Want to get a jump start on developing Universal Windows Apps with C# and XAML?

Sign up for this free virtual event:
Developing Universal Windows Apps (C#/XAML) Jump Start

This free course will last 2 days: Sept 30-Oct 1 from 9am to 5pm PDT (get it in your time zone).

COURSE OUTLINE:

  • Designing a Universal Experience
  • Getting Started
  • Client Foundation
    Client Views
  • MVVM Techniques
  • Windows Store Features
  • Location and Maps
  • Enterprise Features

The Dev Center Benefits program is designed to accelerate your success on the Microsoft platform by helping you develop, improve and market your apps with a variety of offers and tools and is available to all registered developers worldwide of all experience levels and platforms.

You will receive technical, design, publishing, and marketing offers to help build and promote your app.

Register now for free:
https://devcenterbenefits.windows.com/

There are 3 levels in the program:

  • Explorer, gets you started quickly with design and architecture guidance and consulting help from a Microsoft expert, Gift Cards, and Dev Center registration fee.

  • Expert
    , helps you reach more users faster with advertising offers, a publishing contract, and more.

  • Master
    , unlocks VIP access to developer marketing and support, SDK early access and more.

Developers move from Explorer to Expert, then to Master as your apps get more downloads, higher revenue, better ratings, and improved app experiences.

Microsoft seems to be taking over DVLUP…


Good news, Microsoft has removed the one year renewal fees ($19), which means that Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 developers can keep their apps in their respective stores for as long as they want.

So having both a Windows and Windows Phone developer account is now a one-time lifelong Dev Center registration fee!

Then you are able to submit apps to both the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store for as long as you want with no annual renewal fee.


 

Really glad that more XAML events comes to Montreal:

Beyond Tiles Design Integration Workshop Tour in Canada

“Join us again in this second wave of the Beyond Tiles Workshop and learn advanced design integration techniques to produce pixel perfect Windows and Windows Phone user interfaces. Replicate the original vision of designers with fidelity by following best practices as implemented by the Windows Phone design studio and leading agencies in the Microsoft ecosystem.”
 
Previous experience developing Windows and/or Windows Phone apps is required.

What can I Expect?

In this hands-on workshop you will be able to explore the process of taking a set of high fidelity comps provided by a designer and translate those to Blend and Visual Studio with pixel perfection quality. You will learn techniques for exporting vector and bitmap assets from Expression Design into Blend and to define the right layout panels to host your UI. You will also learn how to skin controls and design lists. The goal is to achieve perfection when translating comps to UI. You should already be familiar with Blend, Visual Studio and XAML in general

What will I Achieve?

In the morning you will learn different Design Integration techniques with the help of a couple design experts. In the afternoon you will put this learning to the test with a hands on workshop where you will be provided with a couple UIs for Windows and Windows Phone. You will then take these UIs and turn them into high fidelity UIs in Blend – all with XAML.

What Should I Bring?

This is a workshop: bring your laptop! You will need Expression Design (download for free at www.microsoft.com/expression) and Visual Studio with both Windows and Windows Phone SDKs. When installing Visual Studio make sure Blend for Visual Studio is also installed. If you need a free version of Visual Studio you can download and install from here: http://www.visualstudio.com/downloads/download-visual-studio-vs (install both Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows and Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone).

How much does it cost?

This is a complimentary event‚ specifically offered to support the Canadian design and developer community.

 

More info and registration (Montreal):

https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032586215&Culture=en-CA&community=0

 

See you there!


Windows 8.1 Update 1 has been announced last week at Microsoft Build 2014 conference.

It is free and already available for MSDN subscribers, and for everybody else on April 8th via Windows Update.

 

This update is mainly for mouse and keyboard users.

Microsoft finally realized that pushing touch features to everybody was definitely not a good choice, and lead to the low Windows 8 adoption that we all know.

This update is what Windows 8 should have been since day 1, and it would have help with adoption for sure.

The fact is 90% of people don’t have a touch PC (and probably don’t care about touch) so migrating to Windows 8 has been very painful for them, if ever considered.

Anyway this is a good thing, 2 updates later and MS is finally doing it right with Windows 8!

 

Some of the new features of Windows 8 Update 1:

  • Boot to Desktop: it was introduced by Windows 8.1, but it is now the default for non touch systems (staring at the obvious… )
  • Power and Search Buttons on Start (Ok now I am not ashamed anymore to show someone how to shutdown a Win8 PC… going to settings menu to shutdown a PC… WTF!!??)
  • Modern Apps on the Taskbar (more integration and coherence between desktop and modern apps, good thing)
  • Desktop clicks don’t open modern apps anymore (I was so tired of this…)
  • Title Bars for modern apps, with minimize and close buttons.

All in all I am *very* happy with this update for my laptop, where I never really use modern apps.

In the opposite, I really enjoy Modern Apps on my touch devices and Surface.

Starting with this update I think the dual mode of Windows 8 really works.

 

Scott Hanselman did an awesome quick video walk-through of the new features of Windows 8.1 Update 1:


Notable announcements of day 2

Microsoft Azure (some of the new features…)

  • Awesome new Azure portal (preview today) with customizable new dashboard, Online service and Application Insights integration, …
  • Staging server with single click swap for production deployment
  • Create/manage Azure Virtual machines directly in Visual Studio, including support for remote debugging (allow you to attach the local debugger to processes running on the VM)
  • Azure Web Sites
    • SSL certificates free for all web sites!
    • Support for Java
    • Autoscale
    • Traffic Manager
    • Backup
  • SQL Databases
    • Self-service restore with daily automatic backups (up to 31 days)
    • Max size is now 500 GB (up from 150 GB)
    • Active geo replication
  • Mobile Services
    • Notification Hub with push notifications to any mobile device including Kindle now
    • Office 365 integration with Active Directory support
    • Offline data synchronization
    • Remote debugging

Open Source

  • Roslyn, the .NET compiler platform, is now an open source project on CodePlex! (good for Xamarin!)
  • New broader initiative called .NET Foundation to showcase the multiple .NET components available as open source (24 .NET open source projects so far)

 

Note: I had never before seen so many iOS, Android and Java logos in a MS conference… and it’s a good sign! MS is now a cloud + services company. Even John Gruber appeared in a promo video during the keynote.

 

Watch the entire keynote online:
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/KEY02

Read the official press release:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/events/build/


build

Notable announcements of day 1

Universal apps

  • New model in VS2013 update 2 to create apps for both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1, and later Xbox One as well (so “Universal” in the terms of Windows…)
  • So today you can create an app that shares XAML, C#/C++, Javascript code across your Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 projects.
  • A new touch version of Office is being written as an universal app
  • “Shared app identities” allows users to purchase an app once and use it on Windows and Phone!

Windows 8.1 Update

  • Series of enhancements for better mouse/keyboard integration with Metro and the desktop (at last!!)
  • Default boot to desktop mode for non touch systems!
  • Desktop: Pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar, right-click context menus, …
  • Start menu is back with vengeance and tiles support!
  • Windows free for 9” and less screen devices!

Windows Phone 8.1

  • Cortana (beta): new digital personal assistant for WP8.1, replacing the bing search button (good riddance!!)
  • More customizable lock screen + API
  • Action Center, a pull down notification bar that allows quick access to app info and settings
  • Support for multi-sim phones
  • New workflow keyboard with swipe interface
  • Support for Bluetooth LE (i.e. Fitbit)
  • New Nokia devices: Lumia 630 (with on-screen buttons) and Lumia 930

The 15 minutes mandatory video!

Introducing Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update

 

Watch the entire keynote online:
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/KEY01

Read the official press release:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/events/build/


As you probably know, Build conference starts tomorrow and I have 18 sessions in my schedule, it’s gonna be a fun week!!!

If like me you’re passionate about XAML, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Store App development, I have curated this list of sessions just for you (and me…):

Let the fun begin!