Justin Williams


Hi. My name is Justin Williams. I am an independent software developer located in sunny Denver, Colorado. 

Where You May Know Me From

  • PocketTweets — The first iPhone Twitter client way back in the summer of 2007.

  • Elements — The first Dropbox text editor for the iPhone and iPad. Released in the summer of 2011.

  • Glassboard — The privacy-focused messaging platform for iOS and Android I acquired in December 2013.

  • CocoaRadio — The Apple developer-oriented podcast I hosted in 2014.

  • Achieving Zen with Auto Layout — The popular developer conference talk and book I produced from 2013-2014.


Career Stops


TED, Mobile Development Lead

Lead development of visual redesign that shipped in June of 2018. Lead years-long transition from code base designed for the original iPad and iOS 3.2 to support modern technologies such as Auto Layout, adaptivity, and Swift. Built and deployed first and second generation of TED’s custom video player using AV Foundation. Coordinated, developed, and deployed app in 20 additional languages.

Collaborated with other teams in the organization to bring syncing of TED.com accounts to the iOS product. Reduced in-app crashes 50% year over year.


Hipstamatic, Senior iOS Developer 

Designed, developed, and implemented new features for popular camera application Hipstamatic. Assisted in production of Snap Magazine for iPad, which was read by over 100,000 people. In charge of special projects related to sharing both externally and internally within the Hipstamatic ecosystem.

Shrunk my jean size by two inches. Grew a mustache. Listened to a lot of Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons.


HotelTonight, Senior iOS Developer

Implemented accessibility support in the existing iPhone app. Added support for collecting user reviews to iPhone app. Co-developed iPad app from scratch, which was featured by Apple and maintains a 4.5 star rating.

Second Gear Logo On Top 2010.png

Second Gear

From 2006 to 2012, I ran an independent Mac and iOS software development company called Second Gear. Under the Second Gear banner I released products a variety of different products (with varying success)

  • Today — Mac OS X calendaring application designed to show only your current day’s agenda and to-do list.

  • PocketTweets — A “sweet” solution for browsing your Twitter feed on the original iPhone.

  • Elements — The first notes and writing app for the iPad that synced with Dropbox.



I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer & Information Technology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.


Technical Prowess

iOS, tvOS, watchOS Development – An architect-level iOS engineer with deep experience using Core Data, Auto Layout, AV Foundation.

macOS Development – A senior-level macOS engineer with experience in Core Data, Cocoa Bindings, and desktop to mobile interoperability.

Technical Training – An experienced public speaker, writer, and educator.

Web Services – A mid-level developer with a focus on API design using Javascript and Node.js. 

Product Design – A keen eye for crafting great user experiences and using data analysis to verify and validate goals. 



Achieving Zen With Auto Layout (2nd Edition)

The 2nd edition of my Auto Layout book has been freshly updated to cover all the new layout features in iOS 9. I also took the opportunity to update all the sample code and related projects to use Swift 2.0.

Mastering Auto Layout

I gave a talk at 360iDev 2015 about the new features and functionality in Auto Layout for iOS 9. Consider it the cliffs notes version of the book.


Commit access to popular open source project to automatically convert a Core Data model to source code. Recently spearheaded releases to add support for Objective-C lightweight generics and nullability attributes. Lead work on updating to Swift 2.0 and in-progress to re-architect generator to produce more Swift-centric source code.

CocoaRadio Archives

Though some of the content is a bit dated, I am still proud of the quality and content of the podcast I produced in 2014. 


What Problem Are You Solving?

If the answer to “who is your product’s audience” is “anyone with an iPhone or Android device,” you are likely screwed. 

Repurposing The Titanic

My biggest mistake with Glassboard was having blinders to the fact that the design decisions Sepia Labs made when building Glassboard would likely clash with mine. That doesn’t have anything to do with visual design. Instead, I’m referring to the platform architecture decisions they made as a funded startup, or spin-off, or whatever they were.


Ninety Days

Ninety days is a good amount of time to get a semi-polished 1.0 out in the world, especially in mobile. It won’t have every feature that you wanted to ship, but it will be out there and either be validated or invalidated by the buying public.

What's It Like To Be Robbed?

You sacrifice for several years saving up money for your first house. You get the money. You find the home. Contracts are signed. Money is transferred. This house is now your home.

And then one day you come home and see the back door smashed in. A large piece of wooden trim on the floor. Drawers in every room opened and rummaged through. Everything is missing. Everything.

The Auteur Theory

The best creative works, whether they be TV shows, books, or apps, are the products of focus and vision. At Apple, that was Steve Jobs and Jony Ive. WebOS had Matias Duarte, who has been doing wonders cleaning up the mess that was the Android experience. James Dyson does it for vacuums. 

TED 3.0: Working Effectively With Legacy Code

When TED shipped back in 2010 it was written entirely in Objective-C and designed to work on two device sizes: the iPhone 3GS and original iPad. Now we support phones as small as the iPhone 4s up to iPads like the 12.9" iPad Pro. In that entire time, we have continued to update the same app code base. There has never been a full-on rewrite of the iOS project, as tempting as it may be at times.

Contact Me

Please use this form if you would like to get in touch me in regards to hiring me, inviting me to speak at your company or event, or anything else. I'll do my best to get back to you within seventy-two hours.

If you need to communicate with me privately, my public PGP key is available on Keybase.io. I don't rely on plugins for encrypted email so please just send me the GPG output.

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