UPDATE: Renaming an Xcode 8 project, the easy way or the advanced way

NOTE: This article was first published on Jan 18, 2017. Since that time, I realized I missed one aspect of the project renaming process. Re-read the article or jump straight to the new content.

Sometimes you need to rename your Xcode projects. Not too long ago, this would’ve been problematic. Apple has built a project renaming feature into Xcode, but it’s not good enough for my needs. I’ll show you how I have to go above and beyond the standard functionality to get what I really want. Let’s walk through a concrete example, renaming an Xcode project we’ve been talking about in the post entitled “The UICollectionView is much more than a grid or matrix”.

Continue reading “UPDATE: Renaming an Xcode 8 project, the easy way or the advanced way”

Xcode secrets: save time with context-sensitive help and documentation

How many times have you been looking at Swift or Objective-C code in Xcode and can’t remember what a framework method, argument, constant, etc. means? Did you know that help — full documentation — is just a keystroke away? Did you also know that you can add the same type of pop-up, context-sensitive help to your own code? Here’s how. Let’s say you’re looking at the following NSString class method and can’t remember exactly what the call does, what parameters it takes, and what is its return value:

Highlight the method name, parameter, even the enum, and then press the following key combination on your keyboard:

[command] + [control] + [shift] + [?]

      or, using key symbols:

⌘ ⌃ ⇧ ?

Here’s what you’ll see: a context-sensitive help/documentation popup. Note that I added the red lines to highlight content. The red highlighting is not what Xcode provides (click to enlarge):

Figure 1: Xcode framework context sensitive help and documentation.

So you immediately get information about the method, parameter, enum, even constant’s:

  • Declaration (formal language signature);
  • Description (textual explanation of the entity’s purpose);
  • Parameters (a full list of names and definitions);
  • Returns (the value returned by a method/function, if applicable);
  • Availability (what version of iOS that the entity became available in — and sometimes in what version it was deprecated);
  • Declared In (the framework which contains the entity); and,
  • More (generally, the formal definition of the entity with explanations and other links).

Check out what I get if I click on the “More Type Method Reference” link as shown in Figure 1 (click to enlarge):

Continue reading “Xcode secrets: save time with context-sensitive help and documentation”

Troubleshooting Auto Layout using Xcode’s Debug View Hierarchy

What’s more important when troubleshooting software, 1) what you intended in design or 2) what was materialized by running your code in a production environment? Take Auto Layout for example. Interface Builder may be happy with your constraints, displaying no warnings or errors, but when you run your app, you see problems. I find it much more helpful to see my all my Auto Layout live, while my app is running. I’ve found that using Xcode’s Debug View Hierarchy button is an often over-looked but extremely powerful tool for solving app layout problems, especially when iOS developers have to write app user interfaces that run on differently-sized devices in multiple orientations. The Debug View Hierarchy feature helps you understand how Auto Layout works. You can see all of your app’s:

Continue reading “Troubleshooting Auto Layout using Xcode’s Debug View Hierarchy”

Renaming an Xcode 8 project, the easy way or the advanced way

NOTE: This article was first published on Jan 18, 2017. Since that time, I realized I missed one aspect of the project renaming process. Re-read the article or jump straight to the new content.

Sometimes you need to rename your Xcode projects. Not too long ago, this would’ve been problematic. Apple has built a project renaming feature into Xcode, but it’s not good enough for my needs. I’ll show you how I have to go above and beyond the standard functionality to get what I really want. Let’s walk through a concrete example, renaming an Xcode project we’ve been talking about in the post entitled “The UICollectionView is much more than a grid or matrix”.

Continue reading “Renaming an Xcode 8 project, the easy way or the advanced way”

Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part 2

[Download the full Xcode project from GitHub.]

In this series of posts, “Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part X,” we’re learning about basic animation in several steps. In yesterday’s post, “Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part 1” we covered setting up a storyboard scene using Auto Layout. Today, we’ll be using some basic UIView geometry to play with shapes and sizes. Tomorrow, we’ll be writing the code to explore iOS animation capabilities. I’ll be writing code in Swift 3.0, then later providing Objective-C versions. I’ll make all the source code available to y’all on GitHub as we move forward.

NOTE: The iOS skill level required herein is “beginner” to “intermediate.” One of the purposes of this blog is to help aspiring new iOS developers get started on the right foot. For all you seasoned (or “advanced”) developers out there, I encourage you to stick with this blog as we’ll be covering very complex iOS scenarios too. Everyone can benefit from these articles, including myself, by getting your feedback.

So what’s this stuff I call “basic UIView geometry?” All user interface components, like UIView’s and UIButton’s, must be positioned on an Apple device’s screen. They’re also objects that occupy space, so they have width and height. In order to position user interface components properly on screen, you use Auto Layout, which boils down to a series of geometric equations called “constraints.” According to Apple, “The layout of your view hierarchy is defined as a series of linear equations. Each constraint represents a single equation. Your goal is to declare a series of equations that has one and only one possible solution.” Let’s make this all more concrete and define two terms you’ll always need to know.

Continue reading “Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part 2”

Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part 1

[Download the full Xcode project from GitHub.]

We’re going to learn about basic animation in the next few series of posts, “Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part X.” In order to perform animations, we need to lay the foundation for a simple app. We’ll be 1) setting up a storyboard scene using Auto Layout (this post), 2) using some basic UIView geometry to play with shapes and sizes (Part 2), and 3) writing the code in Swift and Objective-C to explore iOS animation capabilities (Part 3). After Part 3, we’ll start solidifying all the concepts you’ve learned in this series, tie all these concepts together, and come to the realization that these concepts will be indispensable in almost all your iOS development efforts. I’ll make all the source code available to y’all on GitHub as we move forward.

NOTE: The iOS skill level required herein is “beginner” to “intermediate.” One of the purposes of this blog is to help aspiring new iOS developers get started on the right foot. For all you seasoned (or “advanced”) developers out there, I encourage you to stick with this blog as we’ll be covering very complex iOS scenarios too. Everyone can benefit from these articles, including myself, by getting your feedback.

Create a new Xcode 8.x project, selecting a Single View Application, naming the project “Animation Demo,” filing out all the required new project fields, selecting “Swift” as the Language, and setting “iPhone” for Devices.

Continue reading “Basic animation, Auto Layout, and view geometry – Part 1”

The heartbreak of the Xcode “Undefined symbols for architecture xxx” linker message

As an iOS developer — or any type of software developer — you’re eventually going to run into linker errors. Sometimes they’re easy to fix (i.e., you’re missing an #include for a header file). Sometimes they’re crazy complex, subtle, and very difficult to solve. Today we’ll talk about some tools (file, otool) and techniques (setting library target hardware architectures) you can use for solving difficult Xcode linker errors.

Continue reading “The heartbreak of the Xcode “Undefined symbols for architecture xxx” linker message”