Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updating iOS Applications with GroundControl

The idea behind GroundControl is simple, the application fetches a remote property list and updates its NSUserDefaults with the contents of the property list. Even though many applications download data from a dedicated backend to dynamically update their contents, the strategy that I will lay out in this article is ideal if a dedicated backend isn't an option or exceeds your application's requirements.

The setup discussed in this tutorial is lightweight and inexpensive. Not only is it inexpensive, it is also easy to maintain, which is a factor often overlooked by both clients and developers.

It is important to emphasize that property lists are ideal for small chunks of data and shouldn't be used as a replacement for a dedicated backend. If an application needs to be updated on a daily basis with new content then the strategy dicussed in this tutorial won't cut it.

To illustrate how all the different pieces fit together, we will build an iOS application appropriately named Remote Control. Even though the application itself won't do much, by integrating GroundControl to update the application's NSUserDefaults it will become clear how easy it is to remotely update an application with very little overhead. Let's get started.


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,GroundControl

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Introduction to Collection Views in iOS

Collection Views, available in the UICollectionView class, are a new concept in iOS 6 that introduce presenting multiple items on the screen using layouts. The patterns for providing data to a UICollectionView to create items and interact with those items follow the same delegation and data source patterns commonly used in iOS development.

However, Collection Views work with a layout subsystem that is independent of the UICollectionView itself. Therefore, simply providing a different layout can easily change the presentation of a Collection View.

iOS provides a layout class called UICollectioViewFlowLayout that allows line-based layouts such as a grid to be created with no additional work. Also, custom layouts can also be created that allow any presentation you can imagine.


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Dependency Injection and Service Locator

Dependency injection is a interface programing technique which is based on altering class behavior without the changing the class internals. That's been done by coding against interface inside of the class and exposing interface definition to code external to the component. There are three types (different techniques) of making dependency injection: constructor DI, setter DI and interface DI.

Service locator is a design pattern similar to dependency injection in a meaning that allows altering the class behavior without altering the class code by coding against the interface inside of the class. The difference is that there's no direct exposure of interface to code outside of the class. Instead class is using "well known object" inside, to get from it desired interface implementation.

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UNDERSTANDING IOC CONTAINER

In a multi layered application architecture, loosely coupled code is more than a important. It's the basic which can either help the entire project progress, or drive it down the slope to the end (in the bad meaning of the word). One of the basics to keep coupling as low as possible is Inversion of Control (IoC) container.

I will try to show how to put in place a simple version of IoC container to allow loosely coupled design. The solution will contain several projects to emulate a layered application as much as possible. The choice of console application is only driven by intent to keep it as simple as possible.


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Service Locator is an Anti-Pattern

Service Locator is a well-known pattern, and since it was described by Martin Fowler, it must be good, right?

No, it's actually an anti-pattern and should be avoided.

Let's examine why this is so. In short, the problem with Service Locator is that it hides a class' dependencies, causing run-time errors instead of compile-time errors, as well as making the code more difficult to maintain because it becomes unclear when you would be introducing a breaking change.


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ASP.NET MVC DI with Common Service Locator and NInject

I think everyone knows about Dependency Injection (DI) and how important it is when it comes to building low-coupled components. There are many IoC (Inversion of Control) containers. The most popular are

  1. Spring.NET
  2. CastleWindsor
  3. StructureMap
  4. Ninject
  5. Unity
  6. Autofac

Each of them has its own pros and cons. I have been using NInject for years and I am really happy with it. Autofac is quite a new DI framework which shows really good results on benchmarks. You can find information for all DI frameworks on their websites or just google them for comparison.


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Ninject – Getting Started, Resources, Basic Binding

This post will cover the information needed to get started with Ninject. By the end of this post, you will be able to use Ninject in your application as a dependency injector. Here is a description from the Ninject web site.

Ninject is a lightning-fast, ultra-lightweight dependency injector for .NET applications. It helps you split your application into a collection of loosely-coupled highly-cohesive pieces, and then glue them back together in a flexible manner. By using Ninject to support your software's architecture, your code will become easier to write, reuse, test, and modify.


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Introduction to AutoMapper

AutoMapper is an object-to-object mapper, which allows you to solve issues with mapping of the same properties in one object of one type to another object of another type. For example, mapping a heavy entity Customer object to theCustomerDTO could be done with AutoMapper automatically.


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Deep Dive into ASP.NET MVC 4 - Part [1] - Introduction

ASP.NET MVC 4 is a framework for building scalable, standards-based web applicationsusing well-established design patterns and the power of ASP.NET and the .NET Framework.In this article I will give an introduction to ASP.NET MVC 4 from a beginner's perspective.

This article is meant for all kind of beginner users who wanted to get started with ASP.NET MVC 4. I have included a small comparison between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web forms for those who have already explored ASP.NET Web forms

Currently ASP>NET MVC 4 is supported in Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012, previous versions of Visual Studio does not support ASP.NET MVC 4 as of now. If you don't have ASP.NET MVC 4 in your box then install MVC 4 for Visual Studio 2010 or else use Visual Studio 2012 to get started with this article, You may refer Setup Environment article for more installation details/procedures.

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Build a Twitter Search App for Android: Project Setup

This two-part tutorial series will introduce you to the fundamentals of working with RESTful web services using the Android SDK. Along the way, you'll learn how to perform searches against the public Twitter API!

It goes without saying that Internet access is one of the main assets you can exploit in Android devices. Many popular sites and social networks use Web services to provide access to their data, often using architectural models such as REST (Representational State Transfer). Twitter is one such service, with various APIs for accessing tweets and timelines. In this two-part series we will use the Twitter Search API to fetch recent tweets on a search term chosen by the user.

In this first part we will capture the user input and build the URL to use in an HTTP request to the Twitter search URL for tweets on the input term. In the second part we will retrieve the results, which will be formatted in JSON. We will parse the returned JSON tweet feed and display it within a simple visual interface.


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Data Template Example in Windows Phone

Windows Phone Tutorial, Development & Programming Blog

Data Template Example in Windows Phone

This example shows how you can datatemplate in windows phone. Algorithm: 1.) Create a new project by File-> New Project name it DataTemplateExample. 2.) Select Visual C# -> Silverlight for WindowsPhone from template section. 3.) Write following into MainPage.xaml: 4.) Run for output. Steps: 1.) Create a project named DataTemplateExample and set the information as [...]

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UICollectionView Subclass Library Adding Pinterest STyle Grid View Functionality

Today's iOS Developer Resource.

An open source iOS 6 UICollectionView subclass that allows you to easily create Pinterest style grid views that automatically add your views to the column based on height.

You can find UICollectionViewWaterfallLayout on Github here.

A very nice UICollectionView enhancement.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Inversion of Control Containers and the Dependency Injection pattern

One of the entertaining things about the enterprise Java world is the huge amount of activity in building alternatives to the mainstream J2EE technologies, much of it happening in open source. A lot of this is a reaction to the heavyweight complexity in the mainstream J2EE world, but much of it is also exploring alternatives and coming up with creative ideas. A common issue to deal with is how to wire together different elements: how do you fit together this web controller architecture with that database interface backing when they were built by different teams with little knowledge of each other.A number of frameworks have taken a stab at this problem, and several are branching out to provide a general capability to assemble components from different layers. These are often referred to as lightweight containers, examples include PicoContainer, and Spring.


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Send Email Attachments with Amazon-SES in C#

These two methods can be used to send emails with Attachment using Amazon-SES in C# Application.

public Boolean SendRawEmail(String from, String to, String cc, String Subject, String text, String html, String replyTo, string attachPath)

    {
        AlternateView plainView = AlternateView.CreateAlternateViewFromString(text, Encoding.UTF8, "text/plain");
        AlternateView htmlView = AlternateView.CreateAlternateViewFromString(html, Encoding.UTF8, "text/html");

        MailMessage mailMessage = new MailMessage();

        mailMessage.From = new MailAddress(from);

        List<String> toAddresses = to.Replace(", ", ",").Split(',').ToList();

        foreach (String toAddress in toAddresses)
        {
            mailMessage.To.Add(new MailAddress(toAddress));
        }

        List<String> ccAddresses = cc.Replace(", ", ",").Split(',').Where(y => y != "").ToList();

        foreach (String ccAddress in ccAddresses)
        {
            mailMessage.CC.Add(new MailAddress(ccAddress));
        }

        mailMessage.Subject = Subject;
        mailMessage.SubjectEncoding = Encoding.UTF8;

        if (replyTo != null)
        {
            mailMessage.ReplyToList.Add(new MailAddress(replyTo));
        }

        if (text != null)
        {
            mailMessage.AlternateViews.Add(plainView);
        }

        if (html != null)
        {
            mailMessage.AlternateViews.Add(htmlView);
        }

        if (attachPath.Trim() != "")
        {
            if (System.IO.File.Exists(attachPath))
            {
                System.Net.Mail.Attachment objAttach = new System.Net.Mail.Attachment(attachPath);
                objAttach.ContentType = new ContentType("application/octet-stream");
                System.Net.Mime.ContentDisposition disposition = objAttach.ContentDisposition;
                disposition.DispositionType = "attachment";
                disposition.CreationDate = System.IO.File.GetCreationTime(attachPath);
                disposition.ModificationDate = System.IO.File.GetLastWriteTime(attachPath);
                disposition.ReadDate = System.IO.File.GetLastAccessTime(attachPath);
                mailMessage.Attachments.Add(objAttach);
            }
        }

        RawMessage rawMessage = new RawMessage();

        using (MemoryStream memoryStream = ConvertMailMessageToMemoryStream(mailMessage))
        {
            rawMessage.WithData(memoryStream);
        }

        SendRawEmailRequest request = new SendRawEmailRequest();
        request.WithRawMessage(rawMessage);

        request.WithDestinations(toAddresses);
        request.WithSource(from);

        AmazonSimpleEmailService ses = AWSClientFactory.CreateAmazonSimpleEmailServiceClient(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings.Get("AccessKeyId"), ConfigurationManager.AppSettings.Get("SecretKeyId"));

        try
        {
            SendRawEmailResponse response = ses.SendRawEmail(request);
            SendRawEmailResult result = response.SendRawEmailResult;
            return true;
        }
        catch (AmazonSimpleEmailServiceException ex)
        {
            return false;
        }
    }
    public static MemoryStream ConvertMailMessageToMemoryStream(MailMessage message)
    {
        Assembly assembly = typeof(SmtpClient).Assembly;
        Type mailWriterType = assembly.GetType("System.Net.Mail.MailWriter");
        MemoryStream fileStream = new MemoryStream();
        ConstructorInfo mailWriterContructor = mailWriterType.GetConstructor(BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic, null, new[] { typeof(Stream) }, null);
        object mailWriter = mailWriterContructor.Invoke(new object[] { fileStream });
        MethodInfo sendMethod = typeof(MailMessage).GetMethod("Send", BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic);
        sendMethod.Invoke(message, BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic, null, new[] { mailWriter, true }, null);
        MethodInfo closeMethod = mailWriter.GetType().GetMethod("Close", BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic);
        closeMethod.Invoke(mailWriter, BindingFlags.Instance | BindingFlags.NonPublic, null, new object[] { }, null);
        return fileStream;
    }


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How to create a splash screen for WP?

When a Windows Phone app is launched, a splash screen, represented by an image, appears immediately and remains displayed until navigation to the first page is complete. For apps that take more than a couple of seconds to load, a splash screen can give the user immediate feedback that the app is launching. Alternatively, you can use a splash screen to provide brand identification and to customize your app.

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Future Mocking

Mocking legacy code is hard. Especially, if it's a third-party library and you have little control over how it's written. It is even more difficult to unit test a type that is instantiated internally. One can argue that it should be refactored to accept dependencies via constructor injection.  However, constraints such as time, budget, experience with the offending code, or even access to the source often prevent paying down the technical debt accumulated in these legacy systems.


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RubyMotion Tutorial: Make iOS Apps With Ruby

RubyMotion is a development platform that lets you write iOS apps in the Ruby language, then compile them down to native Objective-C for App Store submission. If that sounds handy, here's an extensive tutorial from Clay Allsopp, walking you through the process of Hello World to creating a complete, API-driven sample app. (more: RubyMotion Tutorial)

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Auto Layout & Interface Builder Tutorial

At WWDC this year, Apple explained that Auto Layout using Interface Builder in Xcode is now the preferred way of creating iOS UI. These are great tools, but not without their quirks, and may seem counterintuitive if you're already accustomed to the old tools and workflows. Matt Tancock walks you through the new tools and shows you where the problems lie. (more:iDeveloper TV)

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Getting started with Windows Store apps for iOS developers

Experienced iOS developers interested in creating Windows Store apps for WP8 and Windows 8 need look no further for guidance than Microsoft itself. The End-to-end documentation walks you entirely through the process from setting up a new project through extensive code examples, along with links to extensive additional guidance documents. (more: Windows Store Dev Center)


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Aardwolf - a remote JavaScript debugger for mobile apps

If you write mobile web apps, you know that debugging can be a huge hassle. Aleksander Kmetec feels your pain and wrote a remote JavaScript debugging service that works on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS 6 or later. It works on both devices and emulators, and some desktop browsers as well. The code is on Github, so fork it and extend for your own needs. (more: lexanderA)

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Objective-C Literals

Three new features were introduced into clang at the same time: NSNumber Literals provide a syntax for creating NSNumber from scalar literal expressions; Collection Literals provide a short-hand for creating arrays and dictionaries; Object Subscripting provides a way to use subscripting with Objective-C objects. Users of Apple compiler releases can use these features starting with the Apple LLVM Compiler 4.0. Users of open-source LLVM.org compiler releases can use these features starting with clang v3.1.


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iOS Programming 101: Integrate Twitter and Facebook Sharing in Your App

Following the Twitter support in iOS 5, Apple added the support of Facebook in iOS 6. In the past, developers have to make use of the Facebook and Twitter API to integrate the sharing feature in their apps. With the built-in support, it's much easier to add these social features to your own app.

In this short tutorial, we will show you how to build Twitter and Facebook sharing feature in your app. As usual, we'll build a simple app together as we believe there is no better way to teach programming than "get your hand dirty".


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Open Source iOS Control For Easily Creating A Graphical Customizable Scrolling Selector

Today's iOS eveloper Resource.

KLHorizontalSelect is an open source control for creating a scrolling customizable graphical selector.

You can find KLHorizontalSelect on Github here.

A great looking selector control.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dependency Injection With Ninject

Ninject is a lightweight dependency injection framework for .NET applications. It helps you split your application into a collection of loosely-coupled, highly-cohesive pieces, and then glue them back together in a flexible manner. By using Ninject to support your software's architecture, your code will become easier to write, reuse, test, and modify.

You can find out more about Ninject at github here.

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Introduction to NLog

NLog is a .NET library which enables you to add sophisticated tracing code to your application, delivering the functionality mentioned above and much, much more.

NLog lets you write rules which control the flow of diagnostic traces from their sources to targets, which could be:

  • a file
  • text console
  • email message
  • database
  • another machine on the network (using TCP/UDP)
  • MSMQ-based message queue
  • Event Log
  • and others, described here
In addition, each tracing message can be augmented with pieces of contextual information, which will be sent with it to the target. The contextual information can include.

Read More...

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How to Use Dependency Injection (Ninject) with WCF Services

I spent a lot of time late last week trying to figure out exactly how to set up dependency injection for a WCF service I was developing on Windows Azure; there's some documentation out there on how to do it, but it's not nearly as helpful as I would like it. Thus I decided to document how I made WCF and Ninject play nice with each other, and I even provide a sample template you can use yourself.


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How to Transfer a File with WCF Service

I wanted to expose a very simple service to upload and download files through WCF. And because I wanted to be able to pass both the file content as a stream and at least the file name, I could not just use a Stream but had to resort to using Messages: the headers would convey the file information (such as the file type) and the body the content of the file itself through a stream.


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Implementing Domainevents in your application

A domainevent should be a reusable piece of code that be triggered from anywhere within your application, providing an isolated unit of work. The point of the code I'm about to show you is that you get a readable codebase where you or your fellow teammates can easily understand the flow of the application. Let's get right to it!


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Code First Migrations in Entity Framework

This walkthrough will provide an overview Code First Migrations in Entity Framework. You can either complete the entire walkthrough or skip to the topic you are interested in. The following topics are covered.

  • Enabling Migrations
  • Generating & Running Migrations
  • Customizing Migrations
  • Data Motion & Custom SQL
  • Migrating to a Specific Version (Including Downgrade)
  • Generating a SQL Script
  • Automatically Upgrading on Application Startup (MigrateDatabaseToLatestVersion Initializer)


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Scaffold your ASP.NET MVC 3 project with the MvcScaffolding package

This post is part of a series about the MvcScaffolding NuGet package:
  • This post: Scaffold your ASP.NET MVC 3 project with the MvcScaffolding package
  • Standard usage: Typical use cases and options
  • One-to-Many Relationships
  • Scaffolding Actions and Unit Tests
  • Overriding the T4 templates
  • Creating custom scaffolders
  • Scaffolding custom collections of files
Among many other improvements with ASP.NET MVC 3, we're keen to make it easier to pick up and start using productively if you're entirely new to the framework, and to automate common development tasks if you're experienced and already know what you're doing.

So, I've been working with Scott Hanselman lately on an enhanced new scaffolding package called MvcScaffolding. The term "Scaffolding" is used by many software technologies to mean "quickly generating a basic outline of your software that you can then edit and customise". The scaffolding package we're creating for ASP.NET MVC is greatly beneficial in several scenarios.



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Easy Core Data Fetching with Magical Record

Magical Record, created by Saul Mora, is an open-source library that makes working with Core Data easier and more elegant. The library was inspired by the active record pattern that is also found in Ruby on Rails. This tutorial will teach you how to use Magical Record in your own apps!

So, why Magical Record? If you've been developing for iOS or OS X for some time, chances are that you have had a taste of Core Data. This means that you know that it can be a bit cumbersome to set up a Core Data stack and, to be honest, working with Core Data can be a bit complex mainly due to its verbose syntax. For example, fetching data from a persistent store is quite verbose especially when compared with how a Ruby on Rails application handles this task.



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Open Surce Library For Easy Indexed UITableViews

Today's iOS Developer Resource.

1. An open source library that allows you to easily create indexed UITableViews.

You'll find ADBIndexedTableView by Alberto De Bortoli with a demo project on Github here.

A nice quick and easy project for setting up indexed table views.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dynamic Data Web Application

Dynamic Data Web Application

Dynamic Data Web Application     Introduction Today, in this article let's play around with one of the interesting and most useful concept in C#.   Question: What is dynamic data web application? In simple terms "It enables to perform the CRUD operations with help of pre-defined created dynamic templates".     Step 1: Create a [...]

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Today's iOS Developer Resource and Libraries.

Today's iOS Developer Resource and Libraries.

1. Open Source iOS Library For Detecting Apps Installed On A User's Device

An open source library for determing the apps installed on a users device without using any private API's.

You can find the library on Github here with a full example and read about the used techniques on Daniel's blog.

While you can't simply grab 100% of the installed apps this is as good as it gets with the available APIs.

2. Open Source iOS Control For Presenting Information In The Toolbar Space 

An open source control for presenting information in the toolbar area such as text and progress indicators.






You can find InformaticToolbar by Greg Wang on Github here.

A very slick way to present information especially if you'd rather not present the user with a modal view.

3. Objective-C Library Of Matcher Objects For OCUnit, GHUnit, Cedar, More For Easier Testing

An objective-c library providing matcher objects for use with the unit testing frameworks OCUnit (built into Xcode), GHUnit,
Cedar, OckMock and OCHandMock.

You can find Hamcrest on Google code here and the Objective-C wiki can be found here.

A nice time saver for building unit tests.
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Reusable collapsable table view for iOS


I was once working on an iPhone application that shows a large number of inputs, grouped into various categories, in a UITableView. To change the value of one of the inputs, the user presses the corresponding row in the table view and alters the value in a separate screen that appears. The table view had a section for each category and each section contained a table cell (row) for each input. The problem was that the number of inputs became very, very large so that it didn't give the user a very good overview. It was even tedious to scroll from the top of the table to the bottom. We decided that the user should be able to collapse and expand the sections (categories) of the table by simply pressing the header of the section. We required that the code that achieves this should be reusable and that it requires the least possible number of changes to the existing code.


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