What's the App Manage Event? Call yourself a packager?

I spent a couple of days earlier this month at the AppManagEvent in Utrecht. For the old skool packagers out there this used to be called the "Packaging Event" but was renamed recently to keep it relevant with the current trend towards everything being app-centric. If you haven't heard of this event before let me give you a quick introduction: It's an annual event hosted by the very nice guys over at PDS which has been running for around ten years. It's targeted at the tech community who are involved in day-to-day management of applications. Traditionally this has meant that the majority if the attendees are packagers, but this year I definitely noticed more of a presence from non-techies. The event is driven by a number of keynote sessions where leaders in the space are invited to share their wisdom of app-related topics, then there are breakout session hosted by sponsors, and of course there are a number of stands where vendors can show you their wares.

I was invited to join AppTracker on their stand to help demo our recent product integration showing the power of combing the AppTracker application workflow management tool with Dell ChangeBASE automated application readiness solution for application testing, application fixing, application virtualizing and application packaging. We were able to show visitors the fantastic new User Migration functionality in AppTracker (currently in use at a bank with 120,000 employees) and the integration between AppTracker and Quest ChangeBASE (watch our 40 minute on-demand webinar here).

So what else of interest did I see at the show? Bob Kelly hosted the opening keynote with a session talking about applying Agile development principles to software packaging work. I'd previously read Bob's blog about this very topic so it was good to hear him talking in more depth about this theory. I think most people at the event attended Bob's session (he's a celebrity in packaging circles don't ya know?) and it appeared to go down very well. Has anyone taken the plunge at had a go at this?

Greg Lambert was showcasing his new product Qompat which looks super-slick. I went to see Greg's session where he talked about Application Virtualisation and explained why he doesn't see this technology as the silver bullet we were all sold a few years ago. He rightly explained that it's a fantastic tool for solving some problems, but it is a tool which compliments 'native' installer technologies such as MSI. 

Finally a very nice chap over at AppTracker called Justin Pickup (yes that's his real name) gave a great session on... AppTracker! He focused on automation and integration, and showed everyone how AppTracker can hook into pretty much anything with an API (including ChangeBASE of course). Justin's finale was to UAT an app in AppTracker, click the "Pass" button, then for his Drink-O-Matic machine to pour a gin and tonic, all driven by APIs! I'm happy to say that this worked perfectly, though anyone in the room at the time may have noticed a large amount of gin dripping off the wall and ceiling where the practice run didn't go quite as planned!

My closing thoughts are that this is a great event, and we need one in London. Any event organisers fancy putting something together?