Category Archives: Event

Live from Kiev: Building Mobile Cross-Platform Apps in C# with Xamarin

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I love the Xamarin Platform. And not just because we just announced that Microsoft is acquiring Microsoft. I’ve been working with Xamarin technologies – and the Mono Framework – for years now. It’s one of the primary topics I’ve covered at major software conferences in the US, Canada and other countries. From VSLive, DevIntersection, DevTeach, CodePalousa to countless Meetups, user groups, and code camps, developers everywhere – especially .NET developers – want to learn how they can reuse their C# skills to build apps for iOS, Android and Windows while sharing 75% or more of their code.

Last October  I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at Dev Day Kiev in Ukraine, talking about Xamarin and also Azure App Services. I was fortunate enough that the sessions were filmed and recorded, and I’m here to tell you how to watch it.

Session Overview

Building native applications across multiple platforms is hard. iOS requires knowledge of Xcode, the iOS SDK and Objective-C or Swift. Android requires Eclipse Android Studio, the Android SDK and Java. The Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform requires Visual Studio, C# and the UWP/WinRT SDK. Are we really expected to learn all of this? You can take the HTML5 & Cordova route, but not all apps should be built using a hybrid approach. If you want to create a truly competitive app with a premium experience, you’ll need to go native. Fortunately, there is a way you can share a lot of your code across mobile platforms and do so using the C# language you already know and love.

Xamarin is a powerful toolset that allows developers to write native Android and iOS apps using C#, thanks to the Mono framework – an Open Source project that brings the C# language and .NET to other platforms. This session explores how you can build cross-platform applications for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 using C#. You’ll learn how to get started with a sample cross-platform solution, which tools you can use, how to design a proper user interface for each platform and how to structure your projects for maximum code reuse. We’ll also look at how you can share UI code with Xamarin.Forms. Native mobile development doesn’t have to be so hard. Come learn how your .NET skills can be transformed for true cross-platform development.

Watch the Video

Remember that this is a live session recorded in Ukraine, but it’s all in English. You can watch the session on Channel 9 or using the embedded player below:

Get the Slides

If you want to view or download the slides from this session, you can get them on my SlideShare or embedded below.

Demos and Other Reference Links

If you have questions on how to get started or want to discuss this topic, you can find me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. Be sure to let me know once you publish some C# apps – on any platform – I’d love to check them out and help you promote them.

Event Session – Building Universal Windows Apps for Smartphones and Tablets with XAML & C#

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by Nick Landry

The “Blue Wave” is in full swing. Thanks to the new Universal Windows app templates in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, it is now easier than ever to build mobile apps for both Windows Store and Windows Phone. Developers are curious about the new features and I’ve been touring around speaking at events to spread the word about Universal Windows apps.

I recently presented this talk at Philly Code Camp 2014 last weekend, at the Microsoft Mobile App Devs of New Jersey (MMAD) Meetup and NYC .NET Developers Group.

Session Description

This session is your fast track into the wonderful new world of app development for Windows device. Come learn how your valuable C# skills now make you a hot mobile developer for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. We’ll perform a quick lap around Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 and the new Windows Universal Apps, build our first app using XAML & C#, and debug it with Windows 8.1 and the Windows Phone Emulator. We’ll then explore the converged WinRT API services and features, such as touch input, accelerometers, Live Tiles, etc. We’ll also spend valuable time going over the new app model for Windows device apps, how to share code between phone and tablet, and how to build a converged UI in XAML for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone. Lastly we’ll go over the app packaging and how to submit your Universal apps to the Windows Store. The converged Windows Platform is more efficient and far-reaching than ever. Come learn how to build mobile apps for hundreds of millions of Windows device users.

Session Slides

You can view & download the slides for this talk from my Slideshare account here, or you can use the embedded viewer below.

Session Demos

You can download the demos and samples for this session using the links below:

Session Links and Resources

If you have questions about this session, you can ask them in the comments section below or contact me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. If you’re interested in inviting me to present this talk at your event or meetup, you can reach me via my contact form here.

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Event Session – Beyond Cortana & Siri: Using Speech Recognition & Speech Synthesis for the Next Generation of Mobile Apps

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by Nick Landry

Speech is probably the topic I’m most passionate about when it comes to app development (ok, I have a soft spot for GIS too). From HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Joshua in WarGames, to Star Trek computers, Siri and Cortana, having conversations with a semi-sentient computer using natural language and speech is probably the ultimate frontier of technology. But speech can also be a responsibility for us developers to make sure our apps are usable by all, and to keep our users – and those around them – safe. This talk is one of my favorite. It’s about using Speech Recognition & Speech Synthesis to build the next generation of mobile apps.

I recently presented this talk at Philly Code Camp 2014 last weekend, and at the Microsoft Mobile App Devs of New Jersey (MMAD) Meetup. I’ve also presented it at Internet Week NY 2014 last month, and I’ve done variations of this talk at other events in the past including VSLive, CodePalousa, DevTeach, DVLUP Day Boston and M3 Conference.

Session Description

Our society has a problem. Individuals are hooked on apps, phones, tablets and social networking. We created these devices and these apps that have become a core part of our lives but we stopped short. We failed to recognize some of the problematic situations where our apps are used. People are texting, emailing and chatting while driving. Pedestrians walk into busy intersections and into sidewalk hazards because they refuse to put their phone down. We cannot entirely blame them. We created a mobile revolution, and now we just can’t simply ask them to put it on hold when it’s not convenient. It’s almost an addiction and too often it has led to fatal results.

Furthermore, mobile applications are not always easy to work with due to the small screen and on-screen keyboard. Other people struggle to use traditional computing devices due to handicaps. Using our voice is a natural form of communication amongst humans. Ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey, we’ve been dreaming of computers who can converse with us like HAL9000 or the Star Trek computers. Or maybe you’re part of the new generation of geeks dreaming of Halo’s Cortana? Thanks to the new advances and SDKs for speech recognition and synthesis (aka text-to-speech), we are now several steps closer to this reality. Siri is not the end game, she’s the beginning.

This session explores the design models and development techniques you can use to add voice recognition to your mobile applications, including in-app commands, standard & custom grammars, and voice commands usable outside your app. We’ll also see how your apps can respond to the user via speech synthesis, opening-up a new world of hands-free scenarios. This reality is here, you’ll see actual live cross-platform demos with speech and you can now learn how to do it. Speech support is not just cool or a convenience, it should be a necessity in many apps.

Session Slides

You can view & download the slides for this talk from my Slideshare account here, or you can use the embedded viewer below.

Session Demos

You can download the demos and samples for this session using the links below:

Session Links and Resources

If you have questions about this session, you can ask them in the comments section below or contact me on Twitter at @ActiveNick. If you’re interested in inviting me to present this talk at your event or meetup, you can reach me via my contact form here.

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Live from New York, it’s the Internet of Things!

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by Nick Landry

I’ve been spending the last couple of days at SYS-CON’s Cloud Expo in New York City – which also includes the Internet of Things Expo (amongst others). It’s been fun so far to connect with attendees at the Microsoft booth and discuss all the goodness that is in Microsoft Azure, and I’ll be back there for another day tomorrow. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Benedict from Cognizant and MobileEnterpriseStrategies.com. We sat down for a short interview to discuss the Internet of Things, how Microsoft plays in that space, where things have been, where things are going, and also discuss some cool scenarios. The possibilities are truly endless.

You can watch the interview right here below. I’ve also included various links to some of the topics discussed at the bottom of this post.

Links from the Interview

What does the Internet of Things mean to you? Are you a maker? What cool ideas do you have for connecting “things” with devices, computers and the cloud? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @ActiveNick.

Announcing Nokia DVLUP Day New York City: March 22

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Learn to make amazing Windows Phone apps at Nokia DVLUP Day in New York City on Saturday March 22, 2014 and win big prizes just for participating. Join Nokia Developer Ambassadors Nick Landry & Lance McCarthy, as well as several Microsoft Technical Evangelists, as they provide hands-on Windows Phone development training in a dynamic and fun event. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or barely know how to code, you will walk away with the ability to write a mobile app.

With full sample source code and step-by-step instructions, you will learn how to make an app or game from scratch, or learn new techniques to enhance your current apps & games. No matter what you want to build – an app or a game – or what your programming skill level is, four individual tracks to choose from means there is something for everyone.

DVLUP Day is a unique community event that combines presentations by Windows Phone experts along with a hands-on workshop to help attendees get started on their apps. BRING YOUR LAPTOP! Work with our experts, get started on your app or game, publish it within 3 weeks after the event and get a free Windows Phone 8 device!

Register for free on Eventbrite here

Location

DVLUP Day New York City will be held on March 22, 2014 at the new Microsoft Office in Manhattan at:

11 Times Square, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Click here for a map and directions

What You Will Receive

As an attendee of DVLUP Day NYC you will be eligible for the following:

  • A Windows Phone 8 device. Every attendee who publishes a new app or game within 3 weeks of the event will get a new Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 device. Developers who update an app or game older than 6 months with significant changes are also eligible.
  • A heavy-duty DVLUP backpack. The first 150 registered attendees to sign-in the morning of the event will receive a swag bag full of goodies, even the backpack itself is worth $89 (it’s a Wenger, Swiss Gear TSA friendly laptop bag). We’ll have swag, t-shirts and other goodies for everyone too.
  • A Nokia Developer Offers token. This is worth hundreds of dollars and contains the following:
    • Microsoft Windows Phone DevCenter account (this is your portal to publish apps to the Windows Phone Store and also unlocks physical devices for building apps)
    • Telerik UI for Windows Phone license
    • Infragistics NetAdvantage for Windows Phone license
    • BugSense Performance Monitoring solution for Windows Phone (3 months)
  • $50 AdDuplex credit (approx. 20,000 ad impressions). AdDuplex is an ideal network to cross-promote your app with others. You’ll learn about AdDuplex in the App Marketing & Advertising lightning talk.

There will be multiple random drawings for all attendees to win a Nokia Lumia “Hero” device of their choice (Lumia 1020, 928, 925, 920) and other prizes. In addition to the phones, we’ll be giving away other prizes from Nokia & Microsoft, including JBL PowerUp Bluetooth Speakers, Xbox ONE and Xbox 360 games, software licenses, gadgets and more. The first drawing will be during the Lightning Talks after the day of training for all attendees. Another drawing will be held near the end of the event in the evening for the attendees who stayed to code and get help during the hands-on workshop.

Breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner will be served. Come see the latest Windows Phone & Windows 8 devices in our device bar, and connect with other developers in the community

Register for free today! This is a unique event you just can’t miss!

DVLUP Day NYC Agenda – March 22, 2014

8:00am – Registration Opens: Continental breakfast & coffee will be served.

9:00am – Opening Session: Introduction from Nokia, meet the experts, housekeeping.

*** 15 min break ***

10:00am – Windows Phone Breakout Sessions: 4 tracks

  • Track 1: App Development – Getting Started & App Studio
  • Track 2: App Development – Maps, Imaging & Cloud Services
  • Track 3: Game Development – Getting Started with Unity
  • Track 4: Game Development – Porting Unity Games to Windows Phone

12:30pm – Lunch Break

1:30pm – Breakout Sessions Continue (same tracks)

*** 15 min break ***

3:00pm –Lightning Talks with Q&A

  • App Design & User Experience
  • Windows Phone Packaging & App Store Submission
  • App Marketing & Advertising

4:00pm – Hands-on workshop begins – All staff on hand to help you get started

6:30pm – Dinner Break

9:30pm – Event Ends

Register for free on Eventbrite here

Track 1: App Development – Getting Started & App Studio

Learn how to write Windows Phone apps with XAML/C# and explore the amazing APIs available to you. See first-hand how to use the powerful tools, Visual Studio and Blend, to produce great apps with amazing UIs. You will also learn how to generate a store-ready Windows Phone app in under an hour using Microsoft App Studio. Learn how to get started with App Studio and have a store ready app without having to write a single line of code. Then take a dive into the downloadable source code to discover how to customize your app further.

Track 2: App Development – Maps, Imaging & Cloud Development

So you’re already experienced with Windows Phone app development and you want to take your apps to the next level. Join us for a deeper dive into some specific SDKs for Windows Phone developers. You’ll learn about location services, maps and how to call Geospatial Information Services (GIS) from your apps. We’ll also explore the Nokia Imaging SDK, letting you easily add advanced imaging effects and filters when dealing with photos in your apps. Finally, we’ll see how your apps can reach leverage Windows Azure to create a custom back-end to store structured and unstructured data in the cloud and deliver a compelling user experiences. We’ll discuss how you can use Windows Azure to extend the on-line presence of your app by building additional channels to showcase your application and interact with your end-users.

Track 3: Game Development – Getting Started with Unity

Learn how to make fun games for Windows Phone using Unity. In this track you will learn how to code casual 2D games for Windows Phone using one of the best game engines and toolset – used by Indies and Pros alike. And the best part is it’s free! Game development is one of the most fun and rewarding forms of software development. If you’ve ever considered writing games, this is your chance to get started.

Track 4: Game Development – Porting Unity Games to Windows Phone

If you’re already an experienced Unity developer and have published games on other platforms like iOS =, Android, PC or others, come join this session to learn how you can reach a whole new audience of gamers on the Windows Phone platform. Learn about adapting your game for touch controls, how to deal with Windows Phone specific considerations, and we’ll even help you to bring your game to the Windows Store too.

Developer Environment Needed

Windows Phone 8 development requires Windows 8.x Pro to install the SDK and emulator. If you’re running Windows 7, you can still build Windows Phone 7.8 apps using the 7.1 SDK. If you’re using a Mac, you can create a Windows 8.x Pro virtualized environment using Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion.

All attendees can build Windows Phone applications using a web browser and Microsoft App Studio, as covered in Track 1.

For more information on getting started, visit http://www.ageofmobility.com/?page_id=961.

See You There!

DVLUP Day was a huge hit with developers in 2013, with stops in Boston, Tampa, Sunnyvale and Vancouver. This is going to be an awesome day in New York City and I look forward to seeing you all there. Just for showing up and learning, you get hooked up. Just for publishing an app, you get hooked up. Mark off that Saturday March 22, register now and come join us.

New Jersey Event: Get Your Windows Phone App Published – Finally!

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Is something stopping you from finishing your Windows Phone app?

Welcome to WPdev Saturday!

I would like to invite you to join me and other Windows Phone community experts for WPdev Saturday on February 22, 2014 in New Jersey for a fun day of mobile app building. WPdev Saturday is an event brought to you by Nokia DVLUP and sponsored by Microsoft.

Why?

The goal is to help you overcome any obstacles that might be preventing you from publishing an app. Whether you’re working on your first app or putting the polish on your 20th, all are welcome. If you do not have any apps in the works, then come and build a Microsoft App Studio app with our help.

When & Where?

Microsoft New Jersey Office – Iselin
101 Wood Ave South, 9th floor
Iselin, NJ 08830

Click for a map and directions

Register on Eventbrite here to reserve your ticket.

Important: This is a very limited seating event and is intended for developers in the NY Metro, NJ, PA and mid-Atlantic states, please do not register if you are 2,000 miles away or do not intend on showing up, you’ll only be taking a seat away from another dev who needs it.

Who?

This event is primarily for developers who have never published apps for Windows Phone. Professionals and students are welcome. We assume that you already got started with Windows Phone development and need some help to cross the finish line. If you need help getting started, see the Preparation section at the bottom of this post. If you’re already a published developer and you’re working on a new app, you can join us too.

While the day is mostly focused on Windows Phone app development, game developers are welcome to join the fun.

We also have some “Sensei slots” for experienced Windows Phone developers who want to join in as Subject Matter Experts (aka Sensei). Sensei must be published developers who want to attend the event primarily to help other developers with their apps.

Important: Do not register as a sensei unless you are qualified and willing to help other attendees. Otherwise, use a regular attendee slot.

DO NOT REGISTER AS A SENSEI AND A DEVELOPER, PICK ONE OR THE OTHER. OTHERWISE YOU ARE TAKING A SPOT ANOTHER DEVELOPER COULD USE. YOU ONLY NEED ONE TICKET PER PERSON.

Schedule

Here is the preliminary schedule (subject to tweaking):

  • 08:00 AM – Registration opens: Caffeine intake session. BYOB (Bring Your Own Breakfast)
  • 09:30 AM – Welcome & DVLUP Walkthrough (30 minutes)
  • 10:00 AM – Build an app in 30 minutes with App Studio (30 minutes): See how to build an app from an idea to publishable in 30 minutes, literally. No joke.
  • 10:30 AM – Hands-on time
  • 12:30 PM – Lunch: Food and snacks will be served
  • 02:00 PM – DevCenter Submission Walkthrough (30 minutes): See just how easy it is to submit and publish an app worldwide
  • 02:30 PM – More hands-on time
  • 07:00 PM – Event closes

The experts /sensei’s will be available to help during the hands-on time. They will be walking around helping and/or attending to requests for help. By the end of the day I fully expect everyone’s apps will be ready and submitted to DevCenter and on its way to the Windows Phone Store.

What you need to bring

  • Willpower! This is not a day to just listen to talks and hang out. This is a day to act, build and publish an app.
  • Laptop: If you need help on an app you already started, bring your laptop dev environment with your app on it.
  • If you want to build an app without any code, bring a laptop that has a modern browser (IE10-11, Chrome). You’ll only need your browser to build and submit the app to the store. If you do not have a Windows Phone, the experts will be able to help you test the app on their phone. You will still need a DevCenter account to publish (see Preparation below).

What we will provide

  • Workspace with Internet access & power
  • Morning coffee & lunch
  • Windows Phone development experts / sensei
  • Test devices: We’ll have a few test phones available on loan for those that need a physical device for testing
  • Prizes / giveaways
  • Fun!

Giveaways

Everyone who attends and publishes their app will be entered to win a “hero” Nokia Lumia (1020, 928, 925, or 920) of their choice, and we have more prizes for attendees, see below. Note that sensei are also eligible for prizes even if they do not publish an app as a “thank you” for their help.

Prize Pool: Anyone that publishes an app on event day is eligible to win

  • 1x Nokia Lumia “Hero” device (i.e. winner’s choice between a 920, 925, 928 or 1020)
  • 2x Nokia Lumia 820 Phone Dev Kits (courtesy of Microsoft)
  • 1x Nokia Qi Wireless Charging Plate
  • Other Nokia DVLUP swag (TBD)

Giveaways: Anyone who attends will get all of these

  • Nokia DVLUP t-shirt
  • Nokia DVLUP USB car adapters
  • Bonus 250 points to spend on DVLUP rewards

I’ll probably have other goodies on-site too like NFC stickers, 8-bit sunglasses for kids, and such. Microsoft will also be bringing some prizes of their own!

Note: If you accept a prize from me, you agree to these terms.

Preparation for the Event

You’ll have a bit of homework to do to get ready for the event:

  • Install the Windows Phone developer tools: See my Getting Started page here.
  • DevCenter Registration: It takes a few days to be accepted as a registered Windows Phone developer. Take care of this now so you’re ready to publish on Feb 22. It only costs $19. Check the offers below if that’s too much for you.
  • Nokia Developer Offers: This package gets you a free DevCenter registration and additional tools from Telerik, Infragistics and others. Get started here.
  • BizSpark: Start your own business as an app developer and apply for BizSpark. You’ll get a free MSDN subscription, free DevCenter registration, free Azure credits and more. Sign-up here.
  • DreamSpark: If you’re a student, sign-up for DreamSpark instead and get many of the same free benefits.
  • Start working on your app: This is highly recommended if you already have an idea. Unless your app idea is very simple, going from start to finish in one day is hard. The more you code ahead of time, the better. If you get stuck, bring your code and your problems and our experts will help you out.

If you have more questions about the event or how to prepare, post them in the comments below.

See you soon!