Developing Perspective

#132: Embracing the Future.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Virginia. This is show number 132, and

00:00:13   today is Friday, July 5th. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started.

00:00:18   All right, so this week was kind of fun. On Monday, Google finally shut down Google Reader

00:00:25   about 3 a.m. on, I guess, Tuesday morning. And so that's made my life much, much simpler

00:00:31   since the weekend and the days leading up to it were a little bit crazy. Things are

00:00:35   settling down and that makes me excited mostly because it means that I can focus on building

00:00:39   new things, on focusing on that, rather than focusing on scaling and customer support and

00:00:45   those types of issues. Things are settling down and I can focus now on what I really

00:00:49   enjoy and what I'm good at building things. And so what I'm going to take up most of the

00:00:53   think there's today's show and talk about is some of the things that I'm doing to get

00:00:57   ready for iOS 7. So iOS 7 announced WWDC now about a month ago, I suppose. You know, some

00:01:04   amount of it's obviously still under NDA, but a fair amount of it has been shared publicly

00:01:08   by Apple. I mean, they have sections on Apple.com talking about iOS 7. There's a lot of information

00:01:13   out there, and just generally, you know, there's a lot of conversation. So some of the things

00:01:17   I can talk about, typically the things that I can't are some of the lower level, the API

00:01:21   changes, the functional changes, those types of things.

00:01:23   But in terms of just the overall things, this is kind of what I'm doing, I think I feel

00:01:28   pretty comfortable talking about.

00:01:30   So first, this is something that I think happens every year, every time there's a new big beta

00:01:34   coming out.

00:01:35   It's always the question of like, at what point do you put on your carry phone?

00:01:38   At what point do you use it?

00:01:40   How do you indoctrinate yourself and get used to the, you know, get used to using iOS 7

00:01:45   on a daily basis?

00:01:46   This is kind of the approach that I take.

00:01:48   I take a fairly conservative approach, I'd say.

00:01:50   Some people go that first day at WWDC when it launched, they throw it on their phone

00:01:56   and they just run with it and hope for the best.

00:01:57   I've always found that a little bit reckless in some ways, and not necessarily in an overtly

00:02:03   negative way.

00:02:04   If you understand the risks and the implications of what you're doing, that's a perfectly

00:02:09   reasonable thing to do.

00:02:10   But for me, I use my phone on a regular basis.

00:02:13   I use it for things beyond just checking Twitter and Instagram

00:02:19   or email and those types of things.

00:02:21   I use my phone periodically for things

00:02:23   that are very related to my work in terms

00:02:25   of getting notifications about server outages

00:02:27   or about all kinds of things that are much more critical

00:02:32   to what I do.

00:02:34   And so I find that I want to make sure that I always

00:02:36   have a phone that works well, especially when I'm out.

00:02:40   When I'm at home, it's a little bit different.

00:02:41   And so that's kind of created this pattern that I think I've been using, and I think

00:02:46   it seems to work pretty well.

00:02:48   And so I have, I got an iPod Touch specifically for iOS 7.

00:02:51   I typically wouldn't go out and buy one just for it, but this one, it only works on the

00:02:56   5th gen iPod Touch.

00:02:58   I had brought an iPod Touch 4th gen with me to WVDC hoping that it would work, but turns

00:03:03   out Apple says, "Nope, only 5th gen or above."

00:03:07   So I went out and just went to the Apple store and bought a 5th gen iPod Touch, installed

00:03:09   iOS 7 on that and did a restore from my latest iCloud backup of my iPhone. And so that means

00:03:16   that I'm in a nice position where that iPod now has all the configuration and setup that

00:03:22   I'm used to. I don't have to go through and download all the apps and configure them all

00:03:25   and do all that kind of stuff. So I don't have this inertia to overcome. And so now,

00:03:29   I essentially have a clone of my main iPhone that is available and useful to me that I

00:03:37   can use to get used to iOS 7, get used to some of the operations and how it works, without

00:03:42   having to give up my main iPhone when I need it. And essentially what I try and do now

00:03:47   is when I'm at home, or when I'm in an environment where I have Wi-Fi, I just use my iPod touch

00:03:52   as though it were my main phone, which has the advantage of allowing me to take it, you

00:03:57   know, use it, get used to the OS. If I need to, for whatever reason, I can pull out my

00:04:01   iPhone, you know, dig my iPhone up and start using it. Or, you know, alternatively, when

00:04:05   I'm out and traveling and I'm out and about, and in situations where having my phone and

00:04:08   having it work reliably is more important, I have that option available to me right away.

00:04:15   And so that's kind of what I've been doing, and it seems to be working fairly well in

00:04:18   terms of allowing me to get used to it, just to play with it.

00:04:22   You know, iOS 7 has a lot that's changed, has a lot that lets you--it feels differently,

00:04:29   is probably the best way to say it.

00:04:31   In terms of the-- the fundamentals are very similar.

00:04:34   But the feel, that thing that you can't really

00:04:37   tell from static mock-ups, is probably the biggest change

00:04:41   and the biggest thing that you want to get used to.

00:04:43   And so I find myself doing that just by getting used to it.

00:04:47   And at some point, you kind of get used to it.

00:04:49   It feels pretty natural and it feels pretty good.

00:04:51   But you have to spend that time inside of there

00:04:55   doing that experience and doing that work before you'll

00:04:58   be able to, I think, to really be able to effectively make apps

00:05:00   for it, which is ultimately my goal. My goal is that at the end of the summer when iOS

00:05:07   7 drops, I'll have major updates for probably all my apps, potentially some new apps, things

00:05:12   ready in the next couple of months that I can have that'll feel good and to be part

00:05:16   of that first wave of apps that are going to be hitting the store with iOS 7 and hopefully

00:05:22   getting the attention of the press, of Apple, of people like that who are going to be looking

00:05:27   for things that showcase iOS 7, who embrace the UI

00:05:30   and the aesthetic of it wholeheartedly

00:05:33   and let's Apple look good.

00:05:36   That's probably one of those things that is worth talking about,

00:05:39   that at the end of it, this is a very pragmatic part of it.

00:05:42   There's some amount of it, some of the discussion, some of the things people talk about,

00:05:45   where, "Oh, here's all these things that are wrong. Here's the things that aren't good.

00:05:48   Should we have buttons with round-recks around them,

00:05:51   or should we just have unlabeled buttons like we do in iOS 7?"

00:05:54   Those kinds of questions, they're interesting, they're useful.

00:05:59   But the reality is, and I think this is probably from a--

00:06:02   this is just sort of, as an independent developer,

00:06:05   as someone who sort of just does this,

00:06:07   the reality is whether I think it's a good idea or not,

00:06:09   I think that's the direction that Apple's going in.

00:06:13   And there's some amount of, maybe it's helpful,

00:06:15   you know, filing bugs or writing articles and things

00:06:17   and kind of pushing Apple a little bit.

00:06:20   But I think you always have to be starting

00:06:23   from a position of being comfortable

00:06:21   and embracing whatever it is they're doing.

00:06:22   If you want to develop on this platform

00:06:25   and to ultimately to fit in and to have Apple,

00:06:29   to make Apple look good,

00:06:31   which is ultimately what you want to do

00:06:32   because if you make Apple look good,

00:06:34   they'll make you look good.

00:06:35   And that comes back to you in a lot of different ways

00:06:38   in terms of being featured,

00:06:39   about having good access to people like Apple

00:06:42   and whatever it is.

00:06:43   You want to make them look good

00:06:44   and you don't want to call them out

00:06:45   and too aggressive in a way.

00:06:49   And so what I do is I'm just embracing it

00:06:50   saying, OK, this is what it is.

00:06:52   I'm not a designer.

00:06:53   Some of the things I hear people talking about

00:06:55   are things that I just don't really understand, necessarily.

00:06:58   People start talking about how the grid and this and that

00:07:00   and how this layout and this aesthetic and this ratios

00:07:04   aren't quite right.

00:07:05   I really don't know.

00:07:07   I'll just trust that whatever's in the human interface

00:07:10   guidelines is good enough for a lot of my purposes.

00:07:15   And honestly, one thing I like about iOS 7--

00:07:17   I think I mentioned this when I first

00:07:18   thought and my first thoughts from WWDC, the thing that I love about iOS 7 is that I think

00:07:24   it's very developer friendly in that way, because it's not--the kind of design that

00:07:30   it is is not the kind of design that is very artistic. It's a design that is much more

00:07:37   aesthetic and much more--I don't know, it's like having good taste rather than just needing

00:07:44   to be very artistic. And so when I look at these designs--and this is actually a site

00:07:48   that I'll recommend.

00:07:49   I'll have a link in the show notes to it.

00:07:50   It's called iOS7redesigns.tumblr.com.

00:07:53   It's a great little site that has people who've been--

00:07:56   it's basically just somewhere that someone's collecting people

00:07:59   who have been redesigning iOS 6 apps for iOS 7,

00:08:03   and they're just kind of collecting them.

00:08:05   Designers posting things on Dribbble.

00:08:07   These are the actual app designers themselves,

00:08:09   or people just sort of taking it on themselves

00:08:11   to kind of think about it and kind of do these mock ups

00:08:13   and these designs.

00:08:14   And the thing that happens when you look at them, which

00:08:16   which I've been making sure that I kind of follow these sites.

00:08:18   I've subscribed in Feed Wrangler, and I look at it.

00:08:21   Every time a new one comes out, it's

00:08:22   because it's good to get a sense of where people think

00:08:24   this aesthetic is going.

00:08:26   And the nice thing is it's very simple.

00:08:28   And simple is hard to get exactly right.

00:08:30   But simple is something that I think most developers are much

00:08:32   more capable of executing well at a high level.

00:08:35   If I was going to sit down and make a tweet bot in terms

00:08:37   of really nice, rich textures and shadows and effects

00:08:41   and all those kinds of things, I think I would really struggle.

00:08:44   It's just not a skill I have.

00:08:45   I can't go into Photoshop and do that.

00:08:47   Whereas a lot of what this is about is about--

00:08:50   it's just about drawing rectangles

00:08:51   and putting a color on them, or those types of operations.

00:08:55   And a lot of the rest of it is just the question of layout,

00:08:59   a question of spacing and sizing,

00:09:01   which I think is much easier to get correct.

00:09:04   Because there's much more of an intuition about that.

00:09:07   You can kind of look at it and say, oh, that's

00:09:08   too close together.

00:09:09   Let me space that out.

00:09:10   Let me kind of adjust those types of things.

00:09:14   I don't actually have to go in and draw any pixels.

00:09:16   I'm mostly just worrying about layout, about sizes,

00:09:18   about font weights, about font choice, which I think

00:09:21   is easier for me to do.

00:09:22   And that's kind of something that I've been enjoying.

00:09:25   And I think then, leading on to that, I think iOS 7 is going

00:09:29   to be a very interesting time.

00:09:31   I think it's probably going to be the biggest break in

00:09:37   development, I think, up until-- since the original SDK

00:09:41   launch.

00:09:42   And this is something that I'm preparing for.

00:09:43   and I haven't quite come up with a full strategy for, but I think I'm kind of getting close

00:09:47   to it.

00:09:48   And that is, I think I'm going to be developing, you know, essentially this week, or probably

00:09:52   next week, when all the feeder angleers settle down, now that I'm kind of starting off on

00:09:55   all of my next major updates, I'm going to be looking at it and saying, I think for all

00:09:59   my apps, I'm going to start a new branch, that's essentially going to be iOS 7, and

00:10:03   I'm going to start off assuming that iOS 7 is the only thing I'm going to support, for

00:10:07   the most part.

00:10:08   There's a few, assume a couple of my apps for that probably won't make sense, but for

00:10:12   most of them for the feed wrangler app, for check the weather, for those kinds of apps

00:10:15   that I have, I'm probably going to just say, okay, I'm going to go iOS 7 only, assuming

00:10:19   that that's what I'm going to do.

00:10:20   I'm going to go and implement it that way.

00:10:23   And then, you know, I'll run and embrace all the new features, embrace all the new hotness,

00:10:29   the new UI, the new APIs, the new background fetching, all the stuff that you can do.

00:10:33   And I'll see, once I've built that out, what it would take to retrofit iOS 6 back onto

00:10:40   that in terms of are there things that I can do to relatively easily re-add support or

00:10:47   not. And if I can't, that's fine. I'll just launch an iOS 7 app. iOS 7 only, whatever

00:10:52   it is, probably say October 1st is a good straw man for when I want it to be ready.

00:10:57   And I'll just live with the consequences. Because I think it's one of those things that

00:11:02   I worry about most with iOS 7 is being left behind, about being one of these people who

00:11:08   is too worried about the past, about Iowa 6, about supporting Iowa 6 users, about

00:11:13   kind of all those things going on there, and missing the boat

00:11:17   in terms of where everything's heading in the future.

00:11:21   Because I think it's pretty clear that Apple is putting a lot of effort and energy behind this

00:11:25   and it's not something that, like, "Oh, they're going to add support for our classic mode"

00:11:30   or something like that for existing Iowa 6 users.

00:11:33   And while I'm sure there are changes and there are things that they're going to do,

00:11:37   you know, things Apple is going to change over time in terms of pulling back some of

00:11:42   the aesthetics or improving some of the usability or whatever it is.

00:11:46   This is where they're heading.

00:11:47   And especially being a one-man shop, you know, being an independent developer, being just

00:11:50   myself, I don't think I can afford to spend too much time trying to worry about, you know,

00:11:55   add all the extra time and effort it would be to add backward support, you know, in general.

00:12:01   So I think in general I'm going to be focused on going iOS 7 only.

00:12:04   And that's a bit of a gutsy thing.

00:12:05   I mean, the tricky part of that, I think, that's most complicated is that the people

00:12:10   you'll annoy going iOS 7 only are less likely, I think, to be new customers.

00:12:15   Your new customer is more likely to be somebody who got a new device, someone who has a device

00:12:21   that's capable, and so on.

00:12:24   And so your new customers, which especially because of the way iOS sort of payments work

00:12:28   in general, where most of your money comes from upfront payment, are people who, you

00:12:34   If you're worried about getting those people, making those people happy, being on the latest

00:12:39   thing is great.

00:12:40   And having this fast, awesome, new, sleek-looking application for them is awesome.

00:12:44   The people who are going to be annoyed are the people who bought your app a year ago

00:12:47   on using it on a fourth gen iPod touch, and they can't upgrade.

00:12:52   And if that's the case, it's sad, and I wish there were some way to magically make them

00:12:57   happy.

00:12:59   But spending too much time on that person who has already gotten a lot of utility out

00:13:03   of the application, who is already--

00:13:07   who's already-- for the moment, this into some approximation,

00:13:10   who's already paid me and made use of it.

00:13:13   It's a bit complicated for me to put a huge amount of time

00:13:16   and energy into supporting them going forward,

00:13:18   in terms of rather than just focusing

00:13:20   on making the best experience for the next 10 years,

00:13:23   for whatever it is, for the next five years.

00:13:25   And so I think that's probably where I'm leaning.

00:13:27   And it's something that, if you have feedback or thoughts

00:13:29   on that, I definitely appreciate kind of reaching back out to me

00:13:32   I mean, just let it sort of go-- if you have blog posts or things about that.

00:13:36   This is the thing that I think is going to be the biggest decision that I think most

00:13:39   iOS developers are going to have to make over the next couple of months.

00:13:42   If you're building something new, you can go iOS 7 only.

00:13:44   Sure, it's pretty straightforward.

00:13:45   If you have a legacy, it's a weird question.

00:13:48   Right now, I think I'm leaning towards, you know, I'm just going to drop support and say

00:13:51   that this is a big difference.

00:13:54   It's as though Apple is releasing a new OS, not just like iOS 6 for iOS 7.

00:13:59   It's almost like this is this new thing.

00:14:00   is 7 OS or whatever you want to call it, that Apple is releasing and that I'm writing my

00:14:05   apps for it.

00:14:06   Because there's a lot of changes both aesthetically as well as fundamentally in terms of app structure,

00:14:11   the way network operations work and so on.

00:14:15   There's just a lot of changes and I think I want to make sure that I'm as the strongest

00:14:21   position I can put myself into is where I am totally invested in that and really become

00:14:28   an expert iOS 7 developer rather than someone who's an expert iOS 6 developer who can make

00:14:32   his app work on iOS 7.

00:14:34   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:35   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, complaints, I'm on Twitter @_davidsmith.

00:14:39   I'm on AppNet @davidsmith.

00:14:40   You can email me david@developingperspective.com.

00:14:42   And otherwise, if you have a great weekend, happy coding, and I'll talk to you next week.