Conference Season: iPhoneDevCamp 10 Jul 2007
software development

I showed up late to iPhoneDevCamp, so late it was Saturday evening and I had just enough time to meet up with whurley, blake, and some of the guys that whurley brought from BMC Software before whurley and I went back to Slide's offices to get some devcamp work done for the night. Overall, I had an absolute blast at the event, despite posting the following to twitter before I arrived: "Walking towards iPhoneDevCamp. I feel so 2.0". The premise behind the devcamp was an interesting one, despite royally screwing us developers by trying to spin web technologies as an SDK, a lot of people still banded together to develop web applications that target the iPhone. Not that the iPhone isn't a cool device, but the browser is an absolute crap platform. As so many people have already pointed out, Cocoa rocks, Javascript, not so much.

The Hacks
The innate suckage of Javascript makes the hacks created by people at the devcamp so much cooler! One of my favorites (that I didn't write of course) was an application that would allow you to remote control your Mac called Telekinesis, followed closely by cooler (and more social) hacks like a flash mob app or the best word processor around for the iPhone, gOffice. In tune with the odd, and usually useless, nature of devcamp hacks, came iSleuth which is both a Mac application and a web application allowing the user to keep an eye on what's happening at the regular Mac while using their mobile one, these guys got extra points for using a real live baby crib during their demo to show how a user could protect their baby, ostensibly with a $2,000 security system.

All in all the (web) applications that were developed were some great hacks, and great examples of developers making due with minimal resources and no API or great developer tools, both of which Apple is usually known for providing.

My Hack
Despite wearing a staff badge the last one and a half days while I attended the devcamp, I primarily hacked on an idea originally pitched to me by some of the BMC developers that showed up as "the hard part." I became so entrenched in the hack that I didn't sleep on saturday night trying to finish it in time for the demo session on Sunday afternoon at 2pm, before realizing around 11am on Sunday that I would probably have to clear this with my employer before open sourcing the project. I won't go into too much detail about it, since I can't post source code just yet (i'll post separately when I get the okay), but there are a few things worth noting:
  • It uses an arbitrary data set, in this case Flickr photos
  • The math is still off a little bit, so the sizing is also off, and thus, it's not done :)
  • I have yet to add reflection support
  • There are still a few rendering issues with the stacks
That said: Cover Flow

I'm still working on it, and am preparing to be sued as soon as I polish it up to look closer to Apple's version :)

All in all, despite what some people might say about the commercial aspects of the devcamp (being hosted at Adobe's Townhall here in San Francisco, among other things) I think it was a great success, bringing people together to make do with the "iPhone SDK". I enjoyed myself and can't wait to help organize the next one when Apple finally releases Cocoa ME (Mobile Edition).

Note: Somehow my (more common than not) late night hackery got me in an L.A. Times article, I didn't have the heart to tell the reporter that I do this at least once or twice a week.