Alternative To Sold-Out WWDC 2012 Launches: Check Out Indie Developer Lab


Didn't make WWDC this year? Indie Developer Lab has got you covered.
Didn't make WWDC this year? Indie Developer Lab has got you covered.

Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference sold out in just two hours yesterday morning, and most of the west coast got screwed because it all happened before many had even crawled out of bed. Now we’re here to tell you at the comfortable time of 8 A.M. PST about Indie Developer Lab, a conference for the devs who weren’t able to get into WWDC this year.

Helmed by developers Kyle Kinkade and Nate True with the help of Craig Fox, Indie Developer Lab 2012 will take place June 11-14th in San Francisco, California. As a response to the near-instantaneous sell-out of this year’s WWDC, the Indie Developer Lab is an alternative venue for iOS and Mac developers to meet, work, and share ideas.

Kyle Kinkade is the CEO of Monster Costume, maker of popular App Store children’s game Bartleby’s Book of Buttons. His company also works closely with Big Fish Games. He’s a longtime WWDC attendee and avid Apple fan. Nate True is known chiefly as the maker of the hugely popular iPhone game Tap Tap Revolution. Interestingly, True also worked with the hackers from the iPhone Dev Team on jailbreaks for the original iPhone. Craig Fox is the founder of JailbreakCon, the world’s first jailbreak convention. Both Kinkade and True are based in Seattle, Washington, and they were planning on attending WWDC in San Francisco this year.

When Apple announced registration for WWDC 2012 at 5:30 A.M. PST yesterday, both Kinkade and True missed the opportunity to buy their tickets before the conference sold out at 7:30 A.M. PST.

“Myself, Nate, and a bunch of other developer friends were blown away that it was sold out so fast,” Kinkade told Cult of Mac. “We felt that we needed to do something for the developer community to make sure we can all have a place to be during WWDC since this is such a cultural event for iOS and OS X developers.”

Two hours after WWDC sold out, Kinkade registered a domain, bought a server, and started work on a website. Indie Developer Lab was born.

For many onlookers, WWDC may just seem like a place for developers to come and gawk with mouths agape during an Apple keynote, but it’s so much more than that. For many devs, WWDC is the only time of the year to meet up with friends in the community and network. Apple also offers hands-on labs to help devs learn the intricacies of iOS and OS X. These labs are widely considered the most beneficial aspect of WWDC, while many also attend to network and make new connections. While Indie Developer Lab can’t replicate the Apple aspect of WWDC, it can offer workshops and networking opportunities for those who are interested.

“We’re taking what we consider the core of WWDC (the developer labs) and bringing those to the iOS and OS X developer community for 3 days (Tuesday through Wednesday),” Kinkade told Cult of Mac. “Developers can treat this as a place to sit down and work on their project while being in San Francisco for the week, or meet likeminded developers and help each other solve any nagging issues in their projects.”

In the past, many devs who couldn’t get into WWDC would hang around in San Francisco and catch up with conference attendees between labs and conference events. “We’re tired of having to sit around in coffee shops and wait for the lucky few to return from their workshops,” Kinkade said. He wants Indie Developer Lab to be a laid back environment with free WiFi, charging, seating, and most importantly, plenty of snacks. Kinkade is working on scheduling devs to lead workshops and help out with the event. For Indie Developer Lab to be successful, it will have to be a community effort.

“We haven’t done stuff like this before, but we have friends who have,” Kinkade said. “We phoned them early this morning and got them onboard to help us out. We expect a couple of rough edges, but we’ll have them smoothed out by the time the conference rolls around.”

Kinkade is working on securing sponsors for the event, and True is helping put together a coding competition that will be held for attendees to participate in.

“We are planning a coding challenge, or “hackathon,” which will take place during the event,” Kinkade told Cult of Mac. “The idea is that we will present developers with source code for a skeleton application and they can remix and make their own game/app. Winner will get a prize [like a new iPad], and we’ll help them get their creation in the App Store.”

Developers will be able to meet up and work on code in the comfort of The Box SF.

The conference will be held at The Box SF only a few blocks from WWDC. Early bird tickets are going on sale at 9 A.M. PST/12 P.M. EST for $129 #99 per day. Ticket sales will directly cover the expenses related to putting on the conference. Compared to the $1,600 WWDC admission price, Indie Developer Lab is only a small fraction of the cost. Space is limited, so don’t hesitate if you’re interested. A preliminary schedule will also be posted when tickets go on sale.

WWDC will take place during June 11-15th at the Moscone Center, while Indie Developer Lab will be held during June 12-14th June 11-14th. Follow @indiedevlab on Twitter for more updates. Kinkade and True are hoping it turn the conference into something big for the developer community.

“We want to take the core of WWDC and give it to everyone else.”