Interview With Joe Hewitt, Creator Of Facebook’s iPhone App, The Three20 Project And Facebook Connect For iPhone

On May 11, 2009

Joe Hewitt, well known as the creator of the popular web development tool Firebug, has spent the last year or more heads down in iPhone land. He’s the creator of Facebook’s popular iPhone app, the Three20 Project and Facebook Connect for iPhone.

The Three20 Project (previously covered here) is an expansive, open-source collection of UI components and HTTP/web inspired architectural elements. Facebook Connect for iPhone allows apps to access Facebook friend lists, publish items and update statuses.

In this interview we talk about creating the Three20 Project, the challenges of pulling its capabilities out of the Facebook app for packaging as a stand-alone project, Apple’s assumption that data sources will always be local, creating patterns for iPhone developers that are familiar to web developers, in-app URL-style navigation controllers and much more.

You can listen using the Flash player below, download the MP3, or subscribe to the iPhone Developer Podcast using the instructions at the bottom of this post.

For easy scanning of the interview, here is what was covered and when:

  • 0:30 – What is the Three20 Project
  • 2:30 – Toward a shareable library: yot the same code from the Facebook app, will be the code used in the next version of the Facebook app
  • 3:45 – Using Three20, photo browser example
  • 5:00 – Remote data sources, missing capabilities from iPhone SDK
  • 6:00 – Creating custom table cells without subclassing
  • 7:20 – HTML table cells (without UIWebview)
  • 7:45 – Rich text system with Quartz
  • 8:15 – Navigation Center: borrowed from the web: URL based “routing” for view controllers
  • 12:15 – Motivation for creating Quartz based rich text rendering system
  • 12:45 – Separating style from content: stylesheets for borders, backgrounds, etc. declaratively creating styles
  • 13:45 – High performance table modeling using the (familiar to web programmers) HTML/CSS model
  • 14:35 – Building a photo chooser that so closely mimics Apple’s as to be mistakable for it
  • 16:25 – Text fields that automatically grow in height (like the SMS app) to accommodate the size of the text; type ahead text fields
  • 17:35 – Implementation details for the grow-in-height text view
  • 18:15 – Facebook connect typical use cases
  • 19:15 – Using Facebook connect

Keep up to date with our iPhone developers’ podcast

Subscribe to our iPhone Development Podcast in one of two great ways:

  1. Use the podcast’s feed with the feed app of your choice:
  2. Subscribe using iTunes by clicking here.

We hope you enjoy the podcast, and if you have any suggestions of who we should interview (or want to be interviewed yourself), use our Contact page or leave a comment against this post. Thanks for listening!

Thanks to our sponsor: The iPhone UI icon set gives app developers an extensive library of icons for use in their Tab Bar and Tool Bar item objects. 120 png icons and a sample app for browsing the set – $69.

0 responses to “Interview With Joe Hewitt, Creator Of Facebook’s iPhone App, The Three20 Project And Facebook Connect For iPhone”

  1. Pradeepta says:

    In my view 320’s philosophy of styling UI controls/views by separating style from content and image handling (dowloading/caching/photoviewer/grid) is sweet.
    Great work Joe, congrats.