Written by Michał Apanowicz
Published November 10, 2016

An iOS developer at Mobiconf 2016

In this article I would like to share with you my opinion and feelings about Mobiconf 2016 – mobile related conference in Kraków (Poland) which took place 6 – 7th October 2016.

When you search for iOS conferences on Lanyrd you will find more than a 1900 events (past and future) across the world! But even though the choice is big, picking a good and valuable conference is a tough task.

I wanted to tell my thought on this year’s edition of Mobiconf. The conference (same as in previous years) offered 3 tracks – “Everything Mobile”, “Android” and “iOS”. My review is a mix of “iOS” and “Everything mobile” tracks, but if you have any questions about the “Android” ones, feel free to ask them in comments, so my colleagues could answer them.

Lectures I attended:

  1. Kevlin Henney – “The Programmer” (general) – a great keynote. I couldn’t imagine better keynote for opening a conference. Even though Kevlin is not a mobile developer programmer, he is a great spokesman. This kind of talks might not be technical, but they give you motivation for work or you can think about programming as craftsmanship.
    What you could learn from that: It was more of a talk about our work, the craft of creating code rather than sharing knowledge about technology. More motivation to become a better programmer.mobiconf-39
  2. Tomek Cejner – “Asynchronous programming patterns (in Swift)” (iOS) – Tomek is a well-known person in the Kraków’s iOS community, so I had high expectations from that talk. But Tomek showed the most basic ways we can achieve asynchronous programming, such as callbacks and promises. It was really a basic, short talk, in my opinion, for people who start programming in Swift. Tomek if you read this: I stay hungry for more!
    What you could learn from that: What are promises and how you can approach asynchronous programming in Swift + best practices.
  3.  Wiebe Elsinga (Egeniq) – “#UXMatters” (Everything Mobile) – this year I decided to attend some UX/UI talks as well. I think that the knowledge from these fields is also a crucial part of our everyday job. The lecture started with Wiebe giving waffles to the audience! Damn, I fell in love with the UX tracks! While eating the waffles we heard about UX with examples from Wiebe. A valuable talk, at least from the iOS developer point of view. He also showed real-life examples of changes in the apps that you can download from the Application Stores.
    What you could learn from that: What you should keep in mind while designing a mobile application great for users.
  4. Krzysztof Gawronek (PayU) – “Mobile payments – PayU subjective review” – this was a sponsor’s general presentation of a PayU product and it was the worst presentation I have ever attended. It was not only a nightmare for the speaker but also for the people who attended that talk. I’ve got nothing against PayU, they have a great product that I personally use. They should, however, really see how to make a great sponsored talk from Kontakt.io from the previous Mobiconf edition. If you are interested in beacons, it’s a great talk to watch.
    What you could learn from that: How not to advertise your product and that live demo will always go wrong.
  5. Maciej Szwed (Miquido) – “Introduction to motion design in mobile apps” (UX/UI) –  Maciej was speaking about motion design in mobile apps and provided great examples. Motion design is a kind of thing that when it’s designed well we don’t even notice it. He gave great examples with animations not only presenting good motion design but also mistakes to avoid. When that talk is available online, I highly recommend you watch it even if you are a developer!
    What you could learn from that: What is motion design, when motion design is good and when it’s bad. How can animations boost your application’s UX and help to create a great product.
  6. Anastasiia Voitova (Stanfy) – “Building user-centric security model in iOS applications” (iOS) – I think that was the best lecture from the whole conference. Anastasiia was speaking about a crypto library for storage and messaging (check it out at GitHub). She also explained the threats and attacks we could face in our apps. I really appreciate that she shared with us some links that are a good starting point for further reading about security in iOS.
    What you could learn from that: Well, it was not only a simple explanation of security issues but also a nice starting point for more. You can watch a very similar talk here.
  7. Alexey Demedetskiy (Sigma Software) – “Functional MVP architecture for Swift” – that was a funny talk with a lot of coding examples. I didn’t like the MVP example, it was a little chaotic and unclear (as people mentioned in the Q&A), but the author presented a really good approach I liked very much: you can develop your app as separate frameworks. This gives you nice separation and also allows you to prototype view controllers in Playgrounds – and this is super cool! You no longer need to tap through the whole simulator to a new view controller.
    What you could learn from that: Idea of prototyping view controllers in Playgrounds, basics of Model View Presenter pattern.
  8. John Sundell (Spotify) – “Make Swift & JSON friends” (iOS) – I’m really happy that John presented again at Mobiconf after great and inspirational talks in 2015 (about what is now called a Hub framework). To be honest, when I saw the topic on agenda – I was very skeptical. I thought: what in 2016 could be interesting about parsing JSON? But the talk was great! Yeah, it was about parsing JSON. But John put the focus not on the boring parsing part but on the way he made his choices to design the library and APIs. To be honest, he made great decisions and also nicely explained them. John is very open for conversations and he loves questions – so if you find any conference he is attending I encourage you – buy tickets.
    What you could learn from that: Parsing JSON + How to design your library’s APIs. And that if you don’t like some tools, you can always try to create your own!
  9. Guilherme Prudente (Miquido) – “CoreBluetooth” (iOS) – long story short – war stories about fighting with the “poorly documented” CoreBluetooth framework and the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol. So this talk mostly depicted the author’s work with the frameworks and the problems he experienced. I do like this kind of war stories, yet some of them seemed a bit hard to believe. But then I’m not a Bluetooth expert to judge.
    What you could learn from that: War stories from fighting with CB. I think this is a good talk if you do a lot of communication with Bluetooth devices.
  10. Pim Van Oerle (Skyscanner) – “A little more conversation, a little less action” (General) – Pim Van Oerle was replacing David Low and presented a nice closing keynote. Great story about building travel voice search. I really like that this kind of a talk was closing the conference. The talk that was showing the direction the mobile development will possibly be heading in the following years.
    What you could learn from that: More about bots and voice search.

Mobile party

A big surprise for the people at Mobiconf is a mobile party. Indeed, it is a mobile! The party is in a tram that travels around the Main Square in Cracow and around the city. The tram party is simply great every year! After this unforgettable journey, you can join other people to have even more fun at the afterparty.


Summary (tl;dr)

If you’re reading this blogpost, it’s likely that you’re considering attending Mobiconf next year. The tickets are rather cheap, early-birds start from 100 EUR. They go up to 150 EUR as a normal price before the conference. It’s a two-day-long conference with a party, some well-known community speakers and some other less-known ones.

What I do like about 2016 Mobiconf:

  • low cost
  • venue
  • talks are recorded and then published
  • Kraków 🙂

What I don’t like about 2016 Mobiconf:

  • I would like more iOS related talks
  • PayU talk
  • conference app (folding with duplicates of push notifications and burger button in mobile conference app)
  • 40% of talks I attended speaker was from sponsoring company

So if conferences are your excuse for traveling around the world and you love great parties, then feel free to book the 2017 tickets! But if you look for a conference that will teach you a lot, then I suggest waiting for the full agenda.

Disclaimer: I was a person responsible for the 2014 and 2015 editions. But I was not involved in organizing 2016 edition and thanks to the Mobiconf organizers I was attending as a media.

Written by Michał Apanowicz
Published November 10, 2016