Traditionally, people look to the coming of the New Year as an opportunity to focus on self-improvement. What better way to do that than by attending an educational development conference? And since the New Year often brings rejuvenated travel and training budgets, now is the time to plan to attend some of these work-related events. Here are a few upcoming conferences for 2003 that you should consider.

Sun’s 2003 JavaOne
The schedule for the 2003 JavaOne conference is still being decided upon, and the organizers are still soliciting papers from presenters. However, if past events are any indication, JavaOne should be the premier conference for Java developers once again this year. The 2002 edition featured 300 technical sessions on Web services, Java on the desktop, and J2EE, plus keynotes from the likes of James Gosling, Graham Hamilton, and Scott McNealy. It’s a safe bet that at least one of them will be appearing there again this year. The 2003 conference will also feature daylong technical education sessions from Java University.

2003 JavaOne

San Francisco, CA

June 9-13, 2003
Registration: TBA

This conference focuses entirely on Java development; accepting presentation proposals now. It features JavaUniversity learning sessions as well as traditional conference seminars.

VSLive 2003

San Francisco, CA

February 9-14, 2003
Chicago, IL

April 14-17, 2003
$2,395 for whole conference
$995 for VBITS
$495 for SQL Live, ASP Live, C# Live

This conference focuses exclusively on Microsoft development tools. It is actually four conferences in one:
VBITS–Visual Basic Insiders’ Technical Summit
SQL Live–SQL Server
C# Live–C# development

IBM developerWorks Live

New Orleans, LA

April 9-12, 2003
Registration: TBA

This conference is intended for developers using IBM tools and platforms, and it offers certification testing. It combines three conferences into one: WebSphere, Lotus DevCon, and Solutions.

XML Web Services One Conference

Santa Clara, CA

March 3-6, 2003
$299 for single day
$1,495 for entire conference

This conference covers XML and Web services development, with a few language-specific tracks for .NET, Java, and other languages.

O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON)

Location: TBA
July 7-11, 2003
Registration: TBA

This conference includes technical seminars on a variety of open source tools and products. The schedule is to be announced later, and there is a notification mailing list. It will include the eleventh Python developers’ conference, Python 11.

A few of the development conferences scheduled for 2003

VSLive 2003: Four conferences in one
The VSLive conference, with its four included conferences, VBITS, C# Live, SQL Live, and ASP Live, has been an outstanding destination for Microsoft developers in years past. Although VSLive usually has later editions in other large cities, the San Francisco event is always the biggest one, and it is also usually Microsoft’s vehicle for technology sneak previews. This year is no different, as it promises advance looks at new versions of Visual Studio .NET and SQL Server.

This year’s agenda is already set, with 165 hours of technical seminars and presentations planned from presenters including the likes of Alan Cooper, Dan Appleman, Andrew Brust, and Andrew Troelson. An entire conference pass is currently pricey at $2,395, but you can register for individual technology conferences for $495 ($995 for just VBITS).

IBM dev-heads get their day
The developerWorks Live conference combines three IBM technical conferences—WebSphere, Lotus DevCon, and Solutions—into one large conference in New Orleans. All three conferences feature technical seminars, “birds of a feather” peer discussion groups, and “meet the developers” sessions where attendees will get the opportunity to meet with and discuss development issues with IBM’s development teams. IBM also continues its long tradition of offering certification examinations at its conferences: Last year’s developerWorks Live offered certification exams in 17 different areas, ranging from CICS to WebSphere to Linux. Registration information isn’t yet available, but the conference site is being updated regularly, so check back often.

XML Web Services One: Free of vendor wars
The XML Web Services One Conference centers on educating developers about XML and the various Web services frameworks that have cropped up over the last year. Attendees will get to choose from a variety of technical sessions ranging from fundamentals and standards management to hands-on labs for Java, Perl, and .NET Web services development. These sessions are, for the most part, presented by real developers. There don’t appear to be many authors or academics among the list of scheduled presenters.

Although a series of vendor-sponsored keynotes are planned, along with a day dedicated to IBM, the organizers pledge that the technical sessions will remain vendor-neutral, and presenters will be available for questions between sessions. Registration runs from $299 for a single day, up to $1,495 for the full conference, if you get the early-bird discount.

OSCON: O’Reilly Open Source Convention
O’Reilly Publishing also plans to reprise OSCON in 2003. Plans are still up in the air as far as agenda and location, but O’Reilly has a notification e-mail list so you can sign up to receive updates. Past conferences have collected some of the brightest stars of the open source world to deliver technical seminars on products like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Apache, PHP, and Python. In fact, the Python programmers’ conference, Python 11, is slated to be part of OSCON 2003.

What’s your favorite conference?

We’re building a conference guide for members to download, and we’re looking for reports from conference-goers on these or any other development conferences. If you’ve attended past editions of one of these or any other development conference and would like to share your impressions, please e-mail the editors.