Category Archive for Microsoft

Meeting C++ 2013 – “Introduction to Microsoft C++ AMP”

The 2013 edition of Meeting C++ was once again a great conference.
This year I gave an introduction to Microsoft C++ AMP on the conference.
The session was a great success. I estimate there were around 100 people in the room, and lots of interesting questions 🙂
After the session I read on Twitter

Awesome presentation on C++ AMP in track B. #meetingcpp

C++ AMP makes it possible to write C++ for GPUs in a STLesque fashion. #meetingcpp

Below you can download the slides of my presentation.


MVP Global Summit November 2013

Looking forward to the Microsoft MVP Global Summit November 2013 🙂
MVP Global Summit November 2013


Visual Studio 2013 Available for Download

The final versions of Visual Studio 2013, Team Foundation Server 2013 and .NET 4.51 are now available from MSDN. You can also download trials.

VS 2013 can be installed side by side with previous versions of Visual Studio or, if you have a VS 2013 pre-release, it can be installed straight on top of the pre-release. TFS 2013 cannot be installed side by side but can also be installed on top of either a previous version (TFS 2012 or TFS 2010) or a pre-release.

Learn more about what’s new in Visual Studio 2013.

What’s new in Visual C++ 2013 (excerpt from MSDN):

  • Compiler
    • Added support for the following ISO C++11 language features:
      • Default template arguments for function templates.
      • Delegating constructors.
      • Explicit conversion operators.
      • Initializer lists and uniform initialization.
      • Raw string literals.
      • Variadic templates.
      • Alias templates.
      • Deleted functions.
      • Non-static data member initializers (NSDMIs).
      • Defaulted functions.  (using =default to request memberwise move constructors and move assignment operators is not supported)
    • Added support for the following ISO C99 language features:
      • _Bool
      • Compound literals.
      • Designated initializers.
      • Mixing declarations with code.
    • String literal conversion to modifiable values can be disallowed by using the new compiler option /Zc:strictStrings. In C++98, conversion from string literals to char * (and wide string literals to wchar_t *) was deprecated. In C++11, the conversion was removed entirely. Although the compiler could strictly conform to the standard, instead it provides the /Zc:strictStrings option so that you can control conversion. By default, the option is off. Note that when you are using this option in debug mode, the STL will not compile.
    • rvalue/lvalue Reference Casts. With rvalue references, C++11 can clearly distinguish between lvalues and rvalues. Previously, the Visual C++ compiler did not provide this in specific casting scenarios. A new compiler option, /Zc:rvalueCast, has been added to make the compiler conformant with the C++ Language Working Paper(see section 5.4, [expr.cast]/1). The default behavior when this option is not specified is the same as in Visual Studio 2012.
  • STL
    • Support for the C++11 explicit conversion operators, initializer lists, scoped enums, and variadic templates.
    • All containers now support the C++11 fine-grained element requirements.
    • Support for these C++14 features:
      • “Transparent operator functors” less<>, greater<>, plus<>, multiplies<>, and so on.
      • make_unique<T>(args…) and make_unique<T[]>(n)
      • cbegin()/cend(), rbegin()/rend(), and crbegin()/crend() non-member functions.
    • <atomic> received numerous performance enhancements.
    • <type_traits> received major stabilization and code fixes.

This list is just a small part of everything that’s new. There are also

  • Visual C++ library enhancements
  • C++ application performance enhancements
  • Diagnostics enhancements
  • 3D graphics enhancements
  • Quite a few very nice IDE and Productivity enhancements.

Read all the details here.

Visual C++ 2013 now also supports “just my code” debugging which makes working with C++ even better. The ability to filter the call stack down to just the code you wrote when debugging has long existed for managed languages and is now available for C++ 🙂


Visual Studio 2013 UI Changes

The Visual Studio 2013 Preview has a number of UI improvements compared to 2012.
There is again a bit more color in the IDE, and borders between controls and windows are more visible.
Below is an example of the Solution Explorer

Read this blog post on the Visual Studio team blog for more details.


Join the Belgian Windows 8 apps race

And win prices 🙂


Microsoft MVP VC++ 2013 Award

I got the confirmation email from Microsoft that my MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for Visual C++ is extended for 2013 🙂
I’m already looking forward to the next Summit 🙂

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Visual C++ technical communities during the past year.

See my MVP profile.


Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 Now Available

Microsoft has released Update 2 for Visual Studio 2012 (VS2012.2). You can get it here.

Just as with VS2012.1 (which is installed as part of VS2012.2 for those of you who don’t already have VS2012.1 installed), this release contains important fixes as well as a wealth of new functionality, addressing feedback we’ve received from the community and aligning with key software development trends in the market. The new functionality primarily spans (though is not limited to) five areas of investment: agile planning, quality enablement, Windows Store development, line-of-business development, and the general developer experience.

Check out Somasegar’s blog post for more details on this update.


MVP Global Summit 2013 February Report

On March 25th, I gave a report of the February MVP Global Summit 2013 to software engineers in my company. Obviously, I’m only talking about things that did not fall under NDA.
The slides can be downloaded below:


Superhackathon in Belgium

banner_superhackathon_180x150Microsoft is organizing a Superhackathon in Belgium on 27th of March. Starting at 9AM for the Day part, and continuing until midnight for the Night part. This is a hackathon organized simultaneously in Brussels, Genk, Mons, and Kortijk.

Code, build, eat, drink & win.

Experts will be on site to help you with the last phase of building your first Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 application. The event will be streaming live everywhere to the world.

There will be experts (many!), breakfast, pizza, coffee (lots!) and Red Bull. You can win prizes and rewards such as tickets to TechEd, Asus Vivo Tab, Lumia Phone and more.

Read more and register.


TechDays 2013

TechDays 2013 is planned for 5-7 March 2013 in the Kinepolis in Antwerp.
The agenda planning is still in full swing but the first speakers and sessions have already been announced.

There will be two pre-conferences on March 5th:

  • Modern application lifecycle management with Visual Studio 2012 (Brian Keller and other speakers to be announced)
  • SharePoint 2013 Platform and App development (Dan Holme, Lieven Iliano and TBA)

Content on March 6th and 7th: focus is on developing Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone apps, of course supported by sessions on EF, tools, ASP.NET, identity and more.

There will also be a corner with MEET members and MVPs who can help you with any questions or problems you might have.

You get an early bird discount of 15% if you order tickets before January 1st 2013.

More information on the official TechDays site.


Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 Now Available

The first update for Visual Studio 2012 has been released.
This update delivers bug fixes, but also new functionality. The new functionality in this first update primarily spans four areas: Windows development, SharePoint development, agile teams, and continuous quality.

We can now target Windows XP again with C++ code, and there have been a couple of C++ unit testing enhancements. For Windows Store applications, the update includes support for both mixed-mode managed/native debugging and for native ARM dump debugging.

Get more details about the update.
Download the update.


Team Foundation Service

Microsoft has removed the Beta label from their online Team Foundation Service.
You can get a free plan which you can use for up to 5 users and which can host an unlimited number of projects. Team Foundation Service provides version control, work item tracking, agile planning tools, feedback management, and more.

TFS is thoroughly integrated into Visual Studio.
I’ve personally used the service for over a month (started with the beta) and love it so far 🙂

Learn more about it here.


Windows App Day on November 23rd

Microsoft is organizing a Windows App Day on November 23rd, officially described as follows:

Don’t miss the first Windows App Day, packed with national and international speakers to talk about App Development, User Experience and Design. Our speakers are all actively working on apps and ready to share learnings and best practices.

Your App Day kicks off with a joint keynote with Belgian app cases, by Belgian companies, on Windows Apps.

After the keynote we split into two tracks: one focused on UX, designers and web experts; a second one for developers. You are free to switch tracks during the day to compose the schedule of your taste. Find detailed info on the sessions and our speakers on our Windows App Day page!

Scoop: On the Windows App Day, Microsoft will be announcing a contest around Windows 8 where they’ll have devices as prizes for developing apps, so start thinking about possible Apps that you could develop for the contest. Details about the contest will be made public at a later date.

When: Friday 23 November 2012, 9AM to 6PM
Where: ALM Meeting Point
Filip Williotstraat 9
2600 Antwerp (Berchem)


Visual C++ November CTP, now with more C++11

As promised, Microsoft is releasing out-of-band updates for Visual C++. A preview of the first such update has now been released as the November 2012 Compiler CTP. This is a Customer Technology Preview and does not come with a ‘Go Live’ license, but it allows you to start experimenting and testing new features, and to provide feedback.

This November 2012 CTP contains a lot of new C++11 features:

  • Variadic templates
  • Uniform initialization and initializer_lists
  • Delegating constructors
  • Raw string literals
  • Explicit conversion operators
  • Default template arguments for function templates

More details, including installation instructions and how to give feedback can be found here.

Download the November 2012 CTP and start playing with these new C++11 features.


Windows 8 App-a-thon Contest 28 September – Results

On 28th of September a colleague of mine (Francisco Almeida) and myself participated in a Windows 8 App-a-thon organized by Microsoft. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email a couple of days ago informing us that we won the first prize in the contest 🙂  The winners have been announced on the Belux MSDN blog. Winning this contest is an extra encouragement to finish the little puzzle game we started and to put it on the App store. If everything goes well, the plan is to have an internal Beta version next week, and to submit the puzzle game for App store certification towards the end of next week or the week after. We have created a temporary landing page for our game which you can find here.


Worldwide Hackathon for Windows – WOWZAPP 2012 in Belgium

WOWZAPP 2012 is a worldwide hackathon running from Friday November 9th to Sunday November 11th 2012. The official description for the global WOWZAPP 2012 event is as follows:

Eat. Drink. Code. And get a chance to win a tablet. Be part of the app revolution. Join thousands of developers around the world as we build apps for the next generation of Windows. There will be dozens of event venues from college campuses to Microsoft offices, all buzzing with energy, music, free food and more. Expert help, free resources. Microsoft app experts, developers and trainers will be available to assist your learning and coding. Take part in the tablet giveaway.

In Belgium the hackathon will be organized on Saturday November 10th, from 8:08 AM to midnight at the following location:

Warmoesberg 26
1000 Brussels

The hackathon is free for everyone, lunch and dinner is included, and you get a chance to win a tablet.

More information and registration info here.
Hashtag: #wowzapp


New Windows 8 Naming Convention

A while ago, Microsoft decided to abandon the name Metro. It has been replaced with the following naming scheme:

Metro apps = Windows Store apps
Metro design language / Modern UI design language = Microsoft design style language
Metro style principles / Modern UI style principles = Microsoft design style principles

Note that the casing is also important. For example, the apps in Windows Store apps is with a lowercase a, not an uppercase.


Windows 8 App-a-thon

There are a couple of seats left for the Windows 8 App-a-thon that will be held on Friday September 28th at the Microsoft Offices in Zaventem. Register your place now.

What’s in a name? Of course you know hackathons. App-a-thon is your version of the ‘Windows 8 apps hackathon’.

Mark your calendar for 28-9 and spend your day coding/designing at last app-a-thon before GA on October 26th!
Team up with your best UX or developer friend to build a killer team, come alone, sign up with a group, whatever you want!

Hands on. Code. Build. Shine. Totally Windows 8.

There will be 2 coding sessions, 1 for Day Birds from 10AM – 4PM and one for Night Owls from6PM – 12AM. You can join us for one or both sessions.

Build an app, have fun and go home with fantastic prizes!

1st prize: Xbox 360 + Kinect
2nd prize: Deluxe App’ero Bongo Box
3rd prize: Professional Sharp Knife Set

No app idea yet? No problem! We have a bucket full of ideas and scenarios you can use right away to kick start your project!

Questions about UX & design? Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered. You’ll be able to talk to a Windows 8 UX Expert (will be there for 4 hours) and a designer (will be there the entire day!) to help out with logo’s, graphic design, etc.

Technical pre-requisites (for developers)
– Familiarity writing either desktop apps, mobile applications or developing websites. Familiarity with either Javascript, C# or C++.
– Bring your own laptop: any device capable of running Windows 8 and Visual Studio Express
– Required software:
Windows 8 RTM via MSDN downloads  (for MSDN subscribers) or Windows 8 RTM via Evaluation Center
Visual Studio 2012
Windows 8 SDK samples

UX designers: Photoshop or your familiar wireframing tool
Check out the Windows 8 UX Guidelines
• You might want to download Windows 8 Style Apps Assets


TechDays Belgium 2013

The dates for TechDays Belgium 2013 have been nailed down: 5-6-7 March 2013 🙂

The location hasn’t been determined yet, so stay tuned…


BeCPP Meeting October

The next meeting of the Belgian C++ Users Group is planned for Tuesday October 16th 2012 at 18:30 in the Microsoft offices in Zaventem.

The agenda is as follows:

  • Session 1: An introduction to the C++ Network Library (Glyn Matthews)
  • Break
  • Session 2: Comparison between Unit Test Frameworks (Mark Van Peteghem)
  • Drink

Microsoft is sponsoring this event by providing the location, drinks and sandwiches.

The event is free for everyone, but you need to register for it.