Promising Signs

January 29, 2016

New Tools without Rough Edges Is a Pleasant Surprise

Learning a new iOS API is always just a little bit scary. Sometimes you open the new toolbox and everything makes sense and is well documented, other times the manual is missing pages and it feels like a few tools were left out.

As my current project went iOS 9 only, there’s been a push to use modern versions of features, like using Contacts instead of ABAddressBook. Having worked with both frameworks, Contacts was a huge and long overdue improvement to working with the system address book on iOS. It was a pleasant surprise, but since it was fixing something that’s been a bit of an issue in iOS since the beginning I didn’t think much about that in isolation.

The next task that I took on was enabling Spotlight search of some of the content in the app. This was a scary enough prospect that we have an “investigate” task to get an idea of how hard it would be to implement, and after that we still pointed high due to perceived risk. Once I got to work implementing search, I managed to go above and beyond the requirements in significantly less than the time budgeted for it. The NSUserActivity code lined up nicely with analytics, and I can see including those in app-wide analytics by default from now on. Getting things to index correctly, expire correctly, and everything else was similarly easy.

While I was taking that on, one of my co-workers took on the 3D touch features and added “Peek” and “Pop” along with home screen quick actions with similar ease. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see new tools coming into iOS feeling complete and relatively solid rather than feeling like they were 90% done when the ship date hit.