We held a State of Swift webinar recently to talk about the recent iOS 14 announcements to best practices, challenges, and the community behind Swift.
We were joined by:
- Kaya Thomas, Senior iOS engineer at Calm: Kaya is an iOS developer, writer, and public speaker. She's the creator of We Read Too, a book resource app that features books for kids and teens with main characters of colors written by Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous authors. She currently works as a Senior Software Engineer at Calm.
- Daniel Steinberg, Author at Dimsumthinking: Daniel is the author of more than a dozen books including the best-selling books A Swift Kickstart and Dear Elena. He has written apps for the iPhone and the iPad since the SDKs first appeared and has written programs for the Mac all the way back to System 7. Daniel presents iPhone, Cocoa, and Swift training and consults through his company Dim Sum Thinking. Information on his books is available on the Editors Cut website. Details on his training and speaking is on the Dim Sum Thinking website.
- Vincent Pradeilles, iOS Expert at Worldline: Vincent started working on iOS apps back in 2011. For the last years, he’s been working at Worldline, where he contributes to building great apps for major French banks. He loves Swift and enjoys sharing about it on the Internet. Most notably, he built the framework KeyPathKit that implements a SQL-like syntax for data manipulation. He is also the person behind the Twitter account @ios_memes.
- And host Alex Logan, iOS Engineer at Sky Bet: Passionate iOS engineer & WWDC19 attendee with a history of success on the App Store, including holding the top trending spot in the UK. Graduated with a first class degree from Newcastle University. When not sharing with the community, I'm using the latest and greatest technology to build my personal apps, including a podcast player written entirely in SwiftUI and a popular catalyst app.
The webinar recording is available on-demand (for free) on our website. Check it out here!
Alex: iOS 14.1 GM just came out — of course, it looks like the new Xcode version is already available on Bitrise (which is crazy because I still haven't downloaded it yet). Do we feel ready? Are there any changes that you guys have noticed? I seem to think it's just the same as before just a little bit different sizes.
Vincent: That's probably it because we've had several sizes for a few years, so I think now the code is much more resilient than what it used to be. When the iPhone 10 came out it was like "oh my god we need to check every single screen" — I think now we are a little bit more relaxed and prepared for that kind of stuff.
Alex: Yeah, my first ever year as an iOS developer was when the iPhone 10 came out and I had a big massive spreadsheet full of apps that just didn't work anymore. We didn't know what a safe area was — I was the only one with the phone so I tested everything. That was not a fun time.
Daniel: Also, Apple has pushed us away from pixel-perfect for years now and I think developers now have caught up and designers are now accepting it better. The aspect ratio of the new phones seemed to be fairly consistent, they weren't off that much. If you're using auto-layout, if you're using Swift UI, I think things should adapt pretty nicely.
Alex: Not too long ago Apple decided to give us about a 10-minute notice that iOS 14 was coming out. So, how did you guys take it?
Kaya: That was very, very stressful! I think it was an exciting event, right? I was so excited and then, literally in the last two minutes, Tim said "Well, iOS 14 is going to be available starting tomorrow". I think my eyes bulged out of my head in that moment. I was not expecting that. We had a lot of issues with for example CocoaPods, third-party libraries, and getting things to compile correctly. On top of that, knowing the issues that we are already having with the Xcode betas, and then trying to make sure that the UI is and features are working. Getting it to compile correctly was a challenge, so it was a stressful 24 hours, I will say.
Alex: Definitely, I think it was the fact that we spent all this time adding all this new stuff like the fancy new menus, and then it was like "oh, by the way, I hope they're ready about a month earlier than you were expecting".
Alex: Did anyone get a chance to add any of the new features?
Vincent: We've been trying widgets, we've not put them in the app yet, but we've done the proof of concept, and we are very happy with what you can get. I think it's a nice way to integrate the app into the daily routine of the user and I think that's very interesting for many apps! We do banking apps and having interesting features about your account, how much money you have, that kind of stuff, I think it can have some real value.
Kaya: Definitely! We were able to get out on the com widgets. We did a first version where it was just all the fixes that we needed, and then we did a follow-up version a couple of days after that was that included the widgets. So, we were able to get those in, which was really fun! The lowest compatibility is definitely not iOS 13, so it was the first time using Swift UI in our app, it was really fun to work on.
Daniel: As a consumer, I've really embraced this from Apple, in iOS 14 I get rid of all my home screens and on my only home screen I'm just using widgets. I'm using the stack, I'm using Ciri's suggestions, and I really like it. It's really changed the way I use my phone and I don't have things buried 14 screens deep anymore. I like it!
Alex: I think it created an interesting paradigm because now you have to earn your right to be on the home screen. You're not just going to be on there unless your App icon is cool, or you've got a really good app, or your widget really stands out. Why would anyone have you there? They can just search when they actually want to use you.
More in this webinar
Watch the webinar in full to learn more about:
- Best practices/use cases to approach better debugging, identifying constraints
- Faster testing and measuring build time
- The Swift behind SwiftUI
- What’s New in Swift - the Swift Evolution
- iOS14 - tips/tricks
- Open-source & Swift