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WWDC 2021 – Pre-Conference Thoughts

WWDC 2021 is due to start tomorrow and once again it’s online only. It seems strange now that last year we were wondering whether an in-person event would be doable, and of course with hindsight the right decision was made. But not just because of the global pandemic – Apple touts inclusiveness as one of its core beliefs and the online nature of WWDC meant that it was the best “attended” WWDC in history (citation needed obvs).

This year I am once again very excited about WWDC week, last year’s event was brilliant and I was able to participate like never before. I’ve already taken part in the WWDC Trivia Party, and it was good fun again despite the technical gremlins that made it a text-only event for me this year! I’ve also signed up to a few other things during the week, which given the time difference I may not always be able to attend, but hopefully I can make some of them. There is a real buzz around the iOS dev community at this time of year and I love being part of it. One of my aims for the next 12 months is that by WWDC 2022 I can play a bigger part in it, whatever that turns out to be.

Next week I am mostly looking forward to the Keynote and Platforms State of the Union, desperate as I am for any news of SwiftUI updates and a possible sighting of SwiftData (if it even exists, which it surely must?). That takes care of Monday evening for me, and then it will be on to consuming everything I can about whatever is announced. Be that the Apple developer videos that were so brilliant last year, to all the various blogs and podcasts and videos that the wider community produces. With so much planned by so many, it’s going to be a busy week. I’m on UK time so I get to work all day and then around 18:00 the new videos will drop from the Apple developers and that’s another night gone!

My most important goal for this year is to finally release my app, ExerPlan, onto the App Store – it’s an app based around creating your own exercise plans. I have struggled for 2 years to get the app released, and it was only with 2019’s introduction of SwiftUI that I finally thought I would ever release it – yet two years later I still haven’t done it. I care less now about the completeness of the initial launch version as I do about the goal of launching – I need to prove that I can do it and move on from there.

To sum up; I am hoping that WWDC 2021 gives me the excitement and impetus to get back on track with ExerPlan and ultimately to help me towards my over-arching goal of transitioning to being a full-time app developer. And, er, SwiftData – I really want them to announce SwiftData please and thank you!

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WWDC 2021 Wish List

WWDC 2021 kicks off next week and there are a few things I am hoping to hear about. Here’s my wish list for WWDC 2020 for comparison.

  • SwiftData! The mythical beast of persistence, the talk of which persists. I am hoping for something that merges the functionality of the magnificent GRBD SQLite library with native Swift. Give me all out SQL control along with ORM-like technology for those times when something more Swifty is preferred. This post by Drew McCormack has some great ideas and more realistic expectations about how SwiftData will be to CoreData as SwiftUI is to UIKit. Whatever happens, I hope we get a top quality, SQL-based, Swifty new data framework that can handle syncing across all a user’s devices.
  • eyeOS! Come on, it’s the greatest name ever in Apple OS history and it’s not even been announced yet. This is something I hope to hear more about. Apple has been showing AR stuff for a few years now, but all the demos leave me underwhelmed. Someone holding an iPad while building virtual Lego is not where it’s at for me. I want to see some stuff that points to Apple’s wearables future, along with some of the indie AR demos that have been so captivating.
  • Continuous Integration! Will this be the year that the BuddyBuild acquisition starts to make sense to the developers? I’d really like to see Apple introduce a streamlined CI solution that enabled us to easily write-test-commit-deploy – the deploy should be straight to the App Store and take care of…well…everything from screenshots to certificates.
  • Home Automation! Recent oopsies with job adverts aside, I would love to see Apple take HomeKit and hardware on a level. I think some sort of HomePad is on its way, but perhaps a better move would be for Apple to open up HomeKit so that more devices start to support it. When looking for HomeKit plugs, for example, I can always find about 18 million Alexa/Google ones and 2 for HomeKit. I want to see fantastic developers like Aaron Pearce let loose on HomeKit to build us whole home automation apps that can run on either Apple or third-party HomeKit hardware.
  • SwiftUI! No question, SwiftUI is the best software release Apple has made since I started developing for their platforms. It is SwiftUI’s second birthday next week and I want to see it really living up to its potential. Let’s have an end to the annoying bugs and let’s get something that handles the basics of iOS apps superbly and simply. Sort out the issues with navigation, try not to introduce too many new Property Wrappers, and build on that with new controls that enable swift prototyping and development like only SwiftUI can. And integration with SwiftData would be amazing obvs. To clarify: I 100% love SwiftUI – thank you to everyone that has worked on it and made it what it is.

I am excited for the upcoming WWDC and have already registered for a couple of events over the next week or so. And maybe this year my post-WWDC buzz will last long enough to power me through to releasing my app – we can but dream!