Recap of the 2016 Visual Studio Live Conference

I spoke at the 2016 Visual Studio Live conference, in Las Vegas, from March 7-11. VS Live has been around for many years and is one of the top conferences for software developers and IT engineers who use Microsoft Technologies such as the Visual Studio program.

I think this is about the 10th year I’ve spoken at a VS Live conference. I estimate there were about 400 people attending. Three guys I talked to before one of my talks were typical – they were senior level developers who created software for an emergency response system company in San Diego.


Most of the attendees I talked to had been to one or more previous VS Live conferences; return attendees are usually a good sign of conference quality because these kind of events aren’t cheap. VS Live and its three major competitor conferences cost about $2000.

I think the 2016 Vegas edition (VS Live also has some smaller events in other cities) was very, very good. I estimate there were about 100 sessions on a wide range of topics including Web development with ASP.NET, data analysis, systems development, mobile development, and so on.

The talks I listened to were very good, in part because the technical chair of VS Live, Brian Randall, knows all the regular conference speakers and uses only those with lots of experience and previous good feedback.

I gave two talks. My first talk was “Introduction to Spark for C# Programmers”. I explained what Spark is (a set of APIs that allow programs written in Java or Scala or Python or R to access Big Data) and the relationship of Spark to MapReduce, HDFS, Hadoop, Pig, Hive, and all the other technologies that are part of the current Big Data technology chaos.


My second talk was “Introduction to R for C# Developers”. I explained what R is (a scripting language, library, and programming environment designed to perform statistical analyses of data) and explained how R, along with Python and Octave/SciLab, is one of the fastest growing languages.

Bottom line: I liked VS Live 2016 and I hope to go in 2017.

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