No More Corporate Teat – #3 – The First Day

Today was the first real work-day of my non-corporate development life. Since I have an iPad contract that starts up soon (I am a little scared as the client is delaying a little on getting it initiated) I decided to re-acquaint myself with Xcode and the iPod/Pad development work-flow.

First I downloaded PhoneGap in an attempt to port an HTML application I have been developing. PhoneGap allows a developer to take an existing HTML/Javascript/CSS application and target it to the iPhone/Pad platform. It adds the appropriate wrappers and templates to Xcode that allow a relatively seamless compile to a native iPhone/Pad application. I initially tried to take a Dashcode widget HelloWorld app and publish it as native, but it didn’t work. It did compile, but the simulator would not go passed the first screen of the multi-screen application.  That was odd, but it might have had something to do with my inexperience with Xcode and a Dashcode Safari mobile folder structure then a technical issue with the application. My thought is that Dashcode is perfectly suited for making PhoneGap applications as it outputs Safari Mobile (as well as regular Safari code). Plus, it has some nice interface elements and widgets built in.

That attempt failed though, so I decided to test out my latest HTML5 game for  the O’Reilly book Steve and I are working on. That was pretty easy as  I was able to get it running in the simulator within an hour of installing Phone-gap and going through the simple setup and HelloWorld tutorial. The problem was that I have no idea with PhoneGap how to target the iPad so the application played in a strange little partial window. I any case, it was a pure Javascript/html5 application running a full speed in the simulator. I was encouraged by my initial success, so I moved on to native Objective-C. I have a decent new book on iPhone game development, (see note) so I started to go through it to refresh my brain on the syntax as it is very much unlike Actionscript or Javascript.

Note: This book is rather slim, but don’t let it fool you. It is AWESOME and covers actually creating a real game framework that almost any entertainment application can use. It is very similar to our AS3 Book, but it doesn’t have nearly as many full game projects.

This worked pretty well, and in a couple hours I had the little app playing on my real iPod touch. This was enough to make me feel comfortable with iPod/Pad development again until the project gets kicked off next week (hopefully).

So, as of right now, I am officially unemployed with no contracts or other jobs to do (at least for another week or so). That is a scary thought, so tomorrow I am going to have to reach out to my contacts and see if anyone needs a helping hand with a project. I’m pretty sure I need to have at least a couple irons in the fire to make this work at home gig a reality. If not, I will consider this week a vacation from other people’s work and start back up one of those 8bitrocket game projects that I have left on the back burner for a while.

I think I can get used to this…

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