Friday, October 28, 2011

Checklist for Submitting an App to the App Store

Before you can release a paid app to the App Store, you must agree to all of the paid app contracts, and submit your tax and bank routing info. This should be done in iTunes Connect. For best results you should fill this out before you even begin working on any apps, because it can take several weeks for the contracts to be approved by Apple.


1. Complete all of the coding and testing on your app.
2. Update the Info.plist file in your app.
  1. Set the bundle identifier (if you haven't already) to YourAppName. (Remove the stuff.) The Identifier should not contain spaces or funny characters - alphanumeric and dashes are ok.
  2. If you want your app to be named something different on the actual device than its name in Xcode, change the "Bundle display name" as well.
  3. Update the bundle version. If this is your first time submitting this app, the version number should probably be 1.0.
  4. Be sure the icon file is set.

3. Build the app for distribution.
4. Write a description for your app for the app store. The app upload page says the description should be 700 characters or less, but that limit doesn't seem to be enforced.
5. Choose a numeric SKU for your app. This can't be left blank, and it has to be a unique number for each of your apps. (I usually use YYMM, like 0902, but you can use whatever you want as long as it's a number.)
6. Assemble your screenshots. You'll need at least one primary screenshot, and up to four more secondary screenshots. Be sure they're the right size: 320 x 480 or 320 x 460 for standard resolution iPhone apps, 640 x 960 for high resolution. iPad screenshots should be 1024 x 768.
7. Prepare your iTunes artwork. This is a 512 x 512 pixel 72dpi JPEG. It should match your icon artwork as closely as possible - apps are sometimes rejected if these two images are dissimilar.
When you've got all that prepared, you're ready to set up your app in iTunes Connect.

iTunes Connect

When you log into, there's a link to iTunes Connect on the right. Once you're logged into iTunes Connect, click on "Manage Your Applications", then "Add New Application".
The app details page asks for your app name, description, copyright info, version number, SKU, application URL and support URL and support e-mail address (all of these are required). The URLs you enter translate to:
iTunes Connect calls it: What it shows on your app's page in iTunes:
"Application URL" "CompanyName Web Site"
"Support URL" "Appname Support"
If this is your first time uploading an app to the app store, and you enrolled as an individual developer, you'll be asked if you want to set a Company Name. Think carefully about this - once you set it, you can NOT change it without calling Apple and going through their phone support line. If you set a company name then all of your apps will show it.
This is also where you should upload the iTunes artwork and screenshots.
Ratings: You'll be asked to rate your app by indicating whether it includes any offensive material.
Pricing and availability: this is where you set the price and release date for your app. You'll get a chance to review this after you select a pricing tier. The page should show a link to the pricing tiers, but if it doesn't show one initially, just set the price to anything and let it refresh. The link should show up then.

Tier1 - 0.99
Tier 2 - 1.99
Tier 3 - 2.99
Tier 4 - 3.99
Tier 5 - 4.99
Tier 6 - 5.99
And so on.
Release date: This defaults to the current date, but you can set it to a date in the future* if you like. When your app is approved, you'll want to log back into iTunes Connect and reset the release date to the approval date; that way the app will show up at the top of the new releases section of its category. If you fail to do this, then when your app gets approved it'll show up buried several pages down - not very desirable.
*if you're submitting an app UPDATE, however, you shouldn't touch the release date until you get word that your update has been approved. If you change the release date of an update to sometime in the future, then your CURRENT app will vanish from the app store!
Once you've finished setting up info on your new app, go to the app details page and click on the Ready to Upload Binary button.

Uploading Your App

To upload your app binary to Apple, use the Application Loader app that's part of the developer applications. (You can find it in Developer->Applications->Utilities on your mac.) The Loader will guide you through the upload steps. If you can't find your app in the pull-down of available apps to upload, be sure you changed the status to "Waiting for Upload" (by clicking on the Ready to Upload Binary button) in iTunes Connect.
Once your app is uploaded, the status will change from "Upload Received" to "Waiting for Review". Now you just have to wait for Apple to review and (hopefully) approve your app. This usually takes about a week, sometimes longer. If you log into the iOS Developer Center and go to the App Store Approval Process page, you'll find an App Store Review Status section that Apple keeps (more or less) updated with the percentage of apps that are approved within the past week.
While you're waiting for approval, you should set up a web page for your app.

After Approval

When your app is approved, you'll get an email saying your app is ready for sale. You should log back into iTunes Connect and change your app's availability date to today. This way your app will appear at the top of the "new releases" list in its category. You can only do this on the date your app was approved.
You can change most of the app details any time after your app is approved; if you want to re-word the description, or upload new screenshots, or change the price of your app, you can do so without having to go through the approval process again. The only time you'll have to wait for approval is when you submit an update (a new binary) to an app. Also, you can only change keywords or ratings when you upload a new binary. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to build an Apple Push Notification provider server (tutorial)

Server monitoring iPhone application alert view
As part of the product, we have an iPhone application that includes push notifications as an alerting option so you can be notified via push direct to your iPhone when one of your server alerts have been triggered. This is useful since our app can then be launched to instantly see the details of the server that has caused the alert.
Apple provides detailed code documentation for the iPhone OS code that is needed to implement and handle the alerts on the device but only provides a higher level guide for the provider server side.
As a provider, you need to communicate with the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) to send the messages that are then pushed to the phone. This is necessary so that the device only needs to maintain 1 connection to the APNS, helping to reduce battery usage.
This tutorial will go into code-level detail about how we built our push notification provider server to allow us to interact with the APNS and use the push notifications with our server monitoring iPhone application. Since we develop in PHP, our examples will be in PHP 5.
Basic Structure
  1. You connect to the APNS using your unique SSL certificate
  2. Cycle through the messages you want to send (or just send 1 if you only have 1)
  3. Construct the payload for each message
  4. Disconnect from APNS
The flow of remote-notification data is one-way. The provider composes a notification package that includes the device token for a client application and the payload. The provider sends the notification to APNs which in turn pushes the notification to the device.
- Apple documentation
  • The payload is limited to 256 bytes in total – this includes both the actual body message and all of the optional and additional attributes you might wish to send. Push notifications are not designed for large data transfer, only for small alerts. For example we only send a short alert message detailing the server monitoring alert triggered.
  • APNS does not provide any status feedback as to whether your message was successfully delivered. One reason for this is that messages are queued to be sent to the device if it is unreachable, however only the last sent message will be queued – overwriting any previously sent but undelivered messages.
  • Push notifications should not be used for critical alerts because the message will only be delivered if the device has wifi or cellular connectivity, which is why we recommend combining push with another alerting method such as e-mail or SMS for our server monitoring alerts.
  • The SSL certificates used to communicate with APNS, discussed below, are generated on an application level. The implementation discussed in this tutorial only concerns a single iPhone application so if you have several, you will need to adapt the code to use the appropriate certificate(s) where necessary.
Device Token
Each push message must be “addressed” to a specific device. This is achieved by using a unique deviceToken generated by APNS within your iPhone application. Once this token has been retrieved, you need to store it on your server, not within your iPhone application itself. It looks something like this:
c9d4c07c fbbc26d6 ef87a44d 53e16983 1096a5d5 fd825475 56659ddd f715defc
For the Server Density iPhone application, we call the necessary generation methods on app launch and pass it back to our servers via an HTTP API call. This stores the deviceToken in a database on our servers for that user so we can then communicate with the device linked to that user.
Feedback Service
Apple provide a feedback service which you are supposed to occasionally poll. This will provide a list of deviceTokens that were previously but are no longer valid, such as if the user has uninstalled your iPhone application. You can then remove the deviceToken from your database so you do not communicate with an invalid device.
Using the feedback service is not covered by this tutorial.
The first thing you need is your Push certificates. These identify you when communicating with APNS over SSL.
Generating the Apple Push Notification SSL certificate on Mac:
  1. Log in to the iPhone Developer Connection Portal and click App IDs
  2. Ensure you have created an App ID without a wildcard. Wildcard IDs cannot use the push notification service. For example, our iPhone application ID looks something like
  3. Click Configure next to your App ID and then click the button to generate a Push Notification certificate. A wizard will appear guiding you through the steps to generate a signing authority and then upload it to the portal, then download the newly generated certificate. This step is also covered in the Apple documentation.
  4. Import your aps_developer_identity.cer into your Keychain by double clicking the .cer file.
  5. Launch Keychain Assistant from your local Mac and from the login keychain, filter by the Certificates category. You will see an expandable option called “Apple Development Push Services”
  6. Expand this option then right click on “Apple Development Push Services” > Export “Apple Development Push Services ID123″. Save this as apns-dev-cert.p12 file somewhere you can access it.
  7. Do the same again for the “Private Key” that was revealed when you expanded “Apple Development Push Services” ensuring you save it as apns-dev-key.p12 file.
  8. These files now need to be converted to the PEM format by executing this command from the terminal:
    openssl pkcs12 -clcerts -nokeys -out apns-dev-cert.pem -in apns-dev-cert.p12
    openssl pkcs12 -nocerts -out apns-dev-key.pem -in apns-dev-key.p12
  9. If you wish to remove the passphrase, either do not set one when exporting/converting or execute:
    openssl rsa -in apns-dev-key.pem -out apns-dev-key-noenc.pem
  10. Finally, you need to combine the key and cert files into a apns-dev.pem file we will use when connecting to APNS:
    cat apns-dev-cert.pem apns-dev-key-noenc.pem > apns-dev.pem
It is a good idea to keep the files and give them descriptive names should you need to use them at a later date. The same process above applies when generating the production certificate.
Payload Contents
The payload is formatted in JSON, compliant with the RFC 4627 standard. It consists of several parts:
  • Alert – the text string to display on the device
  • Badge – the integer number to display as a badge by the application icon on the device home screen
  • Sound – the text string of the name of the sound to accompany the display of the message on the device
  • This tutorial will only deal with the basics by sending a simple alert text string but this can also be another dictionary containing various options to display custom buttons and the like.
Creating the payload
Using PHP it is very easy to create the payload based on an array and convert it to JSON:
$payload['aps'] = array('alert' => 'This is the alert text', 'badge' => 1, 'sound' => 'default');
$payload = json_encode($payload);

Echoing the contents of $payload would show you the JSON string that can be sent to APNS:
     "aps" : { "alert" : "This is the alert text", "badge" : 1, "sound" : "default" }

This will cause a message to be displayed on the device, trigger the default alert sound and place a “1″ in the badge by the application icon. The default buttons “Close” and “View” would also appear on the alert that pops up.
For the Server Density server monitoring iPhone application, it is important for the user to be able to tap “View” and go directly to the server that generated the alert. To do this, we add an extra dictionary in of our own custom values:
$payload['aps'] = array('alert' => 'This is the alert text', 'badge' => 1, 'sound' => 'default');
$payload['server'] = array('serverId' => $serverId, 'name' => $name);
$output = json_encode($payload);

The custom dictionary server is passed to the application on the device when the user taps “View” so we can load the right server. The JSON looks like this:
     "aps" : { "alert" : "This is the alert text", "badge" : 1, "sound" : "default" },
     "server" : { "serverId" : 1, "name" : "Server name")

The size limit of 256 bytes applies to this entire payload, including any custom dictionaries.
The raw interface
Once an alert is generated within Server Density, the payload is built and then inserted into a queue. This is processed separately so that we can send multiple payloads in one go if necessary.
Apple recommends this method because if you are constantly connecting and disconnecting to send each payload, APNS may block your IP.
As described by Apple:
The raw interface employs a raw socket, has binary content, is streaming in nature, and has zero acknowledgment responses.
APNS Binary Format
Opening the connection
The PHP 5 code to open the connection looks like this:
$apnsHost = '';
$apnsPort = 2195;
$apnsCert = 'apns-dev.pem';

$streamContext = stream_context_create();
stream_context_set_option($streamContext, 'ssl', 'local_cert', $apnsCert);

$apns = stream_socket_client('ssl://' . $apnsHost . ':' . $apnsPort, $error, $errorString, 2, STREAM_CLIENT_CONNECT, $streamContext);

If an error has occurred you can pick up the error message from $errorString. This will also contain the details if your SSL certificate is not correct.
The certificate file is read in relative to the current working directory of the executing PHP script, so specify the full absolute path to your certificate if necessary.
Note that when testing you must use the sandbox with the development certificates. The production hostname is and must use the separate and different production certificate.
Sending the payload
At this point, the code we use loops through all the queued payloads and sends them. Constructing the binary content to send to APNS is simple:
$apnsMessage = chr(0) . chr(0) . chr(32) . pack('H*', str_replace(' ', '', $deviceToken)) . chr(0) . chr(strlen($payload)) . $payload;
fwrite($apns, $apnsMessage);

Note that the $deviceToken is included from our database and stripped of the spaces it is provided with by default. We also include a check to send an error to us in the event that the $payload is over 256 bytes.
$apnsMessage contains the correctly binary formatted payload and the fwrite call writes the payload to the currently active streaming connection we opened previously, contained in $apns.
Once completed, you can close the connection:
There is a free, open source server library that does all the above functionality called php-apns. We chose to implement it ourselves because it has a further dependancy on memcached, we do not want to rely on 3rd party code for large and critical aspects of our code-base and I am apprehensive about the suitability of PHP for running a continuous server process. We do all the above queue processing using our own custom cron system which runs every few seconds – that way PHP scripts do not need to be run as processes, something I’m not sure they were designed to do!
All done
That’s it! If you have any problems, post in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help out. Also, Stack Overflow is your friend.

Learn Objective C-in Windows

Installation: you should install all below mentioned software.
GNUstep MSYS System Required 0.25.1 none MSYS/MinGW System
GNUstep Core Required 0.25.0 none GNUstep Core
GNUstep Devel Optional 1.1.1 None Developer Tools

save all required source file into "GNUStep/home/user" (user - jfalexvijay) directories.



int main()
id a = [Object new];
return 0;


include $(GNUSTEP_MAKEFILES)/​ke
TOOL_NAME = test
test_OBJC_FILES = test.m
include $(GNUSTEP_MAKEFILES)/tool.make

to compile:
$ gcc -o test test.m -I /GNUstep/System/Library/Header​s/ \-L /GNUstep/System/Li
brary/Libraries/ -lobjc -lgnustep-base

to run:
$ ./test.exe


$ gcc -o test test.m -I /GNUstep/System/Library/Header​s/ \-L /GNUstep/System/Li
brary/Libraries/ -lobjc -lgnustep-base
Info: resolving ___objc_class_name_Object by linking to __imp____objc_class_name
_Object (auto-import)
c:/gnustep/mingw/bin/../lib/gc​c/mingw32/4.4.0/../../../../mi​ngw32/bin/ld.exe: wa
rning: auto-importing has been activated without --enable-auto-import specified
on the command line.
This should work unless it involves constant data structures referencing symbols
from auto-imported DLLs.

yourname@Test ~
$ ./test.exe
yourname@Test ~

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do i really need a device to develop iPhone app?

You don't really need a device to develop. Mainly testing on the device is just so you know it's not slow, it works on the device too, and so you can test that your user interface is easy to use. Unless you are doing very memory intensive games, first one probably won't be an issue, not too many things will work on the simulator but not work on the device, and designing a user interface that looks good on a simulator but sucks on the actual device is unlikely. So yes, to develop you don't really need a device. To release to the app store, yes you need a device.

And you can buy Xcode 4 for $5 and the SDK is free.

what should i do after finishing iPhone app?

Log in to the iOS dev center and you will see documentation that will take you step by step through the process of how to prepare your app to submit to the app store.