We’ve recently attended NSSpain, a developer conference focusing mostly on iOS. This was our experience, in three different perspectives.
The main points that stuck out for me during the NSSpain conference were the increased focus on and need for testable code in App development. The pattern Apple has encouraged is not necessarily the best for writing decoupled, testable code and in turn employing controlled dependency injection. It seems it may be time for taking a different approach in order to attain these traits. Several speakers touched on this subject and had suggestions as to how these goals might be accomplished.
Also an eye-opening talk about app security made clear how in how many ways an app and the networked communication can be tampered with and that it probably is something we need to take steps to remedy.
I can’t single out any specific talk as there were a lot of good ones, which put together paint a picture of where iOS development is going, however the ones about Clean Architecture and security are the ones that made the biggest lasting impression.
Whichever one it was at lunch. Every day.
What I really enjoy about conferences is the atmosphere. You get to meet so many people that are in the same line of work as you are, and the amount of inspiration you can get is incredible. Probably every other developer attending the conference has had a different experience than you or does things in a different way than you do. You can gain so much just by talking to people.
I’ll shortly write about 2 talks that I found interesting.
The Design of Everyday Language Apps by Natasha Nazari (slides)
A talk about designing a language learning app. The talk was very informative and it drew attention towards some things that developers don’t usually give much thought to: making your app usable by people everywhere. A short story she told stuck with me. She was learning Chinese through a language learning app. And although she mastered 2000 Chinese characters, when she got to Taipei she couldn’t recognise most of them, because the handwriting used in Taipei different than the font in the language learning app she was using. It’s minor things like varying the font in the app which make a big difference in this case. I really enjoyed the talk.
The organisers also prepared a round of lightning talks and I was really impressed by Marin Todorov’s. Marin is a successful iOS developer, instructor and book author, probably one of the most appreciated in our community. He gave a talk about burnout. He showed that burnout can happen to everyone, and we need to be better at preventing it and at helping others who are dealing with it. Burnout is more common than we want to admit in our industry, and seeing well-known developers draw attention to it and talk about it will hopefully make us more aware of burnout and help us prevent it for ourselves and for our friends and colleagues.
The power of Swift is clearly visible everywhere on the internet, but now it is even more obvious since 90% of talks at conferences contain Swift code examples. What’s even more, serious talks about server-side Swift and people using it proves how fast is the language moving forward and gaining attention even from non-iOS developers.
What was interesting to me was that there were also quite a few talks showing various problems or issues without solutions - which seemed like a very good idea both for us to be able to avoid getting into a situation like that or the speakers who could get advice from other developers present in the audience.
Workshop and talk by Jorge Ortiz was especially enlightening and made it very easy to grasp a difficult topic like Clean Architecture and proper dependency injection in Swift. We’ve gained some great ideas and with some modifications we are applying them to our current process and projects.
Karaoke talks were a unique and extremely entertaining concept which I have never seen at any other conference. Very similar to lightning talks except for one major difference - the speaker did not know nor see his slides beforehand and had to come up with the topic as they were being displayed. This resulted in very funny and non-sensical talks with a bit of geeky developer humour.
And last but not least, it was in Spain - land of tapas, vino and mañana! ☀️🇪🇸
NSSpain was a great conference. What sets it apart from other conferences is that the city it’s in, Logroño, is the capital of the Rioja region, a world famous wine region. And the day after NSSpain starts the 1-week long San Mateo wine festival 🍷, where NSSpain participants can join the festivities and enjoy the local products and atmosphere.
Probably the best part about conferences is that when you get back, you just want to do things, try all the stuff you learned, play with new frameworks and SDKs, you feel full of energy, very motivated and very productive. We feel that our team has gained a lot by taking part in NSSpain, and we’ll try to keep the practice of attending conferences for the following years.