Tag Archives: iphone

IOS tip: Add a Smart App Banner To Your Website

So you tried to get by with just a mobile-optimized version of your site, but it wasn’t cutting it and you built an app. How do you let iPhone users know you even have an app? Companies have tried pretty much everything under the sun and 99% of them are annoying as hell. Thankfully with IOS 6, Apple has provided a super simple standard to incoporate this.
Start by adding the snippet below into your site:

<meta name="apple-itunes-app" content="app-id=myAppStoreID, affiliate-data=myAffiliateData, app-argument=myURL">

There are three parameters you can play with, but really you only need the first one to get it up and running. The parameters are: app-id, affiliate-data and app-argument. The app-id is your app’s unique 9-digit identifier code which you can easily find at the Apple Link Maker site. Affiliate-data is only needed if you are an itunes affiliate. Now the app-argument parameter, which is also optional, is what makes this snippet so useful. Here you can pass in a deep-link that that will help the user return to the same spot in the app where they were in the site.

This is so easy. Hopefully with this smart app banner code, people will stop resorting to full page takeover pop-ups that force people to decide if they want the app before even getting to your site. Make sure to read over the full documentation here.

Diving back into iPhone app development

Man. It’s been 2 years since Felix and I build the Alphie app for Hasbro. At the time, our boss came to us and said “Which one of you knows how to make iPhone apps?” We looked at each other and said, “…Uh, neither of us?” To which our boss replied, “Well, you’d both better start learning. We already told the client we could.” What followed was a few months of a torturous crash course of trying to build an app that was a cross between a childrens learning game and a provide a backstory for the companion toy they were selling. After that, Felix went on to develop apps full-time, while I returned to my comfort zone of building Adobe Flash websites. Two years later, Flash is all but dead, I’m developing HTML / Javascript websites for a living and I’m wishing I had kept learning IOS.

Well, I finally got back into the iPhone app saddle and I’m spending all my free time learning Objective C. I’m taking a class a Santa Monica college, devouring a steady stream of tutorials and building a few different apps simultaneously. It won’t be quick but my goal is to be a bona-fide IOS dev in about 6 months. My goal is to post some tips and tricks here that I learn along the way, and also take note of any growing pains I come across that might help any other developers out there.

iPhone 4 is finally here

iPhone 4 2 years. Thats how long it’s been since my buddy Felix & I waited in line at 6 AM in front of the AT&T store to get the iPhone 3G. I held off from getting last year’s model; I guess the $699 price tag was enough to keep me at bay, but just barely. So two years later, with a new job across town, I find myself once again standing in line at 6 AM with my buddy Felix to get Apple’s latest toy. But instead of 20 people ahead of us, this time there was roughly 500.

Continue reading iPhone 4 is finally here

Now with 50% more iPhone goodness!

Russdesigns has gone mobile After spending the last few days working on making another site experience more iphone-friendly, I figured why not my own? I started by scrapping my old ghetto WordPress theme in favor of something from scratch and a lot more minimal. Once I got it to where I liked, I realized the iPhone version sucked now sucked.

My first step in iphonization (thats a real word. i think) was installing the iWPhone wordpress plugin which checks if you’re using the mobile safari browser and switches the theme accordingly. Then i took the generic WP theme and chopped it up, dropped the sidebar, added some javascript to resize the images to 300 px wide, and tested it a million times until the look was consistent in most aspects with the normal site.

There’s a lot of little tips and tricks out there to make a site function better on the mobile Safari browser. Probably the most helpful was Razak.nl. He shows you how to make your site look and act more like a native app by getting the browser out of the way. If you’re going to try this out for your own site, make sure you also look at Molecular Voices and iPhone Microsites to get you headed on the right path.

WordPress app for the iPhone

So I finally got the WordPress app for the iPhone working. And while yes, it does work (I’m writing this post on it), there are caveats.

A few things that could be better:
For one, image placement lacks any kind of align in the image tag, so the picture placement is very haphazard and it just plain looks bad. Sure you can manually add the align code, but I think a lot of users of this app won’t know how to do that.

Also, I don’t like how when you hit save, it puts you back into the list of posts. When you use the actual version of WordPress and you publish, it keeps you in the post so you can keep editing it. I’m a prolific saver by nature, it’s burned into my brain by years of working on large photoshop files on crash-prone computers. Having to go back into the post after every save isn’t that big of a deal, but it breaks up my work flow and typing on the iPhone isn’t the easiest task.

These annoyances aside, the app works, and the few things it does, it does fairly well. If you need to post on the go, this app could be for you. Besides, it’s free.

The iWPhone plugin for WordPress

Iphone ready version of this blog. Thanks to this free plugin for WordPress, you can instantly format your blog specifically for the iphone when someone logs on from one. Sweet. It basically just switches the CSS stylesheet when it detects you are on from the mobile Safari browser. The mobile page looks like the default WordPress theme, but you have complete access to the CSS and can edit that style it to look however you like.