This week I spent 3 days at the EKON 13 conference in Darmstadt, Germany. It was also dubbed as Delphi Live Germany, although there were only a handful of non-German developers. This caused most of the English-language sessions to be rather deserted, with some exceptions.
My talks went well, despite the fact that I had a few glitches caused by having to use a new computer lacking some of the configurations and links to programs I usually take for granted. Also, I found out some differences between Windows Vista and Windows 7 during my session (but that is worth a specific blog post). Actually my Windows Vista session was packed, while my REST servers and my DataSnap introduction were not so well attended (even if there were invariably some fellow non-German speakers attending). I attended Ray Konopka's keynote on user interface design (a very nice session, as usual) a couple of .NET talks by Cary Jensen, David I keynote, and a few more sessions.
I spent a lot of time chatting with other speakers, "conference groopies", some other attendees I knew from former editions of the conference or other German events, and the Embarcadero people who were present (including David I and Jason Vokes). The conference was busy and the time well spent, even if I regretted not giving any tutorial... Also, the food was better than average for a conference. The beer was very good, but that's to be expected in Germany.
There was some discussion about the health of the Delphi community, as the conference was of a reasonable size but certainly smaller than years ago, and with a higher average age. Strategies for attracting younger developers were discussed, including hoping for a release of a new "Turbo" free or low cost version of Delphi. Some consultants are also asking for ways to have more visibility, and there is also the idea of trying to help companies find the Delphi developers they need. Hopefully we'll see these ideas turned into reality over the coming months.
On the other hand, there is more confidence in Embarcadero and more positive feedback on the last version of the product than it happened over the last few years. Complains were very limited, and interest for the new features was significant. Still, some questioned if similar conference should not try to cover more of the foundations, to address the needs of new developers coming to Delphi and not only of the existing hard-core community.
Finally, I had a long chat with Cary Jensen about a 2010 year edition of Delphi Developer Days. Stay tuned for an announcement in a couple of months, but feel free to email me if you think we should come with the class to a city near you (wherever in the world). Now I'm trying to get some work done on the book and a white paper, before taking off for the SDC conference on October 19 and 20.