Dec 24 2010

iPhone Frameworks

As mobile devices become more and more entrenched and as more mobile devices become available there is a growing number of people that want to quickly develop an idea into an app. Developers of all sorts are picking up Objective-C to develop the next top selling mobile-based and touch enabled app. If you don’t want to learn Objective-C, there are several mobile frameworks to choice.

    Rhomobile – A cross-platform mobile app development.
    Titanium – A cross-platform native application stack.
    MonoTouch – Write iPhone and iPod Touch applications in C# and .NET.
    iWebkit – A simple framework to create your own iPhone and iPod Touch webapps.
    TapLynx – Rapidly develop iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Apps without learning Cocoa.
    PhoneGap – PhoneGap is an open source development framework for building cross-platform mobile apps.
    jQTouch – A jQuery plugin for mobile web development on the iPhone, iPhone Touch, and other forward-thinking devices.
    Cocos2D for iPhone – A framework for building 2D games and graphical applications.

Dec 7 2008

Top Programmers on Twitter to Follow

Earlier this year I created a short list of top rubyist to follow on Twitter. At that time, that list was the first list of programming twitterers I had come across. Since then many other folks have created lists of programmers that are on twitter to follow. No matter how long the list of twitterers to follow is, you will always miss someone. So instead of coming up with yet another list of programmers to follow on twitter, I came up with a list of list of favorite .net, ruby, java, and technologist to follow on twitter.

If you like you can follow me too.

Nov 14 2008

Silicon Valley Codecamp 2008

There was a large contingent of Microsoft evangelist at this years Silicon Valley Codecamp 2008 pushing Microsoft Azure, XNA, and Silverlight technologies. I was able to see Microsoft Surface in action. Surface is an interactive table top, it reminds me of a large iPhone made into a coffee table. Just like the iPhone, you gesture at the Surface screen to manipulate objects. Java, Groovy, and Flex also had a good showing. Below are conference notes from each of the sessions I was able to attend.

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Nov 11 2008

Destroying the Universe with XNA

Jason Mauer set out to destroy the universe with Microsoft XNA at Silicon Valley Codecamp 2008. No, XNA is not a doomsday device from Microsoft. XNA can be a confusing term thanks to MSFT marketing, but in a nutshell it is a next generation game development platform for PC, XBox 360, and Zune. XNA, as an initiative, is set to develop and improve the game development ecosystem. XNA is a pseudo acronym, it doesn’t mean anything.

Prior to XNA, the game industry was seen as very sick, games where mainly sequels much like the movie industry. XNA is set out to revitalize and revolutionize the game industry for casual gamers, hobbyist, academia, etc. Games are supposed to be fun, it is not just about graphics, blockbuster, licensed content, first person shoot and bomb them ups. Goals of XNA is to become the ‘youtube’ of games without the lawsuits for copyright infringements.

This session covered some of the history and basics of XNA. At the end of the session, we did have some time to see some demos created by the XNA Creators Club.

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Nov 10 2008

Silverlight 2.0 Made Easy

At this year’s Silicon Valley Codecamp, there was a large contingent of .NET evangelists in the speakers list. I attended yet another Silverlight presentation, this time given by Lino Tadros of Falafel Software. Most of the Microsoft technologist present at this years codecamp seem to be under heavy NDA, and they make it be known as if they are dropping names, to seem like they are in the know. What they don’t know is that I am also under NDA by the CIA.

The idea of Silverlight is to run an application natively on the client, on any browser, on any platform. It runs on macs, linux, and obviously windows. Silverlight is built on the same technology as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) such as .NET and XAML. XAML is a markup language used to separate, design, and develop UI components. Lino joked that “for a long time development tools did not understand that we developer can not design.” In addition to Visual Studio, Microsoft has made available Expression Blend. Expression Blend is a designer friendly application to create XAML application.

WPF, Silverlight and XAML in particular try to solve many issues of past UI frameworks such as WinForms and MFC. With XAML you can add any content to a button, not just a text label as in most other UI frameworks. The power of this is that the content can be anything, a video, a list, anything… If you want a list in a button, why not, it is 2008, we are supposed to be living in the future, so says Lino.

Instead of subclassing UI component classes to customize the UI, the new model is to use stylesheets and templates to customize the look and feel of your UI. With the Expression Blend you can simply draw new components, or redesign existing components without having to override a paint method.

Silverlight, in essence, is a subset of WPF. If you want a project to work for both Silverlight and WPF, start with a Silverlight project. Many assemblies available for WPF projects are not available in Silverlight.

A current reservation with developing your next application with Silverlight is the market penetration but recently Microsoft paid for all development costs to have CNN and NBC run content, such as the 2008 summer Olympics, on Silverlight so as to start a bandwagon for other development shops to jump on.

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Nov 9 2008

Windows Azure

Sriram Krishnan wanted to defrag the room, it was a jam packed house like a tin of binary sardines, all for a new color from Microsoft, Windows Azure. Sriram Krishnan of Microsoft spoke at the Silicon Valley Codecamp 2008 on Microsoft’s new cloud computing initiative. From the onset Sriram warned the audience that the technology is nascent, if the demo breaks, his colleague, a technologist evangelist, had to do one push up for each demo that crashed.

A minute of the talk was devoted on how to pronounce azure and Sriram joked how middle management at Microsoft distributed WAV files with the correct pronunciation. After we all had our pronunciation down, Sriram reminded the audience that the hardest thing about web development is not the coding, it is provisioning equipment, keeping them up to date, maintained, and well oiled, setting up load balancers, databases, routers, security, updates and upgrades, etc. Cloud initiatives like Windows Azure and Google’s App Engine remove the system administrator from the startup equation. With Windows Azure you can create application running on Microsoft’s infrastructure.

Windows Azure seems fairly familiar to App Engine, except that Azure has a lot more tooling and utilities to help in development. As you can imagine, many of the tools available are based around Visual Studio.

Sriram said that many of the configuration of Windows Azure application are done in config files, he said “what we learned over several years is that the registry in the data center is an evil, evil thing.”

Even though Azure ware recently announced at PDC2008, the SDK is already available to play with.

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