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Hi, I'm John, iOS engineer from the Pairs team. I was happy to get the chance to join the try!Swift New York in behalf of eureka, and today I'll share my fun experience during the conference!
To anyone unfamiliar, try! Swiftis a community-organized conference for Swift developers around the globe. As a regular try!Swift Tokyo attendee, I had to say that try!Swift NYC is one of the most enjoyable and thought-inspiring among the conferences I’ve been to so far.
Strolling around Midtown New York on the way to the workshop and conference venues is a really great way to start the day.
Most tech conferences I’ve attended, including try!Swift Tokyo, are set in spaces where people are arranged more like a classroom. In New York's New World Stages, the presentations are held in literal stage theaters.
At first this seemed weird to me, but after a couple of sessions I realized the genius behind it: Theater seats are designed for comfortably sitting through shows for hours on end. I never had issues with non-cushioned seats in conferences, but I thought the UX brilliance of holding conferences in theaters deserves its own mention.
One thing I like about try!Swift is that the topics are not really constrained to Swift or even iOS/Mac development. They have always been scoped for the community’s interest and this year was no different. I liked most of the topics this year, but I’d mention my favorite ones below:
Personally I’d call this section “Multiplatform Swift” because Swift’s success in server platforms means capturing the desktop and native platforms as well.
Gopal Sharma illustrates somewhat humorously the state of fragmentation in Swift server apps, with informative benchmarks and insights that will definitely help teams make decisions wether Swift is feasible for them or not.
The biggest thing in try!Swift this time around was Apple’s Johannes Weiss’s announcement of Network.framework and how it plans to solve these issues through the Swift Server Workgroup , a collaboration between Apple’s own SwiftNIO team, and Swift server platforms Vapor and Kitura (with everyone’s contribution also welcomed, of course)
I don’t usually work with server-side code, but as someone who’s written bots in Swift, this is definitely great news.
I use ML in my own apps and it’s always been a trend I follow. Aileen Nielsen shared a nice round down on the current state of Machine Learning and showed complex visuals on Neural Network layers that I hope someone showed me when I was learning it.
Raywenderlich.com’s very own Audrey Tam gave a very smooth recap of the basics of ML training, and I personally learned some tidbits about overshooting I missed before that I found really useful.
Kentaro Matsumae’s presentation on Super Resolution CoreML is particularly interesting. Most ML use-cases I have seen tries to solve a problem directly, and I think it was brilliant for him to use ML to “indirectly” solve a completely different problem. In his case, he found network bandwidth as a problem when trying to serve large manga pages, so he created an ML model that recreates “Super Resolution” ones from smaller, bandwidth-friendly images. He even opensourced his project!
try!Swift has always been known for having topics focused on improving the "people" aspect of development. Ash Furrow's presentation on Circumventing Fear really hits home. As developers we are bombarded with technical decisions everyday that slowly burns us down and breaks down our confidence with the work we do. Ash Furrow's advices from his own experiences will surely help many (as it did for me).
April Wendell's advices on good code reviews is also a good guideline that I'll be looking at from now.
fastlane creator Felix Krause shares his experiments on ARP Poisoning and how it can be used to hijack apps and steal user's information by attacking common libraries we link our apps with everyday.
Not enough developers care about HTTPS still and Felix's findings and demos give a really good wake up call.
Do you have simple functions you wish were added to the Swift standard library? Daiki Matsudate shares his journey to propose a function addition compactMapValues() and how it went through the Swift Evolution Process. His function is now planned to be released within Swift 5, and his presentation is a good checklist and encouragement that everyone can contribute to the Swift language.
There were two particular talks that left me an impression even with their special niches.
Bas Thomas gave a trip down Swift's memory lane. He shared how the language evolved daily back even before Swift's beta was released. It was amusing how Swift almost inherited some Ruby and Kotlin syntaxes, just to be reverted back a few commits later. When I asked Bas how he researched for changes that weren't in the commit histories, he says that we are lucky that the Swift team left changelog notes, but everything before that is lost git history. Would be interesting to know what else transpired in those early commits! (Edit:start digging)
Hands down the most hilarious tech talk is Peter Steinberger's Hacking Marzipan. Trying to get iOS apps work on the upcoming Marzipan framework on macOS, he shares the struggles (?) he went through to find undocumented enum flags, swizzle missing methods, and discover hilariously named symbols across Marzipan. I recommend watching his presentation once the videos are uploaded on the try!Swift Youtube channel.
The biggest reason for me to attend conferences is to meet new acquaintances and discuss geeky stuff with fellow developers. In this regard, my trip to NY was very worth it.
From exchanging insights about our work and daily lives as developers, to hilarious discussions of how AI will gloriously fail driverless cars, the moments we can nerd out with each other are the reason we come to meetups like these. I've met with people who work on tools that our team at eureka use everyday, as well as people who's tech blogs and tutorials we read a lot, and it's nice to have the chance to personally thank them.
All in all, the conference was great. I’ve attended and loved try!Swift Tokyo, but NYC has it’s unique warmth and participants are a lot more open and friendly. I'm very thankful that we have a community dedicated to organize such events, and I'm definitely looking forward to attending future conferences.
Thank you for reading!
Please join us!!