Field Notes from WWDC: Xcode 5 Highlights

With the unveiling of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9, Apple needed to provide developers with new tools. This meant a new release of Xcode with lots of features to improve developer productivity and support for the new operating systems. Here are some highlights from the new Xcode 5:

  • Asset Catalogs.  
    You no longer have to outfit filenames with @2x or iPhone/iPad. Asset Catalogs provide the developer with a visual way of managing graphics assets for your application.
  • Image Slicing. 
    If you need graphics that can stretch across content vertically, horizontally or both, Xcode will now slice up the graphics asset for you automatically.
  • Preview landscape portrait layouts directly within Storyboard.  
    The preview function in Storyboard will take into account constraint settings so you will be able to debug constraints without deploying to a simulator or device.
  • Better debugging support.  
    You can now quicklook variables!  Have a reference to a UIImage?  Hit the quicklook button to see the image.  Have a really long NSString?  Quicklook it and see a fixed-width, scrollable window of all the content. UIWebview reference? Quicklook will show you the page that it’s rendering. Awesome.
  • Vastly improved testing support. 
    You can now execute individual test methods or test methods for the whole class. When looking at a broken test, Xcode can easily bring up the code related to the test. And testing can now be easily run directly from the command line.
  • Automatic Project Configuration.
    Need to setup push notifications?  Go into the project configuration and turn it on. Xcode will automatically setup your project to support push notifications. It will even generate any and all necessary certificates for specific features.

Overall, there are a number of general performance improvements throughout Xcode 5 and, as one might assume, it integrates with Apple’s new Continuous Integration Server called Bots. Bots will also provide users with the ability to download and install pre-built applications and comes built-in to the next OS X Server.

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