Instagram helps developers build better Apple Watch apps

The company has released an open source library that helps developers configure tables with multidimensional data

apple watch calls time on apple retail
Credit: Apple

Instagram sees an opportunity for developing more complex apps for the Apple Watch and so has released the IGInterfaceDataTable open source library to make it easier to configure tables with multidimensional data.

"Instead of flattening your data structures into an array, configure your watch tables using a data source pattern similar to UITableViewDataSource," Instagram said in the project's GitHub repository.

"The UITableViewDataSource API provides a simple interface for creating section headers and rows with tables," said Instagram Engingeer Ryan Nystrom, in an email. "By that, I mean that you could have a section of data called 'Produce' that contains the items Lettuce, Apples, Carrots and another section called 'Dairy' that has items Milk and Cheddar. In WatchKit you would have to flatten your data and manually distinguish between a header (e.g. Produce/Dairy) and an item (e.g. Lettuce/Milk). IGInterfaceDataTable, just like UITableViewDataSource, distinguishes between the two data types."

Instagram built the library because it had challenges converting existing models and structures that work alongside iOS APIs to work with WatchKit, which enables development of apps for the device. "Instead of creating a different architecture for our data, we decided to make something more robust that we could reuse," Nystrom said. Instagram plans to keep the library small and focused on solving one problem. "When we run into other problem spaces, we hope to find a to find a way to open-source those if we can."

Apple formally rolled out Apple Watch in early March, and market intelligence firm Tractica has just released a report projecting that more than 75 million wearable devices will be deployed in enterprise and industrial environments from 2014 to 2020. Smart watches are expected to be the largest category of wearables in the workplace. "The use of wearables in the enterprise will include devices that are part of the 'bring your own wearable' trend, as well as fitness trackers or smartwatches provided by employers as part of their corporate wellness programs," Tractica research director Aditya Kaul said in a statement.

This story, "Instagram helps developers build better Apple Watch apps" was originally published by InfoWorld.