I had the opportunity to attend Burton Group’s annual conference called Catalyst 2008 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. There were probably 1200 people from all over the world.
This was my first time attending this conference. I am somewhat skeptical of conferences hosted by analysts firms such as Gartner, Forrester, etc. Having been a vendor writing software for over 25 years, I was always sought by the key analysts to understand what we were building and the future road map for products such as DB2 or Oracle DB. Then you pay to hear the same analyst tell you what you told them. But to be fair, there are good analysts who synthesize lots of information and give some insights. What I get very tired of is hearing the obvious. Tell me something I don’t know, please.
So at the Catalyst conference, I noticed many parallel tracks. One track that must be very good is security or identity management. Because whoever I ran into, mentioned that they are there for the identity management topics. I attended the track for collaboration, Rich Internet Applications, SOA, etc. Again, I was told that REST is the better way than SOAP. Please! This is at least 3 years old news. Amazon Web Services (AWS) had done this way back when. Just because the analyst thought it’s new does not make it new news.
Overall, there were many good sessions. Customers presenting real deployment stories were the most valuable. Paisley, a software company in the GRC space (Governance, Risk, Compliance), showed how they have used Curl RIA platform to build very attractive UI for the user. This was a good example of using Web as a platform over client-server to satisfy user demand at a much lower cost.
The evenings were packed with vendors “open house” and I did not even step out of the hotel for 3 days. There was a track on mobile computing and it always drew large audiences Burton Group seems much more technically focused and many attendees are their clients over the years. This was more like their annual user group meeting.