When we’re out and about in London’s tech community we get a lot of developers asking us what it’s like to develop with Apple’s new tvOS. For anyone who’s comfortable with iOS development tvOS is a real treat.

Custom applications on tvOS

These apps use the most up to date iOS frameworks and resemble traditional iOS applications for the iPhone and iPad. For tvOS developers this gives those from an iOS background the use of many familiar iOS frameworks that have been adapted to the different user interface demands.

There’s the option to build the user interface in storyboard as well as all the UIKit classes. This also allows tvOS developers to choose to use Swift or Objective-C.
The slight problem is the absence of the webview, so there’s option to render HTML. This will create a bit of work when porting native apps with webviews to tvOS.

Client server applications on tvOS

For anyone with a web development background this will be quite interesting. This is a new set of frameworks, TVML, unique to tvOS that make it possible to create applications using Javascript and a markup language. The app here is a container that accesses Javascript resources on the server. Apple providing a Javascript framework to create applications shows just how widespread Javascript is becoming.

Focus engine on tvOS

There’s no touch input or mouse as in iOS so the Focus engine moves the focus between elements automatically. This gives the user a way to move around the UI with the touch area of the Apple TV remote. For tvOS developers this takes away a lot of work since the OS recognises which element the user wants when swiping on the remote. However, this is also customisable so it will be interesting to see what developers come up with.

Storage on tvOS

tvOS apps are restricted to 200MB in size, for apps above 200MB you need to use the On-Demand Resources introduced at WWDC 2015.

The Apple TV app also doesn’t allow local storage, instead use the iCloud-Key-Value-Storage(1MB limit) and CloudKit. This might sound like a problem, however, since the Apple TV will be connected to the internet all the time there’s no real issue.

First tvOS application?

We’re telling people we meet in London that now’s the time to create a tvOS application. Apple has made tvOS development a rapid way to create apps for Apple TV thanks to the foundation of technologies it has introduced over the past few years.