It’s been a good four months since WWDC and I can not count the number of times I have said or thought “at WWDC they said…”. Going into WWDC I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to walk away with or if it would even be worth going. Well, it is worth it, if money is not an issue. At Pivotal Labs we have a Professional Development fund that we can use to go to conferences, take classes, or do other things that help advance us professionally and it’s with this benefit (and that I won the ticket lottery) that I was able to attend WWDC 2014.
WWDC is a week where you get to fully engulf Apple. Watching the session videos at home by yourself is one thing, but getting to watch it live and turn to your neighbor and make a comment, or hear everyone gasp when they announce Swift – that is what makes WWDC amazing. The people at WWDC – the attendees, the amazing Apple presenters, the Moscone West workers – they make WWDC.
So what is WWDC like? Well, it’s a little bit like taking an overly ambitious semester of classes in college. You run from session to session and hope that there are still seats open in the front row – or that your friend saved you one. You’d like to attend every session, but all the sessions you want to go to all seem to be happening at the same time. At night you watch the videos from the sessions that you missed and prepare your schedule for the next day. By the end of the week you are so tired from waiting in lines that you just pick a good room to stay in for the whole day and plant yourself there.
WWDC is from Monday through Friday. The keynote event happens on Monday morning and for some, this is the only event of WWDC that they attend. To get a good seat for the keynote you need to line up very early Monday morning (Sunday night). This year the keynote was followed by the Platforms State of the Union and the Apple Design Awards. The sessions and college-like schedule starts on Tuesday and runs through Friday. The sessions take place in the different conference rooms throughout the Moscone Center. Each day has six session slots with six parallel tracks.
True to form, Apple has a WWDC app that has the schedule on it and an information map. This app was a lifesaver when you needed to figure out where your next session is. (Thanks, Apple!) Apple provides lunch everyday downstairs and the lunch tables all have power cords, ethernet cables, iPhone chargers, etc. The space is geared out so you can sit and stay a while – and the food was pretty good, too!
Don’t miss the Apple Design Awards
This happens on Monday afternoon and it was great to learn about some new apps. This session is all about celebrating all the wonderful apps that were created in the last year.
Talk to Everyone
You spent a good amount of time waiting in lines to get into the session rooms. Instead of letting this time go to waste, I used this as an opportunity to meet new friends and network, find out what apps those around me are working on or even ask that question I had in the morning session. There is a whole website dedicated to the many networking opportunities happening during the week of WWDC.
Go talk to an Apple Engineer
If you have a question or don’t understand something, WWDC is a great place to get it answered. Need help with your interface design? There’s a lab for that, just like there is a lab for pretty much everything. This is a week where Apple not only open their doors to us, but their brains and valuable insight as well.
To WWDC or not?
Money and ticket aside – yes. It’s a great opportunity to devote a full week to learning about everything new happening at Apple. If attending is out of the question, try getting together with fellow developers and watching multiple sessions. It really adds to the experience when sharing in the excitement and discussing questions with the person next to you.