How much value will longtime Mac and iOS developers find at this summer's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference? One such developer said he took a pass last year and didn't suffer too badly. Okay, he was in town, so it was more a non-attendance attendance. He offers a list of pros and cons.
Developer Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch wrote in his blog the other day that last year he came to San Francisco during WWDC but didn't attend the conference. Yes, he had some meetings and discussions with friends while hanging out on the sidewalk outside the Moscone Center West and found sufficient invitations to parties.
Among the cons, Rentzsch included missing Lab Time with Apple engineers. However, some of the meetings were only so-so in his experience.
I’m listing this one for completeness since friends tell me they’ve received valuable debugging and feedback in the labs. Unfortunately in all my years of WWDC, I’ve only managed to stump engineers assigned to the Lab, so I don’t use it any more with the exception of… [the] UI Design Lab: Finally, a serious con. I’ve gotten benefit out of this lab (when I remember to reserve a slot before they’re all booked up).
On the plus side, Rentzsch said he got more sleep and stayed in a nice B&B with his wife.
Recordings: Since I didn’t spring for a ticket, there’s no guilt about missing a live session. Ever since Apple phased out after-session Q&A, the online videos tend to be better than the live sessions.
Additionally, Apple has come a long way from the days where you’d get a box of DVDs in the mail many many months after the conference. The last couple of years Apple aggressively edited the recordings during WWDC itself and generally made them available 2-3 weeks after the conference.
There's an important networking aspect to WWDC and newer programers (and some oldtimers) will find that important. Last year's conference was very very iOS-centric and the Mac was rather a second or even third-class citizen. We will see the shape of iCloud, Xcode 4.4 and more on the release of Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
Apple hasn't announced the exact dates for this year's conference (last year it was the first week in June). WWDC isn't on the Moscone Calendar, but nothing is listed for that week in Moscone West.
Mac managers, especially those looking at mobile device management (MDM) and iPad/iPhone security might want to check out the MacTech In Depth conferences, new one-day, conferences offered by MacTech Journal. There are two upcoming MDM conferences, one in May (Los Angeles) and another in July (Chicago). MacTech's 3-day conference will be in L.A. in mid-October.