The Tech.Ed "Web" Track

Late this afternoon, the Aussie twittersphere had a brief flurry of activity around the “web” track announcement for Tech.Ed this year.

The problem is that there are 12 sessions to cover everything “web” and UX – that’s one session on AJAX, two on Silverlight, nothing on ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 content, one IIS admin talk ….

As a result of this anorexic track size, lots of great sessions missed out. It’s great seeing people like Scott Hanselman and Jefferson Fletcher locked in. Alongside the official IE8 announcements though, it’d be good to something lik Damian and Lachlan’s boots-on-the-ground web standards talk. Jose Fajardo has been doing some really innovative work with Live Mesh, but there’s not even a single session scheduled around the Live platform yet. There *might* be something as a lunch time chalk talk.

I think the wider issue here is the track design – there are way too many web-related technologies to fit into a single track. As an idea for future years, I don’t think there should be a web track at all – in the same way there’s no explicit “Winforms” track. Web sessions should be distributed between the others. AJAX in developer tools and technologies, MVC in architecture, Silverlight in a new UX track, Dynamic Data in the Database + BI track, IIS in the server track, etc.

To allow “web developers” to find “web” sessions, sessions could be tagged with the technologies they include and ASP.NET would just be a common tag.

I use terms like “web developers” in quotes as I think this is now a very old-world view of developers and the systems they are building. Unfortunately I think it is this view that has driven the problems that we as a community are perceiving this year.

I’m still excited about Tech.Ed this year, I just don’t think they ‘got it’ with this track.

4 comments

  1. I think they actually had to squash the “web” tracks to make room for all of the rich client sessions 🙂 The smart client paradigm is superior to the web paradigm after all….

  2. Thanks for the mention, Tatham! We’d have loved to have to chance to deliver our talk again to the Tech.Ed crowd. Damian and I were both so happy with the feedback we got at Remix. I feel really proud of what we put together there.

    I’ve never been to Tech.Ed but it sounds like it’s hit the same issue all successful conferences hit at various points along their development- -ow to cater to an increasingly diverse audience appropriately and in a balanced manner. It sounds like your suggestions would go a long way towards meeting that goal.

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