iOSDevUK has a special place in the hearts of many British developers, partly because it's been going so long, partly because it has a unique setting, and partly because it's a multi-day event where you really get to know folks.
If you haven't attended before, the conference takes place in the Welsh university town of Aberystwyth, which is fairly remote. A running joke is that the train to the town is four to five hours for everyone, and is a bit like the Hogwarts Express because it's full of folks going to the event.
This relative isolation is what gives iOSDevUK its unique atmosphere: you're there from Monday to Thursday, all staying together in student accommodation, and eating three meals a day together either in the university restaurants or at various social events, so you have many chances to make new friends. There's even a group steam train ride through the Welsh countryside – make sure you bring your camera!
I was lucky enough to give both a workshop on Monday and the closing presentation on Thursday, but of course I was able to attend some great sessions too. Particular favorites were Steve Scott's talk "The Mark of Great Developer", Tim Condon's talk "Why server-side Swift?", Daniel Leivers’s talk "An introduction to GraphQL", and Joachim Kurz's talk "There's a formatter for that" – an eye-opening session showing us all just how little we know about localization in practice.
It was also great to see Dave Verwer of iOS Dev Weekly fame delivering a talk about product management for indie developers. Top tip: if you want folks to answer a questionnaire offer them Amazon gift cards rather than cash, because cash can be used on boring things like tax and mortgages whereas Amazon gift cards always mean something more fun.
iOSDevUK combines a truly enjoyable learning environment with startlingly low ticket prices – as low as £150 for three full days of conferencing – so it’s no surprise folks keep coming back. I’m already looking forward to the ninth edition next year!
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Paul Hudson is the creator of Hacking with Swift, the most comprehensive series of Swift books in the world. He's also the editor of Swift Developer News, the maintainer of the Swift Knowledge Base, and Mario Kart world champion. OK, so that last part isn't true. If you're curious you can learn more here.