iOSCon is a very relevant event for our mobile dev team who are responsible for developing, testing and improving the Ocado iOS and watchOS apps. The conference, designed specifically for iOS developers, is a jam packed event brimming with hot topics including efficient uses of Swift (the programming language developed by Apple), product design, accessibility and client web API technology, just to mention a few.
Our developers are working with these systems daily, so stepping out to listen to how others approach and implement mobile development strategies can in turn offer inspiration and a new take on the way we develop our own iOS apps. Attending events on relevant technologies also allows us to keep up with best practices and learn from others’ experience using specific systems. This means we are then better placed to continue building upon our own apps to achieve the best possible user experience and functionality.
As a company at the cutting edge of technology, it is fundamental we are open to new ideas and strive to continuously learn more in order to continue developing. Keeping up with modern techniques is critical and also offers a shake up to our current methods and practices, providing the fresh ideas that keep us at the top of our game.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to iOSCon 2017, we asked Ji Song (software engineer and iOS developer at Ocado Technology) for his top five highlights after attending the event in March:
Yusuke introduced Protobuf, which provides a faster type-safe web API solution. Protobuf is a binary serialisation format which provides a robust alternative to methods like JSON and XML, used for backend to frontend communications and APIs. Apple recently open-sourced Swift-Protobuf, a protocol buffer plug in for Swift. This talk outlined how developers can use Protobuf in service and client apps and outlined the potential benefits it could offer over alternative methods.
This talk demonstrated how test-driven development (TDD) can be carried out easily and efficiently within Xcode Playgrounds. TDD can be trying and time consuming, but using a playgrounds interactive environment can make TDD run smoothly. This method also offers an easy way to test third party frameworks. Worth a listen if you believe the playground could offer a fun alternative and make your testing… well, less testing.
Pawel illustrated the power of using generics in Swift, which allow codes to be reusable and readable. This talk offers both basic and advanced examples of generics in everyday use.
This talk gave an insight into how combining different levels of caches ensures a clean code. This abstraction isn’t possible using languages like Objective-C and Java, however with Swift’s strong type system it becomes a possibility. Using the Swift language feature also enables us to make the caches generic.
Dependency injection was named as one of the best modern practices at WWDC 2016, however there are few resources for those using Swift. Yoichi, the original author of Swinject, introduced two useful dependency injection approaches; dependency injection container and cake pattern. These two methods help us manage complex dependency graphs and also provide an easy way to test code effectively.
If you enjoyed these videos why not have a browse through the rest of the skillcasts to see what else this year’s iOS Con had to offer.
Holly Godwin-Thompson, Technology Communications
With thanks to Ji Song