Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looking Forward to the Colorado Software Summit

Several colleagues I work with have asked me about the Colorado Software Summit after hearing my enthusiasm regarding attending it (and presenting at it) next week. I realized that because they are not aware of these advantages of this conference, others probably are not aware either. This blog entry is my attempt at explaining some of the things that I believe makes Colorado Software Summit unique and exciting.

The Colorado Software Summit offers several advantages that your boss or client will love while also offering several advantages your more selfish side will love as well (and some of the advantages fit in both categories). In no particular order, here are the advantages that I am looking forward to experiencing again next week.

* Cutting-edge technologies covered such as iPhone development coverage in this year's conference that is conveniently occurring right after Apple removed the Non-Disclosure Agreement from released software.

* Wide variety and interesting mixture of topics is another advantage of this conference. While I like the many cutting-edge presentations, I have found that there is a good mix of topics that I can apply immediately and that I will be able to apply in months or years. In the past, I have received my first absolute exposure or first significant exposure to several technologies that made a difference in my work almost immediately. These included SVG, XSL:FO/FOP, Maven, J2SE 5, XQuery, Java Generics, and many more.

* Highly skilled and experienced attendees that are often more familiar with the topic being covered than the speaker. I am a speaker this year and am well aware of this fact.

* Practitioner Speakers work with the topics they cover regularly and are enthusiastic about their topics.

* Wide spectrum of industry leaders represented as evidenced by these glowing blog entries on the Colorado Software Symposium from Simon Phipps (Sun Microsystems), Kelvin Lawrence (IBM), and Dave Landers (formerly BEA, now Oracle). It is nice to have representatives of some of these major players in our industry so active in this conference. Apache Software Foundation is also typically heavily represented at this conference and SpringSource has an employee presenting there this year as well.

* Sessions are offered three times each and this is a tremendous benefit that I cannot overstate. At most conferences that I have attended, as excellent as they are, I always find myself disappointed when three of my top five presentations that I wish to see most are in the same slot and the other two are in the same second slot. As a first-time presenter at this conference, presenting two 90-minute presentations three times each over five days sounds a little daunting, but I know the value of this format after having attended the conference multiple times in the past.

* Excellent food may be one of my more selfish motivations, but the food at this conference is truly memorable and motivating.

* Location, Location, Location - This is another nearly entirely selfish motivation, but this location (Keystone, Colorado) is beautiful, serene (in between summer and winter crowds), and the perfect environment to focus on software technologies in a gorgeous setting. You can walk up the stairs to walk out on the roof of the Keystone Conference Center and I have found this to be very refreshing when my brain is too crammed full to think another software-related thought.

* Total Immersion is the best way I can summarize why I really, really like this conference. While it is exhausting to learn so much in so short a period of time, I am ready to go dive in again.

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