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‘Behind Enemy Lines,’ iOS Developer Recounts His Experience Developing iOS Apps at Google

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News Posted: Sat, Jan 5 2013 1:05 AM
Although Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs were once captured in an iconic photo congenially sipping coffee together in Silicon Valley, Jobs famously took serious umbrage that Google dared to invade the smartphone market with its Android OS. The Android and iOS platforms have been duking it out ever since.

Thus, the idea of an iOS developer working for none other than Google may seem a bit odd, but that’s precisely what a fellow named Chris Hulbert (who, granted, considers himself a freelancer) did at Google Sydney in Australia.

Google Sydney
Some Googlers at the Sydney, Australia office

Hulbert spent time at Google working on the iOS version of the Google Maps Coordinate app and recounted some of his experiences in a blog post. Many of Hulbert’s rememberings are only germane to coders and developers, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Hulbert said that there were no iPhones on that campus, save for the ones developers needed to use in the lab; it was a total Nexus fest. Further, he noted that there was definitely some anti-iOS sentiment around the office, with associated teasing.

The most telling bit concerns Apple’s approach to app development over Google’s; primarily, Apple works from concept to design to code. “Someone in a suit dreams up their app, tells the UX guy who comes up with wireframes (aka scribbles on paper of each screen), then the designers mock up each screen exactly how they want it to look”, he said in the post. “And it is finally passed to us developers to make the magic happen as close as possible to the designs.”

Google, on the other hand, embraces a relatively slow-paced code development process built to minimize mistakes; design takes a back seat.

Whichever camp you’re in, it’s always intriguing to hear about what it’s like behind enemy lines.
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And google's ios map app happens to be one of the most functional and better designed apps I've ever used. Apple could certainly stand to learn from them.

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Even though googles approach is the other way around (with design taking a back seat as it should), all of their stuff turns out great. Do you want to know why? Let a programmer tell you. When you program without design restrictions, code stays more flexible and thus can easily get some "master" code to control all the previously created, perfectly working blocks. When you design first, code is often tied to that design, making reuse and changes harder as the code is not flexible. The fact that apple uses such a dumb approach is very telling.

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Steve Jobs insane attack on Google for entering the smartphone market was the nail in the coffin for me. I was a Mac developer back in the day; now, I won't touch an Apple product, advise my friends who ask to avoid Apple products, and am firmly in the Android camp. I even have an Android desktop PC that I use side-by-side with my Windows desktop.

I see no sign of Apple stopping their "competition by litigation" strategy, either, so they can rot in Hell as far as I am concerned.

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Apple's Map program is a laughingstock.

Google's works like a dream.

That says enough about their methods.

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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For some odd reason, I have far more confidence in an application or device dreamed up and designed by engineers and which competes in the market place than in one conceived by «designers»/marketing people, which competes in the courtroom....

Henri

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I can't say I disagree with anyone here.

Apple feels too corporate in the design.  I've always been one to encourage free thinking, some of googles greatest accomplishments came from developers starting personal side projects on company time.

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ios apps developed at google by ios developer are really great. Google Earth applications gives lots and lots of information to us. Now we have all information right in our palm.

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