AzureFest: Saturday, December 11 in Mississauga


Barry GervinAzureFest is an Azure activation community event put on by ObjectSharp featuring ObjectSharp’s Barry Gervin – a great company and a great guy who’ve been a tremendous help to us folks at Microsoft Canada – and it’s taking place on Saturday, December 11th at Microsoft Canada’s HQ in Mississauga (1950 Meadowvale Boulevard, just north of Highway 401 and Mississauga Road). At AzureFest, you’ll get walked through the process of setting up an Azure account and then deploying a simple app. Once you’ve got this under your belt and discovered how painless it can be, you’ll be ready to start building cloud apps and deploying them to Azure!

There will be two AzureFest sessions on Saturday, December 11th:

  • The morning session, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon
  • The afternoon session, which runs from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Registration is FREE! Just visit the AzureFest page for registration details.

A Special AzureFest Bonus for User Groups

If you run a user group, have been thinking about getting into Azure and are looking for a little extra money for your user group events, AzureFest has a deal for you! For each member of your user group that does each of the following:

  • Register for AzureFest
  • Attend AzureFest
  • Activate an Azure account

…your user group will receive $25 from Microsoft! When people register for AzureFest, the registration page will ask them which user group they belong to, so we’ll know how much to give each user group.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Welcome, Frédéric!

Frederic HarperA little while back, we put out some job postings for a couple of developer evangelism positions that had opened up at Microsoft Canada. You might remember my post talking about our search for a developer evangelist based in or around Toronto, and as of this writing, we’re still interviewing people for the position.

We were also looking for a French-speaking developer evangelist based in either the Ottawa or Montreal area, which we talked about in this blog post. We found him – it’s Montreal-based Frédéric Harper!

Fred’s one of the bright lights in Montreal’s tight-knit and very active open source community, participates in all sorts of social tech events around the city (including our Make Web Not War event earlier this year), but also has dabbled with Microsoft technologies. He has a blog, A la Base 2 (“In Base 2”), and its tagline is Parce que le monde n’est fait que de 0 et de 1 (“Because the world isn’t made of zeros and ones”). If you can read French – or perhaps put up with a little machine translation – you should check it out.

Fred announced his joining Microsoft on his blog, and below is my attempt at translating it into English. Please keep in mind that I am not a professional translator or even a student of the French language; I just like to party with mes amis and picked up a little French along the way.

Of the people in the Developer and Platform Evangelism group at Microsoft Canada, I think I’m especially looking forward to working with Fred. We have the same small-company, open source background, and more than a few people have described him as my Quebec counterpart. I’ve been feeling like Beavis without Butt-head (or is it the other way around?) since David Crow’s departure, and I’m looking forward to working with Fred!

And now, Fred’s blog entry:

The king is dead, long live the king

A little pretentious, you say? No – I’m not talking about me; I’m using an expression often used to refer to big changes. Believe me, I have a big change to announce!


TechDays badge that reads "Frederic Harper / Microsoft"The more perceptive reader will have already figured it out after seeing the badge pictured here. Indeed, a change of course is happening in my professional life: I accepted a offer for job tailor-made for me, developer evangelist at Microsoft. This of course means that I’m closing my company,  will thus have understood that brings at the same time the closing of my company À la base 2, because with all the beautiful challenges that await me, I can’t take on any more work once fully ensconced in the company from Redmond (I’m not moving, I will remain in Montreal).

Putting aside these last few months of effort to start my company was not an easy thing to do, especially since things were going well, but this was a once in a lifetime chance! Still, I grew through this experiment and in spite of the fact that I won’t be offer my services, I’d be happy to introduce you to the good people in my network who can help you out.

From now until the end of December, I’ll finish what I’m currently working on and from January 3rd onward, I’ll hold this new position. I’d like to thank all the people who believed in and trusted me! The people who offered me work that I refused without hesitation will know that only an evangelism job could make me change my mind about my career path. I even talked about it in a blog post. about what I wanted to do in 2010

An evangelist? Will you preach the good news?

In some ways – not for some religion, but for Microsoft tools and technologies. I return to my old standby, which I never really left: web development – that’s going to be the area where I’ll specialize. Why did I say that this job was tailor-made for me?

  1. My social side = going to user groups, conferences, Microsoft events…
  2. My technical side = talking to other developers, building apps for examples/presentation…
  3. My gadget-loving side = to try out the company’s new gadgets, products and technologies…
  4. My extrovert side = public speaking and making presentations…
  5. The side of me which likes to learn = my first days will be to learn, at least the broad strokes, the panoply of products, services and technologies that this giant offers…
  6. My “big brother” side = to help developers grow their careers, to get their projects done, to help them with their technological choices…
  7. My “challenger” side = I met my team and some people from Microsoft and they’re easy to get along with, but also very smart. I look forward to the challenge, especially as the new guy on the team, and since I’m replacing Christian Beauclair who’s made quite a mark, and how in spite of my experiment, I still have a multitude of things to learn…

Simply put, this job fits me very well. I talked with a few people about the job while I was considering it, and whether they’d know me for a short of long time, before I even said it was a dream job, said that I was made for the role! Moreover, it’ll make me practice my English and give me the chance to travel across Canada. What more could I ask for? For me, it is really is a “dream job”…

Really? At Microsoft? You?

Seriously, yes! I’m not saying this for the money or to please anyone. Frankly speaking: had you offered my this job four years ago and I would have said, “No, never, not for the Evil Empire!”. It’s easy to poke fun at Microsoft when you’re not all that familiar with it. Four years ago, I didn’t play with any Microsoft tech other than Windows and Internet Explorer. Thanks to my stint at IBI Solutions Inc., I saw the good things about the company and their products. At Make Web Not War last year, I could see a sincere change of attitude and that the company listened. I want to belong to this change!

It’s just the beginning!

It is indeed only the beginning! The beginning of a new adventure for me. The beginning of several beautiful challenges that I will face. The beginning of my first job at a large company. And of course the return of this web site to a simple blog, as it was at the beginning.

From now until I start at Microsoft in 2011, I won’t be talking much about this, because my full attention will be devoted to my current project, but I’ll share my thoughts on this change in due time. And of course, you’ll hear me talking more often about Microsoft, but I’ll still be the same Fred you always knew…they hired me in spite of knowing all about me, the fools!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Montreal Coffee and Code: Thursday, November 25th

montreal coffee and codeCoffee and Code Montreal takes place tomorrow (Thursday, November 25th) at the Second Cup at 2020 University. It starts at run 11:00 a.m. and runs until about 5:00 p.m.

Coffee and Code is a way for you to get in touch with us in an informal setting. Rather than work out of an office, at Coffee and Code, we work out of a cafe, where we can easily be found, enjoy some nice caffeinated beverages and talk with other developers and IT pros about all sorts of things. I’m going to be talking about Windows Phone 7, but a number of my Microsoft colleagues will also be there, and they’d be happy to talk to you about all sorts of things, from Microsoft platform goodies like Windows, Windows Server, Azure, Internet Explorer, SharePoint, IIS, Internet Explorer and more, to more general topics, from programming to the tech industry to career opportunities.

If you’re in the neighbourhood, please drop by and join us for a coffee!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


“Building Awesome Apps for Windows 7” Simulcast Tonight!

building awesome apps for windows 7Tonight’s the night of the Building Awesome Apps for Windows 7 simulcast featuring super-smart super-talented developer Kate Gregory talking about how to build applications that make the most of Windows 7. Kate will be presenting two sessions:

  • Session #1: A Lap Around the Windows API Code Pack
    The Windows API Code Pack for the .NET Framework is a managed library for building applications that light up on Windows 7. It provides access to new user interface features (taskbar jump lists, libraries, sensor platform and more) as well as "behind the scenes" features that make your applications more aware and responsive (restart and recovery, power management and more). This is a must-have library for developers targeting Windows 7 with managed code. In this session, you’ll learn how to quickly incorporate the Windows API Code Pack into your applications to take advantage of features in Windows 7.
  • Session #2: Building Touch-First Applications for Windows 7
    In Windows 7, innovative touch and gesture support enable a rich and natural interaction with applications. Are your applications ready to support this new wave of PC form factors? Are they finger-friendly to support interactions and gestures on Windows 7? This session highlights the new multi-touch gesture APIs and explains how you can leverage them in your applications.

Best of all, you don’t have to pay anything or go anywhere to catch this session! It’s online tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern (3:30 p.m. Pacific), streaming straight to your computer.

To register for the event, visit the Building Awesome Apps for Windows 7 registration page.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Yorkville Media Centre’s Windows Web Dev Sessions

yorkville media centre

Microsoft Canada is working with Yorkville Media Centre (YMC), a downtown Toronto learning facility where where you can learn the skills you need to work in digital media. Typically, YMC covers building websites with open source technologies like PHP, MySQL and WordPress, but this time, they’re doing so with a slight twist: they’ll still be building a site on open source technologies, but they’ll be doing so with Microsoft development tools and products such as the Web Platform Installer.

The course runs for nine weeks and takes place for a few hours every Saturday, and as an added bonus, they’ll be recording the whole thing as a series of documentary-style videos. You’ll see a season at Yorkville Media Centre, from the start where they introduce both open source and Microsoft tools and technologies right to the end, where they’ll have produced a fully-functioning web application.

Here’s their first video, Session 1: Industry Overview, which introduces YMC’s Mark Reale, the rest of Yorkville Media Centre and the people taking the course:

We’ll post these videos here as Yorkville Media Centre release them throughout the season. If you’re looking to learn about WordPress on Azure, WebMatrix, the Web Platform Installer, Web Gallery or any other Microsoft web goodies, check out these videos!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


We’re at the DIG Conference Thursday and Friday

dig conference logoI’m in London, Ontario with Academic Developer Evangelist Associate Will Hoang to attend, exhibit and speak on a discussion panel at the DIG – that’s Digital Interactive Gaming – conference, which takes place on Thursday, November 18th and Friday, November 19th. DIG is all about encouraging growth in the videogame industry by bringing together game developers, tech companies, publishers and other associated folk together to discuss, share ideas about, and yes – play – games.

On Thursday from 3:45 to 5:00 p.m., I’ll be participating in a panel discussion titled The New Social Gaming Paradigm, where we’ll talk about social and online games and the sorts of challenges and opportunities that will arise from them. The other participants will be:

We’ll also be in the Game Zone of the exhibitor area, with Xbox 360s featuring big commercial and indie games, Kinects and the Kinect games Kinect Adventures and the incredibly popular Dance Central, PCs running Visual Studio and XNA Game Studio, and Windows Phone 7s also loaded with games. Come on down, say hi, and talk to us about making games with XNA for Windows, Xbox and the Phone!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Windows Phone Developer Briefings in Ottawa, Calgary, Mississauga, Montreal and Toronto

windows phone developer briefings

Even though Windows Phone 7 is a new platform, there a lot of ground to cover. There are not one, but two programming frameworks, the touchscreen, GPS and other sensor input, the constraints of a smaller screen, battery life and on-the-go uses cases, and selling your apps or making them available for free through Marketplace. It’s a lot to absorb, and while I’m sure you’re all clever people, you might appreciate a tour of Windows Phone specifically tailored for the developer. Especially if it’s free!

If you’re thinking about getting started with Windows Phone 7 development and want to meet other like-minded developers in your area, come to our upcoming Windows Phone Developer Briefings. They’re free of charge to attend, feature sessions delivered by knowledgeable Windows Phone 7 developers from your community and will provide you with enough material to get you started.

City Where When
Ottawa Westin Ottawa
11 Colonel By Drive
Tuesday, November 30
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Calgary Sheraton Suites Eau Claire
Wildrose North Ballroom
255 Barclay Parade SW
Wednesday, December 1
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Mississauga Microsoft Canada HQ
(The mothership!)
1950 Meadowvale Blvd
Thursday, December 2
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Montreal Intercontinental Montreal
360 Rue St-Antoine Ouest
Tuesday, December 7
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Toronto St. Andrews Club and Conference Centre
150 King Street W
Thursday, December 9
5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Here’s the agenda for all the briefings:

Time What’s Happening
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Registration
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Apps with Silverlight
This session covers Silverlight. Microsoft’s event-driven framework for building interactive applications for the desktop, web and phone. If you’re building an “information”, “lifestyle” or “social” app, you’ll probably want to use Silverlight.
7:15 – 8:15 p.m. Games with XNA
This session covers XNA, the other Windows Phone 7 framework, designed specifically for developing games for Windows, Xbox 360 and the Phone. If you’re building a game, simulation or other app that needs to manipulate 2D sprites or 3D graphics, you’ll probably want to use XNA.
8:30 – 9:00 p.m. Next Steps
With the basics of development for Windows Phone 7 explained, it’s now time to talk about selling (or giving away) your apps, and other considerations you’ll need to take into account when developing for Windows Phone 7.

Register today! Click on one of the cities below to register for the briefing in that city:

The price (free) is about as right as it gets, and we want to make you mobile development rock stars!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.