2018.8.30 THU - 9.2 SUN
iOSDC (iOS Developer conference) - an annual event held at Waseda University, Tokyo for all iOS Developers. This is the third year running and there are more attendants, speakers and sponsors than ever. One of the sponsors, Wantedly, is a Japanese company which operates a website for job seekers, similar to LinkedIn. Wantedly sponsored 10 scholarship students for iOSDC 2018. This involved covering transport costs from anywhere in Japan, providing accommodation for those who need it and covering the cost of the event tickets. Moreover, the students are put into a structured group - this was particularly important for me, being the only non-Japanese among the scholarship students. The event was made a challenge given I am not yet fluent in Japanese - however, this event provided the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in Japanese language and iOS development. In order to get anything out of the event, Japanese level needs to be conversational at a minimum.
You can apply for a scholarship from this link.
The event began on the evening of the 30th, where we all met for the first time near Nishiwaseda station. The whole event occurs in a cluster of large neighbouring rooms which are easy to navigate between. We arrived at the main hall where we were given a bunch of awesome merchandise before we went to the opening talk.
Here is the opening video:
Here is the venue explanation:
Here are the event sponsors:
It was a relief on the first night to witness a talk entirely in English about the problems and solutions of working with a global app with offices around the globe, titled, Working in a multi-cultural environment with a global app. The speaker talked about how users from different countries have different UI preferences. Solutions to this could be providing different UI layouts for different countries, or allowing users to customise the UI themselves. Other problems include dealing with time differences between offices around the world. In order for people in different regions who speak different languages to understand the same code, strict coding styles must be implemented. Overall, the most important thing is team communication! That night there were 12 talks split across two tracks, including a talk about using efficient algorithms with Swift and another about the best use of UI components in app development.
After the closing, we were all handed free beers! Unfortunately, the drinking age in Japan is 20 and I was perhaps the youngest member, being 18. The scholarship students who came from afar stayed in an AirBnB in Shinjuku which was really modern and a great way to get to know each other.
Each day thereafter, the event began at 10am. There was an opening speech before the talks started.
One of my favourite talks was Depth in Depth - it showed how you can use the dual camera functionality of the latest iPhone to calculate the depth of every object in view using the parallax effect. This can be used to selectively crop items in a picture automatically. The speaker demonstrated this with a live video of himself with a fire background. Here is the presentation. Other talks I attended included must know things for drawing graphs in iOS, issues with starting an app venture in the countryside and how iPhones can be synchronised.
Were were given lunch every day which was really tasty (it's impossible to eat badly in Japan!). This included a choice of three main meals, a small salad and a drink.
On the second full day, during lunch, we were treated to a live coding session using ReactorKit, performed by Wantedly software engineers. It was great to see how Swift coding is done professionally and was incredible to see it done live.
In between talks, there were plenty of interactive booths set up by the sponsors, where you can chat, play games, vote on favourite coding styles and collect even more merchandise.
Every day, we were provided with many treats including drinks, doughnuts and even bento boxes.
Towards the end of the 2nd and 3rd full days, there were LTs (little talks perhaps??). This consisted of short sharp talks, each lasting 5 mins. They were quick and informative and often contained a lot of humour. Some of them included how to make an app in 24hrs (comparing app development to cooking) and another one where the speaker made a full presentation without speaking a word.
On the last day, after all the talks, the best speakers were chosen by the audience online. The talk Depth in Depth was awarded 3rd place.
At the end of the last day, all the scholarship students and Wantedly staff ate together at a very Japanese restaurant which was amazing! It had quite a traditional style and the food was really fresh.
Here's some of the merchandise I managed to acquire:
Overall, the event was a great success and I'm very glad I went! It was a big challenge for me given language barriers etc. but I want to thank Wantedly for the scholarship and thank everyone including Wantedly and the other scholarship students for being kind, helpful and great fun!