Outlook Web Access via iPhone
You may have seen my post a little while back about how I was starting to do some iPhone development for my job. For the most part the app is nothing more than a nice pretty front end to a handful of Web Services (hint: last blog post was along the same lines)
In any case, I’d rather my first attempt at iPhone development be a throw away project since I’m going to probably going to have to start over several times.
Learning Through Development
Whenever I offer up advice to a new programmer on what is the best way to learn programming I always say – “write a program that does something you want — you’ll learn a lot along the way and have motivation to finish it.”. Learning Objective-C was no exception for me.
Even though we use Exchange for our e-mail server at work, we don’t have the “Active Sync” enabled so you can’t link up with the iPhone through the built in e-mail application. So, instead, I decided to go a different route — use the existing Outlook Web Access and parse the HTML.
So with a couple of nice Regular Expressions and some HTTP calls we have a nice clean display of all the e-mails in my mailbox. Yep, that’s right — screen scraping via HTML… a little cheesy, but not bad since it works even if Exchange isn’t configured to allow it!
This was a perfect example of writing an application that met my need and allowed me to learn a new language at the same time… of course I’m not suggesting that I’m an Objective C expert or anything but at least now I can ditch my BlackBerry! 🙂
Hey, Who Puked On My Screen… Oh Wait, That’s Objective C
I’m definitely a spoiled programmer. Using .NET and C#/VB has definitely shielded me from some ugly languages out there. Objective-C is the kind of stuff that makes babies cry.
Developing iPhone is WAY different that anything that you have ever done in .NET. You’re adding all sorts of weird things like
IBAction so you can link them around all over the place — it is definitely a new experience. I’m going to have to write a ‘C# Developers Guide To iPhone Development’ to maybe save some other poor guy a lot of grief.
Still a .NET Guy
Getting into new languages and technologies on different platforms is always a good idea. You gain added perspective while increasing your skill sets (not to mention you look better on paper for your next job). Even if you don’t want to buy a Mac and play with the iPhone you can always tinker with a myriad of other languages on any number of free operating systems — Go do it!!
Don’t think that I’m converting – If anything using a Mac this much has solidified why I’m still die-hard Windows/ASP.NET/PC…
…But then again… MonoDevelop for Mac is looking kinda slick…