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 have the wonderful opportunity to present 5 sessions at DevLink 2012. If you’re going, I would like to meet up and chat. I will also attend (travel plans permitting) the Windows 8 Developer Camp hosted by Jennifer Marsman the day before. Registration for that event is separate from DevLink and can be found at http://win8devcampchat.eventbrite.com/.

Using Contracts to Integrate with the Windows 8 Experience

Contracts are a new addition with Windows 8 Metro apps that provide a great user experience. For example, users want to Share information in a variety of ways and Windows 8 Metro Contracts allow for that. Come learn about how these Contracts work and how to implement built-in Contracts like Search, Share, PlayTo and Settings.

Using Azure with Windows Phone and Windows 8!

With phones, tablets and other devices exploding in market share, it’s important to know what technologies and tools will help you develop better applications. These devices are often short on processing power and storage, which is where Azure can really help out. Come see what it’s like to use Azure with Windows Phone and Windows 8, including examples with push notifications, storage and authentication for both platforms and a Metro application using the Azure Service Bus.

Parallel Programming in .NET and WinRT

Parallel programming remains a difficult task, but Microsoft keeps making things easier for developers. With the various constructs available, like the addition of the Task Parallel Library in .NET 4, it is important to know what is appropriate for different situations. Devices continue to gain cores and the cloud offers easily distributed computing, so developers should understand how to utilize the environments. Come for a walk-through of how and when to use these constructs, whether that is a mobile device, desktop application or the web. The examples will be C# focused, with JavaScript and F# discussed too.

Node.js, Java, PHP and Python with Azure? Why yes!

New languages and technologies keep finding their way to Azure. Need a Node.js web application? Want to use Eclipse and Java? Have an existing PHP application and want to move it to the cloud? All of these are possible and more! Come see how you can accomplish amazing things with Azure!

How to Ride the Service Bus with Azure

Do you like a loosely coupled architecture? Are you considering a hybrid application between the cloud and on-premise solutions? Are you building mobile applications with notifications and events? The Azure Service Bus can make your life much easier!

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.

At the Chicago Code Camp next Saturday, May 19th, I’ll be showing demos on the Kinect for Windows, Windows 8 and Windows Phone  in the commons area. I’ve got some great demos of features and some games for the Kinect, so if you’re curious about what you can do as a developer, stop by. I’ll walk through any of the code with you and discuss architectural concepts, design concerns and real world applications.

I hope to see you there!