I was lucky enough to attend the Microsoft Winter of Xamarin 2017 event in Auckland on Saturday the 17th of June. It was held in Beca House Auditorium, a very nice venue located in Pitt Street, Auckland.
The day was a great learning experience were throughout the day we made a cross platform app of iOS, Android and Windows UWP using Xamarin and Xamarin Forms.
The venue was packed with close to 100 people all giving up their Saturday to learn about Xamarin. There where people of all ages, some just trying to get their first development job, students and veteran software developers all keen to give cross platform development a go. We had great catered food & coffee, enthusiastic presenters, swag and prizes all for free.
I was impressed with the new Visual Studio for Mac, it didn’t feel like a gross cross platform IDE. In fact I’d see say it’s on par with Xcode and Android Studio. Throughout the day I felt very much at home developing cross platform with C#, the API’s for Android and iOS felt very familiar wrapped in a C# way. The concepts of Xamarin and Xamarin Forms were easy to pick up, you had a lot of control to do specific UI overrides when you needed to for specific platforms.
Xamarin development experience felt much easier than React Native the only cross platform tool I’ve used heavily in the past. Being able to spin up an iOS or Android emulator straight from the debug menu of Visual Studio was great. It felt as natural as working in Xcode or Android Studio, but you have the benefit of code sharing (including the UI) all in the same project.
Another highlight was a look at Visual Studio Mobile Center (currently in Preview), which bundles up a lot of the boring bits of app development like CI, cloud building and ad-hoc distribution into one easy to use web portal.
I came away from the event enthusiastic to learn more and build an app for the competition using Xamarin.
While I may not have attended day 1 of React.js Conf today, I did get to listen to the conference live streamed from San Francisco. Here are my short cherry picked highlights of things that I thought were cool.
React Native Tools for my favourite text editor VS Code was announced today. It’s available as a preview. It supports Intellisense for React Native and debugging code.
Continuous Integration and Code Push for React Native
Microsoft have added continuous integration for React Native to Visual Studio Team Services, combined with Code Push. Now just like in web development, updates can simply be pushed live avoiding the app store/play store update process.
I’ve been playing around with app ideas for the new Apple TV after purchasing a USB Type C cable from Ali Express. One thing I’ve found is it’s very easy to load “other” apps onto the device such as Provenance – a Nintendo and Sega emulator.
Federico Vitticci (@viticci) posted a great article on how the iPhone has helped him achieve a healthier lifestyle after cancer treatment. He outlines the apps that he currently uses to record his steps, calories, sleep patterns and even his coffee consumption.
I previously blogged about “self quantifying” before, and listed a few of apps I’ve used myself. It sure feels like the future when we can measure all these health stats, it will be interesting with the release of the Apple Watch what data we can gather.
My friend James has recently released his new game for mobile iOS (both iPhone & iPad), Android and Windows Mobile. Its a great endless runner with a simple puzzle mechanic and parkour influence. As your guy runs along a maze of green cubes some will have arrows pointing left and right. Make sure you have tapped the correct side, before your guy touches the arrow cubes or it’s game over.
The game is extremely tough in the vein of flappy birds, but so addictive. Grab it now! The best thing is it’s free.
It’s Labour Day Weekend here in New Zealand and I’m having a pretty laid back weekend. It was my annual cleaning of the pool yesterday turning it from emerald green to blue with the help of a lot of chemicals and cleaning. Apart from that I’ve managed to read some great articles from my Instapaper queue to share with you. So enjoy the long weekend wrap-up.
Here’s why public wifi is a health hazard – Medium
You should really use a VPN if you must use wifi at the local coffee shop. I’ve been using TunnelBear myself which gives you 500mb for free and is available on all the popular platforms.
Prompt 2 is an update to my favourite SSH terminal app for iOS. It allows me to manage, perform maintenance and repair my VPS (which hosts this website) from my phone anywhere I have an internet connection.
One of the new features added to the app are “clips”, short snippets of commands you can create and sync between devices. This is great for saving time typing out complicated commands when your most likely under some pressure.
Once you’ve logged on to your session with your server tap the double dot button (shown in green in the screenshot above) until the star 5 pointed star button (highlighted in red) is shown then tap this to bring up the clips menu. You can create server specific or global clips.
Here are a few of the clips I use to manage my own server:
Used to show the top processes on the server and how much resources are used/free.
shutdown -r now
Will restart the server immediately.
service apache2 restart
Will restart apache2 web server.
Will restart the FTP service.
Will open your error log.
Will open mail for the username provided.
Quick Tip: If you add a new line this will force a return, running the command.
If you have any others you would like to share please tweet me @andrewjamesford or email me at andrewford dot co dot nz and I’ll update the post.
Prompt 2 is well worth the upgrade for this feature alone. Combined with the Panic’s sync service your clips and servers will remain in sync across your iPhone and iPad. If your already using Prompt the import of your settings is seamless into Prompt 2.
Prompt 2 helps you manage your server from your iPhone any where you have an internet connection. It is available right now on the app store for NZ$12.99.
First of all if you haven’t bought Panic‘s great new FTP client for iOS Transmit I suggest you go grab it. With the introduction of iOS 8 an app like Transmit helps become that bridge to easily transfer files to your Mac/Server and your iPad or iPhone without using a cloud service.
Panic mentions in their FAQ for Transmit for iOS you can transfer files to your mac via FTP. This is a great alternative to AirDrop if your Mac doesn’t support it.
First of all enable SSH/SFTP on your mac by going to System Preferences > Sharing and enable Remote Login.
Add a New Server in Transmit for iOS, adding an SFTP account.
Add the name from OS X of your computer “computername.local” in the address field, your user and password. You can find this on the System Preferences > Sharing pane.
Connect to your Mac from Transmit and go to your Desktop and click the + icon. This will bring up the recent images and gives you access to iCloud Drive, Photo Library and some other options. Simply select your file to upload and it will be transferred to your mac.
File transfers are extremely quick and there are no privacy concerns as it’s direct on the same network.
Why I like Scanbot the most of all the great scanning apps out there is it’s ability to quickly scan multiple documents with great results. You don’t even need to press the shutter button it will automatically take the shot when the positioning is correct.
I use it all the time to save receipts for work, as I can scan them right there and then. Never losing one for an expense claim.