Thoughts from the Wobbly Edge

Sunday, October 19, 2014

LC tool for creating iOS icons

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A LiveCode tool for quickly build ALL icons and splashscreens for iOS.


I recently starting to build an iOS app Timesheet app using Google Spreadsheets. I hadn’t worked with the iOS settings for 6-8 months and this picture is what confronted me as I first opened the iOS Standalone settings.

In particular, I was most concerned with the number of new 1 Icons and 2 Splash Screen files I would have to create. Ouch, 18 total files! And how to figure out what files size of PNG to put for each?

I posted online some questions and didn’t get back all the answers I was looking for. I did more research, but never did find WHERE all the icon and splash screen sizes were documented.

Finally I figured out if you load the WRONG PNG size into the Standalone builder, it will tell you the correct size! So, using that information, I created this table.

Icon and Splash Screen Sizes

icon sizes
iPhone 57x57
Hi-Res iPhone 114x114
iOS 7 Hi-Res iPhone 120x120
iPhone 6 Plus 180x180
iPad 72x72
Hi-Res iPad 144x144
iOS 7 iPad 76x76
iOS7 Hi-Res iPad 152x152
splash screens sizes
iPhone 320x480
Hi-Res iPhone 640x960
4 Inch iPhone 640x1136
iPhone 6 750x1334
iPhone 6 Plus Portrait 1242x2208
iPhone 6 Plus Lscape 2208x1242
iPad Portrait 768x1024
iPad Landscape 1024x768
Hi-Res iPad Portrait 1536x2048
Hi-Res iPad Landscape 2048x1536

GREAT, now we’re getting somewhere. Still the list was quite daunting. I realized all I really wanted was the argodesign logo (an octopus) on each of the icons and splashscreens.

In fact, if I recall correctly, the iOS guildelines specifically prohibits logotypes (logos comprised of type) from being used as icons, so I knew this was a pretty good direction for a design.

Finally, I decided rather than build all the images and resizing them in Photoshop, I would do it myself in LiveCode. So, in under an hour I had a simple tool which would do exactly what I wanted.


How to use it

First, download the stack. altIconSplashBuilder stack

Just open it up inside LiveCode. (FWIW, I decided NOT to make an altPlugin of it as it’s so simple and not often used.)

So the idea is you import a high-resolution transparent PNG (~ 1000px x 1000px), then scale it down and center it on the card (the script centers it automatically). Next, group it. This is important as we will show later.

Make sure there is only ONE image and ONE group on the card or this doesn’t work!

Next, be sure and set the backcolor of the card to the color you would like to see as the background of your icons and splash screens.

Finally, just press either button: Create iOS icons or Create iOS Splash Screens

After some initial checking to make sure everything is right, your are asked for a filename for your icons or splash screens. The program then automatically resizes the stack window and it’s contents to each of the designated sizes and saves out the correctly named PNG in the filepath you designate.

How it works

All the code but the one line button handlers resides in the stack script:

on createPics pType
   if not exists(img 1) then
      answer "You need to have a single image on this stack!"
      exit to top
   end if
   if not exists(grp 1) then
      answer "You need to have your image in a GROUP!"
      exit to top
   end if

   set the opaque of grp 1 to true
   set the lockloc of grp 1 to true
   put the rect of grp 1 into tGrpRect

   if the loc of img 1 <> the loc of this cd then
      answer information "centering image."
      set the loc of img 1 to the loc of this cd
   end if

   put the rect of img 1 into tImgRect
   put the width of img 1 into tImgW
   put the height of img 1 into tImgH

   if the number of controls on this card >5 then
      answer information "Can only be ONE image on this card + the buttons! No text fields. No graphics. Cannot Proceed."
      exit to top
   end if

   put the rect of this stack into tStackRect
   put the topLeft of this stack into tTL
   put the width of this stack into tStackWidth

   ask file "Export picture as:" with type "PNG File|png|PNG"
   if the result is "cancel" or it is "" then exit to top
   put it into tPath
   if char -4 to -1 of tPath is not ".png" then put ".png" after tPath
   set the filetype to ""

   set the resizeQuality of img 1 to "best"
   set the resizable of this stack to false

   if pType is "icons" then
      put "57x57,72x72,76x76,114x114,120x120,144x144,152x152,180x180" into tIconSizeItems
      put "320x480,640x960,640x1136,750x1334,1242x2208,1136x640,768x1024,1024x768,1536x2048,2048x1536" into tIconSizeItems
   end if

   repeat with x=1 to the number of buttons
      hide btn x
   end repeat

   repeat for each item i in tIconSizeItems
      set itemDel to "x"
      put min(item 1 of i,item 2 of i) into tDiv
      put tStackWidth/tDiv into tRatio
      set the width of this stack to item 1 of i
      set the height of this stack to item 2 of i
      set the rect of grp 1 to the rect of this card
      set the width of img 1 to tImgW/tRatio
      set the height of img 1 to tImgH/tRatio
      set the loc of img 1 to the loc of this cd
      put createPNGname(tPath,i) into tNewPath
      put the rect of this stack into tRect

      wait 1 second with messages

      --> SMILE!
      export snapshot from grp 1 to file tNewPath as PNG

      set itemDel to ","
   end repeat

   repeat with x=1 to the number of buttons
      show btn x
   end repeat

   set the resizable of this stack to true
   set the rect of this stack to tStackRect
   set the rect of grp 1 to tGrpRect
   set the rect of img 1 to tImgRect

end createPics

function createPNGname pPath,p
   set itemDel to "/"
   put last item of pPath into tName
   delete last item of pPath
   delete char -4 to -1 of tName
   put "_" & p & ".png" after tName
   put "/" & tName after pPath
   return pPath
end createPNGname

Here are a few items of interest:

  1. There is some error checking for correct number of controls.
  2. set filetype to empty : : Automatically helps Macs create correct filetype and creator codes.
  3. set the resizeQuality of img 1 to "best" : : Important to use the best resizing algorithm for rendering out images. It takes quite a bit longer, but the quality is superior.

    REMEMBER: Set resizeQuality to “good” not “best” when you are resizing images for mobile.

  4. set itemDel to "x" : : Since we’re parsing our different icon and screen vars, and since their items look like 57x57 and 320x480 it’s easy to just set the item delimeter to x. The potential problem is the statement just above: repeat for each item i in tIconSizeItems. If we don’t reset our itemDel before our next repeat, LC won’t understand the next item. So, at the end of the repeat handler we do just that: set itemDel to ","

  5. wait 1 second with messages : : Turns out SOMETIMES you need to wait a bit after resizing to make sure everything is complete. I found out without this command, on occasion there were partial captures. Besides, it’s OK to see it happen a bit slower!

    UPDATE: Turns out the problem comes when capturing an explicit rect on the card. Not so much with group rect captures.

  6. export snapshot from grp 1 to file tNewPath as PNG : : This is the juice that make it all happen effortlessly. Typically the export snapshot command will only capture what’s SEEN on a card. So any overlapping windows, card width issues, etc. will be shown. Not good. Especially since we will sometimes growing the stack rect to larger than some screen sizes. Using the from grp 1 form tells LiveCode to composite everything in the group and then export it regardless of what the stack window is doing. Works great with drop shadows and effects as well!

I hope this tool helps some of you as much as it has me!

And now, a ChippTip bonus. A discussion about..

Bonus: Using Helvetica Neue in iOS

Apple went out of their way in iOS7 to create numerous weights of their flagship Helvetica Neue font. They use each weight for specific controls. Typically, the Larger the font is, the Lighter the font. So, a time, for instance, shown at 24 pixels high might be Helvetica Neue Light, whereas the same data presented at 60 pixels high may be Helvetica Neue Thin.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an easy way to map the Mac versions of these fonts to their iOS counterparts. After a bit of sleuthing and tireless testing, I figure out:

Helvetica Neue fonts need to be set thusly:

For setting a fld’s font to Helvetica Neue Light in iOS:
set the textfont of fld 1 to "HelveticaNeue-Light"

So, here are the variations of Helvetica iOS which can be set:

HelveticaNeue-Bold Condensed
HelveticaNeue-Black Condensed

It should be noted, many other fonts work the same way. You have to test and check. I suspect LC will get around to some sort of font-mapping, but for now, here’s how I’m handling the Helvetica Neue issue in my projects.

On my initMe handler, I do:

if the environment is "mobile" then altUpdateFontsFor_iOS

and the handler:

on altUpdateFontsFor_iOS
   lock screen
   lock messages
   repeat with x=1 to the number of cards in this stack
      repeat with y=1 to the number of controls on card x
            get the textfont of control y of cd x
            if it contains "Helvetica Neue" and the environment is "mobile" then
               set the textfont of control y of cd x to fixHelveticaNeue(it)
            end if
         end try
      end repeat
   end repeat
   unlock messages
   unlock screen
end altUpdateFontsFor_iOS

private function fixHelveticaNeue pFontname
   --> Helvetica Neue Thin BECOMES HelveticaNeue-Thin
   put "-" into char 15 in pFontname
   delete character 10 in pFontname
   return pFontname
end fixHelveticaNeue