Buzzer | iOS Twitter-like Social Application [XServer]

Introduction

Please carefully read this guide in order to fully configure this template, and remember to test it on a Real Device – the iOS Simulator may fail.

An internet connection is required.

IMPORTANT: The backend of this template is the XServer API.

If you own a VPS server (on GoDaddy or other providers), you can purchase the XServer API, upload it to your own VPS server, and configure it (see the Installation and Configurations chapters of the XServer API).

In case you don’t own a VPS server (or don’t want to buy it), you can create a Free account on XServer.app, create a Database and configure it to work with this app – read the Official Documentation
In this case, you don’t need to download the SDK, it’s already included in the package of this template.


Quick Start

BEFORE running this app on your own device via Xcode and test it, you can either do the following:

a) Create a FREE account on XServer.app and a Database, then replace the string of the DATABASE_PATH variable with your Database path in the XServerSDK.swift file:

let DATABASE_PATH = "https://xserver.app/__apps/buzzer/"

Your app is now connected to your own database on XServer.app!


b) If you have bought the XServer API, you need to copy the path (URL) where you’ve hosted the files of the xserver folder in your VPS server (ex: https://mydomain.com/xserver) and replace the string of the DATABASE_PATH variable in the XServerSDK.swift file with your XServer’s path:

let DATABASE_PATH = "https://xserver.app/__apps/buzzer/"

Then enter the _Tables folder on your server and:
1. Delete the Users.json and Posts.json files
2. Upload the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package

Your app is now connected to your own server!


General

Xcode

This template has native Apple Swift code, so you can edit it only with Xcode running on a Mac computer. If you don’t have it, download it for free on the Mac App Store.

PLEASE NOTE that you’ll need the latest official version of XcodeNO BETAS, because Betas are always buggy and never work properly.

App Name and Bundle ID

You must change the Display Name and Bundle Identifier into the new ones in the General tab in Xcode: 

Archive App for App Store Publishing

Once your app is ready to be submitted to the App Store for review, you need to Archive your Xcode project.
Click on Product and select Archive. Xcode will archive your project and automatically open the Organizer window, where you’ll find a button to submit your binary to your App Store Connect account.

Info.plist – Privacy Alert text

You should check the Info.plist file – you can find it in the files list on the left-side panel – and set the text you wish in the Value column of the Privacy rows.
Those values are the explanations that will be displayed in the Permission Alerts that show up to access the Camera, Photo Library or Location Service, so you may edit them as you wish based on your language or what you exactly want users to see in those Alerts.

Apple reviewers check those texts out all the times, and if the message is not so clear to them, they may reject your app while in Review, so please type a short but exhaustive text in each row in order to make clear what Permission the users should allow.

Reskin the UI design of the app

This project has a Storyboard file called Main.storyboard and you can find it in the list of file that is shown in left-side panel of the Xcode window.
You can edit all the UI elements of this app from the Storyboard, Colors, Fonts, Buttons, Views positions, etc.

The strings of the Alert Controllers are located in the code, so they can be edited only in the .swift files.

The images are stores into the Assets.xcassets folder.

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Select the tou.html file form the left-side panel’s list in Xcode – it’s located into the Intro_Login_SignUp folder – and edit it accordingly to your own Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Also, replace the APP_NAME words with the new name you assigned to your App.

Please also pay attention to this line:

"mailto:support@yourdomain.com">support@yourdomain.com

There are a few identical lines like that in the tou.html file, so you must replace support@yourdomain.com with a valid email address where people can contact you for any question, feedback or in case they want to delete their account.

Delete a User’s account upon request

Accordingly to GDPR Terms, you have 24 hours to delete an account after receiving a deletion request. In order for you to delete an account, you first need to identify the user’s row in the Users table of your Database, keep a note of its ID_id value, select that row and click the Delete Row(s) button.
Then, just search for that ID_id value you’ve previously noted in all the other Tables of your database, check out all the rows until you’ll find that ID_id and delete it – this is in case it appears into some Array type columns.

You can use the Query function to find an ID_id in your database:

Reported content

People are allowed to report inappropriate/offensive Users or Buzzes, as well as block/unblock users from Chat. So you should daily check your database in order to see if the column called AR_reportedBy in the Users and Buzz tables has some cell with the ID_id of users, and take action for it asap.

You’ll also get an email when someone will report a User or a Buzz, such email contains the ID_id of the user or Buzz that has been reported and the reason why it has been reported.

You may delete those rows from your database forever by selecting a cell and click the Delete row(s) button, but please note that before deleting a user from the Users table you must take note of its ID_id and search for it in the other tables. If you’ll find the same ID_id in a cell – like an Array field – you’ll have to remove that ID_id too, so the app won’t crash.


Configurations

The XServerSDK.swift file

Open this file in Xcode and keep reading this guide, you’ll have to perform some edits in this file in order to get your template ready to run:

App Name

Replace this string with the new name you want to give to this app:

let APP_NAME = "Buzzer"

XServer Database Path

As explained in the QuickStart paragraph, you must replace the DATABASE_PATH string with your own database URL, either from your own XServer API or from the xserver.app website.

• Using the XServer API hosted on your own VPS server:

To install and configure the XServer API  into your VPS server, please follow the Installation and Configurations chapters of its Documentation.

Once you’ll have the XServer API files ready in your own server, enter the _Tables folder and:
1. Delete the Users.json and Posts.json files
2. Upload the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package

In this way, you’ll get all the necessary Tables and columns for this app to work, without having to manually create them in the XServer’s Dashboard.
Data will be empty, so after you’ll get this app’s configurations done, you’ll be able to sign up with test Users, post items, and all the other features.

• Using the XServer.app BaaS

1. Create a Database, click the Settings button and click Copy Database path.

2. Import the JSON files included in the Tables folder of this template’s package in your Database:

3. Read the Dashboard -> Database Settings chapter to learn how to perform a few more settings for your Database.

AdMob Ads

Replace the string of the variable below with your own Interstitial Unit ID – you have to create such Unit ID on apps.admob.com, just follow the instructions on the AdMob’s website in case you don’t know how to generate a Unit ID:

let ADMOB_INTERSTITIAL_UNIT_ID = "ca-app-pub-3940256099942544/1033173712"

You also have to replace the string into Info.plist with your own App ID:

You can get both App ID and Unit ID strings from your AdMob Unit page, after creating it:

Sometimes Apple reviewers reject apps because of Ads, the reason why is not clear yet, but a new submission on the App Store will fix the problem and get your app approved – just in case you’ll get a rejection because of IDFA issue.
Anyway, after clicking the Submit For Review button on the App Store Connect page of your application, you’ll get something that looks like the picture below. Mark the options shown below and everything should go smoothly on the next review you’ll get of your app:

Custom Colors

You can edit the HEX values of the following variables as you wish, change the numbers before # symbol. The main color of the app and some UI will be affected by your change:

   let MAIN_COLOR = hexValue("#6441A4")
   let LIGHT_PURPLE = hexValue("b9a3e3")
   let DARK_GREY = hexValue("#687683")
   let LIGHT_GREY = hexValue("#F3F3F3")

PLEASE NOTE that NOT all Views in the app will change accordingly to the new RGB values you’ve set in the above variable, you will still need to adjust some colors in some Controllers in the Storyboard.

Custom fonts

This App uses some custom font, which is already stored into Xcode in a dedicated folder.
In case you want to add a new font, you have to first drag your .ttf or .otf font file into the left-side panel in Xcode and click the Finish button in the popup that will show up:

Then select the Label, Button, TextFiled or textView you want to change font to, click the [T] icon on the right-side Attributes inspector panel and select the font you want in the dropdown list:

Number of GIFs

Check the GIFs folder in the Xcode’s left panel, it contains 13 .gif files progressively named (so gif0.gifgif1.gif, etc.).
If you’ll add some new animated GIF file in the GIFs folder, name it progressively – for instance, if you’ll add a new gif image, you must name it as gif13.gif.
Then increase the number of Gifs in the variable below, accordingly to the total amount of the .gif files stored into the GIFs folder:

   let NUMBER_OF_GIFS = 13

If you’ve added 1 new gif image, the 13 value must be changed into 14.
If you’re wondering why the file name of your new gif image must be gif13.gif and the value above 14, that’s because the first gif image into the GIFs folder is called gif0.gif, and its because of an array that gets created in the code based on the names of your .gif files. Arrays are 0-indexed, so the first item of an array is at position 0, not 1, that’s why the gif file names start with gif0.gif 🙂

Maximum Video recording time

The variable below sets the maximum duration – in seconds – to record a video or select it from the Photo Library.
You can edit that value as you wish, but please keep in mind that if you increase it, it’ll affect the uploading and loading speed of the app:

let VIDEO_MAX_DURATION: TimeInterval = 20

Maximum characters for a Buzz

This app allows people to post Buzzes with a maximum length of 140 characters. You can change that number as you wish in the varibale below, but please note that then you will also need to adjust several things in the Storyboard and in some .swift files, so I just suggest you to leave it as it is:

let MAX_CHARACTERS_FOR_BUZZ = 140

Admin email address

You must replace the following string with a valid email address where you want people to contact you in case of questions, support or account deletion requests – accordingly to EU GDPR:

let ADMIN_EMAIL = "my@email.com"

HTML Header style

This app displays names, usernames and post dates in HTML format, and the HTML header code is the following:

let HTML_HEADER_STYLE = 
    "<style>" +
        "@import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Poppins');" +
        "body{ font-family: 'Poppins', sans-serif; font-size:13px;color:#000; }" +
        "span{ color:#687683; font.size: 12px; }" +
    "</style>"

You can edit it as you wish, in case you changed the main Poppins font into another font.

If you want to use another font, please download it from Google Fonts so that you can import it into the code above, as well as drag it into the Xcode files list and change Labels, Buttons and TextViews fonts through the Attributes Inspector panel.

Buzz and Users report Issues

People are allowed to report posts and users, and when they do that, the app shows them a couple of lists of reasons why they should report a post or a user to the Admin. Such lists are the following:

let buzzReportIssues = [
    "I am not interested to this Buzz",
    "It's suspicious or spam",
    "It's abusive or harmful",
]


   let userReportIssues = [
    "I am not interested in this account",
    "It's suspicious or spam",
    "It appears their account is hacked",
    "They are pretending to be me or someone else",
    "Their Buzzes are abusive or hateful",
    "Their profile info and/pr images include abusive or hateful content"
]

You can edit those arrays items as you wish, they are just strings and will be shown when you choose to report a Buzz or a User.

Unless you are familiar with iOS programming, you should leave the code below this comment as it is:

// MARK: - TABLES & COLUMNS NAMES

XServer backend

The backend of this template is XServer, and you can either buy the XServer REST API an install it on your own VPS server, or create an account on xserver.app and a Database for this app.
After performing the configurations mentioned below, you will run the app and see no content, so Sign Up with a test user in order to create a test account and start testing the app.

The FREE account on XServer.app offers 10 MB of storage and 1 Database. This allows you to create demo data and fully test this app on your side.
PLEASE NOTE that once the amount of data grows, you’ll need to subscribe to a Paid Plan, check the Pricing table on the XServer.app website.
I suggest you to start with a Basic Plan – it’ only $5/month – so you will get more Database Storage and Databases. Then, you’ll still be able to upgrade your Plan in the Pricing section in case you’ll need more Storage.

If you own a VPS server (on GoDaddy or other providers), you can purchase the XServer API, upload it to your own VPS server, and configure it (see the Installation and Configurations chapters of the XServer API).

In case you don’t own a VPS server (or don’t want to buy it), you can create a Free account on XServer.app, create a Database and configure it to work with this app – read the Official Documentation
In this case, you don’t need to download the SDK, it’s already included in the package of this template.

This application handles Verified Users by putting a badge on the bottom-right corner of the avatar images.
In order for you to set a User as Verified and show it in the app, just enter the Users table and change the isVerified switch from False into True:


Push Notifications

Sign in into your Apple Developer Account and click the Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles panel.

Select the Identifiers section and make sure your new Bundle ID is there.
Usually Xcode creates it after you change the Bundle Identifier, but it may happen that Xcode won’t make this job, so can find it out using the Search button on the Apple developer website.

In case you won’t find your App ID, click the blue + button to create it and fill the necessary forms.
Once you’ve found your App Identifier (App ID), click on it and scroll down to the Push Notifications section and mark it.
Lastly, click the [Save] button on the top-right corner of the page.

Now click the Keys option form the left menu.
Click the (+) button to create a Key.

On the next page, type a name for it.
Check the Apple Push Notifications service (APNs) option.
Click the Continue button.

Select your App ID from the Primary App ID dropdown menu and click the [Save] button.

You’ll be asked to save an AuthKey_XXXXXXXX.p8 file on your computer. Pay attention, you’ll be able to download it only once, so save it in a safe place.

In case you’re using the self-hosted XServer API, you will need to upload this file into the _Push folder. Please refer to the XServer API Documentation: Apple Sign In and iOS Push Notifications chapter.

Otherwise, if your database is on XServer.app, you’ll have to upload that .p8 file in the Database Settings. Please refer to the XServer.app Documentation: Dashboard -> Database Settings chapter.

You’ll get redirected back to the Configure key page, where you’ll have to click the [Continue] button.

Make sure that all steps have been performed correctly (the blue alert on the top of the page will show them as completed), then click the [Save] button.

You’re done with the Push Notifications configurations.


 Useful stuff

Learn more about XServer.app

XServer vs Firebase


F.A.Q.

Should I buy the XServer API or create an account on XServer.app to make this template work?

The code of this app template is written using the XServer SDK for iOS – this is included in the project – so you must either buy the XServer API or create an account on XServer.app to make it work the way it is.

But, if you’re an experienced developer and want to implement a different backend in the code, you can still buy this app and do your own job, since the UI is already built, as you can see by the Screenshots section.

If I buy this app template, can I use for multiple projects?

No: in case you want to publish more than 1 application using this template, you must purchase a License/project you want to publish on the App Store.

Instead, if I buy the XServer REST API or subscribe for a paid Plan on XServer.app, can I use the XServer backend for different projects/apps than this one?

Yes, that’s an API and you can use it in any other application or project.

What kind of support is offered?

Free support is offered in case of bugs encountered in the original template, either in the code or the UI design.
In case you have edited the code – and so created bugs because of your editing – I may apply some fee to fix your bugs by a remote connection through AnyDesk, or by you sending me your source code for verification.

Should I use Xcode to edit this template?

Yes, you must always use the latest stable official version of Xcode to edit this application.
Download the latest version on the Mac App Store from your Mac.

I’ve performed all configurations mentioned in this Guide, but something is wrong. What should I do?

• Double-check all your configurations, probably you have missed something.
• Always check the Console log in Xcode if the app crashes.
The Console log helps to debug your app, it’s really important.

How do I remove AdMob ads?

It’s super easy, just open the Find tool on the left-side panel in XCode and search for this line:

fireInterstitialAd

Xcode will show you a list of swift files where such code is located. Click on each row and just comment that line of code in each the swift file:

IMPORTANT: DO NOT COMMENT the line of code in XServerSDK.swift, comment (or remove) the lines in the other swift files.

// fireInterstitialAd()

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