As I mentioned in a previous post, I have the honor of speaking at VSLive this December. I would like to give a little more background and detail about the one of the sessions: Going from Silverlight or WPF to Windows 8 Apps.

Over the past year I have had many discussions about the development options for WinRT, mostly focused on XAML/C# and HTML/JS. There has been concern about which stack developers should focus their skills, but I get the impression that it’s not a battle. If you already know XAML by either working in Silverlight, WPF or Windows Phone, you should heavily consider continuing to use XAML. With that being said, use the best tool for the job and don’t make it a religious war! I have also heard concerns about the apparent shift from Silverlight, but it is just a change in run-time. The technologies used to write Silverlight applications, XAML and C#, are still a major focus and will be for a long time.

That leaves many Silverlight and WPF developers looking to use their XAML and C# skills to make Windows 8 Store apps. I’m going to discuss this exact process, what to expect and provide my personal experience during my VSLive session. Spoiler alert: Your existing skills port nicely! I’ll dig into the async shift, new user experience features in Windows 8 and what it’s like to actually port an application. There are considerations like navigation, controls, app model, designing for touch, animations, transitions, visual states, file & storage APIs, and validation. None of those are deal breakers though. My process of getting into XAML was with WPF first, then Silverlight, then Silverlight for Windows Phone and now Windows 8 Store apps. Each step meant a different run-time and various platform adjustments. As anyone with time in our industry realizes, things change rapidly. This is just the next step in our learning process and I happen to be thoroughly enjoying creating Windows 8 Store apps.

If you’re interested in coming to my session and want to save $300 on @VSLive Orlando? Register before the Early Bird deadline on 11/7: http://bit.ly/VOSPK17Reg

I have the pleasure of speaking at the Chippewa Valley Code Camp 2012 on November 3, 2012.

How HTML Makes YOU a Windows 8 App Dev Already!

Are you a web developer? Your toolset makes you a Windows 8 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 Windows Store App patterns, navigation, async, and operating system integration.

Find more information at http://chippewavalleycodecamp.com/

I have the honor of speaking at VSLive Orlando from December 12-14th. I get to speak on two topics, which are

Going from Silverlight or WPF to Metro

So you learned Silverlight and WPF, but now Metro is the scene. Fear not! Those XAML and C# skills are extremely useful. Let Greg walk you through some of the changes when moving to Metro/XAML. Come see what additional considerations are needed for creating a Metro application. You know you’re curious to see if you can hit the ground running, so come see if that is indeed the case!

You will learn:
• What the breaking changes are from Silverlight and WPF to Metro/XAML.
• If your previous skills will pay off.
• What additional considerations need to be handled for Metro applications

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.

You will learn:
• How to use Azure notifications with Windows 8 and Windows Phone
• How to use Azure storage with Windows 8 and Windows Phone
• How Metro applications can benefit from the Azure Service Bus

To get all of the information and register, please visit  http://bit.ly/VOSPK17

I hope to see you there!

On October 10th, 2012 I’ll be presenting at the Fox Valley .NET Users Group. I hope to see you there and have some great discussions.

Developing Windows 8 Store Apps (formerly Metro Apps)

Getting started with a new technology can sometimes have its hurdles. Greg will help eliminate those obstacles, whether you’re interested in the HTML/JS side or the XAML/C# side, come see what it means to develop Windows 8 Store Apps (formerly Metro Apps). He will discuss the tools, changes, new features and how your existing tool set carries over into this new platform. There will be plenty of demos and resources, so don’t miss out!

I have the pleasure of being part of the .NET Rocks! Road Trip while they stop in Chicago on September 29th, 2012. Below is an excerpt from the event’s website.

With the release of Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8 they decided to get a bigger RV and do it again but this time we’re taking advantage of them. On 9/29 .NET Rocks and That Conference are throwing a special 1 day only free event. Attendees have a day to immerse themselves in Windows 8, Visual Studio Azure and at the end watch a live recording of .NET Rocks. This is great opportunity for anyone interested in the Microsoft platform.

Get all of the details for the Chicago event at http://oneday.thatconference.com/

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 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!