Hugoware

The product of a web developer with a little too much caffeine

Posts Tagged ‘Mac

More On Cross Platform Development

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Up until about 6 months ago I was a Windows only developer. I thought it would be cool to mess with other operating systems and languages but it just wasn’t worth the time. I’m one of those devs that is more interested in creating software than learning new ways to create new software. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always impressed with those people that knows 14 different languages on 3 different operating systems — but I just don’t aspire to be that guy.

However, Mono has really opened up opportunities for me that weren’t available before. If you don’t know what it is, the easiest way to describe it is .NET everywhere. Write something in .NET and use it on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Mono doesn’t just apply to desktop apps either. You can actually write WebForms or MVC apps as well. Heck, there is even a cross platform Silverlight called Moonlight. Yes, it really is that awesome.

Another advantage to Mono is that you can use free operating systems to build a web server but still use the language and framework that you are used to. This is especially handy if you don’t have the budget to pay for Windows and MSSQL licences to get a website off the ground. Keep in mind that Microsoft did create the awesome BizSpark program which helps eliminate the costs but not indefinitely.

Since Mono works anywhere, you can technically use any system you want to start developing, but if you’re like me, a strictly Windows developer, then I recommend that you use an alternate operating system. Messing with a new operating system can be fun but the real advantage to this is you get a chance to work with something new that you might end up using in the future (for example, MySQL).

Below are a few links that can get you started…

  • Mono: Information about Mono and the different apps available for it. (You might not use this page for installation though…)
  • Wubi – Ubuntu Installer: As good as VirtualBox is, Wubi installs Ubuntu onto your computer without requiring that you format your computer to create additional partitions. Not only that, but Wubi installs Ubuntu in such a way that you still have access to your primary OS’es files – awesome! (thanks to @lazycoder)
  • Mono Develop: Awesome, Open Source IDE that lets you easily write and test Mono code. I won’t say it is as good as Visual Studio but it is really quite good.
  • Installing Software On Ubuntu: This will probably be the weirdest part for a Windows developer. This page has some good information to get you started.

Written by hugoware

November 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Outlook Web Access via iPhone

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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.


Picture 1

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 IBOutlet and 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…

Written by hugoware

October 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm