Get device independent, put your settings in the iCloud


Thursday, February 06, 2014

On the road, we carry a smartphone, in a couch we grab the tablet and in the office we sit behind the desk and use a desktop computer. In all scenarios though, we want to use applications that give us access to the same data and functions. Therefore, it is also logical that when we change our parameters for access to this data and functions via the desktop machine application, these same parameters and settings will be reflected (automatically) when we use the smartphone or tablet specific application and vice versa. In the Apple world, the answer to this scenario is persisting our parameters / settings on the iCloud.

As a Delphi developer, we typically like it when we can persist this information with a minimum amount of code so we can focus on the business logic instead of all technical complexities of using the iCloud. Delivering this promise, we've now released two new non-visual components: TTMSFMXNativeiCloud and TTMSFMXNativeMaciCloud. With these components, putting key/value pairs on the iCloud and retrieving them becomes as simple as using a method
 procedure AddKey(AKeyName: String; AKeyValue: TValue);
to create a key/value pair and using the property:
 property KeyValues[AKeyName: String]: TValue
to get and set the value of the key.

So, when in one application, the user would change a setting, this can be done with:
  FName: strring;

FName := 'TMS';
TMSFMXNativeiCloud.KeyValues['MyAmount'] := 1234;
TMSFMXNativeiCloud.KeyValues['MyName'] := FName;
Thanks to the magic of the iCloud and these non-visual components, the key/value pairs will now automagically be synchronised between applications on different devices coupled to the same iCloud account. If the app wants to react immediately to iCloud pushed value changes, the event TTMSFMXNativeiCloud.OnKeyUpdate is triggered and can be handled like:
procedure TMSFMXNativeiCloud.KeyUpdate(Sender: TObject; AKeyName: String; APreviousValue, ACurrentValue: TValue);
   if (AKeyName = 'MyName') then
     FName := ACurrentValue;
Note that the value is of the type TValue and supports strings, booleans, integers, double and a TMemoryStream. Of course, the component offers several more options like deleting a key/value pair, programmatically forcing a synchronisation of the values on the iCloud, receiving events when iCloud pushed updates to values etc...

TTMSFMXNativeiCloud is available now in the newest TMS iCL update and TTMSFMXNativeMaciCloud is available now in the newest TMS mCL. A FireMonkey iOS demo in TMS iCL and a FireMonkey Mac OS-X demo in TMS mCL demonstrate this concept by having a customizable set of key/value pairs shared via the iCloud between these applications as shown in the screenshot above.

Bruno Fierens


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