What I hope to get from WWDC

So I’ve just arrived in San Francisco for WWDC. This is my first time here, and in fact my first trip to the US, and I’m really excited about the conference. Primarily I’m here for networking – I see it as a great opportunity to meet with other developers and chat about our experiences and ideas.

Here are the main things I’m hoping to get out of the conference:

  • They keynote, of course! I’ll be very interested to see what’s announced with iOS 7. There’s the much-rumoured new interface design from Jony Ive of course, but I’m also hoping to see some improvements under-the-hood which make it easier for developing content creation apps. My #1 wish in this area would be a user-visible filesystem which allows you to organise documents by project rather than by application. I’m not holding my breath for this, but a man can dream…
  • Learning from other developers about their experiences with marketing apps – what works, and what doesn’t. To be honest, the development part of this project has been the easiest aspect (a huge amount of work, but comparatively easy). The marketing part has been really hard. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the success of technology products has more to do with marketing than their actual features or quality. I think this is something a lot of us struggle with, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty I can learn from the experiences of others.
  • Finding other developers to collaborate on an open source file synchronization framework. This is one of the most time-consuming parts of developing a content creation app, particularly given that each different service such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive etc. has a separate API, so you have to implement each individually. I’d like to put together a framework which takes care of all this stuff for you, so you can just plug it into your app and easily sync with all of these services. I’m sure there are many others who have struggled with this, and I think if we work together we can come up with something that benefits app developers, users, and storage services by abstracting away all the boring plumbing stuff.
  • Identifying opportunities to have UX Write tie in with other apps that provide complementary functionality, as I’ve already been doing with Texpad and Box. I’m focusing specifically on word processing with UX Write, but there’s a number of other types of apps (such as drawing programs, mind-mapping tools, and outline editors) that I’d love to make UX Write work with.
  • And finally, the sessions. These are actually last on my list because I’ve already got access to Apple’s excellent documentation and they are also making the videos available for developers who missed the two-minute registration window for the conference. But it will nonetheless be good to hear directly from Apple engineers about advice on making the most of the platform. In particular, I’m keen to get a better understanding of localisation, as one of my main priorities right now is improving support for a wider range of languages in UX Write.

Given the immense concentration of tech companies in the valley (far more than anywhere in Australia), it’s also a good opportunity to meet with other companies working in the area of mobile and online services, and I have several meetings lined up that I’m hopeful could lead to some useful collaborations in the future.