It's almost WWDC. Next week, thousands for Apple developers will gather in Moscone West for a Grand Fest Of iOS and OSX Developer Excitement. coughs
All fun aside: I was there last year, at WWDC 2012. I'm not going to be there this year. The cost of the whole trip is one factor, but this year some calendar "constraints" the weekend before WWDC made sure I could not go. Admittedly, that was my own fault since I planned those constraints myself. I'll be wanting to keep that in mind for next year when similar constraints will most likely appear near the WWDC date.
So, alas, no WWDC for me. I was fine with this at first but now that it's so close I have to admit it stings a little bit that I'm not going to be present. Sure, there'll be videos every day and I presume the keynote will be live streamed, so it's not really about getting at the information you get at WWDC. That'll be available from my comfy chair at home too, of course. Another benefit of not going is: no queueing. There's an incredible amount of queueing to be done at WWDC. I'm not going to miss that, for sure.
What I will miss is the great atmosphere. I loved San Fransisco (or at least the part I saw). The weather last year around WWDC was really great (warm enough, sunny skies, no mist), so that probably changed the perception. Regardless, it seems like a friendly and warm city. I also loved the atmosphere at WWDC itself. The fact that you're there with a whole bunch of developers like yourself, well, that's something special. There's no awkwardness with discussing technical stuff over lunch. It was fun going to a session and then later chatting about it with somebody else. Or sharing session notes with other people who went to other sessions while taking a break. You could be waiting in line for a session and a really nice conversation would start off with somebody you'd never seen before (being at a conference of this size provides enough topics to talk about, I found). And while it sounds a bit like a platitude, I found everybody to be quite friendly. People were happy to have you seated next to them over lunch. A friendly american saw me struggling with my converters to juice up my iPhone, and promptly provided me with a spare US connector of his own ("I've got more than enough of them, feel free!").
Also, I spent most of the off-work time there with some of the Belgian fellow devs that were also attending WWDC (which was quite a sizable number actually). Most of them I hadn't seen (much) of, even here in Belgium, but they turned out to be really nice people. waves And while I can't say that we've seen each other a lot since then, I do feel that being at WWDC created a different kind of bond than for example meeting each other at CocoaHeadsBE meetings. I had some great times with some of them over there (Blue Crowbar Classic, anyone?).
And while the trip was all work, it also felt a little bit like a vacation. It's hard to describe how tired I was every night from processing al the information I took in during the day. So it really felt like I was working, mentally speaking. But of course, it wasn't really like everyday work, so there's a difference. But still: I was beat when going to sleep at night (jetlag doesn't help either, of course). And like I said: it also felt like it was a little bit of vacation. I guess the great weather helped, and all the tourists in downtown SF too, but in a sense it was a very relaxing week. Tiring, but relaxing. I'm going to miss that too, this year. A working week off from regular work. Change of scenery helps.
So, let's hope I can go back to WWDC next year. It'll depend on the ticket lottery of course, and let's hope those calendar issues won't be a problem then. I'm already saving so that money won't be a real issue. What I did do was compensate for the lack of WWDC by going to a number of smaller conferences more nearby (read: UK). I'll talk about those in a later blogpost.
But still: WWDC is another ballpark, I guess. So yeah, I want to go back there and I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of those going.