Update for iOS 8 or Add New Features: Where Will You Spend Your Time?
The announcement of iOS 8 ushers in a host of changes toward how a consumer interacts with the iTunes App Store, as well as the analytics of how those apps are measured. However there have also been some major changes made with regards to how applications are developed.
One of the most noteworthy shifts is the move from Objective C as the primary programming language to the new Swift language. The integration of Swift means that in most cases, applications will require less coding due to the nature that it requires less default coding than Objective-C. Developers who are coming into Swift from other coding languages will also find a shorter learning curve than Objective C, because it contains similarities to several other languages. The Swift language also makes it easier to share code with other developers and within organizations, which allows for more agility when working on projects with shared codebases.
Another major shift involves the integration of Testflight, which was previously a standalone service, with the Apple Developer Toolset. This means that developers using the standalone service will soon need to find a new way to disseminate their beta builds to beta testers. In addition, with the new integrated solution, developers can now include hundreds of testers.
The iOS 8 announcement also showcased extensive updates in the frameworks available to developers. The new framework HealthKit works toward aggregating health data from devices like the FitBit, and that information can be saved and integrated with third party apps with the user’s permission. This can have a revolutionary effect on the healthcare field. Another example of a new framework can be seen in HomeKit that helps enhance home automation devices. Also added was TouchID integration which developers had been eyeing for some time. This allows developers to utilize the TouchID sensor as a way to authenticate users for secure data or a secure section of the app. And finally, while CloudKit may still be a bit away from being fully meeting the industry standard, it still serves as a great way to integrate prototypes, concepts, and server infrastructure with little effort. In addition, other updates included updates to photo functionality through PhotoKit, building high performance games through Metal and 3D scene rendering through SceneKit.