Custom offline maps in Android using QGIS
One of my clients produces heritage and tourism apps and I’ve been lucky enough to work on a number of these for him. Recently he came to me needing some help adding custom/offline mapping support to one of his Android apps. He had a map image he’d licensed and needed it to work largely offline in addition to already implemented mapping using the Google Maps SDK. This is quite a text heavy article and could use some images.
Playing with Lua
I’ve been asked recently for more tutorials on using Lua with Trunk Notes, and this morning I was asked: “I want to include the previous page at the top of my current page.” Using Lua this is an easy ability to add in Trunk Notes. The starting point is working out how to get access to the last page. Trunk Notes has a function history which returns a certain number of page titles that have been browsed recently.
Trunk Notes 4.5.0
Trunk Notes 4.5.0 was released yesterday. This update comes with some new features and the usual bug fixes. For users who sync their wiki with Dropbox you might be excited that Trunk Notes (finally!) automatically uploads new and changed pages. If you have issues with this new feature you can easily disable it to return to the old behaviour. Manual sync may still be needed if you don’t change anything but want to bring in changes made on another device.
Little Linux Server
A few weeks ago the spare bedroom, which housed my desk, monitor and printer, began the transformation into a room for my next child who is due in April. The desk and monitor have been sold, and the printer needed to be moved. The small laser printer is used by myself and my wife on a semi-regular basis and doesn’t feature Wi-Fi. This seemed like a good excuse to sort out a solution which offers AirPrint and to which I could migrate the media server functionality of my now non-functional Synology DiskStation.
Hugo and Bitrise
I’ve been playing with Hugo, a static website generator. I have never particularly enjoyed creating websites in HTML, and never found a builder that didn’t quickly annoy. Hugo appeals to my need for separation whilst offering a lovely geeky feel to website and blog creation. I’m currently in love with Bitrise. It seems to require more tinkering than buddybuild but offers more power and flexibility. It also supports Xamarin projects, which buddybuild doesn’t.
Ever since Xcode 8 and the update to Sierra Android development has been a much more stable experience than iOS. Switching between Xcode 7 and 8, particularly the Simulator, has been painful. Android Studio’s method of allowing you to choose which build tools and SDKs you want to use is much more flexible and workable. I’m doing more Android development at the moment. Most projects are 50:50, but I’ve just finished an Android port of an existing iOS app for a client.
Trunk Notes 4.4.0
Trunk Notes 4.4.0 will be available from the App Store today. This release brings much improved support for multitasking on the iPad, use of the Safari view controller for better viewing of linked web content and a number of bug fixes. Trunk Notes offers a powerful way to organise information and notes on your iPhone and iPad. Download now from appstore.com/trunknotespersonalwiki.
AppCode + Keyboard Maestro
I love AppCode - for me it’s a much better development environment than Xcode. A few months ago I started to experience an issue where when an app crashed AppCode would hang for a time before showing the stack trace. I was also getting frustrated by the difference between Run and Debug. Run in AppCode doesn’t break into the debugger if something goes wrong. Recently I’ve been editing code in AppCode and then building/running/debugging in Xcode.
A new social networking app from the founder of Vine. Being able to type keywords to add things to messages, such as GIFs or a dice roll, is fun however autocorrection gets in the way. Currently I can’t search for friends to add as there is a problem adding non-US phone numbers. As with many new-idea apps this is iPhone only. Even if you are well funded its sensible to choose one launch platform - and if your target market is primarily the US to start with iOS is the best choice.
You would be surprised how many developers don’t jump straight away on the latest technology. So many dislike social media, prefer retro gaming and have a laptop which isn’t exactly cutting edge. I’ve only just got my first smartwatch for personal use. With a family I can’t justify spending lots of the latest tech. A recent Black Friday deal was on the Pebble Classic for just shy of £50. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.
I’ve been frustrated this morning by the way colour tables are edited in Photoshop. An indexed PNG being used as an OpenCV grabcut mask needed updating to match an image shown to the user in app. Once I had the new image I wanted to modify the colour table to reduce it to the three indexed coloured required by the algorithm. After getting annoyed with the seeming lack of the ability to quickly modify the table in Photoshop I saved the colour table, edited using Hex Fiend and within 1 minute had the new reduced colour table ready to use.
Apps On The Move Limited launched in August offering mobile app development and consultancy services. I started developing iOS apps in 2008 and used Apps On The Move, as a sole trader, to launch Go Calc and then Trunk Notes. Both apps were projects worked on independently to my full time job as a software engineer. Working as Head of Mobile at a West Midlands agency for the past four years I’ve overseen the development of over 40 apps.