If you read my blog from time to time you probably noticed a trend that I attend a technical conference, get excited about it and afterwards describe how awesome it was, encouraging you to join next year. Well, this post will be no different ;)
While usually (at least in Poland) mobile conferences tend to cover whole bunch of platforms (or at least the two most popular ones), iOSDevUK was centered purely around iOS development. Which makes it especially interesting, since it creates a great opportunity to meet lots of people who deal with the same stuff you do professionally and exchange experiences.
It took place in a picturesque small west coast welsh town of Aberystwyth (prepare for a daily seagull-induced wakeup). Apart from fantastic landscape, the location provided local pubs around every second corner, which inevitably led to socializing over a pint every evening :)
Both the lecture rooms and the default accommodation were on the university campus, which resulted in a really affordable conference fee. Some voices on twitter complained about a claustrophobic dorm rooms (or unfriendly electronic shower user interface), but I don’t think you need any more luxuries for a 3-day stay (wifi worked in the dorm rooms, what else could we possibly need? ;)
Protip: if you travel overseas (like I did), it helps to actually read the travel hints on a conference website. That would have saved me a few hours journey (Birmingham International is the preferred airport of choice, not any of the London ones).
As usual, quality of the lectures varied. Some that I expected to be excellent, turned out to be so-so, other ones which I didn’t even want to attend, turned out to be really enjoyable.
Overall – I didn’t experience any epiphany listening to the talks, but I never felt like attending to any of them was a poor use of time.
The only thing I didn’t like about the lectures was that they haven’t been video-recorded. Which means if you were interested in two sessions happening simultaneously, there was no way to benefit from both (we had two tracks of talks most of the time).
Not all the lectures were full-length. The conference incorporated the idea I’ve heard about, but have never seen ‚implemented’: 5-minutes lightning talks. That turned out very well, I’d love to see more conferences allowing this short speech format.
Apart from the lectures, there have also been a bunch of workshops (including Core Data one conducted by Marcus Zarra) and an Arduino hack (which became way more fun after pizza, beer, nerf gun and hedgehog images came into play).
The attendees are usually the highlight of all conferences, this time it was no different. Momentarily it was just a tiny bit surreal for me to see and/or chat with the iOS tutors known from the internet that I didn’t ever expect to meet in person. And judging by the other people’s reactions and standing ovations after Dave Verwer’s talk (the guy behind iOS Dev Weekly), I presume that at least some other people shared that feeling.
For me as an introvert and non-native English speaker (far from the best one) it was definitely a stretch to have so many conversations with people over such a short period of time, but I absolutely enjoyed it.
Overall I really enjoyed the conference and had a blast! It’s always a little bit inconvenient to attend an event happening in the middle of the week, but this time it was absolutely worth it, no doubt about it.
Big thanks to Chris Price and all the other organizers for their huge effort put into organizing the event and see you all next year!
Btw. if you missed the opportunity to join iOSDevUK this year, there’s another iOS conference happening shortly (17-19 of September), check out NSSpain website!