We know many of you feel the same way. That's what motivated the four of us to roll up our sleeves over a year ago to take the concept of System i Developer and the RPG & DB2 Summit through its metamorphous from "Hey, this sounds like a good idea" to reality. One year and lots of hard work later—be careful what you wish for!—the feedback from our first two conferences sends one message loud and clear: System i development professionals thrive in a conference environment that focuses on revitalization of RPG and DB2 skills, enthusiasm for programming, and a sense of community.
So Jon, Paul, Ringo...oops, I mean Susan...and I are excited to tell you that we're busy putting together another three days of live education for our next RPG & DB2 Summit conference, which will be held March 11–13, 2008, in Orlando, Florida, at the Radisson Resort. We promise not to sing. Instead, this will be the place to hear, firsthand, the latest information on the anticipated announcement of V6R1 for i5/OS, as well as the latest on RPG IV, ILE, SQL, WDSC, and lots of related topics. George Farr, Barbara Morris, and other key members of IBM's System i development team have already agreed to be with us to personally discuss the latest V6R1 details and implications with Summit attendees.
System i Developer's key goal for the RPG & DB2 Summit conference is to provide high-quality, cost-effective education that is focused on the RPG developer. To drive that focus, the Summit is designed to be a relaxed, small, and intimate conference environment that is unique and interesting and fun. To help attendees get to know each other, and to avoid the hassles of doing your meals on your own, we host a welcome reception and dinner on the first evening, and also continental breakfast, lunch, and break refreshments for each of the three session days. Jon, Susan, Paul, and I (and our guest experts) enjoy this time to visit with you, joke around, and generally relax.
We organize the Summit courses into four tracks (four concurrent sessions)—three RPG and one DB2—that provide education on the key topics that are important to the RPG developer. Every session room has classroom seating with tables and chairs, so it's easy and comfortable to take notes on the printed handouts provided at each session, without banging elbows and knees with the person sitting next to you. We purposely shy away from massively large session rooms. This environment encourages interaction between peers and with our instruction staff of recognized industry leaders, which in turn fosters a strong sense of System i community.
This interaction with the attendees is something that Susan, Paul, Jon, and I encourage and thrive on. It helps validate our specific teaching goals and objectives, and it gives us the feedback that helps us fine-tune the sessions that we teach. From my personal perspective, it makes all the planning and teaching effort worthwhile when an attendee comes up and says, "Thanks! Your session really helped!"
The interaction seems to work well for attendees, too. In 2007, System i Developer produced its first two RPG and DB2 Summit conferences with gratifying results. The second conference, held last October, saw a 30 percent increase in attendance over the first and drew rave reviews from many of the attendees:
- "I recommend the Summit to anyone developing and maintaining RPG applications on the IBM iSeries. The knowledge, passion, and obvious belief in advancing this platform, and interest in passing on real know-how, are heartfelt by the instructors." —Tim Lehn, Database Analyst, RCIS
- "The quality of the Summit is unsurpassed, and it has the best price/value ratio of any development conference. Plus it has more of a family feeling. You actually get a chance to talk to the presenters and other attendees during lunch and breaks."
—Patrick Weaver, Certegy, Inc.
- "The quality of the presentations and the subject matter far exceeds what's offered at other conferences. I loved being able to talk to the presenters during breaks."
—Julie Montanez, Project Architect, RCIS
- "The speakers showed a genuine desire to help us. Their presentation style was relaxed and very open to questions and discussion." —Bob Courtney, Programmer/Analyst, Jack Henry & Associates
- "I really enjoyed being able to have conversations with the experts I know from seeking help on the Web, like Scott Klement." —Kim Spears, IT Analyst, Dotson Iron Castings
- "The size of the Summit was perfect! It was easy to meet other people and to move from session to session." —Kerri Bednarchuk, Sr. Programmer Analyst, Kwik Trip, Inc.
- "Excellent, helpful information, plus lots of opportunities to interact with the experts and others." —Vern Hamberg, Software Architect, RJS Software
- "I really liked the small, intimate setting of the Summit, the excellent speakers, and the way the speakers provided real-world concepts on specific topics." —Bob Plunkett, Applications Analyst, ATK/Federal Cartridge Co.
In Orlando, key topics include V6R1, RPG IV, ILE, SQL, DB2, WDSC, and RPG on the Web. In addition to the core conference, two in-depth, half-day HeadStart Workshops will be offered the afternoon of Monday, March 10: "All You Need to Know About SQL in 4 Hours" taught by yours truly and the "WDSC/RSE Jump Start Workshop" taught by the lovely and talented Susan Gantner.
IBM's George Farr, Worldwide Product Line Manager for WDS, WDSc, and the RPG compilers, will deliver the keynote address. Because of the timing of the conference, he expects to be able to fully reveal the details of V6R1-related enhancements to RPG, other System i development technologies, and the corresponding development tooling, and he plans to elicit feedback on IBM's direction from Summit attendees. IBM's lead developer for the RPG compiler, Barbara Morris, will also be available at the keynote address to provide technical details, and she will lead several technical elective sessions.
Of course, System i Developer partners Paul Tuohy, Jon Paris, Susan Gantner, and I head the roster of session instructors. Special guest instructors, chosen for their expertise on System i development topics, include Scott Klement, George Farr, Barbara Morris, and IBM's Tom McKinley. We will have more news on instructors and specific sessions available in the coming months.
A special early registration rate of $995 is available to those who register on or before January 25, 2008.
We hope you will able to join us in Orlando next March to really dig into all things RPG. Think about bringing your family or a friend. The Radisson Resort is less than two miles from Disney and other attractions, and who doesn't love the Florida sun when suffering the blahs of March?
Register early, because hotel rooms at the Radisson are limited, and they'll go fast!