Play this below to set the mood:
That Was Then
Way back in 2005, at the ESRI International User Conference, there was a .NET SIG that essentially started something great. In that room there were some great folks (Scott Morehouse, Art Haddad, Brian Golden, Rob Elkins, Jithen Singh, Brian Flood, Dave Bouwman, and others) who talked about where we should take the developer community at ESRI. In my opinion the biggest thing to come out of that meeting was what became the Developer Summit.
I’m sure most ESRI developers feel the same as I do in saying that the DevSummit is probably the biggest thing to come out of ESRI in the last 10 years. It has grown to be probably the must attend event for many ESRI users. At at the DevSummit, the .NET SIG (as well as the other ones) became sort of a place to reconnect. It didn’t matter if you were web or desktop development, used Desktop or Server or worked in C# or VB.net; you could talk about what the .NET community was doing at ESRI and how ESRI could continue improving it.
A Brave New World?
Well looking at the 2010 ESRI Developer Summit Agenda I can see the SIGs have been dropped. I asked a couple contacts at ESRI if this was just an oversight on the website and they confirmed that the SIGs are no longer part of the program. I guess the idea is that you’d rather “Meet the Teams” to talk about what you are doing directly with them. Of course most folks probably won’t bother because they’ll be meeting the teams at the ESRI Islands and talking with them all week.
What I think I’ll miss is the strategic talk about how ESRI can improve their developer community. I thought this feedback was valuable to ESRI, but I guess these days it is better captured through contact us forms than face to face discussion. Part of what makes the Developer Summit so great is that it isn’t like any other ESRI event and I’m afraid that this is just the start of it losing its “woodstock” feel. Of course maybe change is inevitable but I can’t help but note it sucks.