in the footsteps of a young French developer in the land of Apple

in the footsteps of a young French developer in the land of Apple

The WWDC conference organized by Apple this week in a hybrid way welcomed more than a thousand developers to Apple Park. Among them, Sascha is a young Frenchman who came to discover the place after winning the Challenge France. “A childhood dream” for a developer full of ideas.

Apple wwdc 22 photo developers
Developers at the end of the WWDC 22 keynote // Source: Apple

With his t-shirt featuring the rainbow Apple logo and the message Infinite Loop, his young age and his big smile, you could take him for an employee of the Apple Store. However, this young Frenchman, all wrapped up and happy to be in Apple Park, is not there by chance and has traveled from Bordeaux to come and live his American dream.

Sascha Salles is one of a thousand developers invited to WWDC 2022, the annual conference organized by Apple for them. At 23, it is even the second time that he has participated, the first physically. ” Last year it was online and it was already very cool. This is my first time in the United States, it’s a childhood dream“, enthuses the Bordelais. ” I got my “Golden Ticket” somehow!“.

A Golden Ticket for the dream of a lifetime

As a young programming student, he divides his time between Paris, where he works for the startup Luni App, a specialist in iOS application design, and Aquitaine, where he is preparing a master’s degree at Ynov, a private computer school where he also teaches iOS programming. “I trained on my own thanks to Swift Playground, the application for learning to code on the iPad. I started giving lessons as a volunteer and today I set up my own trainingSascha explains in an amused tone. Between his classes, he is therefore the one who plays the teacher to help others bring applications to life under iOS or macOS.

WWDC sascha Salles french developer
Sascha Salles, young French developer in front of the Apple Store at the Apple Park Visitor Center // Source: FRANDROID — Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

Proof of his dexterity when it comes to applications: Sascha has already twice won the Swift Student Challenge organized by Apple France and which allows him to attend WWDC.“I saw the contest on the Apple site and thought it might be a good idea to give it a try.“, he confides. Winning bet and, on his first attempt in 2021, he even won the right to present his application to Tim Cook… remotely.

The Challenge is to design a Playground app that can be experienced in no more than three minutes. No constraints or other rules imposed. You just need to be between 16 and 25 years old to register. But don’t think it’s that easy. “I took my head and then I ended up telling myself that it was just necessary to lean on what I liked and to be creative“Summarizes Sascha.

Three minutes to seduce Tim Cook

I am a musician so I created an augmented reality application to introduce the instruments of a Brass Band, a brass ensemble“says the student. “They come to life around you, you can play them, get information about each, and there’s a mixer to adjust the sound“.

And the boss of the apple brand, also a musician, praised the accessible side of his application. “It was really amazing to have the feedback from Tim Cook,he recalls. “He told me that it was a very inspiring idea, because he is a trombone player and that augmented reality above all made it super accessible. I was really touched.»

tim cook swift Challenge WWDC 21
The winners of the Swift Student Challenge in 2021 including Sascha Salles (middle left) // Source: Twitter /@Tim_Cook

And for his 2022 challenge, the apprentice programmer has decided to do this time… what he doesn’t like, but still augmented reality. “I’m not a huge sports fan so I chose this topiche laughs.

He has created a virtual robot called Tim Coach that will help you do the right movements in thirty seconds of exercise, squats or jumping jacks, and correct you if necessary. You then have an activity report to see your results. “For these challenges, it’s great, because we use everything that is available, the SDKs, the latest APIs, etc.», declares the student. And to add:Here, what is good is to try, to attempt. It will bring me new ideas, creativity to bring back to France. »

I won the WWDC Swift Student Challenge for the second time in a row!

This year my challenge was about #3D, #AR and Computer Vision.
Thank you so much @Apple
So happy ❤️
I can’t wait to meet students and talented engineers at Apple Park!#WWDC22 #SwiftStudentChallenge pic.twitter.com/clMYdzfHNH

— Sascha Salles @WWDC (@sascha_salles) May 24, 2022

All week in California, Sascha therefore attended sessions with Apple engineers to learn how to master the subtleties of iOS 16, macOS Ventura or even watchOS 9 and iPadOS 16 unveiled during Monday’s keynote.

Labs also allowed him to deepen his knowledge of programming and to discuss with the company’s teams. “It’s something that means a lot to me to have real-time feedback from engineers, it’s rare. We really have WWDC to do it as a developer,” insists the young man.

What he saw in 3D and augmented reality also amazed him:“I really want to try now and go home to show it to my colleagues in order to apply it in our next projects.»

Return to France with a head full of ideas

Even if some of these sessions were still done online, he knows that he has only positive to draw from it for his professional experience. He was able to take stock of topics such as the management of personal data, a subject that is close to his heart and that he wants to take into account in all his apps. Explain its importance to both developers and users.

Apple WWDC 22 developers keynote
Inside the Apple Park Ring transformed into a keynote area during WWDC 22 // Source: Apple

Everything I do here, I do to learn things. What matters most to me is having new technologies, having fun with new things“, he summarizes. He enthusiastically discovered the transfer of a FaceTime call from one device to another, the correction or cancellation of sending in Messages, or the new features of MapKit to add 3D maps. But he hoped to learn a little more about tracking the body and its movements with an iPhone in order to refine his project.

His week has already been rich for the Apple fan that he is. Sascha was able to visit Apple’s brand new Developer Center, “a magical placewhich opened near the main Apple Park site and where “everything is done for the good of the developers“. And he also intends to take advantage of his visit to Silicon Valley for his personal culture.

Apple Developer Center #WWDC22 pic.twitter.com/XV6ck6GwKM

— Pasquale (@PakiAsWell) June 5, 2022

I go to see all the companies, I take pictures. We’re a bit of a tech tourist“, he jokes. But he is already savoring the fact of being there, among his fellows. “We attended the keynote in the Ring, we visited. It feels like working in Apple Park somehow“, he explains with glitter in his eyes. Waiting for it to be for real, maybe in a few years.

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