WWDC 2007 Epilogue

This has been one incredible week. I put a lot of faces to names for the first time, learned about what sort of apps are in development, and found out that there are a lot of newcomers to the platform. The thing I couldn't get over all week long was the sheer number of people there.

WWDC 2007 Moscone West

The size of the conference has been growing steadily over the last few years, but this one was a big step — a very big step. For the first time since the conference has been in San Francisco, it was clear that there was a large influx of new energy and fresh ideas. From what I can see, WWDC — and really the platform in general — has truly cut ties with the past and started out on a new course. Maybe it's a little dramatic, but that's the only way I can describe the feeling.

WWDC 2007 Yerba Buena 1

This was very clear Thursday night at the party in Yerba Buena Gardens. It was very exciting to see so many people, and a bit surreal too. Quite a lot of "is this really happening?" It turns out it is.

WWDC 2007 Yerba Buena 2

The CocoaHeads "Going Indie" event on Wednesday night was a fantastic surprise. We attracted far more people than I expected, and really had a lot fun. I think the Q&A panel worked out particularly well as a way to showcase developers to who take different (sometimes radically different) approaches to producing Mac software. Flickr has some photos from the event. We ran right up to the store closing, so didn't have a lot of time to hang around afterwards.

I'm really happy so many people came up to introduce themselves during the week. Many wanted to tell me how much they enjoyed the CocoaHeads session, and others just wanted to say hi.

I spent quite a bit of time in the labs, which is a great way to find out what's going on with Cocoa in the real world. Honestly, when the lab concept was first introduced a few years ago, it wasn't clear if it would fit the previously presentation-centric format of WWDC. It turns out that in 2007, the labs are just as essential as the actual presentations, and people don't have to feel they're ambushing Apple engineers to get help.

More Surprises

This year featured "Mac OS X Immersion" sessions, which were designed to get developers coming from other platforms up to speed on Mac frameworks. I was walking down the hall at one point and saw a gigantic line out the door. Of course, the natural question is "well, what is this for?" It turns out this was the first session in the immersion series. It was absolutely packed.

A similar moment happened during Stump the Experts (keep in mind the Wikipedia page is not completely, um, accurate). The host asked how many people were new to the event. From my vantage point, about half of the room raised their hands. I had similar results at CocoaHeads at the Apple Store on Wednesday night.


A lot of us felt this was going to be big year, but I don't think any of us knew exactly how big it would be. I'd really like to thank everybody who came and introduced themselves, everyone that came out to CocoaHeads, and especially Daniel Jalkut, Wil Shipley, Gus Mueller, and Brent Simmons for sharing their insight with up-and-coming developers.
The main thing I take away from this week is I feel so incredibly thankful to be able to work with such great people, and also am very thankful to be able to play some part in all of this. Ten years ago, part of me wished I had been around for the first era of Mac development. Now I'm happy to be here now.

(The only camera I had with me was my phone, but the pics turned out pretty good. Plenty more tagged as WWDC 2007 in Flickr)
Design Element
WWDC 2007 Epilogue
Posted Jun 16, 2007 — 16 comments below


Ljuba M. — Jun 16, 07 4371

Though this was my first WWDC, I also felt that sense of awe and pride that so many people were coming over to the Mac. Excellent job at the CocoaHeads session, by the way. I'm a new developer so I'll be trying to come to CocoaHeads regularly from now on.

thom — Jun 16, 07 4372

I have been to a few WWDCs now and this one was huge. Just about every session was always crammed, and many had lines that delayed sessions while they would wait for everyone to get in!

It is a good time to start developing for OS X.

Micheal J. — Jun 16, 07 4373

This was my second WWDC, and I did notice that while sessions felt more full and there were more people it wasn't hard to get into the sessions I was interested in. The amount of new people amazed me, considering how new I feel to the Mac development world.

If I have a complaint it would be that the Students weren't given much direction (frankly I didn't mind and the Student sessions conflicted with sessions I was interested in) and that I really didn't enjoy the bash.

That said, I did this year try and meet people and ask their opinion, find out why they do what they do and at the bare minimum put faces to blogs and hands down that part alone was worth it.

Robert King — Jun 16, 07 4374

Do you think somebody starting out would benefit from going to WWDC? I am planning on going next year. Just curious if the expense is worth it for someone new.

Ravi Khalsa — Jun 16, 07 4375

Thanks for sharing the feeling! It's an exciting time for Apple and MacOS :)

David — Jun 16, 07 4376

I think somebody starting out would get a huge benefit from going.

As a more experienced cocoa programmer I felt the sessions were mostly a waste of time. The biggest problem was so much was already discussed at last year's WWDC so a lot of the information was repeated.. you had a lot of basically "we went over this at last year's WWDC but we're going over it again" type comments from the speakers. Or the Quartz drawing session which ended with "the book Programming with Quartz.. covers all this plus more". A lot of the sessions were also extremely basic and it was difficult to tell simply from the session descriptions that it was going to be at such a beginning level.. so many times you had people walking out of sessions after they realized this wasn't what they thought it would be..

Another problem (as can be seen by looking at the session list) is that a lot of the sessions are not for "programmers".. There were a lot of IT related sessions which I think is part of the reason for the large increase in attendees. It was bad enough that when standing in line for the keynote another "real" cocoa programmer asked out loud in line "who here actually writes code?" and there was one person besides myself. When sitting for lunch at a table there seemed to always be at least one IT person..

For experienced "programmers" I think you would get the most benefit if you have queued up a bunch of issues that you'd like answered from apple engineers which sounds like what Scott did. You can quickly recoup your costs if you have some issues you'd like resolved from apple engineers. It is also a benfit to experienced programmers if you'd like to make a lot of contacts.

The 2008 WWDC though might be a completely different story since I expect there to be a lot less repeat from 2007. I would hope there would be some information on 10.6 available by then in which case experienced programmers may have a much better chance of benefitting from a lot of the sessions.

Some other notes that were not apparant to me that Apple should have made clearer:
1) Take your 3 prong cord that attaches to your Macbook/powerbook brick. Do not just take the brick. The brick takes up 2 outlets and many times you won't be able to find an open outlet because of that. Along those lines you may want to take a small extension cord to split an outlet. Outlets were in BIG demand and many times out had to go searching for ones that weren't in use. Apple did provide extra outlets in the session rooms but you had to sit near the walls to reach them.

2) Apple needs to make it clearer when they are providing food. You did get a "breakfast" every morning (which I heard a lot of people didn't catch on to until a few days into the week). Mostly consisted of fancy doughnuts, coffee cake, and related.. You'd also get lunch consisting of a chicken type dish, beef type, or vegetarian. Dinners were also provided but for some reason on wednesday they did not provide dinner. The meals were actually better than I was expecting. For dinner you were even able to get beer and wine... all this served on the second floor of the Moscone Center. The catering service they used did a pretty good job for having to serve so many people.

3) There was also plenty of "drinks".. from coffee, tea, water, and odwalla(sp?) juice. The juice though was mostly a first-come first-served type deal.. One they ran out of that it wasn't restocked until the next day.

4) If you are leaving on friday but have to check out of your hotel before the last session you are going to take ends, Apple provided a luggage check-in service at the convention center.. you just had to pick it up before 7pm. Many hotels also provide this service depending on which one you are at so check with them.

Not having been in San Francisco before or california in general I was somehwat disturbed by the number of homeless people. It might be "normal" in most big cities but seemed like a lot compared to when I lived in Chicago. Because of this you may wish to make sure your hotel is easy/safe to get to at night if you are walking alone. It's sad that we spend billions of dollars to blow up people in another country but have people here in the U.S. begging for spare change.

Danny — Jun 16, 07 4377

Ten years ago, part of me wished I had been around for the first era of Mac development. Now I'm happy to be here now.

Yes! Until very recently I felt the same way. Development on this platform has had a checkered history and it's never been easy. But we're enjoying a renaissance right now and it seems - for new comers at least - all the bad memories of MacApp, OpenDoc, the toolbox and Apple's hot-cold relationship with developers are fading. OSX has matured and now we have the CEOs of Intel, EA and id declaring their new commitment to the platform. Windows users, disillusioned with Vista, are seriously considering OSX as an alternative. How did miracle come about?!

The contrast with 1997 is frightening.

Eberhard — Jun 16, 07 4378

Thanks a lot for the Cocoaheads event! It was really interesting to hear how other developers handle all the different aspects of releasing, shipping and supporting their apps.
Unfortunately the sound quality (and volume) wasn't that good so it was kind of hard (sometimes impossible) to understand what's being said.

Jon — Jun 16, 07 4379


I was one of the beginners attending WWDC for the first time and I want to thank-you personally for the time you spent with me in the labs. Not only did I learn a lot about debugging techniques and some cool IDE shortcuts, but I was really impressed by the whole Apple community. That a guy with your expertise is willing to just hang out and volunteer assistance is just fantastic. In a large measure, your generosity made my first WWDC a truly remarkable experience.


Mark M. — Jun 17, 07 4393

It truly was an incredible event this year. I really enjoyed the Cocoaheads meeting and I thank you for putting this together. I really wanted to meet you and the rest of the panel, but I had come down with a bit of a cold by Wednesday night and didn't wish to spread that sort of love. But at least I can now put some faces to some of the names that have been some of my primary teachers in learning Cocoa.

Pete Callaway — Jun 17, 07 4398

It was my first WWDC too and the Cocoaheads shindig was great - thanks Scott. If there's one thing I've learned for next time, it's make sure you take a laptop to install and try pre-release stuff on while you're there.

I've only just got back to the UK, installed the Leopard pre-release and cranked up the new Xcode only to stumble at my first attempt to try some of the new UI features.

It's really frustrating because:
a) what I'm trying to do should be dead simple (a "where'd that field they showed in IB go?" kinda problem)
b) if I'd been able to try it last week, I could have sorted the problem out easily
c) I can't google for others with the same problem because every thing is under NDA.

Can anyone recommend the best way of solving my woes? I feel like I'm missing a software update for Xcode :(


Gus Mueller — Jun 17, 07 4400

Thanks for having us at the cocoaheads meeting! It was a ton of fun, and hopefully we'll be able to do it again sometime. And next time I'll even remember to zoom in on the text so people can actually read it... :)


Elliott Harris — Jun 17, 07 4403


Thanks again for hosting CocoaHeads, it was an awesome experience, and I hope to make it to more during my time out here. It was nice to meet you and everyone else during the week, putting names to faces is always a good time. Keep up the good work, and I hope to see you soon, perhaps C4?

Stephane — Jun 18, 07 4404

Regarding the attendance of the Attendee Bash (it's no more called the Beer Bash apparently), you have to take into account that there were both attendees and Apple's employees.

I would second the comment on lots of IT people and web developers compared to Mac developers.

EA commitment is interesting for the consumer but a joke from the developer point of view. It's not a native port.

With most of the session being a re-run of last year session, there was sometimes good surprises (not enough times IMHO though).

Scott Stevenson — Jun 18, 07 4409 Scotty the Leopard

@Stephane: you have to take into account that there were both attendees and Apple's employees
That's been the case every year.

Oskar Lissheim-Boethius — Jun 19, 07 4420

Michael J. wrote:

"That said, I did this year try and meet people and ask their opinion, find out why they do what they do and at the bare minimum put faces to blogs and hands down that part alone was worth it."

I totally agree. Even though I was a bit, ehm, pissed after the keynote, what followed during the week more than made up for it. Even though most of it was a rehash of WWDC06. Repetition is a good thing, and the Q&A afterwards is even better.

All the sessions and labs aside, just being around and discussing geeky issues with so many creative people was truly a wonderful experience and it really sparked my desire to attend next year as well. Hopefully by then the iPhone has had time to go through a few revisions and we should know the future of the product line a bit more firmly.

My only sad point was that I didn't find time to chat with Scott, Daniel (Eran) and John (Gruber). Meeting Alcor on Friday made up for some of that, though ;)


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