Jaime Rodriguez On Windows Phone, Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and Windows 7
Last week I recorded a PDC CountDown video about the Pre-conference seminars at PDC2008.
Going into the recording, I knew I would have to keep it very high level (since the format for the whole recording is < 10 mins and there are important PDC announcements first, so I was couting on 8 minutes, and it takes me 3 to introduce each speaker, these folks have too many accomplishments). Now that I have no time constraints, here is a detailed introduction to the PDC pre-cons. The top part of this writing is a bit of high-level reasons why you should attend the pre-cons? Underneath that section, you can find the "inside the pre-con" planning, goals, processes, and raw session details as I see them (not as the polished abstracts describe).
<marketing> What is a pre-con? An all day training the day before PDC.
What should you expect if you attend a pre-con?
More info? Official abstracts and bios for the speakers at the PDC pre-con website.
<themeat> Now the inside story to the Pre-cons..
The goals: There were three key tenets at the core of pre-con planning:
Selecting the sessions I started with ~50 topics. I was all over the map, XNA, HPC, WPF, WF, Sharepoint, Live, F#, LINQ, etc. Then I mapped them to PDC tracks (sorry, afaik I can't share these but I can say there were four), for pre-con we added an extra track called "industry/fun" track; which aimed at doing some thing different from what you expect at PDC. We quickly narrowed it from 50 to 25 by applying a rigorous quality criteria:
When I was down to 20-25 sessions, we shared them with other teams at Microsoft and with an "Advisory board"; the advisory board is mostly Regional Directors; all of them trainers/influentials and community leaders. It was great to hear what they thought the community needed; it was quite different from what I was expecting, but they provided great info to back up their arguments, so we listened!
After the prioritization, we went after great presenters for each topic. If we did not find an absolute rock-star (inside or outside Microsoft ) we cut the topic.
In the end, there were still a few painful cuts. ASPX/MVC stuff, XNA, new MFC/Win32 stuff, and a few others. There was a an important goal to achieve: variety! . Some people inside Microsoft didn't get that it did not matter not to have the 10 most popular, but we needed to have some thing for everyone! I could agree that ASPX would have had more attendees than say "advanced debugging", but I needed to offer some thing to the C++ developers, and the web developers already had Silverlight, you get the drill. "Something for everyone" was maybe a secondary tenet.
The sessions themselves and the dynamics: Why the session, why the speaker(s)? I aimed to add context to each session, without repeating the abstracts and speaker bios. Please do read those before reading the ramblings below; my thoughts below are meant to add context on why the speaker or topic, but I did not repeat the outline or objectives for each session.
</themeat> Registering for pre-cons. Now that you have seen the line-up; I hope you do consider joining. It is going to be fun and enlightening. I promise! I have to close with an FAQ that has come up several times already: if you already registered for the conference and need to change your registration so you can attend the pre-con, it is possible to do it, just email PDC2008@ustechs.com and they will help you.
Feedback/Suggestions: If you have a suggestion for improving the pre-cons feel free to email me via the blog. We welcome all suggestions!
That is it (for now)! C U at PDC Pre-cons!
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