WWDC Developers Tell Their Stories

At WWDC last week, TMO interviewed six developers, some newbies and some old-timers, each with a unique story to tell. Here’ are some highlights of what each developer told TMO’s Dave Hamilton plus links to each interview and each developer’s Twitter name.

Dan Bricklin

Dan Bricklin - @danb

Dan Bricklin (Software Garden) talked about how the iPad is a magical device, and he wasn’t just parroting Steve Jobs. The iPad really is magical because the user has control in ways that didn’t exist before. You control your reading and viewing with a physical touch. And with any device that uses gestures and is magical, we operate it with a magician’s sleight of hand. We’ll need to learn new ways to manipulate our hands and fingers, but that’s what we do as magicians.

“TMO Interviews Dan Bricklin of VisiCalc Fame, Part I”

“TMO Interviews Dan Bricklin of VisiCalc Fame, Part II”

Stefann Reitshamer

Stefan Reitshamer - @reitshamer

Stefan Reitshamer (Haystack) takes a unique approach compared to many developers: he put his phone number on his website. He welcomes feedback. He listens to his customers and learns from the UI issues they have. Mr. Reitshamer told TMO: “… that interaction is invaluable. Just learning the way they think about things. I can’t put myself in their place: I know too much, and I can’t look at the issues the way they do. so when they call me and they ask me these questions, I think, aha, so that’s how you see it. And it’s just really invaluable feedback.”

“Haystack Developer: Listen to Your Customers”

James Wilson

James Wilson - @lithiumcorp

James Wilson (Lithium) told us about how sometimes the intelligent marriage of a server and an iPad app is far better than letting the iPad do all the work. Back end processing can minimize network traffic and invoke a lot of horsepower in order to make a simple app look really good.

Also, Mr. Wilson shared his thoughts on meta-curation. “If you’re on Twitter, you’re already following and seeking people you like and have common interests. So it all happens for you by default. So of course you’re going to be interested in what they’re saying and what they’re reading and what they’ve published. You’re aggregating word of mouth. And doing it without even having to try.”

“Serendipity Strikes Lithium & Tweed”

Andrew Stone

Andrew Stone - @Twittelator

Andrew Stone (Stone Design) extolled the benefits of Apple’s new Xcode 4 and how it reduces barriers for newbies getting into iOS and OS X development. More apps means more money for Apple and more money for developers. “Xcode 4 is absolutely fantastic. I think the fantastic thing is that we’re finally able to everything there in one place without the friction of finding it. They tackled the major problem which is that process … where’s that other thing? … So what are they doing? They’re lowering the barrier to entry.”

“Andrew Stone: App Developer’s Obi Wan”


Ben Satterfield - @scootdown

Ben Satterfield’s company, 23 Divide, had a problem. Their inability to deliver iOS apps to clients on the move made them look bad. So they developed their own tool, TestFlight, and as things often go, ended up commercializing the product. Developers embraced it, and suddenly his company was in the business of services for developers. Lots of them. And because there’s no reason to charge small indy developers the same as the large corporations, their business model takes a Robin Hood approach. Mr. Satterfield gives TestFlight away to many developers because he’s out to do one small thing: change the world.

“TestFlight’s Robin Hood Developer”

Marco Arment

Marco Arment - @marcoarment

Marco Arment (Marco Armentfound himself in the same boat as many other Apple developers: Apple introduces a feature at WWDC that appears to make their own app unnecessary. But Mr. Arment doesn’t see it that way. He thinks that Apple will bring more people to the marina and that will float his boat even higher. Not every Apple feature catches on.

He’s also very impressed with iOS 5. “What I’m really excited about is all the new things they’ve done in iOS 5. From two sides. First, it’s going to make the platform more popular…. Also, all the new APIs in iOS 5 are so compelling. They have done a lot. This is a major release. I’m shocked how much they’ve crammed in here. It’s huge. I just can’t wait until I start requiring iOS 5 and making great use of all this stuff.”

“Marco Arment & Instapaper’s Reading List”