Facebook releases ‘Tweaks’ tool to help devs iterate on their apps faster

Tweaks

Facebook has today open-sourced its rapid prototyping tool ‘Tweaks’, a framework that helps application developers quickly iterate on their projects and test out different possibilities for their iOS apps.

The best way to improve an app is to use it every day. Even when ideas can be tested out in advance — for example, with Origami — it can still take some time with the app to see how it works in practice.

Occasionally, it’s perfect the first try. Sometimes, the idea doesn’t work at all. But often, it just needs a few minor adjustments. That last case is where Tweaks fits in. Tweaks makes those small adjustments easy: with no code changes and no computer, you can try out different options and decide which works best.

Tweaks makes it really simple for developers to adjust parameters and properties in their application and then test them out in realtime. This is particularly useful for rapid user interface development, which often consists of merely tweaking parameters (like colors or durations) than any involved work.  Normally, developers have to recompile application binaries in order to change animation curves, durations or other parameters. This is relatively slow and inefficient.

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Apple offers free 1-hour computer science workshops for kids & teens

code

As part of a code.org initiative to get people started with programming, U.S. Apple Stores are offering a free one-hour computer science workshop aimed at children and teens. The workshops take place in Apple retail stores on Wednesday 11th December.

It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics of programming. “The ability to code and understand the power of computing is crucial to success in today’s hyper-connected world,” says former Vice President Al Gore. Apple Retail Stores will host one-hour workshops for children and teens throughout the United States on Dec. 11 …  Read more

Facebook releases SDK 3.0 Beta with iOS 6 integration & new iOS Dev Center

Facebook announced today that it is releasing its biggest iOS SDK update yet with the release of SDK 3.0 Beta for iOS, which also includes iOS 6 integration for native Facebook login. It is also rolling out a completely refreshed iOS Dev Center with tutorials, concepts, and reference docs to help iOS app developers build great Facebook-integrated apps for iOS devices. Read more

Analyst: Apple could use ‘iTV’ moniker for HDTV, partner with carriers for programming

Apple’s rumored HDTV might be called the iTV, according to a new report from Bloomberg citing Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. In a note to clients this morning, Misek also claimed Apple might buy licenses for programming through possible partnerships with Verizon and AT&T and could “leverage content into a YouTube-like model” by taking advantage of user created video from iPhone and iPad users. He also noted “Lower margins and higher risks” will most likely keep Apple away from creating original programming. Misek did not comment on a possible timeframe for the product’s launch.

Misek’s scenario of Apple partnering with carriers for content follows a report from Reuters today that confirmed Verizon and Coinstar’s Redbox division have partnered with plans to create a video streaming service to rival Netflix and Hulu Plus. Verizon and Redbox plan to offer its first product resulting from the partnership in second half of the year. As for the possibility of Apple calling its HDTV product the “iTV.” Apple will of course have to work out rights to the name from the major United Kingdom TV network of the same name.

Just last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in claiming Apple was talking with a “major TV component supplier” about “various capabilities of their television display components.” He also offered three possible scenarios for how Apple will approach content on its HDTV product suggesting a simple integration of third-party live TV services, to a live TV/web content combination, to an iTunes monthly subscription.

In related news, you might have come across a BestBuy survey recently that aims to gauge interest in an Apple HDTV concept. If you are interested in seeing what BestBuy dreamed up for the survey, a copy sent to us by a reader is available below (Thanks Alan!):

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Codify brings visual touch programing to the iPad

Another nail in the PC coffin? So this year Adobe CS apps are starting to make their way to the iPad, Office docs are headed toward the Cloud and now Visual Programming tools are becoming a real possibility with the release today of ‘Codify’:

Codify for iPad lets you create games and simulations — or just about any visual idea you have. Turn your thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer.

We think Codify is the most beautiful code editor you’ll use, and it’s easy. Codify is designed to let you touch your code. Want to change a number? Just tap and drag it. How about a color, or an image? Tapping will bring up visual editors that let you choose exactly what you want.

Codify is built on the Lua programming language. A simple, elegant language that doesn’t rely too much on symbols — a perfect match for iPad.

You can’t export your creations to the App Store or even share them as executables yet (though they are making attempts to enable sharing if Apple lets them). But it looks like a lot of fun for now and maybe it nudges Apple to build a touch version of XCode down the road. 8 Bucks.

Two Lives Left via Daring Fireball.

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Apple’s iCloud built using the SproutCore framework

Apple’s new iCloud Web apps are built using the same SproutCore Javascript engine that was used throughout MobileMe.  If the favicon above doesn’t prove it, looking at the underlying code below seems to offer undeniable evidence.

SproutCore describes itself as an open-source framework for building blazingly fast, innovative user experiences on the web.

Here’s a nice interview with Charles Jolley, one of the founders of SproutCore and previous MobileMe Javascript Frameworks Manager.  He left Apple about a year ago to start Strobe – a device agnostic Web publishing engine based on…you guessed it, SproutCore.

Interestingly, SproutCore lists Strobe Inc. as its parent company.

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