In previous blog posts, I’ve praised Apple for improving Xcode over the last two years, and simplifying the tedious tasks that previously were a royal pain. One example of this is the implementation of auto-scaling. No longer do you need to create many versions of your Apps for the various iPhone and iPad sizes, in iOS 8, you can now just set some constraints and let the App auto-scale based on screen size. It isn’t simple, but it is effective.
Likewise, another tediously annoying task that Apple fixed was the need to provide a graphic startup file for your App for each screen resolution explicitly. That’s right. For each of the screen sizes AND orientations, you were required to provide a startup splash screen. Back in Xcode 4 days, this was about 4 different resolutions. With the newer versions of the iPhome and iPads since then, there are over 8 different resolutions. You would think there would be some system where you can provide a single image that is scaled accordingly, but since these are mobile devices, the powers that be want you to provide the exactly right resolution for the exact device. Thus you bundled in a half dozen or so graphic files for your splash screen. Now, however, with auto-scaling, the startup screen is a storyboard that can be managed with constraints. This is pretty sweet.
However, the App Icons don’t receive the same treatment. They are exactly the same as they used to be but worse. You must provide, at least in my particular case with Whipped, 9 different icons, each of a specific resolution to account for the various iPhone and iPad screen sizes, as well as to whether they have retina support or not. I can understand why this is the case, but seriously, there needs to be a better system. Perhaps Xcode could generate the various sizes for us when we bundle and submit the App? That would be a fantastic solution.
It gets worse though.
My particular App, Whipped, is localized in a dozen different languages for marketing coverage. I had friends help me translate the various elements. Well, each of these localization require from 1 to 5 screenshots uploaded PER screensize PER localization. So yes, I had to create a half dozen different screenshots of my App in the various iOS simulators, and upload them to each of the dozen different localizations. Another hour later, it isn’t the end of the world, but I would have really thought Apple would have improved this too.
In the end, I still find it a breath of fresh air to be using the latest version of Xcode in comparison to what I was using two years ago to create Apps, but I felt it was best to rant while I wanted for OS X to install updates. I would love to hear if anyone has found solutions for these issues. In the meantime, back to coding!