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11Jun 2013

iOS 7 APIs and Frameworks for App developers – Quick review

iOS 7 : What is it to developers? -  iOS 7 APIs and Frameworks for App developers – Quick review

Today on 10th June 2013, Apple made iOS 7 beta and Xcode 5 Developer Preview publically available for developers. The front UI changes doesn’t look like it has great transitions for daily users – many of these changes have been enjoyed by Android users already. But, there is a big leap forward in notification area, multitasking and messages etc..

However, app developers have a lot! New and enhanced set of APIs that will make you rejoice. Here is a quick walk through of what is new.

For UI designers:

For iOS app UI designers, new iOS 7 SDK offers something new. There are new APIs in the UIKit such as UIAttachmentBehavior,

iOS 7 for App developers

iOS 7 for App developers

and UICollisionBehavior  for developers to create better motion effects and transitions. You can download the UI transitions  here for complete review.

The Newly introduced Wi-Fi peer-to-peer file sharing system, names AirDrop will help developers to use UIActivityViewController class to provide features to share documents within the application, and users can share data between devices and apps easily. The URL sharing in AirDrop is one feature that everybody would like.

With MultipeerConnectivity.framework users can enable communication between devices without internet connectivity. I believe this feature might enable developers to create a modem apps to share internet among devices too.

Text Kit is a framework newly introduced to manage Typography, which is a welcoming feature and it has extensions such as NSAttributedString, NSLayoutManager for layout test new attributes and some basic interface to handle text bases content.

Before UI designers start developing,  it is necessary to see the UI Transitions at the iOS 7 UI trantion guide. A set of iOS design resources can be found under iOS Developer forum.

For advertisers:

You wouldn’t miss to note the new iAd Framework (iAd.framework) enables placing ads on top of videos.

For Game developers:

Game center has plenty of improvements especially in multi-player games and The Game Kit framework (GameKit.framework) has several changes. Check at the Game center reference for the framework changes. Looking forward to so see more agile and interesting games.

For Application developers:

Multitasking in iOS 7 has additional background execution modes enables background content loading, push notifications that enables background download operations and those modes can be launched and also moved from suspended tstate to background state whenever required.

The MKMapCamera object can be called for map location, 3D viewing and  MKDirections  object can be used direction-related route information, However which is restructed to Apple Maps.

Developers can now use MapKit.framework for better map based information handling and Location based Information handling applications can use 3D Maps too.

Also, Attaching files with messages has become possible with MFMessageComposeViewController framework.

One interesting development is using AudioUnit.framework is one of your app can record music from another app acting as an instrument or use it to send audio to another app for processing. The use of this API might look limited, But plenty of musicians would find Apps that are built with framework, useful.

Another interesting framework that comes with iOS pack is, Core Motion Framework would help developers to capture  motion data from device hardware and process that data within the application. I hope to see several applications that compete directly with FitBit. This must be a framework we can expect to be placed in Apple’s watch.

For Objective C programmers, you will see support on modules that helps to build applications faster within XCode 5. Apple advises to enable this support explicitly by modifying your old project’s Enable Modules setting.

There are few APIs such as MKOverlayView class and its various subclasses,  AVAudioSession class in the AV Foundation framework and many other have been deprecated. You are discouraged use them anymore. Though it will be supported by Apple for some time, it’s a good practice to refactor older applications in which you used them extensively.

Overall, the APIs and frameworks brought quit a lot of features to developers through iOS 7 SDK and I hope this major step

What is missing?

It still missed many vital features to the app users. The OS and the APIs are still maintaining a closed system very much. Communication between other applications is still closed and users cannot set their default applications. However, for developers they have a handful of supporting APIs to proceed with innovative applications that are still Apple users can become proud of.