Toronto Area SharePoint Saturday: Saturday November 13th at Microsoft Canada HQ

SharePoint Saturday: Saturday, November 13th - Mississauga

“Want a job? Learn SharePoint!” said the article in O’Reilly Radar last year. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments, banks, businesses and all manner of organizations with lots of people, projects and collaboration love SharePoint and are looking for developers. The natural follow-up to “Want a job? Learn SharePoint!” is Want to learn SharePoint? Come to SharePoint Saturday!

SharePoint Saturday takes place on Saturday, November 13th at Microsoft Canada’s headquarters in Mississauga (1950 Meadowvale Blvd., just off Mississauga Road, just north of Highway 401 and just south of Highway 407). It’s your chance to meet architects, developers, and other professionals who work with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and 2007 and learn about it. SharePoint Saturday will be an educational, informative and lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals and MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint topics. Better still, SharePoint Saturday is FREE (you should register to attend), open to the public and your chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint!

For more information about SharePoint Saturday, visit the SharePoint Saturday site. To register, visit their registration page.

Click here to register for SharePoint Saturday

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


What I’m Up To This Week

It’s going to be a busy week for Yours Truly…

Monday: Windows Phone Deployment Clinic

monday - windows phone deployment clinic

On Monday, I’ll be helping out at the Windows Phone Deployment Clinic at Microsoft Canada HQ in Mississauga (1950 Meadowvale Boulevard, off Mississauga Road, north of Highway 401), where you can book some time to test your apps on a real Windows Phone 7 device. If you’ve got an app and you’re going to be in the area, drop me a line and book an appointment!

(By the bye, that thing I’m standing beside in the photo above is a promo device known colloquially as the “Big-Ass Phone”.)

Tuesday: AndroidTO and TechDays Setup

tuesday - androidto techdays

On Tuesday, I’ll be spending some time at the AndroidTO conference, a gathering of Android developers, where I’ll be minding the Windows Phone 7 booth. Yes, that’s right, Microsoft is a gold sponsor at an Android conference. Why? Because:

  • We feel that if you’re an Android developer, go ahead an build Android apps, but expand your market reach by developing for Windows Phone 7 too! The programming languages and layout markup are similar.
  • If you’re an Android developer, what’s the best OS for doing development? We think it’s Windows 7, which is a great environment for Java. Loads of great Java dev tools run on Windows, and we don’t consider Java to be deprecated.

AndroidTO takes place at the Polish Combatants Hall (206 Beverley Street, just south of College), is free-as-in-beer, and is alas, completely booked solid.

I’ll also be doing some setup for TechDays Toronto, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday: TechDays Toronto and Go DEVMental

wednesday - techdays godevmental

Wednesday brings with it TechDays, Microsoft Canada’s cross-country tech conference: two days of great sessions for developers and IT pros who are building stuff with the Microsoft stack. I’m the guy who picked the content for both developer tracks, “Developing for Three Screens and the Cloud” and “Optimizing the Development Process”. I strove for the best mix of both technology-specific stuff like Mark Arteaga’s Windows Phone 7 sessions and Kate Gregory’s Windows API Code Pack presentation as well as practice-of-programming sessions such as “Top 10 Mistakes in Unit Testing” and “Branching and Merging Strategies”. TechDays will occupy me from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m..

From 7 p.m. on, it’ll be Go DEVMental, the student event where we’ll show university and college students what’s possible with Microsoft’s web and mobile platforms. I’ll be doing a presentation on getting starting with game development for Windows Phone with an amusing little live-coded game called “BieberSmash”, starring the bubblegum pop idol of the moment. Go DEVMental is free and open to post-secondary students – just bring your student ID! You’ll get all sorts of goodies, including a DreamSpark token and Visual Studio 2010 Pro.

Both TechDays and GoDEVMental take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s South Building (222 Bremner Boulevard, right beside the CN Tower).

Thursday: TechDays, Day 2

thursday - techdays day 2

Thursday means another full day of the TechDays conference, to be followed by some very strong whiskey-based drinks.

Friday: Coffee and Code

friday - coffee and code

I’ll be running a Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code this Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Timothy’s at 225 Front Street West (in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre building). I’ll be hanging out at the cafe, working on Windows Phone 7 code on both the emulator and real Windows Phone devices. Want to learn more about Windows Phone 7, see a real-live phone, play some games or test your code? Come on down!

Saturday: ACSE Conference

saturday - acse conference

University of Toronto computer science prof Steve Engels invited me to speak in front of a group of high school teachers at the ACSE (Association for Computer Studies Educators) Conference taking place on Saturday. I’m going to be showing them programming for high school students on Windows Phone as well as with the Kodu game development environment.

…and Sunday?

sunday - zzzzz

Well, it won’t be all sleep. I’ll have to pack for my Monday flight to TechDays Halifax!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Drupal Camp Toronto 2010

drupal camp toronto 2010

Drupal Camp Toronto 2010 is happening in Toronto today and tomorrow! It’s a gathering to discuss all things Drupal, featuring keynote speakers such as ones: Dries Buytaert, Jeff Eaton, and Mark Brown. It’s at a nice, central, easy-to-get-to location, the Toronto Reference Library (a few steps north of the corner of Yonge and Bloor). And here’s something you might not expect – Microsoft Canada is a Platinum Sponsor.

port 25 canadaFor more about Drupal Camp Toronto 2010, I refer you to Microsoft Canada’s open source community blog,, which is run by the Open Source/Interoperability team of Nik Garkusha, Julia Stowell and Jenna Hoffman (whom you might remember from Make Web Not War earlier this year in Montreal). They’ve got some articles on Drupal and Drupal Camp Toronto, including:

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


Ottawa and Toronto Coffee and Codes on Thursday October 14

coffee and code

Just a reminder: there are a couple of Coffee and Codes this week…

  • Ottawa: Join developer/trainer Colin Melia and IT Pro Evangelist/destroyer-of-technology Rick Claus as they set up office on Thursday, October 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Bridgehead Coffee House at 109 Bank Street (at Albert). They’ll have some WP7 devices that you can deploy apps to, and you can ask them questions about Windows Phone 7. Colin will field the developer questions while Rick will handle your “How does this fit into the enterprise?” inquiries.
  • Toronto: Join yours truly, Joey deVilla, at the Starbucks at King and Yonge, where I’ll be on Thursday, October 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. I’ll have a WP7 device you can deploy apps to, and if you’re working on an app and think you have have it done by Monday the 18th, you will really want to drop by and talk to me!

Come on down, see a real live Windows Phone up close and personal and deploy your apps to it!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


A Scene from Today’s Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code

My LG Windows Phone 7, with "Smiles" displayed on the screen.A test version of Smiles running on my WP7 device.

In between chatting with developers who dropped by today’s Coffee and Code in downtown Toronto and getting some work done, I’ve been playing Smiles (pictured above), an incredibly cute and incredibly addictive puzzle game by London, ON-based development shop Sykhronics.

Here’s a video of Smiles’ gameplay in its “Drop” mode:

Mike Kasprzak of Sykhronics was kind enough to send me an early test version of Smiles to show off the Phone’s game capabilities as well as the level of “polish” that Windows Phone 7 developers should be aiming for in their apps. Mike’s got some pretty high standards and is working to make sure that Smiles for WP7 meets them, and it shows! Even in this test version, Smiles looks and feels like a polished arcade classic, and when it’s done, it’s going to be a must-buy.

Keep writing those apps, and aim high! We’ll do what we can on our end to help out, which includes:

  • Articles on Windows Phone 7 development in Silverlight and XNA
  • Articles on good mobile user interface design and marketing your apps
  • Announcements of upcoming Coffee and Codes and WP7 Deployment Clinics across Canada
  • Coverage of “Phone Heroes”: People building apps for Windows Phone 7 – and hey, you could be one of them!
  • Pointers to useful tools, resources and other things to help you build WP7 apps

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Montreal/Toronto/Edmonton Event Reminders


Deployment Clinic Today in Montreal

Deployment clinics are a little more formal than Coffee and Codes. You can book an exclusive timeslot to deploy and test apps to a Windows Phone 7 device, and there’s one taking place all day at Microsoft’s Montreal office (2000 Avenue McGill College, 4th floor) on the 30th. Email Christian Beauclair to reserve a time slot.

Coffee and Code Today in Toronto

I’ll be at the Starbucks at King and Yonge (4 King Street West) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a Windows Phone 7 for you to play with and deploy your apps to. I’ll be at or near the big table in the back — come on down!

Montreal “Speaker Idol” Deadline is Soon!

Compete in Speaker Idol to win a licence of Visual Studio Ultimate and the respect of the Montreal .NET Community! The deadline to subm,it a 200-word abstract and a brief bio for your 10-minute presentation is coming fast (midnight Friday).

TechDays Edmonton is Next Week

TechDays comes to Edmonton next week, taking place on October 5th and 6th, and with it will come CloudCamp Edmonton (October 4th) and Windows Phone 7 Coffee and Code Edmonton (October 7th). Watch this blog for more details!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Toronto’s Hot Tech Scene

sarah prevetteSarah Prevette addresses the SproutUp crowd.
Photo by Brett Gundlock for the National Post.

“On almost any given weeknight,” goes the article in today’s National Post, Sprouting a Hotbed, “there is an event in Toronto somewhere where the technology crowd convenes to talk about the smartphone applications they’re building, to offer advice on each other’s business models and share Twitter marketing strategies with an eye to becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.”

There’s a lot going on in my city’s tech scene, and it’s making splashes worldwide. The article covers some of the names of the people who make Toronto the tech-place-to-be that it is, including friend and former coworker at Microsoft, David Crow:

"If you were to ask me what’s in the water and what makes Toronto special, it’s that it’s one of the most diverse cities in the world," he said. "Much of what we think of as innovation is just the tension between different viewpoints and Toronto is the city of differing viewpoints … the whole point of building the community piece is to help the diversity and these folks come together and get excited about what’s going on."

Read the full article

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.