I’ve noted it in the past, but it bears repeating. SQL Bits is my favorite conference to attend, both as a speaker and attendee. The event is a rare combination of great technical content, first class conference management, and a casual, fun atmosphere. Add to all of this the fact that conference moves to various venues around the United Kingdom, and it’s become a can’t miss event for me.
Each year I’ve gone, I’ve learned some really fascinating things about the SQL Server platform. I’m not sure why, but I always see some great sessions that tackle interesting problems. Perhaps this is because many of the sessions are voted on by the community, rather than chosen by a small committee. Maybe it’s because the speakers have more leeway and aren’t bound by so many strict rules about what they can and can’t say. No matter what the reason, the content is top notch and worth watching. You can watch previous sessions at home, anytime you want.
However, I’d really recommend you attend the event. Saturday is free, like a SQL Saturday. The selection of pre-cons is amazing, and covers topics I don’t see often at other large events. Plus there’s the amazing party with a new theme each year. I’m excited to see what costumes come out this spring. You can check out the amazing super hero looks from last year or the Steampunk ones from the year before. Perhaps what I’ve really enjoyed is the casual way the party is run, with a few random spouses or friends coming and not being hassled by security. One of these days, I’m looking forward to being able to bring my wife to Bits, and have her enjoy the event with me.
Certainly this is a long way for many to travel for a conference, though it’s probably not that much more expensive than trying to make any of the large conferences in US if you must travel out of state. I’m lucky that I usually get to speak and I can combine this trip with a visit to the Redgate Software offices. If you have a choice of which conference to attend, I’d take a hard look at SQLBits, and maybe split the cost with your boss. It’s a great excuse to take a short vacation before or after an intellectually stimulating, emotionally relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable event.
Note: You have until April 15 to post a review of a SQL Bits conference or video for a chance to win a pass to the conference.