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RNF hits Apple’s WWDC 2016 Day #1

This week I’m proud to represent RNF Digital Innovation at Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC 2016. On Monday I arrived at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at 7.30am to take my place in the queue alongside 5000 other iOS developers. The atmosphere was infectious and everybody eagerly awaited the morning’s keynote speech at 10am.

The queue itself proved to be an excellent opportunity to network with fellow developers. I was particularly interested in understanding the reaction towards React Native, a key technology to RNF and a powerful alternative to the traditional Swift/Objective-C development approach.

The keynote began with the usual breakdown of stats and figures about Apple’s platforms and apps. Several major new features were announced for each of Apple’s key platforms: watchOS, tvOS, iOS and now, received to a loud cheer, macOS (the operating system formerly known as OS X). The new features in iOS were of particular interest to us and how we utilise them to enhance the functionality of our customer’s applications. Particularly, opportunities for richer notifications and Siri integrations are exciting to us and we already have ideas about how we can use these new technologies to improve both our customer’s and our own products. I personally found the new iMessage functionality to be a little wishy-washy and the general developer reaction to this feature seemed to be one of amused bewilderment. Uncharacteristically for the usually slick Apple there were also several technical hitches during the live demos which dampened the impact of the ‘slam’ messaging feature.

The weather was amenable to an outside lunch… unlike in the UK, I heard.

Following the keynote was Apple’s ‘State of The Union’ presentation where they take a deeper dive into the current state of their platforms and the newer technologies they are introducing. There are several exciting new developments which I’m sure will benefit our development team. Following hot on the heels of the State of The Union was the Apple Design Awards. This is the annual ceremony where Apple recognises the achievements of exceptional app developers. I found this presentation to be especially motivating and inspirational as developer’s from all walks of life were commended for the outstanding apps and games they have developed.

I rounded off the day with an iOS meet-up organised by Buddybuild which was hosted at the offices of Slack. This proved to be another excellent opportunity to speak with like-minded developers. Slack is another essential tool in the RNF team’s toolbox and it was exciting to see where it is developed.

The keynote is just the beginning of this exciting week. The remainder of the WWDC 2016 is scheduled is jam-packed with lab sessions, technical talks and deep-dives into many of the new APIs and technologies being introduced across watchOS, tvOS, macOS and iOS. I look forward to soaking up as much of this knowledge as possible to share with the rest of our development team!