JAOO iPhone Dev Days 2009 Zürich

Last week’s JAOO iPhone Dev Day was a big success. Featuring Raven Zachary, Alex Cone, Jonas Schnelli, Patrick Bönzli and Patrick Linskey and yours truly, the event gathered many attendees interested in the capabilities of the iPhone for their businesses.

This is a small review of the event, organized by the incredible teams of Trifork and Keynode with links to the material I’ve provided in my own presentations.

Raven Zachary needs no introduction. Known by the masses as the “Obama iPhone App Guy”, he’s a brilliant entrepreneur who’s jumped onto the iPhone wagon without restrictions. His company in Portland, Oregon, provides not only iPhone app development services, but also marketing and business information for companies in the field. His presentation was insightful, interesting and fun; Raven has a unique style for presenting data and he captured the audience with incredible information. His presentation provided a unique and broad perspective to the whole market, preparing the audience for the more technical presentations later.

Jonas Schnelli is a dear friend of mine, founder and CEO of Include7. He followed Raven on stage, talking about the all-time famous SBB iPhone Application. Jonas talked about how he came up with the idea (as you can imagine, he solved his own travel needs, which is the best way to start a project anyway) and how he developed a business relationship with the Swiss train company. He also provided 5 fundamental tips about iPhone development, coming from an experienced iPhone developer, thus closing a brilliant session with lots of interesting details.

Jonas also showed a new open source project his company is creating, an XML-based DSL used to generate complex user interface interactions on the iPhone, which certainly looks promising.

Alex Cone is the founder of the iPhone Dev Camps, and he has been working with NeXT and Apple technologies for almost 20 years now: he knows Cocoa as if he had coded it himself. He has even worked in the iTunes Store team at Apple! He provided a thorough insight on the architecture of iPhone applications: code organization, the use of notifications versus delegation, and many other interesting subjects related to the creation and maintenance of big Cocoa Touch projects. All in all, an amazing presentation which closed an exciting morning.

His visions are extremely interesting, and not only because the word “architecture” sounds strange in the context of small mobile apps: software is software, and architecture is key for quality, maintainability and happy developers.

After lunch I had the pleasure of giving a talk named “10 Commandments for iPhone Software Development”, a tongue-in-cheek presentation about do’s and dont’s for creating long lasting, best-selling applications, both from a development and design points of view. I hope everyone enjoyed it! You can find below the slides of the presentation I used. Interestingly, this presentation has been featured last week on SlideShare as one of the most popular ones on Twitter!

Right after came Patrick Linskey, who provided the audience with a first hands-on tutorial about how to build an iPhone application in 45 minutes. Great stuff, particularly given that most of the people in the audience were new to the platform, and his introduction showed how to add features using both Xcode and Interface Builder, highlighting the most important elements of the workflow.

Finally, Patrick Bönzli from netcetera talked about continuous integration on the iPhone.

Finally, Alex Cone and I split the audience in two, featuring two simultaneous hands-on tutorials on creating iPhone applications. Alex undertook the task of providing an excellent advanced tutorial, while I guided my audience into creating their first iPhone application. Unfortunately, the task took longer than expected, but you can find the final application, including the complete step-by-step log, in the Backlog project in Github. Feel free to clone the project, explore the log, and see how an simple application can be created in just a couple of hours.