Archive for category Tools-Graphics

Xcode 4.3.2 pains and tips 1

So far, XCode 4.3.2 has been irritating.  It crashes far too often.  But here is some of what I’ve learned:

Get a funny response from copy and paste in Xcode? Strange response from Xcode from undo?  Did the change not appear in Xcode?  Did lines disappear from Xcode?

These kinds of things usually indicate that a crash will be happening soon.

Sometimes I can recover by changing to another file, then changing back. This does seem to help keep Xcode running.

My editing habits probably contributed a little. I tend to scroll around, then use undo-redo in quick succession as a way to go back to where I was in the file.  Usually this was fine in previous versions, but Xcode 4.3.2 seems to crash a lot right after I do this.



XCode 4 Column-Wise Copy-Paste Changed

One of the strangely useful features of XCode 3 and 4 is the column-wise copy-and-paste.  But a change in XCode 4 takes away column-pasting.

Not seen this before?  Just hold the option-key while you drag a selection in XCode 3 or 4.  The text cursor will be replaced with a “+” and you can select columns of text right out of the middle of a document. (It helps if the text has vertically-oriented columns.)  It made me chuckle the first time I used it to select a column of tabs and paste them into the middle of a bunch of declarations to move them over all at once.

Pasting in a column required adjustment in XCode 3.  It would paste in the same vertical fashion as the copy, so it was easy to write over quite a bit if you weren’t careful with giving yourself space.  But then that made it interesting too.  I copied a column of member variables and pasted them all at the ends of a series of @property directives in one shot.  The same for the series of @synthesize directives.

In XCode 4, while you can copy a column, pasting it is essentially the same as having copied from any other text. Pasting does not happen in columns.

Admittedly, I did convert my columns to regular text pasting with a quick paste and re-copy in an empty file once in a while because that is what was needed.

Still,  I think I’ll miss the ability to paste in a column.

Cheap Graphics Editing for iOS Apps: icons

Rather than focus on totally free, this time I’m talking a paid, but totally worth the money application.

Art Text by BeLight Software is a cheap application that can give you the glossy, 3D icons and text you expect in an iPhone app with fairly little effort. (Apple Mac App Store link: id404180306)

There is no replacement for a graphic artist, but sometimes you need to make things yourself for practical reasons. And this little app can build some nice little icons that you can use (without embarrassment.)

I’m sorry that I don’t have much time to finish this post, so I’m resorting to some shorthand to list the things I like about this app for iPhone development:

  • You can make your graphics a specific size and fit things to that size.
  • It maintains layers and transparencies nicely.
  • Text and shapes can be filled with color, 3D effects, or images.
  • 3D effects can have multiple light sources. Light sources can be rotated in each item.
  • Shadows and strokes are easy.
  • Can save to PDF for full vector size changes.

Most of all,  with this little app, I can make an icon that looks decent in a few minutes.  If I tried the same thing in Photoshop or Pixelmator, I’d be working for hours to get the same look.

Free Graphics Editing for iOS Apps: Text

How much of graphics need can I solve with the free apps that come with the Macintosh?  A challenge I had to take up recently when I did not have my trusty laptop and software.

There are of course free downloadable apps out there, but it should still be worthwhile to find a way.

I needed some text on a clear background.  If needed text on a colored background, it would be easy to make it in TextEdit and just take a screen shot.  An application that can do text and  can save as a PNG file can handle this, but what in the standard Mac apps will do it?  Preview. Apple’s free application for viewing images and PDF files. (Surprised? I was.)

Preview’s menus won’t just make a new file, except to paste what was copied into the clipboard. But you can make files of any size easily.  Just start with a bigger file and crop it down (or resize it).  Or, take a screen shot of something with the Mac’s screen capture and use that.  Command-shift-3 is good, but Command-Shift-4 will let you select any part of the monitor while showing you the resulting size.  It can be helpful to capture and image of the layout you want to put the text into. Then you can fit it right the first time.

If you don’t want to accidentally change your base file, make a copy of it in Finder first. Or use Preview’s “Save As” to set the new file and its location.

To get a clear background in Preview, select all or part of the image and hit the delete key.  Poof! Transparent background.

To get text into your file, start by showing the annotations toolbar. You can:

  • Click the “Annotate” button.
  • Use the menu View -> “Show Annotations Toolbar”
  • Use Tools -> Annotate -> “Add Text”

Drag out a text box and layout your text. You can’t set a shadow on the text, but you can do most other kinds of simple text editing.

CAUTION: when you save, all annotation item become images. Preview doesn’t really do layers even though it will keep separate items until you save (none of the formats saved layer information for me. If it does, please tell me.)

If you need layering in the originals to make changes easier, you’ll need a different program. For Preview, you can make new images by pasting original text from another source.

Opening the Inspector will tell you many things about your file. The right-most tab (pencil icon) will let you set colors and other attributes of the annotation items. There’s more, but perhaps that’s for another post.