Many of the attendees were employed by public agencies or small and midsize companies with limited resources for upgrades. For these customers, the releases of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2005 were fairly timely.
Government agencies dont usually have the money or resources to deal with the rapid-fire product upgrades that seem to be the norm in the software industry, said Pam Sheppard, principal IT analyst with Kings County in Californias central valley.
"We will migrate to the new technology because you cant afford to fall behind … But it does put a burden on development process" because of resource shortages, she said. "The industry changes very rapidly, and the upgrade process can be very difficult for us because of limited resources in staffing, training and funding."
Sheppard said she has already attended the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference and the SQL Server 2005 road show to learn more of the technical details of the product.
There are valuable advances in reporting and accounting in the new edition of SQL Server 2005, and this is important in county government, where accounting is a major function, Sheppard said. Thus, a move to SQL Server and Visual Studio is a "natural progression for us," she said.
Sheppard said she is also involved with Web application development for Kings County, so getting access to the latest version of Visual Studio will be useful as well. She said she is not particularly concerned about questions raised in the developer community about the quality of the Visual Studio code.
All software products have bugs, Sheppard said, adding that she is confident that Visual Studio is stable enough to use and that Microsoft will fix the remaining problems.
Ari Gamo, the founder and owner of Saint Ari Solutions, a six-person consulting firm here in San Francisco, said he hopes to upgrade to Visual Studio 2005 to carry out contract development work on a asset management system and a time-keeping system operated by the City and County of San Francisco.
The key advantage in Visual Studio 2005 for Gamos work is that it separates the business logic from the visual presentation layer, which enables more efficient and reliable coding.
Gamo said he would also like to see the San Francisco government upgrade to SQL Server 2005 to support these applications, but that would be harder to convince city officials to spend additional money on the updated server, he said.