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WWDC 2007

I’m back from another Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Here’s my take on this years event.

Bigger – This year was busier than any previous year, and a dramatic change from the years when Apple was in trouble where you could throw a bowling ball down the corridors of the San Jose Convention Center without fear of hitting anyone. Many sessions were standing room only – and the ushers were much nicer than years past as they went about their task of getting as many people as they could into the rooms.

Not As Much Fun – The Apple Bash is still there, Stump the Experts is still there, and a few other nice elements of the conference continue to exist. However, the formality of the conference is increasing. This has been happening incrementally over the years since the Next acquisition of Apple.

The jugglers are largely gone. Movie night is gone. The lunchtime food is terrible. The tables of junk food in the afternoon are gone. I even saw some attendees in suits (presumably newbie IT folks).

Content Was Stale – Since I attended last years WWDC and heard all the Leopard feature announcements at that time, this year’s Keynote and the presentations were for the most part a repeat of last year. There were a few more details, but nothing dramatic.

Labs, Labs, Labs – For the last couple of years, the Labs have become a key element of the conference for me. This year I had a gnarly C++/STL compiler/linker issue. An hour in the Mac OS X Lab got the issue sorted.

Similarly, time spent with the Apple engineers responsible for specific parts of Cocoa provided answers for difficult to describe problems.

The labs, for me, are the most valuable part of the conference. The labs combined with one-to-one marketing and networking opportunities justify the cost of conference.

If you are thinking of attending next year, here are my tips:

  1. Bring a laptop with all of your source code

  2. Have a disk partition (or external drive) ready to receive the OS beta that will be released at the conference

  3. Plan to eat lunch out

  4. Carbon is dead – morn it and move on (for the folks from the Classic Mac OS days)

  5. Start planning your Stump the Experts question now

  6. Link up with the many informal get togethers (Cocoa, Indie Developers, etc.)

  7. Plan to attend John Geleynse’s User Interface design talk

  8. Organize all your issues ahead of time to maximize your Lab time – prepare solid test cases to present to the engineers

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