Our DNA is written in Objective-C

WWDC 2011 Wrap-Up

The 2011 Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conferences has come to a conclusion, with the final day passing by in light speed. My eyes are burning from being tired, my legs hurt from sitting and standing in line and my brain has turned into a mushy substance. Yet I feel like I have to sum up a couple of things I learned just so that I might anchor this experience just a little bit more  deeply in my memory.

Hey you, Apple PR guy, don’t you worry about me revealing any details, this post is mostly about the emotional side of attending one of the most useful and exhilerating … pardon THE most useful and exhilarating experience that’s available to a Mac/iOS developer. This being my first such conference I think I have found a couple of strategies that might severs as a reference in future years.

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On “Getting Sherlocked”

I learned a new term today, “being sherlocked”. At first I found myself slightly giggling, because we named the dog “Sherlock Holmes”. How can that be a verb?

This verb was widely used together with various app names. Instapaper? Sherlocked! Dropbox? Sherlocked! And even Apple’s competitors. Amazon/Google? Sherlocked. Doubly so.

Now I cannot stand if somebody tweets smart things without explaining them, so I looked it up. I could only find one suitable explanation. UPDATE: Actually there’s another one which implies malvolence by Apple. See bottom of article.

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WWDC 2011 Keynote

When I queued in the morning at about 4 I was around number 270 in line. That landed me a seat in the back third of the largest of the conference rooms of the Moscone Center, called Presidio. Which is weird, because Steve told us that 1500 people made it into the room. But hey, I was there, great success for my first WWDC.

Let me give you a quick summary of what we saw, as all of this is public knowledge and not under NDA. For the remaining sessions I am unfortunately bound by the NDA. Also – while I was on fire tweeting like crazy – I got stopped dead by Twitter which suddenly started to tell me that I cannot tweet any more as @Cocoanetics, I should wait for a couple of hours. So I had to switch to my personal account @OliverDrobnik to finish reporting.

The big three items to be discussed had been already pre-announced: OSX Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud.

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Free Range

You will often find yourself working with NSRange parameters and variables, especially when dealing with strings. I stumbled into a problem that I think is an SDK bug, that prompted me to look at the header and find out what kind of functions are provided to us for comfortably dealing with NSRange.

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Most Amazing Keynote Ever

Apple PR just confirmed that this year’s WWDC keynote will go down in history as the most amazing keynote ever, and your’s truly will be in attendance. Unfortunately I am not prepared for camping out to get in the main conference venue to make sure I can see that with my own eyes. Oh, how much I would love to be able to make it…

The four pillars of amazingness have been confirmed to be:

  • The Amazing Steve Jobs himself
  • Lion “Unveiling”
  • iOS 5, Codename “Fleeting Image”
  • iCloud, the amazing cloud service with the extra i

This effectively rises my excitement level to new heights. Apple had kept their iOS 5 plans really close to their chest to avoid Google stealing the coolest ideas and thunder.

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App Shoutout for May

Every once in a while (monthly?) I like to give a shout out to apps that are making good use of components that came from my store.

If you have any released app that I have not mentioned so far, let me know, but please only if you are allowed to do so. I hate receiving mails with information that I cannot publish.

Prepaid 3G Data for Visitors to the USA – Truth and Fiction

As a fellow iOS Developer you might find yourself in San Francisco for WWDC or maybe on assignment. If you’re like me then you cannot survive with a modicum of connectivity. Unfortunately AT&T has visitors jump through hoops and has loads of horror stories in stock to deter people from getting what they really want.

Thanks to my sponsors at Scribd I’m here in San Francisco for the second time this year and I would like to summarize what I have learned about your options when it comes to getting affordable wireless data for the short time you’ll be in the USA.

So far I have found two viable options, the easier one being with T-Mobile, the harder but ultimately more enjoyable one going via the main iPhone carrier in the US, AT&T.  Read more

Tons of Changes

Devin Snipes asks:

I’ve advanced in my iOS development and have officially started work on a client project. My client has requested tons of changes since I told them the application was complete. Should I keep doing these changes or just stop. I under-charged them, made several thousand changes and also felt like I over-worked myself. How would you deal with this?

My second question is related to the somewhat ‘legal’ matters of iOS development. Do you have a standard iOS development contract that you request your clients to abide by? If so, could you send me a copy or could I look over it to get some idea as to what I should do.

Both are really good questions. (“Good question” usually means that they don’t have a simple answer)But let me attempt to go back in my own experience and give you a couple of pointers as to how I dealt with exactly the same situation and what I learned from it.

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Design by a Friend

Apple tells us that apps are 60% design and only 30% code. So you want to have an experienced designer at your side that has some experience in designing iPhone UI and UX. But at the same time professionals can easily charge $100 per hour or more. A typical iOS app icon would cost you $500. All these price tags make professional looking apps seem out of reach …

Meet Christian Pfandler!

Christian, or CP how we call him, is doing his designing mostly out of passion, but contrary to established designers he has retained the flexibility of a one-man shop. Flexibility that reduces your cost as he is willing to scale his efforts for you from an eye-catching app icon all the way to fully designing an app.

It’s great to call Christian Pfandler a friend of mine worth thousands of dollars normally needed when you hire a designer. So all of our recent design work was done by Christian Pfandler who is frankly a total graphics geek and artisan. He will also start his own UI & UX design related blog soon at www.cp.tv.

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What Impact will new Web-Technologies have on iOS Developers?

Jamar Parris asks:

I’ve really been contemplating whether to focus my efforts on one versus the other as I’m still new to both technologies. What impact do you think will HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, etc have on Objective-C iOS developers?

The question web versus native is one that makes waves every once in a while when there is support for a new formerly native technology in browsers or when Apple rejects an app. Let me expand my answer a bit, as there were a couple of recent experiences that serve well to underline my opinion on this question.

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