The big conferences expect you to provide a topic and a brief description several months in advance. This can be challenging as you have to pick something that you think will still be interesting in eight months or so, even if there is a WWDC and the larger part of the beta phase of a new macOS and iOS version in between. It also has to be able to hold my attention for about eight months, which is not an easy requirement.
I usually try to meet that challenge by choosing something that is complex enough that it has a large likelihood of remaining relevant. For this year’s JNUC, I chose “Use Swift with the Jamf API.” This would very certainly remain relevant, as both Swift and the Jamf Pro API were certain to remain in existence. I was also not expecting too great changes in either and if there were smaller changes—both Swift and the Jamf API update regularly—I was confident I would be able to handle them.
It also covered another goal I have for my presentation: it was something I didn’t really know at the time and wanted to learn more about. I had dabbled with SwiftUI before, most prominently for my 2021 MacSysAdmin Online presentation “Let’s Swift Again” and I had also tried myself with using the Jamf API from Swift. But the new concurrency features of Swift 5.5 looked like they could make the code much more interesting.
My hunch was correct. But, even though the new concurrency features simplified the code, using Swift to retrieve and work with objects from the Jamf API still remained quite a bit more complex than doing so with curl in a shell script. A JNUC session was supposed to fit into 30 minutes.
So, I hatched a crazy plan. To remain in the 30 minutes, I would just superficially introduce the most important concepts in the sessions, and then publish a tutorial and some sample code that would explain the details. Ideally, the tutorial would publish around the same time as JNUC.
Even early in putting together the session slides and sample code, I realized, there is far too much to explain for a single post. So it would become a series of posts. No problem, I have done that before. I suggested the series to Jamf marketing and they were happy to go with it, so I was committed.
I did manage to get the first part done and published in time for JNUC. Then the work that piled up over being away for the conference struck and it took a while to get part two out. Part three was published yesterday. The project is starting to take form and is diving into some really essential, but also exciting features of Swift.
I am polishing part 4 right now and will send it to the great people who run the Jamf blog for editing and more polishing soon-ish. I am working on the sequels, where we finally, actually will get into the SwiftUI part of the tutorial. I expect there to be seven parts in total, though this project may have more surprises for me yet.
I think this worked out well, even though it certainly turned out to be far more complex and far more work than I had originally anticipated. I have certainly learned a lot along the way, so that goal was achieved! I hope you will enjoy this series as much as I did writing it. (Some people like it.)
Next year, maybe I will go for something less complex… maybe…