Most developers rely on external libraries for development, many of which are hosted as open source repositories on GitHub. The old, manual process of checking out a repo and adding it to your Xcode project, while not the worst, could lead to a lot of work to maintain repos as they were updated or reworked.
Cocoapods automates the process of including libraries into your project by creating a static library project with the requisite libraries included. It also creates a new Xcode workspace, incorporating your project and the Cocoapod library and linking the library to your project.
You can fix the version numbers of a given repo, should a refactor or change occur that you don’t want to deal with in your project. You can also search from the current repos, either on the website or even directly from the Cocoapods command line.
If you haven’t yet used them, I wholeheartedly suggest giving Cocoapods a go in your next project. I’ve also included a link above to the new pods RSS feed, which is a great way to find out about new repos.
I listen to a number of development-related podcasts, but one of the most entertaining and educational is Debug, hosted by Rene Ritchie and Guy English. Every episode they interview members of the Apple development community, with a great flow between topics of a personal and technical nature, frequently dipping into lower-level, nuts-and-bolts code.
I’ve been working on a few design pieces recently, including an app icon and a poster design for a band, all using Sketch. It’s a vector graphics tool that has a much shallower learning curve than something like Adobe Illustrator, but still retains a lot of the power. One feature I really enjoy is the artboards, which allow you to isolate an area of the canvas and then export them. If you’re working with Retina graphics, there is also a function for exporting both 1x and 2x versions of the same graphic.
Sketch is currently US$49.99 on the Mac App Store.