Presentation slides and code from my “Polishing Your App” YYC Dev Camp talk now available


I’ve released the presentation notes and posted the code from my YYC Dev Camp #6 talk last week.

Presentation Slides

The presentation slides are available here as a PDF.

Hopefully I’ll soon do a blog post to walk through the steps, but for now, the code is available on GitHub in fully functional examples projects. These are released royalty free for your use (but not the included sample images, those are copyrighted).

Custom UINavigationBar and Stretchable Custom Back Button Code

Here is the project that shows how to create custom UINavigationBar background images on both iOS 4 and iOS 5. It also shows how to create a custom back button that has a text-based title (i.e. not baked into the image) using a stretchable image. I originally learned how to do this from iDev Recipes – How do iPhone apps Instagram/Reeder/DailyBooth implement custom NavigationBars with variable width back buttons? but I have refactored the code significantly to make it more modular and easy to use.

Here is the code:

Full Screen Animations – Path-style open book animation and falling star animation

The other sample code shows how to do a couple of full screen animations. First, it performs a Path-style open book animation when the app opens. This will be included in an upcoming version of the John Gilchrist Calgary Eats and Cheap Eats apps. This works on both iPhone  (portrait only) and iPad (in any orientation). It also shows how to do the falling-star animation used in those same apps.


Here is the code:


I’m giving a talk on iPhone programming tomorrow!


Just a quick note to say that I’m giving a talk tomorrow at YYC Dev Camp #6 held at the University of Calgary. It’s put on by Robots and Pencils, who I do most of my work with.

The description of my topic on various places on the web isn’t great (long story). The topic will be:

Polishing Your App

Tips & Tricks to make your app stand out

Once you have your app functional and feature complete, here are some ways to add a little polish to make it stand out. Things like custom navigation bars, custom back buttons, stretchable images, and animations.

I work with most of the other speakers, and they are some very smart guys who will have definitely have interesting things to say. Come on by if you can. Price is $15 to cover the cost of the venue and food:

Jeremy Gale

Cheap Eats and Calgary Eats on sale for Calgary’s Big Taste!


Sorry for the long delay between blog posts, I’ve been completely negligent! In fact, I realized that I didn’t even mention that my second app is available on the App Store.

While Cheap Eats 2 is the app version of John Gilchrist’s Cheap Eats 2 book, the second app is Calgary Eats 7. This is the app version of John Gilchrist’s My Favourite Restaurants 7th Edition: Calgary, Banff and beyond. Cheap Eats focuses on the best deals, but Calgary Eats has the best of the best, regardless of price. It also features over 220 restaurants vs 160 for Cheap Eats 2.

Both apps are on sale for 60% off during Calgary’s The Big Taste event, March 2-12. I’d also urge you to get out and try some of the great restaurants in Calgary during this event. Many of them are recommended by the oracle, John Gilchrist himself. My wife and I have already tried out Rasoi and are planning to try Escoba.

Speaking of great Calgary restaurants, I had the good fortune of attending Yelp’s Triple Threat Throwdown event on Monday. The event featured a signature drink and canapé from 3 Calgary restaurants, inspired by a piece of local art. My favourite was from Cassis Bistro, John Gilchrist’s top choice for Best New Restaurant of 2011, as well as Avenue Magazine’s Best New Restaurant of 2012. I had the pleasure of talking to owner Gilles Brassart, who was mixing up “Cassispirinhas”, a new take on the Caipirinha. It’s a delicious cocktail made with sugar cane rum, sugar, and lime. It takes me back to my trips to Portugal and Brazil. Gilles is from France, but lived in San Francisco for 7 years, running a restaurant there. Lucky for us Calgarians, he met his wife there, who hails from Calgary. They moved here and they opened up Cassis Bistro together. This story reminded me of talking to Connie DeSousa at CHARCUT before she became famous on Top Chef Canada. She had been working in the Bay Area at some very elite restaurants, and decided to open her own restaurant with John Jackson. They eventually choose Calgary over Vancouver, New York and San Francisco. As a native Calgarian who lived in the Bay Area, I feel a sense of pride here. San Francisco has amazing food, so it’s amazing to see these great culinary talents setting up shop in Calgary. We are very lucky.

Gilles made my night when he had heard of my apps and liked them, and knew that I used to work at Google. 🙂 I owe it to John Gilchrist for spreading the word! I can’t wait to try out Cassis Bistro. I’m going to take Stacy there to thank her for all the help developing the apps.

PS: I’m nearing completion of an iPad version of the apps that will be a free upgrade, so buy them now while they’re on sale. Stay tuned!

Force Grind’s first app is live – Cheap Eats 2 by John Gilchrist!


I’ve got some exciting news!

My first ever iPhone app is now live on the App Store! Cheap Eats 2 by John Gilchrist is an app version of John Gilchrist’s Cheap Eats 2 book. It’s an app for finding the best Cheap Eats in Calgary, Banff and area.

Who is John Gilchrist? Only Calgary’s most influential food writer. John reviews restaurants for CBC Radio’s Calgary Eyeopener and writes about food and restaurants for the Calgary Herald, Avenue, Swerve, and Where Calgary. If you haven’t followed his restaurant recommendations before, you are missing out. I’ve been a devoted follower for years. Whenever my wife and I feel like going out for dinner, we always pick a restaurant from his book, and we’ve yet to be disappointed. We like to work our way through the book and my wife likes to put a sticker on every restaurant we’ve been to. (OK, I like it too).

Eventually it hit me – I really need an app version of John Gilchrist’s books. We often forget our books at home. Imagine if you could look up John’s recommendations from anywhere, and see what’s close to you on a map. Now you can! In the mood for sushi? Bring up a map of sushi restaurants and pick the nearest one. Peruse the restaurant’s menu from their website, all within the app. Pull up driving directions on Google Maps. I also wanted to do the app equivalent of putting stickers in our book. So now you can mark restaurants as visited in the app, or mark your favourites for easy reference.

I decided to build a prototype of the app and then contacted John Gilchrist out of the blue. (A little intimidating!) He agreed to meet, and couldn’t have been nicer. He loved the idea and was willing to go along with it right from the start. I also got to meet John’s lovely wife Catherine, and worked closely with her on updating all of the restaurant listings that have changed since the publication of the book, only a few short months ago. The restaurant business moves fast!

Here is the App Store link.

Read more about the app on my website:

Thanks to Stacy Anderson for all her help entering the restaurant data, and thanks to the very talented Eric Chernuka for his amazing design and artwork. Finally, thanks to John Gilchrist and Catherine Caldwell for being amenable to the idea, and easy to work with.

I’d love to hear your comments.

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