If this is an indication of ESRI’s understanding of the “developer” community expectations, it raises some serious concerns for me. Particularly for the Developer Summit. At this point, I’m putting my plans to attend on hold until some sort of agenda is posted so we know what we’re getting with this. We can’t afford to take 4 developers out of the office, fly them to Palm Springs, put them up, only to have the summit be focused on the intro level VBA/VB6 COM. And I’d expect that no other development shops can either. We are professional software developers, and I’d expect this summit to be aimed at, or have a track for experienced developers. If not, there is no way we can attend.
I know ESRI has done much in the past year to help developers, but EDN really hasn’t taken off as many have hoped and there really hasn’t been any community on ESRI’s side to allow developers to talk and share with each other. If you were to total up all the comments left on my blog about ArcWeb and compare that to the ArcWeb forums you’d see that there is pretty much nothing there. Last years User Conference is the last that developers at my company will attend and our hope is the Developers Summit will be worth it, but there has to be more to these events than just ESRI has done in the past. I’ve seen some sessions that might be offered and I’m hopeful, but past experience make me nervous as Dave is.
Being an ESRI developer mostly means you figure things out on your own rather than sharing and learning within a community site or even a real developers email list. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record but ESRI developers need RSS feeds on EDN/ESRI support, a real code exchange site (such as GotDotNet or The Code Project), a real forums site and a dev email list. I’ve had a couple people instant message me with developer questions and they just can’t find anything on the support or EDN sites. A very huge problem indeed and I hope all ESRI developers at the Dev Summit will let ESRI know that we want better community support on their end.