iOS shell development

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In this tutorial, you learn how to add an iOS environment to your shell component, test application, and inner application.

Adding an iOS environment to a shell component

Start by adding an iPhone environment to your shell component by following the same procedure as for a standard IBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation application.
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The following folder structure is created:

  • css, images, fragments and js contain resources that override or extend resources from the Shell component common folder.
  • The native folder contains an application template to be used when you create an iOS project from an inner application.
  • The nativeEmptyApp folder contains an application that is built from the shell component and an empty inner application as described in the Shell Development Concepts module.

The files in the native folder are templates that are used to create the inner application iOS project.
Some of the folder and file names contain placeholder elements that are populated during the build.
For example:

  • The placeholder ${xcodeProjectName}.xcodeproj.wluser is populated with a package name used in the application.
  • The ${xcodeProjectName}-Info.plist.wltemplate.wluser is populated with the application name, thus creating the main application plist file.

Files with the .wluser extension are template files that shell developers can modify.

Adding custom Objective C code to a Shell component

Because the iphone\native folder of a Shell component is not an iOS project, advanced features such as auto-complete are not provided when you work on it directly.
The solution is to use the iPhone environment of the test application to create, modify, and debug the Objective C code.
The generated iOS project is created under the test application native\ folder.
Use it to work with your Objective C code.

Open the generated iOS project in Xcode.
Add an Objective C MyCustomAlert class in the Classes folder.
Add a method signature to MyCustomAlert.h, and method implementation to MyCustomAlert.m files:

#import "MyCustomAlert.h"
<p>@implementation MyCustomAlert
+(void)showUIAlert:(NSString *)text{
  UIAlertView *alert = [[UIAlert alloc] initWithTitle:@"Native Alert"
  [alert show];
  [alert release];

Import MyCustomAlert.h and call this method from the viewDidLoad method of the application ViewController:

- (void)viewDidLoaad
  [super viewDidLoad];
  [MyCustomAlert showUIAlert:@"Hello from native iOS Shell"];

Run your application to see the implemented functions.

Finally, copy your Objective C code from the iPhone project that you used to develop it back to the shell component.
missing_alt The custom Objective C classes added to the iPhone project can be copied, to keep the folder structure intact.
Xcode stores its own project structure in a project.pbxproj file. Therefore, the content of this file must also be copied from the test application to the shell component.

The native folder of the test application is not being rebuilt from the shell component each time you build the iOS application.
Doing so avoids overwriting the test application native code with the one in the shell component on each build, thus allowing shell developers to debug their code conveniently.
If you want your native folder to be fully recreated from a shell component, erase it in the test application, and then build and deploy the application.

Using the NativeEmptyApp Project

NativeEmptyApp is a native application project that uses the shell component, and that has an empty inner application.
This project can be built as an APK or IPA by a shell developer, and sent to inner application developers to use for debugging their applications.
After the NativeEmptyApp is installed on the device, an inner application developer can specify the URL of the MobileFirst Server from which to load the Inner application.
Doing so helps inner application developers to test their code without the need to have native SDKs installed.
For example: to develop and test an iPhone application without a Mac.
To use the NativeEmptyApp, open it as an Xcode project.

When the application is built and deployed to an iOS device, go to Settings to change the URL from which this inner application content is loaded.

NativeEmptyApp cannot load a remote inner application that has the device provisioning enabled.
NativeEmptyApp can be used only in the development environment.

Sample application

Click to download the Studio project.

Last modified on November 09, 2016