I read the responses to my post about I am tired of being marketed to when I got home on Friday night from Washington, DC.
I have more thoughts on this issue.
The last two private MS conferences I have been to, I have been less than excited about the amount of code that I have seen and touched. There was a lot of marketing going on saying that something will be great and that we should do something with these new products. Well, thats all well and good, and I am a believer in marketing. The problem is that is not the best way to sell to a group of developers. Developers want code. They want example code. They want best practices. They want suggestions on when to use what and when not to use what. And most important, developers want the bits. I don't want to be out of work for a week, pay $1,500 to walk in the door at the PDC, pay for a plane ticket, hotel, and a bunch of other things (estimated grand total of $8,000 in my case) without seeing a big piece of the above. Why should I spend this type of money when I am afraid that I am going to have to sit through several sales only presentations. I know what Whidbey is suppossed to do for me. Don't try and sell me on it. I am already sold on .NET and Whidbey will be the next version of that. I am sold on the concepts that I have heard about in Yukon. Don't tell me why Yukon is better than Oracle. Tell me how to use the features in Yukon. Tell me how to solve my customers problems better with Yukon and Whidbey. Don't try and sell me on Whidbey and Yukon by saying that they are better than Java, PHP, Eclipse, Oracle, or DB2. Show me how to solve my customers problems with MS products. I just don't see the value in racking up $8,000 in expenses when the products will most likely not ship in the next 18 months (Whidbey beta1 and Yukon beta2 are suppossedly due in May of 2004 according to some article I read this weekend online, but I can't find the link at this moment) and where I question whether I will get to see any code samples regarding how to properly use the products that are suppossed to be pitched at the PDC.
Having said all of the above, do I think MS is some horrible beast? Absolutely not. I just believe that their marketing is over running their product documentation. Is PDC going to be some horrible conference where everyone is disappointed? Absolutely not. Will they spend too much time hyping their own products? Past history suggest yes.
It appears to me that their focus on how to correctly market to the developer community has been lost. This is something that can easily be recovered. How? Title their articles correctly. Put the proper documents in the proper places. Create some proper usage documentation. The Longhorn Developer Center is a great idea, if they provide code samples and architectual suggestions in it. Will there be a Yukon Dev Center? Let's hope so. Just don't put too much of the “Why” documents into the Dev Centers. Please focus on the “How” at this time. Make as much of the PDC content available as possible. For example, I don't see $8,000 worth of value in going to it. If the PDC sells out, then great. I do see $500 worth of value for a set of DVDs from it. Why can't I order these? Will there even be any? I'll order them today, if I can get them in the next little while.