Welcome to the Inner Circle

Inner Circle is a simple game of predicting outcomes of events and comparing yourself against your friends.  I’ve started learning iOS dev and I am building Inner Circle to help me hone my iOS skills.  I have recruited 3 additional players and we just wrapped up the first week.  All questions were NFL selections.  Results are in the pictures below.

I decided to build Inner Circle to give me an opportunity to practice across several areas of iOS development.  This includes:

  • Getting and posting JSON to a server
  • Customizing the Table View to make the question selection cells bow to my command 
  • Using a WebView to view content from the web (this is the tables view)
  • Saving data locally between app restarts (username)
  • App icons – just anything besides the default!
  • And to see if we can make this game fun enough for us to want to continue playing

I’ve also coddled together a simple node.js app to manage all the data.  Feels good to work with Coffeescript again.  So clean!  And Heroku and Mongolab again to the quick and dirty rescue.

And big kudos to Test Flight for making it simple to share builds with your users.  All for free.

Next on the product timeline:

  • Adding the notion of Quizzes, or a grouping of questions
  • This will allow you to work on multiple simultaneous sets of questions
  • Display a selection list of the current open Quizzes

Make your picks

Make your picks

The scores after the first week.

The scores after the first week.

How I’m learning CSS

I’ve been hacking at CSS for a while now, copy and pasting and making minor tweaks here and there to get something to work. But I realized there’s only so far hacking can take me and I began feeling like I needed to learn the fundamentals.

So here I’m going to quickly share what I’ve found useful to start learning CSS.

CodeSchool.com

I took the CSS Cross Country course at CodeSchool.com and found it to be a great way to get exposure to all of the main concepts of CSS.  But I still had trouble understanding positioning and floating and so that’s when I turned to:

MDN

Mozilla Developer Network.  Prefix all of your CSS Google searches with mdn.  The pages are elegantly laid out, easy to read and full of information and examples.  This is a reference that I’m sure I’ll be using for a while.  But to really understand positioning and floating, I can’t recommend highly enough:

CSS-Tricks Podcast

I found myself many times ending up on a css-tricks.com article about something CSS related.  Easy to understand articles that go in depth in explaining concepts.  Turns out they’ve got a video podcast on a wide range of topics.  And this is where I finally learned the mystery behind positioning and floating.  I really like learning by watching his split screen where he’s got html, css and the results in three different sections of the page.  It’s pretty informal and Chris seems like a pretty cool dude.

Applying It

That’s not a company or website.  That’s how I will be able to really learn all this stuff.  I’ve got a couple of side projects that I am starting to etch out with CSS.  Had a major breakthrough with floats after a couple of hours of wtf (who knew, fixed heights on uls set the height of the floating div).  Lots of good stuff ahead to learn and I’m pretty excited about it.

And speaking of floats here’s a great explanation of them.

And lastly, some free backgrounds to practice setting your primary div’s background.
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