‘get it’ to a degree.

Coming back from a school trip with my daughter I had a breakthrough in understanding and began to mull over some concepts I had thought of when I began this journey, meaning ideas that I thought might turn in to a good app and one of these was a tip calculator something I often felt a need for on a personal level.

I began playing with ideas and some structure, put together an initial interface in Information Builder and thus ‘Tips Across the Waters’ began to be created though then it was unnamed and quite a bit more simplistic. I’m going to break this entry for now and continue with the rest of the story as said in the next entry, stay tuned…

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