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Open in Instagram

I was a little obsessed with trying out different Photo Captioning apps for a while, until I finally settled on Typic, and then deleted the rest.

What does apps (Overgram, Instaquote and Typic) had in common was that at the end of the day, they all let you share your work in Instagram.


I’m just gonna write a really short code bit on how to do that.

Instagram allows apps to interact with their using different iPhone hooks (http://instagram.com/developer/iphone-hooks).

I’m going to use Document Interaction API.

It’s pretty simple, according to the Instagram developer page, you’d need to save your picture with a “.ig” or a “.igo” extension. And it has to be at least 612 pixels, either in width or height, anything less, won’t be accepted by Instagram.

When your picture is opened in Instagram, it’ll go automatically to the Filter screen. That means there’s no crop option, so better if your picture is a square.

So code bits:

In the .h of your ViewController, declare a UIDocumentInteractionController:

@property (strong, nonatomic) UIDocumentInteractionController *documentInteractionController;

And then set it as a UIDocumentInteractionControllerDelegate, like this:

@interface ComicViewController : UIViewController <UIDocumentInteractionControllerDelegate>

And then in the .m of your View Controller you add a button, or whatever that you want to use to trigger “Open in Instagram” that calls this method:

-(void) openInInstagram
    NSString *strImagePath = [[NSHomeDirectory() stringByAppendingPathComponent:@”Documents”] stringByAppendingPathComponent: filename];

    NSURL *url = [NSURL fileURLWithPath: strImagePath];

    self.documentInteractionController = [UIDocumentInteractionController interactionControllerWithURL: url];
    [self.documentInteractionController setDelegate:self];

    NSMutableDictionary *annotationDict = [[NSMutableDictionary alloc] init];

    [annotationDict setValue: @”Instagram Caption” forKey: @”InstagramCaption”];

    self.documentInteractionController.UTI = @”com.instagram.photo”;

    self.documentInteractionController.annotation = [[NSDictionary alloc] initWithDictionary: annotationDict];

    [self.documentInteractionController presentOpenInMenuFromRect: CGRectZero inView: self.view animated: YES];

You need to pass an url to your Document Interaction Controller, since my file is saved in the Documents folder of my app, so my url looks like that.

So if you want to open your picture in Instagram and any other app that supports opening image files, simply use the file extension “.ig” for your image, but if you only want to open in Instragram, use “.igo”. Also, the UTI I set in the code above is “com.instagram.photo”, if you want it to be exclusive, use “com.instagram.exclusivegram”

You can set the caption you want to appear in Instagram. You can add hash tags in your caption, that works too.

And that’s it, when you click a button that calls the “openInInstagram” method, you’ll be able to see an action sheet similar to that screenshot.

Filed under instagram ios iphone development open in instagram code tutorial short

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Thoughts while reading Cocos2d-X by Example Beginner’s Guide Chapters 1 & 2

Packt published a new book on Cocos2d-X, “Cocos2d-X by Example Beginner’s Guide” by Roger Engelbert (http://www.packtpub.com/cocos2d-x-by-example/book)

Cocos2d-X by Example Beginner's Guide

First off, book cover is adorable.

Second, the book’s spiel says no programming knowledge required, oh really now? Anyway, I know Cocos2d, but I don’t know Cocos2dx nor C++, the language for Cocos2dx, so here I go. If I can make some cookie cutter games at the end of this review then…

I’m just going to spurt words while I read the blog and maybe give an overall summary and reviews at the end of this post. You can ignore the italicized parts, those are just random ramblings.

#nowplaying Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful #onloop after watching “The Great Gatsby” last night.

Chapter 1 covers Installation. Installing Cocos2dx and whatnots.

The book assumes that you are on a Mac and you have Xcode, which yeah, I am and iOS dev and all, I have Xcode.

Okay, the book gives pretty clear instructions on where to download Cocos2dx. now, I just need a few minutes to download them.

Cram my Crash Course for Creativity assignment till then.

Okay, the instructions for installing are pretty clear. Although my Terminal had some other suggestions for how to properly install it. Anyway, that’s done. So when I create a new project in Xcode now I’ll be able to see the different Cocos2dx templates, awesome.

Just “built” and run my first Cocos2dx program, okay, the coconut head is silver and blue now. Looks kinda funky like Pepsi Blue.

Anyway, he did a brief run through on how to run the Cocos2dx samples so that we could see all the infinite possibilities, okay not really infinite, but it’s a pretty long list of sample tests.

And then, he says might need to spend some money on additional tools. He recommend and uses four tools.

TexturePacker, although you can also use Zwoptex as a free alternative. TexturePacker’s Andreas Löw actually used to offer (not sure if he still does, try tweeting him) licenses for bloggers. So yah, I have a free copy of TexturePacker.

ParticleDesigner, which will ease the process of making particles. No, I don’t have that. I’ll probably look for some free alternatives, the author didn’t mention or recommend any.

A tool to help build bitmap fonts, he recommended Glyph designer (not free), bmGlyph (cheaper, but yah, still not free) and FontBuilder (yeah, free). According to him “It is not extremely hard to build a Bitmap font by hand, not nearly as hard as building a particle effect from scratch, but doing it once is enough to convince you to get one of these tools fast.” Back in my Cocos2d days I used Hiero (free) and Photoshop (self advertise: blog on How to Make Fancy Labels using Cocos2d http://purplelilgirl.tumblr.com/post/2854271507/how-to-make-fancy-labels-using-cocos2d).

And according to him, no contest cfxr for sound effects. Free!

And we are done with Chapter 1. We installed Cocos2dx, and run a few sample projects and got to know the structure of basic Cocos2dx applications, so on to Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 gives an intro of C++ and Cocos2dx.

“This chapter will be aimed at two types of developers: the original Cocos2d developer who is scared of C++ but won’t admit it to his friends; and the C++ coder who never even heard of Cocos2d and finds Objective-C funny looking.”

I’m the first type, but I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid of C++. I am terrified of C++. If you give me an exam in C++, I will (and have, twice) submit an empty exam sheet (surprisingly passed one of those exams, I think the examiner took pity on account of my C++ phobia).

Can you tell that I’m stalling?

First the author goes through the basics of Cocos2d, if you know Cocos2d then you’re good to go. So far…

And then comes the dreaded C++ bits.

He says, “Don’t worry. The C part is easy, the first plus goes by really fast, but that second plus, Oh, boy.” Er… Oh boy…

I like the way the author talks in this book, kind of entertaining in a way.

He said to open your favorite text editor, because he doesn’t want code hinting and autocomplete features to get in the way. What? How did you think I finished a game in XNA without little knowledge in XNA, and completely zero knowledge in C#?! Code hinting and autocomplete, seriously.

My favorite text editor - TextEdit, because it comes bundled with a Mac. if I were on my PC laptop, I’d say Notepad, because that’s bundled there. I used to write websites in Notepad, those were the days… Yah, still stalling.

C++ syntax. Okay, so far, apprehensive.

Instantiation and Memory Management. Two words, no ARC. “so Objective-C developers who have forgotten memory management might have a problem here.” Uh oh.

The rule regarding memory management with C++ is very simple: if you new, you must delete.” Okay, I get that. And it supposedly has some other options and commands that’s similar to Objective C without ARC, okay.

 And then he continues with how to instantiate stuff. Okay, so far so good. And a little about the Cocos2dx equivalent of Objective C stuff. Okay, understood.

And summary. He says, “hopefully non C++ developers have learned that there is nothing to fear”. Um.. so far, not completely convinced, but I think I can manage.

He ends this chapter with “and furthermore Cocos2dx is awesome!” (fan boy) and “So let’s create a game already!”. 

Yes, lets. But maybe I’ll continue reading this tomorrow.

Filed under cocos2dx packt book review thoughts c++ development resource cocos2d ios android

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purplelilgirl plays with photo caption apps

Photo Caption Apps, apps that literally just put, well, captions or text on photos. I think it’s those emo/inspirational quotes all over Tumblr that inspired these text over photo meme(?) thing. So a seemingly simple purpose, actually has quite a few apps that are dedicated solely to it. 


I went to Beitou, Taiwan today and took a couple of pictures, and placed a couple of captions on them.

So I played with InstaQuote, Typic, Tiny Post, Overgram and Instaplace (“Insta” and “Gram” is the new “i”?).

First  up it’s InstaQuote, it’s basically a text caption thing for Instagram, it’s actually it’s whole name- “InstaQuote - Text Caption For Instagram”. By the way, this app is free.


So being Insta “Quote” and all you can start off with writing a quote, but since am not a quote-y person, I just typed the name of the place I went to.


You can use one of your photos as the background or use one from the background packs. Oh you have to buy the background packs. Separately, and they cost about a dollar, each.


So stingy me used one of my own photos. Guys, check out the Thermal Valley in Beitou. Steam is literally rising from that body of water. Pretty, but smells like sulfur.


Oh and then you can pick one of the styles. A couple are free, but the rest requires a Pro upgrade.


You can change the Text Color and the Punch Color.


You can also change well, Text Size, Alignment, Line Spacing, etc. I don’t really get what Frame Width is though.


You can “Fine-tune” the font, like change the font, but it also requires the Pro upgrade.


And finally “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:


The photo came with a “natural” filter, with the steam rising and all.


+InstaQuote. Oh it comes with a watermark.


And finally Instagram-ed.

Should I rate these apps with stars? If ever, I’m not really sure what to give this app. It’s okay and all, but a lot of stuff requires the Pro upgrade or some In App purchase.

Next up, Typic, I noticed this app because it was featured in the New and Noteworthy section when it first came out. And app screenshots from iTunes look really pretty. I’m not sure if it had always been free, but anyway, it’s free right now.


The splash screen is kind of cute.




The featured picture is different every time you load the app, and I found that quite charming.



So you can take a photo or choose one from your library.


The app has a scroll view type interface, and you just slide across to go to a previous or next screen.

So this app actually comes with filters.


The filter made my photo really pretty, I think.

You can tap on the Caption button to type your well, caption. Adjust Text size, font etc. Some fonts need to be bought too. But the free ones are good enough for me.


And then you can, well type your caption.

This photo is taken at the Plum Garden. Plum flowers can apparently bloom in winter, or maybe these were just token.


You can also add frame, in black or white. And if you chose frames, you can even adjust the corners to be a little rounded.

And you can also change your text color, black and white is also the only option though.

You can make your picture a litter blurry, to emphasize your text, but I chose not too, since the flowers are just too pretty.

You can also adjust your text opacity.


And yes, “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:


To this:


No need to add filters and stuff in Instagram anymore. Oh and no watermarks either.

Next, next, is Tiny Post. It’s free.

Tiny Post is kind of interesting because it’s not just a caption app. It has a social networking thing going on too.

You have to sign up for an account first, and then you’d have this profile, and whatever photo with caption that you make will appear in your profile.


It’s pretty, pretty basic. You take or choose a photo and then you’d get to this page.

Where you can well, type your caption.

And then change the font of your caption. I’m not a big fan of the childish looking fonts though.

And look, filters! Filters named after places, quite pretty.

So this:


Became this:


Pretty basic, and slightly boring.


And there it is in my profile page.

This doesn’t have “Open in Instagram” in its Share options though, but you can share it to Facebook, Twitter though. Oh and Copy it’s URL, which means this photo is actually on the internet, then? Right, social network-y and all.

And then there’s Overgram. Over and Instagram, get it? This one is free too.

This app looks pretty hipster. Check out the splash screen:


This app can produce pictures like these apparently.


It starts off pretty standard. Choose one of your photos or take a new one. I like this user interface. It’s pretty slick.


You can crop it. Since it’s going to eventually end up in Instagram, it has to be cropped into a square.


Like the screenshot says, you can double tap to edit the text.


You can even change the color, while you’re at it.


Do you remember seeing a yellow triangle in the previous, previous, previous screenshot? So you slide that out and you get this round dial of a UI, which you can slide to see a variety of options.


Like… oooh… cool fonts… Upgrade for more fonts. But the free ones are pretty cool already.






And of course, “Open in Instagram”.

This app doesn’t come with filters since it probably figured that Instagram already has them.

So from this:


This is the Beitou Library. It’s a pretty eco-friendly building, and it’s one of Taipei’s green libraries.


Overgram produced this. It has a watermark. But you can remove it with a Pro upgrade, which costs about a dollar.


Plus a filter in Instagram. Oh and when you use Overgram to share to Instagram, it by default has this description already, the pretty standard “I made this with…” spiel, plus a tons of hashtags. So people can actually find your post easily. And one of the hashtags is like #pleaselike, so the nice strangers on Instagram will actually Like it. And Likes are always give me a nice feeling.

Finally, Instaplace. Instaplace, given the key words in its name, it adds the name of the place where the photo was taken as a caption on your photo, which you’ll eventually put on Instagram. It’s free today, but for today only I think.


So you choose or take a photo and that it usually automatically adds the location. Or you can also use the My Place or Locate button to help it detect the location.

There are a bunch of skins:




I think the skins are pretty cute. Some went a little overboard with the logo placement, though.


And then you hit that giant share button there, to share.

From this:


To this:


Yes, it has a watermark too. But I like recently discovered that you can remove it in the Settings (hidden in the More button).


This adds a bunch of hashtags too to your Instagram post. So yeah, likes.

And that about sums up my trip to Beitou, but my photo caption apps (slowly becoming) addiction does not end there.

Some other pictures that I took and added captions to:





So follow me on Instagram? @purplelilgirl

If you guys want me to check out any apps that you made, feel free to contact me, I don’t charge for reviews.

Filed under apps beitou instagram instaplace instaquote ios over overgram photo review taipei taiwan tiny post travel typic iphone App review

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Our company made this really pretty (I’m biased) video to showcase/show off our new app, Maru Comics.

Can’t get enough of Maru penguin and his "Penguin’s World Detour" comics? Come “Marurize” your pictures and impress your friends with a DIY comic strip!

Maru Comic includes wide selection of stickers, balloons and layouts that enable users to edit their own comic strip under easy operation. Users can also add special effect on the original photo by using filters or change the size of text, then share their own work on Facebook or Twitter.

All you need to do is provide the idea and let Maru do the rest!

Maru Comics is available for free on the iTunes Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/maru-comics/id570615039?mt=8).

Feel free to contact me for questions, comments and suggestions.

Filed under maru comics app ios itunes ad commercial video photo edit stickers callouts comics maru penguin bone collection

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Thank you, OnPluto :) for leaving a review for my app 50K/30 :)

Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOS
50K/30 is a simple and concise iOS writing app with a prominently displayed word count, because we know (or at least for me) it’s all about the word count.
50K/30 is available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99.Feel free to contact me for promo codes, questions, comments, suggestions and random ramblings.

Thank you, OnPluto :) for leaving a review for my app 50K/30 :)


Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOS

50K/30 is a simple and concise iOS writing app with a prominently displayed word count, because we know (or at least for me) it’s all about the word count.

50K/30 is available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99.

Feel free to contact me for promo codes, questions, comments, suggestions and random ramblings.

Filed under 50k/30 ios app itunes app store review customer stars rating

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On App Reviews and Features

So I recently “wrote” an app (50K/30 available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99) and I spent maybe an entire day and night (read “dev” blog?) gathering and sorting through App Review sites.

Now Maniac Dev has a pretty impressive list of App Review sites (http://maniacdev.com/2012/05/ios-app-review-sites/), but it has been months since that was updated.

I used that as my base list and just check out each and every site to see if they “fit” my app, well all the strictly game ones are out of the list, and obviously any site that is one break or stopped reviewing is also out of the list. I only ended up with around 50 sites, and that isn’t much for cold emails (the email version of cold calling?).

And then there are the review sites that charge you for expedited reviews. Now, I have no money, so no way am I going to go for that. Besides paying someone to review your app just seems kind of… wrong?

Now features are okay for me. If I have enough money, I’d pay someone to “feature” my app, I mean, that’s like advertising, right.

But yah, no money. My sister and I do call ourselves “2 Broke Girls”.

But hey, I realized that a lot of fellow indie developers are poor too. So what about us? How can we let anyone notice our app in that way way way too crowded App Store?

Okay, one idea, make my own App Review and Feature blog (I’m so poor, I can’t even afford a website). And then any indie developer can just I don’t know… shoot me an email or message me here or tweet me or toss me a paper note or whatever, and I will try my best to review or feature them, oh and I will not charge them anything, expedited reviews or what not (we’ll do it FIFO, first in first out?).

Okay, I know that my blog doesn’t really have that much page views (I take full responsibility for the lack of blog posts as of late). But if I have apps to review or feature (they should be easier to review than tech books, right?) and then I’d have more things to blog about. If I’m lazy to write, I can always make a video and ramble, I think.

So yeah, it’s just an idea. I will try to blog at least once a week and feature as much apps as possible (of course, that is if anyone will as me to review or feature them).

So that’s it for now.

Filed under app app store apple blog crowded demo developer development features games indie ios iphone itunes paid reviews reviews store sites free