Building Adaptive Mobile APIs with Legacy Services

Priyank and I have had some great working experiences together in the past. He has a great deal of insight in cloud & mobile development. That being said…I will always give him $#!7 for not seeing Star Wars until I told him about it. ;-)

Building Adaptive Mobile APIs with Legacy Services

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PhillyCocoa Meeting Notes - December 2014

Meeting Kickoff and Updates

We all witnessed the “Return of Zorn” this month—welcome back, Mike! This month’s talks were even more spirited than usual along with being informative as usual. I, unfortunately had to step out twice to get my busted 6 Plus screen <steam from ears> fixed so please pardon the lack of content this month. Missed talks and a busted device—I’d say I’ve suffered enough. :(

Here are some of the intro points of interest:
  1. Side Project Saturday had its first Suburban fling in King of Prussia on Dec 13 and is hopefully the first of more to come!
  2. “Workshop: Starting Swift” will be held on Saturday, January 10, 2015 (at 12:30pm).There are 3 spots left and promises to be a fantastic way to bring in the new year!

Stay up on other awesome upcoming events at the site

Below is quick recap of the talks and links to resources for more info.

Show and Tell


Curtis Herbert - GPS library

In this postponed talk from last month, Curtis politely flexed his monster dev guns and walked us through his Core Location wrapper called GPSKit.It provides a really neat way to deal with common tasks in Core Location and greatly reduces the need for the usual boilerplate code.Great job and thanks mucho, Curtis!

Here are some of the points from his talk:
  • The three tasks GPSKit simplifies are these:
    • Signal Strength Monitoring
    • Location Lookup
    • Continuous GPS Monitoring
  • The main class is CLHLocationSubscriber.
    • An instance of this acts much like a CLLocationManager in that it allows you to start and stop location monitoring functions.
    • However, unlike CLLocationManager, the method calls have completion blocks which allow you to neatly define the code to run upon completion within the invocation as opposed to in a separate delegate callback method…nice. :)
    • You can also cancel a location lookup in progress,
  • With location lookup you can define a block that gets called while location lookup is in progress and another for when it has found a location that meets your accuracy requirments
  • Another class is CLHLocationManager.A singleton instance of this class facilitates access to global GPSKit properties that store attributes such as desired accuracy.
  • Again, this looks like a very useful framework which I hope I get the time to use at some point.
Resources for more information

Kotaro Fujita - Character Rigging in Sprite Kit

Developer, designer, WebView Protester Kotaro gave us a crystal clear intro to character rigging in SpriteKit.For those of us (like me) who’ve never touched SpriteKit, this was a great talk conveying the some of the essentials of character movement animation in SpriteKit. Thanks Kotaro!

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it
  • “[Character] rigging is the process by which a technical director prepares a 3D character model for animation.Rigging usually includes the placement of an underlying bone structure for the model, which can be linked to control points that animators can use to control the orientation of a character’s arms, legs, and spine.”(source:
  • Once a character image is broken into parts (represented in code as instances of SKNode) that move, they must be bound to each other in a multi-layer, parent-child relationship hierarchy starting at a node called the root node.
  • Movements of parent nodes cascade into corresponding movements of the entire hierarchy of child nodes under that parent node.
  • Cascading movements are determined based on a shared pivot point on both the parent and child(ren) node(s).
  • Question: Can a SpriteKit Scene be combined in a content view with other non-SpriteKit/UIView views (e.g. UITableView, concrete UIControl subclasses, etc)?Yes.
  • All that said, unless you have a specific compelling need to use SpriteKit, use Unity for game development.
Resources for more information

Armen Papshev - To Keyword or Not To Keyword?

(UPDATED) Armen’s Keyword Slides



Mobile UX Design in 2015 - Michael Raber

Michael skillfully revealed some key realities and sparked a conversation around how we should be looking to design

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it
  • As the years pass by, even iOS developers have increasing challenges to deal with regarding multiple device screen sizes.
  • Another challenge (and design consideration) is the increasing sizes of iPhone screen sizes and the span of human thumbs especially during one-handed use.
  • From a proactive perspective, we should also be looking to take this opportunity to exploit different screen sizes and orientations (such as the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus in landscape orientation) to yield an enhanced experience for users.
  • In meeting these challenges and opportunities, we should also look to leverage and apply other best practices such as those from responsive web design principles and even Android UI design patterns.
  • Before opening the talk up to discussion, Michael posed a question: How do you believe mobile apps should be designed for 2015?
  • Among his seed concepts he listed, the one he emphasized was “personalization” — (This was a great takeaway concept in my eyes.)
  • The floor was then open and the question that spawned the broadest and most spirited (yet familiar) discussion was this: What about HTML5?
  • Here are some points from that discourse:
  • Write Once Run Many is a great concept…however both web dev’s (and users) have experienced the pain of this partial reality.
  • A well-developed, stable, reliable, and scalable web application of any complexity takes a good deal of time.
  • There was consensus that faux-native mobile web apps are just the wrong technology for creating rich and responsive user experiences.
Resources for more information

This is only a small few of the resources. Michael said that he would post his presentation so I’ll let everyone know if I see it first.

Do we over rely on UICollectionView and UITableView? - Taun Chapman

This is the other talk I missed too much of to provide comment.My apologies, Taun.I did glean from the demo of Taun’s UI that thinking out of the box regarding those UI staples can yield really cool results.The only resource I heard during my Great job, Taun, and let us know when your app hits the store!

(UPDATED) Taun’s UITableView/UICollectionView Blog about the topic


Note: This is only one humble man’s reflection of the talks.Please post any insights you extracted to the Meetup site!

Until next time, keep being tremendous!

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Story behind “The Song”

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The Song (aka FIGHT THE FEELS!!)

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Philly Dev Spotlight: WorkFlow

Our good friends, Conrad Kramer and Ariel Weinstein are at it again. They just release a new app called WorkFlow. It’s very popular now and has hit #1 spot in a few places on the App Store. Be sure to give them some love! Awesome job!

WorkFlow website

Macstories Article

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December Meeting Agenda

The next Philly CocoaHeads meeting will be Thursday, December 11th from 6:30pm - 9pm at the Apple Store on 16th and Walnut. After meeting drinks will commence at Ladder 15 located at 1528 Sansom Street.

Please RSVP via Meetup:

When you arrive at the Apple Store let one of the store employees know you are there for CocoaHeads and they will let you into the back where you can come up to the second floor briefing room space.

For folks who drive in and need parking one lot recommend by the store is from Patriot Parking on Chancellor Street.

Meeting Agenda

Group Business

  • Our first Suburb Edition of “Side Project Saturday” is Sat, Dec 13th at the Apple Store in King of Prussia.
  • Next Philly “Side Project Saturday” is Saturday, Dec 20th at IndyHall (Date changed due to holiday weekend.)
  • Workshop: Starting Swift is set for January 10th. Tickets are on sale.


We continue to welcome Twilio who is our current long term sponsor of Philly CocoaHeads. Their support helps us provide pizza and refreshments at our main meetings.

Twilio is a software and cloud-based communications platform that enables the rapid build and deploy of powerful, flexible business communications solutions.

For more info check out their website and if you have any question please contact Brent Schooley

Show and Tell

  • Curtis Herbert - GPS library
  • Kotaro Fujita - Character Rigging in Sprite Kit
  • Armen Papshev - To Keyword or Not To Keyword? (1)

(1) How to improve app downloads in less then two hours by doing keyword research for your app title and app keyword list in iTunes connect.


Mobile UX Design in 2015, Michael Raber

In this remix of his Philly BarCamp talk, Michael will introduce concepts we need to think as we design our apps and open up the discussion to the group.

Do we over rely on UICollectionView and UITableView?, Taun Chapman

UICollectionView and UITableView are massively optimized and factored libraries of classes for model list presentation. The talk will discuss good and bad uses for the views as well as alternatives which may be easier conceptually and in terms of implementation. Autolayout and IB_Designable makes alternatives surprisingly easy to implement. “Bad” uses would be uses where you can make the view work but there is an impedance mismatch and life is made more difficult than it needs to be.

About CocoaHeads

PhillyCocoa is the Philadelphia area Mac and iPhone programming group, a chapter of the worldwide CocoaHeads. All skill levels are welcome. The only requirement is an interest in Apple-related technologies and moderate tolerance for geeking out.

The main CocoaHeads presentation-style meeting is the second Thursday of every month. We also hold a Side Project Saturday event the last Saturday of the month. For more on our events see our Meetup page:

We are always looking for feedback and suggestions on what topics to discuss at our meetings. Please reach out if you have any comments.

Group website:

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How to Make a Hit App (Volume One)

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Philadelphia App Strategy Workshop: Monetization

Come out for a Gain and Engage Users Workshop the App Developers Alliance is hosting at the Science Center on Thursday, December 11th. Attendees will get to:

  • Gain key insights from industry leaders at AppLovin, Millennial Media, Smaato, OpenX, Mindgrub Technologies and more on how to leverage monetization strategies, boost engagement, and generate revenue from your apps.
  • Learn how to build apps with the user experience of your target audience in mind.
  • Grab a drink after the workshop with speakers and attendees (beer, wine, and appetizers served).

Register here with the code Cocoa to reserve your place for FREE! Space is limited, so be sure to sign up today!

Date: Thursday, December 11 from 3:00pm to 6:30pm

Location: Quorum at the University City Science Center | 3711 Market Street, Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Release Notes is hosting a new conference

Our good friend, Joe Cieplinski and his friend Charles Perry are starting a new conference. A little different from CocoaLove in its focus on building businesses.

October 21-23, 2015 | Indianapolis, IN

More info can be found here:

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Learning Swift: A Good Place to Start

As with all things Internet, there are a megaton of resources posted to learn Swift. In scanning to find some that are useful, I found that they all tend to have strengths and weaknesses. Add to that everyone’s own unique skill level and learning preferences and it becomes obvious that no one size fits all.

That said, a good list of resources to choose from seems a decent solution. Having reviewed a few, the best list I’ve come across so far is It includes the essential Apple resources (WWDC, Docs, Update Blogs, etc.), is divided into different skill levels, and has a sizable list of other resources that appear to be well curated.

Again, Enjoy, don’t forget to review previous posts on Swift, and look forward to future posts on Swift resources.

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