CocoaConf Raleigh 2012

This weekend I was a speaker and attendee at CocoaConf Raleigh. Now in it’s second year in Raleigh the conference has matured into a great traveling conference (This year they were in Chicago, DC, Columbus, and Portland) with a lot of great sessions. I’ll review my session, discuss the sessions I attended, and talk about the conference overall.

The Conference

Last year my biggest complaint about the conference was the location. This year the conference was hosted at the Hilton RTP right in the center of the Triangle. Aside from better location in the area, the hotel seemed to be much better allowing for the occasional network connection (hotel WiFi is rarely good) and a pretty good cell connection. As far as I know the biggest complaint of the hotel was their decision to turn off water on those staying the nights there. This led to many references to #waterpocalypse (or my personal favorite #waterlessgate).

I continue to be highly impressed with the conference that Dave Klein and his family put together and great speakers he finds to come out and take time to build and deliver great sessions.

Aside from the sessions there were some great keynotes by Daniel Steinberg and Aaron Hillegass, a steady supply of Diet Mt. Dew, and plenty of time to talk with old friends and make new friends.


Thursday night we put together a special edition of our local CocoaHeads group with many of our normal members and many of the visiting attendees for CocoaConf. It was really great to have so many Cocoa developers (and a few non-Cocoa developers) in the same area. I really enjoy talking with everyone about this stuff. Videos from two of the talks are now available on CocoaHeads TV.

The Workshop

Thursday started off the conference with three day-long workshops. One an iOS Tutorial, a iOS Graphics Workshop and a Core Audio Workshop. I attended the Core Audio workshop by Chris Adamson and had a great tour through some of the different capabilities of the framework. I highly recommend his book on the same topic, “Learning Core Audio”.

The Sessions

The worst part of a multi-track conference is choosing between several sessions you’d like to attend. Maybe this is a good thing? Anyway, all the sessions I attended were above what I expected.

I started the conference with Bill Dudney’s iOS Performance Tuning with Instruments. Bill, who has a great new iBook available about knowing C, gave a really good overview of Instruments.

Next was Rob Napier’s Rich Text, Core Text. Aside from diving deep into Core Text, he gave a great overview of how fonts work. Rob also gave another talk, likely my favorite of the whole conference, on Avoiding Security Blunders. More information about his talks can be found on his blog.

The next day, I attended Jonathan Blocksom’s OpenGL ES, GLKit, SceneKit and more: Making Sense of Mac and iOS 3D Graphics. This session made me really want to play around with SceneKit, it is such a nice looking API.

I also attended Jack Cox’s Gamekit for more than games. He reviewed GameKit and gave some ideas about using GameKit in more enterprisey apps. Really something to think about. Later, I attended Daniel Steinberg’s Less Code, More fullfilling. I really enjoy his talks and his humor. This session didn’t dissapoint. Daniel also has some iBooks available on app development and test driven development with Kiwi.

Rounding out the weekend were a couple great sessions by Mark Dalrymple, Performance Tuning and The Humble Header. Both these sessions left me with a lot of ideas, including “Optimization Parties”.

My Session

My session on Automated Acceptance Testing with Calabash seemed to go really well and most of the reviews. There were some great questions, and some laughs. David Hasselhoff made an appearance too! Since it was an extended version of my talk form CocoaHeads, you can check it out now.


This is a great conference. Small, yet packed with great people and great sessions. I am really looking forward to the next time and I really hope they make it back to Raleigh next year. If you are near a CocoaConf, near Raleigh for the next one, or willing to travel to one – you should plan on it.