Thoughts from a NeXTStep Guy on Cocoa Development

Leaving Apple

Jul 01, 2011 by Bill Dudney

As I tweeted a couple of weeks ago, I’m no longer at Apple. It was quite a difficult decision to leave, but as much as I love to help developers, as much fun as it was to plan WWDC, as cool as the evangelism team is, I wanted freedom to do my own thing. There is so much more to say here but it is still jumbled in a bunch of mixed emotions, as I continue to deconstruct stuff I’ll try to write coherent posts about the decision here.

One of the things I wanted to do is help Chris update the iOS SDK Development book. It was a ton of fun to write, it met with some reasonable success and had a great following on the PragProg forums. Given the history of the book it was making me sick that it was languishing with Xcode 3 screen shots and no iOS 4 or iOS 5 content. So I’m super happy to say I’ve signed on as a co-author for the next edition that will include iOS 5 and Xcode 4. I’ll be posting about the book over the upcoming weeks with updates as we approach beta.

I love helping and teaching developers, but I also love to write code that ships. As an evangelist I got to do a bunch of the prior but none of the latter. So I’m also chomping at the bit to get back to my apps, that will have to wait till the book is done. I’ll post about what I learn from converting iOS 2 and iOS 3 apps to iOS 5 as I get started on those transitions. I know most of you have probably already gone through this so I’ll mostly be writing those entries for myself :)

Since I love to teach I really missed being at conferences so I’m super happy to say I’ll be at CocoaConf in August. It’s a great line up of speakers, I wish I was going as an attendee so I could see all the other talks! It would be great to see you there.

Thanks for taking the time to read and I'm really looking forward to getting back into this side of the community!


It's great to "have you back", Bill! It was great meeting you at WWDC again this year and I wish you all the best for your new endeavors!

Posted by Johannes Fahrenkrug on July 01, 2011 at 10:15 AM MDT #


Looking forward to the book update, yours was the first book I read when I was moving into iPhone development.

My son, (who is just starting to get into iOS development), and I are attending CocoaConf, great to hear that you will be there.

I know we will see cool things from you in the future, congrats!


Posted by Doug Sjoquist on July 01, 2011 at 10:17 AM MDT #

Great to have you back in the indie community.

Any plans to add to the Core Animation book, perhaps with some more iOS content?

Posted by Simon Wolf on July 01, 2011 at 12:26 PM MDT #

Sorry things didnt work out at Apple, I know how stoked you were to get the job in the first place.

Be great to get the book revamped to the latest sdk and to get some new screencasts. Looking forward to you coming 'home'

Posted by Adrian Collins on July 01, 2011 at 01:11 PM MDT #

Bill - really looking forward to your book. The iOS community is lucky to have you.

Posted by Steve on July 02, 2011 at 10:14 AM MDT #

Thank you, I've always enjoyed reading your book from the beginning of my career on iPhone development. I'll buy the next version of your book when it is published.

Posted by Hoang Pham on July 04, 2011 at 05:19 AM MDT #

Hi Bill,

Is there a way for you to tell whoever writes the iOS SDK developer documentation to make it more intuitive and easier to understand?

I wrote to Apple about this:

I wish Apple would get a good documentation writer (one who speaks plain English and gives lots of coding examples--normal ones, not the overly-complicated ones in XCode documentation) that'll compare how it's done in XCode 3 and how it's now done in XCode 4. That'll be so helpful in the transition--it'll save developers hundreds of hours and lower the learning curve.

In clear, non-high-fallutin English, provide step-by-step tutorial with sample code of how it's done using XCode3 vs XCode 4 for:

- IBOutlets, IBAction

- having custom builds for deployment, debugging, etc.

- getting back most of XCode 3 keyboard shortcuts (option-command-up-arrow to shift between .m and .h for example)

Also give step-by-step (with sample code) of

- XCode 4 new features

For Apple documentation writers, please take a look at the PHP manual to see what an easy-to-understand, well-organized documentation looks like:

Notice how the examples actually save you hours of having to test the methods yourself because Apple rarely gives example usage in the documenation itself?


If you and your co-author can write an iOS SDK reference that's just like the PHP manual (with coding examples for every method) I'd buy it in an instant. It doesn't even have to be the whole iOS SDK, just the fundamentals: NSString, NSData, UITableView, etc.

Posted by Vip Malixi on July 04, 2011 at 05:19 AM MDT #

@Vip - I'm 100% sure the PHP manual was poorly written when you first arrived at in it's hallowed halls, but you stuck with it, learned the style of the language then realized how wonderful the documentation was. My hope is that you will stick with iOS long enough to come to the same realization.

If you have specific questions about specific things I'd be happy to help you find the correct documentation to help you along.

Also be mindful of the diversity in the world, something that is crystal clear to you might seem utterly opaque to someone else.

Posted by Bill Dudney on July 04, 2011 at 05:26 AM MDT #

I had mixed emotions for you when you went. But glad you had such a fabulous opportunity.

Posted by Bill Shirley on July 12, 2011 at 05:07 AM MDT #

Really looking forward to the iOS5 update! :-)

Posted by Bjørn Solnørdal Tennøe on July 12, 2011 at 05:07 AM MDT #

Will there be a "Beta" of the iOS SDK Development book? I'd love to check it out sooner than later. I loved the first book and am now picking back up and looking at iOS 5 and iPad development. There, obviously, aren't any books out on iOS 5 yet, but when you get your book out I will most definitely buy it! Welcome back and looking forward to whatever you write!

Posted by Robert Gottlieb on July 19, 2011 at 02:18 PM MDT #

There's a season for everything. It's a great opportunity that you had to work at Apple, but I can understand your reasons for leaving.

You want what a lot of us want, and you're willing to go for it.

The iPhone screencasts and iPhone SDK book were great resources that I used to get started. Will be cool to see the updates coming out.

I wish you the best and look forward to meeting you at @cocoaconf. God bless.


Posted by Scott Ruth on August 02, 2011 at 03:31 AM MDT #

Just happened to stop by as I was pulling down one of your videos from prag prog. Here's to new beginnings!

Posted by Cory Wheeler on August 02, 2011 at 03:31 AM MDT #

Hi Bill,

If you have the time now, can you finish these Objective-C 2.0 Episodes?

Unit testing
Categories and protocols
Dynamic programming

Loved your Vids!


Posted by TRF on November 14, 2011 at 07:17 PM MST #

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