I should note .. I managed to get Google I/O tickets once and the party was so much fun (good vibes, robots, gadgets, etc.), I felt that was almost worth the price of admission!
I don't know how the hell Apple's servers handle the demand.
Registered developers can already submit code level problems, there are official developer forums and bugs can be filed with Radar.
Meanwhile at WWDC, it's a developer scrum to get a 15 minute slot with an engineer and walk him/her through code they've never seen before.
From my experience, engineers do their best but they have always looked somewhat tired, hungry and distracted. All things given, I'm not sure it's the best environment to solve non-trivial problems, although it is nice to put a face to a name.
I've always had an easy time getting access to engineers. I hear a lot of people don't, so it must vary a lot depending on what topics you're after.
Maybe I was lucky. ~One year ago I had a problem with one of the Apple frameworks in conjunction with sandboxing and filled a DTS request. It took some time but the guy that I had contact with was very competent - so I guess it was an actual engineer. That or your average DTS intermediary will talk about disassembly listings with you.
Yes, the process was pretty slow but it was not painful IMHO.
Coincidentally I had asked in #macdev on freenode first and was greeted with some snarky remarks how I must be wrong as the reviewers know what they do ...
(I attended for years and the only freebie I ever got was an iSight camera. I'm told I won a raffle for a (transparent) Newton but I wasn't there and so they drew a different winner. No, I haven't gotten over that.)
We have three primary tiers of attendees:
- Popular creators who perform, speak and collaborate
- Fans of the top tier who want to take it in and get autographs
- Up-and-coming creators who want to grow
This year we expanded our "Insight" track which gives up-and-comers a chance to work with the most popular creators one-on-one and it was great! The problem is that fans are willing to pay more than up-and-comers just to get access to creators, so charging more for Insight doesn't seem to separate things.
Some fans would undoubtedly still buy tickets for the 'creator' event, but I've got to imagine their willingness to pay is mostly a function of "no other good way" to ever get access to the creators they enjoy. If there was another way, a way that was geared to their interests (performances vs powerpoint) I'd imagine the numbers of fans willing to sit through a talk on SEO for an autograph would dwindle.
I mean, how many fans are trying to scam press passes to E3 anymore, now that there are things like PAX?
The main reasons to go to the conference are to network and be a part of the spectacle.
No, the main reason is the Apple engineers in the labs
You might even get time to make questions.
Steve Ballmer must be jumping for joy right now /s
As pg put it, "'Engineer' is a kind of bureaucratic term that companies use to refer to a programmer. 'Developer' is a slightly less bureaucratic term that companies use to refer to a programmer."
It's been called "Developers'" conference for as long as I can remember (which is at least as long as there's been a Mac), Apple's in-house magazine for people developing/hacking/programming/whatever was called "develop" until the idea of a magazine was moot. Apple called "programs" "applications" starting with the Mac and stuck to it. It's just a word -- get over it.
Maybe there should be an Apple hackers conference for those of us who couldn't get tickets.
It is a professional designation akin to a Doctor, Lawyer etc.