WatchKit Explorations

Spent some time yesterday exploring ideas for an NHL app for the Apple Watch. By no means am I finished, but I figured I'd share a look into the process.

WatchKit: First Impressions

Last week, Apple unveiled WatchKit. Like David Smith, I expected the initial release to be fairly minimal. It contains support for Glances and Notifications, as expected. The ability to build iPhone-powered apps, however, was a welcome surprise. This means we can provide real functionality.

Some quick first impressions:

  • It's not surprising to see the UI/logic split between the Watch and the Phone. It's an efficient way to preserve battery life and reduce the load on the Watch. Being able to ignore the split completely while developing? Very nice.
  • The lack of AutoLayout was initially strange – Apple has been pushing it for years – but it makes sense. The screen provides very little real estate and tight control over layout ensures the best possible result for users.
  •  The ability to test notifications with multiple local JSON payloads is a nice touch.
  • I'm a bit disappointed at the initial lack of support for animations. Generating lots of individual images is a pain in the ass.

I've already put together a quick example app and have been exploring possibilities. I'll be sure to share more in the weeks to come.

WatchKit Resources

I'm happy to share my latest project. WatchKit Resources is a curated library of WatchKit tutorials, resources, and assets for developers and designers.

Aside from the blog, you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter and follow along on Twitter.

It's early days yet, but I'm excited about Apple Watch's potential. I hope to make WR a great resource for anyone with an interest in the platform. 

Have a great link to share? Feedback on the site? I'd love to hear from you

Adventures of a First Time Winter Cyclist

As mentioned in my last post, I've recently begun enjoying cycling as my full-time mode of transportation around the city. As temperatures began to drop, my mind naturally turned to winter riding. Can my bike handle it? Should I get new tires? What if I bail hard? After consulting numerous articles and blog posts, I decided to stick it out and figure it out as I go.

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This morning, Toronto saw its first "real" snowfall. It wasn't much, but it was enough to cause 41 crashes per hour. Looking outside, I honestly wasn't sure if I would stick to the plan or not. But, after much internal debate, I decided to go for it.

It was great. Wearing my new cold-weather getup I was nice and toasty warm. I had already given it a trial run last last week, but today was the first real test. I kept my riding slow and steady and everything went great. It added about 15 minutes to my usual morning commute time.

I'm going to try and blog about my experiences as a first-time winter cyclist from time to time. It should be a hell of a ride.

Cold-weather setup: warm base layer with hood, water-resistant outer layer, thick construction gloves, ski goggles, boots, and of course my helmet. The gear will change as the temperatures drop and I'm forced to re-evaluate. I'll try to post reviews of any gear I pick up.