When I launched the site I hoped it would become a comprehensive directory of sites publishing regular content on iOS development. Selfishly, I also hoped it would be the easiest way for me to expand the people who I listen to on a regular basis. 😀
So, has it been a success so far?
I'd say it definitely has! On day one the directory contained 184 entries and throughout the year I've continued to add more. There have also been over 190 community contributions and the directory now contains 461 sites! That's amazing.
But… I'm quite sure there are plenty of sites that are still missing so let's all give it a bit of a bump on its birthday shall we? Go and check the page for your blog, your colleague's blogs and your friend's blogs. If any of them are missing, you know what to do. Then, would you mind sharing it? I think it's probably got most of the blogs run by people who are aware of this newsletter, but what about all the people who have never seen iOS Dev Weekly? The only way it's going to reach them is if you all share it to your followers. Thanks!
I wonder how many sites it'll track next March? 🤞
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Last year was the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone, and this year it's been 10 years since our world as developers changed with the release of the iPhone SDK. I'm sure you've read Craig Hockenberry's article by now as it's been widely shared, but it's a great look back at the really early days of development on the iPhone. It also seemed to trigger something and quickly Twitter was filled with great stories of everyone reminiscing on those days, so let me go next with that. 😀
I clearly remember the announcement of the SDK, I was working on a Mac app at the time and it took everything I had not to immediately abandon it and get started on an iOS app. I managed to resist, but as soon as it was done I immediately dived right in and shipped my first app to the store a few months after the launch and I was hooked.
In the years following, I wrote (and helped to write) apps both for my own company and for others. I also trained hundreds of developers on Objective-C and iOS development. I spoke at conferences everywhere from the USA, to Russia and all over Europe. I also started a newsletter! 😀I can honestly say that in my whole career I have never been so passionate for so long about any technology as I continue to be with iOS. It really did change my life.
The last few years have taken me away from primarily doing iOS work, and while I had an amazing time working on Curated, and other email related things this anniversary couldn't come at a better time because I have a little announcement to make. As of this week, I am now again an independent developer working for myself and so, iOS is back to being 100% of what I do! 🎉🎉🎉
So what are my exact plans? I don't want to make too many firm promises as I'd rather let things happen naturally and be able to say yes to things as they appear, which is something I haven't been able to do in quite a while. However, I do have some plans in progress, and there will even be a (very) small announcement of something right here, next week, so keep an eye out for that!
As part of this change, I'll also be going back to being the sole author of iOS Dev Weekly. I'd really like to say a huge thank you to both Evan and Vicc. They have been an enormous help over this last year and both brought fresh new perspectives on the iOS world. Thank you both, it's been wonderful working with you.
Sorry this turned out to be so long! Let's get on with the important stuff... The links!
Such a fantastic event this week. As predicted by all of the rumours, we got everything at once including the new iPad which was a little surprising. It was such a great keynote though, even the 3rd party demos felt slightly more bearable this time.
The biggest announcement for me was the TV and tvOS, finally! I've been speculating and wishing for a TV based platform for years and it didn't disappoint. From a first look, it's everything I was hoping for. It's also great news that it's not a huge departure from "standard" UIKit and I'm sure we'll see some fantastic apps moving across fairly quickly.
There are some interesting limitations of the platform though which were at least partially responsible for some of the features of iOS 9 announced at WWDC. For example, apps on the TV have no local storage and binaries are limited to 200Mb which makes technologies like App Thinning and On Demand Resources essential. There's also plenty of APIs missing from tvOS, including no support for WebKit which is really quite surprising.
Possibly the best announcement from the event was that Apple are going to be allowing developers to order and receive Apple TV hardware before the general public. 🎉 I'm sure you've already done so but if you haven't, you can register for a chance at a device here. I wonder if this is going to follow for more hardware launches in the future?
There's lots to learn of course and I'm sure there'll be plenty of links over the next weeks and months. But for now, as always, the best place to get started is the Apple tvOS Documentation. Off you go!
Terrible news yesterday if you're using Parse for your app's back end. They have announced that the service will be shutting down next year, and I must admit I'm a bit surprised. There's no explicit reason given for the closure but if Facebook couldn't make a service like this work, that's not a great sign for the other companies with similar offerings.
It's always a tricky balance between using a BaaS platform like Parse, or building everything yourself. We're all aware that any service we rely on could potentially go away at any time but there is none more disruptive than your entire back end! On the other side of the argument, you could spend years building everything you need from scratch and completely custom, then have the app not gain any popularity and have it all wasted. It's a tricky problem and there's no right answer.
The only good news here is that the closure period is generous. You've got a year to get your app migrated to something else. There's also a migration tool to MongoDB and even an open source implementation of the Parse server. It's missing features like the dashboard, but once you've got over the bad news at least there's a plan to be made.
So, alternatives? There's CloudKit of course and there's a list of other alternatives also being put together. Or, maybe it's time to build that custom back end?
Obviously for successful apps, they will start this migration straight away and get over to some other solution. That's a much harder decision for a small/less popular apps. Migration of any kind will take significant work and I'd imagine this will kill off quite a few apps when it happens.
Full disclosure: Parse have previously been a sponsor of iOS Dev Weekly on multiple occasions. As far as I know, it wasn't that which caused them to shut down though! 😃
Congratulations if you got lucky in the WWDC lottery! I won't be at the main event this year, but I will be in the city 🎉 which gives me a great excuse to talk about all of the other wonderful events that are going on that week.
First up, as always is the ever reliable AltConf. There will be live streams of the Keynote and State of the Union talks, then it's straight into community talks & sessions for the rest of the week. Oh, and if you fancy speaking there's also a call for speakers open at the moment. Tickets are available right now.
Taking a slightly different approach, there's try! Swift also making an appearance in San Jose. It's only a one day event, but it's an interesting one. Starting with a panel discussion on Swift it then goes into a hack day contributing to the language. If you've always wanted to get started with the process of developing Swift itself, you should definitely earmark Friday for this event. Tickets are also already available.
Finally, if you're more interested in the design side of things then Layers is also returning. No speakers or tickets available yet but there's an email list (and a simply stunning display of CSS) on the page so get yourself down on that list if you're interested!
Did I miss any other conferences in San Jose that week? I know there are lots of other events, but I'll cover those closer to the time. I'll tweet any other conferences I missed over at the iOS Dev Weekly Twitter.
Let's talk a little about Marzipan.
Naturally the last few weeks have been full of speculation about what it means for future versions of both iOS and macOS. Is this the start of a transition to ARM based Macs or touch screen "laptop" style devices? I'd say both of those are quite possible in the next few years. Is this the beginning of the end for AppKit? Maybe, eventually? Could AppKit eventually host UIKit views rather than being completely separate? Possibly! Will UIKit be extended to include more laptop and desktop exclusive controls? I'd say this is very likely.
Then, what about that rumour from the end of April of a new declarative UI framework? If Apple is putting all of this effort into UIKit on macOS is that rumour automatically false? Absolutely not. I'd say that even if there is a completely new, declarative framework in development somewhere inside Apple that it's quite likely that the things it produces will still be made out of UIViews. If anything, Marzipan is a really good sign that macOS might be able to join in with the declarative party, if the declarative party ever actually happens.
I also think that the work that people like Steve Troughton-Smith, Guilherme Rambo and many others are doing to uncover what Marzipan is as of today is fantastic. I'm also really glad they are doing it, but just remember that everything we have right now is based on a ten minute announcement on stage and some bits that are in early beta.
I'm personally just trying to keep in mind that we are more than a year away from version 1 of what might partially resemble what we are seeing as a result of spelunking these betas. I'm excited by what's coming, but I'm also not going to spend a huge amount of time thinking too hard about what s being dug up today. It's just too early. ⏳
What a week! Anyone would think this was WWDC week, not the week before which is usually pretty quiet.
My plans have changed a little over the last few weeks and in the end I am going to be in San Francisco for WWDC this year! In fact, as this email is being sent I'm on my way. I hope to meet plenty of you out there, as usual. Please do say hi if you see me!
I'm not going to make a list of what we may or may not see announced next week, but I am going to make one prediction which is outside of the obvious things like new versions of iOS, OS X/macOS and Xcode. I think there's a good chance that we'll see Apple announce a Swift Playgrounds app for iOS which will ship alongside 3.0 later this year. This won't be a full blown Xcode by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be a step towards it.
There's several good reasons that Apple might do this, and why it might be this year:
It may not happen, but it feels like the time might be about right. So, maybe!
You’ve almost certainly seen the rumour this week about a potential cross-platform AppKit replacement code named Marzipan. It all started with this article by Mark Gurman and while he's had great success with predictions the past, let's just keep in mind that everything that is being written on this subject this week is based on one article which is nothing more than a rumour.
That said, the rumour does fit well with my thoughts on the future of macOS. I’ve talked several times here about how I believe we’ll eventually see iOS in some form on a device with a form factor more like a traditional laptop/desktop, and if true, this is a step towards that potential future.
If the default development environment for tomorrow's macOS uses iOS compatible frameworks, then it opens the doors to an eventual retiring of macOS without having to abandon all of the amazing software on the platform. What happens to AppKit if we get to that point? It’s probably going to go the same way as Carbon, but don’t worry too much about that because if that happens (and it’s still a huge if) it’ll be many, many years away. Will any transition be a lot of work for macOS developers? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? I'm not sure that can be answered yet but I think there's a very bright future for Mac software that becomes possible in a future where this happens.
My main disappointment this week though has been the hugely negative reaction to this on Twitter. Most complaints focus on sustainability of macOS software with fears of customers being conditioned by universal iPhone/iPad apps to then have an expectation of getting the macOS app bundled in with their $0.99 purchase. Sustainability for small software businesses is a huge issue, but when we have been bemoaning the lack of attention that the Mac has been getting for so long, to immediately treat something like this (which, if true, shows an unbelievable commitment to macOS software) so negatively seems crazy. Are we ever happy?
I'm personally excited about the possibility of this rumour being true and for the future of the Mac if it is.
As usual, iOS Dev Weekly will be taking its annual break next week for the holidays. I hope you all also manage to take some time away from your computers to spend some time with friends and family and I'd like to thank you all for continuing to read what we publish here every week! Happy Holidays and here's to a great 2018! 🎅
You may know that I usually take a one week break over the holidays, but as I mentioned last Friday this year is a little different and you're getting an email.
However there's no news articles, no code links, no sponsor, no business or design sections, and no "And Finally…". Wait... Actually, there is an "And Finally…", in fact this issue is all about "And Finally…". 🎉
The most popular link in this newsletter is almost always the "And Finally…". I remember talking to someone in traditional email marketing at a conference once and they nearly fell over when I told them that the very last content link at the bottom of a long email was consistently the one with the highest number of clicks! 😂
I do remember why I started adding it to the end of each issue though. While iOS development links are interesting, they can sometimes be a little dry. Of course the primary purpose of this newsletter is to educate, but I do remember thinking that it would also need to be occasionally entertaining if it were to become popular.
During my childhood, there was a show on local TV called Granada Reports. It was a regional news programme which could also be a little dry, so they always ended with a lighthearted item to brighten up the end of the show. They would introduce the segment by starting the first sentence of the story with "And finally…" and it was a well loved feature of the show (a dramatisation of this segment even appeared in a movie). 😂
That was the idea behind adding the "And Finally…" link to the end of each issue of this newsletter. It was intended to be something to either make you smile or give you something entertaining to read in addition to the more serious content.
So, today's newsletter is a tribute to my favourite "And Finally…" links from 2018. Happy New Year everyone, and let me know if you enjoyed this issue and I'll maybe do it again next year. 👍