Thinking About Developer Events

At the beginning of each year, many of us assess how we (and our developer community) might want to invest our respective time and resources for the year ahead, and we’ve devoted some of that energy in the past few months toward thinking about the various developer conferences we host.

As part of that reflection, we have decided to merge MIX, our spring web conference for developers and designers, into our next major developer conference, which we will host sometime in the coming year. I know a number of folks were wondering about MIX, given the time of year, so we wanted to make sure there’s no ambiguity, and be very clear… there will be no MIX 2012.

For context, the idea to create MIX was conceived in the fall of 2005, literally as the PDC05 main stage was being disassembled after the final keynote. While we reflected on that PDC, there was a lot of discussion around our engagement with the web community, and how we needed a more focused effort around our upcoming plans for Internet Explorer, the roadmap for our web platform, the work we were starting on web standards (we were shipping IE6 at the time), and so on. MIX06 was held about four months later in Las Vegas, and has been there ever since. A lot of great things subsequently happened in and around MIX in the six years that followed, but there have been a couple of slow and steady trends that have brought us to this point.

Firstly, the notion that the “web community” is somehow separate and distinct from the community of developers we care about no longer makes any sense. Some had even called out the existence of a separate web event as proof that we don’t “get” the web… it’s a fair point… when we get developers together to talk about what we’re doing in the platform, the web discussion should be part and parcel to everything we talk about.

Secondly, we got a lot of feedback. Developers were confused, and asking us about which event to go to. Reporters, analysts and tech bloggers were trying to manage “event fatigue”, and asked us the same question. And something that was more behind the scenes but very relevant to the time management aspect relates to our engineering teams. If you’ve gone to a Microsoft developer event, you know that a non-trivial percentage of speakers and participants are from engineering. They take time out from shipping to prepare for and travel to these events and connect with developers, and their time is one of the most valuable resources we have in the company. We want to be more efficient with that resource, as the engineering/community interaction is what brings developers to our events.

So what happens going forward? As we look ahead to 2012 and beyond, the goal is to ensure that global Microsoft developer events are of the caliber that many of you experienced at BUILD last September, in addition to the thousands of online and local developer events we host around the world to support communities and connect directly with developers. We will share more details of our next developer event later this year. In the meantime, know that we are we are hard at work and will look forward to seeing many of you there.

Posted by Tim O’Brien
General Manager, Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft