WWDC 2016: Siri everywhere, coding for all, and other thoughts a month later

By Madeleine Popp | Jul 06, 2016

It’s been about a month since WWDC and we thought it was about time to touch base with our Director of Engineering, Travis Fischer to ask him a couple questions about his experience this year.

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Why should people care about WWDC?

How much and why they should care about WWDC changes depending on the “people” in that question.  For developers or anyone who is in the mobile industry, WWDC and the information that comes out of it is some of the most important information for our industry.  If I could, I would shut down the Engineering team for the week of WWDC and the week after so we could spend the first watching the session and the second mapping out how we will practically apply everything that we learned the week before.  There are huge implications for designers as iOS 10 is introducing new UI elements and customer interactions. It’s important for the Sales & Marketing team to understand all of the features as well because *this* is what you will be selling for the next year and there’s no better time to start than today.

If by “people” you mean the normal iPhone users, they should be excited by WWDC because this means that the apps that they use and love are about to get a whole lot better.  They might not always see those changes, but they’re there and they are what allows this platform to continue to grow and be awesome.

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What was your favorite announcement? Why?

Swift Playgrounds.  I’m definitely in the “everybody needs to code” camp. As computers continue to become such a central point in our daily lives, it’s unacceptable for someone to not understand the fundamentals of how they work.  Something like Swift Playgrounds provides people the opportunity to get that visibility in an easy, accessible way.  I’ve been playing with the beta and it’s very nicely done.  My non-technical wife has definitely been interested in when Swift Playgrounds gets out of beta, so the concept seems to be working.

Which new iOS rollout do you think has the most application for the enterprise?

SiriKit is probably going to make the biggest impact long-term.  While this first pass might seem limited for the type of applications Siri will integrate with, the way that it is done is fairly elegant and definitely designed for growth.  I think there will be plenty of ways we can apply SiriKit work to enterprise applications.

What was your favorite breakout session? Tell us about it.

Session 419 “Protocol and Value Oriented Programming in UIKit Apps” was definitely a highlight. It’s a continuation of a talk from last year that highlights some of the strengths of the Swift programming language and how to apply them to change our approach to software architecture in fairly innovative ways. I’m convinced that some of the ideas that Apple is presenting now as “this is cool, you should try it” are actually hinting at the architectural direction of the replacement to the CocoaTouch libraries are going to have in a couple of years.

Any celebrity sightings?

Craig Federighi was all over the place, but my favorite “celebrity” sighting was watching Jeff Kibuule, one of our iOS developers who went to Apple, present a session about the new features he and the HealthKit team have been working on.

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Favorite WWDC moment

Seeing Jeff present.

Whether you watched at home or attended in-person, what were your thoughts on this year’s WWDC? We’d love to hear! 

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