MacStadium is a proud sponsor of the annual MacDevOps YVR conference that wrapped up this past week. There were a wide variety of interesting talks this year, ranging from topics such as runtime management made simple to a very nice overview of Concourse CI to the current state of scripting tools for automating processes on macOS. Interestingly, within this healthy mix of topics was a particular emphasis on mobile device management (MDM) software and related tools for Mac admins. Below, we’ll recap some of our favorites, but if you want to check out this year’s talks (or talks from years past) you can find them posted here.

A few of our favorite talks this year

Bart Reardon, of CSIRO, gave a very nice overview of his open source project, swiftDialogue, entitled swiftDialog – Adventures in writing an admin utility in SwiftUI. It is a handy utility application written in SwiftUI that displays a customizable popup dialogue that Mac administrators can use to inform users of anything they like, or to prompt users for various types of input, such as form data, checklists and the like. Reardon has worked for CSIRO for the past 20 years, and manages 1000 plus macOS workstations using JAMF and other MDM related software.

Armin Briegel, who works as an engineering consultant for JAMF and who writes the excellent Mac admin blog Scripting OSX, gave a very timely talk on the current state of the most popular automation tools for macOS entitled Encyclopedia of macOS Automation Tools. In particular Briegel covered the deprecation of Python2.7 and its removal from current macOS versions, the shift to the zsh shell as the default option on Mac and native macOS options such as the Automator app, the Shortcuts app, and AppleScript. In addition to this helpful overview of the current state of these various tools, Briegel goes on to outline some guiding principles as to which tool is best suited to a given variety of task.

And finally, Brandon Kurtz and Ryan Diers – who are both with Airbnb, talked through their adventures in exploring some very cool open source tools as they worked through the complexities of making it easy to spin up instances of NanoMDM, a relatively new, open source MDM server in a talk entitled Open Source MDM in a (Sand)Box. Throughout the talk, both Kurtz and Diers framed their experience in terms of the tech stack their project required, such as Golang, Terraform as well as the specific problems they encountered in recent years as Airbnb deployed MDM solutions for managing their fleet of macOS machines.

MacStadium supports the macOS community

In addition to sponsoring excellent knowledge sharing opportunities such as MacDevOps YVR, MacStadium also works to actively support individuals and teams who are actively developing free and open source tools that benefit the Mac community with the FOSS program. Through this program, qualified applicants receive a free, cloud-hosted macOS server to use for development and testing of their open source software.

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