WWDC 2018: All the Critical (but Boring) Sessions for Developers

We’ve already provided a few predictions for this year’s edition of WWDC. Following the usual splashy announcements and day-one fanfare, the fun really begins. At their core, tech events are about learning; with that in mind, these are the WWDC sessions that developers for Apple’s ecosystems just can’t afford to miss.

Tuesday

Luckily, all the ‘un-sexy’ sessions are spread out, leaving plenty of time for things like augmented reality, machine learning and whatever new stuff Apple decides to launch at WWDC. Tomorrow (Tuesday June 5) at 11:00am, Apple will host a session on HLS, or HTTP Live Streaming. It’s in a rather large hall (in the ‘Executive Ballroom’ at the San Jose Convention Center, a room about half the size of Hall 2 where the keynote is being held), suggesting there could be some interesting advancements with HLS.

Wednesday

Wednesday afternoon (3:00 PM) brings us a session on Swift Generics in Hall 1. This is interesting for a few reasons. Aside from the Swift focus, the fact that Apple is discussing Generics during a standalone session is indicative it’s interested in something at least similar to current descriptions of Marzipan. It could be a precursor to AppKit’s disappearance, or something more. In any case, now is a unique time to discuss Generics.

At 5:00 PM on Wednesday, June 6, the Executive Ballroom will have a session titled ‘Practical Approaches to Great App Performance.’ Apple will discuss how it optimizes its Photos app and Xcode (please hold your laughter), and provide guidance on best practices for making sure your apps are as snappy and responsive as possible. We’re sure you’ll be ready for dinner by then, but it’s a session worth dropping in for.

Thursday

Thursday is all about data. Apple has two data sessions this day: ‘Data You Can Trust’ (9:00 AM) and ‘Core Data Best Practices’ (2:00 PM). There’s also one on the Swift Package Manager at 4:00 PM, and an Xcode/LLDB debugging session at 5:00 PM.

‘Data You Can Trust’ is positioned around data handling in apps. Apple says the session will allow developers to “defend [their] customers” and secure data against invalidation or malicious data. ‘Best practices’ for Core Data covers “new best practices,” such as “how to use concurrency and persistent history, and discover how to test for, and resolve, common problems using familiar technologies.”

The Package Manager session is an overview, and may continue Wednesday’s Swift Generics thesis of highlighting critical themes that may hint at cross-platform app development and distribution. Apple’s Xcode debugging session is another late-day wind-down session, but one we think all developers should check out.

Friday

Friday is actually pretty packed! Here’s a list of the last-day sessions at WWDC:

  • 9:00am – Create Your Own Swift Playgrounds Subscription
  • 9:00am – Using Collections Effectively
  • 11:00am – Understanding Crashes and Crash Logs
  • 2:00pm – Behind the Scenes of the Xcode Build Process
  • 2:00pm – iOS Memory Deep Dive
  • 3:20pm – Testing Tips & Tricks

Those are all great sessions, but if you’re looking for the sleeper hit, it just might be the 2:00 PM session on the Xcode build process. Many iOS developers love to complain about Xcode doing Xcode things, so it’ll be nice to get an idea of what all the seemingly random weirdness really means.

If you’re looking to educate the world on how to build with Swift, we think the session on creating a Swift Playground subscription is a session you’ll want to check out. For a particular crowd, Playgrounds represents an opportunity to forge a new path for monetization.

Should WWDC Be Boring?

Apple has a ton of sessions without titles or details. This tells us there will be plenty of new stuff to discuss, and it might be really exciting.

But there’s also a lot of reason to keep WWDC boring. Newer technologies, frameworks and tooling are great, but many developers haven’t mastered the existing stuff yet. It’s hard to appreciate what’s around the corner when you aren’t considering what’s right in front of you.

Not all sessions are exciting, but many are critical for most – if not all – developers. If you’re not attending WWDC, making a note to watch them later via Apple’s developer website is a smart idea, too.

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