I'll be heading to Orlando, Florida this Saturday for TechEd, Microsoft's annual IT/developer conference, and apparently I won't be alone: The company announced this week that the event has completely sold out, with more than 11,500 developers and IT professionals converging on the Sunshine State. Microsoft estimates that the worldwide attendance for TechEd exceeds 35,000, as the event is occurring simultaneously in 15 international locations, making it one of the largest technical events ever. The focus of TechEd this year is on Microsoft's distributed application infrastructure, Windows DNA 2000, and the ways that it can be used to Web-enable the enterprise. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates will provide a keynote address on Monday, while a second keynote Tuesday will feature group VP Bob Muglia.

"Microsoft is committed to helping developers and IT professionals meet the challenges of a Web-connected world," says Tod Nielsen, Microsoft's Platform Group VP. "TechEd, a strategic part of that commitment, continues to be a premier conference educating partners and customers about Web-enabling businesses now and in the future. Microsoft believes that communicating with developers and IT professionals at Tech Ed is an invaluable part of establishing Windows DNA as the premier platform for building next-generation Web solutions."

With its focus on Windows DNA 2000, TechEd will help developers transition to a next-generation, programmable Internet and take advantage of Windows 2000 features that make this possible. It was previously expected that developers would hear about Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) at TechEd for the first time, but with the recent postponement of Fusion 2000, Microsoft's NGWS strategy unveiling, it's unlikely that much information will be forthcoming. On the other hand, numerous seminars, courses, and demonstrations about distributed software development should provide a decent background for this technology.

If you weren't able to attend TechEd, Microsoft is offering a $99 live Webcast of over 35 sessions, including both keynotes. For more information, please visit the Microsoft TechEd Web site