Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

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BUILD 2016 Thoughts: Home Sweet Windows

It is that time of year again where Microsoft developers gather in San Francisco to hear the direction that Microsoft is moving and the tools they are offering to get us there. The big theme this year has been “Windows is home for developers”. So what did Microsoft have in store for us? How Far Have We Come There were a lot of stats that showed up during the keynotes. A couple that stood out for me were that there are currently over 270 million users on Windows 10 and that Cortana is answering over ......

Build 2015: Day 2 Keynote

As with any second day keynote, day two of Build had less fan fare and new announcements than yesterday. Today it was all about doubling down on the message and showing a little more. The one message that I think went horribly wrong was the opening video. It was all about how Microsoft in the past hasn’t been open and companies didn’t think they could trust them, but now a new leaf has been turned over and they are who companies want to work with. While there has been some of that viewpoint in the ......

Build 2015: Day 1 Keynote

Build is always one of the most exciting Microsoft conferences. Have of the fun is trying to guess what will and won’t be announced. Will the analysts be right or will there predictions be off in left field? So what happened day 1 this year? Of course that depends who you ask, since no one goes to the same sessions or sees things through the same filter. This post will cover the keynote and a future post will cover the day 1 sessions. Keynote The keynote is always a rollercoaster. Anticipation. Surprises. ......

Review: Windows 8.1 Preview First Impressions

I have been using Windows 8 since just before the release candidate came out. While don’t see it as a perfect operating system I really enjoy it in both Metro mode and desktop mode. So what does the 8.1 Preview bring to us? Start Button The public screamed and Microsoft responded. They put a start button on the task bar in the desktop. I never use the button because there are already three other ways to accomplish the same thing (the keyboard Windows button, the hardware button on the Surface Pro ......

BUILD 2013 - Build for Both: Windows and Windows Phone

This review is more person to me since I have known Matt Hidinger for a couple of years now and the fact that he just announced that he is leaving Chicago to join the Windows Phone team at Microsoft in Redmond. So let me first say congratulations to him again. Now I can’t say that I always agree with Matt, but I do respect him. One area that we disagree on (at least from his statement during this presentation) is that the official Twitter app is a good platform example. His point was more that they ......

How Can Project Spark Inspire Young Developers

At the BUILD conference last week there was a demonstration of Project Spark at the end of the first day’s keynote. I was amazed and inspired by the possibilities presented by this game/development environment. The inspiration came from the fact that it could teach a new generation of Minecraft hooked kids to program. It could grab their attention and hold it with amazing graphics and at the same time teach them the basics of writing code. From everything I have heard there is a drop in enrollment ......

Building apps that work Together

Writing apps that stand alone will only get yon so far. If your app can allow the user to leverage other applications and share data you Can have a real winner on your hands. Jake Sabulsky started off by explaining that you should be concentrating on the core functionality of your app and letting the framework take care of the features that users require these days. This is implemented be leveraging contracts. When Windows 8 was released it included the File, Share and Pickers contracts. With the ......

BUILD 2013 – Summary

BUILD was a wonderful experience. It was great to see old friends, make new friends, learn about the latest Microsoft technology and party with a bunch of geeks. It didn't hurt getting some awesome swag. While I Know that some people were disappointed that Microsoft didn't Say more about the XBox One, I was pleased with the information we got for developing Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone applications. Add to that the ability to pick the brains of MVPs and product team members was really worth the ......

BUILD 2013–Day 2 Summary

Day 1 rocked. So how could they top that? By having more goodies to give away! During the keynote they announced that attendees would get one year of Office 365, 100 GB of SkyDrive and one year of Adobe Cloud Service. Overall they key note was long with more information shot at you than you could possibly absorb. They went about 20 minutes over time which made me think that they could have split it to a 3rd keynote and given us a better idea on some of these topics and perhaps addressed the one open ......

BUILD 2013 Session–Alive With Activity

Live tiles are what really add a ton of value to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. As a developer it is important that you leverage this capability in order to make your apps more informative and give your users a reason to keep opening the app to find out details hinted at by tile updates. In this session Kraig Brockschmidt cover a wide array of dos and don’ts for implementing live tiles. I was actually worried whether I would get much out of this session when Kraig started it off with the fact ......

BUILD 2013 Session–What’s New In XAML

If ever there was a session that you felt like your head was going to explode, this one would do it. Tim Heuer proceeded to try to fit as many of the changes and additions to XAML as he could in one hour. There were a number of improvements that struck me. The first was the fact that we no longer need to put stack panels in the AppBar in order to add buttons. This has been changed to a CommandBar which at the very least makes the markup read more cleanly. Now if they would just bring this same improvement ......

BUILD 2013 Session–Testing Your C# Base Windows Store Apps

Testing an application is not what most people consider fun and the number of situation that need to be tested seems to grow exponentially when building mobile apps. That is why I found the topic of this session interesting. When I found out that the speaker, Francis Cheung, was from the Patterns and Practices group I knew I was in the right place. I have admired that team since I first met Ron Jacobs around 2001. So what did Francis have to offer? He started off in a rather confusing who’s on first ......

BUILD 2013 Sessions–Building Great Windows Phone UI in XAML

Even the simplest of smart phone apps can be a challenge to give a compelling UI regardless of the platform. Windows Phone and XAML are no exception. That is what got my interest in this session by Shawn Oster. He took a checklist type approach to the subject is good considering that is about the only way that many us get things done. Shawn started out giving us a set of bad design/good design examples. They very effectively showed how good design gives a sense of professionalism to your app that ......

Microsoft BUILD 2013–Day 1 Summary

I’m happy to be at BUILD this week, mainly because my flights finally got me here late on Tuesday. My biggest complaints so far are the flights and the hotel. It seems that almost every flight into San Francisco were delayed multiple hours. The Sequester so lovingly forced on America by congress means that the airport was short controllers. That, along with poor weather and airport construction meant most people were 2-3 hours late arriving. Add on top of that the fact that the hotel that I picked ......

Microsoft BUILD 2013 Day 1–Keynote

This one is going to be a little long because the keynote was jam-packed so bare with me. The keynote for the first day of BUILD 2013 was kicked off by Steve Balmer. He made it very clear that Microsoft’s focus is on accelerating its time to market with products and product updates. His quote was that “Rapid release” is the new norm. He continued by showing off several new Lumias that have been buzzing around the internet for a while and announce that Sprint will now be carrying the HTC 8XT and Samsung ......

Preparing For BUILD 2013

Going to conferences is a great way to keep up with the industry and recharge the batteries. As of the writing of this post there are less than two weeks until the start of BUILD 2012. While I haven’t been to BUILD before the other conferences that I have been to TechEd and Dev Connections in the past give me some expectations. Normally I would be spending the last couple of weeks going through the session schedule to see which ones I want to attend. BUILD is a little different. It doesn’t look like ......