MacDevOps YVR 2023 conference recap

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper|June 28, 2023
News Article 2 Background
News Article 2 Background

Last week, the SimpleMDM team at PDQ packed our swag and went international! We hopped across the puddle to the 2023 MacDevOps YVR conference hosted at Simon Fraser University in the truly majestic city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

This conference highlighted the close-knit MacAdmins community that has attended annually, even virtually, for the last few years. The conference host, Mat X, puts MacDevOps YVR on every year. From running the whole show with his kids (and their awesome high school friends) to emceeing the entire event, Mat made MacDevOps YVR a grassroots labor of love that we were thrilled to be a part of.

(But I will say… there was a lot more singing than I expected. Even in French.)

SimpleMDM in YVR!

Conference recap

  • Declarative Device Management is coming, and the writing on the wall for MacAdmins is to get with it or get left behind.

  • DIY is having a moment. 💅

  • The MacAdmin DevOps community wants to teach you how to get your hands dirty and grab a beer. 

But my biggest takeaway from MacDevOps YVR is that these conference organizers prioritized communication, inclusion, and interaction of all attendees (virtual and otherwise) in every aspect of their event. We love to see it!

DDM is coming

Declarative device management, a more proactive form of Apple's MDM protocol, was announced at WWDC 2021 and is quickly gaining traction. This year's MacDevOps YVR speakers mentioned DDM heavily; we would be wise to listen. Here's what they said: 

  • MDM vendors and MacAdmins should prepare to adapt to Declarative Device Management.

  • All existing clients will need to update to an operating system that supports declarative management, so plan to get on MacOS Sonoma when it is released in fall 2023 to take full advantage of new DDM features around managing software updates, apps, certs, and so much more.

  • MacAdmins should check that their current MDM solution supports DDM or has it on their roadmap for adoption.

As a virtual MacDevOps YVR attendee so cleverly put it, "Declarative device management keeps MDM from being MDMaybe." This new protocol serves as the foundation for Apple Deployment and has the potential to revolutionize the landscape or leave you behind. Once fully adopted, DDM should make the MacAdmin's job much easier due to its more autonomous management.

SimpleMDM note: DDM is coming down the pipeline; don't worry. 😉

DIY is having a moment

I heard about so many new open-source tools at MacDevOps YVR that I have a new Google list 20 items deep! To name a few:

  • MicroMDM: MicroMDM is an open-source Mobile Device Management (MDM) server developed for managing Apple devices.

  • NanoMDM: NanoMDM is a minimalist Apple MDM server heavily inspired by MicroMDM. It aims to provide a lightweight, scalable, and extensible solution for IT professionals and MacAdmins to handle device enrollment, configuration, and administration tasks outside of a closed-source vendor.

  • KMFDDM: KMFDDM is an Apple Declarative Device Management (DDM) server that works together with NanoMDM.

  • dep-webview-oidc: This tool is a Go library and server for DEP's configuration_web_url.

  • NanoDEP: NanoDEP is a set of tools and a Go library powering them for communicating with Apple's Device Enrollment Program (DEP) API servers. 

  • Special shoutout to Golang for getting a lot of developer love this year from multiple open-source project creators.

Software solution costs shouldn't hinder the creativity and determination of a proactive MacAdmin. With open-source tools like these and some hard work, device management is limitless.

The kids are all right

MacDevOps YVR conference highlighted the value of camaraderie and collaboration in the Mac DevOps space using communication, innovation, and inclusion.

The speakers at MDOYVR challenged us to identify daily situations within our careers where we help others find new opportunities. MDOYVR was a shining example of this practice by making this event extremely accessible. SimpleMDM sponsored full live streaming of the conference through Discord, and you can catch up on previous sessions on YouTube.

A considerable strength of this conference was communication! MacDevOps YVR boasts a strong presence on Twitter, MASTODON, and especially Discord. The Discord server had individual discussion channels and Q&A for each presentation so everyone could participate, whether in person or virtual. The MacDevOps team also posted graphic summaries of each session in the dedicated Discord conversation to help with comprehension.

Example of graphic summary of one of the sessions.

Did we mention they even have a MacDevOps YVR Podcast?

MacDevOps emphasizes the power of a welcoming community to promote continued growth and innovation through interaction. MacDevOps YVR highlighted collaboration through activities like hack nights, social happy hours, and even a job board on the Discord channel! 

And no... there wasn't a black-market Vision Pro demo… trust me, we looked. 😂

PDQ ❤️s you MacDevOps YVR!!

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper

Andrea Pepper is an Apple SME MacAdmin with a problematic lack of impulse control around a software update prompt. When not poking at machines, Pepper enjoys being a silly goose in sunny Colorado with her two gigantic fluffer pups.

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