Ready for iOS 8?

Well, Apple’s WWDC is right around the corner and that almost certainly means we’ll see iOS 8 and MacOS X 10.10 demoed.

WWDC is sorta like nerd-Christmas in the Apple developer community. New features, new APIs, new tools to build great stuff. I can’t wait!

I won’t be in San Francisco this year but I’m planning to follow along as closely as I can from home.

iOS 7.1 Requires Ad-Hoc Installs To Be Over HTTPS

So, sometime in the future, Apple will release iOS 7.1. This new version includes an important change for BetaBuilder users: the Web server that hosts your deployment files now has to be accessible over HTTPS.

Normal HTTP installs will fail. The latest version of BetaBuilder includes a warning to this effect.

Also important – you cannot use a self-signed certificate unless the device trusts the CA it came from. You either need to use a ‘real’ SSL certificate or you need to import and trust the certificate on any devices that will install the app.

So – if you upgrade to 7.1 or are using the beta and cannot install apps with BetaBuilder anymore, this is probably what’s going on.

BetaBuilder Update on the App Store

Be sure to grab the free update if you haven’t already!

BetaBuilder 2.0

For a long time I sorta thought that BetaBuilder was more or less ‘done’ (barring fixes) but recently, I’ve had a few ideas about how I could expand on the app and enhance it so I’ve started tinkering.

BetaBuilder was also the first Cocoa app I ever did and I really had no idea how to structure a Cocoa app so I’ll have the opportunity to clean a few things up.

More to come! In the meantime, a bug-fix update is heading to the App Store soon.

Fighting with iCloud

iCloud storage with Core Data, introduced with iOS 5 in 2011, was deeply flawed. Those flaws continued with iOS 6 a year later but with the introduction of iOS 7 in June, things were looking up. The team promised no new features and instead a focus on fixing bugs.

Indeed, my work with the feature in my iOS 7 app has generally been great… but when it fails, it falls hard.

With so many copies of my app VegasMate deployed, some users have run into a problem where their iCloud stored data just vanishes when an app update is applied. The current theory is that Core Data has, for some reason, decided to create a new Fallback Store which is of course empty. To the user, this simply looks like their data is gone.

This really stinks.

I’ve been working with Apple and fleshing out a comprehensive bug report so that if this is indeed an iOS bug as it appears, it can be fixed in a future release. In the meantime, I’ve implemented  a backup mechanism in my app to help protect users, though that really shouldn’t be necessary.

App Stores & Pricing

This week, I announced that one of my most popular apps, VegasMate, is moving to a free w/ IAP option. For those unfamiliar, VegasMate is a travel guide app for Las Vegas. In addition to its base features, it gets updated content monthly.

Previously, VegasMate was available at $1.99 as a one-time cost. Over time, this has become less tenable especially given the costs of updating the content every month. So, the app will be free in the store and include an annual content subscription that costs $3.

If you want to use the app for a weekend and never again, you’ll be able to do so for free. If you visit Las Vegas often and want regular updates, you can opt in and get those. Hopefully this will expose VegasMate to a much larger audience.

More details on my personal blog: http://ruthlessidealism.com/post/63131430798/vegasmate-pricing-is-changing

These aren’t easy decisions to make and I’m certainly taking a chance here… but nothing great ever came out of taking the safe road.

Crunchtime

Similar to most of my developer colleagues, we’re now in a crunch period as we lead up to the release of iOS 7 this Fall.

I’m working on an entirely new version of Vegas Mate that will require iOS 7 and while I’m really happy with how it’s coming out, there’s still a ton of work to be done.

Vegas Mate originally was built against iPhoneOS 2.0 and while there’s not much code left from that original version, being able to start with a clean slate has been great – there are so many new technologies and techniques and of course, I’m a much better iOS developer than I was in 2008.

I can’t wait to share what I’ve got going with Vegas Mate 4. It’s gonna be really great.

Radars Flying Fast and Furious

With the iOS 7 beta period well underway, I’ve been filing a bunch of radars (Apple’s bug reporting system) whenever I find problems, either in the way my apps work with iOS but also in the OS itself. I’ve always done this – it’s nothing new.

What I am noticing though is that it seems I’m getting responses from Apple far quicker than in past years. They’re working like crazy over there it seems… which is probably good because we all have a lot of work to do before ‘fall’.

WWDC Week Complete!

Wow, what a week. Apple introduced a ton of new technologies on Monday and I’m already starting to work with them in a few projects. I’m super excited to get building.

BetaBuilder 1.8 in the App Store

Our latest release of BetaBuilder, v1.8, is in the Mac App Store as a free upgrade for existing customers.

Let us know if you have any trouble with the release and enjoy!