WWDC 08 was incredible. While the iPhone gold rush euphoria contributed, everything just seemed especially good this year.
I’ve been quietly disappointed in Leopard since it shipped. It just seemed too rough around the edges and somewhat rushed, especially compared to the polish demonstrated by the iPhoneOS. Because of that, I’m probably more excited about Snow Leopard than I was about Leopard. Besides the promise of generally improving the overall experience, the under-the-hood OpenCL and “Grand Central” additions are truly revolutionary advances for desktop OSs. The idea behind OpenCL being able to utilize the largely untapped parallel processing power of the GPU has the potential to radically reorganize the entire idea of computing, moving things distinctly towards a brain-like collection of specialized processing units. I’ve been joking this is OS X SP1 but that’s just not true, Apple is mainlining some serious innovation into the backend of Snow Leopard and this should be a very, very good release.
My plan for this year worked very well. I managed to set aside the week prior to essentially cram on Cocoa and Objective-C. While that was originally supposed to be three weeks, the time I eeked out still helped a great deal. I also maintained a very disciplined focus about which sessions I went to. In the past I’ve flitted around trying to get a taste of every subject that interested me — which is almost everything. This year’s deliberate focus and pre-study nearly eliminated the blank-stare drift I’d experienced in the past and left me feeling more confident than ever about building stuff with Cocoa, writing FXPlugs and making things for iPhone.
But far and away the best thing about this year was the people. Twitter made a lot of this possible by starting conversations beforehand. I think I probably met half my twitterstream in person, which was awesome and kind of funny. The social dynamic of first meeting twitterers is sort of one where everyone treats everyone else like a celebrity. It ended up being this wonderful abstracted feeling of recognition which wasn’t nearly as creepy as it sounds like it would be. My only regret is not meeting the handful of people I knew were there but never crossed paths with.
There are just too many people to call out, but I was blown away by just about everyone I met.