Swift Heroes 2022: Conference Review

12. April 2022 - from Alain Stulz

The iOS development team from Apps with love was at this year's Swift conference in Turin and in addition to new contacts, good food and drinks also took away a lot of inspiration, new insights and tips and tricks for everyday life as an iOS developer. From Apps with love Maximilian, Raphael, Benjamin and the author of this blog - Alain - took part this year.

Swift Heroes 2022

Swift Heroes is a developer conference that takes place annually in Turin, Italy, and is also broadcast live worldwide. It is aimed at developers, designers and project managers who have something to do with app development. As you can already tell from the name, it's about the Swift ecosystem and especially development for Apple platforms. A counterpart to this would be, for example, droidcon by the same organizers.

Good Atmosphere and a Full Program

It was clear to see: online conferences are all well and good, but physical conferences have their own special flair that you can only get on site. Accordingly, many were delighted to be able to attend a real event again after a two-year break due to the pandemic.

Of course, we started our days with a coffee from the bar directly below our apartment. This was followed by a twenty-minute bus ride to the congress at the Museo dell'Automobile a little further south. At the conference, there were eight talks each day on different topics, interspersed with enough coffee breaks to clear our heads - full of new ideas - and of course to connect with the other developers on site to talk shop. In the evening after the conference, we enjoyed the beautiful weather with a walk along the river back to the city, where we explored the various piazze and feasted on great Italian food. In between, we also met up with our colleagues from Sagiton, who were also there to exchange ideas and celebrate the conference. And of course, a short tour through the car museum in the conference building was not to be missed...

Apps with love iOS-Devs in Turin
iOS-Devs in Turin - note also the background of the picture 🚗😎

Something for Every Developer to Learn

Everyone can take away something from a conference, regardless of whether you have been developing for a platform for one or for 10 years. Especially for those who have been developing for a long time, it is very important to get new input and break out of deadlocked patterns. This keeps you technically up to date, improves productivity and products and keeps your work exciting. 

Technically challenging talks are not only interesting to listen to, but are often directly connected to the work we do. For example, there was a talk on CoreBluetooth from a company that produces wearables that will one day be worn by astronauts on Mars expeditions. They gave us tips on software architecture and showed us some tricks that we can apply directly to our current projects. Sharing experiences is therefore also very helpful for experienced developers.

Swift Conference Highlights and Lowlights

From Krzysztof Zabłocki's excellent presentation, I take away that small changes can save a lot of time. For us developers, this means that we have to pay attention to which tedious or repetitive tasks we can optimize. Especially if we can help our colleagues or the whole community. It's up to us to address and implement these improvements. I think that's a very powerful insight.

Occasionally, the sponsors' presentations were a bit too focused on their own product and the attempt to sell it. It then feels like watching three quarters of an hour of commercials. I understand that the sponsors want to promote their products. However, this works much better when the main focus of the talk is to get the attendees excited about a topic and thus organically build interest in the product, rather than simply doing a demo of the tool.

New Development Tools and Exciting Trends for the Future

On the tooling side, one of the most promising tools for us is tuist.io, which can create a complete Xcode project from a Swift document - including all the settings that would otherwise have to be done laboriously by hand. We also take a look at Inject, which promises to make changes in the code immediately visible in the simulator without having to recompile the project. If this works as advertised, it will save us a lot of time! In addition, Sourcery sounds very interesting, a tool that can automatically generate code and thus save a lot of drudgery when writing tests, for example.

Kotlin Mobile Multiplatform (KMM) has caught our eye as a trend that should certainly be pursued further. This would allow some of the program code to be shared between iOS and Android apps, which would save some of the time during development. Some companies already do this with code written in C++, but this is much more complex and therefore less useful for us so far. A modern, simple language like Kotlin would make this more interesting. The technology is currently still in alpha testing, and Kotlin publisher Jetbrains plans to launch a beta this spring. We will certainly try this out and thus keep an eye on KMM as a technology.

Pizza for Dinner at the SwiftHeroes Conference in Turin
Of course, this is also part of a conference in Turin - when in Eataly...🍕

Conclusion for the SwiftHeroes Conference 2022

Conferences always have a special flair for developers. We really enjoyed attending the first real conference in three years - for some of us the first conference ever - to stock up on lots of new ideas, talk to people from all corners of the industry and soak up the atmosphere on site. Now we're hitting the ground running again and trying out what we've learned. See you next time in Turin!

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