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Wednesday 4 March 2015

Windows 10 and the Windows Platform Developer

As originally published on the MSDN Blog: Canadian Developer Connection

Last time around I talked about the advent of Windows 10 and what sorts of the things you should be looking for in your apps that will help you take advantage of this exciting new release coming from Microsoft.  Since then the Technical Preview program has introduced Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones and more than a few of my friends have jumped at the opportunity to get a first early look at what’s coming.
We discussed three things you should begin to do: Education (Build or Build Sessions), Advertising (Be ready for more customers) and Universal Apps (know the latest dev environment).  Well, Windows 10 is coming even faster than I thought and I think it worthwhile to expand on the things you can do to get ready!
The first thing you should be doing is signing up for the Windows Insider Program, if you haven’t already.  This is going to get you access to the latest builds of the Windows 10 Technical Preview and the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones and the latest news on the above along with access to technical and discussion forums I’ll outline below.

Visual Studio 2015

Have you tried out the Visual Studio 2015 Preview?  You might want to get on top of that.  While I don’t yet know what version of Visual Studio will be required to write apps for Windows 10, I would think it’s a good possibility that Visual Studio 2015 will have all the latest bits necessary when it’s released. 
Regardless of what is required for Windows 10, there are many reasons to be excited about VS2015 anyway.  The key word to remember with VS2015 is “better”.  Better integration with almost everything.  Better Git version control, better debugging and diagnostics… (were you ever interested in Lambda expressions in debugger windows like watch or having PerfTips indicating how long each line in your code takes to execute?), better Blend (with improvements too numerous to list here) and many more.

Local Community

Your local community leaders are either planning or have already scheduled information sessions and/or discussion groups on Windows 10 Technical Preview, Visual Studio 2015 preview along with the current releases of Microsoft Azure and all that goes with that.  You want to know more about Microsoft Azure before the next version of Windows is officially released.  Your apps will likely be using Mobile Services, Storage and other capabilities of Windows Azure.
Look for a local User Group involved with Microsoft Azure or Windows Platform Development or even .NET user groups will get involved.  The Vancouver Windows Platform Developer Group is planning events around Visual Studio, Windows 10 and Windows Azure and how they all interact.  You can find user groups on LinkedIn, and other places.  Meetings get scheduled and are often distributed on Plancast and

Online Community

In the online community there are a few sources of reliable information.  There is, of course, lots of speculation and “leaks” out there but if you want to know the difference between rumour and fact then you need to start at the Blogging Windows site.  You’ll find announcements, feature discussions and lots other tidbits about Windows 10 Technical Preview.  You will have heard of the announcement of the Technical Preview for phones and of the availability of the new Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for the Windows 10 Technical Preview and many other great bits on features of the Technical Preview like Cortana as well as interesting new apps.
Once you are part of the Windows Insider Program you’ll get access to special insider forums where lots of discussion is going on about almost every aspect of the Technical Preview including the one for phones.  Questions on everything from drivers to features to user interface to updates are covered in-depth.

My Favourite Bit So Far

Out of all the stuff in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, the most fun one so far is the Cortana Integration.  My daughter had some homework on capital cities of the world so she just sat in front of our Windows 10 TP machine and never touched anything.  She just said “Hey Cortana, What’s the capital of Wales?” and Cortana told her.  She went through her research list one country at a time and never had to repeat a request and never once did Cortana disappoint her.  How much fun is that?
I want to know how that was done… don’t you?

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