This blog is moving

Posted: November 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

I’m going to move this blog to so it can be looked after properly.

A few years ago I wrote my own blog system. Doesn’t every developer? Then I discovered WordPress. So I installed it in my tiny piece of webspace on my shared host, and tinkered with themes.

But because I have tweaked the theme and installation a bit, its not been straightforward to upgrade. So I’m going to try using a fully-hosted solution – And it will give me a chance to try out a different more suitable theme for my forthcoming iPhone app – Zombies. So ladies and gentlemen, please set your browsers to and feedreaders at . Thank you.

Screencast of Zombies for iPhone Early Version

Posted: July 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Zombies for iPhone

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) have kindly posted a demo I gave them of the iPhone game I am working on – Zombies. It’s very much a work in progress with some rough edges, but the basic gameplay is there.

This is the first video of me demonstrating Zombies. TUAW have put it on YouTube! It made me cringe when I watched it. “Could you sound more unprepared if you wanted to Matt?” I often self-criticize. You wouldn’t catch Steve Jobs being unprepared, would you? Still, Victor’s review is very kind. The demo was recorded while I was in SanFrancisco for WWDC, in a shopping mall just across the road from the conference.

New Start

Posted: June 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Today is the first day of my new life. I’ve gone indie.

At the weekend we cleared the attic of junk and gave it a dust and a fresh lick of paint. The large display is in place. The brand new keyboard and mouse unboxed, waiting for my laptop to show itself.

From today, my duties with be getting the kids ready and shepherding them down to school, then cocoon myself in the loft, just me and Xcode.

I didn’t really write this post now. I wrote it two weeks ago. Today is the first day of being a microISV. Today is for writing iPhone software.

Objective-C Style Guide

Posted: February 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Google have written an excellent Objective-C Style Guide. It is very comprehensive. I prefer this over the less prescriptive guide from Apple.

NSManchester November Meeting

Posted: November 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

On Wednesday night I attended the NSManchester Cocoa programming meeting organized by Dave Verwer of Shiny Developments. NSManchester is a sort-of Cocoaheads Manchester chapter. I was fortunate enough to meet Dave and Andrew at WWDC earlier this year.

The venue was MDDA in Portland Street (1 minute up from the McDonald’s on Oxford Road). Its a very nice contemporary venue.

Dave gave a good presentation on iPhone development. He presented a simple app show Twitter posts in a UITableView. We also talked about publishing to the AppStore. Unfortunately I haggled/added/cross-examined more than the other attendees (sorry Dave). Most of us went to the pub afterwards. We geeked out, debugged a bit, and I demonstrated my iPhone game Zombies to a few people.

I must admit I don’t use the fashionable social networking tools on the web much, but I do love meeting people in real life. Its fun to gauge reactions, bounce ideas around, see other sides of the coin.

The plan is to make NSManchester a regular event for the first Thursday each month, so if you’re in the North of England and interested in iPhone or Mac development please come along. The next one is Thursday 4 December 2008. Have a look at the group’s Google Group and Upcoming pages.

Thoughts on WWDC 2008

Posted: June 16th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

I've had a great time at WWDC this year. The sessions and labs were great, but for me the best part of it was meeting plenty of people. Some I had spoken with on the mailing lists, but mostly I spoke to new people I bumped into the keynote queue or at parties. Plenty of events happened in the evenings. I assumed I would be doing some coding, but I would slump gratefully into my bed each night.

Fixing PHP PDO after Mac OS X Update

Posted: June 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

A Mac is set up to do web development out of the box, but I decided to build PHP 5 and MySQL 5 from source for a number of reasons. I prefer to use PHP’s PDO wrapper in my data access layer, not those database specific mysql_* functions. So I followed the instructions at HiveLogic and others.

But when I updated my Mac OS X to 10.5.3 I lost the MySQL PDO configuration. This had also happened when I installed previous 10.5 updates. Fortunately I had kept my configuration in a script. So if you too want to re-configure the PHP PDO for MySQL on your Mac, here is what to do.

Open terminal and cd to you php directory. then run configure:

	'./configure' \
	'--prefix=/Users/matt/php' '--with-xsl=/usr' \
	'--with-apxs2=/usr/sbin/apxs' '--with-ldap=/usr' \
	'--with-kerberos=/usr' '--enable-cli' \
	'--with-zlib-dir=/usr' '--enable-trans-sid' \
	'--with-xml' '--enable-exif' '--enable-ftp' \
	'--enable-mbstring' '--enable-mbregex' \
	'--enable-dbx' '--enable-sockets' \
	'--with-iodbc=/usr' '--with-curl=/usr' \
	'--with-config-file-path=/etc' \
	'--sysconfdir=/private/etc' \
	'--with-pdo' \
	'--with-pdo-mysql=/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_config' \
	'--with-mysql=/usr/local/mysql' \
	'--with-mysql-sock=/tmp/mysql.sock' \
	'--with-openssl' '--with-xmlrpc' \
	'--without-pear' \

You might want to put that mouthful in a shell script and call it something witty like Now run:



	sudo make install

Now you should be able to restart apache (from either the command line or from System Preferences > Sharing panel) but that has not worked for me. I had to restart the OS.

Some Recent History

Posted: May 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Matt West
Hello. I’m Matt West. I’m a programmer living in West Yorkshire in the UK. I am learning how to write applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but I want to explain why I want to do that, and how I came to begin that.

An iPod Shuffle

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to receive a first generation iPod Shuffle as a gift. This was the third MP3 player I had had, but the two earlier ones were awful to use. The Shuffle’s good physical design, ease-of-use, and reliability first turned me on to Apple products.

Around that same time I came across Rails and attended RailsConf in London and saw first hand how people with Mac computers were a happy bunch. So I bought a MacBook, and have enjoyed using it since then.

Cocoa training course

Spurred on by the inspirational writing of Mac developers such as Wil Shipley and Daniel Jalkut, I began learning Cocoa but found it quite tough to learn in snatched moments out of life with my wife and our two young children. I would not say Cocoa is hard, it is a graceful framework. But there is a lot to learn when starting out in Mac development. So I took a week off work (unusual for a contractor I know) in November 2007 to attend the brilliant Cocoa development course run by Paul and Liz Lynch down in beautiful Old Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire. The course was a week long, and very intense – there was just me attending. Paul is a good lecturer, and is very knowledgeable and approachable so makes for a good tutor. I cross-examined him at every stage of the day, every day (the poor man!). Thanks Paul. I recommend this course; I found out about it through seeing the ads on the ADC mailing list.

Leopard Tech Talk

In December I went to the Leopard Tech Talk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was really nice to meet up with a few people from the very useful and always thought-provoking MacSB mailing list / group.

Even though many people are excited about Core Animation, my favourite Leopard feature is the super-fast Spotlight search facility to launch applications, look up words in the dictionary, oh and search for things too. Under Tiger, I used to use LaunchBar and QuickSilver to launch applications using keyboard shortcuts. I have not bothered to install those apps, because I just use Spotlight. It is possible to integrate in to Spotlight by writing an importer for your app. This is called by Spotlight when a user searches for something. Like so much of Mac programming, it nostalgically reminds me of coding for the Palm OS; you would write a routine in your Palm app to respond to a Find launch code.

iPhone Development

By the beginning of 2008 I had a small Mac application in development but hadn’t got as far as I’d like to with it. Then I was delighted when Apple announced the SDK for the iPhone and iPod Touch. So I have been busy since then. I must admit its a bit of a struggle because I am still doing Enterprise Java systems for a living during the day.

So I am going to abandon my family once again for a week by going to this year’s Apple WWDC. I am over the moon about it. It will be my first time to California.