Improving WWDC

Daniel Jalkut offers some tips on how Apple can improve WWDC so it benefits all developers. While I don’t disagree with the premise, I still think holding the conference is important for developers and Apple.

  • as soon as I see the idea that “oh, you can replace in-person with on-line en toto”, i stop taking it seriously. you can’t, and it’s stupid to say you can.

    • Absolutely. I agree that there is a problem, but not having an actual, in-person conference is not the answer.

    • Daniel Jalkut

      I agree there are in-person benefits that will be hard to replace. But for example offering videos free to everybody is a concession that much benefit can be distributed. My fundamental plea was to rethink everything. Maybe in-person consultations should become a beefed up, distributed, traveling program along the lines of what the “tech talks” were.

      The fact that I suggest the current system be rethought and substantially replaced by digital, scalable solutions doesn’t outright forbid the idea of considering novel new in-person solutions.

      • it’s a function of access. If you want to give people direct access to engineers, you can only have so many people, or it becomes unworkable. That means someone is going to get screwed. I got screwed the year before last, it happens.

        videos and google hangout-like shit cannot, can. not. replace in person. The problem with having smaller events around the country is who from Apple goes? You can’t being someone from every group, and you can’t really have more than a handful unless you want them to be big events, and now we’re back where we started, only wasting more time.

      • franksspam

        A couple of problems exist here. First, your main premise that only 1.5% of developers get to go is wrong. I’ve been a registered developer but I don’t actually develop any software for the platform. I signed up because it was only $99 and it allows me to play around if I’d like and get early access to betas. I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of the 275,000 fall into this category ever since the price came down to $99.

        Second, you can’t create a traveling show. The simply fact is that the engineers attending WWDC are the actual people working on these products year round. Apple can not afford to pull them off the job for multiple weeks for traveling events. They already have small teams that are pushing hard to meet deadlines.

  • They obviously need to improve their outside-of-WWDC developer relations, but I think WWDC is important. Why not have multiple events? Many companies (VMWare, Microsoft, etc) have multiple events on different continents. Time for Apple to grow up and put on their big boy pants.

    • actually, Microsoft doesn’t have a dev conference every year, only when they see the need, and, they don’t have that many.

      In terms of sheer number of events, Microsoft has more, but, when you look at them, a lot of them are IT based, or single product based. So Sharepoint, System center, Azure, etc. Hardly the same thing. Apple having an FCP conference would do nothing about the WWDC problem, and if you look at Microsoft’s only “major” dev conference, Build, it sold out in about three hours.

      Conferences with access are always going to have to be limited. The only question is “who gets screwed” and there’s no real good answer for it, just a series of answers that are differently bad.

      • I wouldn’t suggest Apple have an FCP only con, but the way Microsoft splits theirs up–since they have a very large number of products–is still the same philosophy that Apple could take. Not multiple but different WWDCs, have multiple and the same WWDCs. Even if you just had two: one in the US and one in Europe, you’d double the available spots. Plus, I’m not sure how, but they should work on ensuring that attendees are actual developers and not bloggers/journalists.

        • First, define “actual developers” in a way that fully satisfies all definitions. We’ll get back to that in a year.

          As far as multiple WWDCs, how many engineers should apple hire so they can have n conferences a year and still have people to, you know, work on stuff.

          Contrary to popular belief, Apple isn’t flush with engineers just sitting around with their thumbs up their asses, nor are there “WWDC-Only” people.

          • I understand this, Apple is still very much run as a smaller company than they actually are. These are ways to fix WWDC. If those ways aren’t palatable, they can just continue the way things are now (which is probably the most likely route)

          • there are all kinds of ways to “fix” WWDC, but they all tend to be “different” not “better”.

            The root problem is essentially unsolveable. Apple has a limited number of engineers that can free up the time required to really participate properly in such an event. That number of engineers has a hard number in the amount of attendees they can really talk to effectively.

            No matter how you slice it, those numbers are the cause of your problem, and pretty much always will be.

          • I agree, and one possible solution is to increase the number of engineers.

  • satcomer

    How about a condition to a WWDC ticket the “developer” needs to have prior app or a large Developer can convince Apple of big app in development?

    • matthewmaurice

      Anytime you establish conditions, you also have to establish exceptions. Then you have have to people to arbitrate those exceptions, and pretty soon you have Jobs’ famous “bag of hurt.”

      Daniel is probably right, WWDC is pretty clearly “busted”, but like a lot of broken things, many ideas to fix it may only make the problem worse.

    • So new developers don’t deserve to talk to Apple engineers?

  • lucascott

    One point on this discussion. There’s no mention of the vast forum that is part of the developer center. Something set up by Apple because developers asked for a way to talk to each other etc that was split off from the general user forums