Archive for May, 2010

Weekend in Wales

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

We have been blessed with some beautiful weather over the last few days (although it’s looking rather grey today!) We made the most of the weather at the weekend by taking a trip to Wales to spend some time with Bryan’s Mother and to see the sea! :)
First we went over to Conwy to see the castle…


We stopped by the smallest house!

Then headed to the seaside to eat icecream and go for a paddle :)

On Sunday we took a picnic over to Lake Geirionydd. It’s one of those well hidden places that somehow everyone knows about! The single track lanes with grass growing down the middle didn’t look like they were going to lead to a well-known area… but when we arrived there were already plenty of people out canoeing and playing in the lake, with many more sitting and enjoying the sunshine.

By the time we left the lake the roads you can see in the photos were packed with cars… and given their narrowness, this made escaping quite a challenge! I was very glad not to be driving! It was a beautiful place though, and well worth a picnic if you’re nearby and brave enough to drive those roads! ;)

Amazingly, the Google Streetcar has been down there – “Street View” of the Lake
There are a few more photos over on Facebook – FB Photo Album (you don’t need to use FB to see my photos!) :)

So how did you all spend your weekend? Were you out enjoying the sunshine? Or stuck inside revising for exams?

First Release – Aidan J Reed iPhone App

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Friday was an exciting day for me, which involved a lot of happy dancing! :) You might have noticed an extra link at the top of the page… or perhaps the title of this post gives it away ;)

Apple approved my first ever solo iPhone app! Barring the pretty pictures from Kaweb it was all my own work. And Apple approved it first time! :) Oh the relief!! :D

Okay, I’ll admit it’s not the most exciting thing I’ve ever created, and unless you live in or are planning to move to Leicestershire then it’s not going to be of much use to you. However, it was a very interesting project and I learnt a lot about the whole app development process.

Being without the Astraware framework is odd for me. Most of my C++ was learnt in amongst their framework and I didn’t really know anything else. Then I started learning the Airplay SDK which was similar, but different. So I was jumping in the deep end with a switch to Objective C and learning Cocoa Touch, plus all the other things I’d never considered. From the simple (how to re-skin a button) to the more complex (slow-loading images) it was a wonderful learning experience. Lucky for me, the internet is a wonderful resource and my Google Fu is strong, so when I found myself struggling with something, a quick check of a few sites usually yielded the answer (I don’t think I would have coped without Stack Overflow!!)

The app lets you search for properties based on a number of criteria (you are only given a location choice and sale/let/student choice on the title screen, but you can refine your search as you would expect). You can save your searches so you can get back to them quickly. You can also email links to your friends, and contact one of the branches. You can view the property location on a map, zoom into images, view floorplans. All the kind of things you would expect from an estate agent app really :)

You can read the proper blurb about the app over on Aidan J Reed‘s website which includes a nice link to the app store.

I learnt all sorts of important things about how to work on an iPhone. I discovered not having an actual iPhone is a bit of a pain (I have an iPod Touch, but testing things like location awareness is hard, and I can’t test things like call functionality!) I also learnt that dealing with people can be frustrating… trying to find a balance by being nice and letting them change their mind a little without letting them just keep adding features and going completely outside the original contract. Also, people are slow to approve things… I spent much longer waiting for client approval than waiting for Apple approval! I discovered that only the “Team Leader” can create distribution builds, which led to some need for password sharing :?

Most of all, I discovered that it’s rather exciting to have built something from scratch all by myself and for it to be download by people all over :) I can’t wait to get some more things ready for release! :D