This years conferences are quite different then the ones held last years. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic a lot of conferences were cancelled or moved to a remote format. From 11.05.2020 to 12.05.2020 this years AppBuilders conference was taking place remotely. I was really happy to see the organizers moving to an online format. I never attended a remote event before so I was excited to see how this will end up.
The concept of the conference was quite the same as a normal conference. There were dedicated spaces for the main stage, Q&A and networking sessions. The main stage was simply a live stream with a global chat. Q&A and networking sessions were more like a traditional video chat were people could share video and audio and talk to each other. So overall a pretty good mimic of a real-life conference.
Most of the talks were pre-recorded, which was a good idea. Speakers could answers questions in the main stage chat on the fly while the talk was running. These kind of talks additionally have the benefit of just working - there are no hiccups with hardware or anything else.
Talks of the first day:
|UI Testing over the years
|Property Wrappers or How Swift decided to become Java
|Getting Started with Combine
|Building Swift CLIs
|Building quantum computers that empower society to solve the world’s biggest problems
|Apps for All: Making Software Accessible
|Accessibility for iOS: doing well by doing good
Talks of the second day:
|Practical machine learning for iOS apps
|Small team. Big Open Source.
|Paul Hudson and Steve Scott
|Custom UI Components in SwiftUI
|UI Mode: Pitch Black
|Lea Marolt Sonnenschein
|Building a Realtime video processor with Swift and Metal
|Making Your Voice Heard
At first I have to say that everyone at AppBuilders did a fantastic job of bringing the conference to the remote world. I had a lot of fun watching the talks and talking to attendees. The speakers and topics were tremendously good and I enjoyed every minute being part of this awesome community. Remote conferences, in my opinion, come with a lot of benefits. At first we help to reduce emissions by not having to commute to the conference place. Especially if the conference will take place in a different continent. Furthermore a lot of money can be saved because we do not need to book an accommodation and save the money for flights or trains.
I do have to say though that I miss a fundamental point of conference. The face to face speaking in reality. It it always different being on site at a conference than sitting home alone in front of your computer. The feeling is totally different, you feel more connected to the people being there. At least that is what I was experiencing. The networking and table sessions were a very good alternative but still not quite the same. Additionally for more introvert people it may be harder to join a video chat of random people then just asking to sit next to someone during lunch for example.
For the future I would like to wish for something. Conferences should combine both worlds. If possible hold a on site conference combined with an online part. Everyone who is able to attend on site can do so and for people who might not have the money to fly to a far away country, or want to reduce emissions can stay at home but still have the opportunity to attend the conference and talk to other attendees via remote sessions.
I an very happy to see some new concepts arise from a global crisis The most important point I see is that we, as a community, stick together and try to find solutions for big problems.
Hope to see you soon again !