Category Archive for Microsoft

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.


Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event

On 12 September 2012, there will be a launch event for Visual Studio 2012. You can follow this event from where ever you are. See here for details.


Windows 8 Launch Date

Microsoft has officially announced the launch date for Windows 8: October 26th 2012 :)

See the official source here.


Slides of Presentation “Windows 8 and WinRT from a C++ perspective”

Here are the slides of my presentation I gave on Community Day 2012.


Visual Studio 2012 RC Available

Microsoft has made the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2012 available for download. The release candidate comes with a Go-Live license.

Read Jason Zander blog post for details of this release.

Get it here.


BeCPP Meeting June with International Speakers

The third meeting of the Belgian C++ Users Group is planned for Wednesday June 27th 2012 at 18:30 in the Microsoft offices in Zaventem.

There will be two presentations, and we are proud to announce that they will be given by 2 international top speakers:

  • Kate Gregory is the author of over a dozen books, and speaks at DevTeach, TechEd (USA, Europe, Africa), and TechDays, C++ Connections (with fellow speakers Herb Sutter and Bjarne Stroustrup), among others. Her speaker ratings are consistently in the top 10%. Kate is a C++ MVP, a founding sponsor of the Toronto .NET Users Group, the founder of the East of Toronto .NET Users group, a member of the INETA speakers bureau, and a member of adjunct faculty at Trent University in Peterborough. Since January 2002 she has been Microsoft Regional Director for Toronto and since January 2004 she has been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional designation for Visual C++. In June 2005 she won the Regional Director of the year award and in February 2011 she was designated Visual C++ MVP of the year for 2010. Kate develops courses on C++, Visual Studio, and Windows programming for Pluralsight and is writing a book on C++ AMP.
  • Rong Lu is a Program Manager in the Visual C++ team at Microsoft. She holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science from Shanghai Jiaotong University. She is now working on Visual Studio vNext Application Lifecycle Management Tools for C++. Before that, she worked on the Visual Studio 2005 SDK, Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 releases, mainly responsible for designing architecture tools and SharePoint development tools. She has been a speaker at TechEd since 2007

Both are experienced speakers, and it’s a perfect opportunity for networking. If you ever wanted to ask a question to a member of the Visual C++ product team, now is your chance.

The agenda will be as follows:

  • Session 1 (18:30 – 19:30): What’s new in VC++11 (Rong Lu)
  • Break
  • Session 2 (19:45 – 20:45): C++ AMP (GPGPU Computing) (Kate Gregory)
    It is time to start taking advantage of the computing power of GPUs. C++ AMP can deliver orders of magnitude performance increase with certain algorithms by utilizing the GPU to perform mathematical calculations.
  • Drink

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

The event is free for everyone, but registration is required. Register now.
A limited number of seats are available.

( PS: If you know anyone interested in C++, please forward this invitation to them. )


Visual Studio 11 UI Updates Coming in RC

Most op you will know by now that the Visual Studio 11 Beta UI is rather gray. There was a lot of feedback about this from the communities, and it seems Microsoft is listening. They have announced a couple of UI changes to bring back some color to the UI.

Check out this blog post for a description of the changes, including before and after screenshots. I definitely like the new upcoming changes :)


Announcing Casablanca, a native library to access the cloud from C++

Our devices are becoming increasingly connected, and at the same time our customers expect the applications running on those devices to be fast and fluid. Asynchrony is important on the client for responsiveness and on the server for scalability.

Today Microsoft is announcing Casablanca, an incubation effort to support cloud based client-server communication in native code using a modern asynchronous C++ API design. Casablanca is a project to start exploring how to best support C++ developers who want to take advantage of the radical shift in software architecture that cloud computing represents. If you are a developer writing a responsive client app, or a scalable server-side solution, where asynchrony goes hand in hand with parallelism, you should give Casablanca a try.

Here’s what you get with Casablanca:

  • Support for accessing REST services from native code on Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Consumer Preview by providing asynchronous C++ bindings to HTTP, JSON, and URIs
  • A Visual Studio extension SDK to help you write C++ HTTP client side code in your Windows 8 Metro style app
  • Support for writing native-code REST for Azure, including Visual Studio integration
  • Convenient libraries for accessing Azure blob and queue storage from native clients as a first class Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) feature
  • A consistent and powerful model for composing asynchronous operations based on C++ 11 features
  • A C++ implementation of the actor-based programming model inspired by Erlang.
  • A set of samples and documentation

Here are a few links


Windows 8 Editions Announced

Microsoft has announced the different Windows 8 editions. There will be: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT. Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro are versions of Windows for x86 CPU’s (32 and 64 bit), while Windows RT is for ARM CPU’s. Check this blog to get a table with the differences between the 3 flavors of Windows 8.