Thank you for conference announcement, but it would help if you told me what your conference was about

Raymond Chen

There was an announcement of an all-day Microsoft-internal conference featuring a project I will call Project Enzyme. The announcement went like this:

The Project Enzyme Forum is our flagship community conference that brings together engineers, project managers, data scientists, and designers from around the company to learn about Project Enzyme and get a first look at some of the exciting new improvements in the platform.

Senior leaders will share their vision for Project Enyzme and how we can use it to create the next wave of cutting-edge products and experiences. Other senior leaders will participate in a panel discussion. Discover what Project Enzyme is, why its important, and where it can take you next.

With access to 20+ technical sessions and hands-on labs, you will learn practical information about Project Enzyme that will help you do more today and prepare for tomorrow. Track topics include Fundamentals, Data Science, App Development, Software Dev Lifecycle, and Future of Project Enzyme. Browse the content on demand and at your leisure on the Project Enzyme Forum page after the conference.

Expand your network and your perspective on what is possible. Our live Q&A sessions with Project Enzyme experts will let you collaborate with thousands of peers from around the world, as well as with the Microsoft engineers behind Project Enzyme.

They also included an agenda:

  • Opening keynote: The future of Project Enzyme.
  • Project Enzyme overview.
  • Lunch break.
  • Connect with the Experts: Live Q&A.
  • VP panel discussion.
  • Closing remarks.

Nowhere in the lengthy announcement does it say what Project Enzyme is.

I guess the Project Enyzme Forum was a rousing success, because they held another one the following year. This time, they also included a link to the project home page, so I took a peek. It’s a very pretty home page, but nowhere does it say what Project Enzyme does. It appears to store data and have APIs for reading and writing that data. But there must be more to it than that.

Oh look, they have a page where they show some sample apps. Maybe from reading the samples I can get an idea of what it actually does.

Data processor – Type 2
A hello world Type 2 sample that shows how to query data and do some processing.
Remote data processor – Type B
A hello world Type B sample that shows how to query data and do some processing.
Web service – Type 2
A hello world Type B sample that shows how to query data and do some processing.
Container discovery processor – Type 2
A hello world Type B sample that shows how to query data and do some processing.
Remote container discovery processor – Type B Discovery processor – Type 2

Not only are these sample titles and descriptions unhelpful, they appear to be wrong! It seems that all of the samples have exactly the same description, except for (1) the ones with no description, and (2) the ones which say that they are Type B even though the sample title says that they are Type 2.

It seems that Project Enzyme is just some sort of secret club that puts up posters just so they can brag about their exclusivity.

Bonus chatter: I sent email to the Project Enzyme team saying, “It would be nice if somewhere in the announcement it said what Project Enzyme was. It may be obvious to you but I bet its not obvious to a lot of people.” They were kind enough to reply: “Thanks for the feedback. Did you register yet? Hope to see you there!”

Apparently they want me to register for something just to find out what it is.

Sorry, you’re not that compelling.

5 comments

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  • Paul Topping 2

    Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is bothered by these things. It happens a lot. Similarly, there are acronyms that are never expanded. I am sure people who go to Xyz 25 are so used to calling it just “Xyz” that they forget that it actually stands for something and that others might not know what that something is. I have seen entire ads and websites that suffer from these problems.

  • JA 3

    Sounds like a certain liquid related framework.

    Announced to much fanfare, invite only, basic documentation, poor code examples, zero useful use cases, no service architecture explanation, no service guarantees, no help. But let’s all use it!

    • Antonio Rodríguez 0

      Frameworks are like that. We are starting a new project in 2022, so let’s use the most recent framework. What do you say? There aren’t any experts? The framework is basically a public beta, or even an alpha? Developers will be writing code for an API they don’t master because just six months ago it didn’t exist and even today is changing every week? Code quality is going to be, not bad, but awful? It doesn’t matter! We will throw all the code in 2023 and rewrite it, based on the Next Big Thing. It doesn’t matter if we torture our users or customers with showstopper bugs and unfulfilled features, as long as our product is “modern” and the money keeps flowing in.

  • Antonio Rodríguez 1

    It happens a lot in app stores and software download sites. I’m looking for some kind of utility. I see in the search results an application with an interesting title and a nice icon. It looks promising, so I enter its page. But what I see in the description area is the changelog, or some vague description full of buzzwords saying it’s free, respects your privacy (would it tell me if it didn’t?), and is based on the Foo open source framework.

    What I wanted to know is why do I have to choose it over the other dozen search results, what makes it different from them. Surely, its developer thinks it’s so great that I will download and install it just to see. I’m not so sure. I go back to the search results and look for another one.

  • J V 0

    At least there seem to be a budget in time and money.

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