Well where do I start? I’ve just had one of the best weekends of my year. Apart from my high school leavers function, the main reason was NZiDev.
NZiDev is “NZ’s first conference … solely devoted to unite the country’s iOS developers”, and that it did. The likes of David Frampton and many others attended. The conference was run in ‘unconference’ style – where no formal lectures/breakouts were planned, instead people were grouped for an hour at a time with a topic they wanted to talk about. These breakouts ranged from ‘NSNotifications vs Delegates’ to ‘Cheap and effective marketing’. All were very interesting, and so I’ll share with you what I took from each.
So to start off the Saturday, we passed the microphone around and introduced ourselves with 3 ‘tags’, our company and then our names. It was at this moment that I realised just how awesome this conference was going to be. Names like “Dave Frampton”, “Reuben Bijl” and “Layton Duncan” amazed me – these people are the roll models of the NZ iOS industry.
We then were invited to write on post-it notes what we wanted to do, after 10 minutes of organising, we had a plan for the day. I chose to do auth and data storage first. It was pretty full on, but very interesting to hear Matthew Hey talk about his saga of getting a CCAT for shipping his banking apps that use encryption. I chipped in with my use of ShareKit with simple posting to Twitter and Facebook, without having to learn OAuth. The thing to take out of this session is that connections to servers is hard work, but having control of both is easy.
The next session was on Unity games – this was hosted by some kids from Unlimited, a School in the centre of Christchurch. These kids were doing some great work with Unity, and showed just how easy it was to make a simple terrain and move around in it. The discussion lead to using other compilers such as Flash. I was interested in Unity for a while, and now I have a good place and contacts to start. Also mentioned was Cocos2D and the Nehe game tutorials. Also – Epic Citidel came up. The main idea that came out of this session was that it is OK to use a 3D/2D engine, and that 3rd parties can do it better than you can (in most cases). A nice lunch on the grass followed.
After lunch I headed to a session on Memory Management/ Delegates vs NSNotifications. This was lead by Layton Duncan and Karl von Randow. I found Karl probably one of the most interesting developers at the conference. I already knew about the theory of memory management, but the delegate stuff was interesting. The main idea that came out here were some objective-c design patterns, and how they are used in code.
Next up I headed to a databases session, very interesting learning the concepts of core data and sql. Turns out Marcus Radich knows his way around SQL – and I’ll likely be hitting him up later for some help. The idea here that using large amounts of data in a mobile app is not out of reach.
I also attended a Open GL session headed up by Dave Frampton, and in his experience, he suggests starting Open GL on the mac first. It was inspirational to hear him speak about his work.
Finally for the day, I heard to a WP7 vs Android vs iOS session. This was led by Ben Gracewood, Nigel Parker and Nick the Romanian. Nick had some Android experience with Ben and Nigel rooting for Windows Phone 7. The discussion slowly turned into Apps vs Mobile websites, and then to cross compilers. We agreed that Appcelerator Titanium suggested by Tim Ross seemed like the cross compiler for us. The main idea that came our of this session is that Android and WP7 have some catching up to do, but have potential. Also – when targeting multiple devices, you have to think about ‘More customers vs overall app compromise and loss of native support’. We were also treated to a nice 3.8 aftershock (Welcome to Christchurch)!
The lads then went to The Twisted Hop for a drink and to enjoy the town, and I headed to the Christ’s College Leavers Ball at AMI stadium.
The next day we arrived about 9am to see Peter Watling flying his AR Drone. This was a great thing to see, and a brilliant use of technology, another key example of why I am in this field.
We then had a “I need, I have” session, where I asked for work experience for the summer holidays, I was lucky to have some people approach me after that, my wingman for the weekend, Michael van de Water, also got some help with core data. We then came up with our sessions for the day.
The first session of the day for me was one led my Marcus Radich and Nick the Romanian who were showing how to use instruments. It was great to see something being used productively that I have barely used before. This session was great, and lots of questions and comments from people were given. The main idea out of this session was performance optimisation can be done last but should be kept in mind through development.
The next session was on dealing with corporate clients and contracts, so you can do iOS development full time. The best like that came out of the session was “Only do work for people who have iPhones.They GET it.” We had several contract iOS devs in the session and they shared their experience. Also – it wouldn’t hurt to get an Intellectual property lawyer.
Next up, one of the best sessions in the weekend, “Start up Myths”, a presentation given by one of the very first TradeMe employees, pictures of key slides are in the slide show below. The ideas discussed in the session can be summarised easily, working hard with a great idea will make you prosper.
Next up (after another nice lunch) was a session on cheap and effective marketing. This explained that sending your apps to blogs, review sites and crafting a good press release will get your apps the downloads it deserves. This was also covered by iPhonewzealand. The idea that came out of this session is that cheap and effective marketing can improve the sales of you app.
Lastly for the day (after some seriously good Mr Whippy), we had a show and tell session, with some hilarious apps, including “The app can play your music from iTunes, visualising it in the form of a dancing cow.” There was a great air combat game and some other ‘wow’ apps.
The organiser, Nathan “Sheldon” Torkington then asked for feedback from the weekend – with top suggestions being more code time, forward organised sessions and a longer and more frequent conference.
Overall loved the conference. I went there to make contacts, find work and to learn. I came out with that and much, much more. I would like to thank Andrea Hastie and Nat Torkington, Jade, Print Monday and Snap for making the day possible. It was a truly awesome and expiring experience, and I shall be attending next time anything like this is run.
Be safe, Click away, Have fun.
Photos. - These are of the second day only, first day photos can be found on iPhonewzealand.
Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.
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