Deep Field App: Royal Albert Hall, Here We Come

Our collaboration with composer Eric Whitacre to be featured at BBC Proms

In choral-music circles, Eric Whitacre is among the genre’s rock stars. An innovator in many ways, Eric hired The Nerdery to create a mobile app that he envisioned would allow his audience to become part of the performance by using their mobile phones, on his cue, for a shared musical experience.

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WWDC: Going Past the Keynote

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote address has long been a landmark event for anyone following the company. However, WWDC spans an entire week, and the big announcements from the keynote represent hundreds of thousands of hours of work from Apple’s development teams. Each day of the conference, Apple engineers present specific details about the new technology that help developers see what new opportunities have opened up, and what practices they’ll need to change in the year ahead.

If your only view of WWDC 2015 was the keynote address, you missed out on almost a week’s worth of important information for developers. Let’s take a closer look at a few features of iOS 9 that didn’t make it into those first two hours.

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My 10 Step Guide to Winning a Scholarship and Attending WWDC

Recently, I was the lucky winner of an Apple scholarship that allowed me to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco two weeks ago. Do you hope to attend a future WWDC? Here’s my 10 step guide to winning a ticket and attending the massive conference. Note: While these steps seemed to work for me – because hey, I won – your experience may vary.

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Why I keep attending WWDC

When I went to my first World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in 2010, I had several reasons driving me to attend. Personally, as an Apple enthusiast, I wanted to see Steve Jobs in person doing what he did best – using his reality distortion field (otherwise known as his ample charisma). Professionally, I wanted to see the presentations led by Apple engineers talking about the frameworks they wrote. That year, Apple released documentation almost immediately after the keynote, but the sessions weren’t released for months afterwards. By attending in-person, I had a leg up. I knew things before most everyone else.

Today, things are different. Tim Cook isn’t the showman that Steve was. The session videos are posted the day after, nearly erasing the competitive advantage. So why would I shell out the money, year after year, to attend WWDC?

Continue reading Why I keep attending WWDC

Apple WWDC 2015 Predictions

In advance of Apple’s annual June spectacle, WWDC (that’s Worldwide Developers Conference for the layperson), we thought it’d be fun to pick the brains of our mobile Nerds and learn what they expect to hear from Apple’s bigwigs. Introducing our panel:

Jon Rexeisen is a Principal Software Engineer (iOS), veteran of many mobile-focused Nerdery webinars and is attending his sixth(!) consecutive WWDC.
Sarah Olson is a Senior Software Engineer (iOS) attending her first WWDC, thanks to her winning app entry courtesy of Apple’s WWDC scholarship competition for members and alumni of select STEM organizations.
Kenton Watson is a Senior Software Engineer (Android) here to shake things up with the outsider’s perspective only an Android developer could bring.
Ben Dolmar is The Nerdery’s Technology Manager for mobile development.

Continue reading Apple WWDC 2015 Predictions

Quality Assurance Pro Tips – Learn from Apple’s recent HealthKit bug

Many of you already know the buzz going on with iOS 8 and some critical issues which occurred with Apple’s first iOS 8.0.1 software update on Wednesday, September 24th. A major bug with the HealthKit feature was discovered prior to the iOS 8.0 release, which resulted in Apple pulling all HealthKit enabled apps from the App Store ahead of the public release, leaving 3rd-party devs uncertain as to the fate of their Apps.

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Apple to Developers at WWDC: Your Chance to Learn a New Language – Swift

If you are a software developer for Apple’s iOS platform you are still recovering from the latest announcements about the future of iOS. There is a lot to digest in regards to the big news for developers and we discuss a few notable highlights.  Continue reading Apple to Developers at WWDC: Your Chance to Learn a New Language – Swift

Long-time listeners, first-time Soundset mobile App makers

Several Nerds will enjoy what’s become a traditional Memorial Day weekend at Soundset this Sunday, but for the first time there’s an app for that fine festival – and that’s because we built it for our friends at Rhymesayers. Continue reading Long-time listeners, first-time Soundset mobile App makers

Getting Better Analytics for Naughty Native Apps Using Crashlytics

crashalyticsSomething most people don’t think about is what happens after someone presses the button to release an app into the wild. Development doesn’t always stop, issues crop up, and bugs happen. It doesn’t matter how much testing goes into an app or how many devices someone tested against. There will always be slightly different configurations of phones out there in the hands of real users. Most times, developers need to rely on vague bug reports submitted by users via reviews or emails. Thankfully there is something better we can do to lessen the burden of discovering where those issues are hiding in our apps. There are now tools we can use post-deployment that can track usage and even point us right to the issues at hand. The tool I will be covering today is called Crashlytics.

Crashlytics is a plugin for Android and iOS which is added to your projects via your IDE of choice. You simply download the plugin, add it to your IDE, and then follow the instructions to tie that app to your Crashlytics account. That’s it! You’re then ready to begin receiving analytics for your app. If the app crashes, you get everything from device type, OS version, whether or not the phone is rooted, current memory usage, and much more. The crash itself is detailed with the offending line of code, where it’s located, and if applicable the exception thrown.

The detail given for issues discovered by apps is great, but it gets better. When Crashlytics receives a crash dump it is categorized so the developer can easily sort issues. Crashes with more specificity than others are given higher priority, which means Crashlytics performs a level-of-issue triage for you. It will also lessen the severity of issues automatically if they stop happening for whatever reason. You can also specifically close issues as fixed in Crashlytics once you address them. This can be extremely powerful when coupled with bug-base integration, which is another useful feature of Crashlytics.

Crashlytics can be integrated with many different bug-tracking systems. These include Jira, Pivotal, and GitHub, among many others. In my experience this is one of the most helpful features of Crashlytics . Once a crash is received, Crashlytics  automatically creates a bug in your issue tracker of choice and populates it with the relevant information. It will then set the bug’s severity for you – based on the number of crashes detected – and keep it updated. This is extremely helpful and time saving. It takes the burden off of testers and developers of transferring issues from Crashlytics to the bug base and keeping it updated.

These are just some of the powerful features packed into this tool. Another large plus of the tool is that it has become free after Crashlytics partnered with Twitter – they’ve promised to keep developing the tool and add even more features. I hope I have convinced you that discovering and fixing issues post-deployment doesn’t have to be a chore. With the right tools, it can be a relatively easy experience that will benefit users and developers.

NerdCast #89 – Developer Download: Mobile Data Edition

NerdCastToday on the Developer Download we are following up from our webinar Q&A earlier in the week, talking all things nerdy with respect to mobile data. We talk with 3 Nerdery developers who have experienced it all with mobile data. We talk best practices for clients and server, data caching strategies, api security and much more. And now you can watch the Developer Download if you you prefer. Hit the YouTube link provided below!

Host: Andrew Watson

Guests: Maxwell Vandervelde, Bryan HerbstJesse Hemingway

Listen Now: Running Time: 0:35:59 / Subscribe on iTunes

Watch on  YouTube: http://youtu.be/f8hK-Fk2Z7k

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