Writing on Tablets Tech stuff from @yeltzland

Daily Optimiser v3.2.0 Available

The latest version of Daily Optimiser - v3.2.0 - is now available on the App Store.

There are quite a few small but significant changes in this version:

  • A cleaner UI to make the actual useful information stand out more
  • Share or print your daily agenda
  • 3D Touch launch options for newer iPhone users
  • The app now remembers whether you were last viewing meetings or tasks on launch (iPhone only)
  • Simpler help options

It was fun supporting printing, as previously I thought it was harder to implement than it actually was. Basically you can pass in some HTML into a UIMarkupTextPrintFormatter object, and then pass that as one of the activity items into a UIActivityViewController.

Daily Optimiser iOS

Pixagogo Out

As expected, Instagram has now removed several of their API endpoints, so my Pixagogo app has now been disabled and pulled from the app store.

Not entirely sure why Instagram are doing this, but it’s their ball so they can take it home if they want to.

It was fun while it lasted.

Pixagogo Out.

Pixagogo

Yeltzland Android app released

By “popular demand”, I’ve now made an Android version of my Yeltzland app.

Just like the iOS version, the app just makes it easy to read everything about the mighty Halesowen Town FC (Forum/Official site/Yeltz TV/Twitter/…) in one place rather than have to click around different places. There is no new content you can’t get elsewhere.

It’s my first Android app that made it as far as the Google Play Store, and it was interesting to port a relatively simple native iOS app over to Android - but I’ll leave my more technical observations to another post.

The first version of the app is available on the Google Play Store now.

Yeltzland Android

Azure vs Firebase for iOS push notifications

2017 Update

I changed my mind :)

Azure expired my current subscription without telling me(!), so the notifications stopped working too.

I thought I’d have another go at moving over to Firebase for iOS, and I got it working pretty easily. I think the original problems were at my end, and to be fair to myself the documentation is much better now.

I’m much happier to be using just one service for notifications across both iOS and Android.

Azure as a platform was fine, but their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, so I’m not using it any more!

Original article

I wanted to add push notifications for my Yeltzland app, an interesting task which took longer than expected to complete.

What I wanted to do was to push notifications to the app during game time, which copies tweets from the club’s official account as notifications. This means I can get goal updates etc. without having to turn on notifications from the account in the main Twitter app (which can get a little tiresome!)

The server component part was pretty easy, as I already have a data feed of the team’s fixture list, so I knocked together a quick NodeJS script run in a corn job to use that plus the Twitter feed to generate the notifications.

However I didn’t want to build a full web app to manage user registrations myself just to do this, so it made sense to use an “off the shelf” notification hub instead.

Firebase

Firebase seemed a good choice as a notification hub to try first, especially since at Google I/O they’d just done a major release to pull many disparate developer tools under the Firebase brand.

Firebase offers unlimited notifications, plus support for both Android and iOS, and it looked easy to set up.

In fact I did get it working pretty quickly, but during testing it seemed really unreliable. Notifications wouldn’t get delivered, or spasmodically, and I sepnt a couple of days trying to figure out what was going wrong without much success.

Now it could be that the iOS support has issues (my guess is the service has been mainly Android only before), or more likely I was doing something wrong, but in the end I gave up very frustrated.

Azure

I thought I’d give Azure a go instead, and it was really easy to setup a working Notification Hub without much effort at all.

Out of the box, the notifications seem much more reliable, and I’m really happy with the service so far.

I really wish I’d have started with Azure rather than wasting 2 days wrestling with Firebase.

One minor thing I did have to do was to have separate hubs for “sandbox” and “production” modes, which wasn’t clear from the Azure portal interface.

Conclusion

Your mileage may vary, but I found Azure a much more reliable notification hub for iOS and the client-side code was much simpler too.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out for small projects, although for heavy usage there is a cost involved compared to the unlimited free usage Firebase offers.

Yeltzland iOS Azure Firebase Push Notifications

I made a Yeltzland iPhone/iPad app

So I made a Yeltzland app for iPhones and iPads.

I really just made it for myself, to make it easy to read everything about the mighty Halesowen Town FC (Forum/Official site/Yeltz TV/Twitter/…) in one place rather than have to click around different places. There is no new content you can’t get elsewhere. I am lazy.

Anyway it turned out OK so I thought I’d stick it on the App Store so other people can use it if they want.

You can read a bit about it/install it on the App Store

Before you ask, it isn’t available for Android right now I’m afraid, and I have no immediate plans to write an Android version. I may change my mind of course.

Yeltzland iOS