Skip to content

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


  1. Great advice. I wished I had brought more specific questions for the labs. I sort of kept them off my radar until I was there and looking for things to do when none of the sessions interested me.

    It’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to meet you during the conference. I guess that speaks to just how many people are attending these days. It was always a sea of people.

  2. Bob Frank Bob Frank

    Other presenters you should try to see: James Dempsey’s singing sessions (Cocoa animation this year) & Steve Hayman’s sessions (scripting for sys admins this year)

  3. shadesOgray shadesOgray

    Hmmm, I saw tables of junk food ( and fruit ) in the afternoon, but maybe not in the abundance of previous years ( this was my 1st ). Morning goodies were hard to find though.

  4. King Chung Huang King Chung Huang

    This was the first year that I’d actively gone to the labs and they were surprisingly helpful. Especially given the rehashed sessions this year, the labs really are a key part of the conference as you said.

  5. Chris Ash Chris Ash

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

    This was probably my favorite talk of all the sessions. John’s passion for the subject clearly came through and he probably could have gone on for a few hours more. I didn’t think the lunches were that bad, but this was my first WWDC so I may just be naive.

    Most appreciated feature: The abundance of power strips everywhere. I heard horror stories of trying to find an empty socket at past conferences.

  6. Ted Ted

    Speaking of John Geleynse and his Leopoard UI speech.. What I found most interesting about that session was that many of the rules he laid out for Leopard UI guidelines, were things that Apple wasn’t following in the first place. Granted, Leopard isn’t shipping yet, but much of iLife ’06 featured the Leopard theme. One of his points was that gel buttons were not to be used anywhere except the main content area of an app. They were not to be used in the unified toolbar portion, or the footer/status area of your window. Well, take a look at much of the iLife apps. right there in the bottom, in a unified area of the app, are gel buttons.

    I’m hoping this is just a case of Apple not having those Leopard guidelines established in late ’05/early ’06 when iLife 06 was wrapping up, and not an example of Apple’s continued hypocrisy on following their own HIG.

  7. Other presenters you should try to see: James Dempsey’s singing sessions (Cocoa animation this year) & Steve Hayman’s sessions (scripting for sys admins this year)

    Oh, I forget to mention James Dempsey’s (and the Breakpoints) presentation. You are right, it was very good (and hugely entertaining). I didn’t get to Steve Hayman’s session.

  8. Turbin Turbin

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

    Aren’t most of the major apps. Adobe applications (including former Macromedia apps.), Microsoft Office, Avid, Apple apps. (iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, Final Cut Pro) all considered Carbon applications. These are not Cocoa apps. So how is Carbon dead? My main concern is that Apple is not supporting 64-bit Carbon apps. which would mean that if these major applications are Carbon then you will never see a 64-bit version of them on OS X (which sort of minimalizes the advantage of a 64-bit OS). I don’t see any of these companies spending the enormous amount of time/money to dedicate software engineering resources to rewrite these applications as Cocoa apps.

  9. I thought there were less Apple employees around who weren’t otherwise working a session or a lab. Last year there were lines of Apple employees who paid to attend WWDC, but got shut out of attending a session because the session filled up with non-Apple employees. Also, I couldn’t get into some sessions in 2006, but didn’t have a problem in 2007.

    Rather than morn Carbon, maybe mourn it… and send it off into the, um, sunset.

  10. Dan Dan

    The labs at WWDC were great. I got help with some snags I’m having implementing Cocoa scripting in an app I’m working on now, which, as many know, is never as straightforward as it seems.

  11. Jay Jay

    I actually returned my badge and left after the first day. I didn’t travel 6000 miles to San Francisco to get put on standby to see the keynote and stand for damned near everything else. ’twas my first (and I suspect last) WWDC. I’d have been better off using the money to buy a Mac Pro.

  12. […] Even if you didn’t make it to WWDC this year (some are disappointed with the content but most agree the labs were worthwhile), there is lots of good info floating in the blogosphere this week as a result. Check out this set of videos from ArsTechnica. Included are interviews with Brent Simmons, Gus Mueller and Amit Singh. […]

Comments are closed.