Introducing Book Club

Book Club is a new event series for Philly CocoaHeads. The basic idea is we’ll pick a book, something related to Apple development, and then define a reading assignment (usually 2-3 chapters). Every two week we meet over Google Hangout (or similar video service) to talk about the reading and help each other answer questions.

The first book will be the upcoming 5th addition of Cocoa Programming for OS X: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, which is due out sometime in mid to late April. Preorders are available on Amazon.

If you are interested in Book Club please sign up for the Meetup event and join the #book-club room on our Slack chat.

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CocoaLove 2015

Guess who’s baaaaaack!

If you’re interested, please join the mailing list and save the date. October 9th-11th.

CocoaLove 2015

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Baseball Hack Day

Baseball Hack Day is a one day event of design and development on anything baseball related. This is the second year they will be running the event here in Philly. This year they’re running it at the same time as events in Boston and Montreal.

It will be held March 28th at CityCoHo on 24th and Walnut, from 9:30 am - 6:00pm. They’re going to have a couple of prizes to hand out to winning teams including Phillies tickets from TicketLeap and an assortment of prizes from A View From My Seat. MLB is going to be judging a grand prize from the top teams in each city. That team and city will have bragging rights for the rest of the season and I’d love to have Philly be the one to grab that prize. They’d love to see some fellow iOS devs there.

It should be a fun day.

Baseball Hack Day

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Meeting Videos

We now record our talks. Here are the February Talks. Enjoy!

Marketing Brain Storm for Your App - Armen Papshev (2/12/2015) from Philly CocoaHeads on Vimeo.

Watchkit Communication - Curtis Herbert (2/12/2015) from Philly CocoaHeads on Vimeo.

Watchkit Setup & UI - Kotaro Fujita (2/12/2015) from Philly CocoaHeads on Vimeo.

Let us know if you’re interested in doing a talk yourself. I find it to be a great way to improve my communication skills and understanding of the material I was presenting.

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NSNorth 2015

Dan Byers and Philippe Casgrain have recently launched tickets for NSNorth 2015, their third annual event. Dan has helped us out behind the scenes for CocoaLove and Phil attended. They have both been wonderfully supportive of the CocoaHeads community at large…and I still haven’t heard some of Phil’s legendary stories.

Here are the important points about the conference. Notice the prices are in affordable CA dollars 🙂

It will run from April 10-12th.

They are trying something different for 2015: a weekend in a five-star resort hotel. It will be held between Ottawa and Montreal at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. It is a wonderful place and it is a perfect setting to meet new people and learn from our talented speakers.

This year’s theme will focus on « Evolution ». As developers and designers we are forced to keep up with the tremendous pace of our industry. It has changed our businesses and our personal lives. NSNorth is going to help us reflect on that and see where we might be headed.

They have a great mix of speakers: Jim Dalrymple from The Loop, Georgia Dow from iMore, Chris Liscio from SuperMegaUltraGroovy, and Christa Mrgan from Rogue Amoeba to name but a few.

Tickets are $699CAD / $559USD, hotel starts at 179CAD / 143USD. They also have companion tickets if you would like to bring your significant other or friend. These include all food and drink and access to after-hour activities.

Awesome conference and a great networking event!

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Josh Clark is doing a talk at Drexel THIS THURSDAY!

Sorry for the short notice. Josh is an awesome speaker and the content sounds great!

Mind The Gap

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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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PhillyCocoa Meeting Notes - November 2014

Meeting Kickoff and Updates

We all missed Mike Z. at this month’s meeting and hope he had an awesome time at the conference in Boston! We’re all looking forward to hearing some of the megaton of info he soaked up. 🙂 That said, Curtis did a fantastic job in his absence and we, as always, got the benefit of great talks and surrounding discussion.

Here are some of the intro points of interest:
• The next Side Project Saturday has been moved to avoid conflicts with the holidays: (Nov 22 and Dec 13)
• CocoaLove was epic and now the videos are now being posted!
• The Kotaro-led Designing & Planning Your iOS App” Workshop was awesome…lots of “rubber meets the road” insight and guidance.
• Tom will be leading an Intro Swift Workshop soon which is bound to be equally succulent!

Anyway, be sure to hit the Meetup site ( to stay up on other awesome upcoming events.

Dennis, get on with it!

Ok…below is a quick recap of the talks and links to resources for more info. 🙂

Show and Tells

Jeff Kempista - iOS 8 Extensions

Jeff gave a raw cool talk on his experiences with iOS 8 Extensions. Thanks Jeff!

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it:
• While extensions have to be bundled with an iOS app, they run completely separately and do not require even one launch of the app they are bundled with (called the containing app) to be presented/used by iOS.
• While they can’t pass messages to the containing app, they can share code and data with it as long as any code is bundled in a framework and any data is placed in a persistent store within the bundle (e.g. a SQL Lite DB file, Core Data persistent store, NSUserDefaults, plist, etc.). Keep in mind, though, not all APIs are available to extensions.
• If the extension crashes, iOS will just bypass displaying the corresponding view as an option within the context of the extension point (e.g. For Share extensions, that would be in the view that presents the iOS sharing options like FB and Twitter).
• Share extensions can even launch other apps!
• There is a checkbox (and associated Xcode warning) in one of the build settings pages that I couldn’t find even after adding a couple extensions to a test project. However know that if it’s not checked, Apple may reject your app containing the extensions. This stack overflow post was the only thing that sounded close ( but the checkbox wasn’t the one Jeff showed. Hit Jeff up for details or chime in if you have more info.
• For an example of Action extensions, the 1Password app ( contains at least one of them.
• Jeff also posted his slides at

Resources for more information:
• Apple Dev Page for App Extensions:

Kostas “Gus” Nasis - Rapid App Development Framework

While technical issues with posting content to the screens got in the way, Kostas and Sinae presented a way-cool content-rich app they developed for the ABRAAJ Group using lots of custom controls and web views (in a way that even Kotaro approves).

Kostas started to present their really cool idea of them developing a way to describe a UI using a JSON-format which describes all the attributes of the views. However, the talk was cut short so we’ll look forward to his presentation next month.

Kostas “Gus” Nasis - Pixate Demo

Here Kostas demoed Pixate—a very slick tool for mocking UI interactions and animations.

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it:
• The drag-and-drop UI is similar to IB where you can drop what they call Layers (that represent views) onto the canvas and then associate different gestures with those layers.
• You can bind animations and other UI behaviors in response to user triggers of the corresponding Tap/Pinch/Pan/etc. gestures associated with the layer.
• You can group the layers in ways similar to creating a view hierarchy.
• There’s a simulator view that shows how the prototype would look on a device and the Pixate app allows you to do the same thing with an actual device just as Xcode does with real app code!
• While you can place other rectangles in the editing workspace to represent other scenes/screens, there’s only really one canvas so it was only designed to represent one screen per file similar to xibs.
• Also, they may be building a capability to generate code from the prototypes you build.
• Kostas also mentioned that the videos on the Pixate site are short and the ramp is quick.

Resources for more information:
• Main site:
• Good videos available at:

Hugh O’Neill - Kickstarter Feedback

Hugh let us in on his latest initiative associated with his Happ Puzzle App, called Happ Greeting!

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it:
• Happ Puzzle allows someone to send scrambled photos to friends to be reassembled like a puzzle. • In Happ Greeting, Hugh has expanded this idea to allow the binding of a message to the photo being sent such that when you assemble the photo, the message proportionally gets descrambled…cool!
• Several people gave really great feedback and I wish I remembered so I could mention by name. You all know who you are…thanks for all the great input!
• Hugh also gave due kudos to Curtis who, at the design workshop, helped him refine his approach in associating the puzzle progress to the corresponding message assembly.
• Hugh wants to release to the App Store soon so we’ll keep everyone posted.

Curtis Herbert - GPS library

• Curtis graciously deferred his talk due to time constraints but we are absolutely holding him to next month’s meeting!


Andrew Theken- Confessions of a C# Fanboy: Using Xamarin to build your next iOS App.

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. Thursday, we found out that, while remaining married to us, has been seeing another language…C#. While I’m not sure we’ll seek counseling, we still love him and will certainly continue to stay married. 🙂

Here are some of the points from his talk and the discussion that came up around it:
• Andrew loves…no…wait…he love, love, loves C#
• Xamarin actually compiles C# code into native iOS and Android binaries.
• Time’s Arrow (Andrew’s app) was developed in C# using Xamarin.
• He has reservations about the cross-platform capabilities with regard to writing one app that integrates with multiple different platform-specific SDKs…practically-speaking, you still have to code to each platform and thus should probably code separate apps for each.
• That said, if you love C#, you’d be able to use that as a single language across those platforms.
• Andrew’s Loves of Xamarin: It generates native code, interoperates with C and Obj-C, build system simpler than Xcode, great package manager, and great async support.
• Andrew’s Dislikes of Xamarin: Transliterating Obj-C examples, awkward integration with IB, “Vagarities” of object bridging, more difficult “meta-programming”, and some valid C# is unavailable for AoT.
• Andrew’s Loves of Xamarin: Not having to know Obj-C to use it, tools slower than Xcode, mapping the different meanings of the terms (e.g. Categories, Delegate, etc), the cross platform point above.
• Other cross-platform dev platforms: Unity, Mono (Xamarin’s open source project), .NET (yes, .NET —
• Cross-platform tools that facilitate building native apps where the UI is driven by HTML, CSS, and Javascript: Cordova, Titanium, and PhoneGap

Resources for more information:
• Developer resources site:
• Main site:
• Time’s Arrow (
• Unity (
• Mono (
• NET (yes, .NET —
• Cordova (
• Titanium (
• PhoneGap (

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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CocoaLove Livestream

CocoaLove start off as a #JFDI reaction to having no iOS/Mac conference in Philly. What an amazing eye-opening event it became. It was a blast to organize and observe as it became a big hit with everyone who attended. We have a lifestream up although not sure for how long.

CocoaLove Livestream

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