A few weeks ago Microsoft announced that TechEd US was going to be split from the 1-week format to the two week format that TechEd Barcelona does. The first week (June 3-6) is for developers , the second week (June 10-13) is for IT professionals . This was done based on attendee feedback and I know many popular people in this business love this decision. But frankly, I think it sucks from my point of view. Give me a moment to explain why and keep in mind, this is coming from someone who lives in the SharePoint space.
The complaint was that TechEd was becoming less developer centric and more admin/IW/IT Pro specific. I personally didn’t see that the last three years, but again, I’m looking at it from the perspective of a developer who lives in the SharePoint space. I suspect the reason it was split up was so the content could be better targeted. The problem I have with it is that you go to one of these major conferences, as an attendee, to get good exposure across the board. I personally like going to TechEd for a few reasons: (1) I get to network with customers across the board, (2) occasionally I get to sit in on a session of something I know nothing about (this year it was Silverlight, but I also was eager to hear Joel talk about governance… not that I know nothing about it, he’s just *the* governance guy for MSFT) and (3) I get to see my friends.
Selfishly now I know I won’t see friends like Shane Young , Bob Fox or Todd Klindt at TechEd because you won’t find me at the IT pro week… I’ll be at the dev week, and they won’t be at the dev week I’m sure. But professionally I think it’s a bad idea to separate the two because it almost tells devs/admins they don’t need to know about the other’s world. In some apps this might be true (for instance, I [possibly incorrectly] consider Exchange more in the admin/IT pro camp than I do in the dev camp), but for SharePoint it isn’t. Even if you are a dev like me, you need to be aware of some concepts and how they work such as site collections and splitting up content databases or how admins view CAS and such. Admins need to understand how developers utilize CAS and deploy custom code.
It might be great for some folks… but for those of us who work within a specific platform/application, it sort of stinks. I fully acknowledge I’m in the minority here, but I’m curious to hear what other SharePoint professionals think… devs / admins / IT pros / IW’s / decision makers / project managers… anyone.