Event: Edinburgh 01/Oct/2012 – Visual Studio 2012 Launch – Community Beer+Pizza+Swag!

Scottish Developers are very pleased to announce that Microsoft’s General Manager for the Visual Studio leadership team will be delivering a presentation at Microsoft’s Edinburgh office during the evening of the 1st of October!

This is a special event that celebrates the launch of Visual Studio 2012 – it is an evening session that follows on from the afternoon sessions.

There will be beer and pizza available – and some great swag!

Please register for this event here.

About the speaker
Shanku Niyogi leads the team responsible for testing the next generation of Microsoft’s developer tools, including the Visual Studio product line and the .NET Framework. Most recently, as Director of Program Management, Shanku led the design team for Visual Studio Pro and Express, developer tools for platforms such as Windows, Office, and Azure, and managed and JavaScript programming languages.

Shanku joined the Visual Studio leadership team as GM in 2008, and delivered the first set of Visual Studio tools for Azure, and the Chakra Javascript runtime in Internet Explorer. Previously, Shanku had been a part of the .NET Developer Platform organization for nearly seven years, where he helped ship several version of ASP.NET, and helped incubate technologies such as ASP.NET AJAX, ASP.NET MVC, WCF RIA Services for Silverlight, and ASP.NET Mobile Controls. Shanku has been with Microsoft since 2008. Shanku holds a Bachelor of Mathematics degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

Event: Edinburgh 27/09/2012 – IIS 8.0 Platform for the Future!

Scottish Developers are pleased to announce that Andy Westgarth will be presenting on the 27th of September 2012! The event is being held at Storm ID‘s Leith office.

With the release of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Internet Information Server (IIS) received a major update and this has continued through IIS 7.5 which was released with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.

Now we sit on the verge of another update with the upcoming release of Windows Server 8 and Windows 8 which bring with them IIS 8.0.

In this session we’ll set the scene with a quick run through of the building blocks put in place through IIS 7 and 7.5 and then deep dive into the features coming in IIS 8.0 which enable Developers and IT pros to deliver optimised, advanced interactive applications using technologies such as HTML5 and Web Sockets whilst also making use of scalability and configuration enhancements on the underlying platform.

Please register for this event via Eventbrite: http://iis8future.eventbrite.com

About the speaker
Andrew Westgarth is Co-founder of North East Bytes (@nebytes), a free User Group covering the North East and Cumbrian regions of the United Kingdom having technical meetings covering Development and IT Pro topics every month and he is the principal organiser of DDD North (@dddnorth), a free community conference held once a year in the North of England.

He is a Technical Architect at Sage (UK) Ltd working on large scale web applications. Andrew is very active in the UK Developer Community, attending and speaking at multiple events, supporting users and other User Groups.

In the past he has spoken at the Irish Microsoft Technology Conference, VBUG’s National Two Day Conference; DDD Events and local User Group meetings. Andrew has experience in VB6/.NET; C#; ASP.NET and Internet Information Services.

Andrew’s current technical interests include IIS 8.0/7.5/7.0, IIS Extensions and Windows Azure; Personal Performance Improvement and Best Practices.

Job: .NET Software Developer – Edinburgh

Sigma Seven Limited are looking for a .NET software developer to work out of their Edinburgh office, near Holyrood, beside the Scottish Parliament.

Job Description
This vacancy has arisen from increased demand from our customers and forms a key part of our continued expansion plans. As a part of our development team here at Sigma Seven you have the chance to make a real impact on the growth of the business, working on our industry-leading mobile mapping product “GeoField” – for tablets and ultra-mobile PCs.

This role involves working on a variety of projects, both implementing customer solutions and developing core product enhancements using the latest development tools, targeting leading-edge mobile technologies.

Our development team works collaboratively to deliver innovative solutions to our customers, working closely with customer project teams, and adhering to defined project plans. As part of this talented team, you will be involved in making decisions throughout the software development process from initial concept and design, through coding and operational handover, with an emphasis on using your own initiative to push the boundaries of our product and solution capabilities. The nature of our work requires excellent communication skills and an enthusiastic approach to problem solving and team work.

Desired Skills & Experience
Candidates will ideally have 3 or more years of commercial software development experience, and should be passionate and able to demonstrate expertise in the following:

  • .NET 4.0, C#
  • Experience of the full software development lifecycle, from requirements gathering and design through to solution testing and operational support
  • Working closely with clients and end-users

The following skills and experience would be an advantage:

  • A degree in software engineering, computer science or a related subject
  • Experience of GIS and spatial databases
  • WPF
  • LINQ
  • XML

Further information and the application process can be found here.

DDD10 – coach rendezvous point

Just a heads up for those attending DDD10 this coming Saturday…we have two coaches lined up (thanks to our sponsors Red Gate!)

In the past the coaches have been “right at” the railway station.

This year, they are a very short walk away from the railway station:

old bus station

We will have two willing and able volunteers “manning” the coaches!

The coaches will be at bus stop W1 from 0800-0845. They will leave “when full” or at 0845 at the latest.

In the evening, the coaches will be available from 1720-1745.

There will be a big prize on offer in the closing session (trust me, you won’t want to pass up on the chance to win this prize!) – the closing session is 1720 – 1730!

DDD10 Windows Phone Agenda application

I am pleased to announce that a Windows Phone version of the DDD 10 agenda as just cleared certification. It’s likely to be available during Wednesday 29th August. [Update: it’s here]

I have submitted an update to take into account changes that were made to the agenda over the last few days; hopefully that app update will make it through in time for the event itself!

I know I said it last year, but I do hope to add some features to the next version that will make it pull updates down from a web-site, thus removing the need for agenda updates to require a rebuild and re-submission to the Marketplace. With any luck, the DDD North agenda app will be the first to enjoy some updates.


Results: Windows 8 devices & app development survey

Earlier this month, I ran a Windows 8 – devices & app development survey.

I asked four simple questions:

  • Do you intend to purchase a Windows 8 device?
  • Are you planning to develop your own “apps” for Windows 8?
  • Is your employer planning to develop ‘tablet’ apps for Windows 8?
  • Thinking about ‘tablet’ devices – what is important to you?

During the first two weeks of August, the survey was tweeted and re-tweeted. As such, it attracted enough attention to provide some very interesting results. 200 people responded within the first week of August; another 80 during the second week. I’m now in a position to share the results…having spent a “little bit” of time working out how best to display the data! Turns out Microsoft Excel was the answer all along!

Thanks are due to Matt Baxter-Reynolds for his input and contribution towards the design of this survey.

QUESTION 1 – Do you intend to purchase a Windows 8 device?
The answers on offer were:

  • Yes, I plan to purchase a device as soon as it’s available
  • Yes, I plan to purchase a device next year
  • Yes, I plan to purchase a “Windows RT” device this year and a “Windows Pro” device next year
  • Perhaps
  • No, I have no plans to purchase a device this year or next

Between now and next year, 61% of respondents are planning to purchase a device capable of running Windows 8.

36% plan to purchase a Windows 8 capable device as soon as it’s available. From what information is available at the time of writing, this device will be running Windows RT; it may or may not be a Microsoft piece of hardware though. Personally, I see the Windows RT device as something that I can have on the arm of a sofa. It’s not a device I plan to spend a lot of time “working” at, but a device that I will use for short periods of time on a regular basis. It may well be the device that we use when travelling, something to keep us connected in hotels, etc. It’s unlikely that a keyboard will play a major part in its use, although it may well be used if it’s part of the cover.

20% plan to wait until next year before buying into Windows 8. Like most things, some folks prefer to wait until a device / platform has been established before making their investment.

5%, myself included, plan to purchase a Windows RT device and a Windows Pro device. I am hoping the Windows RT device will be the device that is kept in the lounge, on the arm of the aforementioned sofa. The Windows Pro device I hope to be able to use in place of a laptop. I would like to be able to use it at conferences, as organiser, as attendee and as a speaker. By that virtue, I would like it to have sufficient performance to be able to run Visual Studio and the like, i.e. it should be able to “achieve” where many netbooks have tried and failed.

17% are considering their options when they responded with “Perhaps.” This is fine. Whilst Microsoft would love it if we all rushed out to by their devices running Windows 8, it’s understandable that many folks will want to wait and see how the devices and the operating system turn out.

22% do not intend to purchase a Windows 8 capable device.

QUESTION 2 – Are you planning to develop your own “apps” for Windows 8?

The answers on offer were:

  • Yes, I am already developing software for Windows 8
  • Yes, I plan to start developing software for Windows 8 this year
  • Yes, I plan to start developing software for Windows 8 next year
  • Perhaps
  • No, I have no plans to develop software for Windows 8

63% of respondents are either developing software for Windows 8 or have plans to do so between now and next year. Do remember that it is possible to develop Windows 8 software without actually owning a device. Whilst it is possible, developing Windows 8 applications on a tablet-like device itself is probably an extreme, most respondents will use meatier development machines.

25% are already developing software. I would imagine that this pot included a number of Windows Phone developers who are busy porting their “apps” over to Windows 8. The programming model is very similar; so much so, one might consider the Windows Phone model a subset of the Windows 8 model. However, I would also expect this 25% includes those developers who have downloaded Visual Studio 2012 (in it’s pre-RTM releases).

31% are planning to start developing software during the course of this year.

7% are planning to develop software, but not until next year.

15% are sitting on the fence and might develop Windows 8 software.

22% are fairly clear and have no plans at all. In many ways, there is no obligation to own a device in order to develop apps for it. This has been proven in the Windows Phone space; students at the University of Hull have published apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace that were developed using the Windows Phone emulator attached to Visual Studio 2010. I expect that some of the 22% of respondents have gone on to answer the remaining questions with that in mind.

QUESTION 3 – Is your employer planning to develop ‘tablet’ apps for Windows 8?

The answers on offer were:

  • Yes, definite plans for off-the-shelf products
  • Yes, definite plans for internal use
  • Yes, definite plans for off-the-shelf products and internal use
  • We are planning to run a pilot/investigate further
  • Perhaps
  • No plans to develop Windows 8 apps
  • I don’t have an employer

21% of respondents are planning to develop ‘tablet’ software for their employers, whether it is for off-the-shelf or internal use only products. 12% are looking to develop off-the-shelf products, 3% are building for internal use only and 6% are targeting both. Internal use only development seems rather low, 3% equates to 8 respondents.

18% plan to run a pilot study. In the corporate world, this is a fairly normal thing to do. It is likely that some of the percentage points will convert themselves in to “Yes” responses as the pilot projects prove themselves. Equally, some will become “No” or may be put on the back-burner to “Perhaps”.

21% are sitting on the fence and might consider developing ‘tablet’ software if their employer asked. This is a demand driven approach – if clients ask for tablet-based software, many firms will weigh up the pros and cons of such a development venture. Given that Windows 8 devices have the ability to run applications that are built using Visual Studio, firms with a bedrock of Visual Studio development expertise may well find a new market has opened up for them. And it is a low-risk market at that – if the developers know the tools, there’s no cross-training to Objective-C (Apple devices) or Java (Android devices).

33% of “corporate” respondents have no plans to develop ‘tablet’ software. This ties in with Questions 1 and 2, where we saw 22% of respondents answer “No”. It stands to reason that some respondents may not have employer or may not be looking to develop software for their employer.

7% of respondents did not have an employer. This answer was included largely to provide an “out” for this question. I did not want the “No” vote skewed when folks reached this question, I would rather have the 7% broken out than have it bundled in with the 33% of “No” responses.

QUESTION 4 – Thinking about ‘tablet’ devices – what is important to you?
Question four was a “tick all that apply” style of question. It was added to gather sentiment towards slates / tablets.

The results are not very surprising: a device that is quick to power on, doesn’t cost the Earth and can run for a long time would be an excellent design goal. Having plenty of “apps” available is also a good design goal – it appears that people want to be able to use their devices “right out of the box”; we can perhaps infer that also means “right out of the box at launch“. This is not a bad thing: Microsoft are being very proactive and are rallying the developer community such that they might develop Windows 8 apps before the launch date in October. And that’s not all: there is a steady stream of DevCamps covering Windows 8 development, Azure, Windows Phone and the Web.

High up the list, at 45.1%, “Availability of free software development tools”. In keeping with earlier releases, Microsoft has Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8. With the exception of any membership fees that developers must pay in order to submit apps to the Windows Store, Visual Studio Express won’t cost you a penny. If you have an MSDN licence, the membership fees are waived for the first year.

Lower down the percentage points, we see a reasonable drop from 28.5% down to 13.4%.  Screen size, Flash support, packaging and colour appear to be the less popular options.  The problems of the Nexus 7 packaging did not seem to ruffle any feathers in this poll, only 6.5% of respondents were keen on easy access packaging! Looking at everything from 28.5% upwards, the specification for current Microsoft hardware devices hit all of these percentage points. I am sure we can expect to see many third party hardware manufacturers using these percentage points as differentiators in what promises to be a heated lead up to Christmas 2012.

Only 9.7% of respondents expressed the need for Flash support. With HTML 5 becoming ever more prevalent, many web-sites are moving away from using Flash. Plus, it would appear to be the subject of a rather emotive debate that involves some rather choice language!

Colour choice does not seem to be a deciding factor in this survey, 5.1% equates to 14 respondents. Elsewhere, colour is number 9 (out of 10) on Debra’s list of 10 reasons I can’t wait to get a Microsoft Surface tablet! Colour choice is probably useful if you have more than one similar looking device at your disposal. It also provides choice to the fraternity of folks who complain “I don’t like black”. That said, my wife loves her Nokia Lumia, despite the fact it’s not the right shade of pink for her (it’s magenta wasn’t the correct answer it seems!)

I am happy to update this post with your thoughts, please note them in the comments below.

Next Steps
If you are thinking about developing software or apps for Windows 8, find your nearest DevCamp! They are a great place to meet like-minded developers and your local Microsoft Developer Platform Evangelists (DPEs)!

Windows 8 development
Windows Phone

061 – Edinburgh’s Turing Festival with Hilary Singer-Roberts and Gordon Guthrie

Gordon Guthrie and Hilary Singer-Roberts

Podcast feed – subscribe here!

Welcome to show number 61! In this show I am chatting with Gordon Guthrie and Hilary Singer-Roberts about the Edinburgh Turing Festival and “Turing Town“. In this, Alan Turing’s Centenary Year, it’s great to see such an event take place and on my doorstep too!

The timing couldn’t be better: Thursday to Saturday, 23-25 August 2012.

The Turing Festival events are aligned with regular Edinburgh Festival Fringe events – they’re either free or relatively low cost. The timing of most of the Turing Festival events mean you can geek out for a couple of hours, then head off to grab an Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy gig (or whatever takes your fancy!) The bulk of the Turing Festival events take place in the Appleton Tower at Bristo Square, which is exactly where many other Edinburgh Festival Fringe events are taking place too!

The Turing Town organisers have managed to secure Steve Wozniak as their keynote speaker! The keynote is taking place at the Edinburgh Playhouse – it’s bound to be popular so get your tickets before they sell out!

The chaps over at Scottish Developers have written a piece about the Turing Festival too! They’ve highlighted the events that you can attend for free, but they do touch on some of the low-cost events.

This podcast: http://www.craigmurphy.com/podcasts/061-Turing-Festival.mp3


Turing Festival Sponsors

Edinburgh – Aug/Sept – Windows Azure, Windows 8 UX and Windows 8 Dev Camps


As mentioned at the recent Scott Hanselman tour of Scotland, Microsoft are running a bunch of dev camps in Edinburgh.

These dev camps are great opportunities for you to spend a day with like-minded individuals and the talented evangelists from Microsoft. If you are looking to build apps for the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system (and indeed, Windows Phone), attending a dev camps is the perfect way to kick-start your development!

They are free to attend and you will get fed and watered!

Windows Azure – 30th August, Edinburgh

Windows 8 UX Dev Camp – 30th August, Edinburgh

Windows 8 Dev Camp – 31st August, Edinburgh

Windows 8 Dev Camp – 1st September, Edinburgh

Windows 8 – devices & app development – four question poll

I’m running a Windows 8 – devices & app development survey, I’m keen to learn more about what your plans are for Windows 8, app development and tablets in general.

It’s a short four question poll. The first three questions are single point and click answers, the fourth is multiple choice – it should take you about 30 seconds to complete!

The poll is here: surveymonkey.com/s/L5QP57N

I’ll keep the poll open for the first couple of weeks of August. The results will be posted on this blog soon after the poll closes.


Do you want a sneak peek at some ideas Microsoft are working on?

Microsoft’s Steven Clarke is looking for five JavaScript developers to help him with a user experience study!

The study starts on 31st of July and runs until the 2nd of August – please get in touch with Steven to arrange a convenient time.

You’ll need to make your own way to Microsoft’s Edinburgh office (it’s pretty much at Waverley railway station)

You’ll have to sign an NDA to participate as the prototypes are confidential. It’s a great opportunity not only for an early look at some ideas Microsoft has, but more importantly for an opportunity to significantly influence the direction Microsoft take.

Please contact Steven if you are interested.

Craig Murphy: author, blogger, community evangelist, developer, speaker, runner