iPhone application development on headless Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Sagnet, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Sagnet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #1
    Hi!
    I plan on doing some application development for iPhone/iPod touch. My only Mac is a Mac Mini which is located in my TV rack. That means that I don't have a screen connected to it, that would make a good working place.

    Most of the time I use VNC from a Windows laptop to control the Mac's desktop. I suspect that doing development over this will be a frustrating experience. Mainly because several keyboard symbols don't transfer correctly, and the connection tends to freeze and require a restart.

    So my question is: Is there a good way to set up a distributed development environment? I would like to have some Windows tools for the programming itself, and then transfer the code to the Mac for compiling and testing, etc. Would that work? Which Windows tools should I be looking into?
     
  2. boyplunder macrumors regular

    boyplunder

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I can only assume you are a Windows user who wants to stay within your comfort zone and not do this on a Mac?

    I would say the SDK is a good one and has pretty much everything you need. Do yourself a favour and get the mini out of the cupboard and get a cheap monitor.
     
  3. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #3
    Actually, I love my Mac Mini, and would definately prefer to do all development on it (or another Mac). But it's doing such an excellent job as a media computer, that I don't want to remove it from the "cupboard". And as long as my job provides me with a free Windows laptop, I can't justify spending money on another Mac.

    Maybe if I can make money on creating iPhone apps, I will invest in a Macbook Pro or an iMac. But for my first application, I would prefer to find a solution with my current hardware setup.
     
  4. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Centennial State
    #4
    IMO, you've got that backwards. Your attitude should be "Maybe if I invest in a Mac, I can make money creating iPhone apps." :)
     
  5. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #5
    As previously mentioned, I already own a Mac. It's just inconveniently located for doing any development on. So please, any constructive suggestions for my current setup are welcome.
     
  6. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Centennial State
    #6
    Development will be so much easier if you have direct physical access to the Mac. For example, when you go to deploy your app on a device, that device would prefer to be connected to the Mac running Xcode. Otherwise, you are having to setup ad-hoc distribution which is still possible but just makes things more complicated.
     
  7. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #7
    The iPhone/iPod touch could still be connected to the Mac. It will be in the same room as the Windows laptop. I can control the Mac remotely over VNC from the laptop. The only thing that's inconvenient over VNC is doing a lot of typing.

    So I assume that any compiling, emulation, testing etc will be done on the Mac. I just need some tool(s) that will making writing code feasible on Windows. Preferably something a bit more advanced than notepad. :)
     
  8. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    #8
    Textpad perhaps?
     
  9. xsmasher macrumors regular

    xsmasher

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #10
    Running a headless mac for iPhone dev

    I use a headless Mac Mini for all of my dev work - I use logmein.com , which is very responsive over the local network (wireless too) and not bad over the internet. I log in from either my windows desktop or laptop with no trouble, has never needed a reboot or restart.
     
  10. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #11
    Thanks for the tip. Looks like a great application! Do you have to make any configuration in order to connect directly over the local network? Or does it automaticly discover that the two computers are on the same router? And how do you stop the logmein service from running on your Mac? Couldn't find the answer to those questions in the manual.
     
  11. `lowell` macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    #12


    You probably don't mean it, but you're kind of coming off as a dick.

    Advice recommending that you consider your problem from a different perspective is just as valid as any other.

    Anyways, have you even tried the VNC option?

    I have two headless Macs, a web server running Tiger (PowerMac G4) and a not-quite-headless-but-I'm-never-in-the-room-anyways iMac that I routinely drop into. I'm actually typing this comment on the iMac from my Air. I use Remote Desktop and all the keyboard shortcuts work fine, I can even share clipboard items if I want.

    Obviously, it isn't as responsive as being there - but it for sure isn't slow enough to impede productivity. I think it's a cleaner solution than relying on an outside provider for something that can be resolved on the local network. (logmein)

    Remember that if you use Notepad or whatever the hell they use on the Windows side of the world that you'll be missing context-sensitive autocompletion, syntax highlighting, developer documentation and the ability to quickly build and run things. If you're hell-bent on doing it this way, however, mount the project's drive in Windows through your network so you can edit the live files as you go and just jump to Xcode (or use xcodebuild from bash) to run test builds.
     
  12. stuffradio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #13
    My current setup has me with my Mini on top of the desk beside me (that's why I love it, it's so small!). I have a Windows computer that I'm typing on right now, and the Mini on the desk which are both connected to a KVM switch. I'm sharing the Monitor and Keyboard/Mouse with both computers. All I have to do to switch between the computers is double tap the scroll lock key and I'm in Mac or my Windows computer on my 24" monitor!

    I can't share sound with my speakers, so I just use the Mini speakers for now. It's really great because I can listen to music on my Windows machine, and I can be coding for the iPhone on Mac.
     
  13. Sagnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #14
    The two pieces of advice providing "different perspective" do both involve buying new equipment. Either a MacBook/iMac to do do the programming on, or a new screen and a media center computer, if I were to remove the Mac Mini from that job. Of course I've thought about both, and they would be easy solutions, but I want to start off with the hardware that I've got. That's what I asked about, and why I posted this thread in the first place.

    I've been using RealVNC (also tried a couple of other viewers) for 6 months for other purposes, and know that it isn't stable enough to do any heavy typing. It's very responsive though, so if the keyboard and freezing issues were solved, it would be the perfect solution. After trying logmein.com, though, it seems it doesn't have those problems, so it might be what I was looking for.

    Yup, that why I said "a bit more advanced". A kind of an understatement from my part.

    That's a good suggestion. Another similar option is to use SVN, so I can just check out the code and work on it from different computers. I would still need a decent IDE on the Windows side though.
     
  14. xsmasher macrumors regular

    xsmasher

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #15
    I have no idea, I just log into their web site and it works; no router config or network setup was required, just installing their client. :)

    There's a icon in the menubar to disable the service; I've never uninstalled it, so I don't know how it's done. It's been fantastically stable for me.
     
  15. `lowell` macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego
    #16
    I just remembered that there's a TextMate clone for Windows called e. You can use TextMate bundles with e. I know there's an Xcode bundle and an Objective-C bundle that are in the svn repo; i think there's an iPhone bundle at GitHub but I haven't used it so I don't know how complete it is.

    http://svn.textmate.org/trunk/Bundles/
    http://www.e-texteditor.com/
     
  16. MacToddB macrumors 6502a

    MacToddB

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #17
    I was in the same boat as you, a year ago. My Mac mini was (and still is) my media center computer. But I had already wanted to use it to browse the web, etc., so I hooked up a VGA splitter and a small screen off to the corner of my family room and use that for development, email, etc.

    If you have a newer Mac Mini, they have two display ports so it's easier.
     

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