WWDC 2014: personal experience

Most articles on WWDC relate to what happened during the conference, what new products were announced, which API Apple introduced, and so on. In my case, I would like to talk about how the conference is held and how the conference is organized, how to prepare for it and what to expect from it.

Obviously, if you work in a company and your employer can pay for your trip to WWDC, then you need to go for sure, you don’t even have to think about it. But if you are an indie developer like me who carries all the expenses out of pocket, then inevitably the question arises of the ratio of financial costs to the benefits received.


If you are seriously thinking about going to WWDC, it is best to book a hotel or just a room through Airbnb in advance, before the start of the conference ticket lottery. This will help to find the most affordable housing, especially since it is not so difficult to find options with missing penalties for canceling reservations. Apple, of course, agrees with hotels on discounts on accommodation for conference participants, but it's still worth it to be safe and find an additional accommodation option in advance.

I would also like to advise you to bring along an additional external battery for your smartphone and ... business card. One of the main advantages of such events is new acquaintances, which can be acquired. And if you want these latest contacts not to be lost on the day you meet, then it’s better to have business cards with you.

Day 0. The day before the conference

Usually, the conference starts on Monday, and the day before that, you can already come to the Moscone West exhibition center on Sunday in order to receive a WWDC badge. This is useful to get to Keynote (the most important presentation), which takes place the next day, without delay. You don’t need to come for a badge early in the morning, it can be done during the day when there are almost no queues.

Day 1. Keynote and other official presentations

It's no secret that the line of people who want to get to Keynote is quite large, and people begin to occupy it many hours before the official start of the event at 10 am. I would call the optimal time of arrival somewhere around 3-4 in the morning, if you take a turn at this time, then you can definitely get into the hall and sit in its front part.

This year, the crowd began to be launched into the building around 8 in the morning, so a board council for those who want to spend time in the queue is as useful as possible: get acquainted with the people around you, communicate. This will help pass the time, and also allow you to leave the line for a coffee / tea / roll for 10 minutes without losing your place.

Once inside the building, you can expect a new line there, but this time with free drinks and buns / muffins. There will have to spend at least one hour before the moment when those who wish will start to be allowed into the hall.

The presentation itself is, without a doubt, an unusual event, which is very pleasant to visit. Sometimes you get the feeling that you are at a football match, but instead of two teams on the field there is only one and she constantly scores goals.

After Keynote on Monday, usually two more events take place:
Platforms State of the Union - a more detailed description of the most important innovations.
Apple Design Awards - Design Awards .

Day 2-5. Regular WWDC days

Moscone West doors open at 8:15 a.m., sessions and labs begin at 9 a.m.

Sessions are presentations of new products for developers, which are usually accompanied not only by slides and explanations, but also by demonstrating real examples on Mac or iOS devices. It is important to note that all sessions are available online in PDF and video the next day. I recommend to attend sessions from the category “What's new in ...", they help to get a general idea of ​​innovations and understand what other sessions it is better to attend.

On average, each session lasts an hour, and at the same time in the center usually takes 5-6 sessions. In general, you can get into five sessions per day if you wish.

Labs(labs) - the most useful part of the entire conference. The meaning of the labs is that you can come there with your question / problem / code and Apple engineers will help you solve the problem. I will name only a few of the labs available this year: Core Animation, Core Data, Kernel Lab, Swift Lab, and so on.

A separate mansion is the UI Design Lab, which is wildly popular and where you need to further defend a long line early in the morning. The fact is that you can come there either with your ready-made application, or with a layout and get feedback from one of the Apple designers. True, I must say that in my case, the designer in this lab simply checked the application for compliance with the Human Interface Guidelines, which was not very useful. Some designers in this lab, in addition to checking for compliance with standards, still offer their ideas, express their personal opinion, which can be very useful.

In the morning, the center provides breakfast in the form of rolls and other pastries, and quite tasty food is available for lunch:

How to get the most out of it

Before visiting WWDC, you should be as prepared as possible for visiting labs. It makes sense to scan your code for problems, as well as bottlenecks that we would like to improve in the future. With such things, you can safely go to Apple engineers and they will help you. This is the most useful part of the conference and should be given the most attention.

Another recommendation is to chat and make friends. I understand that developers, in general, are not the most sociable people, but it’s definitely worth going to try the first to contact and communicate. It's hard to imagine another event where you can meet so many iOS and Mac developers from around the world.

In addition to the labs and sessions at WWDC, several events are held to help you escape from absorbing new information and have some fun. Among them are The Bash - a party with free drink and food, as well as a performance by some group, and Stump the Experts - an entertaining competition between developers and engineers at Apple.

In addition, other companies hold events (parties) for WWDC participants to promote their own products. For example, this year there was a party from Xamarin.

What to expect from WWDC

A visit to WWDC gives a psychological effect rather than an increase in knowledge or experience. Yes, of course, with the correct use of the labs, you can improve your code, and when exchanging experiences with other participants, you can learn new things. But the most important thing is that you get a positive boost of energy to continue developing and creating new products. This is something that can not be felt, but it is quite possible to feel.

So go to WWDC at least once, but you still need to.

PS In anticipation of one of the sessions, Craig Federigi sat beside me absolutely by accident. A book on the new Swift language was opened on his iPad and he was also waiting for the Cocoa session to begin. It was very curious to seize the moment and chat with him at least five minutes before the start of the presentation. And then the presentation began and he, along with everyone, began to listen to it and take notes. As if he was not the vice president of the company, but simply one of the developers.

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