According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar 2008 is the year of the rat, but if you ask me it should be called the year of the Microsoft conference.
Starting in March, just after the official launch of VS2008, Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008, MIX08 is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas March 5-7 at the snazzy Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
According to recent announcements by Scott Guthrie, MIX08 will likely be the the big event for Silverlight 2.0 hitting the streets in a Beta with GO-Live licensing. This is definitely the "What's Next on the Web" conference. This will be the third year in a row for MIX.
In June, down in Orlando Tech·Ed 2008 will take on a new look, extending into a two week event featuring separate back to back developer and IT professional conferences. (Developers June 3-6 and IT Pro's June 10-13). Tech-Ed is the most "Here and Now" event, focusing on doing real work released products and technologies, covering the complete spectrum. It's going to be interesting how the splitting of the two crowds changes the event, and how this will impact some of the technologies that sort of fall in the middle. Many in the Sharepoint community are not too happy with the decision, but we'll see how it goes.
2008 will also feature PDC, the Microsoft Professional Developers conference in Los Angeles. PDC only happens every few years, usually providing developers with an early look in new technologies that will take shape over the follow years. PDC05 and PDC07 previewed gave developers early looks at VS2005, Windows Vista, and .Net 3.0 (WPF, WCF, WF).
I like to compare PDC and Tech-Ed by saying that Tech-Ed is where you go to learn about technologies and PDC is where you go to see the things that you're going to have to learn in the times ahead to stay on top of things.
I if I had to choose only to attend PDC would be my first choice, followed my MIX and then Tech-Ed. (That's assuming that I was only allowed to choose from Microsoft host events and not things like Dev Connections and VS Live, then it would depend...)
Bottom line is that 2008 is going to be a very exciting year in dev land!
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