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Windows Azure MS – Building Cross Platform Mobile Solutions December 20, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On 16th Dec 2012, an event was arranged by Microsoft Saudi Arabia at Golden Tulip Hotel, Jeddah; a 3 star hotel located near old airport. The focus of this event was Windows Azure and its Mobile Services. If you are new to Windows Azure, its better you check its home page. The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Arabia. The agenda of the event was:

  • 08:30 – 09:30 Registration and Breakfast
  • 09:30 – 10:30 Introduction to Azure Mobile Services
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Break
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Building Your Windows Phone 8 App
  • 11:45 – 12:45 Prayer / Lunch
  • 12:45 – 13:45 Building Cross Platform Apps Across WP8/Win8
  • 13:45 – 14:00 Break
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Authentication / Storage
  • 15:00 – 15:15 Break
  • 15:15 – 16:15 Enabling Push Notifications
  • 16:15 – 16:45 Closing and Prize Draw

Windows Azure has been available for quite a time, Mobile Services have been launched publically as a part of Azure since last month by the Build Event. This Windows Azure provide a free 90 days trail and it includes 10 mobile services. Currently, out of the box (OOTB) support is available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS. OOTB support for android is expected to be available soon. The Azure Mobile user page is a complete and comprehensive portal that provide the access to all the required components like databases, virtual machines, logs etc.

Some of the topics discussed/demoed were:

  • App.caml.cs
  • TwoWayDataBinding
  • Twitter Authentication
  • ObserveableCollection <>
  • IValueConvertor
  • Push Notifications
  • Channel URI
  • Windows 8

An interesting thing to know is that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to get the Windows Store, even before China. Now it is available in 191 countries.

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Microsoft Developer Camp – Jeddah – Building Windows 8 Apps May 12, 2012

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On Thursday, May 10, 2012, an event has been managed by Microsoft which is 3rd and last for this title. It has been held in Riyadh, Dammam and finally in Jeddah. It was conducted in the King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah. The main feature of Windows 8 is its revamped user interface (UI), the Metro UI. This new UI has been mainly aimed for touch devices although it can be used for regular devices also. To attract the developer community, Microsoft has gone extremely forward and provided a wide range of development languages ranging from C#/VB .NET , XAML, HTML5, JavaScript up to classic C/C++.

The main focus of this developer camp was to introduce the basics of this new Metro UI to the developers. The agenda of the event:

09:30 am – 10:15 am The Windows 8 Platform for Metro style app

10:15 am – 11:00 am Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality

11:00 am – 11:15 am Break

11:15 am – 11:45 am Everything Web Developers Must Know to Build Metro Style Apps

11:45 am – 12:15 pm Building Metro Style Apps : What .NET Developers Need to Know

12:15 pm – 01:15 pm Lunch

01:15 pm – 02:15 pm Building Windows 8 Metro Style UIs

02:15 pm – 02:45 pm Integrating with the Windows 8 Experiences

02:45 pm – 03:15 pm Bring Your Apps to Life with Tile and Notifications

03:15 pm – 03:30 pm Break

03:30 pm – 04:15 pm How and when Metro style apps run

04:15 pm – 05:00 pm Building Metro style apps that take advantage of modern hardware

05:00 pm – 05:30 pm The Developer Opportunity: Introducing the Windows Store

05:30 pm – 06:00 pm Closing

The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Saudi Community. The first session was about the introduction of metro UI, what it is, what is the idea behind it, how it works etc. In next sessions the technical concepts of developing metro apps were explained. It also included the new and revised concepts in Windows 8.

Some of the concepts mentioned in brief or details are listed below:

  • Windows Run Time (WINRT)
  • Windows Library for JavaScript
  • Roaming profiles linked with Live Id
  • Semantic Zoom
  • Design Mode (Adaptive & Fixed)
  • Contracts (Search, Share, …)
  • Application Life Cycle
  • Background Application API
  • Live Tiles
  • Toast notifications; last not the least
  • Windows Store

If you are planning to proceed with Metro App development, along with many other new ideas & features, at-least you must go through these initial concepts.

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Windows8 KeyNote – Build Event September 14, 2011

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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Windows 7 is generally available for retail since 22nd October, 2009. Many things have been changed and many more have been arrived after that. The main focus from desktop has already shifted towards laptop/net-book. These days the trend has greatly diverted towards touch pads and slates.  The main pioneer was Apple’s iPad followed by similar products from Samsung, Asus, Motorola etc. Generally these pads uses iOS, WebOS or Andriod. There are some windows based (Windows 7) options available but they are more powerful and hence more expensive than others e.g. Asus Eee Slate.

build_logoMicrosoft has announced the Build Windows event to be conducted on 13-16 September 2011, to officially announce the next version of Windows i.e. Windows 8. To keep the local community up-to-date and introduce them to the latest development architecture & tools, Microsoft Saudi Community arranged the live webcast of the keynotes in 3 cities of the Kingdom: Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. The tag line for new Windows 8 is:

In 1995, Windows changed PC. BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything

In Jeddah, the event was planned at Dar Al-Hekma College. The keynote was supposed to start at 7 PM (Makkah Time). As per the agenda, the registration was planned to start at 5:30. A welcome note was given by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, The Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He explained about the technical communities and user groups operating in the Kingdom. He mentioned that Microsoft Arabia is interested in improving its collaboration with the technical community of Western Region. Microsoft is also planning to increase the frequency of the Sponsored Programs and events to help the users to adopt the new technologies.

It was followed by a short refreshment and prayer break.

The keynote was kicked off by Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, in a some-how Steve Job inspired style. He explained the new and cool features of Windows 8. Contrary to  previous pattern of Microsoft, Windows 8 does not have any new hardware requirements, any PC that is fulfilling the requirements of Windows 7 is fully acceptable for Windows 8. The main trend building thing in Windows8 is the Metro style UI. Along with the traditional mouse based approach, this Metro style is Touch Oriented. In previous years, Office 2007 introduced a new ribbon based look and feel. Although it was taken as a new standard by many other applications (web  applications as well) but it was not ported to Windows itself. But in case of Windows8, this metro style is highly dominant and the next release of Office is also expected to adopt it. Microsoft has been wise enough to provide simple and easy upgrade of classic applications to Metro style with minimum code.

During the keynote a lot of features + updates were described ranging from a daily user’s interest to the developers extent. This post is not intended to explain the keynotes in details. Below is JUST the list of some of the noticeable features:

  • Extremely fast start up (8 sec in the demo)
  • Infected USB boot protection
  • Picture Password for Login
  • ARM based architecture now supported
  • Support for a wide range of programming languages, ranging from Win32 API, C++, VB, C# and even Javascript.
  • Spell Checker available throughout the System
  • User Profile Sync across multiple machines (based on Live Id)
  • Javascript based templates for application development in Visual Studio
  • Microsoft Application Store linked with Visual Studio with Live status display of the application
  • New low power state: Connected Standby
  • Support up to 256 TB of hard disk
  • Simple Refresh or Reset to factory setting feature
  • Improved file copy with visual progress and better speed
  • Fully loaded Control Panel and Task Manager
  • Up Button is finally back in the Windows explorer with a new bar similar to Office Quick Launch bar
  • Built in support for multiple monitors, ISO mounting and burning etc.
  • Touch Enabled Internet Explorer 10 with extreme hardware acceleration
  • Option to switch between Metro and classic Desktop style
  • Browse SkyDrivesimilar to a native folder
  • Tap to share available for NFC for supported hardware
  • Different keyboards with emotions natively available. Split keyboard also available for thumb typing

Towards the end of the presentation, it was announced that 5000 Intel i5 based, 11 ” tablets made by Samsung will be given to the audience. This tablet, called Developer PC, is preloaded with Windows8 and other required tools for developing and debugging applications.

The keynote session last for about 2 and a half hour.  It seems that Microsoft is planning to go far ahead with its new Metro styles Windows with full support for desktop machines up to the new touch centric tablets with extra slim sizes and increasing processing power. We can clearly expect to see Windows based tablets available for general users in the 1st half of 2012.

One more good thing is Windows8 can easily be downloaded (legally) from the following link:

http://dev.windows.com

The local attendees of the webcast were given a short survey by Microsoft Arabia to know about their interest which will help in understanding the needs and requirement of local market.

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