Day 3 (Wednesday): DevConnections Las Vegas, 8:30 AM
Tuesday was "Microsoft Day" at DevConnections. This means that for 3 of the shows (Microsoft ASP.NET Connections, Visual Studio Connections, and SQL Server Magazine Connections), all of the talks were by Microsoft speakers. (The exception here was C++ Connections which is targeted at all C++ programmers, not those just using Microsoft C++. They didn't limit themselves to Microsoft talks on Tuesday.) Tuesday's talks tended to be more bleeding edge than talks that will happen today and tomorrow. (That's not to say there aren't any bleeding edge talks on Wed or Thurs, there are many but these are balanced with some best practices talks and talks on VS 2003/SQL 2000). In addition, the majority of speakers today and tomorrow will not be from Microsoft.
Tuesday content is driven by Microsoft. This is the time to ask the tough questions or bring your complaints and chew Microsoft out (although I did not hear much of that). In fact at the end of day, there was Microsoft Unplugged. This was your opportunity to drink beer, eat pizza, and ask Microsoft the tough questions. But instead of dropping a message on a forum or calling PSS and talking to someone who knows less about the topic than you, you get to ask your burning ASP.NET question to Scott Guthrie (one of the co-creators of ASP.NET!), Matt Nunn, or some other Microsoft architect, or PM. I even asked a question about Source Safe that had been bugging me at the Unplugged event.
So on Tuesday you get the Microsoft spin from the ultimate insiders. This perspective is very important but not the only perspective you want to hear. Enter the sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Here is when you hear sessions by third party (i.e., non-Microsoft) speakers. People like Kimberly Tripp, Stephen Walther, David Abrahams, Kathleen Dollard, Juval Lowy, Itzik Ben-Gan, Julie Lerman, Dino Esposito, Scott Meyers, Kate Gregory, and many, many others. Here you get the perspective of the people who are using the products to produce real applications, not just demo apps that look great in front of a crowd.
Which point of view is better? The Microsoft speak or the Third-Party speak. I would argue that neither is better; that you need both to get a well-informed, well-rounded take on Visual Studio, SQL Server, and other software that you need to use day after day to do your jobs. Fortunately, you get both perspectives here at DevConnections.
Noteworthy blog posts:
And day 3 is just beginning...