Last weekend I had a great time at CocoaConf DC on my home turf of northern Virginia. In many ways CocoaConf is the antithesis of WWDC. Capped at 100 attendees, it’s small where WWDC is enormous, and intimate where WWDC can be impersonal. It’s a conference where you can meet (and spend time chatting with) every speaker and every attendee, if you put your mind to it. And really, although the sessions are the ostensible reason to attend conferences (the way we justify them to our bosses or to ourselves), for me at least it’s the personal connections you make that are the real value. As developers we tend to spend most of our time isolated in our cubicles (and in some cases our homes), so it’s doubly important to take the time to reach out to the like-minded individuals we encounter at conferences. CocoaConf is a great venue for that. And with 3 tracks of 30 sessions over 2 days (preceded by an optional full-day intensive tutorial), there’s plenty of knowledge to be gained as well. A common theme I heard throughout last weekend was the “which of these sessions should I attend next? They all sound great” dilemma (trilemma?).
This time I presented two talks. I debuted a talk on custom container view controllers (using the iOS 5 containment API), which in addition to containment covered the iterative process of designing and refining the UI and API for a page-flipping control (demo app shown above). The slides are available here and the code (open source and attribution-only licensed) is up on GitHub.
My other talk, “Enter The Matrix”, I gave for the second time. It’s about using matrix transformations in Quartz drawing, UIKit animations, and CoreAnimation (with obligatory, gratuitous references to the Matrix movies). Since Chicago in March, I’ve significantly improved the accompanying sample app, completely revised the slides for fold and flip animations, and introduced a section on skew and perspective. The slides are available here (latest version here) and the code is on GitHub.
I think one new talk is the most I can manage per conference. A great deal of work goes into each presentation (code, slides, and speech). I like this picture of Saul Mora, Scott McAlister and me all preparing for our talks on the first day of the conference. We work on our presentations up until the last minute not because we’re ill-prepared, but rather because we care.
One little touch that I really appreciated as a speaker: a MacBook power adapter installed on the presenter’s table in each of the rooms. Sometimes, it’s the attention to little details that really stand out.
I hear that CocoaConf may be back in DC next March. If so, I hope I can be a part of it again, either as speaker or attendee.