I'm now back in Redmond after spending a few days at TechEd 2008 Developers in sunny/humid Orlando Florida (I have to say that it is good to be back in cold/damp Redmond!) - This is the first time the Windows Embedded team has "gone big" at TechEd with three pre-conference tutorials (Intro to Windows Embedded, Drivers and BSPs, and Everything but the ISink [funny!]), and I think roughly 25 sessions at the Tech*Ed event covering Windows CE, Windows Embedded Standard (the new name for Windows XP Embedded), and Windows Embedded for Point of Service.
I presented at two sessions, both in the main event (and was lurking in the pre-conference tutorials to assist [or get in the way] and answer questions), the first session was "become a Windows Embedded CE 6.0 developer in 60 minutes" (the session was actually 75 minutes, hopefully no-one noticed!) - this session is really designed for the typical TechEd desktop/server developer - the session provides some history to Windows CE, differences in the API/Architecture from the desktop, interrupt model, real-time support, and tools.
The second session was more of a panel/ask the experts session called "meet the Windows Embedded Architect and Blogger" - this session was well attended and was structured to be a free-form Q&A session with a cool/interesting demo thrown in to get people thinking... The panel included Ilya (director of marketing), Olivier (the new developer evangelist), and me.
The panel session had a mixture of interesting questions ranging from thoughts on processor architecture trends, CE 6.0 driver development and the lack of SetKMode on CE 6.0, application development choices (Win32 vs. Managed), and of course the expected comments on dropping MEDC and moving to TechEd (and the ESC* conferences).
So here's my thoughts on TechEd, in no particular order...
1. TechEd Keynote
It was awesome to sit through BillG's final public developer event keynote, but there wasn't anything that jumped out at me from the keynote - I think it would be perhaps been better to have Bill look back over the last 30+ years, looking at the technology trends and showing how the next generation of operating systems, application and designer development tools fit into these trends - but that's just my thoughts...
2. TechEd Content
TechEd isn't a typical embedded developers conference, the typical TechEd audience is enterprise developers (desktop/server), having 25 embedded sessions is not a replacement for MEDC.
The embedded events team really have a challenging balancing act for session content at TechEd, on the one hand we want the traditional MEDC attendee to come to TechEd and get the depth/breadth content they are used to - on the other hand we need to present introductory level content for the typical TechEd crowd so they can see how to take their existing knowledge into the embedded space. An interesting problem to solve!
During the panel session I asked the audience whether they would like to have introductory embedded content posted online (Channel 9 videos for example), or by having a series of LiveMeetings (which could be recorded and then posted to Channel 9 - similar to the Windows Mobile Webcasts) - and then have the depth content at TechEd. This seemed to go over well with the audience.
If we do this, then the Pre-Conference tutorial could really focus on the introductory content needed to get TechEd developers up to speed, and then have the depth content during the main event - thoughts?
3. Conference Location
I don't know how you feel about Orlando in mid-summer but I'd much prefer to have the conference somewhere that's warm and not humid - perhaps that's just me.
Now over to you for feeback...
Q: How did you feel about the embedded content at this years TechEd Develoeprs event? - what could be improved?
Q: Would you like more online video/tutorial/lab content? - and if so, what would you like to see published?
Q: Would you prefer video content (Channel9) or WebCast (so you can ask questions)?
Q: Do you prefer technology focused sessions (multimedia stack architecture, WSD architecture etc...) or solution based content (building a media device using CE 6.0, or building a Thin Client using Windows Embedded Standard etc...)?
Q: If you didn't go to TechEd - then why not? (what were we missing) ?
Looking forward to your comments.