Learning web programming for iOS

6 Jul

Learning new stuff is always hard, but rewarding.

The problem is that I’m using old technology and in the fast moving mobile devices market that is a bad thing. Apple’s iOS SDK requires Snow Leopard (SL), and because Leo Laporte didn’t think there’s a compelling reason to upgrade to SL for the general user, I still haven’t. I guess now there is a good reason, iOS4. The current SDK I’m using still codes for iPhone OS 2.

Now you may wonder why this would be a problem if I’m trying to create web applications. Well, the handy Dashcode applications that comes with the iPhone SDK assumes you use technology of that SDK. Of course, you could do everything in a text editor, but my intention is to create some kind of workflow comics creators will be comfortable with, so a visual editor, at least for the visual design part, is crucial.

So which parts are essential for any web application?

Well, any web app is a purpose-built regular web document that consists of 3 parts:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JavaScript

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and contains the information (text and images) of a document, plus its markup. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet, which describes the appearance of the document (layout) and general user interaction. JavaScript is the programming language that specifies how the document will interact with the user. The markup in the HTML document integrates all three parts.

Now it’s hard to do all three things (information, appearance, and interaction) at once, so you typically do them separately (and in order: information first, then how it looks, and then how it “feels”–user interaction). The information part is mostly either created by humans and/or collected in external databases. It requires creative thinking for the most part. The appearance can be made easy with a visual layout editor like Dashcode. The user interaction can be hugely simplified by using a library of code, a so-called framework. The most used JavaScript framework for web applications is jQuery.

So I can see five areas where I need to improve my knowledge and skills:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS3
  3. Dashcode 3
  4. JavaScript
  5. jQuery

Not all at once, of course, but rather as you need it. Luckily, most of the knowledge and tutorials are freely available on the web.

PS I expect to receive a copy of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) this week. I’ve just ordered it while I’m adding this.

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2 Responses to “Learning web programming for iOS”

  1. gonzalexx July 6, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Looks like you laid out a good map for the road. Best of luck Rene… I think you’ll do fine.

    • Rene July 6, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      Thanks.

      I know from experience that I need to maintain an overview or else I get lost in the details. My blog should keep me on track by giving readers (and myself) the 10,000 foot view.

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