Thursday, March 31, 2016

Build 2016 announcements and exciting updates

Has it been couple of exciting days? Yes. Has it been tiring? Yes. It it worth it? Absolutely.

So far it feels like very productive couple of days with opportunity to get hands experience with new products, ask questions to the key people in those products and explore what's coming next.

IoT and wearable technology are the highlight. You can watch they keynotes on Channel 9:

The most interesting topic for me this year is mobile. The key efforts highlighted at the conference are on building apps across multiple platforms (IOS and Android) using Windows tools and technology. Especially with Cordova and after Xamarin acquisition. The irony is that Xamarin Mobile Test Cloud does not support Windows (phone or Universal Apps). Trying to pressure them to give me a timeline when it is coming didn't work.

Few more highlights:

Cross-Platform Mobile with Xamarin -
Turning Win32 apps into UWP -
Linux command line (Bash!) on Windows -

One of the innovations for this year's conference were interactive code labs, where you got an opportunity to sit at a computer and go through certain coding task to get started with particular technology:

I can not judge for the all the modules, in fact I heard some good things, but I went to Xamarin Mobile 1 and 2 and felt like the sessions were not properly organized. Running scripts would fail, instructions were at times incorrect, most of the audience wouldn't complete half of the tasks in time, yet the speaker was disconnected, although there were few folks in the audience trying to help.

One of the good things about /Build// compared to last year's Google I/O is number of conference attendees. Since it is hosted in the same venue Moscone Center West in SF, it's easy to compare and see that it's possible to get to sessions, and you don't get "crashed by the crowd". Less is better. Although Google tried so hard with gadgets and decor, something that Microsoft has completely skipped on.

Another great thing about Build is the "Expert" or demo area, were you get to speak to representatives from Visual Studio, Store, Office, etc. and ask very concrete questions. I am super excited today about upcoming Store features to be announced tomorrow and trying out Visual Studio Code debugger for my Node.js app!

To end this on an even higher note, here I am at the 34th week of pregnancy rocking the /Build// conference!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Build 2016 anticipations

This is the fourth year I have been attempting to attend Microsoft Build conference, ever since I moved to California! All of this time Microsoft technology has been my primary technical focus. This time however instead of trying to be a single microsecond faster than the other developers sitting with their laptops as the registration opens and the site goes down (sorry to say it does, pretty much every time) I got it through a Netflix corporate deal with Microsoft.

The no hardware giveaway part of the announcement was a bit sad, otherwise I am super excited to be here. By "here", I mean that I am already in San Francisco, since keynote presentation starts at 8:30 am and had I attempted to drive from my house, I would have needed to leave at least by 6 am.

So far I have:
  • Registered and got a T-shirt that is too small for me
  • Had to skip the Women@Build reception because of timing issue
  • Signed up for hands on  Microsoft Holographic Academy event! 
    • I think this is going to be the highlight of the conference 
    • Build team initially rejected my application to attend, saying the opportunity was for people who paid the 3K and preordered Hololens. However a spot opened up. Woot-woot
  • Got the Build app on iPhone and spent a lot of time designing a custom schedule
These are the details of the Microsoft Holographic Academy event:
Date:   Friday, April 1, 2016
Time:7:30AM – 11:30AM PST
Location:Moscone West Room 2022

I assume 4 hours is more than enough to marvel the awesomeness of HoloLens and we'll get to write a demo app for this. The prerequisite is to watch the Holograms 101E video tutorials. I will post an update how this went after the event on Friday. Watching first few tutorial videos reminded me of my long gone 3D programming days with OpenGL and C++, and object modeling through 3ds Max. However the augmented reality programming is going to be much more powerful and have a great number of potential applications.