October 2011 – Jon Nathan

Jon Nathan was our presenter. He explained the nuts and bolts of how to have your app support plug-ins, and he pointed out some interesting reasons you might want to take this approach. For example, you (or a third party) can use plug-ins to extend your app's scripting dictionary, or support additional languages.

To me the most interesting reason for the plug-in approach was simply to force you to think about your code in a certain way. Jon has found that you can often — perhaps more often than you think — factor your application design into a central core plus a bunch of plug-ins that inherit from a common base class. Since the plug-ins live in their own Xcode projects, at any given time you're working on a smaller code base than if you had all your code in one monolithic project. And this can allow you to send your users a quick bug fix by having them install an updated plug-in, without making them wait until you ship a full official release of your app.

Jon preferred that we not video his presentation, but there's a link in the "show notes" where you can get his code. (Ever since I started listening to podcasts semi-regularly I think in terms of putting URLs in "show notes".) There are also links to other things that came up during the meeting or over dinner.


  • The source code Jon used for his talk.
  • Return to Dark Castle, for really old-school Mac gamers.
  • "Ed Catmull, Pixar: Keep Your Crises Small" — a talk about the organizational challenges at Pixar.
  • The 5by5 family of podcasts. There a were a couple of specific ones that came up over dinner, but I forget which ones.
  • The NSBrief podcast. This was mentioned during the meeting, but I forget the context.
  • Chrome Canary. The neat thing Ed pointed out was that you can now define multiple users (in Preferences) and have different windows belong to different users (via the Users menu). This is handy for logging into a web site using different identities.
  • "Mastering Xcode 4", which Ed recommended (Amazon link).
  • MacAdminMonthly, a new group that Ed's starting. "MacAdminMonthly is a monthly meetup that focuses on helping Sys Admins administer large deployments of Macs and iOS devices." First meeting Dec 6.

2 thoughts on “October 2011 – Jon Nathan

  1. Great "show notes," Andy. This was a really good talk and meeting. I'm still going through the Xcode book. So far, so good, but it's not quite where Xcode Unleashed was. Not bad, just different.

    Also, the idea of Chrome Canary is that it's really bleeding edge. The multiple profiles should 'bubble up' to beta and then stable. So, while Canary gives you these cool features early, know that it's truly a beta (or alpha) product in the real sense of the word. Know what you're getting into before making it your main browser. That said, Canary has been fine to use as my main browser for the last two months since I started using it.

  2. Good caveat. It looks like Canary doesn't stomp on "regular" Chrome, presumably because "regular" Chrome doesn't store profiles (yet). So you don't have to worry about running both if Canary doesn't work for some particular purpose.

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