Update Native iOS Apps Instantly (skip the App Store)
Rollout lets you push code level changes to live iOS apps, instantly. No more waiting for App Store approval just to fix a bug or make small code changes. You can even add calls to third party SDKs like analytics or crash reporting. Adding Rollout's SDK to your app is quick and easy with no code changes required.
iAd App Network will be Discontinued
This is a confusing news announcement... As far as I understand it, this does not mean that iAd is fully shutting down but that the App Network, which advertises other apps on iAd, is closing. New apps can no longer sign up but if you're already advertising, you'll be able to earn revenue until June. However, I do wonder how long it will be before iAd is completely shut down. It's really not lived up to the promise of a "quality" ad network and it doesn't feel like something Apple would want to be involved with for much longer.
Is Apple Using Swift in iOS?
Following up on last week's post on how much Swift is being used in the App Store top charts, this week Ryan Olson turns the magnifying glass on the iOS system apps and Apple's App Store apps. Again, the results aren't surprising at all and Swift can only be found in one system app and one App Store app. This is all very sensible though, as I said last week it's going to take plenty of time for it to become ubiquitous.
Profiling your Swift compilation times
Is your Swift app taking a long time to compile? Could be that you've written some code which is slowing down the compiler where you might not expect it to. Bryan Irace had a similar problem recently and found that a couple of innocuous lines of code were taking the compiler much longer than expected.
Interesting little Mac app to help you test push notifications in your app. This can be a pain to set up, especially if you're just trying something out and this provides a nice, simple test harness for push. There's also an iOS companion app available so you can make sure everything is working.
Hi! I'm #available!
Introduced with Swift 2.0, #available removed the need for messy compatibility code, replacing it with a simple and consistent check. Mark Dalrymple tells you everything you need to know about it if you haven't had a chance to use it yet.
Hipster Swift: Demystifying the Mysterious
Hector Matos with eight slightly obscure features of Swift that you might not have come across yet. Covering @noescape, @autoclosure, inline lazy variables, currying, variadic parameters, dynamic, special literals and loop labels. If there isn't something in here that you didn't know then you can truly call yourself a Swift expert.
Pete Hodgson on developing feature toggles for your app. Not specific to iOS of course, but very useful for either testing a new bit of functionality, or maybe A/B testing a feature with a group of users. One thing you should consider when doing this on iOS is how to flag it/switch it on for the App Review team. The reviewer notes field in iTC is a great place to let them know about what you have enabled/disabled and potentially how they can switch it on or off.
How to Make An App Feel Comfortable
Jared Sinclair on the accuracy and comfort of apps which allow you to swipe not just from the edge, but from anywhere. I agree this is a growing problem and I think it comes down to how overloaded apps are becoming with their swipe gestures. An edge swipe on a UI element which is also vertically scrollable, and contains other swipeable areas can be really tricky for users to operate accurately, even to the point where it'd probably be quicker to reach for a button! This situation gets even worse if you use a device case with a slight lip on it making edge swipes harder to perform. The article covers much more than what I've mentioned here, but rather than summarise the rest, just go and read it.
Business and Marketing
The Past, Present and Future of Sketch
Pieter Omvlee being interviewed by Geoff Teehan on the history and development of Sketch, the people behind it, investment, the revenue model and much more. Definitely worth a read.
tvOS Focus Engine & Custom Gestures
Saniul Ahmed talking in detail about the tvOS focus engine. He starts with the basics but quickly moves on to custom interactions with touch processing and gesture recognisers.
iOS Developer @ grandcentrix – Cologne/Dortmund, Germany
Smart Home. Retail and Mobile Commerce. Internet of Things.
Mobile Engineer, Expensify, San Francisco, CA
Agile engineers who are passionate about the product they're building.
iOS Developer, 23andMe in Downtown Mountain View, CA
Help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome.
Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on iPhone
I wonder how much that is per pixel? 😃
The biggest news this week for me was the announcement of an iOS developer training centre in Italy. Apple have a history of training and certification for their pro and server products but to my knowledge, outside of the Stanford University course they have never made any moves into developer training before.
It's not 100% clear from the press release, but given that it does mention that this training centre is "located at a partner institution", it's likely that this is more about developing a training (and certification?) programme for iOS developers rather than Apple getting into actually delivering training. This wouldn't be surprising at all because this is the way that the pro apps/server training mentioned above is structured.
There's obviously a huge, well established network of third party training providers for iOS developers (me included!) but there's no consistency over what gets taught. If this is the start of an official Apple curriculum for iOS development, I see that as a very positive move for the industry. There's still a huge skills shortage for iOS developers and more ways for people to get up to speed can only be a good thing.
I'm a little more skeptical on certification which can sometimes be nothing more than "do training course, get certified". Is a developer who has just emerged from a training course better than someone who has been doing it for years? No. However, they don't even mention certification in this press release and so I'm going to stop speculating on things that may never happen! I'm sure if they do go down that route, they'll carefully consider how to make the certifications meaningful.Dave Verwer