WWDC 2015: Beyond Moscone

WWDC isn’t just all sessions and learning. For the mostly-remote AgileBits team, it’s also a chance to meet up and spend a week geeking out together. A great number of the AgileBits team made the trip out to San Francisco during the week of June 8th and we had such a grand time that we needed the last couple of weeks to recover!

Many members of our party were dub dub first timers and it was wonderful to introduce them to the fun that is San Francisco during Apple’s big developer event. For us seasoned veterans, the week was a whirlwind of reconnecting with old friends, forging new friendships, and immersing ourselves in the recharging waters of developer geek culture.

For me, there was something different about this WWDC from years previous and I’ve had a hard time putting my finger on it. Truth be told, I don’t know that I’ve had as good a time at WWDC since my first one in 2009. There was something…effortless about the week and everything seemed to fall into place exactly as it was supposed to. One of the things I did this year that I’ve never done before was to make a list of people I really wanted to see and checked them off one by one throughout the week (though even with that list as a guide I only saw about half the folks I wanted to). I think the other thing that contributed to it being such a great week was the sheer size of the AgileBits contingent that made the trip. I work with some pretty awesome people on a daily basis, but we rarely get to see each other in person, so seeing everyone in one place was just aces.


On Tuesday night we co-hosted a super exclusive, invitation-only party with our good friends from Smile, the makers of the hyper-useful TextExpander and PDFPen. I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the list for this party for a few years now, and it’s always one of my favorites. The party was a great success with many wonderful conversations, many glasses of wine, and many delicious appetizers.

Aleen @ AltConf

On Wednesday morning we opted out of WWDC labs and sessions for a while to go see our friend and colleague Aleen Simms give a wonderful talk at AltConf across the street from the Moscone Center. Aleen’s talk, “7 Ways to Enrich the Tech Industry”, gave us all an easy to remember bullet list of ways to support women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community in STEM fields. There’s so much work to be done to bring equality to this awesome field, and we’re very lucky to have people like Aleen keeping us on task. Keep an eye out for the video of this talk, it’s one you shouldn’t miss.


I had my camera with me for most of the week and was able to capture some fun images that summed up the trip pretty well for me, from the roses in our hotel lobby, to the early morning (4am!) trip I took out to the Golden Gate Bridge.

All in all, it was a wonderful week of learning, collaboration, and a little bit of socializing. If you didn’t get a chance to talk to the AgileBits team in San Francisco this year, be sure to find us at WWDC 2016—we’d LOVE to chat!

WWDC, developer highlights

Our developer presence was very strong in San Francisco this year, with every member of both the Mac and iOS team in attendance at WWDC or AltConf. Each one of us found something in Apple’s announcements that got us excited and made us want to crack open our laptops immediately. Here, in our own words, are the development team’s top picks from WWDC:


chad-portraitSince my day-to-day work revolves around Apple’s development tools, I was excited to see the improvements to Xcode 7. Using Interface Builder with storyboards is going to be a lot more manageable, and Swift 2.0 is a clean language, free from the weight of Objective-C. All that, plus the additional speed of El Capitan equals reduced friction in development.


kevin-portraitAside from Drake’s cool Apple jacket, the most exciting features for me have to be iOS 9 multitasking and Spotlight search. iOS 9 multitasking will make it even easier to to use 1Password alongside apps that haven’t yet incorporated our fantastic 1Password app extension. Spotlight has the potential to allow searching of 1Password items along with other items on my iPhone quick and easy.

Under the hood, it looks like providing secure communications with NSURLSession is going to get easier and safer with more controls over caching, security protocols, and HTTP/2 support. I’m looking forward to working with NSURLSession in 1Password soon.


nathan-portraitI’d have to say that Swift 2.0 is the most exciting thing they announced at WWDC this year. The introduction of a brand new programming language last year was surprising, but it ended up being pretty incomplete and we felt like it was definitely something for us to look into in the future. This year, Apple demonstrated some major improvements for 2.0 – in fact, every session was written in Swift. So it looks as if we all really have to start using Swift in 1Password very soon, and it sounds like it has a lot of exciting and cool features that Obj-C can’t do so easily.

Meeting everyone on the AgileBits team was also a big highlight, since I had previously only met some of the Montreal devs and not much more.


rad-portraitI’d like to call myself an early adopter: I installed iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan as soon as I got access to fast Internet and I was really impressed by the stability of the first developer seed.

I work on the App Extension API for iOS and on the 1Password iOS extension, so I have a particular interest in any interactions between 1Password and the outside world. No wonder that I was very excited by the Core Spotlight API (Spotlight Search), which may or may not allow 1Password items to be indexed right in Spotlight. :-) I was also excited by the background task assertion APIs and the other improvements for iOS extensions from the “App Extension Best Practices” session (session 224).

WWDC week is always awesome because I get to see my colleagues in person and many other awesome people from our developer community. I miss all of you already. <3


rick-portraitAs a developer, Swift 2 looks to be a great step forward. We have a large codebase though, so we won’t be able to switch to it overnight. What’s nice is that the introduction of Swift 2 came alongside improvements to Objective-C that we can start using immediately to make our existing code better. I’m looking forward to using Generics and Nullability to improve our code and make it interoperate better with the eventual Swift that will get introduced to our codebase soon.
CloudKit Web Services really surprised me. I can’t wait to see what developers do with it.


UnknownI’m particularly excited by Swift 2, the latest iteration to Apple’s new programming language which made its debut last year at WWDC. I think that everyone here at AgileBits had the same reaction to Swift when it was announced: “This is amazing! Let’s write everything in Swift!” Unfortunately the bloom fell off the rose a little bit and that initial reaction changed to, “OK, Swift is really cool, but it’s not quite ready for us to use in 1Password yet”.

From everything I’ve seen and read about Swift 2, it’s very clear that Apple has been listening to developer feedback and working hard to smooth out the rough edges of the language. One of the cooler things I saw discussed in Session 106, “What’s New In Swift”, was the introduction of the guard statement. guard statements codify the pattern of early returns, simplify the syntax, and increase readability.

It’s not just improvements to Swift itself. Apple is well aware of the fact that Swift has to play nicely with Objective-C as well (Objective -C is the de facto language for programming on Apple’s platforms since OS X was first introduced). To that end, they are maturing Objective-C with things like nullability qualifiers in method declarations and Objective-C typed collections.


winnie-portraitI was most excited about the announcement of multitasking on the iPad Air 2, which allows the user to display and use two apps side by side. I love it because it could make it easier to copy & paste info from one app to the other or just quickly look up information – which is what I see useful for 1Password. Imagine filling out your flight online check-in in the browser and looking up your passport information without having to switch apps. Love it!

Apart from that, I am super excited about the Spotlight options that were announced. The possibility of searching for 1Password items without opening the app is just like TouchID: another game changer.