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Microsoft Cancels PDC... What's A Developer To Do?

Is Microsoft suffering from developer show burnout? -- or -- does the rescheduling suggest that it will it be a long time before Microsoft's "next wave of platform technologies" is ready?

Is Microsoft suffering from developer show burnout? -- or -- does the rescheduling suggest that it will it be a long time before Microsoft's "next wave of platform technologies" is ready?So, the Professional Developers Conference won't happen this fall, eh? Well, you can't blame Microsoft for holding back just a bit. Already this year, developers have been bombarded with MIX '07 in Los Angeles, TechEd in Orlando, and the Business Intelligence Conference held two weeks ago in Seattle. Racking up those frequent flier miles must be part of the job requirements for Microsoft developers.

Besides, if you are a corporate developer, you usually get your fair share of face time with your Microsoft developer rep anyhow. It's not like Microsoft has left its developers in the cold.

Another year without PDC would be quite tragic. Some of the best announcements come from this show. In 2005, the last time there was a PDC, Jim Allchin announced a C#, .Net framework developer toolbar for IE, as well as the LINQ Project, and a Virtual Earth / Live Maps Developer Contest. The PDC before that in 2003, Microsoft was sharing details of the early versions of Windows Vista.

Still, you have to wonder if canceling PDC this year was due to developer burnout or something else lurking behind the Redmond curtain.

The official reason posted on Microsoft's PDC Web site pretty much blames the rescheduling on bad timing.

"...As the PDC is the definitive developer event focused on the future of the Microsoft platform, we try to align it to be in front of major platform milestones," the notice read.

However, the next part is interesting:

"...By this fall, however, upcoming platform technologies including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server codenamed "Katmai," Visual Studio codenamed "Orcas" and Silverlight will already be in developers' hands and approaching launch, which is where we'll focus our developer engagement in the near term."

O.K., gotcha. The explanations make sense. Except that Katamai, Orcas and Silverlight are all applications and development platforms that even smaller Microsoft developer partners and shops have probably been playing around with for at least a couple of months now.

Does this mean that Microsoft is working more on a clandestine online strategy to combat the Google menace? Does this mean that Microsoft is too pre-occupied with making sure Windows Vista isn't a massive failure? Does it mean that Microsoft is focused on building out its current line of products and winning the hearts and minds of developers who might be tempted to switch to Linux? We may not know for a couple of months what happened.

Still, if you are a developer with CWS (Conference Withdrawal Syndrome), all is not lost. Microsoft is hoping developers will make the trek to New York and Las Vegas for two separate VSLive! shows this fall. The company is also promoting DevConnections in Las Vegas and TechEd Developer in Barcelona, Spain -- both in November -- as destination points.

And if you still can't wait till then for a knapsack and a free t-shirt, feel free to call your Microsoft developer rep.

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