Live Microsoft Events
My group has always focused on the developer community and live events. This means hosting stuff ourselves (National Launches, Firestarters, MSDN Events) as well as supporting great local community events like code camps. Microsoft has listened and your feedback continues to say what we all know as developers. Books and Online videos are one thing but getting together in person is something else entirely and what of the most valued pieces of our community.
This is why my team continues to hold MSDN Roadshows each quarter of the year where we would go up and down the East Coast, United States and bring the latest technologies to developers. This year we also divided ourselves into technology focus areas to allow for deeper technical dives. For those of you who know me and have seen talk about Windows 7, RIA, Silverlight and Expression Studio continually it probably came as no surprise my focus area would be on Client Technologies. What is also exciting is that this year Client Technologies also means Windows Phone! So I got the extreme pleasure of becoming a Windows Phone 7 champion for the company and have been focusing very heavily in that area over the past few months.
The creation of a WP7 Firestarter
The Firestarter format has always been about taking developers from a solid foundation up through more advanced concepts as the day moves along. We have done these typically as fully day events and have even recorded and broadcasted some of them. This year we have taken these Firestarters and broken them down into our new Technology Focus Areas. For the Client Technology area we chose to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 for the first half of the year.
We created a new event series we called WP7 Firestarter that included 12 hours of live content, six separate tracks, hands on time with devices and covered 11 different cities. We also added a something we lovingly called Phone Garage. The idea was simple: rather than do an Nerd Dinner lets formalize that up bring dinner to us and create some dedicated one on one time for folks. We had something for everyone: time with a phone device, advanced technical questions answered, help with the WP7 Training Kit Labs, or just the ability to test our your own app on a device.
An Incredible Response
Hundreds of you showed up at these events with numerous Windows Phone 7 applications to test our on devices. Hearing about over the hundreds of thousands of downloads of the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools is one thing but seeing the excitement in person is another. Here is just a sampling of some of the great applications you guys are creating!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions during your presentation. It was really, really good (though the choice of music was uh... geeky).
Your Phone 7 presentation was brilliant. Evangelists, like yourself, inspired me during transition from [CompanyNameWithheld] to MCAD Certification and MCT Certification.
Thanks a lot for the WP7 presentation you did today in New York! It was really cool to finally meet the WP7 and people behind it in person and see how both Silverlight and XNA deliver quite a stunning user experience. Nothing clears up one's head and kicks nicely in the pants more than seeing something real and tangible presented by human beings as opposed to a faceless amorphous web page... Kudos to Microsoft for getting so many things, including this one, right!
Thanks again for the Firestarter, it helped a lot.
It was great to meet you guys and finally see a WP7 device in the flesh (err, plastic?), and get an idea of how things perform on the actual hardware.
Grab the Content
As promised, I have posted all my slides and code we wrote during the Firestarter! You can grab everything off my Skydrive here. Don’t forget to e-mail me once you have an application underway so I can help get a device to you for testing.
More Live Events coming
About halfway through our Firestarter series we started talking about doing a National Developer Launch for Windows Phone 7. I was invited to head up the team doing all of the content for the events. To my delight I began to hear similar stories of developer enthusiasm from across the country. We took the content from the WP7 Unleashed events out West to the WP7 Bootcamps in Central and combined it all with the WP Firestarter brining you one great day of content! So much so that we decided to break out the WP7 Design content into its own session that will cover the Pano and Pivot controls in more detail.
But it is not just great content that you will be getting. We broke out the Phone Garage into a second day to allow more time with devices and code. Speaking of devices how about having a full Windows Phone 7 Device bar at each event for you to get a first hand look at a device? You got it! Halo Reach? Yeah we will have a Halo Bar as well as raffling off Xbox 360s and some ZuneHDs. So if you missed out on the great WP7 Firestarter content come on out to the WP7 National Developer Launches already under way. See you there!