In the short period since Apple released its updated mobile operating system, iOS 7, the software has seen a more rapid pace of upgrades than with any previous rollout, with 200 million iOS devices making the upgrade in the first five days alone. To developers, this means that it’s time to bring applications up to date, and Apple has provided some new tools to enable the change. Some onlookers have cautioned users against upgrading iOS due to likely bugs that emerge from application developers being slow to update. To avoid user complaints, developers should take advantage of the tools at their disposal to improve application quality.
Developers will find a number of changes in the SDK for iOS, mostly stemming from the fact that iOS 7 has a completely rewritten UI framework based on principles of depth and clarity, iOS architect Rene Cacheaux explained in a recent video for Mashable’s “Ask A Dev” series. The result is that applications that haven’t made design changes may experience some awkward compatibility issues, ITBusiness.ca writer Brian Jackson noted.
“The complete user interface redesign mean that apps compiled against the iOS 7 SDK will automatically receive the new appearance for any standard system views,” he explained. “But developers who haven’t compiled against the new SDK are likely to run into compatibility issues.”
However, developers may find it easier to make UI changes in the future, as the new version of Xcode contains auto layout features, as well as an Automatic Configuration feature for Apple services such as iCloud and Game Center. Other Xcode changes include built-in unit testing features and “Debug Gauges” that give statistics on CPU, memory iCloud and OpenGL ES usage.
Apple’s inclusion of more testing and debugging tools is a welcome addition for developers, who can also use third-party tools such as static analysis software to scan for errors. With its updated 64-bit architecture and UI framework, iOS 7 offers many new features for developers to play with, but it is also essential to take precautions that such changes don’t introduce new errors. Using approaches such as source code analysis and peer code review can be valuable in keeping code flawless in the face of new iOS components.
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