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Q&A with Aaron Douglas

Maker of mobile apps | Developer at Automattic

My name is Aaron Douglas and I'm a maker of mobile apps. My passion since I was a child is figuring out how things work and it has driven me my entire life.

I work at Automattic and we're behind and Simplenote among other things. Day to day I work on the WordPress iOS app. I have a passion for the hidden things like Core Data and app architecture but more recently have been doing more UI work.

How did you get started in iOS development?

I got started in iOS development the day the iPhone OS 2.0 SDK was released. I was a Java Enterprise software engineer already and was taking night classes to finish my Master's Degree. I wanted my capstone project to be an iPhone app, so, I made it. After a couple years of trying to get into mobile development full time with my employer and finding it hard to get them to make the switch, I left. I worked for a small software company making enterprise mobile and web apps and had a great time doing iOS work full time. I left there for Automattic and continue to love doing what I do.

What software and hardware do you use?

I'm on a 15" retina MacBook Pro most times connected to a Thunderbolt Display. Xcode is my IDE of choice but I do on occasion use AppCode for iOS development. I prefer the command line in most cases but as time goes on I find a great graphical interface can woo me away from Terminal. I have a bunch of iOS devices on my desk for testing and one Android phone to help my coworkers with testing. I also dog-food and try to blog somewhat regularly at with anything that I find interesting.

What is your ideal work environment?

We're all remote at Automattic. My cozy work environment is my home :). I use a standing desk and a walking treadmill most times during the day. I also enjoy working out on my screened-in porch during warmer months.

Top-3 your favorite books / resources about mobile development

As I mentioned my primary interest in the hidden side of apps which includes Core Data. Marcus Zarra's "Core Data" 2nd Edition book is something I read cover to cover.

John Gruber's Daring Fireball blog is something I read on a daily basis and I find it inspires me to research new ideas.

Thirdly I'd recommend anything on - its probably one of the best and broadest resources to keep iOS and Mac developers "in the know.

Who are the developers you admire most?

I admire any developer that takes the time to share the tools they've built and take the time to make them better for everyone. One developer in particular comes to mind and that is Mattt Thompson - the guy behind AFNetworking and creator of NSHipster. He's just an all-round nice guy and wants to make the world better with code.