Issue 76

20 January 2021

by Lori M Olson

DRD076: New year, new look for the DragonRuby Dispatch! More of what you want, less of what you don't.

image: ReJigger: Home Cocktail Revolution

OPED ― Our Unvarnished Opinion

Just in case you are detail oriented, you may notice that we’ve rejiggered our newsletter content categories. Couple of reasons:

First, the DragonRuby community is really EXPLODING with material, and squeezing them all into one small category of the newsletter has started to seem quite limiting. And we have a large backlog of material that we didn’t even get to in 2020. So we’ll be seeing more DRGTK stuff pop up across multiple categories.

Second, the Gems and Apps category sometimes (ok, a lot of times) lacked content. Now, the REAL purpose of these categories has always been to highlight the work of our community members. So now we have one category called Spotlight. I’ll be perfectly happy to spotlight multiple things in each newsletter, but y’all have to TELL ME ABOUT THEM. Toot your own horn, folks. New app or game? Hit reply and send us a link! New gem/library/framework you have created (or contributed to, or used and blogged about)? Again, hit reply and let us know!!!! Hunting for content for the newsletter takes time, and so…

Producing the newsletter takes a lot of time. If we add up the hard and soft costs, it amounts to over $12,000 (US) / year. And that’s a lot of money that up to now has been completely carried by The WNDX School. So we are also looking for additional newsletter sponsors. So if you want to advertise (apps, jobs, products, SaaS) in the newsletter let us know. Or if you’d like to become a feature sponsor (see the email footer 😉 and FITS), we’d also be interested in taking on some partners. ― WNDXLori

We’re excited to be releasing the first video for our new subscription series: Motion In Motion - New Adventures in Mobile Apps this week.

These videos will be quite different from the original Motion In Motion videos. Jack created an enormous library of valuable content that was, without a doubt, the best way of learning RubyMotion.

But that’s not my purpose, or the purpose of The WNDX School. Our purpose and mission is to help people create and launch successful mobile apps. As such, instead of ‘quick’ bites of technical knowledge, the new series will be more in-depth topics. Instead of just ‘how-to’ use some new API, we’ll be digging deeper, from the how to the why, and the why not, and then we’ll talk about some of the ways in which you can stumble along the way.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about All Things FONT, but you’ll have to sign up to watch!

SPOT ― Spotlight On…

As Lori mentioned in her OPED, this section takes the place of AHTW and GOTW from previous issues. They will be code libraries, gems, apps…something that caught our attention and feel it might catch yours, too. We’re kicking this new format off with a bang: it’s Draco from Matt Pruitt. Draco is an entity component system for DragonRuby which Matt describes as “an architectural framework that decouples game objects from game logic”. He further elaborates that it “allows you to build game objects through composition [and] easily share small logic components between different game objects.” To us, that sounds like a modest investment of your time which has the potential for huge time savings over the longer term. It looks like Matt has put a ton of time in this and it’s appreciated.

APP ― All Things App

We felt that breaking down story features by operating system was not efficient for readers (or writers, for that matter) so we have resolved to bring you the most news- and attention-worthy items each issue regardless of where they may be found. Sometimes they will be Android, sometimes they will be iOS, sometimes that will be BlackBerry OS…yeah, we’re just kidding about the latter. We have two for you, this issue:

Although many might think a ‘press release’ is an olde worlde concept that has gone (or should go) the way of the dodo bird. Not so fast. Noted indie app scribe Oliver J. Haslam was recently asked what should be included in said press release. The answer was not the “nobody does that anymore” blow off but rather a blow-by-blow, really useful description of what you should include in your press releases. It might be one of the few means of free advertising you will get.

Our second item this issue is about the other really good means of free advertising: that is the coveted glowing review. So imagine your apoplectic dismay when after having worked incredibly hard to get these, they start to disappear. A recent reddit post describes a horror story along these lines. That, and the discussion which ensued is a real eye opener. Worth a read, for sure.

TALK ― Talk of the Tech

As regular readers know there are really two places where chit-chat about DragonRuby (AKA RubyMotion) happens: Discord and Slack. The former is more oriented towards gaming whereas the latter is most everything else. From here on in we’re going to find the chit-chat most worthy of your time regardless of where we found it. This time it’s from the Dragon Riders (that is, the Slack team) with this handy item about NSString addition. NSStrings may not be what you think and they may not behave the way you think they do. This will help.

GAME ― All Things Gaming

A resource of which you may not yet be aware (we weren’t, up ‘til now) is the collection of DragonRuby games on itch.io. It’s compiled by the tireless efforts of phasefx and Grotesk. You may want to use the curated games as inspiration for your own efforts (“so I wonder how they did that?”) or you may want to check your inner Grace Hopper at the door and just play ‘em for the sheer heck of it. You may end up hoping the lockdown lasts a little longer so you can get through them all. Nah, probably not.

TWIL ― This Week I Learned

PCalc is a great alternative calculator app which enjoys a lot of popularity. But, y’know, there was one great feature we didn’t know it had until all was revealed in a recent tweet by Paul Hudson. Ah, so that’s how you do that!

HAHA ― And They All Laughed

Sometimes, it’s like the joke writers are reading our minds:

That’s a Wrap!

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“All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” ― IBM Manual, 1925

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