My first trip to San Francisco was also my first developers conference. It was July of 1992, and I was attending the very first Win32 Professional Developers Conference. I returned home with a beta copy of Windows NT, my first exposure to something called "OpenGL", and a different person. My assimilation into the Microsoft collective was complete. I belonged to the Borg, and I was quite happy about it.
Some years ago however, my Borg implants began to malfunction. This had more to do with my involvement in the OpenGL community during something affectionately called the "API Wars", than anything else. But, like a spurned lover, I was on the rebound and I found myself working on a Mac in the days of OS X 10.2. It started innocently enough... some e-mail, a few word documents and spread sheets. For me, using a Mac was a gateway drug to actually developing for a Mac. To make a LONG story short, today I can hardly stand to use Windows at all. This is no small thing to admit after having built my early career on having mastered Windows programming in the days of 16-bit Windows 3.0.
I go to many conferences, at least one a year. I'm a regular at SigGraph, the occasional Game Developers Conference, a few Microsoft conferences (in the past), and now this week I'm attending my second Apple Developers Conference. This is my favorite conference, and the best investment of a week's worth of development time I have ever made, hands down.
Last year, I thought it was a fluke. Having come to the Mac a few years ago, I struggled with figuring a lot of things out for myself. The hardest part is of course "unlearning" a lot of assumptions about the OS, how development tools work, etc. I was blown away last year by how much I learned about the Mac, and Mac programming. I had a decent amount of experience developing for the Mac to be sure, but a real development conference was an incredible leap forward. Perhaps it was because I was still somewhat new to the Mac?
Well, this year is no different. There is simply no letting up. There are sessions back to back chock full of info, inside information, tips, tricks, and coding techniques. Sometimes it's very difficult because for example today, there are three different sessions all at the same time, and all of which I really really want to go to... it's tough to decide. There are open Labs where Apple Engineers can help you with your code, or get going with some new technology. Both Seeker and TheSkyX have benefited from yesterdays visit to a graphics and multimedia lab. There is also a third Bisque "do-dad" I'm working on that I don't know if I ever would have figured out how to do if not for some hands on help in another lab late last night. It really reminds me of the excitement I used to feel regularly when I first started learning to program.
To help demonstrate some degree of objectivity... I too was a bit under whelmed by the keynote. Last year we were told there were some "secret features" coming in Leopard. I sure hope Steve Jobs wasn't talking about the new dock! I suspect (as do some) that something "big" was actually planned, but then dropped, perhaps due to time constraints and diverted iPhone resources. To be sure Leopard is going to be great, and the new development tools are going to make my job a lot easier down the line. I was however daydreaming about telescope control with an iPhone. The non-sdk was a bit of a drag... oh boy, we can make web sites for the iPhone... of course we can control a scope with a web page... so who knows?
I can't imagine any serious Mac developer not being here. The Mac platform is so rich, and the technologies so consistent and well integrated into the OS. After many years of Win32 development, I am really tired of Microsoft's "experiments". Too many times have I jumped on the bandwagon, only to have Microsoft totally turn things around a year or two later. Only _now_ do I realize the abuse I took as a Microsoft developer (insert evil maniacal laughter track).
Have no fear Windows users, Bisque will not be abandoning Windows. I'm just one part of the team, but proud to be leading the charge back into Mac territory!
06-14-2007 1:24 PM