WWDC 2014, iOS8 and Yosemite
Im not quite sure where to start with this post given the number of new announcements made at this years WWDC. By far the biggest surprise was Swift, Apples new programming language (Objective-C without the C as they call it). In the past few days I’ve read though the ‘Getting Started with Swift‘ iBook Apple release, along with their ‘Using Swift with Objective-C book and I can honestly say I like what I’m seeing. I put together a quick sample app using only Swift and it didn’t cause me too many headaches. That said, overall the language appears to be much more powerful than objective-c thanks to the inclusion of generics, operator overloading, optionals and other such features, and so is far from ‘easier’ than Objective-C to both learn and use. I’m looking forward to seeing an improvement in the quality of apps over the coming years as a result of this new language.
Of course iOS8 was also announced along with a myriad of new features and developer tools. Having gone though the developer sessions, there’s a clear emphasis on auto layout, size classes and traits (a way of determining what size class you app is currently running in), including a resizable simulator. Apple is clearly gearing up for a larger screened iPhone this September and pushing for robust interfaces that scale well regardless of screen size. It’s also been pointed out that there may be a split screen feature on the iPad which allows the user to scale the width from 100% to 75 , 50 and 25%.
iOS8 includes a number of new ‘kits’ for developers including Home Kit and Health Kit which I’m really looking forward to digging into. Some new user facing features include iCloud Drive, the ability to view documents you have stored in the cloud, actionable notifications, including the ability to reply to text messages from the notification bar and a new keyboard that predicts what you’re typing. With over 4000 new API’s for developers it would be impossible for me to list all the new additions here but iMore have a great section on WWDC where you can get an idea of the scale of the new additions this year.
Hopefully I can find the time to write some open source code in Swift which I can share, along with updating my own apps to support iOS8 in the coming weeks.