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Is iOS development culture really that weird?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

You made a video called “Why I Highly Dislike iOS Development,” saying that it's expensive, provisioning profiles are a nightmare, and more. Do you think the iOS community is particularly weird compared to others?

Mayuko Inoue: I think you said it well: every community is weird in different ways. Really my whole career all I've really ever known is the iOS development community. So I don't have a whole lot to compare it to, but there are times while I've been in the community where I'm just like, “hmm… that's weird.” I think WWDC is an interesting point to examine because whenever something gets said about, “oh, we're coming out with this new thing,” and the applause happens or the Apple developers say, “yes, you can applaud now.”

"I think it's because Apple made it be this way because it's a closed ecosystem, because the things that we're celebrating in the end are Apple and it feels a little bit weird to be celebrating the master that gives us all."

Paul Hudson: They literally say that don't they. They literally say, yeah, you can applaud. You can applaud.

Mayuko Inoue: They'll be like, “yeah, we did a good job. I know that you needed that. I gave it to you.” I don't know if it's weird, but that stuff just makes me cringe a little bit because I get it – we really wanted this. Yes, it is going to help. Yeah, this applaud comes from somewhere. This is important to have, but I don't know.

I think it's because Apple made it be this way because it's a closed ecosystem, because the things that we're celebrating in the end are Apple and it feels a little bit weird to be celebrating the master that gives us all. This is going to be a very crass example, but we're all in this bucket and we're just looking up to the sky for the hand that's going to feed us. And that hand is always the same and it's always going to be Apple.

That, to me, it's a very unique aspect of the iOS development community compared to others. Every community has their idiosyncrasies, and I just think it's a very interesting thing. I guess. I'm not trying to judge it too hard for it being this is bad or good. I don't think there's any good or bad to it or anything.

"I think WWDC one of the coolest things – it's the biggest gathering of iOS Apple developers."

But yes, it's such a culture. I think the first year that I was doing iOS development, I was just like, okay, didn't think that I would be doing this in school or be so excited about what Apple was doing. But now that I am an iOS developer, I guess I should be excited for what Apple is doing. And it feels like it sucks you in a little bit.

Paul Hudson: But you've been to WWDC and you know the atmosphere there is febrile. Every small thing they're chanting and clapping and wooing and shouting for the whole week pretty much. The Apple staffers there are very, very happy to be there. They are totally jazzed to be in that audience and they want us to be as excited. And we're on our phones trying to stare at our feet a little bit – I certainly am.

It’s certainly been the case where with WWDC there are side entrances you can go in or out from, where the staffers don't go. So if you want to go and get high fived all the way down a line of people, you've got the main entrance. If you're a bit shy, or a bit introverted, you can go to the side entrance and sneak out the back way. And hurray, you're free from the wooing temporarily.

Mayuko Inoue: The energy levels there are just so different. You know when you walk into the keynote, the thing, the wooing and the high fiving and the people who are literally there to hype you up, because it is something to celebrate. We have a once a year celebration for what we do and we're excited about what's going to come out and I think it's great. But we have that day, and then the rest of the week was people I've had a hard time connecting with.

I think WWDC one of the coolest things – it's the biggest gathering of iOS Apple developers. But most of the time when you just sit out on that patio at San Jose Convention Center, people aren't really talking to each other. They're reading the Apple documentation, which arguably is what WWDC is for. It's for the updates that come out. But I'm like, oh my god, I feel like we're missing such an important, cool moment for us to connect with each other and talk about what apps folks are working on, and sharing insights and stuff.

I think certain pockets of that happened at WWDC like an outcome, for example. Any of the side meetups that happen after hours is great, but at the conference, it's just like you’re there for the wooing, and you feel like part of a team. The next thing you know, you're one of thousands of people who aren't talking to each other. It felt very strange to me where I'm just like, "I don't know what I'm supposed to be hyped about now."

Paul Hudson: I do enjoy it. I fly out on Wednesday beforehand, so I have a few days to get over the jet lag. Then, I meet friends who work in California I wouldn't otherwise see. I hang out with folks basically morning until night, having coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner with different people. Otherwise, it's a once a year chance, I feel I'm missing out of it.

"Any of the side meetups that happen after hours is great, but at the conference, it's just like you're there for the wooing, and you feel like part of a team."

I know many folks love last year being remote with super slick videos, but I do pine for in-person WWDC or something like that to come back. I miss my friends. I want to go and see them again and chat to them and hang out and stuff because it's really nice. It's really, really nice.

Mayuko Inoue: That is definitely the best part. I think not last year, but the previous year that I went was the first time that I really tried to set up meetings and hang out with people and go to all the events. This is an immensely better experience that I've had at WWDC compared to other years where you just go to the sessions. It really is a great time for the community to connect with each other. I really think that's what WWDC is. That's why it's cool basically, and that's why it's fun.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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