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Conference report: NSSpain 2018

Swift, wine, and good times come back to Logroño

Paul Hudson       @twostraws

"You’re going to NSSpain? That’s the best conference." That’s what I was told just 24 hours before flying out to the heart of La Rioja province for the world-renowned iOS conference.

Everyone knows NSSpain is famous, but it’s hard to be sure why. It might be their ability to get incredible speakers time and time again, it might be the huge and beautiful venue, or it might be the fact that the event ends just as the San Mateo wine festival starts in the same town – lots of folks stay an extra day or two just for that event.

This year’s line up included Kristina Fox, Daniel Steinberg, Dave DeLong, Adam Bell, Ellen Shapiro, and Benedikt Terhechte, delivering a wide range of talks about Siri shortcuts, combinators, app architecture, and more. My own talk was about building and running Hacking with Swift, covering the most common problems folks hit when learning Swift and what it tells us about our platform – you can watch it here.

I think it’s safe to say, though, that the star of the stage was Guilherme Rambo, delivering his first presentation in Europe. His talk, The Art of Spelunking, gave a whirlwind tour through his approach to finding hidden curiosities in iOS, including how he learned so much about the HomePod ahead of its release.

One of the many things that NSSpain does right is encouraging new speakers, even disallowing speakers from presenting two years in a row. This year saw several new speakers delivering great presentations – I particularly enjoyed Daniel Munoz’s talk on internationalization, and Nelida Velazquez’s talk on working with legacy projects.

At the end of the first conference day two special events took place. First, John Sundell and Gui Rambo took to the stage to deliver a live edition of their Stacktrace podcast. As Apple’s September event had only just happened there was a lot to discuss, but as lively as that was the following event was even busier thanks to it being a wine-tasting tour around a local vineyard!

NSSpain is the brainchild of Luis Ascorbe and Borja Reinares, and I genuinely have no idea how they look so calm the entire time. It’s a big event in a beautiful environment, so the fact that every year goes so smoothly is a real feat. The conference is well-known for publishing high-quality videos at an incredible turnaround – something I’ve mentioned previously. We have Stefan Völker to thank for that – good job, Stefan!

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