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The Alpha Conference for Alpha Geeks

What Is Colorado Software Summit?

Colorado Software Summit is an intensely technical conference, created by and for professional programmers who are working with (or wishing they were working with) the latest software engineering technologies. We have a particular focus on FOSS (Free and Open Source) and Java programming and tools. Conference sessions emphasize real-world programming, with practical examples and plenty of source code to illustrate concepts and techniques. Many of the conference topics are presented by the architects and designers and lead programmers of the tools they are teaching you to use, while the remainder are taught by people who are using those tools themselves to build comprehensive projects.

Our Reputation

We have earned a reputation for producing one of the best technical conferences in the world. Most of that reputation derives directly from the speakers and the attendees, who together have created and nourished an atmosphere of lively interaction that provides the maximum opportunity for exchange of information. Our speakers spend the entire week at the conference, and conference attendance is limited to not more than 600 people in order to encourage this valued interaction among attendees themselves as well as between the attendees and our speakers.

Our Seventeenth Conference

Colorado Software Summit 2008 is the seventeenth programming conference we have produced, and the fourteenth to be held at Keystone Resort. Until 1995 we produced a very well known OS/2 programming conference, ColoradOS/2. The 1996 ColoradOS/2 conference featured Java prominently, and since 1997 (when we changed the name to Colorado Software Summit) we have focused on web-based applications and services, Java, Open Source, and other important technologies.

Our Speakers Are Programmers Themselves

In the fifteen years we have been producing this conference, we have featured some great speakers, many of whom are very well known. We have had speakers such as Bill Joy (then Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, Inc.), Bjarne Stroustrup (creator of the C++ language), Grady Booch (best known for his work in object oriented design and design patterns), Tim Bray (a principal creator of XML), Simon Phipps (Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc.), Mike Cowlishaw (creator of Rexx and NetRexx), Dan Harkey and Bob Orfali (authors of several highly regarded books, especially their book on Java and CORBA), George Radin (architect of the first RISC computer), and many others.

However, the majority of our speakers are not (yet) famous; instead, they are working software engineers who want to communicate what they know to other working software engineers, with the ultimate objective being that we all become better programmers for having spent a week here.

Not a "Show," It Is a Serious Programming Conference

There is no "show" aspect to the conference at all: no booths, no marketing, no sales droids, no hype. We make every effort to attract only professional programmers, or at least people who are very directly involved with programming. If anyone in a suit sneaks in, it is because we haven't communicated to them clearly enough what we do here.

Still, and notwithstanding the "serious" nature of the conference, it is also a great deal of fun! Many of our attendees come back year after year, and they contribute a great deal to the friendly and fun atmosphere of the conference. The week you spend here may be the most demanding and exhausting of your entire year, and at the same time the most fun and rewarding.

How Is Each Day Scheduled?

We divide the day into 90-minute blocks of time (with breaks in between), and we typically have eight very technical presentations running concurrently throughout the day. Our attendees make their way through the week with a schedule that they choose for themselves. All of our tutorial topics are repeated three times during the week, so if one session is crowded, there are two more chances to see it during the week. We want every attendee to see each of their "must see" topics, without ever having to choose between two that are only presented at the same time, and this scheduling ensures that is possible.

Is This Just Another Enormous Conference?

Importantly, this conference is intentionally small. Keystone's conference facilities can handle about 600 people very comfortably (and with the level of quality we insist on), so we limit our attendance to that number.

Our rooms are set in classroom style — not just rows and rows of closely-spaced chairs, but instead chairs set at tables with sufficient "elbow room" to make it easy to take notes, hold water glasses, etc. The majority of the rooms are set for about 40-50 people. With these small session sizes, the presentations can be as interactive as any individual speaker prefers, while our attendees can derive the greatest benefit from each session.

A Truly International Conference

Also importantly, our conferences have always attracted a strongly international audience. Each one of our first fourteen conferences has had approximately one-third of its attendees from outside the U.S.A., not only from the expected European and Asian countries, but also from more exotic and/or distant locations such as China, India, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Argentina, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Turkey, etc. We always ask our speakers to keep this international audience in mind as they prepare their presentations. We think the investment in travel time and money that these international attendees make each year in order to spend a week here is a strong endorsement of the quality of the conference.

Who Should Attend?

Our audience is comprised largely (probably at least 80%) of professional programmers working for medium-sized to large corporations, programmers who are writing applications that operate over internal and external networks. Consultants, entrepreneurs, small business owners, VARs, teachers, etc., comprise the remainder of the attendees. Over the years, we have built up an audience that is seeking very practical, "Wow, I can use this as soon as I get home!" information on Java programming topics; that is exactly what we try to provide.

The Most Valuable Week of Your Year

In this single week, programmers who are new to web-based programming using Java and Open Source tools will acquire skills that otherwise might have required months of tedious trial and error, while more experienced programmers will significantly enhance their skills by learning more advanced programming techniques and the latest software engineering technologies.

Colorado Software Summit has often been described as "Like getting a Master's Degree in programming — in a week!" We would add to that, "... while having a wonderful time and making friends with programmers from around the world."

Colorado Software Summit
Simply the best technical conference in the world!

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