WWDC Post-Mortem

I went, and I'm glad I did.

(The whole WWDC outside of the keynote is under NDA. I don't break those, nor do I come close, so this is as close as you'll get to me talking about what I saw.)

First, I would like to say something to the people who said, implied, insinuated, or hinted at how going to an "iPhone-only WWDC" with no IT track would be a complete waste of time:


Y'all were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

What did I get done? Well, for one, I can say that I've seen where Apple is going with mobile device management, and you have not. (Note: It's pretty awesome.) While you are waiting for the sessions to be posted online, or trying to find crumbs of information, not only am I already sketching out how these changes will fit into my systems, I was able to talk to the Apple engineers involved, and ask pointed questions about things, and get answers right on the spot.

When I had questions about the details of the new security features of iOS4, I was able to get them answered. Some problems I'd had related to bugs in some iCal-related frameworks? I was able to talk to the engineers. You weren't.

I was able to see that contrary to what some people think, Apple has put a huge amount of work into making the tedious part of coding, namely well, actually putting code to bits and debugging it much less tedious than before. While it may not make those who only care about obscure bits of CompSCI theory happy, what Apple is doing with their development tools is going to have huge benefits to all, from the n00b to the greybeard, from the indie to massive teams working on massive projects. I got to see how, for the first time in, well, maybe ever, the GCC toolchain is going to have real, capable competition, and that competition is not driven by ideologues, who only care about license terms, but by cold-blooded pragmatists who think that what you create with tools is far more important than the name or license of the tools. Apple has and is working to advance software engineering in ways that benefit everyone, not just the uber-nerds.

I was able to see how things like iAds are going to be implemented, and the not inconsiderable work Apple has put into that implementation. Since I work for a company that is in the advertising business, this is of no small concern to us. I was also able to get the real information from the people creating iAds and other Apple products and tools, unfiltered by the need to jack hitcounts.

You, the people who told me I was wasting my time?

You did not.

You will not have first hand experience. You shall have to wait, and hope what you get is reasonably accurate. You will also get nothing of the information and help I got outside of sessions, because you were not there. You showed Apple, you didn't show up without your special track. You held firm to your beliefs, and stood against the dulcet tones of the apologists. I'm sure they can reattach your nose without too much scarring.

See, here's the thing. I've been going to the WWDC since well before there was an IT track. I learned, long ago, that the value from the WWDC isn't what is handed to you on a silver plate, with a pretty card bearing your name. The value is what you take from the show. I don't sit and wait for someone to hand me good info. Rather like the way English steals syntax from other languages, I reached out and take that value. I cornered people, or sat at their tables, or chatted with them between sessions. Note that this is what I did at the WWDCs that had an IT track.

I didn't sit and wait for Apple to hand me what I needed. I went and took it.

You who didn't go? You saved money.

I saved time.

Which one will you make back easier?

P.S.: You said there would be nothing for the Mac. You were also wrong about that.

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