The Microsoft 2008 Launch event for Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Charlotte, NC has already gotten a negative review from Knetwork writer Franklin Pettit on his on blog. And while I do agree with some of the points Franklin makes I won’t say that the event was a total waste of my time. The free versions of VS 2008, SQL 2008, and the surprise addition of a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate made the trip worthwhile, but the presentations just didn’t have the kick that I’ve gotten used to at Microsoft events.
Let me offer the disclaimer that I don’t regularly program in MS products, I do occasionally and I’ve been considering going for the new certifications when they are released to beef up my knowledge and ability to do work on the side. Still, I love going to MS events because they are so well presented and really get you excited about the work MS is doing for developers. I usually leave an event wanting to go out and try the technology immediately even if I have no ability to do so! To give you idea of how this launch event went, I haven’t installed any of that nice new, shiny, powerful software yet. It’s still shrink wrapped a week later. I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t inspired, and I wasn’t impressed.
All this is not to say that these products aren’t great and that the new features weren’t covered, it’s just that the coverage was a watered down rehash of info gone over at MSDN Events or was presented without any point of reference to how it was better. If you have a captive audience staring a big screen then make use of the visual! I was 75% of the way towards the back and I couldn’t read any of the code unless the presenter zoomed his screen (this only happened once while I was there). If you want the audience to Oooooh and Aaaaah like they’re watching a knife cut through a cement block then you’re going to have to give us some eye candy… why no silverlight?!? Being in Beta is no excuse, it has never stopped an MSDN Event presenter from showing us the goods.
All said I’ll keep coming to the launch events for the software, but I hope to see better presentations in the future. MS knows you can’t do much that’s meaningful in the short time we’re a captive audience so give us a quick run down if the changes, some before and after code samples, and lots of eye-candy!