Understanding the iOS preferences system
Video: Understanding the iOS preferences systemThe Settings app in iOS is the interface for application preferences, like the Preferences app in OS X. When you scroll down in its table view, you'll see a list of installed apps that have preference settings available. When you tap on one, you'll get the settings pane for that application. The settings for the application are coded with a normal plist. Let's take a look and see what that looks like. This file here is a Settings bundle, and if I right-click or Control Click on this, I can say Show Package Contents, and you'll see that here's a Root.plist.
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The iOS software development kit (SDK) includes the popular SQLite library, a lightweight yet powerful relational database engine that is easily embedded into an application. In this course, Bill Weinman teaches you how to build an RSS reader for iOS devices, integrating XML data and a streamlined interface. He explains how to use the SQLite database, display information in a table view, code view controllers, and create a preferences pane for your app. The resulting application is optimized for all iPhone and iPad displays.
- Prototyping the app
- Coding and working with a testbed
- Creating an Objective-C interface for SQLite
- Designing a database schema
- Creating the view controllers
- Reading and writing to the database
- Parsing the RSS feed with NSXMLParser
- Updating the item view with feed items
- Implementing the pull to refresh gesture for iOS 6
- Creating a universal application with multiple views
Understanding the iOS preferences system
The Settings app in iOS is the interface for application preferences, like the Preferences app in OS X. When you scroll down in its table view, you'll see a list of installed apps that have preference settings available. When you tap on one, you'll get the settings pane for that application. The settings for the application are coded with a normal plist. Let's take a look and see what that looks like. This file here is a Settings bundle, and if I right-click or Control Click on this, I can say Show Package Contents, and you'll see that here's a Root.plist.
That file name cannot be changed--well, it can be, but it won't work anymore. We've opened this file in a text editor here. You can see this is TextWrangler. You'll notice that this looks very much like a normal XML file, and that's exactly what it is. So a plist is a simple XML file, but it's not very easy to edit this way. This is the same file. You can see it highlighted down here being edited in Xcode. This Property List Editor used to be a stand-alone application, and now it's integrated into Xcode.
It provides a Simple Editing Environment for the settings plist. The plist is easily created and edited in Xcode, and in the remainder of this chapter we will create a settings bundle for application and learn how to use it.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about iOS SDK and SQLite: Building Data-Driven Apps (2013) .
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- Q: Why is the RSSDB library in the exercise files different than the one in the videos?
A: The RSSDB library had to be updated to work around a bug in the iOS 7 SDK.
There is a bug in the iOS 7 SDK that prevents the BWDB fast enumeration implementation from working on a device. The symptom is code that runs fine on the emulator, but not on a device. iOS devices use an ARM processor, while the emulator runs on your Mac's Intel processor. This points to the LLVM ARM code generator as the source of the bug. Because the bug appears to be in the LLVM compiler, it may be some time before it is fixed.
As a workaround we have changed the getFeedIDs and getItemIDs methods in the RSSDB library so they don't use Objective C fast enumeration.
Please note that this same bug also affects some of the BWDB testbed code in Chapter 2. The result is that it will run on the emulator but not on a device.
- Q: After upgrading to Xcode 5.1 I get an error that says:
"Used type va_list (aka_builtin_va_list) where arithmetic or pointer type is required"
- A: Please download the exercise files again to get the latest version of the BWDB library.
- Q: I'm using Xcode 6. Why am I getting error messages with the exercise files?
- A: A lot has changed in iOS since this course was released. The author is in the process of rewriting the code and updating the course for iOS 8. In the meantime he has prepared a version of the app that works in iOS 8 and Xcode 6. Download it here:http://ios.bw.org/
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