When will I learn?

Finding the time is just one of the dilemmas when it comes to learning new software, talents or languages. I download new apps after reading the reviews and looking at the features list, but then it comes to a screaming halt. How do I actually use this product? Where do I find the best resources for learning it? When will I have the time to learn it?

A prime example of this was with Visual Studio 2019 and the .NET Core 2.1 WebAPI template. You would think as a seasoned developer, producer of many WebAPI’s, that this would be a simple process. But it turned into a demotivating way to spend New Years Eve. Previously I have harnessed the Microsoft .NET Identity Framework to build authentication systems to sit behind a mobile app. The project templates provided some boiler plate UI for creating and maintaining users. Not this time. There were some better API examples, but very little documentation in the project and when you start following URL’s it quickly became a rabbit warren. The frustration kicks in when you realise you have not achieved 1/10th of what you wanted after hours in front of the keyboard.

It’s not limited to development frameworks and the like though. I dabble in Photoshop, but find it a struggle to locate resources that are succinct yet meaty enough to teach me the things I want to learn about usage. I don’t want to spend hours watching home baked YouTube videos filled with non-professional speakers filling their gaps with “erm” and “uh”. I tried to watch one just the other day and his wife called in the middle of the recording to which he spent a minute trying to explain why that should not have happened.

Many apps can be downloaded straight to our OS from an AppStore of some kind, developers websites contain sparse detail on usage, product manuals are a thing of the past. Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

Maybe the issue is my learning style? Just show me a handful of techniques and let me at it, then I want to come back with more questions. Maybe it’s because modern applications have so much more to offer that traditional CBT no longer fits?

I’m thinking of dedicated a set amount of time each week just to improving my skills with key software that I work with, then a period of time to increase my knowledge on the new frameworks and technologies. Ah, then I have to set aside some more time for the foreign languages I want to learn. Still begs my original question…. *When* will I learn?

Please drop me a comment on what works best for you and why.

Evi heads off for review

48 hours from start to finish. Evi Estimate Viewer is our new application that allows users of Buildsoft Estimating (Global and Offsider) to view their estimate on the iPad.

Support for Paradox databases is sparse so we needed a format that was more iOS friendly. This was achieved by writing a little utility (Evi Estimate Converter). Isn’t it funny when you start with a simple idea how it just keeps growing.

The estimate converter had to support local (or network) Buildsoft data, but then we decided that it should be usable by people without the estimating software available to them, so functionality was included to handle the.E0X file as well.

Next the UI for the Windows application, it has to be easy and clean.

It was noted that the file size of the data was starting to get a little on the large size (2-4mb per job), so a review of the methods used and some cool compression was put in place…. Now between 20kb-100kb (Yes KB)

Obfuscate the binary and build the setup program. Finally build in auto error reporting, I prefer the options provided by Red-Gate SmartAssembly

Off to the testing team for their tick of approval. ( SSW Do you conduct a “test please” )

Now, back to the iOS side of things. Support for the data file needs to be flexible, so iTunes File Sharing, Dropbox and in App support (email etc) had to be built. The most frustrating of these was the in App support. There is a quirk when using the iPad simulator where URL support just works, however, when tested on a real device it fails. It turns out that the simulator does some behinds the scenes magic and will match the case of a filename, yes, match the case! An afternoon of frustrations sealed with an early morning (3am) victory.

Finally, another round of testing, followed by a PASS, and it’s time to submit to Apple for approval and sale.

Here are some of the screen shots from the final products.

— UPDATE : 21, Feb

EVI Is Approved ! available in the AppStore

icon dimensions (0 x 0) don’t meet the size requirements

Welcome to Apple World:

Submit – Fail, Submit – Fail, Submit – Fail

It certainly was not the first iOS App I had tried to submit, yet here I am, seeing the same ambiguous error:

iPhone/iPod Touch: icon.png: icon dimensions (0 x 0) don’t meet the size requirements. The icon file must be 57×57 pixels, in .png format

I mean, how can it tell me a file that clearly exists, shows in Preview as 57×57 and compiles without error is now 0x0 ??

1 hour and 1 minute, thank you Apple.

So finally the iPhone module – Key Elements (part of the new Set Professional range) is ready to go. The final step is to upload for Apple’s tick of approval and its in the AppStore. As with any submission we go through a simple set of checklists

[x] – Code Review
[x] – Clean
[x] – Compile (error free)
[x] – Artwork
[x] – – – Lo-Res
[x] – – – Hi-Res
[x] – – – AppStore
[x] – AppStore theme
[x] – Provisioning profile
[x] – App Submission Prep
[ ] – Upload binary

Each time an upload would take place I would see the same message, it talks of my icon file being the wrong size, but here is what we know so far;

1. You cannot set the icon file inside xCode without it being correct size (applies to both standard and hi-res image)
2. The plist file clearly shows the icon files are present and correct
3. Remove entry from pList, remove file and reset doesn’t work
4. Recreation of the icon file (just in case it had some weird corruption) still didn’t address it

Now we are really clutching at straws. Enter the google search. Having read a number of posts I came across an obscure entry http://nano-art.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/icon-dimensions-0-x-0-dont-meet-size.html Now all that is left is finding the entry in xCode 4.

So, it is hidden under the Packaging section of Build Settings.

The Culprit

Questions I still cannot answer:
1. How did it get set to YES
2. Why the Application uploader can’t tell me a real message

Strangely (well not strange really, just damn frustrating), after the flag is set to “NO”, the whole process was completed in less than 5 minutes.