Alt-Conf 2017

At the start of June, iOS Developers Will and Walig headed over to San Jose to partake in Alt-Conf. Here are some of their highlights from the week.

At the start of June, Walig and I headed over to San Jose to partake in Alt-Conf.

Having done my first WWDC last year in San Francisco, I was excited about three things, one to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence and attend Alt-Conf.

Two, to see how different the week would be in San Jose, instead of San Fransciso.

And three, to see what Apple had been up to in the last 12 months!

We had a full week organised in San Jose as we planned to attend as many events as we could. Here are some of my highlights from the week.

Keynote and State of the Union

The first day began with everyone gathering to watch the live stream of the Keynote. This was very similar to being at WWDC — especially if you don’t manage to get good seats!

The Keynote was just over two hours and it was jam packed. There were some really cool announcements and demos. My favourites being the redesigned App Store, ARKit, and the new iPads.

Redesigned App Store

The App Store is getting an overhaul. Separating Games and Apps into their own tabs, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for straight away. With the “Today” tab, you can visit the App Store every day and see content chosen by a new team at Apple. Featuring interviews from App Developers, App of the day, and a brand new design. This looks like it will feel like a digital magazine.


In my opinion, there were two great demos during the Keynote. One when Craig Federighi blew everyone’s mind and introduced ARKit, and when Wingnut AR – Peter Jackson’s brand new AR production studio – showed off their ARKit and Unreal Engine demo.

I am really bullish on the technology as one might even be able to extrapolate what Apple have announced over the last few years and come up with something quite exciting…

Metal > Performance Shaders/BNNS > ARKit/CoreML > Apple Glasses AR 😎

State of the Union

The State of the Union was jam packed with a lot of new improvements to our tools. Welcome changes to Xcode include:

  • a brand new source editor (with refactoring support!) written in Swift
  • a new indexing engine that makes Xcode load much faster
  • Github integration
  • a new simulator bezel, along with the ability to simulate multiple devices at a time!
  • wireless debugging & development — we can take a break from the cables which will help when simultaneously testing on multiple real devices.

Apple has been busy this last year, and this WWDC did not disappoint. 👏

ATP Live recording

I’ve listened to ATP for just over a year now, and I was very happy to be a part of the live WWDC recording to hear what Marco, John & Casey thought of the WWDC announcements. It was great to hear everyone join in and sing the theme tune at the end 👏

You can check out the live recording here.

Beard Bash

Jim Dalrymple, of The Loop, hosts a bash for the community every year. There was a lot of Heineken, rock music and people. 🍺🤘 (With as much dancing you can imagine at a gig full of tech people)

Swift Coders Meet and Greet

Another Podcast that I listen to religiously is Swift Coders. The host Garric organised a meet-up to mingle with all of the show’s previous guests, and to present what his team hopes to achieve with the Learn Swift { CITY } project.

It was good to put a face to the voice and finally meet Garric in person, after speaking to him on the Swift Coders Podcast a few weeks ago.

These events are what make travelling to WWDC worth it, it’s great to say hello to your peers!

A WWDC classic. You can’t miss out on this if you’re in town for dub dub. James has written a bunch of songs that all you iOS/macOS/Cocoa developers will find entertaining.

Beacon App

Ashley Nelson-Hornstein & Soroush Khanlou launched their app Beacon for WWDC this year.

It’s designed to allow you to organise a meetup with your online friends from Twitter. Helping people in San Jose find out where people are grabbing lunch, a beer, or even “Talking about Coordinators with Soroush @ AltcConf” — it was a nice surprise and a great way to meet all the friendly people hanging out in San Jose.

I can see Beacon being very useful for similar situations, and I look forward to using it at future conferences 🙌

Psycho Donuts

We went here for Coffee and Donuts for breakfast, twice. Go and give them your money. These are the best donuts I’ve ever experienced.

I think that Apple moving WWDC to San Jose was a great move.

Compared to last year, everything felt much easier in San Jose, maybe life is a little more chill outside of San Francisco. There was the side effect that I felt much more a part of the Apple Developer community, with all the surrounding events being so close to the San Jose Conference Centre, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a WWDC jacket or two.

I look forward to spending more time in San Jose next year! 🎉

I love this app.