Developing Perspective

#37: DubDub


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:05   news of note in iOS, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm an independent

00:00:10   iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 37. And today we're going

00:00:15   to be talking about WWDC. All right, if you're new to the development community, you may

00:00:21   not know what WWDC is, but for everyone else, it's probably one of the highlights of the

00:00:26   So WWDC is the annual Apple Developers Conference. It's been going on for years and years and years.

00:00:33   I mean, if you look at all these great old videos of Steve Jobs and other famous Apple people talking at WWDC,

00:00:41   the conference used to be something very different than it is today.

00:00:45   And from talking to a lot of seasoned Apple developers, the big change was when the iPhone was launched,

00:00:52   or specifically when the iOS SDK was launched, back then it was the iPhone SDK.

00:00:57   And so, back in the day, they used to have a party back at one infinite loop,

00:01:02   and they'd bus everyone over there, and it was a much smaller group.

00:01:07   There just weren't that many people who developed for the Mac,

00:01:10   and so Apple was able to give them a much more personal treatment.

00:01:13   At this point, it's kind of in some ways the opposite.

00:01:17   The annual developers conference is now incredibly over-subscribed.

00:01:21   There's just so many people who make iPhone apps, who even are starting to get into the Mac with Mac App Store, things like that.

00:01:29   It's kind of a totally different beast. It's thousands and thousands of people completely packing out

00:01:35   Oskoni West, which is where it's held every year in San Francisco.

00:01:40   And last year it sold out in a few hours. Who knows what it's going to do this year,

00:01:45   to a little later, but it's a pretty good time.

00:01:49   I've heard from a lot of people that, you know,

00:01:53   everyone wants to go, and there's some people who are considering going for

00:01:57   just the

00:01:59   sort of, I guess, the social part of it, of just being in San Francisco

00:02:03   for that year, or for that week, and just sort of hanging out with people.

00:02:07   There's nothing to be said for that, but I guess this podcast and myself

00:02:11   is kind of coming at it from a developer

00:02:14   um... slant and i think there is

00:02:17   there's something to serve right about going to w_w_d_c_ about going in sitting

00:02:22   down

00:02:23   in a room with your peers listening

00:02:26   uh... directly to apple engineers tell you about whatever the latest and

00:02:29   greatest is

00:02:30   explaining in ways that you

00:02:32   served never would get otherwise

00:02:34   uh... sir

00:02:35   technology going to labs just hang out

00:02:38   going to things like the ADA's, the Apple Design Awards, going to Stump the Experts.

00:02:44   The thing that I always remember when I went...so I've been going to WWDC for...

00:02:49   let's see, I think I've done three in the past, so hopefully this year it will be my fourth.

00:02:55   And I remember the thing that's interesting is it is

00:02:59   surprisingly motivating, it is surprisingly

00:03:02   kind of engaging to sit down

00:03:06   and spend a week just thinking about technology, thinking about the platforms and the frameworks

00:03:13   and the things that we use on a day-to-day basis, and to think how I can be better at

00:03:19   developing for them, to think how can I, sort of, what kind of new apps can I write, what

00:03:26   kind of all those kinds of questions that you tend to kind of put to the side of your

00:03:31   mind when you're stuck in the place of, "I need to build something. I need to make this

00:03:36   this work. It's all about shipping to transition from that to, it's all about what ifs. It's

00:03:46   what's possible. What could I do?

00:03:49   And so I remember the first time I went there, it was just crazy. I'd go to the sessions

00:03:56   all day, and at this point I didn't really know anyone in the community, so I didn't

00:03:59   go much in the way of parties or things. And I just went back to my hotel room and I just

00:04:03   code for hours and then go to sleep and wake up and go to coding lectures

00:04:08   and then go home and code. It was a surprisingly motivating thing to just be

00:04:13   sitting there and have a week with permission to do nothing

00:04:18   commercial in that sense of, "I'm not trying to write code that I'm shipping.

00:04:23   It's like, 'Whoa, I saw that cool thing today. I want to go play with that.

00:04:26   I want to download and install that.'"

00:04:29   So as a bit of a side note, I always recommend if you're going to WWDC,

00:04:30   bring a machine that you can code on, you know, don't just bring your iPad and be like,

00:04:33   "Oh, it'll be fine."

00:04:34   Maybe if you're a developer, you're going to want to have a computer that you can play

00:04:37   with stuff, you can download the latest SDKs that are almost certainly going to be launched,

00:04:41   and so on.

00:04:42   So anyways, talking about this, this year's WWDC, I mean, there's an incredible amount

00:04:48   of anxiety, and I imagine lost productivity surrounding it, because the announcement of

00:04:56   it and the sales of tickets is a little bit later than it usually is.

00:05:01   There's a friend of mine, Scott McAllister, who's been running a count and I think we're up to

00:05:07   something likely like 48 days till the event, depending on when you guess the event's going to be.

00:05:13   And that's a little on the low side. Usually they've given us a bit more warning than that, but you never

00:05:19   know why Apple hasn't or what their reasons are. But either way, we don't know when it is.

00:05:24   And so we all spend all day going to developer.apple.com/wwdc, hoping that we haven't missed it, that when it goes on sale, we're going to all rush in credit cards afire and be buying tickets.

00:05:39   So it's kind of funny, I mean it's all kinds of alert systems and things we have in place.

00:05:44   I mean I've even gotten to the extent now, I have written a custom monitoring

00:05:48   system that is constantly checking that website, developer.apple.com/wwdc,

00:05:54   and looking for changes, looking for announcement related kind of things,

00:05:59   that sends me a text message if that page ever changes, which is kind of crazy in some ways.

00:06:04   But it's a little bit crazy in one regard, but it's a little bit crazy.

00:06:09   But if this is your profession, going and sharpening your tools in the one time of the year, it's pretty worthwhile.

00:06:14   The other thing that's interesting, I've talked to some people and they say, "Well, it's expensive."

00:06:26   And they put out the videos for free a couple weeks later.

00:06:31   And I'd say that's absolutely true.

00:06:35   And if you can't afford to go to WWDC, then you can't afford to go to WWDC.

00:06:37   I mean, it's a pretty sizable investment.

00:06:42   It's $3,000 or $4,000 probably when all is said and done

00:06:44   for the ticket, the flight, the hotel,

00:06:47   living expenses while you're there, et cetera.

00:06:49   And if you can't afford that, you can't afford that.

00:06:52   When I started out, I went before my apps were

00:06:56   sort of making enough money for it to make sense,

00:07:01   which is a little bit of a silly thing to say.

00:07:04   But at that point, I was making much less than

00:07:07   than would ever be considered making a living from my apps. But I went to WWDC because it

00:07:12   made me a better developer. It made me kind of excited about Apple in new ways. It made

00:07:17   me understand a lot of things that I wouldn't have otherwise. And I don't know about you,

00:07:22   but it takes a very special kind of a person to be able to be disciplined enough to sit

00:07:28   and watch the WWDC videos all the way through kind of consistently in doing that, versus

00:07:35   you know, when they're on a schedule and you can kind of sit there and you just go from

00:07:39   session to session and kind of have it poured at you rather than having to go and find it.

00:07:45   And if you're the person who can do that, then great. But I mean, I know for me, it

00:07:48   would be difficult for me to do that, but I know it's good for me to do.

00:07:51   Let's see, what other things should I talk about with WWDC? I think I'll talk a little

00:07:58   bit about the sort of the process once you're there, just in case you're kind of wondering

00:08:05   what it's like to go to WVDC, what it's, you know, kind of what to expect, and specifically

00:08:11   talking about a little bit of how that may impact your hotel and flight arrangements

00:08:17   and things like that.

00:08:18   And this is of course based on pre-past years WVDCs.

00:08:22   You never know what this year will take.

00:08:26   But you know, it's based on going for three years, and it seems it's been pretty consistent

00:08:30   all three years, so hopefully this is applicable.

00:08:33   So typically what happens is sometime over the weekend you'll fly in.

00:08:38   So the conference is Monday to Friday. Sometime that weekend prior, you want to fly into San Francisco.

00:08:43   The conference starts technically, I think it's 10 a.m. usually on Monday morning is when the keynote starts.

00:08:49   But typically you're going to want to be in the night before.

00:08:56   You're probably not going to want to unless you live locally.

00:08:59   Maybe if you live in L.A. or something, getting in Monday morning may work.

00:09:01   but typically you're going to want to be in at least

00:09:06   Sunday night for two reasons.

00:09:09   One is you're going to want to get your badge

00:09:11   probably on Sunday afternoon.

00:09:14   They usually allow you to pick up your conference badge

00:09:16   and registration packet and all that.

00:09:18   Like midday on Sunday, something like that.

00:09:22   Which is a good thing to do because on Monday morning

00:09:25   there's usually a big, big line for the keynote,

00:09:28   for the big announcement keynote.

00:09:28   I'm not sure if it'll be different this year.

00:09:30   I think it'll probably be about the same as previous years,

00:09:34   even though it won't be a Steve Jobs keynote.

00:09:37   It's kind of sad in many ways, but this is the first WWDC

00:09:41   without Steve, or where Steve--

00:09:45   it's not possible for Steve to be there.

00:09:47   He hasn't been-- there's been a couple that he's

00:09:49   missed over the years, but he--

00:09:53   I remember last year, the Lions, to get in,

00:09:56   start the night before.

00:09:57   sometime on Sunday night someone will be in line to get in.

00:10:02   This year I'm not sure I'll queue quite as early as I did in the years gone past.

00:10:06   It's interesting and fun to be in the

00:10:10   keynote room, but I don't think I quite have the same urgency as when it was, you know,

00:10:14   Steve Jobs was doing the keynote and

00:10:18   you never knew if it was going to be his last, and it turned out last year it was.

00:10:22   So that was kind of special. But anyway, so

00:10:26   So when I get there early in the weekend, I think this year I'm probably going to arrive

00:10:30   Saturday morning, just because I find the weekend is an especially good time to catch

00:10:34   up with friends and do a little bit of light socializing in a way that's not kind of rushed

00:10:43   or in a more formal kind of socialization environment.

00:10:48   So it's nice to arrive Saturday and just hang out, get over jet lag, all those kinds of

00:10:52   things.

00:10:53   And then during the week, they'll do the keynotes Monday morning.

00:10:58   They'll get up early and get in line, or if you get up late, you'll always get to see it usually.

00:11:03   They'll just put you in an overflow room and you'll watch it on a big TV.

00:11:09   Which is nice, but not quite as nice.

00:11:13   And then after that, the keynotes all have a morning.

00:11:18   They do a lunch.

00:11:18   The food at WWDC, you always get a lunch and they have sort of bagels and pastries in the mornings.

00:11:23   The food's alright. It's not great.

00:11:27   It's kind of what you'd expect. It's kind of mass-produced, packaged sandwiches.

00:11:31   And so you're saying a sandwich and a bit of coleslaw or a sandwich and a bit of this or that.

00:11:36   I mean, it's fine. You often end up more for a social thing, going

00:11:41   out to lunch with some people across the street or things. I mean, it just kind of varies.

00:11:45   Often I'd say I probably eat their lunch three out of five days, just because it's convenient.

00:11:50   There's often lunchtime sessions and things going on that I don't want to miss, so it's easier just to run

00:11:57   downstairs, grab a box of food and go upstairs again.

00:12:01   And then during the Monday afternoon, they do what they call the state of the unions, where the morning,

00:12:05   the keynote is all about Apple's products and marketing and their message to the world.

00:12:12   The afternoon is Apple's message to developers.

00:12:17   They're talking about what they're doing, why they're doing it,

00:12:19   and those are absolute don't-miss things.

00:12:23   Because they set the tone and give you the big picture

00:12:26   of why Apple's doing the rest of the things you'll be learning about the rest of the week.

00:12:30   And so that's Monday, and then you go home.

00:12:35   Usually you've been up pretty early from waiting in line,

00:12:37   so it's a pretty quiet day.

00:12:37   And then the schedule for the rest of the week is pretty much the same.

00:12:39   There's sort of sessions like usually nine to five.

00:12:42   There's often a lunchtime speaker who's doing something cool.

00:12:46   There's a guy from Pixar who usually comes and things like that.

00:12:50   In the evening, there's, I think, pretty much every night, except for Monday night,

00:12:54   there's usually something.

00:12:55   There's the Apple design awards, which I think is typically on Tuesday.

00:13:00   Stump the experts, which is just kind of like a fun game show ish.

00:13:05   just fun event that the engineers put on.

00:13:10   Thursday nights at the Bash, which is just a big party in a park across the street.

00:13:15   And that's basically the week.

00:13:20   And then you go from session to session throughout the week.

00:13:22   The sessions are

00:13:25   as you'd expect.

00:13:28   There's Apple developers talking about various frameworks,

00:13:30   technologies, platforms.

00:13:32   The labs are open throughout the day. Labs are essentially where you can go and talk to the engineers about specific problems, issues, things that you're having trouble with.

00:13:37   There's one particular lab that everyone strives to get into and is often pretty tricky, which is the UI Design lab, where you'll go and talk to UI designers from Apple, which has great feedback on your applications to make them better.

00:13:45   Sign up for that as early as you can. It's very hard to get a slot for.

00:13:57   But if you can, it's awesome.

00:13:58   So definitely try that. And then sometime on Friday afternoon it wraps up.

00:14:02   Usually I take the Red Eye home on Friday. There's not much to do

00:14:06   after WWDC and I think people are usually pretty toast.

00:14:10   It's not like hanging around too late into the weekend

00:14:14   unless you're wanting to explore San Francisco and stuff.

00:14:18   It just doesn't make sense. But anyway, hopefully that gives you some context for WWDC.

00:14:22   I usually stay at the Pickwick. This year I probably stay at the Moser.

00:14:26   But there's a lot of little hotels nearby which work out pretty well.

00:14:30   Anyway, so that's sort of WWDC, a few thoughts. Hope you like it.

00:14:34   As always, if you like the show, tell a friend, hit me up on Twitter.

00:14:38   I'm @_davidsmith. Otherwise, have a good week, happy coding.

00:14:42   And I hope WWDC goes on sale this week and I get a ticket. Hope to see you there. Bye.

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