Jordan Kahn On Likely Developer Features To Be Announced At WWDC 


We’re expecting to see some improvements to the aging iTunes Connect portal, but we’ve also heard a few other things on the table for next week. It’s possible we could see Apple launch a competitor to Parse, the cloud app platform that provides “a scalable and powerful backend in minutes” for mobile app developers. We’ve been hearing whispers of the service, but it’s not clear if Apple is going through with the project.

Something else you’ll likely see next week: Live code previewing in Xcode, with features similar to Google’s new Android Studio tool. Other possibilities could include OS level XPC support and other inter-app communication APIs for iOS.

All of these things are music to my ears. I’d love Apple to announce this stuff. Using the real Parse in a project is toxic now, having been recently acquired by Facebook, so I would love Apple to provide a first-party solution that doesn’t have the hanging risk of startup exit strategy culture. In a way, this may be Apple’s new solution for cloud-syncing databases, replacing the flawed integration iCloud has with Core Data currently.

Rather than try to fix iCloud and Core Data, Apple could supersede it entirely with a Parse-esque service. This eliminates many of the race condition problems developers experience with the current ubiquitous Core Data API, because the server backend model is much more centralised and controllable. Whereas now it is setup so Apple’s frameworks manage multiple copies of the Core Data database across the user’s devices, the Parse model puts the server as the centralised endpoint. Client apps then pull and push to the central store, similar to how several Twitter apps stay in sync by pulling data from the Twitter API.

On the topic of Xcode 5.0, I can envision live code previewing being a significant productivity boon for development and I also think Apple is working on it. Xamarin Studio, an Xcode competitor, showed off live UI previewing in Xamarin Studio Designer a few months ago at their Evolve conference. Apple doesn’t feel competitive pressure from other IDE’s, but features found in those products have a funny knack of appearing in Xcode eventually.