In preparation for “Nougat Beta 2”, our next milestone coming up in a couple of weeks, i wanted to sit down and write up a quick “getting started” article on how to get going with Mac and iOS development in Nougat, including some aspects applying to Mac and iOS development in general (i.e. whether using Nougat or Xcode) that we should not take for granted for people w/o existing Xcode background to know.
Setting up Shop
While Nougat itself works inside Visual Studio 2012 on Windows (for now), it also interacts with some infrastructure on the Mac side that needs to be set up in order to get going. Nougat provides the CrossBox helper application that bridges this gap and allows Visual Studio to hand off tasks to the Mac as needed (and to communicate with iDevices attached to the Mac for on-device deployment and debugging).
Install “Nougat” using the setup we provide.
After you install Nougat on your Windows PC or VM, you will find a CrossBox.zip file in the install folder. Simply copy this zip file over to your Mac, unzip it and run the contained CrossBox.app. Done. (for now CrossBox.app requires Mono because it is a RemObjects SDK for .NET server).
Note that different versions of Xcode come with different versions of the iOS and OS X SDKs. At the time of this writing, the latest version of Xcode is 4.5.2, and it contains iOS 6.0 and OS X 10.8. Nougat lets you build applications for different versions of these SDKs, but you will need the matching version of Xcode. So if you want to build your application against iOS 5.1, you will need the older version of Xcode, 4.4, that comes with iOS 5.1. Similar, if in the future there’s a beta of, say, OS X 10.9, you will need the proper version of Xcode that comes with that beta.
You can have multiple copies of Xcode installed on your Mac, and you can select the active version in two ways:
- In Xcode (whatever version), you can invoke Preferences (⌘,) and on the Locations tab you will find a popup where you can select the version to be active for “command line tools” (which is what Nougat will use):
2. Via the command line (i.e. in Terminal.app or via ssh), you can run
sudo xcode-select --switch /path/to/Xcode.app
to select which version of Xcode.app is active (you can also call xcode-select with the –print-path option to see which version is currently selected — in fact, that’s what CrossBox does to decide which version it uses).
With that, you’re almost done. For Mac development (or iOS development with the Simulator), you would be all set, but for creating iOS applications that run on your iDevices, or to create Mac apps for the Mac App Store that use iCloud, you need to set up a developer account with Apple, and create and download some profiles and certificates.
Assuming you went ahead and created a developer account (for either iOS or Mac development or both) at developer.apple.com, simply go into Xcode and open the Organizer (choose Window|Organizer from the main menu, or press ⌘⇧2). Select the Devices tab at the top and the Provisioning Profiles item in the source list of the top left.
If you’re already set up in Xcode, you might see some items, if not, the list is most likely empty. Worry not, simply press the Refresh button on the bottom right and Xcode will automatically reach out to developer.apple.com and download or create the necessary certificates and profiles to get you started. When done, your Organizer window should look something like this (but probably with fewer items):
Not displayed here, matching code signing certificates should also have been created in the Keychain for you, called “iPhone Developer: X” or “Mac Developer: X”, where X is your name.
With this, you’re all set on the Mac side, so let’s switch over to Nougat in Visual Studio on Windows and start your first project. For this topic, i’ll walk you thru an iOS project, as that is the more complex scenario compared to OS X.
Your First iOS App
In Visual Studio, select File|New|Project, and browse for the Oxygene Nougat folder. For now, Nougat has a handful of templates, but this number will increase over the beta period and for RTM next year. Right now, let’s pick the “Universal Master/Detail App” to create an app that can run on both iPhone and iPad. This template will use Storyboards for the UI, but we’ll go into those in a future topic.
As first step, you will want to have a look at the “CrossBox” menu item in the Visual studio toolbar. If you’re freshly starting out, Nougat probably doesn’t know about your Mac running CrossBox yet. There’s two ways to rectify that:
- Our recommended approach is to install Bonjour on your Windows PC or VM, if you have not already done so (or gotten it as part of, say, iTunes). With Bonjour, Nougat will automatically find local Macs running CrossBox, and you should see them in the CrossBox menu when you click it open. Simply select your Mac and choose Connect.
- If you don’t want to use Bonjour, or your Mac is remote, no worries: simply choose Add Server… from the CrossBox menu, and you can manually enter the address of your Mac to connect:
No matter which way you picked your Mac, the very first time a connection is established, you will need to authenticate. This is to prevent just any random Nougat user on the local network (or even the internet, if you use CrossBox on a Mac at a remote location) connecting to your Mac and running their apps there. On the Mac side, CrossBox will show a four-digit number in the menu bar, next to the little Oxygene icon (and on Mountain Lion or later, you will also see a Notification Center message pop up). Simply enter that code in Visual Studio on the Windows side and you are set.
You won’t have to do these steps again (unless you get new Mac or a new Windows PC or VM, of course).
Nougat can maintain a list of several Macs running CrossBox, so if you — like me — have a desktop and a laptop running CrossBox, you will see both in the menu, and can choose where to run your apps.
With that setup out of the way, open the CrossBox menu again, and underneath your Mac’s name you should now see the different device options to build for:
- iOS Device: This option represents a generic iDevice and allows you to build your app for deployment, even if no real device is found (you can compile, but not deploy or run when this option is selected, obviously). - Peter’s iPhone: Any real iDevice you have connected to your Mac will show up here as well.
For now, select your real device name, if you have one, or select iOS Simulator if you don’t.
We could build and (probably) run the application now, but lets have a quick look at some of the project options for Nougat applications before we do. For that, right-click the project node in Solution Explorer and choose Project Properties (or choose Project|Properties from the main menu).
Most of what you see here will be familiar from Oxygene for .NET and Java, but there’s a handful of new options.
First let’s look at the Nougat tab:
Every iOS app needs a profile to govern installation on devices, so it is important that you choose one here. By default, the “iOS Team Provisioning Profile: *” is a good choice; as you create other profiles manually on developer.apple.com, you can select them here.
Along with the profile goes a certificate that will be used to sign your application. As mentioned before, Xcode automatically created one for you, and to start with, your best option is to select that. Each profile is tied to a specific certificate, so as you create more profiles for real app deployment, you might or might not choose to create different certificates as well. It is important to select matching pairs of profile and certificate, or device deployment will fail.
You will notice that the settings on this page are “per-configuration”, and as you get ready to ship your app, it will be common to use different profiles and certificates for your Debug vs. your Release builds.
Two other settings on this page might be interesting.
The first is the list of Architectures. Nougat is fully capable of creating what Apple calls “Universal Binaries”, which are executables that contain code for more than one CPU type. When we started out with Nougat early this year, we thought it would be a while until anyone would see this support (since we’re not supporting 32-bit Mac apps), but Apple surprised us by introducing a new CPU type, “armv7s” with the iPhone 5’s A6 processor. So here you can choose what CPU types you want your app to support; in general it makes sense to support both, which is the default. (If you uncheck “armv7”, your application will only run on the iPhone 5 and iPad 4; if you uncheck “armv7s”, your app will run on any modern iOS device, but not fully leverage the A6 or A6X.)
The second option is “Create .IPA”, which instructs Nougat to automatically package up your app into an “.ipa” file that is ready to be uploaded to the App Store or sent to beta testers, for example via testflightapp.com.
Let’s switch over to the Application tab, which contains general project-wide options, some of which are specific to Nougat:
As mentioned before, you will need a matching version of Xcode that contains the SDK you are building against.
Closely related to the Target SDK is the Deployment Target. This setting (optionally) specifies the lowest version of the OS that your app will run on. Different than what you might be used to from Windows, OS X and iOS bind very loosely, so it is entirely possible to build an application against the latest iOS 6.0 SDK and make use of new features from that OS version, and still have the application run on older versions of the OS (provided of course you are careful at runtime to not use features that aren’t available). This option enabled this, and i’ll explore some code techniques for conditionally using newer SDK features in a future article.
If you have an older device that does not run iOS 6 yet, now might be a good time to set the Deployment Target of your project to, say, 5.0.
An option that becomes important when you start creating your own provisioning profiles is the Application ID, as it will have to match the ID specified in the profile you use. The default wildcard profile we saw before will work with any ID, so if you use that, the value here does not matter (much).
There are some more advanced options such as Output type or a custom Entitlements File for code signing that go beyond the scope of this post.
So, having reviewed these project settings, your app is ready to build and run. Simply press the Start button and Nougat will do the rest; after a few seconds, you should see your app be deployed to the device and start up in the debugger.
For a Mac app, things work similar, but are less complicated to set up initially.
Once again, choose File|New|Project, this time selecting the Cocoa Application template.
The project settings for Mac apps are similar to those we have seen for iOS. You can pick a provisioning profile (but you only need that if you are using iCloud in a Mac App Store app), and you can (and should, but don’t need to) pick a certificate to sign your app.
Only one architecture is supported for OS X apps right now: 64-bit intel. Nougat does not support 32-bit, because, frankly, that is a thing of the past and a legacy architecture. And despite recent rumors, ARM-based Macs are probably still a few years away ;).
Hopefully this has given you a quick introduction on how to get set up and get started with Oxygene Nougat to create Mac and iOS apps. The steps outlined here are based on “Beta 2” which we plan to have out to testers within the next couple of weeks, but most of it should already apply to the current “Beta 1” drops that are available now.
Of course, details and the workflow might be subject to change and further fine-tuning between now and RTM next year.
How can you get your hands on the beta? Easy: If you already bought your copy of Oxygene, simply head over to beta.remobjects.com and get started now. If you haven’t, well, what are you waiting for: shop.remobjects.com.
Let us know what you think!