In 2010, I wrote a post about how to find the best sessions at TechEd, which is as valid then as it is now… Except for one thing, the decoding sessions part:
Every session at Tech·Ed has a code, and this code has some key information that will mean you get to the right sessions easily. If I look at one of the sessions I am presenting, the code associated is APS309, but what does that mean?
- APS – This is the track, or the high level concept that the session is part of. APS in this case refers to Application Server. Microsoft has a great guide to all these TLA (three letter acronyms) on the technical track page. The only item missing from there is WTB, which stands for Whiteboard which I will cover next.
- 3 – This digit is key, it identifies the level of the session and is between 1 and 4.
- 1 indicates a introduction session - where you can come in with zero knowledge on the topic. Expect it not to be deep, expect the pace to be slow and expect it to cover the concepts.
- 2 indicates a beginner session - you should’ve seen something on it before arriving. Expect it to cover usage scenarios and the pace and depth to be increased.
- 3 indicates a technical session – you should be working with the technology. These often go fast and deep or explore a new area in that space.
- 4 indicates a deep dive – you should expect a session that is for the most advanced of people.
- 09 – This is a unique identifier.
TechEd this year still has the little codes that help you identify what the talk is about. However you will NOT find any sessions of the level 100 type (that first digit). This doesn’t mean there are no introduction sessions, far from that. What happened is that someone at Microsoft has decided that all level 100 will be reclassified as level 200’s as well. So when you look at the codes, and you see a level 200 session: it could be a introduction or beginner level talk.
This means that the next piece of advice from that post is even more important this year in ensuring the talks you attend are the right talks for you!
The next thing about understanding is to read the abstract for the topic, this is the overall plan for the session. So if we take my session again, the title is: Intro to Workflow Services and Windows Server AppFabric however if you read the abstract you will note that it mentions Workflow Foundation (WF) first and talks about developers using it. Then it mentions WF and usage with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and how they integrate in .NET 4. Finally it mentions AppFabric and hosting.