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Apple execs detail new tools, resources for App Store developers

A pair of Apple executives have detailed the company’s new developer tools announced at WWDC 21, and how they can create value for app makers.

The Cupertino tech giant announced iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and other software updates at the developer conference in June. But it also announced new resources and tools for App Store developers that, although not as attention-grabbing, could be just as impactful.

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of worldwide developer relations, and Andreas Wendker, Apple’s vice president of tools and frameworks, recently spoke with CNET about the new technologies.

“All these advances in tools and technologies are the result of a vision that we’ve been executing on for years. They’re really the result of a never-ending focus on our side to build long-lasting platforms that create lots of value for developers and users,” Wendker told CNET.

One of those tools is Swift Playgrounds, an educational app initially meant for teaching code. At WWDC, Apple announced that developers will be able to build iPhone or iPad apps directly in Swift Playgrounds.

“Our feeling is every kid should have exposure to learning to code, not because every kid is going to become a coder but because the world around us is fueled by code. We’re going to help as many people as we can in as many walks of life as possible, from as many communities and cultures as possible, to learn to code,” Prescott said.

Other developer upgrades include a new SharePlay API, the ability to include in-app events, a version of TestFlight for Mac, and an Xcode Cloud platform that will allow continuous integration and delivery.

“There are a lot of steps that developers have to go through when they develop apps, like testing and integrating [their code] with their coworkers, and that takes a lot of time, Wendker said.

Xcode Cloud, which recently became available to beta test, allows developers to automate many tasks using Apple’s cloud services. It’s built into Xcode 13.

“And frankly, a bunch of these tasks are often very mundane and developers don’t want to do them. So, the idea behind a continuous integration system like Xcode Cloud is that it basically offloads a lot of these tasks that can be automated into the cloud,” Wendker said of the feature.

Although Apple’s relationship with some developers may be strained, the company is aiming to make building apps a more approachable task on its platforms.

“[Xcode Cloud] gives developers back a lot of their time so they can really focus on their code. And that means they have more time to find bugs and issues in their code, they find them earlier, and so they create higher quality apps and they have more time to work on [adding] features,” said Wendker.

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