2015 Year In Review

It is good to sit back and reflect sometimes and with today being New Year’s Eve, I thought it would be good to look back on what I have been doing this past year in 2015.

My wife Monica and I had our seventh son, Mario! He is super cute and huggable. He and the other boys keep me grounded and humble. Bonus: the company I work for is pretty family-friendly, I got to take a few weeks of Paternity Leave.

At work, I transitioned from leading a single Android team to leading several iOS teams. We shipped brand new, redesigned and modernized versions of our Capital One Mobile for iPhone and Capital One for iPad apps plus several monthly updates afterwards. I’ve now become what Lara Hogan from Etsy calls a “meta-manager” and I hope to find some time to write about that more in 2016.

I also helped to find ways for Capital One to invest back into the developer community. I think the Mac and iOS developer community was already strong but I want to make it even better. So we sponsored:

  • CocoaPods
  • Women Who Code
  • James Dempsey and the Breakpoints Live at WWDC
  • WWDCGirls
  • Swift Summit San Francisco 2015

I also organized the seventh annual iOSDevCampDC, along with Natasha (the Robot) Murashev, Jimmy Sambuo and Toria Dacus. We had some awesome speakers, but probably the most unique thing about this year’s is that the majority of speakers were female. I’ll have to revisit this in a future blog post as it deserves more time and attention. Plus I promised Cate Huston that I’d write about it sometime.

I also had a lot of fun with my hobbies, mainly playing video games with my kids (aka father-son bonding time) and watching eSports. I participated in the Alpha and Beta of Heroes of the Storm (currently our favorite multiplayer game in the house) and attended the action-packed and eSports celebrity-filled StarCraft II archon mode championship held at Red Bull Battlegrounds DC with my oldest son Diego, Jimmy and another coworker Cary.

I also spoke at a few events, including iOSDevCampDC, ModevCon, Android+Glass Meetup, Modev Coders Only and some internal events. I presented on a variety of topics including Swift, Frameworks and Kotlin. I’m working to encourage others to present as well. I’m organizing Modev Coders Only now and and it’ll meet monthly in 2016.

Before I go, I thought I should mark some stats for the end of 2015:

  • StackOverflow rep: 8,055
  • Twitter followers: 1,588

Well that’s it. I had much more to say in my unabridged blog post, but I think I’ll spread out that content over several posts. Hope that everyone else had a good year and hopefully 2016 is even better! Happy New Year everyone!

iOSDevCampDC 2014 Coming in August!

Mark your calendars: the date for iOSDevCampDC 2014 will be Saturday August 2 Friday August 1, 2014. We’ve booked a big place this year for iOSDevCampDC 2014 – the new DIG space at Capital One in Tysons Corner. It will follow the same one-track format, although we’re thinking of having some more time in-between sessions so we can enjoy the game room. I hear foosball and air hockey are good for learning. :)

We’ve also issued a Call for Speakers, ending on March 28th, so if you’re interested in speaking, send us a talk proposal with what you want to present, a short bio and link to your Twitter (or other) profile to info@iosdevcampdc.com. We would love to have at least one female speaker especially. Natalia presented along with Keith and Kiril about Harbor Master back at iPhoneDevCampDC and she was well received.

If you are interested in attending, please stay tuned and follow @iosdevcampdc on Twitter. We’ll likely be opening up early bird ticket sales sometime in April.

I’m going to be speaking at WearablesDevCon

WearablesDevCon is a conference about wearable technology from March 5 – 7 over in San Francisco.

I’m going to be giving two talks:

A tutorial called “Transitioning from Android to Google Glass” where I will take people from building apps for Android (and mobile devices in general) to Glass.

I’m also going to go in-depth into live cards in my talk “Deep Dive into Google Glass Live Cards.”

I’m really excited about Google Glass. I think it is going to be the premiere wearable general computing platform. I’m also interested in seeing what other wearable technologies are out there. If you’re interested in Wearables, then check out WearablesDevCon. If you use my last name “DELAROSA” as a coupon code, I think you get an extra discount.

I’m giving a Google Glass talk at DevIgnition

If you’re in the Washington DC area, please come to my talk about Developing for Google Glass at DevIgnition. I’ve only got 30 minutes, so it will be a whirlwind tour but it should be enough to get you started on the premiere platform of the Wearable Generation(TM).

Also, I wrote up a blog post on the savvy apps blog discussing my initial thoughts on the GDK.

UPDATE: The slides are available in the Glass section of my blog.

iOSDevCampDC 2013 coming up this Saturday August 24

Time flies. We’re having our fifth iOSDevCampDC already! Well, technically it was iPhoneDevCampDC, then iPadDevCampDC, then iOSDevCampDC after that. The 2013 version is happening this Saturday, August 24 at Viget Labs. I have to give a lot of thanks to Viget since they’ve hosted us 4 out of the 5 years!

We sold out again this year. Something we’re trying is to not have any sponsors to simplify things a bit. We’ve appreciated all the sponsors we’ve had over the years, but inspired somewhat by iOS 7, we’re trying to make things simpler and flatter. The website (iosdevcampdc.com) is another thing that is a bit different – we’re going with a one page design this year to see how that goes.

Well – I’ll see everyone who got a ticket on Saturday. Feel free to say hi. Hopefully it will be our best one yet!

I’m giving a talk about the Android Emulator at AnDevCon Boston

Good news! I’ll be giving this talk again at AnDevCon San Francisco in November. I’ll be updating it based on questions I received in Boston, recent developments from Google and Intel. Also there are some things that I wanted to include in the original that I’ll be adding. Come check it out live in San Francisco!

Two weeks from now, on May 31st, from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM, I will be giving a talk about the Android Emulator at AnDevCon Boston. It is titled “Becoming More Effective with the Android Emulator”, but in order to spice things up a bit, I’m going to give a it a MythBusters-style twist. The subtitle is “Android Emulator Myths…Busted!”

I’ve really fallen in love with the Android Emulator as part of my Android development workflow. I find it a lot easier to work with than switching over to a device, especially with the advancements that have been made in the past year or so. So I really want to share my insights in how to make it work well for everyone. I’m hoping it encourages more people to discover how useful the Emulator is as a tool in the Android toolbox and use it more regularly.

If you want to attend a pure 100% Android development conference, definitely check out AnDevCon. I’ve been to the previous two events and really enjoyed all the content as well as meeting more of the Android community in person. Also, if you use code “DELAROSA”, you should get an additional $200 off the registration.

Hope to see you there!

AnDevCon III Review

I attended AnDevCon III in May 2012 as my first Android-related conference, about a year and a half into my Android experience. I have attended many developer conferences before so I thought it’d be interesting to compare it to those. I’ll be attending AnDevCon IV later this week, so obviously I was pleased with what I experienced, but I wanted to note down what my thoughts were from that first experience.

I’ve been to a variety of conferences:

  • JavaOne, one of the biggest but also one of the most “corporate”
  • WWDC, the best place to interact with Apple engineers and other Mac and iOS developers
  • EclipseCon, which was focused on a single open source project, Eclipse
  • No Fluff Just Stuff, sort of an anti-JavaOne, where the speakers are all practitioners
  • C4, sort of an anti-WWDC, where the speakers were mostly Mac indies

AnDevCon feels a lot like EclipseCon. Partly because this is because it was held at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, where I once attended EclipseCon 2005. More substantively, a lot of companies participate in the conference, which gives it an interesting and varied vibe. This is compared to single-vendor conferences like WWDC or Google I/O, where you get the perspective of only one company mainly.

Google engineers and evangelists do play well with AnDevCon, however. They present some of the sessions, which are prominently marked on the scheduled as “Google CLASS”. Kirill Grouchnikov‘s Responsive Mobile Design in Practice was particularly insightful in the project that I was working on at the time. I had seen his slides, but they did not make as much sense as when I had heard him speak live about responsive design. Now that we can nest fragments within fragments as of the 4.2 SDK, I wonder what he would say about that.

There are a large amount of sponsors. You might think that this is a bad thing if you have attended a conference that had lots of sponsored talks. However, the organizers seem to be aware of this and have helpfully marked all the talks that as “Sponsored by XYZ”. I actually liked some of those, particularly the ones sponsored by Intel, where I learned more about the HAXM-accelerated emulator and Sony, where they taught us about the Sony SmartWatch SDK.

I normally don’t like Exhibit Halls at conferences. Sure, you can get a lot of free goodies. OK, I admit it – half my wardrobe is conference t-shirts. But the booths usually are kind of boring. However, at AnDevCon, there were a lot of interesting exhibits. I’m not sure if it is because the industry is expanding so rapidly or because I just like gadgets, but there were some things I hadn’t seen before there, like the Epson Android-powered glasses (sort of a bulky early release of Google Glass) or the Qualcomm developer boards, which are entire Android systems on a large PCB.

I met a lot of interesting people, especially at Square’s Android Dessert Bash. Everyone was fired up about Android and there were a lot of different perspectives there. There were folks from the phone manufacturers like HTC, independent consultants, authors, trainers, regular developers and also platforms like Nook. It was pretty friendly atmosphere but I didn’t see as many night parties as I have seen at other events, but maybe it’s because I didn’t know as many people.

I honestly did not know what to expect and only knew one person who was going to the event, Dave Smith, who gives talks on Android accessory development. I was pleasantly surprised with my overall experience. The only con is that the official conference t-shirt was sponsored – in my opinion, it’d be nicer if it just had AnDevCon on it. However, Square gave away one that was more subtle and had all the different dessert icons on it, which was my favorite.

I’m looking forward to AnDevCon IV, happening later this week, which promises to be even bigger and better, featuring keynotes from Amazon, Google and Facebook.

iOSDevCampDC 2012

About two weeks ago, on Saturday August 11th, we held our fourth iOS-related event in the Washington DC area: iOSDevCampDC 2012. We had a great mix of talks, six in all, from local iOS experts, with a select group of sponsors and a great group of attendees. Verisign hosted us and provided the venue in Reston, VA, allowing us to accommodate more people than last year. The dual screens were a nice touch too.

Let me give a brief wrap-up of the talks:

Ken (chief doer of savvy apps) gave a talk about how gestures affect the designs of iOS apps.  He talked about some good lessons learned.  I was impressed that he mirrored both his iPhone and iPad on his Mac so that he could project both on the screen.  Ken’s definitely been a proponent of gestural (or gesture-first) interfaces with apps like Agenda.

Jon (DC area Managing Director of Big Nerd Ranch) dived into the technical details of concurrency on iOS.  He covered both GCD and also NSOperation.  I hear he’s going to be giving an OpenGL class soon.

Mark (Director of Mobile Development at Politico) discussed how to make iOS apps more flexible by having them adapt to changes via a dynamic configuration that’s downloaded.  He also showed some good practices around that such as validating the configuration and having a good download manager.

Mark (Senior Lead Developer at Odyssey Computing) showed us how to do slick animations to do things like folding screens like origami and flipping screens like a book. I really liked that he wrote an app that allows you to toggle some switches and sliders to try out different permutations to see how they affect the animations.  He blogged about his experiences and his presentation titled “Enter the Matrix.”

Chris (Director of Strategy, Global Monetization Solutions at Millennial Media) explained how to use metadata to make more money with ads.  The more you know your users, the better the ads you show them will be.  One point that stood out was tangential: every app needs a privacy policy.  This is due to many forces in our industry but is probably going to be forced in the near future due to government oversight.

James (Principal Software Architect at YellowBrix) took us through how to embed Lua, a dynamic scripting language, into iOS apps.  He also discussed his open source framework for making it easier to do Lua in iOS called Gemini.

As the Lead Organizer of iOSDevCampDC, it was satisfying to put together another event and have it go well.  Sean was a great help as a fellow Organizer, heading up the delicious food that we all savored and assisting with countless other things.  Jose helped out as well, taking pictures and also giving a good overview of our local weekly (NSCoderNightDC) and monthly (CocoaHeadsDC) get-togethers.  My kids Diego and Mateo manned the registration booth and got a taste of what professional developers do. They’re getting started with programming themselves.

Special thanks to Happy Apps, Millennial Media, savvy apps and Verisign for sponsoring the event!

What I wish I knew when I first attended WWDC

I’ve been attending WWDC since 2005.  This year will be my seventh WWDC in a row.  Woohoo!

Jeff Biggus and I at WWDC 2005

So I was thinking that if I was able to go back in time in a flux capacitor-powered DeLorean to June 5, 2005 (yes I sometimes daydream) and give myself some advice on the eve of WWDC, then here’s what I’d tell myself:

0 Sell everything you have and invest it in Apple stock. It’s gonna go up 800%! Actually, save some of that money for the Intel Macs that are going to come out because they’re going to basically be twice as fast for programming as your current PowerBook G4.

1 Go to the labs. Specifically, go to the Performance Labs and ask for a tutorial on how to spot slow areas in your app and detect memory leaks in Shark.  You’re going to do this in 2006, so better to learn this stuff earlier.Also take those sketches of Webnote you have and run them by the UI Design Lab.Oh and don’t even bother asking about writing a Safari Plug-in.  That won’t come out until 2010.

2 Good idea to write down the questions that you have. That’ll help you with figuring out what to focus on and which sessions/labs to go to.Take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions at the end.

3 Shut off all your shared services and put up the firewall. Bonjour iChat isn’t going to work well at all with so many people and you don’t want to accidentally leak your data.  Sharing your iTunes might be nice but people aren’t going to be listening to music in sessions anyways.

4 Keep in touch with the people you meet. So get their business cards and try to keep the conversations that started at WWDC going.  The community will only get bigger and it’ll be harder to keep track of people.  See there’s this thing called the iPhone that’s going to come out…

If you really feel like re-living the WWDC 2005 experience, check out the June 2005 archives.

Stay tuned for some more blogging from WWDC 2011…

Oh and if you are in the Washington DC metropolitan area, consider attending a local iOS conference I’m organizing on August 13th: iOSDevCampDC 2011.