<PersonalRant>

There was a lot of good sessions and fighting for too few spots TechEd this year.  It was brutal, and I mean brutal. There were hundreds of recommendations, fewer total session spots then last year, a new security track, VSTS sessions, and a Business Applications (MS CRM) track. About 90% of all session recommendations were cut. Ouch!

Bottom line, there are only two dedicated C# sessions this year. I tried, I really, *really* did. We had more last year, and they were all very highly rated and attended. That said, there are still plenty of other good sessions that should interest C# developers (I'll blog about them lest you get a bad opinion overall).

One of my biggest issues is that the Smart Client track focuses way too much on Office. Office already has a dedicated Office Developer Conference, so I personally don't think that more then half (14 out of 23) sessions needed to be dedicated to Office. Here's a quick breakdown

  • 3 InfoPath sessions
  • 6 Office Programming Sessions (This includes niche sessions like programming Visio)
  • 3 VSTO sessions
  • 2 IBF sessions

Like I said before, there are only 2 dedicated C# sessions (and only 2 dedicated VB sessions for that matter, but they at least got a pre-con). So does this mean there are more InfoPath developers or VSTO developers in the world? Is it obvious that I'm bitter because I wanted more C# sessions?! Yes. Can you tell that the Smart Client track was run by someone in Office?

Here are some gems that we had planned that got cut:

  • Visual C# 2003 Pre-Con
    A full day of dedicated to learning C#
  • C# Language Enhancements 
    How can you cut a session given by Anders Hejlsberg that was in the top 5 sessions last year?
  • C# Best Practices 1.1 - Juval Lowy
  • C# Best Practices 2.0 - Juval Lowy
  • Patterns and Practices - Best Practices for Smart Client Applications
  • Patterns and Practices - Creating Applications using the UIP 2.0 Application Block
  • Developing real-world .NET solutions for Microsoft Office 11 using Managed Code 
    People say Microsoft doesn't create applications that use the .NET Framework and they point to Office as an example. Well, Business Contact Manager is a fully managed application that ships with every copy of Office 2003 Professional. This would've been a killer session IMO.
  • Best Practices & Lessons Learned from .NET Framework 2.0 & Visual Studio .NET 2005 Early Adopters
  • The Well Designed API
    There is however a great series on MSDN for this now
  • Under the Covers: Generic Collections
  • NET Smart Clients at Microsoft:  Real Enterprise Solutions and Lessons Learned 
    We have an internal team that's developed and deployed an enterprise wide .NET Framework 2.0 application. It includes online/offline data, ClickOnce, etc.
  • Interface Based Programming
  • Debugging Data-Driven ASP.NET 2.0 Applications with Visual Studio 2005

We also have a number of Instructor Led Labs, but sadly these are on the chopping block (please reply with comments if you would like hands-on instructor led lab listed below)

Hands-on Instructor Led Labs (assuming they get approved)

  • C# Generics - Juval Lowy
  • C# 2.0 Iterators - Juval Lowy
  • System.Transactions - Juval Lowy
  • Lap Around Visual C#  2005 - Dan

My question to you: What is the best mitigation strategy for cut sessions? Here are some options (feel free to suggest more)

  • Move to the cabana - This means no slides or demos, just a whiteboard
  • Make it a webcast
  • Something else entirely

Thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions welcome!

</PersonalRant>