Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What the iPad means for developers: Spending quality time with UISplitViewController

"The last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it." - Wall Street Journal.

In the days before the iPad release, a bunch of app developers will be rushing to make their apps iPad-compatible. In the iPad promo video, Scott Forstall predicts a whole new gold rush.

What do most non-game apps have in common? A main list view and a detail view. Whether it's the New York Times app, Facebook, Snow Report, they all follow the main view - detail view pattern.

This is the natural organization scheme for iPhone apps: UINavigationController and UITableViewController make this easy, and there is no shortage of documentation on how to build apps like this.

We've all seen the screenshots of the new iPad email app. List on side, main view on the other. Portrait mode switches the navigation view on the left to a button on the top left that pops over the content.

All those main view - detail view apps? They'll be redone in this style. It looks like we'll all be spending quality time with the new UISplitViewController, which manages the presentation of the side-by-side panes:

The NYT and Facebook apps should be available in this style on iPad launch day. But they might be separate from their respective iPhone apps: Apple has also announced support for "Universal Applications" that run on both iPhone and iPad, but this is not yet in the 3.2 SDK - I guess until then, there be a separate part of the App Store with "Made for iPad" applications.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, Universal build must be available in next 3.2 build or at least in the final 3.2, before the actual iPad launch or?

Gabor said...

For now, all it says on the developer website is: "Creating a universal application is not supported in the initial seed release of iPhone OS 3.2. Support for creating universal binaries will be added to a later seed."

Mariah Bell said...

Developing applications as universal makes it much simpler for everyone. Itʼs simpler for developers because there is only one app to deal with on the App Store. Itʼs simpler for customers because they will know that it operates on any system they own.

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