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I made my first API today, and I used Swift to do it!

Basically, I got bored this afternoon and decided to have a little research into server-side Swift programming. I’ve heard about this before, but I’ve not gone too deep into it myself.

The problem with me tying things like this, is that I ever really have a good idea, or scenario which I could use to learn the new thing. Well as you may already know, I’m slowly working on a title casing application for iOS and macOS, and therefore I’ve already created a few functions to format text.

So far the base TextCase functions are:

  • Uppercase
  • Lowercase
  • Title Case
  • URL Encoding
  • Mocking SpongeBob (yes, like the meme)

From these formats, the only ones I could see being useful are Title casing, and the fun SpongeBob format.

From making use of various APIs myself, I knew that all I needed was a super simple HTTP server, which had support for a few GET requests.

Perfect was the tool I used to write the server side code, and I found a quick tutorial which explained the basic HTTP server that I needed. I must say it was really easy for me to create this, as I’m already familiar with Swift, so the only thing to learn was the “Perfect” way of doing things.

Because it was in Swift, I could also reuse my main TextCase class which handles the formatting. There was a slight exception, where the arc4random_uniform function isn’t available on Linux, but I found a Linux suitable replacement for this.

There are also a few more reasons why I wanted to try this out, but they’re rather meta. For example, I’m a big fan of Swift, and it feels good working with “low-level” Swift if you can really call it that, and also because I just love the look of Swift in the default Xcode theme, with the SF Mono font 😍 (weird, I know, but it’s the truth).

The final code (as in what I’ve done so far), is three endpoints, which are actually just two. /title/{input text} is to return the given text in title casing, /spongebob/{input text} is for the SpongeBob case. The third one is just /{input text}, and it returns the text in every format available, which is just the two I mentioned so far. The results are in plain JSON, and also include the plain value that was sent in the request.

For example, here is an example response to the / endpoint:

{
    "plain" : "what the hell is this",
    "title" : "What the Hell Is This",
    "spongebob" : "wHAT ThE Hell iS thiS"
}

Anyway, you can view the project over at GitHub, and if you want to suggest any new formats (or even write some yourself), just let me know on Twitter at @chrishannah

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Snapchat has just released a new feature, and it’s one that can be taken in a few different ways. It’s Snap Map, and basically it’s a way to share and view peoples locations.

To activate Snap Map, just pinch to zoom out, and you can view any of your friends that are currently sharing their location with you.

In their short video showing the new feature, it seems as it’s being advertised as a way to see where your friends are, so you can go hang out with them.

But at the same time, it’s very easy to accidentally share your location with more people than you want. This becomes a much bigger problem with a service such as Snapchat, as the majority of users are very young.

Fortunately, there is a setting in Snapchat where you can limit who can view your location. I would suggest turning this feature off completely, but it’s not a problem if it’s managed properly.

So here is how to fine-tune your privacy preferences in Snapchat:

1st Method - From Settings

  1. When viewing your profile in Snapchat, press the settings icon in the top-right hand corner.
  2. Scroll down to the section labelled “WHO CAN…”.
  3. Tap on “See My Location”.
  4. You can then choose any location sharing options from here.

2nd Method - From Snap Map

  1. When viewing the map using Snap Map, press the settings icon in the top-right hand corner.
  2. You get moved straight to the location settings, where you can choose any sharing options.

Location Sharing Options

When sharing your location in Snapchat, there are three different options to choose from (of course there’s also the option to not share it at all, by never enabling the feature).

  • Ghost Mode (Location is hidden)
  • My Friends
  • Select Friends…

So you can either hide it completely, share your location with all of your friends, or just to a selected group. In some cases, “My Friends” is a completely fine option, but that only makes sense if you only add close friends. But if you like to add other people you don’t know very well, or you just want to completely sure who you’re sharing your location with, the latter “Select Friends” option is much better suited.

Extra Tips

  • When using “My Friends”, any friends added will automatically be allowed to view your profile.
  • When using “Select Friends…”, people you allow to see your location won’t be notified, they will simply be able to see you on their map.
  • Your location is only received while you are using the Snapchat app, and apparently not in the background.
  • Any location data is deleted after a few hours.
  • To clear your last locations, toggle Ghost Mode on and off. This will clear your past data, but keep your sharing settings the same.
  • The last tip - Just be careful who you’re giving your location to.
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My friend Cesare Forelli has just released his fourth app, and it’s a pedometer to help keep track of how far you’ve walked.

It’s a simple application, in that it’s primarily a way to view your walking data, but that’s not all it does.

It tracks your steps, the distance you actually walked, and if you’re on an iPhone 6 or newer it also shows you how many stairs have climbed.

This data is combined with a set goal, which is an amount of steps you want to hit every day. This is all presented in main ring, but if you swipe to the left you will also get to see the Stats view. Here you can find your past steps and distance walked, but also other data points such as the most steps walked, longest distance, and most floors in a single day.

There’s also a today widget, that let’s you keep on top of your walking at a glance.

I’m a big fan of the interface, and how it shows everything I need to see, and in a beautufil way.

Walk More is free to download on the App Store, but there’s also a few tip options in the settings, just in case you want to help keep the app going!

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Starting in iOS 11, users will no longer be able to associate social media accounts, such as Twitter or Facebook into the Settings app.

Previously, users could add an account to Settings, which would then allow other apps to request these details as authentication. Which was quite useful, as there are a lot of apps/services that authenticate via Twitter, and this meant you didn't have to keep entering your password.

There is an alternative that developers can use, and that is the built in Keychain that can be used to store authentication details, such as username or password. And they can combine this together with the new additions to in app autofill, so that stored details can be loaded into the login form automatically.

This also means that the Social app framework, that developers used to initiate content sharing to built-in social networks has changed. Instead of providing a simple way to post to LinkedIn, Weibo, Facebook, is Twitter, it is now a generalised framework that can be manipulated to be used with any social account.

From the documentation:

On iOS and macOS, this framework provides a template for creating HTTP requests. On iOS only, the Social framework provides a generalized interface for posting requests on behalf of the user.

A common way to use this framework is:

  • Create a network session.
  • Get the activity feed for a user.
  • Make a new post.
  • Set properties on a post, add attachments, etc.
  • Publish a post to an activity feed.

So it's still helpful, in that it can be used in more ways than before, and a general interface is also provided. But from the point of view of something like Twitter that was previously integrated, it will be a bit more work to integrate.

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Firstly, that was an amazing keynote.

There were so many different features announced, that it just went super fast. I’m especially looking forward to finding out all the little things that didn’t make it.

I won’t be posting an entire summary of the event, as there’s loads more great writers doing just that. But I thought I’d share my brief opinion on a few things here, before any smaller pieces that I share here on my blog.

tvOS

Not much was announced for tvOS, apart from Amazon Prime Video. That’s pretty cool, and definitely something I’ll be using, but nothing really to give an opinion on.

watchOS

The watch faces were, apart from Siri, a bit uninteresting in my opinion. But the Siri face is something I’m really intrigued about.

I hope that the complications I use on my current watch face (Dark Sky, Overcast, and Todoist) can find ways to put their content in this view. It also looks like Apple have finally found something that makes good use of the Digital Crown.

I’m a fan of the new Activity features, as it’s something that can really benefit from being personalised.

The Music app looks pretty nice, with the same card style as the Siri face. But I don’t listen to music from my watch at all.

macOS

“High Sierra”, wow.

Again, just like tvOS, there’s nothing to really shout about with the latest update of macOS. Maybe that’s why they didn’t pay much attention to the name.

I’m sure they’ve added a lot of great features, but I just installed it on a second MacBook I have, and I didn’t notice anything different.

APFS is pretty cool though.

VR

There is however some great VR functionality, and it’s really pleasing to see Apple go full throttle into this industry.

New Macs

Quite a few new Macs, with some good improvements. But the real announcement was the iMac Pro, what a machine. It looks beautiful.

It’s way too powerful for what I use a Mac for, but Apple are truly moving forward in the pro market. 128 GB RAM and 18-Core processors just blow my mind.

I really need the space grey external keyboard and mouse.

iOS 11

Messages

I like the fact messages are now stored in the cloud, and that they managed it while still providing the same level of security as before.

Apple Pay P2P

Nice!

Siri

Some great improvements with the voices, and translation. But overall, Siri is becoming pretty clever!

Something I didn’t take in initially was that you now have “one Siri”, as the data is shared between your devices.

Control Center

I like this a lot! It’s a bit ugly, but it can do a lot more than before, and it’s even customisable!

AR

Could they have done this any better?

Interface

I’ve played with iOS 11 a tiny bit so far, and the interface is really clean.

The multitasking is a lot better than before, and the Dock just makes it so easy.

When I was first playing with the beta on my iPad, I found it a bit confusing when how to activate Split View when viewing an app. But it’s a nice way to do it, and having an app “over” another is really helpful. I guess it will also help when apps don’t support Split View, so you’ll still be able to have something above.

Drag and Drop

It’s a drag fest. - Craig Federighi

All of this just makes sense, the multiple file selection, moving them between apps, it just feels perfect for iOS.

Arranging icons on the home screen is also easier because of this as well, because you can pick up an app, and swipe between screens whilst holding the app!

Files

😍

Markup

I use this quite a bit already, but it’s way more powerful in iOS 11.

I love that when you take a screenshot it let’s you activate it right away as well, that’s all I use Markup for!

New iPads

Great new iPads. I need one.

HomePod

It’s a speaker and a voice assistant, but at the same time it’s so much more.

I have an Amazon Echo, but because it’s not integrated very well into the Apple ecosystem, I hardly use it.

And while I don’t think this is worth purchasing just for Siri, if I ever move out, this would be a perfect addition.