Quick Hits Issue #3: New Meetups, Game Development, and more!
New Meetup Group
I'm pleased to announce a new Meetup group for Windows App Developers in the DC area. The group will focus on local workshops, hackathons, office hours, and other events featuring myself and other local technical evangelists.
If you're not in the DC Area, check out these other meetups, featuring some of my peers in the east region:
- Boston Windows App Developers
- New York City Windows App Developers
- Philly Windows App Developers
- Rochester Windows App Developers
- Tampa Windows App Developers
Have a suggestion for a topic you'd like to see for the DC group...drop me a note!
Speaking of Office Hours, my next Office Hours availability is next Friday, Feb. 22nd, from 1pm-3pm. I'll be at the Microsoft Store in Tyson's Corner, VA. Feel free to drop in if you just want some time and space for coding, we will have tables set up. If you'd like help with a specific technical question, or want 1:1 time with me, please reserve a slot at http://usdpe.ohours.org/officehours/26631
If you need help sooner, my colleague Frank La Vigne will be holding office hours tomorrow from 10:30am-1:30pm at the Microsoft Store in Pentagon City. You can sign up for his office hours at: http://usdpe.ohours.org/Tableteer
Who Moved My Cheese?
A while back, Scott Hanselman posted a short video (a little over 4 minutes) showing how to quickly find your way around Windows 8. It was a big hit, but perhaps a little too fast to follow, so Scott recorded a follow-up video which is a little longer and more polished, along with a blog post that discusses some of his tips. The second video is 25 minutes, but it's 25 minutes well-spent, IMO, and worth sending to your non-technical friends and family who might need a tip or two to feel really comfortable in the new UX.
Speaking of UX, there's a good conference coming up May 9th-11th in McLean, VA, MoDevUX 2013. I had the pleasure of speaking at the previous MoDevUX conference, to a packed room, and it's a good show with a nice mix of developers, designers, and decision makers. If you're a UX geek with something to share and would like to speak, here's the call for speakers. But don't delay, as the call for speakers closes this Friday.
Windows 8 App Madness Challenge
Microsoft is looking to help students bring their apps to life and publish them in the Windows Store, and a new program in that vein is the Windows 8 App Madness Challenge. The short version...eligible students who publish an app before April 11th can win a $100 gift card. And the developer with the most apps in each of 4 sprints will win a trip (destination to be decided by a Facebook poll). Official rules are here.
Game Development Resources
And if you're looking for resources to help you get started with your killer app, look no further. Here are a couple of nice tutorials to start with:
Coding4Fun: building a Tetris-like game using CSS Grid Layout & Blend 5 - demonstrates how you can get started creating a cool Tetris-like game using CSS and Expression Blend.
Fall Fury - 12-part video tutorial and 175+ page eBook - If your tastes run more to C++ and DirectX, and you're looking for a more in-depth tutorial, the Coding4Fun folks have outdone themselves with an in-depth tutorial on building the Fall Fury sample game using C++, DirectX, and XAML. And best of all, the original game was developed by a Microsoft Student Partner. Very cool!
Phone Developers - I Can Haz DVice Plz?
One common request from developers working on apps for Windows Phone is how to get a device for testing purposes. Well, I have a couple of answers.
- One program that's available if you just need a loaner phone for testing prior to submitting your app to the store is Nokia's DVLUP program. It's currently in private beta, but it's worth signing up since part of their program provides loaner phones for testing.
- My team has a limited number of devices available for serious developers. When I say serious, I don't mean that you don't know how to smile, I mean that you need to have a commitment to actually developing and publishing a Windows Phone app. If that's you, and you're a developer in the Mid-Atlantic (DC, MD, VA, or WV), contact me for more information.