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C4 (2) Conference: a report on this year's event

Volume Number: 24
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Conferences

C4 (2) Conference

A report on this year's event

by Marcus S. Zarra

On September 5, 2008, the third C4 kicked off; titled C4[2]. C4 is a conference hosted by a Macintosh independent developer aimed at the world of Macintosh development. When you attend this conference you know that you are surrounded by the best and brightest of the Macintosh developer community. While the first two of the annual C4 conference were well received, they also set the bar very high for this year. Fortunately our host, Wolf Rentzsch, was up to the task.

Friday evening started out with a talk from Craig Hockenberry and was followed by the creator of SQLite, Dr. Richard Hipp. Craig's talk about his process for developing Twitterific was quite insightful and Dr. Hipp's discussion of SQLite was spectacular. I suspect even more applications will be utilizing SQLite in the near future.

Saturday promised to be an extremely long day with 7 talks lined up and finishing off with a panel of experts. Personally, I found Rich Siegel's talk quite interesting. A Discussion of Macintosh development from the perspective of someone who has been doing it for over 15 years was very insightful. In the afternoon, the session presented by a group of "Security Researchers" was both stunning and terrifying. They pressed so much information into their block of time that I will need to watch the videos at half speed just to consume what they were trying to explain to us. Brent Simmons wrapped up the day's sessions with a talk on how and why he took NetNewsWire from a successful paid-for application to a free (as in beer) application.

At the end of Saturday night, Wil Shipley hosted a panel of experts to discuss a wide range of topics surrounding the current world of Macintosh development. While he had a list of his own questions he also was fielding questions from the audience via twitter. The answers to the questions were quite informative and the panel reminded us that there are always multiple solutions to any issue.

Sunday fortunately ran at a slower pace and only had 3 talks scheduled, although all three were not to be missed. Mike Lee's discussion on how to "pimp" your applications was quite note-worthy. Andy Finnell's talk on being an independent contractor reminded us that there are many ways to be an independent developer on the Macintosh platform. Troy Gaul discussed how Lightroom came about and gave a terrific insight into the inner workings of Adobe.

Sunday was wrapped up with the presentation of the Iron Coder entries. This year's theme was on Paranoia and the API was Core Location. Two of the entries centered around the crime in your local area and reminded all of us that Chicago is not the safest city to be in. One developer who lacked an iPhone decided to do a clean room implementation of Core Location on the desktop; a simply amazing accomplishment. In the end though, when the voting was done, Glen & Ken Aspeslagh of Ecamm Network ended up winning the first place prize with their combination of two iPhones, a Wii remote and their MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately not everything at C4[2] was perfect. The conference definitely suffered from its own success. This year, the conference was sold out in less than 40 hours and thanks to some negotiating by Wolf, it was expanded slightly to allow a fraction of the waiting list to be added. While at the conference you could definitely tell that we were at capacity. If you did not get to a session early enough you were left standing at the back of the room as there were simply not enough chairs to go around. This also caused some hotel issues and the Internet access was spotty. Hopefully next year the venue can be expanded some how.

Overall the conference was definitely worth going to. I even overheard some other attendees commenting that if they had to choose between WWDC and C4 that they would choose C4. High praise indeed!


Marcus S. Zarra is the owner of Zarra Studios, based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been developing Cocoa software since 2003, Java software since 1996, and has been in the industry since 1985. Currently Marcus is producing software for OS X. In addition to writing software, he assists other developers by blogging about development and supplying code samples.

 
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