Deciding which tracks we have is non-trivial but really important. Our first goal isn't to please Microsoft product groups or marketing folks, we want to have tracks that make sense to the attendee.
But what is that? Really, I'm asking! Do we create tracks aligned with the way see the Microsoft Platform? Or do we take a more product centric approach? As usually, there's good and bad about both of the approaches.
Taking the platform route
When creating tracks that follow the platform route, we come up with something like displayed in the image below. This is not final or complete but gives you a good idea.
Although this option is quite nice to display, there are some difficult choices to make. For instance, IIS, do we put in the Server track or the ASP.NET track? My guess is that most developers will look for these sessions in the ASP.NET track. Then the Office System with Sharepoint Server, Excel Server and Forms Server, do we put this in the Office track or the Server track. Biztalk could go in the Connected Systems track and you potentially end up with only WSS and Infocard in the Server track.
Also, do 'smart client' or 'Connected Systems' have any meaning at all to the developer? Let me know.
The Products route
This way we get a create tracks based on products. Isn't that the way most developers think? I need to build this solution and I need products x,y and z for that.
These would be possible tracks:
- Office System
- Tools & Languages
- Architecture & Connected Systems & PAG & Security (we need a name here)
- SQL Server
- User Experience
- Business Applications
Still this is not complete because we might need a seperate track for building windows clients. We could also group all client dev stuff having one client developer track containing: ASP.NET, Atlas, WinForms, Avalon.
As you can see. A LOT of ways to slice and dice the content. I'll have the track owners debate this but thought also putting this online in case any attendees out there would like to express their preference too. Please share your thoughts and help us build an event that's structured the way you think.