Jason Morris called it ‘decompression’. After 10 months of planning and three packed days of presentations here in San Jose, Rules Fest 2010 is now in ‘boot camp’ mode. More than half the attendees stayed for today’s sessions, and are currently spread between four boot camps – JBoss Rules, IBM JRules, OpenRules and Jess. My role as MC and catwalk model (don’t ask!) came to an end last night, and I am sitting in my hotel room, shattered, happy, but also with a distinct feeling of the ‘bends’ as I emerge blinking into the warm Californian sunshine.
We are really happy with the way this year’s conference has gone. These are constrained times, economically, and we needed to prove the viability of the event and the ability of new management, and a new owner, to organise and host an international conference that provides real benefit to its attendees and sponsors. The post mortem will begin in earnest in a few days, and knowing our committee, will be a frank, open and critical appraisal of the last few days. However, we hit our targets, substantially grew the event from last year, garnered great feedback, had a really excellent line-up of speakers and all enjoyed the occasion immensely.
Rules Fest will strive to deepen its commitment to provide a technical conference ‘for developers, by developers’. As I tried to explain to one bemused non-Microsoft person yesterday, we aim to be the ‘PDC’ of the rules processing world, and refuse to be just another trade show. Next year, we will evolve the program to provide deeper developer content and more opportunity for rules developers to share their experience and get direct input into the issues they face. We plan to significantly increase the attendance again (we learned so much this year about how to market it, and are confident that we can hit significantly higher targets next year), attract wider sponsorship and broaden the pool of presenters.
My one on-going pain point is the lack of a really good .NET story. Now don’t get me wrong. I love the Java and C/C++ guys/gals to bits, but I really, really want to see the .NET developers who turn up to the event get more for their money. Mark Proctor quizzed me on my interest in the event last night (and immediately provided a litany of answers to his own questions!). I understand why he is a bemused. Where are the .NET rule vendors? Everyone else is there. Where were you, InRule? We tried to get you interested. Where were you, Microsoft (I know Karl would have loved to be there, as he has been in previous years)? And Dan, can’t we get IBM to push ILOG.NET a bit more? I said to Mark that at some point, the .NET rule logjam has to break, and I fully intend to be there when it does. Rules belong to businesses, not to the JRE. .NET developers do rules as well!
Big thanks to the team at the Hayes Mansion. Inga, you are an absolute star! Big thanks to Brenda who helped make the event a success. And big, big thanks to Jason and Brian who never lost faith.