Devs dish on what’s hot about iOS 8, OS X Yosemite and Swift


Devs on the street

SAN FRANCISCO -- While Apple watchers tuned into last week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote for a look at where the company might be headed, coders at the annual convention were getting a look at the current state of the art when it comes to the company's software.

Cult of Mac asked developers from around the world who were in town for WWDC (or its indie sibling, AltConf) what they thought about changes coming in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. We also asked them about their favorite apps as well as their views on Swift, the new programming language Apple introduced at WWDC. Get their takes in the gallery above.

Aaron Hillegass, Atlanta

What he does: Co-founder of Big Nerd Ranch and author of books on Objective-C, iOS and Cocoa.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: "They aren't terribly exciting releases. I think this WWDC is more about making things better for developers."

On Swift: "I am a huge fan of Objective-C, but it's great to see some of the conventions codified into a language and enforced by a compiler."

Favorite app: OmniGraffle. "It is a flawless tool for creating great diagrams."

A.B. Vijay Kumar, Bangalore, India

What he does: Developer for IBM India who works on enterprise apps for automobile industry clients.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Most excited about Continuity, which will offer "seamless integration between devices," and the awesome SDKs for HealthKit, CloudKit, Swift, Xcode enhancements, Playgrounds, 3-D view hierarchy interface builder, Camera and Touch ID.

On Swift: "Loved it -- much easier than Objective-C."

Favorite app: Flipboard and Monument Valley -- "a very peaceful game" that is completely different.

Hilmar B. Olafsson, Reykjavík, Iceland

What he does: Developer for mobile games company Plain Vanilla. Worked on QuizUp.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: OS X's new Spotlight search; in iOS 8, "a lot of stuff looks promising, especially from a developer standpoint: Swift Playgrounds, TestFlight integration, etc."

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Foursquare, Facebook Messenger, Uber, RunKeeper.

Nick Dalton, Evergreen, Colorado

What he does: App entrepreneur, developer and mentor. Worked on apps for Chipotle, Zinio.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Most interesting part? Handover and Extensions. Also interested in all of Apple's new frameworks for developers. "We won't see the results of this for many months or years," he said.

On Swift: "Always good for the brain cells to learn a new language."

Favorite app: Odyssey Translator, which helps you learn foreign languages. "It gives you a feel for the language and guides you to learn it."

Michael Petruzzo, Los Angeles

What he does: iOS developer and co-founder of Slight. He's worked on Slight, Grandview and Launchwrite (for Mac).

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Yosemite is "absolutely beautiful on a Retina display." When it comes to iOS 8, he's "extremely pleased that group chats in iMessage are being more considered."

On Swift: "I wasn't planning on learning another language this year but I'm stoked. Apple is going full-court-press on the platform."

Favorite app: Tinder. "They cracked social discovery. It validates a new behavior."

Dave Verwer, Manchester, England

What he does: iPhone and iPad developer and trainer who publishes IOS Dev Weekly.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Extensibility and sharing changes are "quote long-awaited!"

On Swift: Apple's new programming language lowers the barrier to entry for new iOS developers. "Building a platform for the next 10 years!"

Favorite app: Echofon – a "simple and reliable Twitter client."


Michael DiStefano, Portland, Oregon

What he does: iOS developer at Simple. Worked on Japanese vocabulary app Goi.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: CloudKit "lowers barrier to entry to server-backed app" and touch ID for third-party apps. "If I never have to login again I'd be super-happy."

On Swift: "Brings us all (sort of) back to the same level" and offers an "opportunity to develop new conventions with [an] understanding of mobile that wasn't available when Objective-C was created."

Favorite app: "Active diary" app Moves – "simple interface to very useful and 'delightful' app."

Andrew Stone, Albuquerque, New Mexico

What he does: Founder and chief software engineer at Stone Design. Worked on music app Bandojo, Twitter client Twittelator and page-layout app Create.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Best new feature? Swift! "I hate emailing myself."

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Words With Friends – "a game that requires the brain!"

Patrick O'Neill, Huntington Beach, California

What he does: CEO of Olloclip, maker of macro and telephoto lenses for iPhone and iPad.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Manual control of camera, which lets iPhoneographers set things like exposure, shutter speed and focus, is "going to give the user a lot more fine control over how their pictures look."

Favorite app: Instagram – "so easy to use."

Kru Majithiya, Melbourne, Australia

What he does: Developer at Gridstone. Worked on Vulhunter, an iOS app that checks for security vulnerabilities.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: The new Playgrounds functionality in Swift will make it much easier to test programming logic. "Build, run, build, run – that process will take you hours," he said, but Playgrounds will cut that time.

On Swift: See above.

Favorite app: Flipboard is a "great place to get all the news."

Ivan Ablamskyi, Kiev, Ukraine

What he does: Founder and CEO of Coppertino, maker of Mac music player Vox.

On iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite: Handoff is a "cool feature to sync between iOS and Mac."

On Swift: Not excited -- it's "just another language."

Favorite app: HyperDock, a Mac utility that expands functionality of OS X's Dock.

What’s your take on iOS 8, Swift and OS X Yosemite?

Got your own favorite features in Apple’s latest releases? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

  • Stephen Hagans

    Is there no article here or…?

    • Lester Cabrera

      It has. Click on the thumbnails and you will see interviews from several developers.

      • Swanny246

        Took me a moment to work that out as well, considering the instruction to click through the slide show was in the very last sentence.

        Slide shows are a terrible layout for articles. I wish writers would stop using that. No one cares about the faces of the developers, lay it out in an article instead. Much easier to read.

  • Emilio Orione

    From a strategic point of view Swift is above all by far, for a tactical point of view major changes in current app will be determined by app extension and the accessory market will be revamped by health kit and home kit.
    What I really really liked is Swift (assuming access modifiers will come) and what excite me more in the short period is IPC API.

  • RyanTV

    I hate this new way you guys are presenting stories – having us click through different pictures. No good.

    • Telidon!

      I kinda like the content of these new-form articles but you are correct: the click-thru is horribly annoying. One more thing: soooo, there ain’t no such thing as a female dev?

      • Lewis Wallace

        See above re: gallery format @disqus_SUTZKdLTN3:disqus. About those female devs at WWDC — men definitely outnumbered women on the streets outside Moscone Center. We honestly tried to get some female coders for our “devs on the street” roundup, but they were apparently too busy soaking up WWDC to stop and get interviewed by us. Maybe next time!

    • Lewis Wallace

      Sorry you don’t like the new gallery formats, RyanTV. But we’re running far more original images on the site these days and galleries seem to work better for most users than stacking a dozen or more images on top of each other in a “normal” story format. We will continue to experiment, rethink and upgrade the website’s design — more changes to come.

      • Sadeq Farahat

        I hate Ads between them

      • Lewis Wallace

        Hmmmm … don’t know what we can do about that, @sadeqfarahat:disqus. Gotta pay the bills.

      • Swanny246

        Slide shows are fine when there is a point to them. In this case, no, there wasn’t much of a point.

        The subject of the article was the OPINIONS of everyday developers, not their appearance, their smiles or what they were wearing.

        If you have to use a slide show for whatever reason, it’d pay to at least make it more obvious. In this case, you merely buried the fact that the opinions were in the slide show, in a very short sentence at the very end of the article. Not user friendly at all.

      • RyanTV

        You could do it as a single story divided by images. The ONLY reason you guys are doing it in this click-through gallery is to present readers with more and more ads. Ads are fine, but not at the expense of usability of your website.

      • zionita

        Galleries do NOT work better for users. Just put them all on one page. We all know this is so you can get more ad impressions.

  • Erik B. Smith

    This was kind of a weird article for me. I’m not even a developer, but I was able to download Yosemite and think I could have typed more things about it than all those interviewed combined…

    • Nick_Germ

      Brevity is the soul of wit

  • Nick Sharratt

    Key things from this WWDC: Apple have made development for OSX and iOS drastically cheaper, quicker and more “fun” which will accelerate development on their platform giving them more attractive content and hence more reasons for people to buy their hardware. Small developers can now develop cloud solutions which can grow to establish a strong revenue stream before they have to worry about paying for the back end infrastructure. That’s huge. And then there’s the drastic change to view controllers etc which are all aimed at making apps able to work with variable screen sizes – which will then enable the larger devices, iWatches but perhaps more importantly, side by side multitasking (especially when combined with a secure safe way for apps to work together on docs/data without opening the platform up to the malware horror that Android suffers by having its primitive raw file level shared access for apps). I don’t think apple over sold this as the most revolutionary WWDC for a long time – it’s just that it’s going to now take 6-12 months for devs to start making use of all the new abilities before users will really see why all of this was really important things. I’m actually disappointed that very few devs seem to have grasped quite where Apple are going with all this to appreciate which the true import.

  • A. B. Vijay Kumar

    Thanks for featuring me

  • okGlass

    Thanks Lewis for featuring. It’s good to know opinions of other devs on WWDC14. Nice initiative.