Matthew Knott

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WWDC 14 AKA Operation Blow My Mind

Posted on Monday, 02 June 2014 22:08

If you're an Apple dev then today is Christmas. If you're an iOS Dev it's Christmas and a birthday combined.

WWDC keynotes are always a bitter sweet affair; as an optimist I tend to find them quite sweet, but the cynics then bring the bitterness. Focusing on what Apple didn't announce, or what they should have done instead of xyz feature that nobody wants. Sometimes they are right, and I'll be honest the last few years have been tasty morsels but have always left me with appetite for a little more. This year, the belt's off, trousers loosened and I'm out the back throwing up.

WWDC 14 - The Sleeping Giant

For me, I just haven't been feeling the buzz of late about WWDC. Past events have been a bit lackluster since Steve Jobs' death, so in some ways the announcements of this year's Apple developer conference caught me a bit off guard. The sheer magnitude of today's announcements will probably take a few days to fully digest, as a writer and as a developer.

Xcode 6 and Swift

For me, one of the biggest announcements was Swift, Apple's new c-derivative programming language, and the Swift Playground, part of the all new Xcode 6. Whilst we didn't see a huge amount tonight (or this morning if you're stateside), we saw plenty. 

Firstly Swift, a new language that is intuitive to write and will look familiar to Java developers, which I suspect it may have been designed to do. Swift works with all the existing API's and other code written in objective-c so migrating applications should be useful. This feels like an extension of the way Apple was going with the modules feature in Xcode 5, making life for the developer easier by doing more behind the scenes. 

Scene Kit

Sprite Kit was one of the few things that really got me excited in Xcode 5. I'll admit I don't really have the right mind for game development, my ambition always outweighs my ability, but Sprite Kit helped a lot of things make sense and so I got started writing games.

Scene Kit, although apparently simple to the casual observer, is a cavalcade of animated fun and wizardry for me, adding depth to an otherwise flat world. 3D modeling was a former passion of mine, the prospect of getting back into that and making games is so exciting.

Touch ID API

This one's been on my wish list for a while. The ability to identify someone based on a value presented to the application from a captured fingerprint is extremely valuable in education. Admittedly only one device sports this technology at the moment, but in the future, being able to present a child with the data they need without prompting for a password is fantastic, and will let them focus on work instead of getting caught up in the tangle of authentication.

Everything Else

There were just so many announcements I really need time to let them sink in (Xcode 6 is still downloading), but things like Metal and iCloud Drive (great price!) are going to be fantastic additions to an ecosystem that continues to be the most polished experience in tech and it's great to be given such amazing development tools to harness that technology.


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