Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp

Devvin' for Seven: Windows Phone 7 DevelopmentYou’ve seen the announcement and perhaps you’ve downloaded the beta of the Windows Phone 7 dev tools (if you haven’t, do it now!)

Click here to download WP7 Developer Tools Beta

Now that you’ve got the tools, what’s next? Will they just lie there, dormant on your hard drive, or are you going to use them and be a trailblazer on a brand new mobile platform?

Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp: Montreal (August 23 - 24), Vancouver (August 30 - 31), Ottawa (September 2 - 3), Toronto (September 7 - 8)

If you’re looking for intense training with personal attention by a highly-rated presenter with Silverlight and cloud development expertise, you’ll want to check out DevTeach’s Windows Phone 7 Bootcamps. They’re being presented by Colin Melia, who’s presented at TechDays, wrote the Silverlight demo app that we used for the EnergizeIT tour and is one of our go-to guys for Windows Azure – simply put, the guy knows his stuff.

BootThe Windows Phone 7 Bootcamps are serious courses – two full days of in-class hands-on training in which Colin will explain the Windows Phone 7 platform and especially Silverlight as it runs on Windows Phone, with all the details on Silverlight programming techniques, controls, templates, styling, resources, animation, data binding, navigation, interfaces and all those things you need to know about to build a mobile app. The course will mostly cover the Silverlight side of Windows Phone development, although there will be a section on game development with XNA.

If you’re a busy developer who’s having trouble setting aside time to learn all those separate bits that go into Windows Phone development – Silverlight, calling on web services, the Windows Phone-specific APIs, using information for sensors such as GPS and accelerometers and dealing with the constraints of mobile devices – this course is well worth the money. It’ll give you the kick start you start writing apps and capitalize on the wide-open marketplace of Windows Phone apps.

Windows Phone 7 "People" hubThe bootcamps take place in the following cities on the following dates:

  • Montreal: Monday, August 23 and Tuesday, August 24 at the Microsoft office
  • Vancouver: Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31 at the Sutton Place Hotel
  • Ottawa: Thursday, September 2 and Friday, September 3 at the Microsoft office
  • Toronto: Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8 at Microsoft’s downtown office

The registration fee is CDN$999 for the full-day training session, and you can save $100 by using the discount code WP7BOOTCAMP when you register. I repeat:

Save $100 with this code: WP7BOOTCAMP

For the full details on the Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp, see the Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp page.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp: Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto

windows phone 7 bootcamp

Want some hardcore training from a developer who’s been doing Windows Phone 7 development since the tools were released in March? Then you’ll want to check out DevTeach’s Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp, taking place late this summer in Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto.

The Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp is an intense two-day training session run by indie training conference organizers DevTeach and will be hosted by Colin Melia, principal architect for DreamDigital. Colin’s knows a lot about Silverlight and cloud technologies and will share this knowledge at the Bootcamp, showing you how to make great mobile user interfaces as well as how to write phone apps that harness the power of networked-based services such as notification and location services as well as data access and isolated storage.

save 100 with WP&BOOTCAMP codeWhat You’ll Need to Know

Colin’s going to dive right into the nitty-gritty of developing apps for Windows Phone 7, and there’s quite a bit of material to cover, so you should at least be familiar with the following to get the most out of the Bootcamp:

  • Visual Studio 2008 or 2010
    (You can familiarize yourself with these by downloading the free Visual C# 2010 Express or Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone)
  • The C# programming language, or something similar
    (If you’re a Java developer you should find the transition pretty easy; developers using other object-oriented programming languages shouldn’t have too much difficulty following C#)
  • The .NET programming framework
    (Actually, pretty easy to grasp, especially with the assistance of Visual Studio)
  • XML
    (A basic understanding will do)

What You Won’t Need to Know

You won’t need to have any experience with Silverlight or phone development – the Bootcamp’s covering that!

What You’ll Need to Bring

one laptop will do

You’ll need to bring your own laptop running Windows 7 or Vista SP2 with “an appropriate up-to-date set of tools installed and functioning”. That means Visual Studio 2010 or at least Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone.

When and Where?

The Windows Phone 7 Bootcamps will be limited to 25 seats in order for you to be able to interact better with Colin, so register as soon as you can! They’ll be taking place in these cities:

  • Montreal: Monday, August 23 and Tuesday, August 24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Vancouver: Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31 at the Sutton Place Hotel
  • Ottawa: Thursday, September 2 and Friday, September 3 at a location to be announced
  • Toronto: Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8 at a location to be announced

The registration fee is CAD$999 for the two-day training session, and you can save $100 by providing the discount code WP7BOOTCAMP when you register.

For More Information

If you’d like to know more about the Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp, visit DevTeach’s site, and particularly their special page devoted to the Bootcamp.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Colin Melia’s Pitch for His MIX10 Presentations

vote for colin meliaOttawa-based developer Colin Melia has been a big help to me with TechDays. He presented at TechDays Ottawa, helped organize Demo Night in Canada, and posted a simple Windows Azure deployment exercise that I’ve found quite helpful and useful.

I’d like to return the favour by promoting the three sessions – that’s right, three – that he submitted to MIX10 in their open call for content. They are:

  1. Everything You Touch Turns to Azure
    Feel the rush of power as you learn how to wave your hands and connect directly to your throne in the heavens – OK well you may have to settle for learning about Windows Touch in WPF/Silverlight and the Windows Azure Platform.  This is the future – make sure that everything you touch can turn to Azure.

    The session shows how the building blocks of Windows Touch, WPF/Silverlight applications and the Windows Azure Platform can be brought together to create a small yet engaging end-to-end experience.  Attendees should gain insight into the benefits and design of Touch-aware applications on Windows 7 as well as the benefits of backing user experiences with the Windows Azure Platform.

  2. Get a WIF of This
    Writing services that understand multiple authentication systems is cumbersome and completely yesterday. Claims-based authentication and authorisation is the way to go. We’ll take a dive into how claims work and what Windows Identity Foundation provides by exploring the key components, but more importantly by building our own identify provider, a claims-based service and a Silverlight application that makes use of it.

    WIF recently RTM’d but the identify framework it cements is one of the most overlooked components when it comes to Internet-based application design.  Attendees should leave with a sense of how to create WIF components or WIF-aware components, as well as knowledge of the necessary design considerations.

  3. The Cloud and the Silver Lining
    You need a place to host your Silverlight applications as well as the WCF RIA Services and database that back them.  This session shows you not only that the Windows Azure Platform (featuring Windows Azure, SQL Azure and other services), is a great place to put them, but also how to create the connections between the pieces.

    This session digs into the mechanics of a real-world application using Silverlight and the Windows Azure Platform.  Attendees should leave knowing how to easily test against and deploy to the Azure Platform, as well as how communication takes place between the component layers. 

I’d like to see Colin speak at MIX10. He’s a good speaker, he’s chosen some interesting and relevant topics, and he’d be a Canadian presence at MIX. If you agree with me, please vote for his sessions on the MIX10 Open Call for Entries site by Friday, January 15th! (If you want to see a list of all the proposed sessions, they’re here.)

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Cloudy (with a Chance of Mobile)

Photo of an airplane soaring against a blue sky with clouds: "Cloudy (with a chance of mobile)"

If you had to give a name to the sort of programming I’m going to be concentrating on in 2010, I’d suggest Cloudy with a Chance of Mobile. I’m using this phrase as a catch-all that comprises the following:

  • Windows Azure as a platform for web applications
  • ASP.NET MVC as my web framework
  • Silverlight as my rich internet application platform
  • jQuery as my JavaScript framework
  • A number of programming languages: C#, JavaScript, PHP, IronRuby, IronPython, F#
  • Mobile computing, which means means phones, tablets and other ways to access processing power while on the go
  • And while it’s yet another thing to put on my plate, I can’t resist XNA, the game development platform for Windows, Xbox 360 and Zune.

Remember: these are just the technologies I’ll that I will be using my in own software development and will be writing about. My job remains helping Canadian developers be the best that they can be, primarily with any Microsoft tools and technologies. If you’ve got questions about tools and tech that aren’t listed above, I (along with my fellow Developer Evangelists, Christian Beauclair and John Bristowe) am still your resource within Microsoft!

I sometimes like to refer to this selection of technologies as “The Undesktop”. The desktop, its operating system and applications have been Microsoft’s bread and butter since the company was a handful of scruffy nerds in New Mexico building a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 (the “old man” of the 8-bit machines). While the desktop has been very good to the company – I’d go so far as to call it Microsoft’s first love – it’s not the only place where the software magic happens.

Sometimes I worry that the company is a little too in love with the desktop:

Bill Gates posing sexily on a desk with an old IBM PC running MS-DOS

(Bill Gates, DOS and a game called DONKEY.BAS actually played a surprisingly influential role in my first kiss, but that’s another story. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you in person.)

Since the company already lavishes plenty of attention, documentation, demo code and love on the desktop, I thought that I’d do well to take a different tack and help developers build on platforms other than the desktop (and its svelte fraternal twin, the notebook).

What is Windows Azure?

In this article, I’m going to give you a quick overview of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Windows Azure. I figured that a good place to start would be by answering the question “What is Windows Azure?”, and doing so with a video whose title is, oddly enough, What is Windows Azure?

Steve Marx of the Azure team made this video, and it’s a quick one, running at a mere 4 minutes, 16 seconds and explains what Azure is and how and why you might want to use it:

Steve also made a video on The CIA Pickup, which features an app that says he built to impress people (okay, he wants to impress potential dates) by convincing them he’s a CIA agent. It runs on Azure and makes use of a couple of services too: Twilio for telephony, Live ID for authentication and Live Mail for… well, mail. It’s easier to show you than tell you what it is and how it works:

Azure is Live!

Picture of the Death Star II: "Now witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle station"

As of this Monday, Windows Azure has gone live. That means it’s out of beta, commercially available and ready to host websites, web apps and data. Azure will remain free-as-in-beer for you to evaluate through January 2010, after which you’ll start getting charged for Azure compute time. Take it out for a spin!

Getting Started with Azure

I’ll cover Azure in greater detail in future posts. In the meantime, here are some links to resources to help you get started developing for the cloud:

An overview of Azure

Check out this quick introduction to Azure and its pillars:

  • Windows Azure, where your apps, data storage live and where you can manage them.
  • SQL Azure, the cloud-based relational database, with lots of SQL Server goodness.
  • AppFabric, which makes it easier to connect cloud apps with “on-premises” (that is, non-cloud) apps through features like identity management, firewall-friendly messaging and more.

Building Azure Apps

Before you can put an app in the cloud, you need to build it on your local machine:

Deploying Azure Apps

Once you’ve got a web app running on your local machine, it’s time to deploy it to the cloud. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Purchase the Windows Azure platform package that works for you. And yes, there’s a free-as-in-beer one. Remember that if you have an MSDN subscription, you already have a monhtly allotment of Azure compute hours – check your subscription!
  2. Package your application for deployment.
  3. If your app needs a storage project, create one.
  4. Create a hosted service for your app, then deploy the your package to that service.

If this seems a bit vague and hand-wavy for you, that’s because it is. I’m working on a step-by-step, from-the-ground-up tutorial that will cover the process in greater detail. I hope to post it in the next couple of weeks.

If have an Azure account set up, I strongly recommend checking out Colin Melia’s article, titled Deploy this Silverlight Application on Windows Azure in 10 Minutes – No Tools Required! We had 150 people at TechDays Ottawa and TechDays Winnipeg follow the steps in this article successfully.

Azure in a Little More Detail


There were a number of Azure presentations at the Professional Developer Conference (PDC), which took place in November. If you want an introduction to Azure that goes into a little more detail, watch these:

Canadian Developers Blogging About Azure

Be sure to check out Colin Melia’s and Cory Fowler’s blogs – they write about Azure quite often! (And if you’re a Canadian developer blogging about Azure, let me know.)

Books on Azure

I’m currently working my way through these books:

Cover of "Introducing Windows Azure"    Cover of "Windows Azure Platform"    Cover of "Azure in Action"

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.