# Wednesday, 17 November 2010
I like to say "If you have a Windows application, it should be a Windows 7 application." By that I mean that you should take advantage of some of the features Windows 7 offers to your apps, and you should give the user the experiences they are coming to expect on Windows 7. You should have a sensible and usable jumplist. If you have a progress bar, you should add ONE WHOLE LINE OF CODE to your app so that progress bar is also overlayed on the taskbar. You should toss your intrusive message boxes and toasts and system tray balloons and use taskbar icon overlays on Windows 7, because that's how users expect to be notified about non emergencies. You should take advantage of restart and recovery, and of being notified about events like going on battery or AC power, or coming online or offline, instead of expensively polling for them. I've written a lot of blog posts and given a lot of presentations on how to do some of those things.

Now, someone is offering you a reward for putting those capabilities into your Windows applications. You can be featured on CNET Downloads if you just submit an application that uses at least one of the 13 features they identify. If your app is ready to go, submit it today! If not, why not?

Kate

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 16:43:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 15 November 2010

Wondering what's next in Silverlight? Want to become a Silverlight developer? Want to become a better Silverlight developer? Then you should watch the Silverlight Firestarter on Dec 2nd.

Now there are three ways you can watch this event:

  • In person, in Redmond. Register.
  • Online, wherever you like. Register.
  • Online, with the company of fellow programmers to discuss what you're seeing. I think this is better than online by yourself, so I'm excited that the East of Toronto .NET Users Group is hosting a local Firestarter. Register.

What are they covering? Just about everything:

  • The future of Silverlight
  • Data Binding Strategies with Silverlight and WP7
  • Building Compelling Apps with WCF using REST and LINQ
  • Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services
  • MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7
  • Tips and Tricks for a Great Installation Experience
  • Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips 
  • Performance Tips for Silverlight Windows Phone 7

It's running 11:30am - 7:30 pm in Ajax on Thursday Dec 2nd, so you'll need to arrange time off work. Considering all you'll learn about Silverlight, it's well worth the time. Be there!

Kate

Monday, 15 November 2010 12:11:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 13 November 2010

Wow, these things get up there fast! My sessions were very well received and I had such a great time doing them! In the order I delivered them, they are:

  • Women In Technology Panel - Claudia Woods, Freena Eijffinger, Paula Januszkiewicz, and Rhonda Layfield joined me to take questions from the audience and talk about what was on everyone's mind. There's really no video - just the title slide for the whole hour. Please listen!
  • The Windows API Code Pack: Add Windows 7 Features to Your Application - This one includes screen capture so you can follow along in the demos. You can also download the powerpoints from this page, and as I mention in the talk, the demo code is the samples that come with the Code Pack.
  • Modern Programming with C++0x in Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 - I had a great time delivering this talk even though it was the first time I delivered this version of it. The attendees responded by putting the talk in the top ten for the whole conference - thankyou! It, too captures the screen and slides, and you can download the powerpoints.
  • Advanced Programming Patterns for Windows 7 - Another talk I was doing for the first time and I enjoyed it too. If you'd like the sample code, stay tuned - I will blog when the recipes are released. The slides are with the video of the screen and slides.

If you came in person, thank you! If you couldn't be there, please watch the videos and leave me a comment. Speaking on technical topics really is the most fun you can have standing up, and I can't do it without audiences.

Kate

Saturday, 13 November 2010 08:41:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 11 November 2010
Pluralsight has some great offers for user group leaders that you should really know about. Even if you don't lead a group, make sure your leader knows, because some of these offers are for members. They're offering to send swag, subscriptions, and speakers (oh yes, that could include me, it sure couldn't hurt to ask, right?) to groups. What's more, unemployed user group members can have a free one-month subscription to the Pluralsight On-Demand! library - a fantastic all-you-can-eat way to get your skills modernized and get you back working again.

I wrote Windows 7 and Visual Studio Extensions courses for the library, and am working on plans for my next one. These are great people who really want everyone to learn as much as humanly possible, and work hard to make that happen. Take them up on this offer and you won't regret it!

Kate

Thursday, 11 November 2010 08:20:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 09 November 2010
BizSpark is an amazing program. Startups (companies under 3 years old with revenue under a million dollars a year) that are making software can have full access to Microsoft developer tools (yes, MSDN Ultimate for every developer in the company) for FREE. There is a $100 exit fee, but it costs you nothing to get started. We are a Network Partner and have sponsored a number of our mentoring clients into the program.



Well now some firms are seeing the end of that three-year membership ahead of them and wondering, what's next? Soma has announced a truly generous offer. Graduates from the program can have that exit fee (nominal as it was) waived, and can keep and continue to use all the software they acquired while in the program. For some, this will be all they need to keep on making great software with those tools. But some will want newer versions as they are released, or will want the Windows Azure subscriptions that come with an MSDN subscription. So for the (very low) price of about $1000 per developer, they can continue their subscriptions for another two years. That will take care of developer tools like Visual Studio. As well, they can buy Microsoft Software Assurance at half price, if they need production licenses of Windows or SQL Server.

If your startup has been in business three years, and you've been paying people and renting an office all that time, I'm sure these prices look delightfully affordable to you. If you've been hesitating about joining BizSpark because you weren't sure what would happen after the three years, well now you know, so don't hold back! For those who are eligible it really is the best deal in town.

Kate
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 08:13:33 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 07 November 2010
Let's say you've written a great client (that is, not web) application. Perhaps you've added some specific features to make it great on Windows 7. Certainly you've made sure it runs on Windows 7. Or perhaps on Windows Server 2008 R2. Or maybe your app runs on Windows Azure, or Windows Phone 7. Good work! You put time and effort into confirming that your app fits your chosen platform. Now, would you like to be able to prove it with a suite of automated tests and a logo that shows you passed them? Of course you would.

So head on over to Microsoft Platform Ready and take a look around. You'll find training resources to help you build applications that target Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Azure. You can test your app and get logos like Powered by Windows Azure and Works with Windows Server 2008 R2.You can even showcase your application in a marketplace, and take advantage of special offers like extended trials of developer tools from various partners.

This is an obvious step for anyone building a client application, on any part of the Microsoft platform. Investigate, join, reap the rewards :-).

Kate

Sunday, 07 November 2010 07:57:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 05 November 2010

You may have noticed that the fall tour I'm doing features morning talks that go till about 11:30, and evening talks that start at 6pm. I've decided that between those two, I'll spend the afternoon in a coffee shop and host an "on the road coffee and code". As I explain on the Coffee and Code page I keep for this purpose, this is really informal. Just stop by, say hi, we can talk about whatever you like. If you were at the morning session, you might want to just walk with me from the venue to the coffee shop and continue the conversation. Or if you're coming to the evening session, you might want to try to find me during the afternoon to ask something specific, then head to the venue together. Or maybe you have a topic to discuss that has nothing to do with Building Awesome Windows 7 Applications in managed code: a C++ question, or an extending Visual Studio 2010 question, or whatever. That's great, and the Coffee and Code format is just the place for us to have that chat.

Levitating coffee cup from microsoft.ca/office  Ancient laptop from microsoft.ca/office

If you live or work near the venues for the fall tour, I'd appreciate your suggestions (by email or twitter) for where to hold these. Obviously we need wifi, power, and a table we can hog for most of the day. My default choice is Starbucks, but if you know a better one that I can easily walk to, please tell me about it. Once I've chosen the location I can finalize the times.

Looking forward to meeting everyone,

Kate

Friday, 05 November 2010 11:10:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 03 November 2010

Right after Tech Ed I will embark on a mini-tour of three Canadian cities, while Richard Campbell does two others, to be called the "Building Awesome Apps for Windows 7 Community Tour". The details are on the Canadian Developers blog. First, the dates, times, and register links:

Date City Time  
Thursday, Nov 18 Montréal 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Thursday, Nov 18 Montréal 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Wednesday, Nov 24 Mississauga 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Wednesday, Nov 24 Mississauga 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Ottawa 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Ottawa 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Thursday, Dec 2 Calgary 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register
Friday, Dec 3 Calgary 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Tuesday, Dec 7 Vancouver 9 AM to 11:30 AM Register
Tuesday, Dec 7 Vancouver 6 PM to 8:30 PM Register

Next, descriptions - what are we going to do? We're going to make you better Windows 7 developers, that's what. We'll do some Code Pack coverage (sure, jumplists, taskbar stuff, but beyond that - some of the material from my Advanced Windows 7 Development at Tech Ed Europe will get its Canadian debut) and then dive into touch development. There are abstracts in John's blog post.

If you can't get to one of those cities on the appropriate day, never fear - there will be a webcast, too. Please spread the word about the webcast throughout North America, everyone's welcome! 

I'm looking forward to this tremendously!

Kate

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 12:10:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]