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Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Hydrate 1.4 : with added Reminders

posted by Duncan at 1:53 pm on March 10th, 2011

After about 12 months, I finally git round to updating Hydrate. Loads of people had asked for reminders to be added to the app, and I had tried a few implementations, but it always seemed really complicated. I also hadn’t realised that the app was really buggy for iPhones with the ability to handle background tasks (which is not most of them). So anyway, I have fixed the bugs, and add a simple implementation of reminders, so hopefully everyones happy again.


You can get Hydrate 1.4 from the App Store today:

Download from iTunes

[NOTE] Oh, and one more thing. I have removed multi language support. I realise this is going to piss people off, but it’s a really difficult things to manage. I’m not multilingual, and I don’t have the funds to keep the translations up to date which even initially proved harder than writing the app. If anyone out there who speaks French, Italian, German or Spanish would like to translate the text for the app, then I’ll happily re-add it.

BBC Recipe shopping list experiment updated

posted by Duncan at 10:45 pm on August 5th, 2010

[UPDATE] If you check the comments below, the Mobile version of the BBC food site has now implemented check boxes next to the ingredients list. This really is great news! thankyou!

Back in October last year, I wrote a post about creating shopping lists from BBC recipes. Well it’s seems that the BBC Recipe site has been refreshed. It’s awesome. There’s absolutely loads of recipes and the navigation is great, with some really useful urls. The markup of the pages is also vastly improved. They’ve even now got shopping lists! (no, my pleasure) which incidentally, has a broken image, I think you missed 1.4.4 from the url. Oh and more importantly, there is a Mobile version, which looks great.

But, I still think my little experiment has some mileage though. The BBC mobile version of a recipe still doesn’t fundamentally address what happens when I want to cook something. When I go to the supermarket, I want to look at my ingredients list and see:

  1. The ingredients I want to buy. Nothing else. Not that I need to soften the butter, or finely chop the onions. Just the ingredients.
  2. I’d like to know what I’ve bought and what I haven’t. In the same way you tick things off your list when you write it on a piece of paper.

Shopping list

So these 2 things haven’t been addressed yet, and I’m pretty sure they could be quite simply. So until such a time, you can still go to this url on your phone:

Which I have updated to support the new pages.

Oh, and they don’t appear to have a data views of the recipes. Someone correct me if I’m wrong? Again, this seems like it could have been done. Imagine if you had data versions of the recipes pages all interlinked. You could build your own recipe viewing applications, or write apps that would let you curate your own recipe book for friends and family or, oh never mind, just a thought.

Creating shopping lists from BBC Recipes using Sinatra

posted by Duncan at 12:44 pm on October 28th, 2009

[UPDATED] The BBC Recipe site has now been update. See updated blog post.

This is another case of looking at a BBC site I use frequently, and extending it. Here’s my use case. I found a recipe I’d like to make from the BBC Recipes site, so I first need to buy the ingredients. The ingredients by default are part of the recipe page, and even if I print out the recipe, it’s still got stuff I don’t need. It would be nice if I could just turn that recipe information into this:


It’s a simple list of ingredients, that have a checkbox next to each item to mark when I have put it in my basket.

So I have built myself a simple Sinatra app that does just this:

If you look at it on your iphone it will look styled, whereas on other devices it will just look simple and standard.

From the site you just need to post the url of a recipe you want the ingredients listed, for example the screenshot above is what happened when I posted this url into it:

It’s very simple, give it a try, see what you think.

Ok, one thing I should note, is that I can’t be sure it will be 100% correct every time. This is a real pain, but out of may hands. The BBC recipe pages look very nice and all, but the most important part of the page “The Recipe” is not only terribly marked up, but it’s not consistent. I suspect this is due to being a free text field in a legacy CMS? but it means that when I get my application to try to look at it, and turn it into a list of ingredients, I can’t be sure of the structure and have to make a bunch of assumptions, which are sometimes wrong.

It would be great if this could be rectified, as we could then see lots of experiments like this out there. In fact with well marked up recipes, and there does appear to be a recipe markup spec:

People could build some great application around all this information.

My first puzzle game KeyCell is now in the App Store

posted by Duncan at 11:13 am on October 9th, 2009

After the fun I had building my last iPhone app, I thought I’d have a go and writing a puzzle game. I bring you KeyCell.

KeyCell is based on a puzzle game I remember seeing in a ActionScript book about 8 years ago. It’s a kind of reverse Tetris. Touch a cell that has adjacent cells of the same colour to make them disappear. The more cells that you remove in one go, the more points you get. The challenge is to try and clear all the cells and achieve the highest score.

Now this appears simple, but actually, to get the real high scores you really have to think about it, making sure you remove the cells in such away that they setup the next bunch of coloured cells to remove. Here’s a screen shot of the game in action:

KeyCell for iPhone and iPod touch

You can also share your scores with the world. This option is off by default, as I wanted the game to be as simple as possible out of the box, but you can turn on the feature via the settings page. The score are then submitted to cocosLive. Check out the scores.

Thanks once again go out to David Wilson who created the wonderful App Icon. I asked him in passing if he’d be interested in creating an icon, and a few days later it popped into my inbox, thankyou again David.

The game is written using the iPhone cocos2d game framework. This was something I’ve never used before, but has been a very enjoyable experience to use. If you want to write iPhone games, this is certainly a good starting point.

Hydrate 1.1 for iPhone, Available Now

posted by Duncan at 10:41 am on August 29th, 2009

1.1 of my Hydrate iPhone app is now in the App Store. This update speeds up the app, fixes a few bugs, and adds a new icon made by David Wilson as well as extra Language support.

The next release 1.2 is on it’s way soon, and adds custom goals and measures as this was a popular request by people who have already installed the app.

Hydrate – An iPhone app that helps you manage your daily water intake

posted by Duncan at 9:05 am on August 15th, 2009

My train journey to work over the last couple of months, plus help from a couple of friends, has resulted in my first iPhone Application. Hydrate is in the App Store now.

It’s a simple concept. Hydrate helps you manage your daily water intake. Something I don’t do, hence the app. You can use it to keep track of how much water you drink a day. Every time you have a drink, you just log it with the app. You set goals, get a summary of your drinking habits as well as being able to look back over previous days. Simple!

Coming up with a new app idea that isn’t in the App Store is pretty much impossible now. When I started mine, there were no others that did the same, but there now appears to be a couple.

So, please give it a try. I’d love to know what you think.


Oh and if you didn’t click on the links, it has it’s own website:

I need to thank my friends David Wilson and David Johnson for their help with the app, as well as everyone who helped with the different language translations.

Mr Wilson helped me realise the design of the app, and was very patient with me. Although I had a picture of what I wanted the app to look like, and how I expected it to function in my head, without his input and ideas, it wouldn’t of looked as polished as it does now. He also created the new app icon that will be in V1.1.

That counts of Mr Johnson too. He rendered the glass tumbler and sliced it into manageable layers to allow the water to be seen inside. Again, I knew what I wanted but did not have the skills to make it. As you can see from the final rendering, he did! He also created a great transition animation, which I hope to incorporate.

I really enjoyed the experience of developing on the iPhone, so I’m now working on a couple of new apps which will be completed at some point during future train journeys to work. One is a game using the cocos2d library and the other is for teachers. I’ll leave it there. Stay tuned.

Another iPhone Code Sign Error Fix solution

posted by Duncan at 3:10 pm on May 10th, 2009

Dam, this took far to long to suss out !!! I even left the London Open Hack 2009 early because I was unable to install development apps I was working on onto my iPhone, and it was proving so frustrating I decided to go home to try and fix it there … Dam!!!

So the error I was getting was:

Code Sign error: The identity 'iPhone Developer' doesn't match any valid 
certificate/private key pair in the default keychain

I won’t bore you with all the variations, forums, websites read and ways I tried to solve this, and will leave you with the solution in this case. The problem was that the KeyChain App had changed it’s default keychain over to ‘system‘ and it should have been ‘login‘ as this is where all my keys and certificates are installed. Also, the default keychain is where Xcode looks. The default keyChain in the one in the keychains list that is bold. To make one the default, you right click on it and select the ‘make default’ item from the list.

Yep, That’s It!! and to be honest the error message make a little more sense now I’ve fixed it … Dam!

BBC Programmes iPhone webapp experiment

posted by Duncan at 2:47 pm on December 3rd, 2008

A while back, just as they released the iPhone SDK, I started to build an iPhone webapp for BBC Programmes using it’s restful API.

BBC Programmes iPhone webapp

Actually, I only got as far as showing programme day schedules, but thought I’d stick it up for people to try anyway. I decided to use only DashCode to build it, and not use any external JS libraries or wrap it into a Rails app etc. It means it’s essentially a big lump of JavaScript.

You can view the site and download the project source from below. Maybe people out there can turn it into a fully functioning iPhone version of the main site.

A simple way to speed up your iPhone web app

posted by Duncan at 12:04 pm on June 22nd, 2008

Reduce the size of each component to 25 Kbytes or less for optimal caching behavior


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