Saturday, October 14, 2017

WWDC 2017

It has been four months since Apple's annual developer conference WWDC down in San Jose, I was so glad and grateful for the opportunity to attend this one. Going to WWDC is probably the most exciting conference an iOS developer gets to go, and it was the first time I got to attend for the whole week. This year they moved the conference to San Jose after many years in San Francisco, it would have been much easier for me to just bike to the previous venue (Moscone center), but actually it turned out to be a lot more fun spending a few days exploring San Jose convention center area a bit more - mostly because two other girl friends who I met at WWDC women's lunch in 2015 also got tickets! A colleague went as well, and I bumped into two friends from grad school who I totally didn't expect to see after a few years, one working/living in Japan! It was a small world, especially at "World Wide Developer Conference" 🌏

This year they invited special speakers almost every day, and those were perhaps the most memorable sessions of the whole week-long conference. (It was also exciting learning all the new APIs/features/architecture/technology, but they were all video recorded and accessible anytime.) Totally beyond surprise was the fireside chat with Michelle Obama - I wished I had waken up earlier to get a closer seat, but it was so worthwhile to just be there in the same room listening to her conversation with Lisa Jackson.

Some takeaways with some of my own thoughts:

  • Starting small. Pushing changes is almost always hard, but anyone can start small by knowing they are role models to someone - parents to kids, siblings, teachers to students, any relationships. Someone watches what we do and say, and that influences them in various degrees.
  • Having ground support from those with shared values. There will be setbacks and down times. We all need support, and especially from people who share similar values and bring us back on the road.
  • Investing in education. Kids in developing countries are working so hard to go to schools, they would do anything they could. In her own experience, her daughters didn't get into tech because of one or two math teachers.
  • Leading with empathy. This one was certainly a bit ironic given Barack Obama's successor, who did not seem to hold much empathy towards many racial, sexual, and cultural groups.

I was also super touched by other special speakers, on how critical accessibility in technology is to people with disability, entrepreneurship, and women in engineering field. Women@WWDC breakfast with guest speakers almost every day were also very thoughtful. Many perspectives and thoughts that would not have occurred to me otherwise.

Other tips:

  • LABS!!! I personally think this is the most useful part of the conference, where developers can bring any questions and code to Apple engineers. Would be super helpful to prepare code examples for all questions, so that Apple engineers can easily build and diagnose issues.
  • User interface design lab by appointment - try signing up the earliest available time, usually 7am on the same day. Very cool getting feedback on design and usability of developer's app(s) from Apple UI/UX designers.
  • Keep an eye on WWDC parties starting a month or so before (also search for "WWDC parties" iOS app online), RSVPs go fast.
  • Meet new people at the bash! My friends and I happened to talk with a group of Xcode 
  • Specific to San Jose convention center: the official parking garage fills up very early, steep $20 a day. There are a few lots a little farther (about 10 minute walk) cheaper ($6-$10 a day) near the park near Children's discovery museum / discovery meadow.

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