360iDev San Jose wrap up

Last fall, I was invigorated and enthused by 360iDev in Denver, so I was excited to register for 360iDev in San Jose.

The short version is that I had high expectations, and they were exceeded.

I learned so much and met so many helpful and smart developers in those four days. By the time it was over on Wednesday, my mind was so full of ideas and enthusiasm that I had to spend several hours on Thursday and Friday just capturing my thoughts for future apps! My only regret is that I can’t dive into several of those ideas all at once.

I split my session time between sessions that helped improve my understanding and skills and some sessions that stretched me beyond what I was currently doing. 360iDev has an excellent balance between user experience, design and development discussions. It also covered a great mix of technical and business issues. There were so many times where I was able to just sit back and soak in knowledge, but also plenty of times for me to participate in discussions, both planned and informal.

I look forward to the videos of sessions that I missed — there were several times where it was very difficult to choose between two sessions. In almost every time slot, there was at least one session that interested me deeply.

The GameJam was great fun again, but also a great motivator for me. One skill I need to develop better is timeboxing a particular effort — constraints really help me focus, and the GameJam did that for me. My goal was to use Cocos2D, Box2D, and GameKit to build a game using an iPhone and an iPad where the game play was asymmetrical — I came close, but once again was trying too many new things (Box2D and GameKit) during the short (10 hour) time span. I was able to use what I had learned that night in my iPadDevCamp app, and now I have several variations of the basic gameplay to experiment with.

One of my personal goals was to completely set aside my client work at home, both physically and mentally, and immerse myself in new ideas and learning. So, I decided to also hang around San Jose for the iPadDevCamp held the following weekend. I was able to spend 8 days in a row without interruption really growing as an iPhone designer and developer. iPadDevCamp has a different style than 360iDev, it reminded me very much of a weekend long version of the 360iDev GameJam. iPadDevCamp was good and I had more stimulating discussions with more great designers and developers. But, I think without the earlier focused, intense time at 360iDev, I would not have benefitted nearly as much.

I would love to do a 360iDev and a DevCamp together again in the future, but if I had to choose only one event to attend, it would be 360iDev. I look forward to the next one!