5 Ways Xcode 6 Makes Developers Like Me More Efficient

by: | Jun 13, 2014

The noise of last week’s WWDC has subsided. This week at ArcTouch has been a juggling act for many of us — playing catch up on email, keeping projects moving forward and taking deeper dives into the key new technologies from WWDC. It’s times like these I appreciate finding new ways to be more efficient.

Enter iOS 8 and Xcode 6. The best news from last week was that several improvements will help our dev team get more done in less time — which could in turn reduce development time for some of our projects. Here are 5 ways we think iOS 8 and Xcode 6 will help developer efficiency:

1. Xcode 6 Adaptive Storyboards and Assets

Xcode 6 Storyboard

In Xcode 6, developers can specify multiple size devices using one storyboard (left), then preview various device sizes and orientations (on right).

iPhone and iPad used to require two different storyboards. With Xcode 6, you can use one storyboard for both devices, starting with a single interface and then adjusting to different screen sizes and orientations. The same technique applies for launching images: Now you can use a single image for every device class and screen orientation.

2. Localization

The new Xcode 6 uses industry standard XLIFF files for translation. And when files come back from translation, it’s straightforward to integrate them into the project. Also, the  Xcode 6 Interface Builder allows the developer to view pseudo localization previews — so you can immediately check to see how different languages and character lengths affect appearance on different screens.

3. Apple Swift

Apple Swift Playgrounds interface

Apple’s new Swift language includes Playgrounds, show above on the right, which allows developers to see the effect of code changes in real-time.

The name of Apple’s new programming language says it all. Because the code structure is simplified and you need fewer lines of code to do the same stuff, writing apps takes less time. Add in the real-time preview in Playgrounds and Swift promises developers some real efficiency gains.


> Swift: A Look Inside Apple’s New Language

> Is Swift a Step Toward an Apple Wearable Watch?

4. Testing

Xcode 6 has several enhancements to testing tools. Developers can now do asynchronous code testing for a variety of system interactions, including file IO and network operations. It also includes performance testing tools that can measure and track performance and improvements as your code changes over time. Xcode 6 also includes a view debugger, which allows you to easily select views of any graphical elements that doesn’t look right — and jump to the relevant source code to troubleshoot.

5. Distribution

The Continuous Integration feature introduced in Xcode 5 just got better with Xcode 6. It now includes pre and post scripts, and a much improved interface — making it easier to collaborate on projects and get new builds out to your team. And last, there was a lot of positive response to the introduction of TestFlight — as well there should be. The process of collecting beta testers’ UIDs before could take days (in large part because many testers didn’t know where to find it). Now, using the Apple ID, it’ll be much easier to distribute builds to up to 1000 beta testers.

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