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BLOG:Technology Trends of 2015 Part 1: Native iOS Development

Technology Trends of 2015 Part 1: Native iOS Development

As we begin the new year several of our Universal Mind technology leaders have provided some insight into recent trends in the various technologies we use to build solutions for clients. This five-part series will cover trends in Native iOS, Native Android, Javascript & Web, AngularJS and Hybrid Apps. First up, Native iOS!

2015 is going to be a great year for iOS Developers. Apple announced a new programming language named Swift at the last WWDC and eventually hit the 1.0 milestone in September. Now that we’ve had time to digest it a little bit, we’re starting to see some of the great things people are doing with it.

Swift is a fresh new language from Apple that combines some of the ideas from many different current languages to create a great new language to build your iOS applications in. Even though it’s a brand new language, a lot of its core will be able to be picked up by many more people than Objective-C did. On the surface, it looks a lot like JavaScript, which will help gain interest from a very large community of developers. One of the greatest improvements over Objective-C is that Swift is a much more concise language. Having to write less code will increase our productivity and hopefully reduce the amount of bugs.

While everyone has to start fresh and learn the new language, Apple has given us some great tools to get started. Xcode Playgrounds allows developers to write small portions of code and to see immediate results on the UI so you can learn how you might have done something in Objective-C, now in Swift. Swift also supports Read-Eval-Print-Loop (REPL) enabling developers to evaluate and interact with a running application or help them learn new language constructs by entering code in the console to see what happens. Adopting Swift in your new application can also be done in parts and doesn’t require a complete rewrite. Objective-C and Swift can coincide together in the same project.

After years of rumors, Apple unveiled its Apple Watch last fall with an anticipated ship date in the first quarter of 2015. Apple also just recently shared some information on WatchKit. The initial release of WatchKit information gives developers the ability to create a WatchKit application that runs on the watch using a small subset of UI controls bundled with one of your existing applications. The watch displays the UI, but when a user interacts with UI, the actions get sent to the paired device that runs code as an iOS extension in the background and communicates back to the watch to respond to the user action. At this time, there is no way to develop a native Apple Watch app that isn’t bundled with an application on the phone, but I’m sure this will change in time. That’s when I think we’ll really see some cool apps that utilize the wearable form factor.