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A retrospective on 2018 iOS Conferences

I had the chance this year to attend 3 iOS conferences, including Apple's own WWDC (for the second time).

In this article I will try to give a brief feedback about each of them and how much I enjoyed it.

dotSwift 2018. Paris, France.

dotswift18

This is the second time I attended the dotSwift conference.

The talks were delivered in a single afternoon. The venue was great: Théâtre de Paris, which really means no bad seats (yes it's actually important 😄).

The full speaker lineup is still available on their website. Here are those I appreciated the most.

  • Paul Hudson, author of "Hacking with Swift", iOS blogger and one of the host of the "Swift over Coffee" podcast.
  • Ellen Shapiro and a great talk about Protocol-Oriented Programming, its flaws and how they dealt with the matter.
  • Ben Cohen from Apple. Member of the Swift Core Team, he introduced us on how to take part in Swift and explained how Apple's teams process any feature request for Swift.

What else did I enjoy?

  • The lightning talks. Short and sometimes actually fun.
  • The TED-inspired "Casual Talk with Your Neighbor" (one you actually don't know).
  • The venue and the location (Paris).

FrenchKit. Paris, France.

frenchkit18

FrenchKit took place in Paris and was organized by Xebia and the CocoaHeads Paris. It was sponsored by Trainline, Avito and Deezer.

Some great talks were delivered for 2 days by famous speakers in the community. It was also a great time to meet or see some of them.

All talks were great, but some really got my attention:

  • John Sundell's The Lost Art of System Design.
    Working in a company with lots of apps, clients and teams, Software Architecture is a big topic for me and I loved the humble perspective John had.
  • brew create by Max Howell. Max is the author of the well-known Homebrew tool. Hearing him talk about the success it had was truly inspiring.
  • The Next 700 Devices by Chris Eidhof. Chris is one of the founders of objc.io. He had the courage to do live-coding talk and showcased a great Autolayout-alternative lib he's working on for building simple UI components.

What else did I enjoy?

  • Some fun activities after the talks: quizz, team building and dumb but fun challenges (the fastest USB-A cable unplugger).
  • Getting to put a face on names like John Sundell, Nick Lockwood, Chris Eidhof, Matt Thompson, Dave Verwer, Max Howell and many more.
  • The location (Paris).

WWDC18. San Jose, California.

wwdc18

WWDC18 took place in San Jose, California, at the San Jose Convention Center.

It's probably the Apple-related most-wanted conference. I had the chance to attend WWDC17, there's no doubts I felt really lucky to get a ticket for 2018.

I have to say I was kind of disappointed by the content of this year. But we still had ARKit 2 and Create ML, which is perfectly in the contunuity of what Apple announced a year ago.

But maybe the lack of new things was the right time for Apple to focus their talks on code quality, best practices and tips. Here are some of those I attended and most appreciated:

  • Advanced Debugging with Xcode and LLDB. A mind-blowing talk with great tips for debugging. I especially loved how the speaker live-coded some fixes on his app without ever re-building his app.
  • The Life of a Button. A UX-oriented talk explaining the thought and design process of a simple button on an app in order to provide the best user-experience.
  • Introducing Create ML. The introduction of Create ML clearly made CoreML more appreciated for people who may not be familiar to ML. This talk actually inspired some developer features I implemented for an app I worked on. I'll probably write an article about what I've done with Create ML in the near future.

What else did I enjoy?

So much things...

  • The Keynote, obviously.
  • The Bash Party: a short concert with a well-known artist or band. This year it was Panic! At The Disco and the year before, Fall Out Boy. (Two bands I actually follow and enjoy very much!)
  • The Nike+ running event. You actually had to wake up earlier, grab your running shoes and get to the Convention Center earlier. Nike+'s Coach Bennett was there. Some Powerbeats3 were also given by Apple to all those who were there running.
  • The Labs. A great place if you want a chance to chat with some Apple engineers about a bug you have. Or even just to hang around.
  • The Lunch Sessions. These talks are more "TED-oriented" and very inspirational. My favorite was from Danielle Feinberg from Pixar. She worked on Pixar's "Coco" and showed us some of her works, talked about her career evolution at Pixar and how much technologies took part in it.
  • Meeting great people, from all over the globe, chat with them about any project they work on, where they come from, what they expect from WWDC or Apple (and from what I've learn, a lot of things about AR/VR and ML).
  • Getting to meet old work mates or people you worked with indirectly.
  • California. The Silicon Valley.

What I missed?

I didn't have a chance to book a time with some Apple engineers to ask for UI/UX feedback on some apps I work on.

This is probably one of the thing to value most when attending WWDC.

Conclusion

People often ask me (including the CEO of the company I work for) if it is worth it (especially the WWDC).

Sure, all the videos are made available after the conferences. But wether you're attending those by yourself or for your company, the most valuable thing is the people you'll get to meet, the network you'll build and getting to chat with people from other companies about what they are expecting from these talks or from Apple.
It's also a way to tell people about the company you work for, your personal projects... Or just have a beer and talk about how you hate an Xcode bug feature.

But these conferences are not the only way to get involved with the developer community. If there's a CocoaHeads or any other developer meetup near you, try to attend. You would be surprised how much you can learn from others and grow as a developer.

A retrospective on 2018 iOS Conferences
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