TechDays 2012 in Thiruvananthapuram – Recap

As you may be aware by now that Microsoft is now conducting a series of events all over India in relation to the global launch of their new flagship operating system, Windows 8. Microsoft TechDays is a premier event and is a unique opportunity to learn and listen from the experts.

By November 7th the party has arrived at Thiruvananthapuram after completing events at Mysore, Manipal, Noida and Surat and it was scheduled to have two tracks, one for the developer and one for the IT Professional with lot of session on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Technopark which is home to largest developer community in Kerala was selected as the venue this time.

The proceedings in developer track was kick started by Harish Vaidyanathan, Director РEvangelism with Microsoft India by giving us all an intro to Windows 8 and its features was very well demonstrated by him. He added a malayali touch to his demo by previewing the Malayala Manorama(a leading Malayalam daily in Kerala)  app for Windows 8 which has got support for displaying in both English and Malayalam. He also showed us the travel app and its panorama feature and also mentioned about the Azure mobile services.  Then he along with Rajashekaran Vengalil, a developer evangelist with Microsoft India showed us a brief tour of the new Azure mobile services. He wrapped up his session by giving a intro into Windows Phone 8 and its developer ecosystem.

Raj took to the stage for delivering his talk on various platforms,its features and tools available for  developing apps for Windows 8. He gave us a demo on developing a simple HelloWorld app  using C++, XAML and HTML5. After that he went on to explain the architecture of WinRT environment and explained each block in detail.

Then we had Ujjwal Kumar, a Technical Evangelist with Microsoft India talk on the Modern UI principles that needs to be followed while developing apps for Windows Store. He explained each of the guidelines like using the edges, using top bar for navigation, fast and fluid UI etc by demonstrating an app which had actually implemented that and it was very informative.

After that we had a very yummy lunch, which also gave us some time to meet-up with people. One thing I love most about these type of events is that we get an opportunity to meet with people whom we may had came to know from social networking sites. Also I was able to meet some old foes like Praseed Pai after a very long time and had a nice chat with him.

Post lunch session were kick started by Raj with a more deeper look into the WinRT framework and aysnc programming. He explained us the difficulties with async operations in the earlier versions and how it has eased in C# 5.0. After his session Harish was back on stage for a demo on the new version of the Internet Explorer, IE10. It was a fun filled session with lot of demo on CSS3 animations and rendering, touch first UI in IE10 and HTML5 games like Cut the Rope and the one’s from Atari stable like Ping-Pong etc. He also showed us some tools like Modernizer and libraries like Compat Inspector that can be used for detecting old markup in your script.

The next couple of session were on Windows Phone 8 by Ujjwal. First he gave us tour of the new phone OS  from Microsoft and he showed it using an engineering device(meaning not a actual device) and explained the new features like tile resizing, kids corner, rooms feature etc. After that he explained about the various tools available for developing apps for Windows Phone 8 and new features available in the emulator. Also he gave us a nice talk on things to be considered while porting your old Windows Phone 7 apps to Windows Phone 8.

After that we had a very lively and interesting session on Azure Mobile Services by Raj. He showed us how to create tables and store data in the cloud and scaling it using the new tools and also gave a nice tour of the Modern UI influenced Azure Portal. The last session for the day was by Bijoy Singhal, Technical Evangelist with Microsoft India  about the new features in Visual Studio 2012. He showed us how to generate dependency graph and sequence diagrams from VS 2012 and also about the new features in the team explorer like suspending your work, tracking the status. Also he show us how to execute and track test cases with the Microsoft Test Case manager and lastly showed us how to transform your ideas to a design concept using the PowerPoint Storyboarding tool.

Although we had a coding session scheduled in the evening, lack of attendees meant it got cancelled and was really disappointed with that. Barring only this hiccup, it was time well spent, learned a lot of new things, met more people and caught with some old foes….

Signing off for the time being and till next time… bye….

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