The Thank-A-Thon!

To celebrate Thanksgiving, the team at thanks some some special tools and people from the iOS community! By Felipe Laso-Marsetti.

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Thanksgiving is upon us, and with it comes time to reflect on the things we’re thankful for this year.

Here at we wanted to take the chance to express our gratitude and appreciation to everyone and everything that makes being a part of this community great.

So welcome to our first annual “thank-a-thon”! We asked our team members to let us know (in one sentence) what they’re thankful for, and here’s what they came up with – along with some copious commentary from me!

Enjoy as we share our gratitude during the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday.

Tools & APIs

We begin showing gratitude to some of our favorite tools and APIs. We use them on a day-to-day basis and likely imagine the days when these weren’t available, particularly for young platforms like virtual reality.

“I would like to thank the team behind VRTK (Virtual Reality ToolKit) for enabling me to concentrate on the product and the content rather then on the coding fiddly bits.”

“Thank You Virtual Reality Toolkit!” — by Gijs Bannenberg

At, we’re huge fans of VR and AR, and think it’s here to stay. Given how young the platform is, tools like Virtual Reality Toolkit can certainly ease the process of getting things up and running.

If you’re spinning up a new project, chances are you are using Git or some form of source control to track your history and progress. You may even be using GUI Git apps like Tower or SourceTree, as Kyle shares:

“I am thankful for Git (and GitHub and SourceTree). I can’t believe there was ever a time when I coded without source control.”

“Thank You Git, GitHub, and SourceTree!” — by Kyle Gorlick

I too shudder to think that when I first started coding, I didn’t use source control. I would manually zip up my project folder in order to keep the history, or hit CMD+Z as much as macOS would allow. Thank goodness I found source control, and Git in particular!

Note: If you aren’t using Git yet, you should! You may find these courses helpful along the way: Beginning Git and Mastering Git.

What about communication, correspondence, interacting with coworkers, designers, clients? Slack has become a standard tool across many teams and companies, and Caroline in particular was super thankful for it this year:

“I am thankful for Slack. All my favourite people live there. I’m also thankful for the actual people but there are too many to name.”

“Thank You Slack!” — by Caroline Begbie

The team at relies on Slack, amongst other tools, for organization and communication across team members. With its support for many integrations, themes, and vast customization, it can be a stupendous tool for improving your workflow and keeping conversations in a single place (email does feel a bit dated now-a-days). It’s also a great way to stay connected with coworkers, friends, and people you care about.

Some fun of the discussions we have on Slack — and you’ve likely had them yourself on Facebook, Twitter, at events, etc, — involve the whole debacle of USB-A vs. USB-C ports and dongles.

But did you know you can wirelessly debug your iOS 11 apps on-device with Xcode 9? James is sure happy and thankful for this:

“I am thankful Xcode 9’s Wireless Debugging. I can finally get stuff done when I forget my USB-C cable.”

“Thank You Xcode 9 Wireless Debugging!” — by James Goodwill

I think we can all agree that wireless debugging in Xcode 9 is a godsend. No more cable shuffling, specially when using cables for which your computer has no ports. It’s not slow or tedious at all, and my experience has been that you don’t even need to reconnect a device if you quit Xcode.

But if you prefer working with Android, and Android Studio, there is a new language in town that is here to stay. Just ask Steve:

“I am thankful that Google announced Kotlin as a first class language for Android – this allows me to not only continually learn and improve the quality of my code, but also brings Android and iOS development closer together.”

“Thank You Kotlin Android Support!” — by Steve Smith

There is a lot of excitement around Kotlin this year motivated by Google announcing first-class support in Android. Given that JetBrains developed Android Studio and Kotlin, you can expect stupendous compatibility with existing development workflows.

And if you’re looking for Kotlin tutorials, you’re in the right place! We’re going big with our Kotlin tutorials for Android development and have even bigger plans for 2018.

Learning Resources

What fun would all these tools be if we had to learn them all on our own? Here are some great books and learning resources that our team is thankful for.

“I’m thankful for Paul Hudson’s “Dive into SpriteKit” book for bringing choose your own adventure mechanics to game programming.”

“Thank You Dive into SpriteKit!” — by Janie Clayton

Paul’s books are super cool. You should certainly check them out! It’s nice to see a variety of authors contributing to our community.

Another learning resource I think we’ve all come to rely on is StackOverflow.

“I’m thankful for StackOverflow and all of the developers that both ask great questions and also those that take time to provide quality answers! As a community, they make writing software so much better and more enjoyable.”

“Thank You StackOverflow!” — by Eric A. Soto

We’re probably all thankful for StackOverflow. Although you should be checking your platform’s documentation and avoiding the temptation to simply copy and paste the first solution you find, it’s highly likely that you can get help on StackOverflow. It’s almost certain that someone has already run into the same bug or problem and posted a solution.

Some users on StackOverflow are ninjas of debugging, and master of coming up with solutions to problems. So our editor Darren Ferguson convinced author Derek Selander to sit down, and teach the rest of us how to do it in his new book! :]

“I am thankful for the Advanced Debugging Book and for the author Derek Selander, whom without my pushing might never have written the book.”

“Thank You Derek Selander!” — by Darren Ferguson

We’ll certainly never forget Derek’s memorable announcement of his book at RWDevCon this year – pizza suit and all! :]

For learning in general, however, we’ve all likely used as a resource at one point or another in our careers. Even as members of the team we’re super thankful for the site and it’s continued support for topics beyond Apple, like Android, Unity, VR, and Kotlin.

“Looking back on my iOS, macOS, tvOS education, I’m very thankful to the tutorial team for their great information and inspiration.”

“Thank You Team!” — by David Worsham