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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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You can change the Text Color and the Punch Color.

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

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

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And finally “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:

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

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+InstaQuote. Oh it comes with a watermark.

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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.

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The splash screen is kind of cute.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And yes, “Open in Instagram”.

So from this:

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To this:

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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.

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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:

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Became this:

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Pretty basic, and slightly boring.

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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:

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This app can produce pictures like these apparently.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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Align…

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Size…

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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:

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

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

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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.

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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:

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

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

From this:

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To this:

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

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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:

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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.

Making 50K/30 iOS App and Other Random Things

A development told using Instagram photos (because everything looks better with filters).

First of all, what is 50K/30? Read my pitch?

Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOSAre you writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days? Then 50K/30 is the app for you. (Did I sound like a telemarketer just now?)

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.

– it has a simple and clean interface
– it autosaves (so no need to worry about losing your precious words)
– it has a email feature that allows you to send your novel to yourself
– okay, some nonsense, because who doesn’t love themes (well, I like themes, because I’m girly like that)
– you can pick your own font. Are you a Helvetica or a Times New Roman? While you’re at it, might as well change the font size
– are you a glass half full or a glass half empty? counting the the number of words so far, or counting the words left?
– and sometimes, you just want to write carelessly and turn autocorrect off

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.

Second, how did it all begin?

I have been a NaNoWriMo writer for 4 years now.

What is NaNoWriMo? You ask?

NaNoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month aka insanely writing a 50,000 (that’s 4 zeroes, 50 thousand, 50K) in 30 days (yes, only a month and it’s not even one of those long months, it’s a short 30 day month, November, to be more exact).

And since I am quite obsessed about the word count, I want a writing app that like shows me my word count, like all the time. I used to write using Open Office and before that Microsoft One Note, and those software, I’d have to like click at least 3 buttons or something before I can see the word count.

So yeah, I want an app with a prominently displayed word count. And since iOS app developer and all, I decided to “write” one.

I thought of all this while waiting for my friends for our Friday night dinner slash tea party at a place called Dazzling Cafe. (And the Instagram photos begin…)

Third, and then …?

After going home around midnight (Cinderella), I sat in front of my computer and started typing, typing and some more typing.

What inspired me to get started on it, like right away, is because one of my friends, Gina, participated in a 2 day game jam and she finished her game like all by herself. This game:

It’s about punching holes in donuts. Because their theme was Unity (the game engine) primitives, and she asked for our suggestions on Twitter, and we said: torus, donuts!

And that sort of inspired me to do good.

And so XCode and some geeky coding photos:

And after a long while (I saw the sun rise, and heard birds chirping), I have these:

My little sister picked out the theme colors, while I got the icons from Some Random Dude (http://somerandomdude.com/work/iconic), I’m serious, he really calls himself Some Random Dude, and he make open source icons licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0. 

Lorem Ipsum is by Cupcake Ipsum (http://cupcakeipsum.com).

The next day, instead of submitting my app like immediately, I had to go to Yongle Market to buy some trinkets for my little sister. Yongle market also sells fabrics, and while browsing I cam across these:

Hello Kitty fabrics- the cutest things.

And after some more browsing:

Look! It’s my color scheme, in leatherette!

Yongle Market is next to Dadaocheng Wharf, so we decided to go there to watch the sunset (might as well, since I already saw the sunrise).

Pretty.

And after that it’s laundry.

I’m so tired.

And then we got home and I finally submitted 50K/30 to the App Store. All I can do now is wait.

And while I waited, we took a train to get out of the city and technology (iPhone and Instagram, not counted). We went to Neiwan, Hsinchu.

And enjoyed nature- ish.

I didn’t do anything from Monday until Friday. Well, okay, I did work, but that’s like programming for some other work related apps.

On Saturday, we went house hunting, because our lease is up and we like moving. We found a pretty little loft type.

On Sunday, I begged my little sister to wake up early with me, so we can film a demo video for 50K/30. It has to be early because the sun looks prettier then.

Our little set up- Canon DSLR and a table lamp.

After that we went to Huashan Creative Park for dinner and looked at some interactive art installations.

Like this one, you’re supposed to touch the lighted green button with the body parted that has been dictated. For example touch that lower left (right? I get confused) with your ankle.

And then it’s another week of waiting.

After 10 days, waiting for review, 50K/30 is approved!

It’s available for download at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8).

And then Friday night dinner slash dessert at Hello Kitty Sweets.

Massacred pink Hello Kitty head cake.

And then we (by we, I mean my little sister) start editing the demo video:

While I write a pitch document, this blog post and some email drafts.

It’s 4AM ish now, and little sis is almost done editing.

I will post the video soon.

In other news, NaNoWriMo starts in 4 days. And my NaNo novel this year is titled, “The Nine Lives of Hello Kitty”. It’s going to be a novel inspired by the book “Hello Kitty Must Die” and the concept of the movie “Dreams of a Life”, and accompanying game “Dreams of Your Life”.

So far that’s it.