I spoke at the Visual Studio Live Conference, which ran from August 10-14, 2015. There are several VS Live events every year and they’re held at different cities, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, Orlando, New York, and Austin. See http://www.vslive.com. The August event was held on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.
I estimate there were about 350 attendees at the conference. All the attendees I talked to said they were enjoying the event and were learning a lot. The Visual Studio Live conferences have been running for many years, which tells you that the events are well run (poorly run conferences don’t last more than a year or two).
The VS Live Conference sessions covered quite a wide range of technical topics. I was most interested in the talks related to Cloud Computing and Visual Studio. I wasn’t quite as interested in the talks about Web Development and Mobile Development, but some of the talks on those topics were very good.
My talk was “Introduction to R for C# Programmers”. R is a language used to perform statistical analyses. R has been around for decades but interest in R has greatly increased over the past 18 months or so. I explained why developers might want to learn R, showed a “Hello World” of R, compared R and C# (the point being that the two languages are very different), and described alternatives to R.
In my opinion there are four really good conferences for software developers who use Microsoft technologies, one of which is the multiple VS Live events. The Visual Studio Live conferences tend to be smaller than the other three conferences because the other conferences have one large event annually rather than multiple events.
The smaller size of VS Live events encourages more person-to-person communication, which I think is a good thing. If you are a software developer, consider trying to get your company to send you to a VS Live conference — I bet you’ll learn a lot and return to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I expect to speak at VS Live Las Vegas in March 2016 — come visit me!
Note: A tip o’ my software developer’s hat goes to all the VS Live organizers, including Danielle Potts and Brent Sutton, and to the event photographer Michelle Cheng, and to the conference technical chairs Brian Randall, Andrew Brust and Rocky Lhotka. All of the VS Live staff are professional, friendly, and just nice people, which contributes to the success of VS Live events.