Earlier this year, my employer, Skyline Technologies decided to host a Give Camp for Riverview Gardens.

Building off of that success, we have decided to host a Windows 8 Developer Camp. The idea is to hold a two day event for our associates to get fully immersed in Windows 8 development with the ultimate goal of having the apps released to the Windows Store by the Windows 8 general availability date. We have already picked our dates and the event will be held on Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th, 2012. As a bonus to the Skyline associates that donate their time, Skyline will purchase a Windows 8 Surface RT (arm) device for them. How cool is that? It’s just one of the many benefits of working at Skyline.

We had an overwhelming amount of associates sign up and had to actually cut off registration. After all, there is a fair amount of planning and logistics that go into an event like this. Myself and 3 other associates are leading the way. In order to help ensure that everyone involved stays passionate, we wanted to include associates in determining what apps to build. We met over a week ago to have an ideate session in which we came up with over a dozen app ideas and then had a voting process to narrow down the selection. We are targeting to have somewhere between 4-7 apps.  Next up is for our associates to decide which app(s) they want to work on and get ready for the big weekend.

If you’re not sure about the potential market, you may find the following interesting. There are over 1.25 billion Windows desktops around the world. As successful as iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) are, there are only about 150 million of them and about 250 million Android devices. With the upgrade price to Windows 8 from XP, Vista and Windows 7 only being $39.99, Microsoft is making a good push at enticing people to upgrade. If you have bought or will buy a Windows 7 PC after June 2, 2012 the upgrade price is only $14.99. It will be interesting to see what effect those prices have on the market. There are also plenty of rumors about the Microsoft Surface prices being put at a price point below the iPad, which would help Microsoft take a big chunk of the tablet market. What does all of it mean? Well, as a developer, I think it means there is potential for a large market and a right now is the chance to get in early.

This event clearly shows how Skyline Technologies is excited about Windows 8 Apps! I’ll be sure to post updates as things progress.

I will be speaking at the MAD.NET Users Group on September 5th, 2012.

Get Yourself Kinect-ed! by Greg Levenhagen

The Kinect is waiting for you! All you have to do is reach out and make a move, literally. Since the Kinect SDK, Kinect for Windows hardware and commercial support for non-XBOX 360 applications has been released, you’re able to create amazing applications. Natural user interfaces are making their way to mainstream devices. By getting yourself Kinect-ed, you can be part of that revolution. Come see what the Kinect SDK offers, how to utilize the Kinect hardware features and most importantly how to develop with the Kinect.

I’ll be speaking at the WI.NET Users Group in Milwaukee on September 11, 2012. I hope to see you there!

How HTML5 Makes YOU a Windows 8 Metro App Dev Already!

Are you a web developer? Your toolset makes you a Windows 8 Metro app developer because HTML5 is now a first class citizen for making WinRT apps. Using HTML5 along with JavaScript and CSS3, Microsoft has enabled web developers from all platforms the ability to start app dev with a very low learning curve. Come see what that learning curve looks like, as Greg discusses what WinJS is and how to use it. You will learn about the basics of Metro patterns, navigation, async, and operating system integration.

I’ve had the pleasure of going through several Windows 8 PFE labs now and have been very happy with the process. The process is for developers working on Windows 8 Metro apps that want to publish to the Windows Store. Microsoft has offered the time of a Windows specialist to walk through your app, the certification process and guidelines. If your app is deemed ready by the specialist, they will provide a Windows Store token. Each lab session is scheduled for 2 hours, but I’ve found that by the 3rd and 4th apps you’ll already have your apps in solid condition and breeze right through the meeting.

You don’t need to go through the lab session for your 2nd, 3rd and n-th apps, but it may help. The reason I’ve been through several sessions is because of the use of multiple Windows Store accounts. If you intend on publishing from the same account, you can have up to six pending apps at any time. Pending means that you’ve reserved the app name within Windows Store for up to 1 year. It also appears that getting a token provides a 2 year waiver of the Windows Store developer fee, which is longer than the 1 year Windows Phone developer fee.

I will be co-hosting the Windows 8 Developer Camp being held at the Chicago Microsoft Training Center (MTC) on June 7th, 2012. Topics that I will be presenting on are the HTML/JS stack for Windows 8 development, asynchronous constructs to use in both the XAML/C# and HTML/JS stacks, the Sharing contract, Toasts, Tile notifications, Secondary Tiles and more. I’ll be around during the entire day to help answer any questions too. Microsoft will be providing access to virtual machines to those that don’t have a device or laptop to run Windows 8.

There are plenty of other topics being covered too, so check out the agenda.

Come learn about what cool things you can do with Windows 8 and see what your future holds!

I participated in A Date With 8 hackathon held at the College of Lake County on Friday, May 18th, 2012 and was fortunate enough to win. Two co-workers and I worked on porting an existing charity app my company developed last summer. You can find the existing website at http://www.appletoncompassion.org/ and there are iOS and Android apps too. The ultimate goal is to polish up the work we just did and submit it to the Windows Store. Stay tuned and I’ll link to it went it makes it there.