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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Book Review: iOS Components and Frameworks
Understanding the Advanced Features of the iOS SDK

When I first started flipping through this book the diverse set of topics threw me for a loop. Then I read the introduction where the authors say, "This publication aims to provide development information on the intermediate-to-advanced topics that are otherwise not worthy of standalone books. It’s not that the topics are uninteresting or lackluster, it’s that they are not large enough topics."

This book covers a wide variety of topics, and it covers them in enough detail that you have a good understanding of them by the end of the chapter. Only Game Center and Core Data are covered in more than one chapter. The book is not a cover to cover read, but rather a pure reference.

I have listed the chapters below to show you what is covered.

1. UIKit Dynamics
2. Core Location, MapKit, and Geofencing
3. Leaderboards
4. Achievements
5. Getting Started with Address Book
6. Working with Music Libraries
7. Working with and Parsing JSON
8. Getting Started with iCloud
9. Notifications
10. Bluetooth Networking with Game Kit
11. AirPrint
12. Core Data Primer
13. Getting Up and Running with Core Data
14. Language Features
15. Integrating Twitter and Facebook Using Social Framework
16. Working with Background Tasks
17. Grand Central Dispatch for Performance
18. Using Keychain to Secure Data
19. Working with Images and Filters
20. Collection Views
21. Introduction to TextKit
22. Gesture Recognizers
23. Accessing Photo Libraries
24. Passbook and PassKit
25. Debugging and Instruments

One thing that you should be made aware of is that the authors decided to present all their examples in the book without using Automatic Reference Counting (ARC). At the time of this review all the chapters have non-ARC code samples are available, and only 9 of them have sample code using ARC.

They said the reason for not using ARC is that it is easier to mentally remove the memory management than to add it. Personally I find it annoying, but it isn't that big of a deal. The authors do cover ARC in chapter 14 along with literals, properties, blocks, fast enumeration, and method swizzling.

The authors' writing styles make the topics easy reads, and they do a great job of explaining things, but this book is for someone very comfortable with iOS, Xcode, Objective-C, the Developer's Portal, iTunes Connect, and Instruments. Although the authors do cover some of the basics in a few chapters, and includes a primer on Core Data, most of the topics assume the reader has some prior working knowledge about the topic at hand.

Over all I found this book worth the shelf space. I had an immediate need for more information on a few of the topics they included in the book and was satisfied with the coverage they included. I did have to dig for more information on the topics, but I had solid ground to stand on and knew what else I needed to find.

If you are an iOS developer, and are using Xcode, this book will at some point offer you information on a topic you need to get your head around quickly.

iOS Components and Frameworks: Understanding the Advanced Features of the iOS SDK
About Tad Anderson
Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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