Microsoft Ignite 2020: Virtually (Mostly) Amazing

Microsoft successfully completed their two-day virtual conference early this morning. There were incremental improvements compared to Microsoft Build and Microsoft Inspire conferences. They did a nice job explaining navigation and resource usage on the website. Their sessions were short (typically 30 minutes long) with a number of Teams-based sessions for smaller groups (more personal).

For the future, there are a number of things I would like to see change that would make it even better.

They need to hold the conference one or two additional days (the latter would have been best). Two days, for the amount of content present, was just too quick. It didn’t provide enough time to interact with others (outside of sessions). This option allows live repeating popular sessions.

It would have been nice to see more developer sessions. There were some, but it was very light compared to in-person Ignite conferences of the past. There should have been a lot more Visual Studio .NET 5 RC demos. How about Visual Studio Mac sessions that covered .NET Core, Xamarin, etc.? How about cross-platform development with Visual Studio Code? How about Blazor? gRPC? SignalR? Visual Studio 2019 Teams development? These topics are just the tip of the ice berg of possibilities.

I know there is a plan for a second part for Ignite in early 2021. I am looking forward to attending this conference too. Despite this, during COVID-19 and working from home, training is incredibly valuable and there is a lot of opportunity to take advantage of the new way to work. There were some great sessions on how to use Teams to create great meetings and make connections despite being remote. How about updated details for developers on using Live Share between Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio Code?

I believe this is the new normal that will be desired, comfortable, and useful. It will take some additional efforts for us to make connections with Microsoft team members, vendors, and other conference attendees. Microsoft has some great tooling to help us make this happen.

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