ConfFriends 2019

With under a week until developers from around the world start to descend on San Jose for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference.

ConfFriends (formerly WWDC Family) has been updated for 2019 to include a bunch of new features to help organize get-togethers with other attendees of WWDC and neighboring events. I even managed to get “WWDC” back into the App Title.


This year with the closure of Beacon, which previously made it easy to plan smaller events at previous WWDCs, I added the ability to add Gatherings to ConfFriends. Anyone can add a gathering to the app and provide all of the details, including whether a ticket is required.

Gatherings can really be anything, a trip to a particular restaurant, city meetups or even whole country get-togethers or perhaps you want to exchange a few WWDC pins.

Each gathering has its own chat where you’re able to ask questions or organize meeting up before heading to the venue etc.

Coming soon: In an update coming later this week you’ll be able to see upcoming and past gatherings, gathering creators will be able to edit gatherings to keep things current.


I’ve not added any additional privacy features this year, but here’s a recap of all of the features available in ConfFriends.

Disable & Hide Location

You can disable and hide your location at anytime. This will remove your location immediately and will avoid adding your location back until you re-enable it.

Privacy Zone

Adding a privacy zone will stop the app from sharing your location within the selected area. If you enter the area the app will not update it, only updating once you then again leave that zone. You should avoid centering your privacy zone over your home or hotel so the location can’t be discovered over time.

Location Fuzzing

When you enable location fuzzing the app will change your location by a set distance in a random direction. The direction is set on the device and stored so your actual location cannot be determined over time. You can also select how far you want your location to be fuzzed.

Account Deletion

At any point you can delete your account entirely right from the app. No need to drop anyone an email and wait for days.

Got feedback?

Ran into an issue with ConfFriends or have a suggestion for a quick update this year or for ConfFriends 2020 then drop me a tweet or DM.

Into coffee?

If you’re into coffee and/or want to kick off your WWDC mornings with some chatter with other developers in town the SF iOS Coffee group is hosting a meetup each morning. It’s a great way to kickstart the day and meet a bunch of new people. You can check out the schedule at our awesome domain or use our nifty app available on the App Store. Coffee’s will also be added to ConfFriends. 🙂


The Evolution of Buffer for iPhone’s Change Schedule Functionality

With the latest version of the Buffer iPhone app hitting the App Store it brings with it the ability to change each profiles schedule from right within the app. You no longer have to go to the web app to tweak the times within your schedules.

For a long time it has been one of the most requested features we’ve had from the very first version of the iPhone app and i’m personally excited like we all are at Buffer to finally have this in everyones hands.


Interface Builder, It’s Not You, It’s Me

Since starting iOS development I have been somewhat reliant on Interface Builder for setting up views within most of the apps I’ve developed. More and more I feel as if I’m committing a sin and should be hand crafting each view programatically.

I’ve been planning to rewrite the code behind the composer within the Buffer iPhone app. As I continue working on making the application Universal to bring in iPad support it feels like a good time to refactor/rewrite. It also feels like a good time to put a hold to my love affair with Interface Builder and brush up on creating user interfaces programatically.


The potential of iPads in retail

I was recently in an Apple store and after playing around with their iPad Smart Signs which show off products throughout the store, it got me thinking about how iPads could be used in more stores.

Back in 2011 Apple introduced iPad displays to all of it’s Apple Stores, replacing the old cards encased in clear acrylic that used to sit alongside each product. The iPads are widely used throughout the store to display product info etc, not only for Apple’s products but other products like headphones and speakers.

Apple Store by Florian Boyd

Apple Store with Apple “Smart Sign” iPads – Photo by Florian Boyd

Various other stores are starting to make use of iPad’s with varying degrees of success, some people really get it. Some are starting to get it and others haven’t seemed to quite grasp the potential or the functionality the iPad can provide in stores.


Why i’m recoding my app from scratch

Over 2 years ago I launched Magic Bean for iPhone, which has since then become Universal for both iPhone & iPad. Along with that the core functionality was included in a Mac application which became just as popular than it’s iOS counterpart.

Magic Bean allows you to stay up to date with you or your teams Beanstalk account. Beanstalk is a hosted provider for Git, SVN, Mercurial repositories and allows you to easily deploy sites using their rather nifty deployment features.

For a long time Magic Bean has been sat on the back burner while i’ve cracked on with developing Buffer for iPhone & Globbert. It was the main project I used to learn iOS development, since then I have gone on to create Buffer for iPhone v1 & v2 which have both given me a tonne more knowledge. Now it is time to go full circle and apply what i’ve learnt from building Buffer for iPhone to Magic Bean.