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Introduction to iOS Development: Building an RSS Reader

How do you develop apps for iOS?  It’s a common question that many computer enthusiasts ask, and one we here at TechnoBuffalo hope to answer with this series of posts.

Learning how to develop software can be one of the most intimidating prospects for the average computer user, and with the growing saturation of applications in mobile marketplaces, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get your work noticed. That’s what this series is for, helping you learn iOS development from a conceptual perspective. No prior knowledge of computer programming will be necessary. Over the coming weeks, we’ll examine the iPhone’s ability to deliver immersive, intuitive content, a unique opportunity for both developers and consumers.

Today, we’ll be building a very useful RSS reading application that utilizes the powerful parsing engine found within the iOS SDK. Using TechnoBuffalo’s RSS feed, we’ll learn how to list a few of the recent articles posted to the site and then open them in Safari.
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1. Open up Xcode 4. From the File menu select the New Project item. Click Application under iOS and then select the Navigation-Based Application template. Name the project RSS. Save it wherever you wish.

2.  Locate MainWindow.xib in the navigator pane and double-click on it. This is the basic frame of your application’s interface. Find the Navigation Controller window, which has a basic interface. Double-click on the navigation bar and name the bar RSS. Press return and save the project.

3.  Find RootViewController.h and begin to edit the code on the right to resemble that which I typed below. Be sure to look at the comments in green, which act as a running commentary throughout the program.

4.  Now that we are finished with the declaration file, we’re going to tell the compiler what to expect when it runs by opening RootViewController.m. Edit the following bits of code to resemble that which I have written.

5.  If you want the link to forward to Safari and allow for articles to be read, go ahead and insert the bit of code below.

6.  It’s always good to get in the habit of cleaning up after yourself, so add this at the end of the RootViewController.m file.

7.  Now it’s time to link the code to your interface file. Double-click on MainWindow.xib, hold your control key and drag from the File’s Owner to the List View. Release and select newsTable.

8.  Now Build and Run the application. It should look like the pictures posted below.

Though it is not critical to the application’s compilation, it is sometimes nice to add icons and launch images to make it seem fully functional. Below we have listed a general icon, they can be adjusted to the correct sizes (72 x 72, 114 x 114 for the Retina Display).

Questions?

If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this lesson, feel free to voice them in the comments below. We will do our best to ensure that you have a relatively painless experience developing for iOS. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series, which is released weekly.

To read previous installments from this series, check the links below.

Introduction to iOS Development: Understanding Your Platform
Introduction to iOS Development: Installing Xcode
Introduction to iOS Development: Creating an Intuitive User
Introduction to iOS Development: Taking Advantage of the iPad 2
Introduction to iOS Development: Coding Your First Application
Introduction to iOS Development: An Overview of Objective-C


Jack McGrath

Rooted in his childhood obsession with dismantling and reassembling gizmos and gadgets around the house, Jack McGrath's knowledge of programming,...

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