Eileen recently explained in her blog what 200, 300 and 400 meant as levels of experience needed to be able to make the most out of Microsoft sessions. However, after reading this comment, and as it's nearly christmas, here's an alternative version which hopefully everyone can relate to regardless of the time of year. I've also included, for completeness, level 100, which isn't that common in Technet events - most are 200 or 300, occasionally 400.
The chocolate alternative...
100. Never heard of chocolate? Don't worry. This session will introduce you to the different types of chocolate, and provide advice as to what type of chocolate may be most suitable for you. You'll walk away from this session knowing the difference between milk, dark and white chocolate, and have a whistle-stop tour of the ingredients. There will be two demonstrations including an overview of the chocolate making process, and a tasting session.
200. I've had a few bars of chocolate already and I know they're something I'll be using on a regular basis. In this session, you'll be looking closer into the ingredients which go into the chocolate making process. The session will include demonstrations of selecting the right ingredients to make a bar of chocolate configured just right for your taste buds. This session includes some troubleshooting tips such as when you boil the mixture for slightly too long and best practices for selecting most suitable bar of chocolate.
300. You've already tasted and made most types of chocolate but maybe want to know exactly when you should use a specific type of chocolate for the perfect cake, or knowing under which circumstances you should select brown over white sugar or skimmed vs semi-skimmed vs full-fat milk . Come to this session for a detailed discussion about improving the way you manage your whole chocolate making and eating processes. There will be a demonstration of disaster recovery (such as when the kids have eaten the whole tin).
400. Rip of the wrappers and throw them away - this is a no-holds barred choc-o-fest all the way from chocolate peanuts to luxury Belgian chocolate. Do you want to know the perfect number of sugar granules for a 500g bar? Find out the answer to this and much more, first hand from our experts. This session will provide opportunities to drill down into the questions which may have been troubling you about chocolate. There will be a detailed demonstration of configuring your environment to maximise the chocolate bar throughput in parallel eating environments. You will also gain in-depth information on the next version of Chocolate, Chocolate 2005.
I know the posting which prompted me to write this blog was asking about whether 200 means "no code, overview", or 300 means "some code, mostly demonstration" as examples. The problem is that there's such a vast range of topics, speakers and styles around, there isn't a single answer. You will generally find that all sessions include a demonstration of some sort as after all, a picture speaks a thousand words. Therefore, it comes down to the session description to really provide the answer. If in doubt, think of 100-beginner, 200-intermediate, 300-advanced, 400-guru.
I hope the chocolate analogy proves useful even though a few bits are somewhat tenuous - you may have noticed that I don't actually know a lot about chocolate. However, I'm always open to self improvement, so if you want to send me some to continue my research into the next iteration of this model.....
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas, and don't eat too much chocolate!