Takeaways from Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote
June 5th was a big day. Not only was it my birthday, but I was fortunate enough to celebrate it in San Jose, California at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2017). If you’re an iOS developer or an Apple nerd, it is the biggest and most important conference of the year. Apple shares what the company has worked on over the last year, often announcing exciting new hardware and software updates.
This year was a big one for iOS. Along with other critical updates announced at WWDC 2017, here are some of the most relevant announcements for our app development team.
- Refactoring – The update to Xcode 9 now allows for refactoring, and it’s kind of a big deal. Refactoring refers to restructuring existing code in a way that doesn’t change its external behavior, yet improves its internal structure, making it cleaner and more agile. This new system makes it easier for developers to apply changes across an application.
- Debugging – No longer do developers need to tether a device to a computer using a USB cable for testing apps. Instead, wireless debugging brings the deployment of apps to an iPhone or iPad over a Wi-Fi network instead.
- Source control – Xcode 9 now integrates with GitHub, meaning you can access a code repository in Xcode. You can browse commits, readme files and source code – all in Xcode.
- Runtime sanitizers – Runtime sanitizers are tools to help you find errors that occur during app runtime. Another helpful tool to make the development process better!
- Markdown editor – An all new editor is fast and structure-based, allowing you highlight and navigate your code. It offers a nice boost in productivity and makes life easier.
- ARKit – Apple realized the importance of augmented reality (AR) and how usable the tech can be. This technology isn’t only for games. The possibilities are endless. We’re very excited to see new projects brought to life with ARKit!
- Core ML – Everyone was buzzing about machine learning (ML) at WWDC. Believe it or not, it’s integrated in more things than you might realize. For example, it’s how Facebook knows to recommend a suggested fan page. Now you can incorporate machine learning into your own applications.
- Drag and Drop – Apple made a big deal about Drag and Drop at WWDC. Especially with the release of their new iPads, interacting with a tablet or iPhone is becoming more and more like working on a laptop. Should be fun to incorporate this new functionality in our apps.
- File providers – Again, another new functionality from Apple that makes your iPad and iPhone more like a desktop computer. With file providers, you can organize and store files on your mobile device like you do on your MacBook.
Without getting too technical, the new version of Swift 4 (Apple’s programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS) brings us new features like faster and easier to use strings, codable protocol and many more modern changes, while shortening build times and reducing the size of app binaries.
Apple also announced substantial changes to the App Store at WWDC 2017, not to mention the HomePod, iMac Pro, iPad Pro and new iOS 11, MacOS, watchOS and tvOS. Just reading that list is overwhelming. Thankfully Apple records video of most sessions, so you can view them later or catch up on what you missed. We are already test driving some of the new announcements like iOS 11, and we can’t wait to try out the new functionality in our apps.