Automagically: Easy Splash Screen (Default.png)

In my recent post about reducing load time for iOS apps, I discussed the importance of a proper Default.png. In the past I’ve made my Default.png “splash screen” image manually from mock ups and screenshots from the simulator — it can be very tedious with mixed results.

There is another way.

Before I show you, you need to know something — it uses a private API function. What does that mean? You need to remove this code before you submit your app to the App Store or it will be rejected. Private APIs are functions not to be used by anyone but Apple. So without further ado:

[[UIApplication sharedApplication] _writeApplicationDefaultPNGSnapshot];

That’s it. You should put this code somewhere in your viewDidLoad function before you load all (but after you load some) of your UI elements. You’ll have to be the judge of the appropriate timing. Once this function is run, it’ll store a PNG screenshot of your application in the following location:

Library/Application Support/iPhone Simulator/VERSION/UDID/Caches/BUNDLEIDENTIFIER/AppSnapshots/

QUICK! Get the screenshot and get outta there — then remove that function.

Load it Faster: Speed Up Your iOS App Loading Time

I’m always thinking about how to make my apps run and load faster. It’s incredibly important, especially to your users. Earlier today I ran across a Twitter conversation (http://twitter.com/flyosity/status/239044820394471424) between a few guys I consider to be top notch: Sam Soffes, Jake Marsh and Mike Rundle. They were discussing best practices for getting your app loading speed down.

There’s a great article by Brent Simmons in which he discusses his methods for making Glassboard 2.2 load faster, it’s available here:
http://inessential.com/2012/08/23/an_iphone_app_startup_performance_techni

Mike also pointed out Sam’s code from Cheddar:
https://github.com/nothingmagical/cheddar-ios/blob/master/Classes/CDIAppDelegate.m#L68

In his didFinishLaunching method, he performs only the most essential tasks and puts everything else in an async queue to run in the background without blocking the main thread. This frees the app up to get the UI and other elements rolling.

On top of this optimization you can do a few things to make your app APPEAR to load faster, namely, a proper Default.png. It’s easy to fall into the temptation to create a cool splash screen but it’s my belief a good Default.png will help “lead” your user into the app and reduces the amount of perceived load time. Apple recommends (http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#DOCUMENTATION/iPhone/Conceptual/iPhoneOSProgrammingGuide/App-RelatedResources/App-RelatedResources.html) you use a screenshot of your initial view with the text and buttons removed. Here are a few examples of good Default.pngs:

WordPress

Colloquy

Cheddar

In reality, Default.png will only show for a second or so but when properly done, in conjunction with a few of the techniques mentioned by the other guys, can help make your app load feel snappier.

Path 2.0 style animated splash screen (default.png)

I don’t use splash screens often but when I do, I want them to open like a book.

In all truth, I’m not a big fan of splash screens and even Apple recommends using a default.png that shows the controls (with no text) of the application:

Display a launch image that closely resembles the first screen of the application. This practice decreases the perceived launch time of your application.

Avoid displaying an About window or a splash screen. In general, try to avoid providing any type of startup experience that prevents people from using your application immediately.

from HIG Guidelines

However, some people love them and one app in particular has a nice implementation splash screen — Path 2.0. When you open Path, you’re greeted with their logo on a red version of the Apple linen texture that animates open like a book (or journal as that’s what Path considers themselves to be).

You can get the source for this project here: https://github.com/jaysonlane/OpenBook

Before we begin, let me preface this with a disclaimer: I am very new to animations in Cocoa so bear with me. If you spot unnecessary or inefficient code, please leave a comment and I’ll tidy it up.

If you haven’t seen the animation, hop on the app store and pick up a copy to see what we’re trying to accomplish. I’ve created a default png that we can use cleverly titled Math (like a Math book that opens, right?) You can download that here (retina) and here.

To get started, let me explain “the trickery” behind what we’ll be doing: we’re going to use the normal default splash system in place to display our default.png. In the App Delegate, once the application has finished launching, we’re going to create a UIImageView on top of our view of that same default.png. We’ll then animate that UIImageView, to rotate open to reveal our view.

So let’s go:

Create a new project, I created one using the single view template but this will work with whatever. Go ahead and set your default.png and default@2x.png to the images supplied. You can do this by clicking the project in the navigation pane on the left, click the Target and scroll down to launch images:

Open your AppDelegate.m and add the following code to your application didFinishLaunching or application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions function:


    //1. add the image to the front of the view...
    UIImageView *splashImage = [[UIImageView alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0, 0, 320, 480)];
    [splashImage setImage: [UIImage imageNamed:@"Default"]];
    [self.window addSubview:splashImage];
    [self.window bringSubviewToFront:splashImage];

    //2. set an anchor point on the image view so it opens from the left
    splashImage.layer.anchorPoint = CGPointMake(0, 0.5);

    //reset the image view frame
    splashImage.frame = CGRectMake(0, 0, 320, 480);

    //3. animate the open
    [UIView animateWithDuration:1.0
                          delay:0.6
                        options:(UIViewAnimationCurveEaseOut)
                     animations:^{

                         splashImage.layer.transform = CATransform3DRotate(CATransform3DIdentity, -M_PI_2, 0, 1, 0);
                     } completion:^(BOOL finished){

                         //remove that imageview from the view
                         [splashImage removeFromSuperview];
                     }];

Three things are happening here…

1) We create a new UIImageView and add it to the top of the view
2) We set an anchor point on the left side of the image to make it open from the left and then reset the frame to the full size of the view
3) We animate the UIImageView and remove it from the view on completion

That’s it, it’s that simple.