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! 🎅
iOS Engineer @ Issuu – At Issuu, we empower content creators through cutting edge tools, technology, and services. We exist to help creators of long-form, highly visual content build audiences and businesses. You will work on the Issuu products, along with supporting backend and infrastructure in a small, autonomous team of engineers, designers, and product managers to find end-to-end solutions to challenging problems. – Berlin Germany
Mobile Developer @ Bloom & Wild – We’re Bloom & Wild, the UK’s most loved online florist. We’re using technology to reimagine the experience of buying and receiving flowers, connecting people more thoughtfully to make sending flowers a joy to send and a delight to receive. In doing so we're aiming to become Europe’s most loved flower brand. Recently named as the second-fastest growing tech company in the UK by Deloitte – London UK
Senior iOS Developer @ Dr. Bill – Dr. Bill saves time for Canadian doctors by making medical billing delightful (OK... at least suck less). Join us and help lead our team as we accelerate our growth to dominate medical billing in Canada! – Remote, or Vancouver Canada
Senior iOS Engineer @ Argent – Help us reimagine the future of money and the web - putting people, not big corporations, in control. We're backed by Spotify and Slack's investors and aim to build the best product in crypto and fintech. – Remote (in Europe only)
Lead Application Engineer - SwiftUI, Combine, iOS/macOS @ LiveSurface – Build the next generation of LiveSurface products with a focus on SwiftUI, Combine and the newest Apple frameworks. LiveSurface is an industry leader in visualization and image creation tools for creatives. We blend clean UX, proprietary rendering technology and hand-curated content to provide realtime photorealistic visualization to our users. – Remote
iOS Developer (Swift / SwiftUI) @ Clay – SwiftUI + Thoughtful Design + Privacy + Complex Data Science = Clay, the better way to be thoughtful with the people in your life. Lead mobile development and work with a small, passionate team of product people building the most exciting new iOS 13+ product out of NYC. – Remote, or New York NY
Lead iOS Developer @ Atomic Robot – Atomic Robot has the best mobile development team in the City, and is constantly pushing the boundaries on what is possible with Mobile Technology – Cincinnati OH
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. 👍
The dust is settling on this 2FA change that I mentioned last week. So, now that everything is a little clearer here's a quick summary of what you need to be aware of:
I've had 2FA on my personal iCloud account for years now but I just went through and enabled it for my developer accounts (Yes, more than one and yes, it's a long and dull story 😂). I followed these instructions from Apple and they worked perfectly. The only thing I did differently was that instead of signing out of my main iCloud account on my phone, I used a new local user account on my Mac to do the initial 2FA set up on my developer accounts.
Finally, if there truly is some genuine reason you are unable to switch this on for your Team Agent account, there is a section titled "What if I can’t enable two-factor authentication for some other reason?" at the bottom of this article. I don't have any information about this at all, and I'd expect a tough conversation to get it done, but it sounds Apple may be able to relax the restriction on an account by account basis.
The new rule kicks in next Wednesday so make sure you're ready. 👍
Last night I was catching up on the week's iOS news and I found myself nodding along with point after point in this article on Apple's long term Marzipan strategy from Curtis Herbert. As I've said before I'm not expecting huge changes to Marzipan over what has been discovered over the last 12 months, but I'm definitely expecting some.
So far most of the criticism has been around things like platform fit, but Curtis makes the point that there are many things that are needed before that can be the top priority:
The real can of worms opens before we even get to worry about if our apps look at home on the Mac: it begins in just worrying about getting them to run. That means every framework we use on iOS has to be there on the Mac, in some form.
He's got a point, macOS and iOS have separated significantly over the years with so many iOS only APIs being introduced. He suggests that one focus of this year's Marzipan release might be something less susceptible to criticisms of platform fit, games.
To me games seem like they'll be the low-hanging-fruit of a v1.0 Marzipan rollout as they'll require the least framework surface area to support. Their AppKit support needs will be minimal too: keyboard/mouse support, a menu bar item or two, and boom(ish) you've got a native-feeling Mac game.
He's not saying that the Marzipan story will be entirely about games (and I also hope it isn't!), but that they may well feature prominently. I do worry that given how much negativity there has been in our community about Marzipan, that whatever they announce this year will only be seen as disappointing.
So what I really hope for in June is that Apple map out their strategy for Marzipan with a little more clarity. Obviously they're not going to give us any information on things like ARM based Macs, but that doesn't mean they can't let us in on the software roadmap a little bit. If platform fit is taking a back seat this year over framework compatibility and games, that's OK but it does mean the wailing and moaning will be deafening for the next 12 months if that's all they present.
They probably won't, but I can live in hope... 🤞
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what the folks in Cupertino have been working on all year! 🚀
If you're going to be in San Jose in person, there's something for every taste, and budget (as long as you ignore accommodation prices 😬). Whether you're going to WWDC itself, AltConf, Layers or try! Swift, you're going to have a great week.
Like I said in this week's opening comment though, WWDC week in San Jose is so much better if you meet plenty of new people. So, whether you join people for a morning coffee, at one of the morning fitness events (either official, or unofficial), at a live podcast recording (there are too many to link), at a party (also too many). Or maybe you organise an impromptu get together yourself with ConfFriends? If you're looking for a good place to hang out in the city, there's also a decent guide here. It doesn't matter how or where, just make sure you make the most of your week! It can be hard to go up to a complete stranger and say hello, but I promise that 99.9% of the time it results in a positive experience.
But even if you're not there in person, that doesn't mean you need to be alone! There are AltConf Satellite conferences in London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid. Or, if you can't make it to any of those, then there are all sorts of other "keynote watching" type events in cities all around the world. Enjoy the announcements with friends or make new ones, even if you're not in California.
Or, maybe none of that is possible this year and you're going to be following along completely remotely. There will be plenty coverage from the session videos, and on Twitter, but one site that I'll call out specifically is WWDC by Sundell. Yes, that's a new site, purely for covering the conference as it happens. There's already plenty of content there too, including an interview with me containing some of my thoughts about Marzipan and what I hope to see in Xcode 11. 🤞
Enjoy WWDC, and I'll be back next Friday with my take on it all. 🎢
Humbly Confident Senior Mobile Developer @ You Need A Budget (YNAB) – YNAB is growing, and so is our development team! We’re a software ecosystem that includes personal budgeting apps for web, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android phones. Our mission is to help our users take total control of their money—not just by using an app (if only it were that easy!), but changing habits and ways of thinking. – Remote
Swift Engineer @ WillowTree – At WillowTree, Senior Swift Engineers have the freedom to create products people love. You’ll collaborate with a cross-disciplinary team to build large-scale products for well-known brands. We look for team members who advocate for software engineering best practices and inspire their team to continuously learn and improve. – Charlottesville, VA
Senior iOS Developer @ Doist – Joining Doist as an iOS developer means you'll be joining a diverse, remote-first team of 60+ people who are distributed across 25 countries. You'll get to help create tools, like Todoist and Twist, that promote a calmer, more balanced, more fulfilling way to work and live. – Remote
Senior iOS Developer @ Float – Are you Float’s next Senior iOS Developer? As Senior iOS Developer with Float, you will lead the mobile development team to design, implement, test, and deliver in an Agile environment. Float designs and builds mobile products that make our clients’ workforces more effective. – Remote or Morton, IL
Senior iOS Engineer, Swift @ Starry – Tired of your monopolistic cable provider? Join Starry! We are a booming 5G internet company rapidly expanding to more than 20 cities and beyond. Our teams work hard to delight our customers with the best experience. – Boston, MA
Engineering Manager @ onX – Lead the mobile development teams at onX, a Montana based company with the leading off-the-pavement GPS mobile app! As an Engineering Manager, you will manage 10+ talented and fun-loving devs who take pride in empowering our customers to find their way in the wild. Our Engineering team is growing quickly and onX is taking our technology into new outdoor markets... come join the journey! – Bozeman, MT
Senior iOS Engineer @ Cochlear – Take accessibility to the next level by working on iOS apps that control and manage a users’ sense of hearing. Work with custom hardware and a strong focus on device security to build all-native apps that you are proud of. We're looking for someone excited about SwiftUI and Combine, and who cares about great product. Having a passion for test automation would be a bonus! – Sydney, Australia
Senior iOS Developer @ Fresh – We design Apple Award winning apps for startups and enterprise customers like Netflix and Facebook. Join our Swift development team and enjoy flexible work hours from wherever home is. – Remote, or Provo UT
iOS Developer @ Dynamic Signal – Dynamic Signal’s Employee Communication and Engagement Platform is trusted by hundreds of enterprise companies, including more than 20 percent of the Fortune 100, to modernize, streamline, and measure their communication and engagement with one platform to reach all employees, wherever they work. – San Bruno CA
Senior iOS Software Engineer @ pMD – pMD is a fast-growing, highly rated health care technology company rated 5/5 on Glassdoor and has been recognized as a Best Place to Work by SF Business Times, Modern Healthcare, and Inc. We're profitable, have extremely happy customers, and make up a team of people as talented and passionate as you are. We love what we do and care about doing good in the world. – Remote, or San Francisco CA
iOS Developer (Remote) @ komoot – Komoot is changing the way people explore. Our technology empowers millions of people to get outside and discover more of the great outdoors. If you’d like to help to build the future of outdoor exploration - we want you to join us! – Remote
Senior iOS Engineer @ Tally – Tally's goal is to make people less stressed financially and provide full financial automation to every one of our customers, for free. We've raised nearly $100 million in funding and have launched two products: Tally Cards to help people pay down their credit card balances faster, and Tally Save to help people save automatically and earn rewards. – San Francisco CA, or Vancouver BC
I was a fairly late adopter of Apple technology. At the start of 2006, I was a pretty frustrated manager leading a team of ASP.NET developers writing HR software. As part of that job, I headed over to San Diego to attend O'Reilly Etech 2006. It was an amazing conference and I saw Kathy Sierra, Bruce Sterling, Kevin Lynch, Ray Ozzie, David Heinemeier Hansson and a whole host of other amazing people talk. That conference, and the people I met over the next few months also changed the course of my career.
I remember two things stood out from the first few hours in the convention centre. A lot of people were using Mac laptops, and they all seemed to be using a text editor called SubEthaEdit to collaboratively take notes in real time during the talks. No faffing about with network settings, the laptops just found each other (I didn't know about Bonjour at the time) and a new cursor representing a new user would pop into the file. I was there with my Toshiba Tablet PC 🙄 and I felt like an absolute dinosaur. I had been thinking about buying a Mac for a while, but that was the final push I needed. That evening I went straight from the conference to the Apple Store, bought a MacBook Pro and never looked back. I quit my job a couple of months later and started a company.
So why am I writing about this? When I saw the SubEthaEdit announcement this week it brought back all those memories and reminded me of why I fell in love with the Apple software ecosystem. Innovative software, crafted with love primarily by small, independent developers. It was unlike anything else in computing that I had ever seen. That feeling continued, and in fact got even stronger with the early days of iOS development. In my opinion, some really rapid advancement of personal computing happened during those years. It's a real shame that SubEthaEdit didn't find commercial success, but it definitely found a place in my heart.
These days, the reality of having two very popular mobile platforms, and the difficulties of creating a sustainable business on the App Store means that we see less and less software that really cares about innovating with the platform in the same way it did in the early years of OS X and iPhone OS. It does still exist though and it still makes me smile when I see it.
So, thanks to Dominik Wagner for this new release, and for being part of the reason I'm even here doing this today. I hope you all go and build amazing software in the spirit of what I first saw in that San Diego convention centre.