Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to build beaconified Apple Watch apps using Estimote's SDK & Nearables Simulator

By: Estimote
Apple Watch’s debut is just around the corner but WatchKit, Apple’s framework for building Watch extensions for iPhone apps, has already been out for quite some time. We know that thousands of you have been eagerly waiting to start working on integrating iBeacon and nearables with the most exciting wearable of the season. So here it is: Estimote WatchKit SDK, consisting of an open-source demo app and a beta build of Estimote SDK 3.0, which includes tools to smoothen the Watch app ⇔ iOS app communication, and Nearables Simulator to go along with the Apple Watch simulator already available in Xcode.

How to build your first WatchKit app with stickers?

A quick recap on the architecture of the WatchKit app. We have the WatchKit app itself, it runs on the Watch and it’s only about the presentation layer. We have the WatchKit extension which resides on the phone and runs all the Watch-related code. This code is supposed to be lightweight, so it’s not a good candidate for beacon/stickers ranging and monitoring. And finally, we have the “parent” iOS app, also running on the phone, in a separate process — and that’s our perfect spot for any long-running, background tasks like monitoring.

There’s the catch: the WatchKit extension and the “parent” app live in separate processes and sandboxes, so if we’re to pass beacons or stickers ranging/monitoring results from the app into the extension, we need to employ some inter-process communication. Apple has naturally given developers all the necessary tools to do it, but at Estimote we went one step further to make sure that you can have your beacon-enabled Watch application up and running in no time. So let’s talk about ESTNotificationTransporter, the latest addition to the3.0 beta of the Estimote SDKShameless plug: there’s a lot of other changes coming in 3.0, and since it’s still in the beta phase, we would love to hear your feedback about it.

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