WWDC Wayback Machine: 1999
Ah 1999. President Clinton, fresh from his brave conquest of Monica Lewinsky and the Serbian Air Force proudly led a nation in the grip of economic boom and millennial fever. Grateful citizens dialed in to their ISP and fired up their Netscape browsers to search Lycos for the latest and greatest. No iPod. No OS X. No iPhone. No iOS. No Youtube. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Hulu. Honestly, what in the hell did we do? I think we USENETed our Prodigy or something, but I can’t remember because I haven’t taken my pills today.
Apple was just coming out of their mid-decade tailspin, and new Interim CEO Steve Jobs was presiding over a company on the rebound. The iMac was fresh, colorful and awesome, and the stock was rocketing into the 20s. And yes, there was WWDC so developers could learn about new technologies. MacOS 8.5 was coming, and MacOS X was the future. WWDC itself was held in the San Jose convention center. It was smaller, less then a fifth the size of today.
Home from the recently concluded 2011 version of WWDC, I found one of the original 1999 WWDC schedules in my office, and used the poor man’s scanner (i.e. the iPhone camera) to reproduce it for your pleasure. It is a fascinating trip down memory lane of both old technologies, and how WWDC used to be structured. The Stevenote still kicked things off, but Steve shared the bill with Avie Tevanian. The evenings has a lot more ‘official’ activity then today, with events like Apple Masters, Movie Night, and a conference party that was separate from the Beer Bash. The technologies? Some you’ve probably heard of (Java, Carbon, Cocoa), and some have faded down the memory hole (Game Sprockets, anyone?). WebObjects was in big, with numerous sessions, and there is a big focus on Java as well. There’s also numerous IO hardware-specific session on topics like USB and Firewire. There were also tons of Feedback Forums for the various technologies and teams at Apple.
Anyway, click the photo above to see the full-size version, and party like it’s 1999.