Wednesday, September 16, 2009

iPhone Development Meetup Style

Develop one thing on the iPhone simply and well and ship before anyone else does, is the advice from the creator of the Obama ’08 iPhone app and Twitter aficionado, Dom Sagolla.

Sagolla has a tech pedigree that includes a Masters of Education at Harvard with stints at MIT Media Lap, and hands in the creation of Twitter and the first iPhone Developer’s Camp at Adobe in 2007. 

You want to know where he was speaking?

At 1436 Howard Street in San Francisco, home of PariSoMa, a co-working space that provides desks, wi-fi, coffee, and community events for independent professionals, located up the street from a Burger King, SpeedMart and Starbucks, itself a comment about the fast life we’re living especially here in the tech-savvy Bay Area where iPhones are prevalent at every street corner and bus stop. 

Many attendees of the iPhone Network Lounge, sat in metal chairs gazing into the oracle of their iPhones before the actual event began.  But don’t get me wrong. Many folks munched on chips and dip and spoke amongst themselves about everything ranging from vacations, cameras, and iPhone development, including Marine Leroux of bamboudesign, the organizer of the SF iPhone Network Lounge (a Meetup Group), which she said includes about 100 members. And that’s just after two meetings.

One such member lurked around the edges of the room taking pictures with an impressive camera, Jeff Johnson, a previous iPhone Lounge presenter. His company ANSCA, offers iPhone developers an alternative to programming in Objective C, language of the iPhone OS. Using Lua, Johnson said, is much easier and "more like plain English.” 

These days developers for the iPhone are in great demand and can charge up to $250 hour, especially for Cocoa, Apple's name for the development layer of the Mac OS X  (written in Objective C) and the most direct way to create native applications.

At the beginning of 2009, Apple announced that there had been more than 500 million iPhone application downloads.

Sagolla talked about two of his top-rated apps that follow the “keep it simple” principle.

Big Words displays words as large as possible on the iPhone screen, handy when you want to make plans with your friend as to where to meet in the parking lot after the big concert. Or then there’s Math Cards, a flash card-type application, a lot more fun for kids to learn multiplication and addition tables using technology. 

And watch for Sagolla’s upcoming book to be released this October from John Wiley & Sons, 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form, based on his use of Twitter as a social marketing tool.

Other developers promoted some upcoming iTune apps, What’s Shaking, which transforms your cell into a percussion instrument, or Aqui , which sends friends your exact GPS location.

“Take control of your story and lead the discussion,” advised Sagolla, as applicable to life, I guess, as it is to Twitter and iPhone development.

Lenore Weiss


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