January 26, 2018 Meeting

Take a look at our updated “Why” Page

Check out the updated list of summer opportunities and more….

Planning Session for multi-faceted solution

Big Picture: At our last meeting we had an interesting discussion about the varied interests our Members have for experiencing different programming languages and types of development. So this week, as a group, we will create a “Grand Plan” for a larger scale solution to be composed of several small projects. These smaller projects may be built in different languages and/or platforms that will all tie together. The components can be developed by pair programming according to interest and experience: possibilities include C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, Swift, etc. Central to the solution will be a Web Service that can be called by multiple apps or Web Pages to return a result in JSON format (JavaScript Object Notation) that be used by the individual app or Web Page.

Tools: Depending on what components we decide to develop, we will identify which software tools are needed so that we can get everyone started on setting up their laptops as appropriate. Some of this configuration may need to be done later at home.

Setting up for iOS Development on a Mac with XCode/Swift:

Please bring your iPhones and/or iPads to the meeting along with their USB cables so we can connect it to the Mac to run Swift apps.

We will be coding in pairs or small groups so even if you don’t have your own Mac you will be able to do everything.

To Set Up a Mac:

  • You will need an Apple ID, which you probably have if you have ever downloaded anything from the App Store
  • You do not need a paid Apple Developer ID at this point; that will only be required if you want to put your apps in the store
  • From the App  Store download and install XCode

iOS Apps with Thunkable

We will take a deeper look at building apps with Thunkable, perhaps doing a simple prototype for part of the multi-project solution we are designing

January 12, 2018 Meeting

Mobile Application Development Starts this Month!

Join us as we learn to build applications for our phones and tablets. We will be taking a look at all this over the next couple of months:

Tonight we will build apps for iOS mobile using Thunkable!   So please bring your iPhone or iPad to the meeting.

First a little overview on Mobile App Building…

  • Programming Languages depend on whether you are building the app for an iOS device or an Android device
  • Native programming languages are the coding languages understood specifically by a target operating system
    • Swift or Objective-C for Native iOS apps: requires a Mac to build and test; Objective-C is very old and Swift is much more widely used now
    • Java for Native Android apps: can be developed on Windows or Mac
  • Cross-Platform programming builds apps that work on both Android and iOS devices and more
    • Xamarin provides developers with a full-featured IDE for building apps in C# that can run on Windows, iOS, and Android devices.  The coding can be done in Visual Studio for Windows or for Mac but the iOS apps do require connection to a Mac for building
  • Drag and Drop App Builders with coding blocks: Drag and drop UI components (buttons, images, text, etc.)  onto a mockup of the phone’s screen; then use the blocks editor to build your program’s code by drag and drop as well. Behind the scenes the blocks are compiled into the native code that is understood by the target device.
    • MIT App Inventor currently provides only Android builds but they are in the process of developing iOS capabilities too
    • Thunkable allows you to choose either iOS or Android coding environments and that is what we will use today to make our apps!

Now Let’s THUNK!

Install Thunkable Live on your iPhone or iPad: go to Apple’s App Store and get the Thunkable Live app. You will use this to test your Thunkable apps as you are developing them

Start up Thunkable:  Supported Browsers are Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Go to Thunkable and get started by clicking the “Get your App Started” button; when prompted “I want to create apps for”  select iOS

Logging into Thunkable: use your Google account to register and sign in

We will do the five introductory tutorials together to get familiar with the interface and some of the functionality:

Thunkable Hour of Code Tutorials

Thunkable Documentation

Build and modify a Weather Forecast Application!

In the Thunkable Documentation click the Sample Apps link and find the Weather app. Click “Copy the app source code” to create a copy of the app in your own Thunkable iOS projects.

The weather app is an example of using a Web Service; we will look at this in more detail and together will figure out how to modify the app to show the weather in our own location and perhaps to display additional information.