Tag Archives: Microsoft

Get Ready for Windows 10: Learning Universal Windows App Development

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Windows 10 is coming this summer! It’s even already available in preview today. With it comes a huge opportunity for developers to build apps once for the Universal Windows Platform and deploy/publish these apps to Windows phones, phablets, small tablets, full tablets, hybrids, 2-in-1’s, netbooks, ultrabooks, notebooks, laptops, desktops and even servers. You’ll also be able to use the same apps/code when running Windows on IoT devices like the Raspberry Pi 2, and soon enough you’ll be able to publish those same apps on Xbox One! But the main question is:

Are you ready for Windows 10?

The BUILD 2015 conference starts in less than a week and you’ll be able to watch live streams of countless sessions to bring you up to speed on many development topics, from the cloud to mobile development, including IoT and game development.

You probably want to capitalize on this new wave of Windows 10 opportunities, but many of you may not be too familiar with app development for Windows devices. Fortunately there is a way for you to catch-up, and fast. And the best part is it’s completely free. It’s called Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Successful technologists never stop learning and great technology never stops evolving. Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online Microsoft training delivered by experts to help technologists continually learn, with hundreds of Microsoft training courses, in 14 different languages. MVA’s mission is to help developers, knowledgeable IT professionals and advanced students learn the latest technology, build their skills, and advance their careers.

With hundreds of free courses in MVA, it can be quite a daunting task to get started. Which course should you take? This blog post is your learning guide, providing you with the roadmap you need to learn Universal Windows App development, and get ready for Windows 10.

I’ve outlined the recommended courses based on your current skill level. Feel free to dive in at the level that is most appropriate for you:

  • Absolute Beginners
  • Beginner / Intermediate-level App Developers (Windows Store or Windows Phone)
  • Experienced / Published Mobile App Developers on Windows

To help you get started with the tools you need, make sure to read my Ultimate Guide & FAQ to Setting-up a Windows Phone Development Environment.

ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS

Start with this section if you’re completely new to programming, or if you are completely new to app development in general.

C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners
Want to learn a different language? Over the course of 25 episodes, our friend Bob Tabor, from www.LearnVisualStudio.net, teaches you the fundamentals of visual C# programming. Tune in to learn C# concepts applicable to video games, mobile environments, and client applications. We walk you through getting the tools, writing code, debugging features, customizations, and much more! Each concept in this C# for beginners course is broken into its own video so you can search for and focus on the information you need.

Introduction to Mobile App Development
Nothing motivates students more than building an app that they care about and that they can immediately see, use, and share. Get insights from Windows Platform Developer MVP​ Lance McCarthy, as he teaches students to build a mobile app using Windows App Studio and to then extend and enhance the app using Visual Studio. Students learn the basics of the app ecosystem and Software Development Lifecycle. They also learn about code modification and additional basic app coding skills, including the topics of variables, simple data types, conditional programming constructs, and simple library classes. This course addresses AP Computer Science learning requirements.

Windows Phone 8.1 Development for Absolute Beginners
Join Bob Tabor (LearnVisualStudio.NET) for this 9+ hour series as he covers Windows Phone UI with XAML layout and events, navigation model, application lifecycle, and working with the Windows Phone Emulator. This course focuses on Windows Phone development for beginners as Tabor explores understanding XAML, MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) and HTML apps in the WebView. Get details about storage, maps, animations, and media (video/audio with the MediaElement control). Build five apps, covering a range of scenarios, from media playback to hosted HTML, from accessing geolocation data and mapping to extending your Windows Phone app to become a universal Windows/Windows Phone app. These Windows Phone development tutorials will build a firm foundation for your future in mobile app development.

BEGINNER / INTERMEDIATE-LEVEL WINDOWS PHONE or WINDOWS STORE DEVELOPERS

Start with this section if you are an experienced developer but new to app development on Windows, or if you have some experience with Windows Phone and/or Windows Store development but your knowledge is spotty.

Building Apps for Windows Phone 8.1 Jump Start
If you’re an app developer who wants to design and build apps for Windows Phone 8.1 using XAML and C#, check out this two-and-a-half day, on-demand course, taught by experts with years of experience developing—and writing about the process. The sessions focus on building apps for Windows Phone 8.1 in Visual Studio and creating universal app projects that share a high percentage of code and that target both Windows and Windows Phone. Get tips and tricks on maximizing your app compatibility and optimizing your code. Find out about new features, and learn how to program the many new Windows Runtime APIs that are available to both Windows Store apps and to Windows Silverlight apps. You can even get code samples. Want to build an app? Watch this course and make your apps for Windows Phone world-ready!

Developing Universal Windows Apps with C# and XAML
Get real-world guidance for developing creating universal Windows apps, and save yourself valuable time when creating developing an apps for today’s mobile workforce and consumer marketplace. Learn from Microsoft experts as they build a working app using XAML and C# development tools and techniques that can give you a dramatic advantage as a developer when targeting both Windows and Windows Phone devices. See what’s smart to share and what’s not, when developing for the two platforms. Explore a broad range of features, covering both consumer and enterprise scenarios. Jerry Nixon and Daren May bring together best practices and key insights from Microsoft internal teams, including the built-in code-generation tools in Visual Studio that can automatically build out hundreds of classes and thousands of lines of code.

EXPERIENCED / PUBLISHED MOBILE DEVELOPERS ON WINDOWS

So you’ve published some apps already and you think you’re an expert? I bet you can still learn a thing or two. Check out these MVA courses and feel free to pick & choose the individual modules that interest you the most. In any case, make sure to watch the last MVA course listed here: A Developer’s Guide to Windows 10 Preview.

Azure Mobile Services and API Management
Want your business to compete in a mobile first, cloud first world? Microsoft Azure can help. For example, Turnkey API Management capabilities help you share APIs with partners securely, and Mobile Services help you to build enterprise-grade mobile experiences for consumers and employees alike, in record time. Get the details and helpful tips from the experts, in this practical course.

Windows 8.1 Developer Training: Geek Edition Jump Start
HTML and XAML developers, are you ready to start having fun with Windows 8.1? Join Microsoft experts for an on-demand version of the highly successful dive deep into the gadget and devices side of Windows 8.1. Explore 3D printing, the LEGO EV3 platform (and how to use it from Bluetooth and USB), how to get speech out of your modern app, and more. See some exciting demos, and find out about awesome new features in both HTML and XAML. Build on your core skills, take advantage of everything Windows 8.1 has to offer, and dive into the Internet of Things (IoT).

While the whole course is definitely interesting, allow me to call out these specific modules to round-out your Windows app development knowledge:

  • Module 4 – Speech, Camera and Microphone
  • Module 7 – Bluetooth Overview
  • Module 10 – Performance

Universal Windows App Development with Cortana and the Speech SDK
Want to add Cortana to your app? Whether you’re into speech integration technology for accessibility, social responsibility, or gaming (or all of the above!), you’re probably excited about the possibilities that Cortana offers for Windows Phone developers today and Windows 10 app developers in the near future. Mobility pioneer Nick Landry and popular author/teacher Jeremy Foster share their practical experience in computer speech technologies and mobile app development scenarios. Explore the why and how of speech apps, tour Cortana, and review the capabilities of the Speech SDK in Windows and Windows Phone. Work with speech synthesis, look at integrating Cortana into your app, check out voice commands, and find out how to build speech-enabled mobile apps with Visual Studio for Windows devices. You’d be surprised at what you can do with as little as three lines of code!

A Developer’s Guide to Windows 10
Want an in-depth look at the Universal Windows Platform? Engaging experts Jerry Nixon and Andy Wigley return to show you how Windows capabilities and social integration can help you create amazing experiences on devices running Windows 10, including phones, tablets, PCs, and even (coming soon) Xbox! Jerry and Andy host three demo-rich days of Windows 10 goodness, explore cool new features, and offer practical guidance. Each session lasts about 30 minutes, so you can join us for the topics that interest you most.

Are you already one of 3 million students who cannot get enough of Microsoft Virtual Academy? What are your favorite courses? Who are your favorite instructors? Are there other courses you would like to recommend to your fellow students in addition to this list? Make sure to let me know in the comments below, or contact me on Twitter at @ActiveNick.

CortanaMVAPresenters

Internet of Things Expo Power Panel with Microsoft, IBM, Kaazing, LogMeIn & Aria

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by Nick Landry

I recently had the pleasure of joining a team of experts on the Things Expo Power Panel about the Internet of Things (IoT). The panel was recorded on Monday June 9, right before the Internet of Things Expo – which is part of SYS-CON’s Cloud Expo – which was held June 10-12 2014 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

In this Internet of Things Expo Power Panel, conference chair Roger Strukhoff led a discussion with several industry experts on how the future of computing lies in things and how, as computing takes a much more active role in our lives, it will at the same time become much more invisible. We discuss various company strategies for IoT, the effects of Moore’s Law on IoT, how to connect all these billions (or trillions?) of things in a realistic manner, how can companies get started, and much more.

The panelists were:

You can watch the panel on YouTube here or using the embedded player below:

Here are a few of the things that I mentioned in the panel:

Also, make sure to watch my interview with Kevin Benedict about Microsoft strategy in the Internet of Things recorded the very next day. Watch it here.

Where do you stand in the issues discussed in the panel? What does the Internet of Things mean to you? Is your company a player in that space? 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.

Join ActiveNick for Studio Time in New Jersey + New Win8 Dev Contest

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What is Studio Time?

Studio Time – also known as Office Hours – is a block of time set aside to allow Windows Phone & Windows 8 developers to work on their apps/games and get some help and guidance in technical areas or with their app UX, design, and marketing. This is also a good opportunity for you to do some real user testing or get some guidance and feedback on how to improve the overall functionality and/or aesthetic of your applications.

This work session is the first of many I will be hosting at the Microsoft Iselin office in New Jersey. Studio Time sessions are open to anyone looking for some time and help to finish their project before publishing, or work on driving more downloads for their apps and games. Formal presentations are NOT held during office hours and these events will remain unstructured. Office hours will typically open at 4:00PM but feel free to arrive when you want. Check the schedule on the New Jersey Windows & Windows Phone Dev Meetup site for the exact schedule and hours.

Cross-platform developers who work on iOS and Android as well as the Windows device platforms are welcome – whether they use native tools or PhoneGap, Xamarin or various game engines. Note that Studio Time is about guidance, learning, sharing & testing. This is NOT a premier-level technical support service. If you have some esoteric bug or technical issue for which you cannot find any help online, don’t expect miracles during Studio Time.

If you have any questions about Studio Time, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Please RSVP for Studio Time

Your name must be added to the building security list so please RSVP and do not show-up unannounced. Since there is a limited number of seats, please keep your RSVP up-to-date. If you RSVP and later realize you cannot make it, please cancel your spot as a courtesy to the event host and other attendees.

To RSVP and get the Studio Time schedule, times & location, visit my Meetup page. I will be adding more sessions over the following weeks and months. Join the Meetup to stay informed.

Microsoft’s Best App a Month Contest

I also want to let you know about a new contest we are running from March to June 2014 that might be of interest to some of you working on your Windows 8  apps. It’s called Microsoft’s Best App a Month Contest.

We want to find and showcase cool and innovative apps and games on the Windows 8 platform. Have you created something recently we should know about and have attended one Studio Time that month? Do you have an idea for a cool Windows 8 app or game and you’re just getting started? If so, enter your app / game into the Best App A Month Contest, where you could win a new Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet.

Who Can Enter

Legal residents of the US and DC 18 years and older who attend at least one monthly in-person Microsoft app development session (aka Studio Time) in an eligible location. I will be hosting the Iselin, NJ location. The other locations are New York City, Boston, Rochester, Atlanta, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Washington DC.

How to Enter

Publish an app during one of the Monthly Prize Periods Mar-Jun 2014 and submit your entry via the city-specific web site form. Note that since Studio Time is only starting now in the Iselin, NJ office, the March & April entries will be combined for the April prize.

Entry form for Iselin, NJ: http://aka.ms/BAMnj

Prizes & How to Win

One winner will be chosen from each location each month using the following criteria:

  • Use of modern design and features
  • Performs as described without crashing
  • Originality and uniqueness
  • Use of Azure cloud services or storage

Prizes: Each monthly winning developer will receive a Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Tablet (ARV $299).

Terms & Conditions: You can win more than once in each city, but you cannot win in more than one city. This Contest starts at 12:01 A.M. Pacific Time (PT) on March 1, 2014, and ends at 11:59 P.M. PT on June 30, 2014 and will consist of monthly prize periods and participating locations. Important: For the Iselin, NJ location, the months of March & April will be combined into a single prize, then followed by separate prizes for May and June. Please read the terms and conditions for more details.

Good luck! Get started with your Windows 8 apps and I’m looking forward to seeing you at my upcoming Studio Time sessions. Please feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @ActiveNick or in the comments below with any questions you may have.

ActiveNick Assimilated by the Microsoft Collective

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Yes, it’s true. Yesterday, I have officially joined Microsoft as a Senior Technical Evangelist in the DPE East Region Audience Team, specifically covering the New York Metro and New Jersey area.

This move has been a long time in the making. I started my professional career back in 1992 as a programmer-analyst working with Microsoft QBX (QuickBASIC Extended) and Visual Basic 1.0. I became a Microsoft Certified Professional in 1995 and MCSD in 1997. I started speaking about Microsoft technologies at developer events in 1996 and have to date presented more than 200 talks in several countries. Five of my seven employers before Microsoft have been Microsoft Certified Partners. I was named Microsoft Regional Director in Montreal back in 1997. I started specializing in Microsoft mobility products back in 2002 and became an MVP in 2005 – an award that I have received 10 years in a row.

I could go on and on…

The bottom line is that I owe my entire 22-year career to Microsoft. This is where I feel at home and an opportunity was presented to me to join the evangelism team here in NY/NJ and I happily took it. I’m super excited to join Microsoft and continue my community work, this time in an official capacity.

My New Role

As a member of the Technical Evangelism team, we work with students, developers and IT pros to help them learn, adopt and use the Microsoft developer platform to design and build the next generation of apps for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows Azure. I will organize and speak at events, user groups, meetups, code camps, conferences and such. I’ll keep on blogging and writing. I’ll produce training material, samples, starter kits and videos. I will of course be talking about other technologies as well, some from Microsoft, some from partners, and some from competitors. Microsoft plays well with others and I love to demonstrate it.

I invite you to also follow me on Twitter at @ActiveNick and also follow my colleagues from the NY Metro Team:

I know that many of you will think that I will lose my objectivity, that my word can’t be trusted anymore because I’ll be biased. The truth is I was always biased in favor of Microsoft technologies because it’s what I always specialized in. But I also made sure to not just blindly agree with Microsoft on all things. Those that know me or have seen my talks know full well I call it as it is. Microsoft makes mistakes, just like Nokia, Apple, Google or Amazon also do. And Microsoft makes awesome technologies, and so do Nokia, Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and others. I always tried to be honest and set developers on the right path, not necessarily the Microsoft path. Nothing changes in my book.

Always remember that I don’t like the products because I joined Microsoft. I joined Microsoft because I like the products.

Please, as you read my blog over the coming months and years, know that everything I say here is my own opinion. My viewpoints are my own, and not those of Microsoft or my colleagues. Feel free to quote me, but when you do, you are quoting Nick Landry, NOT Microsoft.

Introduce Yourselves

If you’re a developer in the NY / NJ area, please introduce yourself in the comments below. Hopefully I will get to meet all of you in the coming months and years. If you’re a regular follower of mine on Twitter, in prior blogs or at conferences, you’re welcome to introduce yourself too, no matter where you’re from. You can also say hi on Twitter at @ActiveNick.

Working and engaging with all of you is the best part of my job. Thank you for being such an awesome community.

Q&A

Q: Will you still be a Microsoft MVP on Windows Phone Development?

A: No. MVPs are always external to Microsoft. I had a great 10-year run as MVP with Windows Phone Development (and Windows Mobile Dev before that) and it’s time for me to continue my community work from the inside.

Q: Can I have your MVP spot?

A: You can try, but it’s not up to me. Good luck!

Q: Who will be the new Nokia Developer Ambassador for NY, NJ, PA and Mid-Atlantic states?

A: Me! I am continuing my role with Nokia since it is perfectly in sync with my role at Microsoft. With Microsoft acquiring the Nokia Devices Division this year, I suspect things will merge over time and it’ll just be business as usual for me. As Nokia Developer Ambassador, I have a wider territory covering the states of NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV & KY. If you’re a Windows Phone or Windows 8 developer in these states, please introduce yourself below.

Q: Will you still cover non-Microsoft technologies in your blog and conference presentations?

A: Yes. Maybe not as much as I used to, but I strongly believe in the cross-platform nature of the mobile space. My favorite platform has always been Windows Phone, but I also cover Windows 8 of course. I’m also proficient with iOS, Android, Xamarin, PhoneGap, jQuery Mobile and other technologies. I plan on covering a wide range of mobile technologies on my blog and at events. Ultimately, my goal is not to pull you away from other platforms. A true mobile developer should know iOS, Android and Windows.

Q: Does the implant hurt?

A: Not really. I tried to avoid it but I was told that resistance is futile.

Q: I run a User Group / Meetup in the NY / NJ area. Will you come and speak to our members?

A: Sure. Introduce yourself in the comments below or contact me on Twitter at @ActiveNick

Q: Where will you be speaking next?

A: Check out my Events Page for up-to-date info about scheduled events & appearances, and links to past events, sessions materials and demos.

 

Got other questions for me? Ask away in the comments below.

Cheers!

Nick