10 Most Important Things Apple Unveiled at WWDC 2014
Azoft Blog Developer’s Recap: 10 Most Important Things Apple Unveiled at WWDC 2014

Developer’s Recap: 10 Most Important Things Apple Unveiled at WWDC 2014

By Alexey Minaev on June 4, 2014

Azoft Developer's Insights: 10 Things to Take Away from WWDC 2014 No new fabulous design concepts this time, but many new / updated features and frameworks that seem to make developers' lives easier and probably more fun. Not to mention, a new programming language has been announced that promises to make our lives more, well, interesting.

1. Swift, new programming language

Swift, new programming language for Cocoa & Cocoa TouchPhoto by Paul Mayne

Apple continues to woo new developers by lowering barriers to entry. This time they come up with Swift – “Objective-C without the baggage of C,” according to Craig Federighi, Apple's software engineering VP. This new super easy programming language allows developers to use all the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch features from Objective-C.

Developed with a strong focus on safety and efficiency, Swift is said to be faster to execute than Python and even than Objective-C in a few key benchmarks. According to Apple's statement, a single character in Swift can replace what used to be an entire line of code in Objective-C.

Here are the features Apple promises, more information at developer.apple.com:

  • Clean syntax
  • Inferred types
  • Variables are always initialized before use
  • Arrays and integers are checked for overflow
  • Memory is managed automatically – even no need for semi-colons
  • Closures unified with function pointers
  • Tuples and multiple return values
  • Generics
  • Fast and concise iteration over a range or collection
  • Structs that support methods, extensions, protocols.
  • Functional programming patterns, e.g.: map and filter

One more feature worth mentioning that comes within updated Xcode 6 is Interactive Playgrounds. It visualizes Swift code in real-time.

Xcode 6's Interactive Playgrounds visualizes Swift code in real-time.Source: developer.apple.com

Swift will use the same LLVM compiler and runtime as Objective-C, so both Swift and Objective-C code can be used for writing new apps, even one and the same app if needed.

Everything's ready for getting started including the beta Xcode 6.0. All is fine, but the new code looks... new.

func application(application: UIApplication, 
didFinishLaunchingWithOptions launchOptions: 
NSDictionary?) -> Bool {
    return true
}

System frameworks

2. CloudKit

For me as a developer, CloudKit – a framework for working with remote documents and data bases – became the most important of Apple's announcements. Mostly because all previous solutions did not, mildly speaking, function properly. Just to recall iCloud that did not work with CoreData as promised. Judging from the pre-release document, this time it’s the real thing.

3. HomeKit

Apple rocked boats by offering developers an opportunity to control and communicate with MFi devices in a user’s home right from our precious Xcode. Turn on the coffeemaker with your iPhone, no need to get out of bed.

4. HealthKit

The Big Bro is watching your health from now on. If you are working on a health- or fitness-related app or service, this framework helps. It allows to share data with wearables that gather user’s health information.

Boosting iOS gaming

5. Metal

The Metal technology gives developers deeper access to device's GPU, thus allowing to reach the maximum performance. Designed for Apple's A7, Metal offers outstanding multithreading, capable of simultaneously processing several tasks on GPU, shader technology and more. With this tool Apple intends to replace OpenGL – with no A7-support.

6. Scene Kit

First introduced in OS X 10.8, Scene Kit – a 3D-rendering framework for creating complicated UIs with a high-level, descriptive API – is now in iOS. With Scene Kit one can visualize objects via geometry, materials, and cameras description and add animation. 3D physics engine comes along.

7. Sprite Kit

Apple pushes the boundaries of its game development ecosystem by adding support for shaders and lights to Sprite Kit along with integrating this framework with Scene Kit. Besides, a new editor for shaders and scenes was added to Sprite Kit which must save us some time.

And other nice stuff

8. Interactive Notifications

In iOS 8 you can just pull down a notification alert to respond without launching the app itself. If the screen is locked, you will see a pair of Accept / Decline buttons when swiping a notification.

9. Widgets

Yep-yep, now in iOS. If I got it right, third-party developers are now privileged to make widgets of our own. I have to be honest, I've been waiting for this feature for ages! All the necessary info here.

10. Shazam integration

Siri can recognise songs now. Minus one app, bye-bye, ShazamApp.

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Content created by Alexey Minaev