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Comment on "In Defense of WWDC 2006"
by Mike — Aug 30
WWDC has gone significantly downhill over the past 5 years.

Forget the quality of the food and swag, which everyone can universally agree has (a) gotten much worse and (b) isn't the main reason to attend the conference.

Here are some development-related ways the conferences has gotten worse:

- The elimination of the third party booths. Past WWDCs had dozens of booths from third-party vendors who focused on developer solutions. This was very valuable because shows like MacWorld focus more on consumer and pro solutions, not developer solutions.

- The "morphing" of the IT track. I think that having an IT track per se is not a bad idea, but it has turned into less of a chance for IT folks to learn about IT on the Mac then a commercial for Apple solutions. Apple had three sessions about using their mediocre Remote Desktop product and one session on real-life interoperability with Active Directory. Which do you think is more useful for an admin in the real world?

- The elimination of the DVDs. These DVDs, which contained the contents of all the the sessions were invaluable for reference. They are no longer provided. Instead you have to watch replays online (if and when they are made available -- an open issue).

- This is a minor one, but the elimination of the Meet the VP's feedback forum was very sad. That used to be the only time when average Apple developers had a direct line to Apple's top leadership. I am sure it was cancelled because developers tend to ask too many questions without easy answers.

So, to avoid complete bitching, what does Apple do right?

- The Labs: There are a lot of these now, more then their used to be, and they are genuinely useful. This is some of the real meat of WWDC and it is prime.

- Network connectivity: Wireless acess has sucked at previous WWDCs, to put things charitably. This year it worked from hour one and worked well.

- Wide variety of sessions. There were a ton of very useful sessions. No wasted time. Only downside, sometimes two you wanted to go to were up in the same time slot...this wouldn't be as much an issue if Apple provided those DVDs (see above)

WWDC is still valuable...the old days of Krispy Kremes, cool swag and, well, fun may be long gone, but it is still the only way to really learn about Apple tech, and it is a must-go for any serious developer. Just remember, Apple, we bitch because we care!
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