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A Mobile Developers Guide

By | Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Development, Uncategorized, Windows Phone 7

App design is a thorny problem for most people. This is doubly true on mobile devices, where maintaining a sleek, user-friendly interface is trickier than it looks. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information on this subject, making it just a bit easier to decide on what an app should look like.

First is the  iPhone and Android site http://www.mobile-patterns.com/. Consisting of a gallery of the most successful apps (including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc), this site contains a list of categories that may be giving you problems. This list contains a handy menu of the most common features in apps, such as Lists, Camera Controllers and the like. Each page contains images of examples in practice, providing guidance on how to achieve a similar effect in apps currently being worked on.

Second is the iPhone only site http://pttrns.com/, which provides a similar service to the above site, albeit focused on iPhone. Apart from the magnifying glass enabling your cursor to see up close to the images, it’s all pretty similar to the site above. Where it differs though is selecting an image that you like doesn’t just display the image in a fuller size. Instead it takes you to all images listed on the site under the same app, along with a link to the iTunes website and ratings for the app.

Apart from the above sites, there exists a host of other sites in a similar vein. These include dribbble.com, www.lovelyui.com and www.androidpatterns.com. Sadly, these are all related to Android and iPhone, and I have been unable to find a site for BlackBerry devices. Thankfully, the BlackBerry site contains tips on how to create a standardised UI across BlackBerry devices. How to implement these features in code is a whole different problem. Hopefully I will address that in a future update!

Johann Van den Bergh

Mobile Software Developer

Cobi Interactive

4U Rage Festival 2012

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

4U Rage Festival 2012 which is brought to you by G&G, Vodacom and Blackberry is around the corner, and Cobi had the pleasure of developing the Blackberry app.

We have already seen over a 1000 downloads since the launch date on the 8 November!

The app was designed to insure that all the raggers have access to any and all information they would need to enjoy this magnificent event. Cobi’s user experience expert designed the app to be user friendly and was customized to cater for all raggers and ensuring smooth and easy access to all the fantastic content. Cobi was really proud to be part of this project and can’t wait to hear how much you guys love it.
You can download the app from the BlackBerry App world or from www.ragefestival.co.za/.
Enjoy it and let us know what you think!

Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy

By | development, Mobile Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

Although I’m mainly on the Java dev side at Cobi, I’m always interested in reading about various cross-platform solutions.

Yesterday I stumbled across a very nicely built, but simple, payments app – bill payments in South Africa – called POCiT. What I found interesting about this app, is that it is written using the J2ME Polish platform (Enough Software), and it has come a long way since I last checked it out. And I really liked the speed of the app compared to PhoneGap apps which can be really slow. I’ll try to write more on Polish at a later date.

But the reason for this post is that I found a great introduction to development on mobile platforms on the site. They call it the Mobile Developer’s Guide To The Galaxy and I recommend anyone interested in the field to download and read it. It gives a brief overview of all mobile platforms & how to develop for them; introduces many of the cross-platform development kits & also gives a rundown on mobile web apps. All in all, it is what it says it is – the guide to our galaxy.

Windows style Home and End buttons on Mac

By | development, Hacks, Uncategorized | One Comment

The Home and End buttons behave differently in Mac and Windows. In Windows the Home button takes you to the start of a line and the End button takes you to the end of a line. Pressing these while holding in Shift allows you to quickly select a line. In Mac the Home and End buttons take you to the start and end of the document as opposed to the line. This can also be used in conjunction with the shift button to select a large portion of a document.

The difference in the behavior of these buttons can be very frustrating especially for developers switching from Windows to Mac. Fortunately Xcode provides an easy way to change the behavior of key presses which can be used to make End and Home behave like your in windows.

Open Xcode’s Preferences.

Select the Key Bindings tab highlighted in red below.

Now select the Text Key Bindings setting also highlighted in red above. The following screen should be shown.

A list of Action’s along with their bound Keys is shown. Scroll down to ‘Move to Beginning of Line’ and double click on the Keys column. Press the Home key to bind that action to the Home key. Underneath this action there is the ‘Move to Beginning of Line Extending Selection’ action, double click the Keys column here as well and bind it to Shift+Home by holding in Shift and then pressing Home. Repeat this process for all the actions underlined in red above. ‘Move to End of Line’ and ‘Move to End of Line Extending Selection’ actions should be bound using the End button instead of Home.

This will change the behavior of End and Home in Xcode but not in any other applications. There are ways to change this behavior more generally. http://lifehacker.com/225873/mac-switchers-tip–remap-the-home-and-end-keys is a guide to doing so, it will however not work in Xcode or custom applications such as firefox.

Finally..how to install J2ME on Eclipse on a Mac..

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I’ve been programming in J2ME for a while, and getting it to work was never a simple task. It was also a mission to get it to work on a mac, and the non standard sun emulators were terrible. I’ve recently started a J2ME project again, and trying to stay all OSX, I was thrilled to find that there was a Java ME SDK 3.0 which worked on a mac. I installed it and it just worked. That’s all good and stuff..but the IDE is terrible and was looking for a way to get it to work in eclipse. I got it to work with little effort. Here’s how.

I assume you have the J2SE SDK and Eclipse already installed.

  • Download the Java ME SDK 3.0 for Mac. Install
  • Right click on the .app file of java ME SDK 3.0 and select “Show Package Contents”
  • Copy the Contents folder to a directory you wish to keep the J2ME WTK. I copied it in my Macintosh HD.
  • Rename the Contents folder to something relevant. I renamed it WTK3.
  • In Eclipse, goto Help->Install New Software.
  • Click Add and add MTJ with location http://download.eclipse.org/dsdp/mtj/updates/1.0.1/stable/
  • Select the Mobile Tools for Java, and click Finish to install.
  • Once installed, check your preferences. You should now have a Java ME preference section.
  • Select Java ME.
  • Set you WTK Root directory by browsing to find your javamesdk folder in your new WTK folder. In my case /WTK3/Resources/javamesdk.
  • Select Device Management. Select Import.
  • Choose your WTK3 directory and click finish. This will search the whole directory of any device profiles. You should now have a list of devices in your Device Management list.
  • Download Antenna and Proguard and set the directories in the Java ME preferences.
  • Done.

    My instructions are a bit rough, but hope it helps.