Making Animation Easy with Core Animator

As much as Apple tries to make programming easier, the complexity of programming usually means Apple’s efforts actually wind up making programming harder. In the early days, programming was easy for anyone to master using a simple tool like HyperCard, which helped pave the way for visual interface design tools known as rapid application development (RAD) such as Visual Basic.

When Apple abandoned HyperCard, they offered Xcode in its place, which is a professional tool that novices will likely find way too intimidating. On top of trying to learn Xcode, you also have to learn a programming language such as Objective-C (way too confusing) or Swift, which is much easier to learn.

The huge problem with Swift isn’t the language but working with the cocoa frameworks that form the foundation of macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. You need to understand object-oriented programming along with protocols, and delegates. If all this sounds confusing, it is.

Perhaps one of the clumsiest solutions for solving problems lies with Core Graphics, Apple’s software framework designed to make animation possible. Learning to animate objects in a program means writing tedious Swift code to do the simplest things. Fortunately, there’s a tool that automates much of this process.

Called Core Animator, this program (ranging in cost up to $100 depending on the sales the company may offer at the moment) lets you visually animate objects using graphic files and timelines. Once you create the animation in Core Animator, you can export it into a Swift or Objective-C class file to add into a macOS or iOS project.

Because Core Animator lets you visually design animation and see it work, you don’t have to fumble with creating animation using mathematical formulas in Swift or Objective-C. Just as in the old days when programmers used to hand code user interfaces by writing commands, so does Core Graphics require you to write exhaustive Swift or Objective-C code to create animation.

RAD development tools let you design user interfaces visually and connect it to code. Core Animator lets you design animation visually and create code to add to an Xcode project.

Once you try Core Animator, you’ll never want to go back to hand-coding animation again in Swift or Objective-C because it’s too painful and tedious. Just watch the video below to see how simple it can be to use Core Animator.

While every project can use animation in its user interface, not everyone needs a program like Core Animator. However, animation can make your program stand out and add a little extra polish to your program and that may be worth the cost of Core Animator all by itself.

February 27th, 2017 by
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