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How to get started
building Mac OS X apps
with RubyMotion fast
A little about me
• My name is Elliott Draper
• 10 years of experience working on the web
• I’ve been using Ruby for 8 yea...
A little about me
• I run my own company, KickCode
• Mainly building apps for clients
• I also have a few apps of my own
except.io
error tracking and
notifications for Rails, and
now RubyMotion
!
https://except.io/
AlbumAlert
A simple iPhone app built
with RubyMotion to let you
know when new albums are
coming out from your
favourite ar...
WordTarget
A productivity application to
track word count across
applications, and to help you
work towards a daily writin...
Wonderment
An open-source example
application, using the
fantastic Marvel Comics API,
updating your desktop
wallpaper with...
I’m also writing a book
• Building Mac OS X applications
with RubyMotion
• Available for early access very
soon
• Will be ...
This talk is all
about RubyMotion
What is RubyMotion?
• It was released in May 2012, and was for iOS only to
begin with
• It was based on work already done ...
What does this mean?
• It’s not a platform like iOS itself
• It’s not a framework like Ruby on Rails is for building
web a...
But what does this mean?
• The resulting applications are the same as if they’d
been built with Objective-C in Xcode
• The...
Cool… I guess?
• Your apps can interop nicely with the standard Cocoa
libraries, and the vast majority of user written
Obj...
• OS X support was added midway through last year
• You can abstract away some code so that it works on
both platforms in ...
Joybox
• One gem
• Works with both iOS and OS X
• Has specific platform related
features
• Core code works on both
• https:...
motion-kit
• Just released, still has that brand new gem smell
• Looks like a much better way to layout your UI
• Designed...
Cocoa and Cocoa Touch
• Different standard libs
• On iOS, you have UI*
• On OS X, you have NS*
• Core concepts are very sim...
Similarities
• NSApplication.sharedApplication.delegate (OS X)
• UIApplication.sharedApplication.delegate (iOS)
• If you k...
Similarities
• The overarching delegate pattern used when
responding to events for objects and controls is
much the same o...
Differences
• Less restricted on OS X, even if you’re aiming to put
an app in the Mac App Store (which requires
sandboxing...
Differences
• Laying out a user interface can be done
programmatically in a similar way, and yet the x and y
position co-o...
Differences
Differences
Frameworks
• If it's not a framework, then is there a Rails-like
equivalent for building RubyMotion apps?
• For iOS there ...
Landscape
• The landscape is similar to when Ruby on Rails first came
about, in as much as there were then a lot of plugins...
Landscape
• In some cases a library, gem or framework that is
regularly maintained, even if it doesn't yet do everything
y...
Stability
• RubyMotion is now very mature and stable
• It had some teething issues, but less than you might think for
some...
Community
• RubyMotion has a very active community, and again it has
the “early days of Rails” feel to it
• RubyMotion Dis...
A note on syntax
• When interacting with Cocoa/Cocoa Touch, and other
Objective-C written libs, you’ll find you’ll need to ...
Usage
• So, what can we do with it?
• The bottom line is, anything we can do in Objective-C
- there are no limits
• But th...
Building Mac OS X
apps
Getting started
• I found the easiest way to get started was to start
with menu bar apps
• They require minimal UI
• They ...
osx-status-bar-app-template
• RubyMotion now supports templates, for spinning up
apps with similar structure and skeletons...
Let’s make it more interesting
• We can configure what we show in the status bar itself, as
well as the menu shown undernea...
motion-popup
• Used to provide custom window panes to show
under menus
• Now supports free floating custom windows too
• Ca...
motion-popup
Project time
• A great way to get started building apps with
RubyMotion is to write a little utility
• Utility and product...
NoteMeNot
Simple note tracking
• Let’s break down a simple RubyMotion app to track
notes
• Think of these as post-it notes, little t...
Skeleton
• We’ll start with our app skeleton generated from
using the template gem for status bar apps
• http://kck.io/1f2...
Incrementing note counter
• We’re going to add a menu item that simply
increments a counter, which updates the status item...
Custom entry window
• We’re going to use the
motion-popup gem to
make building our popup
window a lot easier
• It should l...
Hotkey for hiding and
showing
• Next up, instead of the window just showing when
we run the app, let’s make it so we can h...
Storing notes in memory
when entered
• When we hit return on our note editing window, we
want it to be automatically stash...
Listing notes in menu
• We should add the notes to the status bar drop down
menu
• When we click them, they should be remo...
Custom window pane for
status bar item
• Let’s switch to something more fancy, using a custom
popup pane below the status ...
Button besides each note
for removal
• Let’s add a nice button for removing the notes
• http://kck.io/031I3I3H300U
Editing notes
• And then when we click on the note, we should be
able to edit it using the same entry window as we use
to ...
Showing context menu
• We don’t have any way to access the about or quit
menu options now though, so let’s add a new butto...
What happens when we
quit the app?
• All our notes are lost!
• Not very good for an app that is supposedly helping
us to r...
Local storage, to a file
• For very simple data storage, you can write files to
the application support directory for your a...
Other storage options
• Local storage, to a database
• Remote storage, using a file in iCloud (could then
allow syncing bet...
Let’s review
• We’ve built an OS X application
• It has a menu bar item, with a custom popup pane
• It uses hotkeys to hid...
That’s enough of me…
• …for now
• That’s how to get started building Mac OS X apps,
but my forthcoming book goes beyond th...
Building Mac OS X apps
with RubyMotion
• Goes into depth on more advanced functionality
• Different types of app windows an...
Building Mac OS X apps
with RubyMotion
• Early access will be out this month
• Will be about 1/3rd of the book or so
• Ful...
Q & A
• Send questions or feedback to @ejdraper or
@kickcode!
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Getting Started Building Mac OS X Apps With RubyMotion Fast

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This is a talk I gave at SRUG (@SurreyRubyists) on Tuesday 6th May 2014, on how to get started building Mac OS X apps with RubyMotion fast.

It includes a little bit of background on RubyMotion, some general points and information about RubyMotion dev, and a look at how iOS and OS X dev with RubyMotion compare. The last section of the presentation was me stepping through a simple OS X utility built in RubyMotion, demonstrating adding various features - you can follow along by clicking the link on each of those slides which will take you to the relevant GitHub commit.

Any questions or feedback is welcome, tweet it to @ejdraper or @kickcode!

Published in: Software, Technology
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Getting Started Building Mac OS X Apps With RubyMotion Fast

  1. 1. How to get started building Mac OS X apps with RubyMotion fast
  2. 2. A little about me • My name is Elliott Draper • 10 years of experience working on the web • I’ve been using Ruby for 8 years • I’ve been working for myself for 5 years • I’ve been working with RubyMotion for 2 years
  3. 3. A little about me • I run my own company, KickCode • Mainly building apps for clients • I also have a few apps of my own
  4. 4. except.io error tracking and notifications for Rails, and now RubyMotion ! https://except.io/
  5. 5. AlbumAlert A simple iPhone app built with RubyMotion to let you know when new albums are coming out from your favourite artists ! http://kickcode.com/case- studies/album-alert/
  6. 6. WordTarget A productivity application to track word count across applications, and to help you work towards a daily writing goal
  7. 7. Wonderment An open-source example application, using the fantastic Marvel Comics API, updating your desktop wallpaper with comic book covers, based on your favourite character selections!
  8. 8. I’m also writing a book • Building Mac OS X applications with RubyMotion • Available for early access very soon • Will be finished in a couple of months • This probably won’t be the last plug for the book
  9. 9. This talk is all about RubyMotion
  10. 10. What is RubyMotion? • It was released in May 2012, and was for iOS only to begin with • It was based on work already done on MacRuby, for OS X • It’s not a platform, or a framework, but a toolchain
  11. 11. What does this mean? • It’s not a platform like iOS itself • It’s not a framework like Ruby on Rails is for building web apps • It's a toolchain allowing you to use the Ruby language to create apps that compile into native executable applications for iOS (and now OS X)
  12. 12. But what does this mean? • The resulting applications are the same as if they’d been built with Objective-C in Xcode • They are native apps, and they don’t have any additional performance or security concerns as a result of being built with RubyMotion
  13. 13. Cool… I guess? • Your apps can interop nicely with the standard Cocoa libraries, and the vast majority of user written Objective-C code in Xcode projects • Everything gets compiled together - so long as the compile order is correct, code written in Ruby and compiled by RubyMotion can access classes and methods defined in Objective-C libs • This includes CocoaPods, the Objective-C equivalent of RubyGems
  14. 14. • OS X support was added midway through last year • You can abstract away some code so that it works on both platforms in certain cases • This means being able to ship a library or gem that can provide utility through Ruby code to both iOS and OS X apps written in RubyMotion
  15. 15. Joybox • One gem • Works with both iOS and OS X • Has specific platform related features • Core code works on both • https://github.com/rubymotion/ joybox
  16. 16. motion-kit • Just released, still has that brand new gem smell • Looks like a much better way to layout your UI • Designed to work with iOS and OS X • https://github.com/rubymotion/motion-kit
  17. 17. Cocoa and Cocoa Touch • Different standard libs • On iOS, you have UI* • On OS X, you have NS* • Core concepts are very similar, but the platforms are also very different
  18. 18. Similarities • NSApplication.sharedApplication.delegate (OS X) • UIApplication.sharedApplication.delegate (iOS) • If you know how to do something on iOS, simply changing UI for NS in the class names will quite often point you in the right direction
  19. 19. Similarities • The overarching delegate pattern used when responding to events for objects and controls is much the same on OS X • objectDidDoSomething(object, withOption: option, andAnother: another)
  20. 20. Differences • Less restricted on OS X, even if you’re aiming to put an app in the Mac App Store (which requires sandboxing) • A lot more to play with in terms of user interaction and your app - status bar, global event handlers and hot keys, dock etc
  21. 21. Differences • Laying out a user interface can be done programmatically in a similar way, and yet the x and y position co-ordinates work entirely differently • [0,0] is top left on iOS • [0,0] is bottom left on OS X
  22. 22. Differences
  23. 23. Differences
  24. 24. Frameworks • If it's not a framework, then is there a Rails-like equivalent for building RubyMotion apps? • For iOS there is ProMotion • There are a lot of libs too to help with specific areas of app building, such as models and data storage • http://rubymotion-wrappers.com/ is incredibly useful
  25. 25. Landscape • The landscape is similar to when Ruby on Rails first came about, in as much as there were then a lot of plugins and extensions for Ruby on Rails, and in the beginning there wasn't always a clear front runner as to which was the best one to use, but each one had benefits and drawbacks • Often even when there was a “favourite” plugin or gem for a common feature, it’d change a few weeks or months later • The key as always with any OSS code is that when choosing what to use in your app, look for code that is regularly maintained, and where the project owner(s) are responsive to issues
  26. 26. Landscape • In some cases a library, gem or framework that is regularly maintained, even if it doesn't yet do everything you need, might be a better choice than something that appears to have everything you need, but hasn't been updated in years • You'll almost certainly not build any apps of any real complexity without requiring something on top of what the lib offers, and a framework or library that is constantly growing and maturing, not to mention accepting of contributions, is a better bet for the future of your app
  27. 27. Stability • RubyMotion is now very mature and stable • It had some teething issues, but less than you might think for something as complex as a toolchain for compiling Ruby into native code for iOS devices • Nowadays it's very stable, on iOS and OS X, and the pace of development seems to have increased, making it a very well maintained toolchain to use, with any issues that do crop up fixed in short order • The team behind it are also very active in fine tuning the toolchain, and responding to critical issues in very quick hotfix releases
  28. 28. Community • RubyMotion has a very active community, and again it has the “early days of Rails” feel to it • RubyMotion Dispatch newsletter for keeping up to date with the latest happenings: http:// rubymotiondispatch.com/ • MotionMeetup online monthly meetups: http:// meetup.rubymotion.com/ • RubyMotion #inspect conference: http:// www.rubymotion.com/conference/2014/
  29. 29. A note on syntax • When interacting with Cocoa/Cocoa Touch, and other Objective-C written libs, you’ll find you’ll need to use camelCase syntax for method names • As Rubyists, we generally use snake_case • You can continue to use snake_case for your Ruby code, and camelCase for calling into Obj-C libs • Or you can use camelCase across the board for consistency
  30. 30. Usage • So, what can we do with it? • The bottom line is, anything we can do in Objective-C - there are no limits • But this talk is focusing on OS X, and specifically, how we can delve into building an app quickly
  31. 31. Building Mac OS X apps
  32. 32. Getting started • I found the easiest way to get started was to start with menu bar apps • They require minimal UI • They can provide very useful functionality or controls, or expose some information or data to the user in a prime spot • They are quite straightforward to get started with!
  33. 33. osx-status-bar-app-template • RubyMotion now supports templates, for spinning up apps with similar structure and skeletons quickly • My gem provides a barebones for a status bar app ! • Voila, a status bar app!
  34. 34. Let’s make it more interesting • We can configure what we show in the status bar itself, as well as the menu shown underneath it • We can hook it up to a system service, to show some stats • Or hook it up to a web API to keep connected with a third party • Our menu can provide controls for doing different things • Or we can even lose the menu, and show a custom window pane underneath the status bar, for maximum customisability
  35. 35. motion-popup • Used to provide custom window panes to show under menus • Now supports free floating custom windows too • Can customise how it looks • Looks nicer than a basic menu underneath the status bar item
  36. 36. motion-popup
  37. 37. Project time • A great way to get started building apps with RubyMotion is to write a little utility • Utility and productivity apps are generally a good fit for status bar apps
  38. 38. NoteMeNot
  39. 39. Simple note tracking • Let’s break down a simple RubyMotion app to track notes • Think of these as post-it notes, little tiny bits of info you want to remember for a short period of time • We’ll have a status bar item to show how many notes you have currently, and to allow you to view them • We’ll have a hotkey-enabled floating custom window for note entry
  40. 40. Skeleton • We’ll start with our app skeleton generated from using the template gem for status bar apps • http://kck.io/1f2w2u1L0V46
  41. 41. Incrementing note counter • We’re going to add a menu item that simply increments a counter, which updates the status item in our status bar with the latest total • http://kck.io/021j3a381v0T
  42. 42. Custom entry window • We’re going to use the motion-popup gem to make building our popup window a lot easier • It should look like this, a very basic, custom floating window to enter a note in • http://kck.io/101w213n3e2s
  43. 43. Hotkey for hiding and showing • Next up, instead of the window just showing when we run the app, let’s make it so we can hide and show it with a global key combination • http://kck.io/3v1W0D142G0k
  44. 44. Storing notes in memory when entered • When we hit return on our note editing window, we want it to be automatically stashed in memory • It should also update the note count in the status bar • http://kck.io/3n1s1g0z1L3w
  45. 45. Listing notes in menu • We should add the notes to the status bar drop down menu • When we click them, they should be removed (reducing the note count in the status bar) • http://kck.io/1O2T422n2A0V
  46. 46. Custom window pane for status bar item • Let’s switch to something more fancy, using a custom popup pane below the status bar item • It should list out the notes in a scrolling view • http://kck.io/053x3J2d362t
  47. 47. Button besides each note for removal • Let’s add a nice button for removing the notes • http://kck.io/031I3I3H300U
  48. 48. Editing notes • And then when we click on the note, we should be able to edit it using the same entry window as we use to create the notes • http://kck.io/0E0f3U2a0F1H
  49. 49. Showing context menu • We don’t have any way to access the about or quit menu options now though, so let’s add a new button to access a context menu for those • This keeps them accessible, but out of the way • http://kck.io/3b0h2B3K2y0n
  50. 50. What happens when we quit the app? • All our notes are lost! • Not very good for an app that is supposedly helping us to remember things
  51. 51. Local storage, to a file • For very simple data storage, you can write files to the application support directory for your app • This works even on sandboxed applications delivered through the Mac App Store • http://kck.io/1E211c2H2s0P
  52. 52. Other storage options • Local storage, to a database • Remote storage, using a file in iCloud (could then allow syncing between devices) • Remote storage, using an API, or a PaaS providing a data storage API such as Parse
  53. 53. Let’s review • We’ve built an OS X application • It has a menu bar item, with a custom popup pane • It uses hotkeys to hide and show a customised floating window • We’ve looked at how to implement multiple data storage options
  54. 54. That’s enough of me… • …for now • That’s how to get started building Mac OS X apps, but my forthcoming book goes beyond that…
  55. 55. Building Mac OS X apps with RubyMotion • Goes into depth on more advanced functionality • Different types of app windows and UI elements • Integrating with system services • Logging and error tracking • App submission and distribution options, sandboxing your app for the Mac App Store
  56. 56. Building Mac OS X apps with RubyMotion • Early access will be out this month • Will be about 1/3rd of the book or so • Full thing should be finished July/August • http://kickcode.com/building-mac-os-x-apps-with- rubymotion/
  57. 57. Q & A • Send questions or feedback to @ejdraper or @kickcode!

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