FrenchKit Conference: Day 1 Highlights

FrenchKit is an iOS and macOS developer conference held in Paris. The fourth edition took place on October 7-8, 2019. I was attending this conference for the first time and really enjoyed the gathering. The conference is well organised, with a lot of excellent speakers. There is a true good vibe coming from the FrenchKit community, at least from a French perspective, but I feel this impression was shared by international visitors I spoke with.

Here are my highlights for the first day.

Swift Pills

Swift Pills were three small lightning talks presented at various time during the first day by Vincent Pradeilles.

The talks were nice, sharing small 5-minutes tips on various topics:
Encapsulating [weak self]
Let’s talk about @autoclosure
Optionals

I liked the talks, but more than that, I feel that spreading some lightning talks throughout the day is a very nice idea. It breaks the rhythm of long talks sequence and feels like a refreshing break. It felt better than to gather all lightning talks at once. I think other conferences should also adopt that idea.

Animations with SwiftUI

Chris Eidhof is famous for his live coding video tutorials on Objc.io. He demoed how to build a custom shake animation with SwiftUI, using a GeometryEffect view modifier. You can read more about the topic he presented on his blog: SwiftUI: Shake Animation

Understanding Combine

The second talk was presented by Daniel Steinberg, another prominent speaker in the Swift development community. He demonstrated how the reactive pattern differs from the delegation pattern, and did a great job explaining the use of Combine with UIKit (Yes, you can use @Published on UIKit View Controllers).

SwiftUI with Redux

Thomas Ricouard managed to pack a nice Redux introduction in a short time, with examples coming from its app MovieSwiftUI. You can check his Open Source app on GitHub: MovieSwiftUI.

As he says, Apple hinted at unidirectional data flow (a-la Redux) at WWDC, but did not precisely described how to leverage it. Thomas talks helped to fill the gap.

Showcase driven development

This talk by Jérôme Alves introduced the approach used at Heetch to help shorten each development iteration. The principle is simple: If you want to avoid large pull requests with complex merges, you need to focus on short-lived development branches changing only a few things. You thus split big features into sub-features and even split them by layers (model, view, etc) to have smaller branches to merge.

However, how do you demonstrate work-in-progress? The solution presented by Jérôme is to introduce a menu in the Debug build of their application dedicated to demonstrating your unfinished work. The showcase menu in the test app offers a showcase browser that can be used to show prototype views, workflows, animations, etc. It helps discussing the next steps and requirements with management, marketing or customers.

Finally, even if Jérôme recommends to roll your own code to set up that feature, Heetch released ShowcaseKit to give you an idea of what they did and how they are using the showcase approach.

Slide to unlock: Building Custom UI with UIKit and CoreAnimation

I also enjoyed this talk from Joel Kin. His talk is about showing that if you master the various layers of Apple UI frameworks (from UIKit to Core Animation), it often make more sense to develop a custom component based on Apple standard tooling than to introduce and adapt a dependency from GitHub.

He does a great job showing how he built a custom slide-to-unlock component, using less lines of code than in alternative open source components.

The example is quite convincing, starting from a UISlider and ending up with a great looking “slide-to-unlock” components, complete with even the shimmer effect.

You can checkout the code on GitHub: SlideToUnlock

Workshops!

To end the day, you had a choice of seven possible workshops. I attended “Exploring Combine”, hosted by Florent Pillet and Antoine Van Der Lee.

While I had already explored many concepts, it was a nice introduction to Apple Reactive programming framework.

The workshop is a nice way to meet people and share ideas through peer programming to solve the proposed exercices.

Conclusion for Day 1

Day 1 at FrenchKit was a blast. The day was packed with great talks. The atmosphere was very friendly and the venue was great.

Stay tuned for my highlights of Day 2!


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