Swift India Conference 2019 — Onset of my Journey

Sakshi Chauhan
Aug 20, 2019 · 7 min read

Learning, this story of a lumberjack told us all how important it is. Most of the companies try and provide opportunities to their techies to be up-to-date with the tech world. But the community is the beast of the knowledge supply for all the devs. Using the tech brotherhood at the office, we started with Learning Sessions Calendar and T(ea && ech)-Chat sessions initiative sometime back, something that provides direct and parallel learning to be a complete package. In addition to sharing knowledge and working together, it also enhances the bond between us. But how about increasing this brotherhood to a bigger community? Learning should go multifold.

I have been watching the Swift India Community for some time now. The idea of being part of such big (and quite active)community, fascinates me. One day I learned that one of our Principal Engineers, Soaurabh Kakkar is going to be one of the workshop instructors at the Swift India Conference to be held in Bangalore. I thought I should too try to make my schedule and join this conference. I always wanted to learn more about the community and contribute to it with my tiny efforts so this filled me with excitement in no time.

It was 16 May 2019 when I received a message on Slack 📥

You might be aware of the Swift India Conference happening on 27th-28th July in Bangalore. We are trying to sponsor it and Soaurabh is one of the Workshop Guide there. Would you like to come along?

That’s me after reading that message

This amazing opportunity felt like uninhibited exuberance and thus began my Swift India journey. Since this was the very first conference I was going to attend, I started to connect with the community in every possible way, be it the Swift India Slack channels or connecting with the guide (of the workshop, I registered for) or going through the blogs around scheduled topics.

The time runs faster when you prepare yourself for something and before I knew, it was almost the time for the conference. Another first time experience for me was, traveling to Bangalore, the tech capital of our country. Thus, list all checked, bags packed, flight about to take off and me, ready to capture the beautiful clouds 🛫. I began my journey to Bangalore with 5 other colleagues who were equally excited.

Now I knew why the Bangaloreans wear the pride badge about the city’s weather. Bangalore welcomed us with a light drizzle 🌧and cold breeze leaving me in love with this city already.

Finally, it’s the day of the workshop. I left early, aimed at reaching the workshop venue on time. Kumar Reddy, our workshop instructor was all set to give us hands-on experience about Advanced Techniques to Reduce the Build Time in Xcode.

Source: Kumar Reddy explaining how source code is transformed into a binary form.

People came from various parts of India to attend the workshop and conference. I arrived a bit early, thus got the opportunity to know all the other warm and welcoming folks. The topic was so catchy for most of us (who work on a huge app with a large codebase) as it’s something which affects our daily work, thus it becomes important to optimize the build time for better productivity. Kumar got us acquainted with the various techniques to reduce the app’s build time which was followed by a hands-on session. And of course the cake cutting and photo session at the end.

Mandatory group pic at the workshop

I had around half-day after the workshop to explore Bangalore. Luckily we were staying in a hotel at the MG Road, the party hub of youth. We strolled around and found an awesome place called Arbor Brewing Company, known for its brewed beers.


Sunday mornings are usually lazy mornings for most of all but this morning was a celebration of iOS techies in Bangalore as the conference was just hours away. We arrived on time after having the must-have south Indian breakfast.

For the Social Media champs, at the entry

Banners, photo booth, props, stickers, Swift India Conference goodies. These are the starters served at the entry to set the mood for the Conference.

It is not just Bangalore. They have meetups everywhere 😯

Slight delay in the start gave us the time to visit the Sponsors’ room, capture the proud moment to be one of the sponsors, visiting the other booths, know about them and collect goodies 😉.

Tokopedia — a proud sponsor of Swift India Conference

Gopal Sharma, an inspiring personality with an amazing sense of humor, took over while the setup was being done.

This conference curated all the talks keeping across the whole spectrum of SwiftLang. Few talks were too recent things from WWDC with beta disclaimers, but there were some old interesting areas covered and the speakers took those to new depths 😁.

Tim Oliver, being the first speaker, fulfilled his responsibility in gaining the audience attention at once with his narrative style and of course the topic Ode to the corner radius. He narrated how the design style evolved from iOS 7 to iOS 13 and one of the evolution is the rounded corners of a Button. He made me wonder how even such a small thing can make a difference.

Next came Srikanth KV, to discuss on Rule Systems & State Machines with GameplayKit and it has nothing to do with Games, which is funny, right? He talked about how GameplayKit solves problems which are as simple as Input Validator to as complex as Payments System.

And then a talk on Building Apps with Compositional Layouts marked the end of the first quarter of the conference which was delivered by Sowndharya M. She discussed how it has made our lives easier and how we can now create any layout in just 5 lines without even worrying about its complexity.

This June, Apple created a huge buzz in the community by bringing in a much-awaited reactive framework — Combine. No conference/meetup is complete without one session on it and I can totally relate to it as been using RxSwift for some time now. Ritesh Gupta talked about it after the break under the talk title Combine! All the things.

We were fortunate to have one of the contributors of Swift, Daiki Matsudate, talking at the conference. He tried to encourage all of us to Make our Swift Better by contributing to it.

Conference. Talks. Workshop. (Pardon for bad resolution as I was sitting a bit far from the stage)

Journey of Codable, what could someone possibly talk about it for 20 mins. But I was amazed to see such a nice explanation by Bharath Nagaraj Rao.

Matthew Delves justified another buzz created by Apple in his session — Drawing Graphs with SwiftUI. Amruta Itagi talked about how do we use Redux in iOS, it’s advantages and trade-offs.

Marzipan got a new name — Project Catalyst this June and a much smoother implementation. Noah Gilmore explained to us that it is much more beyond that “checkbox”.

People are busy building the apps for the Millennials but there is this huge market emerging for the Next Billion. It consists of the people who might have experienced the smartphone for the first time. A complex app UI might leave them lost in a maze of hipster design trends. Abhishek Pandey suggested how we should go about helping first-time users to navigate through a complex app (with dynamic UI) beyond static coach marks or spotlights.

After all that tech-heavy talks, we got a non-tech talk about Building a Meaningful Career by Gopal Sharma. Couldn’t expect better ending than this. I felt connected and uplifted and it left an indelible impression on me. He left us with a question — Am I satisfied with my life, even if it is as relaxed as I want?

I knew I was surrounded by many brilliant minds and the breaks provided me the much-needed excuse to clam my urge to interact with them, down. The awesomeness of that tasty lunch must have made many of us, miss our calorie counts for that day, especially that Gajar Halwa. During the other breaks, there was some tea (Gopal Sharma won’t judge), coffee and 🥁 Coconut Water to go with.

Coconut Water ❤️

Quoting a cliché — All good things come to an end. But this one got us the mouth-watering Belgian Chocolate cake 🤤 in the splattering rain, marking the end as delightful as the beginning.

The Swift India Community. I am on the right side 😆

Meeting scholars is as meritorious as visiting holy places. Fruits of visiting a place are obtained over a period of time but the very sight of scholars/experts brings merit at once.

Thus I came home feeling inspired, motivated and happier. Swift India has provided us a platform where we can break the boundaries of distance, ethnicity and collaborate with fellow members of the community.

Thanks, Alvin, Aaina, Giri and all the others who worked backstage for making this awesomeness possible.

Thanks to Meet Gupta

Sakshi Chauhan

Written by

An iOS Developer at Tokopedia. Mail me at sakshi13chauhan@gmail.com.

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