What better way to start the new school year than by going to a conference in New York City? With a couple of colleagues we headed to the big apple to attend Try!Swift. I must say I was a tad disappointed that the presentations were often targeted towards swift newbies. It would have been a good idea to have a separate track with advanced presentations. That of course doesn’t mean I didn’t pick up any interesting new stuff. Two highlights according to me were Dennis Pilarinos’ talk on Buddybuild and Craig Clayton’s on custom iOS notifications.

Buddybuild, a treat for small-scale developers

At iCapps we’re very pleased with the test server we are using - Jenkins fyi - but for all small-scale developers out there, buddybuild might be a better fit. Last year I already gave it a go but I wasn’t too impressed. From what I saw at Try!Swift though the tool seems to have made a huge leap forward. I still have to do some serious testing, but I believe it can be a valuable tool for small projects.

The platform is still growing, but that is a good thing. New features are constantly being added, so it can only get better. What already stands out today is that it is very straightforward for test users to report bugs and issues. Through the tool you can easily share the app in an email to your friends or colleagues, and they can download it directly from the email. If they find a bug, a screenshot can immediately be shared via the app. On top it’s super easy to start building an app in this test environment. You basically just need a couple of lines of code - as little as 2 is enough! - and you are all set. To get practical: if your project is on bitbucket - it’s ready for buddybuild.

Enrich your iOS notifications: an undervalued opportunity 

Another presentation that caught my attention was Craig Clayton’s. As a self-taught iOS engineer he is clearly used to exploring all features and possibilities, not just the shiny new ones. A feature that was launched with iOS 10 but that many organizations haven’t really embraced or even discovered yet, are the custom notifications. In the past these could only include a title and text, but now you can enrich them with images and movies. If you swipe it open (like you do to quickly answer messages), the video starts playing. What’s more is that you can also customize the design, to really make your brand’s messages stand out.


Some examples:


Source: pluralinsight.com


Source: accengage.com


I haven’t seen this very often yet, and believe there definitely lie some opportunities in here for companies and organizations. Something to dive into!