Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No More Colorado Software Summit: The End of an Era

I was saddened and disappointed to learn earlier this week that Colorado Software Summit 2009 has been canceled with no plans for resuming the conference in future years. There had been 17 annual versions of this conference (though under a different name/focus in the early years), but the magnitude of these troubled economic times is evident in the cancellation of this year's conference.

Wayne and Peggy have always held a classy conference and even this cancellation has been done in the classiest way possible. Their main page deals with the cancellation with candor, emotion, and a touch of humor. The e-mail message they sent out to scheduled speakers for this canceled conference was similarly thoughtful and candid. In another class act, they provide a link to all presentations from Colorado Software Summit 2008, all of which have now been posted (including my presentations "Applying Flash to Java: Flex and OpenLaszlo" and "Java Management Extensions (JMX) Circa 2008").

In the four years I had the good fortune to attend this conference (and that is not many opportunities compared to many of their regular attendees), I was exposed to many technologies that would benefit me in the short-term and in the long-term and I was able to see famous "celebrities" of the software development world such as Bruce Eckel and Tim Bray in a relatively small venue.

The Colorado Software Summit offered several unique features and benefits that I have not seen elsewhere. These included the offering of each 90-minute presentation three times during the conference so that you were virtually assured you could see your "top ten" every time (and usually could see many more than that such as top 15). Another feature that was unique, at least for me, is that this is the only conference that I attended where I thought the keynotes were competitive with the regular technical sessions in terms of interest and value to me. Keynotes at many conferences are mildly interesting to me or even useless, but the CSS ones were always thought-provoking and worthwhile. Other relatively unique features included the awesome food, the awesome beauty of Keystone, and the large international contingency for such a small overall attendance target.

It was very disappointing to read Wayne's e-mail message to speakers earlier this week, but I think the disappointment and regret will be renewed and intensified in late October when I am feeling like I should be at the Colorado Software Summit. I have half-joked with colleagues that I'm going to take off work that week anyway and just hang out in Keystone. As much fun as that sounds, it still won't be the same as being in Keystone and being immersed in development topics until the brain cannot take anymore at the same time.

I realize that all good things must come to an end, but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye now.

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