Every year, millions of people focus their attention on one of the biggest developer event in the world: the WWDC.
This is the place where Apple share their brand new APIs and technologies in various aspects of iOS development.
Many APIs are so good that they deprecate the old ones.
Many techniques are so great that we can’t imagine living without it.
iOS developers from around the world leave the event feeling inspired. They start experimenting with new stuffs. They talk about it. They blog about it.
Everyday there are thousands of projects being built and shared across all mediums.
It’s hard to keep up with all of these information if we don’t invest the time and effort to actually research about it.
Today I will share the list of 5 things I do consistently that helps me stay in sync with interesting trends around iOS development. These are the things that I’ve been doing for almost a year now.
And you know what? It works.
Here they are:
1. Watch WWDC videos:
This is definitely the best resource to learn. These are presentations from the people who created the technologies. They know their product better than anybody else.
There usually is a live coding session to showcase what the new API can do and how to implement it in various scenarios.
Each video is around 20-60 minutes so it’s best if you can allocate the time at night or weekends to watch it.
All videos can be found here: https://developer.apple.com/videos
Note: Make sure to open the video in Safari instead of Chrome or Firefox. Apple video streaming only works in Safari.
2. Read blog:
Many of the great things I learnt over the years are mostly from reading blog posts. By spending a couple of minutes on a post, you know:
- What other developers are building. What their challenge is. And how they solved it.
- What programming ideas get shared the most. Are they good? Why? Can you apply to your own project?
- Or simply just to understand how to do things properly.
No matter how good you are, there’s always something you don’t know. There’s always someone whom you can learn from. Keep an open mind and you’ll learn alot.
What blog to read?
But these are the 2 major ones that I spent most of my time in:
1. Ray Wenderlich:
This one is too famous. You may have visited it at least once. It features various iOS development topics in extremely great details.
This is the place where I learnt about:
- Advanced design patterns like: MVVM, Viper.
- Reactive Programming.
- Functional Programming.
- Swift Generics.
- Some other useful stuffs.
Although there are still tutorials on advanced topics, RayWenderlich is best suited for someone who’s just getting started.
To be a great developer, you have to know the fundamentals well. And RayWenderlich did a very good job on teaching that.
2. Realm Apple
Realm is a database technology designed specifically for mobile. If you’re not interested in Realm, you can still find a huge resource for learning in their website.
Every couple of days, there will be a guest speaker coming up on stage, talking about geeky things.
By geeky I mean that the topic is extremely advanced. These people speak from their own experiences so the ideas they presented are quite practical.
The blog format is also very easy to follow. We have:
- The video with English subtitle on the left.
- The slide on the right.
- The transcription (including code blocks) down below.
Here are some recent Realm videos that I’m excited about:
Each video takes you around an hour to watch but it’s worth every minute.
This is most suitable for iOS developers with more senior level.
For the full list of blogs that I follow, you can take a look here:
Or import everything to your favourite RSS reader using this OPML file.
3. Use Twitter:
When I first joined Twitter, none of my friends were there.
Sometimes I find a few familiar faces but rarely do I see them posting any tweets at all.
Then I left.
It took me a long time to realize that I’ve been using Twitter the wrong way. And that Twitter is not like Facebook in any sense.
Twitter is unique because it only allows people to tweet no more than 140 characters.
Every tweet is short and simple. We don’t need to think too much. Therefore, we tweet a lot more often than Facebook.
Some people tweet once or twice a day. Some may post 5 to 10 tweets a day. Others even put up a tweet every single hour.
So how do we use Twitter?
It’s simple. Just:
- Follow interesting people, especially famous iOS developers.
- Unfollow unrelated ones.
If you follow enough great people, you’ll start to see the benefit.
Everytime you open your Twitter feed, you see something interesting. That helps a lot on giving you ideas and getting inspired.
What do iOS developers usually tweet about?
Well, they tweet about pretty much everything, just like any normal human being.
To give you a heads-up, here are some interesting tweets:
I love my new iPhone 7 Plus. pic.twitter.com/1ctQZQv9o9— Ayaka Nonaka (@ayanonagon) September 16, 2016
Did you know that in Swift you can add arbitrary underscores to number literals to make them more readable? e.g.— Nick Lockwood (@nicklockwood) September 19, 2016
let bignum = 1000_000_000
Don’t stress about which framework to use on your side project, in reality it’s just an expired domain name waiting to happen.— I Am Devloper (@iamdevloper) September 15, 2016
I swear if Apple released new emojis every iOS update, we’d have 99% of people on the latest version— Kristina Thai ⌚️ (@kristinathai) October 21, 2015
Just kidding, the last one is not that great. It’s just… you know, simply useful. 😜
4. Use GitHub:
GitHub is too familiar.
You must have been using it everyday to push code around.
But there’s more to it.
Look for what’s trendings:
The great thing about GitHub is that it encourages people to build and share their projects with the world.
There are thousands of interesting projects being created everyday. One of which might solve your problems someday.
But how do you know about it?
The answer is simple: follow trending repos everyday.
Visit the 2 following pages:
When you come across a GitHub repo that looks promising, don’t forget to star it. It may save you a ton of time in the future.
Also, when you give a star, it makes the developer happy.
And you know, happy developer makes better softwares.
Follow people on GitHub:
When you follow people, their activities will start to appear on your feed. You’ll see:
- what they’re working on.
- which repos they starred/forked.
If those repos are useful to others, they might be useful for you too.
5. Experiment on your own:
All of the above won’t work if you just sit there and watch/read things all day.
Knowledge is useless if it’s not put in good use.
When you’re learning something new, create a toy project and play with it.
After you’ve gained some experiences, start to think of ways you can apply it to your current project.
Many problems won’t surface in a tiny app. They may just appear until things get more complicated. So make sure to find opportunities to apply what you learnt soon, better in a real-world situation. That way, you’ll learn deeper.
Doing these things might take you about 1-2 hours a day, which is a lot.
However, the benefits of learning and experimenting are huge. Better make it a habit and have fun along the way.
Please note that these are just the things that worked for me. Yours might be different.
Please share with me:
- Do you have things you wanna add to this list?
- What do you do to keep up with this fast-changing industry?
- How often do you do that? Everyday? Every week?