Softwire Blog

Getting Objective, part 2: [Square Brackets] and other animals

18 December 2011, by

previous article in series


In part 1 I gave a little introduction to Objective C – why people would want to develop for it, and a quick hello world example. This post will go into more detail about the syntax, with the help of a few household pets.


Getting Objective, part 1: An introduction to Objective C

1 November 2011, by

This is the first in a series of posts that will – I hope – give a bit of insight into Objective C: what it’s like to develop in, how to write an app, and a few pitfalls to watch out for. This first one aims to give a basic overview of Objective C, and why we might want to use it in the first place.

Why develop in Objective C?

Objective C is the core language for developing applications for iOS and OSX – if you want to install something on any Apple products, then you’re going to need to write it in Objective C. Long gone are the days when that “if” would be met with snorts of derision: Apple’s growth in the home computer market is massively outpacing the rest of the industry, and – with all due respect to Android – they hold the lion’s share of the mobile application marketplace. A lion’s share that is projected to grow even more

Pie chart showing the distribution of application revenue across mobile platforms

When you factor in the media penetration on top of market share, any customer looking to dip a toe into mobile applications is – unless they have a very specific need – likely to start with iOS.


Android Application Development – Part 3

14 October 2011, by

previous article in the series


In Part 2 we retrieved GPS coordinates from the device and displayed them in the view.

In this part, we’ll be adding a little more functionality to the application, making sure that we can monitor the state of the GPS, requesting our own update frequency, and passing these coordinates into a web service to perform a ‘reverse geo-lookup': transforming coordinates into location names.


Android Application Development – Part 2

20 July 2011, by

previous article in series


In Part 1 we covered creating an Android application, adding a new text field to the view and programmatically setting the content of the new text field.

In this article, we’ll be retrieving GPS coordinates, and displaying them in the view.


User Experience: Size Matters

7 July 2011, by

There are a lot of messy desks in the world. But I’d guess that desks are becoming less messy these days, especially compared to the days when computers didn’t exist and paper was plentiful. Most of us today won’t have experienced working in an office without computers.

Using desk space

Desks are often nice and big compared to the average computer screen, and it’s easy to push stuff out of the way for later and make space for what’s important now. Or if I want, I can lay stuff out easily if I need to look at lots of things at once. Compare that to most computer screens which are only big enough to display one or two applications at a time.

In the future though, screens will be bigger, and we’re not too far away from having giant monitors that span our entire desks. But screen sizes aren’t just getting bigger. A lot of screens now fit in our pockets. In fact, mobile is so pervasive that even Google are advocating creating for mobile first.

So how do we cater for such a wide range of screen sizes, from mobiles to tablets, laptops, desktops and even 50-inch HD TVs being used as monitors? Developing the same application multiple times, potentially in multiple programming languages is annoying and expensive.


Android Application Development – Part 1

17 June 2011, by


These articles are intended as a quick-start guide to getting yourself up and running developing Android applications. The idea is to provide a quick guide that follows the development of an application touching a few more areas of the system than the basic ‘Hello World’. It’s aimed at developers familiar with Java who want to learn more about developing for Android.

The app we’ll be developing is a simple GPS application, able to request and read some coordinates from GPS hardware aboard the Android device, make use of a web-service to derive some information about the location (this is called reverse-geolocation), and display what it has found out.