WWDC first timer tips help you to get the most out of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. This conference takes place every year around the first weeks of June. It’s the event at which Apple announces the new iOS version, Xcode updates, and latest API changes in depth. It’s a chance to experience the Keynote presentation and to meet Apple engineers in various labs.
Getting my 4th WWDC ticket in 5 years makes me extremely lucky and also an experienced WWDC visitors. In my first year in 2015, I already wrote a WWDC First timer tips collection top 10, but it’s time to revisit my experience in an up to date blog post.
Beginner mistake would be to not have your badge yet while you arrive on Monday morning to start queuing for the Keynote.
Is WWDC worth the money?
Before I dive in, I want to quickly go over some opinions on whether WWDC is worth the money.
Did you register for #wwdc? If not, I’m curious why!
— Antoine v.d. Lee 🇳🇱 (@twannl) March 20, 2019
I’ve asked my followers on my Twitter whether they’ve registered for the lottery and if not, why. This resulted in a lot of votes and a lot of shared opinions. 80% didn’t register from which most of them simply find WWDC too expensive. Given the fact that you can watch most of the sessions online, there’s no longer a reason to really attend compared to earlier editions.
I didn’t. I don’t think it’s worth the cost, with the keynote live-streamed, all the sessions recorded and me not being that good at networking 😅. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to go, I just find it hard to justify paying that much money myself.
— Marius Constantinescu at iOSCon (@marius_const) March 20, 2019
If there’s a reason to go, it would be networking and the labs. These are unique benefits of being in San Jose during WWDC. A lot of great people from the community are in town, heading to a lot of events to get to know each other. Labs during WWDC give you the ability to deep dive into hard to solve bugs or to meet Apple engineers. If networking is not your thing and the labs don’t add up to the price to pay, it’s probably better to stay home and spent the money in another way. That being said, I want to shortly shout out to Sean Allen who actually did this and can be a great inspiration for us all:
No ticket to WWDC, so I put that💰to better use. Connie is already a talented programmer at 10 years old, but has to code on a borrowed 2011 MacBook Air. There’s much more to her story, but she’s immensely derserving. Enjoy the new MacBook Pro. I hope you build amazing things. 👩🏼💻 pic.twitter.com/C4m3j4tOw0
— Sean Allen (@seanallen_dev) March 23, 2019
Preparing your WWDC visit
Although we now understand why some of us decide to not join the lottery, a lot of developers still do. If you’re the lucky one, you better prepare to get the most out of it! Over the past few years, I’ve built myself a common structure to benefit from everything the week has to offer. Therefore, a collection of my WWDC first timer tips
Weekend of arrival
Arriving on Saturday would be my best advice. You can get used to the time difference if needed and enjoy San Jose. It also allows you to pick up the badge on Sunday early morning and explore the region the rest of the day. Also, picking up your badge on Sunday makes it a quick visit as lines are probably still short! Beginner mistake would be to not have your badge yet while you arrive on Monday morning to start queuing for the Keynote.
Visiting the Keynote
Monday is the day of the Keynote and the State of the Union. It’s a day full of announcements and also a day of waiting, for a long time! Reason for this is that a lot of developers start queuing early in the morning to get themselves a nice spot at the Keynote. I’ve always had a great seat and queued no earlier than 6 am in the morning. I know, this sounds early, but believe me that a lot of developers start queuing earlier. Some even started the line on Sunday evening!
Furthermore, I always leave my MacBook in the hotel. You don’t really need it and you need to carry it all day through the whole queue. I know, a new version of Xcode will be available this day, but there’s time enough to download it back in the hotel or the next day.
Don’t hesitate to skip sessions, go to parties and labs
Many sessions are streamed live and appear online after WWDC. If there’s an opportunity to meet people at a party or meetup, do it! You can always watch back the sessions at home. Also, make use of the App Store, UI and code labs. It’s that what makes your WWDC ticket valuable.
Prepare for, and visit labs
WWDC offers sessions at dedicated labs for feedback on your app’s design, App Store page or code problems. Prepared well you can really benefit from Apple designers and engineers spending dedicated time on your application. If you have a specific bug to solve in your app, try to prepare an Xcode project dedicated to the bug and visit a related code lab. I’ve visited Core Data labs and experienced engineers debugging my app by actually debugging internal framework code while I was watching. This is what makes WWDC valuable to me!
User Interface Labs are busy!
If you would like to visit a User Interface lab, be prepared to queue early. Registration starts early every day around 7 am and only limited sessions are available. Don’t like getting up early? There’s also a chance to visit for short 10 minutes sessions, but these don’t allow you to deep dive in the design of your app.
Visit meetups and parties!
WWDC is a week full of fun and chances to meet a lot of great people. During the week, a lot of parties are organized and allow you to enjoy free drinks and meet fellow developers. These parties, however, require sign up in advance and have limited spots. Therefore, it’s good to start following updates now already!
Save the Date!
LIVE near WWDC 2019
James Dempsey and the Breakpoints Benefit Concert for @AppCamp4Girls!
June 5th, 7 – 11 PM
Blocks away from WWDC
Sign up to be among the first to find out when tickets go on sale:https://t.co/TyUMRQ8Lik
— James Dempsey (@jamesdempsey) March 19, 2019
How not to miss any party
Although there’s no silver bullet, there are ways to get updated when a new party arrives. One way is to install the WWDC Parties app. It will contain most of the parties, but not always before they’re sold out. Therefore, I often go online on Meetup to regularly search for newly announced meetups. Furthermore, you can follow the following people on Twitter for parties which often return every year:
- John Gruber for The Talk Show Live!
- The Loop for The Loop Bash (Formerly known as The Beard Bash)
- Firebase for The WWDC Firebase Party
If I’ve missed any, please let me know on Twitter, so I can update this list!
Visiting other conferences
A great benefit of being in San Jose during WWDC is that a lot of other conferences take place at the same time. You can visit great talks at AltConf which takes place around the corner or buy a ticket for Next Door. However, a 2019 edition for Next Door has not yet been announced. Keep an eye open and see whether you can benefit from even more talks and inspiration.
Confirmed alternative conferences
If you’d like to meet a lot of great fellow developers, WWDC is the place to be. Get excited and prepare yourself for a full week of inspiration and new friends. It will be exhausting, but exciting at the same time! Hopefully, I’ve helped you with this list of WWDC first timer tips.
Feel free to contact me on Twitter If you’d like to meet me during WWDC or ask me any additional questions.