WWDC 2020: 7 Tips to prepare yourself

In less than a week we will know what WWDC 2020 has brought to us. Apple has been working hard like every year to deliver a new Xcode, OS versions, and possibly new products. It’s like Christmas in the middle of the year if you’re developing for any of Apple’s platforms.

This year is a bit different compared to others as it will be a fully online edition streamed to us from Apple Park. Although it’s hard to predict how this experience will be it’s at least possible to be prepared as much as possible. You’ll be able to sit and relax from your home office, watching the Keynote while it’s published. Even though we’re not sure that it will be live streamed, we are sure that we will not be in San Jose watching it live in-person. Therefore, my best tips to prepare yourself from your home seat to get the most out of WWDC 2020.

Tip 1: Plan your week

I think it’s pretty clear that it would help the most if you have some time off available to watch the keynote and the “State of the union”. The keynote is the session in which all the big announcements will happen while the State of the union is diving deeper into the details for developers.

Apart from those sessions, Apple will release 100+ other sessions over the week. By planning your week and saving an hour or two a day if possible you’ll be able to watch at least the most important sessions according to your interests.

Tip 2: Pick your battles

That brings us to our second tip; pick your battles. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to watch every session so it’s good to be prepared and to know what you want to focus on.

This could be based on several points of interest:

  • Fundamentals, like “What’s new in Swift”
  • Project related, like “What’s new in Core Data” if your project is using Core Data
  • Hypothetical, like a new framework announced in the Keynote you’d like to explore for a potential new project

The last point is something you can’t exactly plan but you can ask yourself whether you’re open for new technologies. Your project might be ready to adopt a new feature or you might find yourself in the need of a new personal project.

With those ideas at hand it should be really easy to pick your battles and decide which sessions you want to see as soon as possible.

Tip 3: Prepare your project

Having a solid base to build forward on is highly valuable once WWDC 2020 arrives. It allows you to quickly start exploring new features, tools, and APIs. It would be a loss of time if you first have to make your project compile while new features are available for you to try.

Therefore, a list of checks you can do on your personal project to make it ready for WWDC 2020:

  • Update to Swift 5.2. This makes it a lot easier to update your project to Xcode 12 and the Swift version that comes with it.
  • Remove all warnings. Although this is not mandatory, it’s nice to clean up your project and have a fresh start.
  • Make sure your project compiles and runs on the simulator. No time to waste on tasks you could’ve finished before WWDC!
  • Create a release ready branch so you can quickly deliver new features to your testers. Wouldn’t it be great to convince your colleagues to adopt a new feature by showing an early prototype?

With those points you’re ready to start diving into new APIs and it’s the most likely your project will quickly compile with Xcode 12.

Tip 4: Prepare a test device

You might not always have a spare device but if you do it best to pick one that can be update to iOS 14. This way you’ll have a device that can be used to try out features that are testable on a device only, like new AR features.

Tip 5: Make a list of questions with sample projects

In your project, you might have a few questions unanswered. Those are great candidates for the 1-on-1 Developer Labs during WWDC 2020. Developer labs go by appointment and availability is limited. Every request is reviewed and it’s likely that a well-prepared question comes with a bigger chance of being picked.

Start by asking yourself whether you need a 1-on-1 appointment. If you don’t have questions, it’s pretty clear. If you have a question that is less of a priority you might also decide to post it on the renewed developer forums. This keeps the 1-on-1 sessions open for developers that really need it and you’re likely to receive an answer as well as over 1,000 Apple engineers will answer questions on the forums.

If you do decide to apply for a 1-on-1 session it’s good to be well-prepared with an Xcode project reproducing the exact issue. You’re not going to share your full project with an Apple engineer and it’s much easier to get them up to speed with a small project that describes the question.

Tip 6: Review your apps design

WWDC 2020 is not like other but it will have 1-on-1 labs available for you to apply. It’s not announced yet but chances are that you can also apply for App Store Optimisation, UX, design, and other sessions that would normally be available.

Ask yourself whether you have a design in your app that you want to review and prepare a short presentation together with some questions. This way, you’re ready to jump on a call to get some high quality feedback on your app.

Tip 7: Have fun!

Don’t forget that WWDC 2020 will be a lot of fun. Of course, it’s a serious week in which you’ll have to adopt a lot of new information. However, it’s also a week in which you can play and try out new features and APIs.

Start a new project in Xcode 12, try out that feature you would never implement in your own app, and have fun!

Conclusion

WWDC 2020 will be a unique experience on its own. It will bring us the results of a full-year of Apple development with new tools, APIs, and Xcode 12. By preparing yourself this week you’ll have a bigger chance of getting the most out of it.

If you like to prepare and optimize yourself, even more, check out the optimization category page. Feel free to contact me or tweet to me on Twitter if you have any additional tips or feedback.

Thanks!