Having attended the last several TechEds, I couldn’t help but notice that while this year’s new TechEd Developer 2008 has that same TechEd feeling, everything is quieter than normal. With attendance guesstimated at about 6000, I guess that's to be expected. Splitting the Developer and IT Pro conferences was expected to produce two somewhat smaller shows. Sure there was the opening keynote (by Bill Gates nonetheless), and the Tuesday night expo reception was pretty active. Plus, there's the occasional Segway, and yes, even the chair police making sure everyone uses the overflow seating for sessions that have filled up. Still, the halls between sessions aren’t nearly as full, and the expo is a fraction of its normal size. At times the big Orlando conference center even seems a bit empty compared to TechEds in the past. It will be interesting to see next week's IT Pro show.
Nevertheless, a tour around the expo revealed that the third-party products haven’t stood still. Some of the most notable new products I’ve seen so far on the expo floor come from component vendors like Infragistics, Component One, and Developer Express as they have been expanding their .NET controls to include Vista, WPF, and Office 2007-like Ribbon controls. Cool stuff indeed – geared toward helping developers write apps that have the latest Windows UI look and feel.