Category Archives: Development

Busy, but still here

It’s traditional for the vast majority of blog posts to begin with apologies about how infrequent the posts are. My last post was in July; it’s now October. Not too bad, I guess…

I have been busy behind the scenes though – I have a couple of new iPhone apps in development, and at least one of them is now pretty much ready. I’m just doing a little final tidying up of the UI, and then I’ll prepare it for the App store. More news on that when it’s ready.

Autumn seems to be settling in with a vengeance now, and it’s a little while since we’ve had a new photo up here, so lets have one to remind us of summer.


Taken what feels like an eternity ago, with a Polaroid back on my Hassleblad. Fuji FP-100C film.

Utata on the iPhone

I know I’ve been neglecting this blog again, but I guess that’s just the way with blogs. I haven’t been idle though, I have been rather busy.

One of the big things that’s been occupying my time recently has been my iPhone, and more specifically, learning all the ins and outs of iPhone development – Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, XCode, Interface Builder, Provisioning, iTunes Connect – I’ve done them all.

One of the hardest bits was actually getting on the iPhone Developer Program itself. It’s not that the process was especially difficult, but boy was it long. It took 72 days from filling in the initial forms to actually getting access to the developer portal – and almost all of that time was waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what the process behind the scenes at Apple is, but it’s certainly not speedy.

And once you’ve written your application and are ready to submit it to the app store, you have to wade through another batch of treacle. You submit your application, and then you wait. And wait. And wait. The developer forums abound with tales of woe, of applications being stuck in the review process for weeks, months even, only to be rejected on a technicality – which means you then have to resubmit and start the whole process over again. In the end, I got off quite easily – my application was reviewed and accepted in around ten days. It felt like a long time whilst I was waiting, but it seems far better than many others were experiencing.

So what was this application? It is, of course, a Utata application.

Utata iPhone App

For those who don’t know, Utata is an on-line community, originally formed on Flickr, but also with its own web site.

The Utata app works on the iPhone and iPod Touch (with a wifi connection), and runs happily under both OS 2.2.1 and 3.0. It acts as a showcase for the huge variety of photographic projects that Utata run, allowing you to easily browse through the entries wherever you are. If you’ve never taken the time to look through the project entries, you really should – there is some absolutely stunning photography there.

The app is free download from iTunes, and you can open up iTunes to download it by clicking here.

Utata Projects

It’s now been two months since bought my first Mac, and I’ve spent a fair chunk of that time putting myself through a crash course in programming for OS X. I’ve spent the past few weeks up to my elbows in Objective-C, Cocoa and Xcode, and finally, my first application is ready for public consumption. It’s a fairly simple little app, it doesn’t do a great deal, and the user interface isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s my baby and I’m very proud of it.

Utata Projects

On the face of it, it’s a simple desktop app to allow browsing of projects over on Utata. Behind the scenes, it’s a little more interesting. It consists of a couple of frameworks – the first is a general purpose REST API framework that deals with a lot of the nitty gritty of interfacing with web-based APIs such as those offered by Flickr. This REST framework can (I hope) be readily extended to build API kits that interface with a variety of web services. I’ve so far built a Utata API kit and parts of a Flickr API kit. Other API kits are planned, all I need now is more spare time.

You can download the Utata Projects app here. (Requires OS X 10.5).

Brooklyn Museum Collections API

The Brooklyn Museum in New York has recently announced an API to allow the searching of its collection. The API is free to use, but you do need to sign up for an API key before you can use it.

There are currently three methods in the API:

which between them allow you to search the collection and return a wide variety of data about the items held.

I’ve spent a little time this weekend playing around with the new API, and have started to put together a simple Flash-based browser to allow you to search through the collection. Try it out here.

5 Questions

5 Questions for David Wilkinson

The Flickr Developer Blog is running a “5 Questions” series, and late last year, I was picked by GustavoG as the next developer to interview. Last night Dan Catt finally hit the publish button and my interview has now been posted.

It’s only been two months, but so much has happened since that interview: the new Set Manager is still in development, but the public beta is now available to all. I’ve also started a Set Manager group on Flickr where people can discuss the Set Manager, get help on how to use it or suggest new features.

And of course, I’ve started work on a new project: Indicommons. The Indicommons site exists to help promote the Flickr Commons – the gathering together on Flickr of some of the world’s public photo collections. There’s a great team of people working together over at Indicommons, with fascinating new articles being published every day. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should!

Read 5 Questions for David Wilkinson