Pencil stylus: beautiful mobile hardware headlines iOS dev meetup

This month's Brooklyn iOS Developer Meetup featured Seattle-based FiftyThree's 'Pencil' stylus, seen as an advancement in mobile hardware, among other presentations about how mobile dev continues to be shaped today.

For the Internet of Things to take off, we’ll need to see a lot of development in the seamless movement from one product to the next. The sleek Pencil stylus from Seattle-based design agency FiftyThree that launched last fall could be just such a product, advancing utility for applications like the company’s own noted Paper.

At Wednesday’s Brooklyn iOS Developer Meetup, experienced FiftyThree developer Ian MacDuff demoed the tool and its “kiss-to-pair” technology that allows users to switch  between iPads without ever having to go to settings to connect or  disconnect the device. Held at the Dumbo offices of Huge and organized by Jeff Soto and Stela Xhiku of TENDIGI, the event featured four demos, including the Bluetooth logic of FiftyThree’s new Pencil.

iOS dev Quinn McHenry of Dumbo-based mobile dev shop Small Planet shared how his development team saves time with fewer code pushes: they developed GAXB, a code generation tool where XML can be translated (“deserialized”) into the programming language of your choice.

Their developers primarily write applications in XML, which means fewer code changes,  easier interaction with their design team, and they never having to write the same  page twice (a simple line of Xcode will do the trick).

Deepesh Banerji, Product Director at CBS Sports, talked about the unique challenges  of building their robust Fantasy Sports app, which houses all sports from baseball to hockey under one unified app. This helped streamline releases  and their development process overall. This all-in-one app presented a challenge to the UX team, however, and forced them to focus on highlighting key features using  gestures. The coolest part? Live drafts within the app, and using key visual cues to  emphasize the feeling of “liveness,” which really sets their app apart from others in  the market.

Engineer Matt Isaacs of Gilt, the flash fashion ecommerce site, closed out the night discussing automated testing for mobile apps, which not everybody does well due to the unique constraints of mobile (and their QA teams), he said.

Automated testing is paramount for a service like Gilt, where money is on the line if a bug slips by. Isaacs walked through some testing with services like Appium, which has have some pros and cons, but ultimately gives you a better end result with less manpower on your QA team.

The big takeaway from Isaacs: “You’re going to need some process eventually.”

Companies: Small Planet / Tendigi / Huge / Gilt / Gilt Groupe
Series: Brooklyn

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