Mobile App Development with iPhone/iPad and Rails
Location: Ballroom II Level: Novice
I find myself living in two worlds these days. On one hand, I’m a web programmer building centralized applications mostly with Rails. On the other hand, I’m an iPhone/iPad developer creating mobile applications. My mobile apps live in my pocket and on my tablet; my web apps live on the ’net and in the cloud.
Sometimes you want the best of both these worlds: mobile apps that periodically exchange data with complementary web apps for access while on the go. Indeed, some of the more popular and useful iPhone apps talk to a web service to synchronize data or share information with a community. And it turns out that Rails, with its well-defined RESTful conventions, is an ideal backend for mobile applications. As a Rails developer, you’re uniquely positioned to take advantage of this synergy.
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to apply what you already know about Rails to mobile app development on the iPhone/iPad. I’ll supply a skeleton Rails 3 app and a table-centric iPhone app to get us started. Then through guided hands-on work, we’ll take incremental steps to get them talking. We’ll start by using a simple JSON library and eventually end up using ObjectiveResource for heavy-duty jobs. Along the way we’ll explore other libraries, with each one building on the previous so you understand what’s going on under the hood. You’ll leave this tutorial with a better understanding of the options available to you and the skills needed to start tying your Rails and iPhone/iPad apps together.
But that’s just the plan: the reality is that the state of the art may have changed by the time RailsConf rolls around. Count on this tutorial being about mobile app development with iPhone/iPad and Rails. The details, well, I hope you come prepared to be agile.
The ideal attendee is an experienced Rails developer who may have dabbled in iPhone development, but who is fairly new to the iPhone SDK. Basic knowledge of Objective-C syntax and at least a general understanding of iPhone table view programming is recommended. I’ll post preparation suggestions and sample code prior to the tutorial so you can get a head start. Attendees should bring their laptops; an iPhone/iPad device is not required.
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