What's actually hot at Tech.Ed 2006

What do you need to do to get a bunch of Microsoft-obsessed geeks really excited?One obvious answer might be to release a set of Patch Tuesday updates that don't break.

What do you need to do to get a bunch of Microsoft-obsessed geeks really excited?

One obvious answer might be to release a set of Patch Tuesday updates that don't break. For more in-depth insights it helps to mine the session information for this week's forthcoming Tech.Ed conference in Sydney and see what's proving popular.

As of Monday afternoon, I counted 53 scheduled sessions which were already sporting ominous "Session Full" logos -- meaning that enough people had added them to their online schedules that they're officially closed to other attendees.

Whether people who add them actually show up may be another story.

While an imprecise measure, this does give us some idea of which Microsoft technologies developers and IT managers are particularly interested in -- or worried about, depending on your degree of cynicism.

One notable fact is that no-one seems that concerned about Vista, which isn't the topic of any of the 53 sold-out sessions. Based on that level of enthusiasm, Microsoft shouldn't be too worried about making the end-of-year release date.

By far the most popular product by this metric is SQL Server. Sessions on how to deploy it, how to integrate it with SharePoint, and how to use it as the basis of a business intelligence solution are all set to attract capacity crowds. This sounds like good news for the server sales division.

SharePoint is the second-most popular choice overall, particularly in sessions that combine it with Office 2007. I didn't spot any sessions combining it with Office 2005, so whether that's a vote of confidence in the forthcoming productivity suite or a general expression of interest in integrating SharePoint with anything is a little hard to tell.

Visual Studio and .NET-related sessions are also attracting a fair degree of attention. Some presentations on topics that get frequent play in the media -- such as software as a service and building mashups -- are also packed to the gunwales.

There is one pair of sessions that predictably filled up very early on: "Earning more per hour as a Developer." I'll wander along to see if brawls break out near the door amongst dollar-starved coder dudes desperate for financial guidance.

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