Write up on the first Windows 8 Developer and Hackathon event in Belgium

A good ten days ago on Friday 23rd of March 2012 we kicked off the Belgian developer events around Windows 8 Metro Applications. And from my standpoint: it was an event to count! 


The Developer Day

We started with a keynote by Giorgio Sardo presenting before a packed room. Giorgio introduced Windows 8 Platform, with some very cool demos along the way.

After the keynote and a session on HTML5, Lieven Iliano took over with sessions on Windows Runtime for .NET Developers and Process Lifetime, Local Data and Roaming in Metro Style Apps.

Our third speaker was Gill Cleeren covering Windows 8 Metro Style UI: controls, data views and Windows 8 Search and Share Contracts.

To close off, I had the pleasure to talk about Tiles & Push Notifications in Metro apps. As I showed the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 which simplifies the development of your back-end, you can now watch the new video on Cloud Cover Show Episode 73 - Nick Harris on Push Notifications for Windows and give it a try.

563298_10150742375425050_129685125049_11837535_783428983_n[1] 404056_10150742294845050_129685125049_11837332_1231801303_n[1]

For your convenience we have uploaded the slides from the different presentations:


Coding into the night

You’d think most of the attendees want to head home after a full day of sessions. Not the case here. After sessions it’s time to get hands dirty and start coding your first apps. That’s just what about 100 of the attendees thought and they moved from attendees into coders after the beat of 6 o’clock.
First hackathon is a fact, or should we say app-a-thon: De Nacht van Windows 8/La Nuit de Windows 8 (for non-Dutch of French-speaking: The Night of Windows 8). Believe us, in Dutch and French it even rhymes.

What better way to apply the learning’s of the day than getting in front of the computer and start coding on your idea. We had several teams, some of two people, one up to 10 members big. Of course using Team Foundation Server or GitHub to work in group! There were apps in C# and XAML, and apps in HTML/JavaScript. And I learned some people master Blend in an amazing way!

From a personal standpoint, this was a fantastic atmosphere and event leading to more than 10 apps fighting for the top prizes of the night, including a Windows Phone and helicopter flights.
We saw teams working on apps for fun, developer tools, community, comics and more. You can have a look at NuGet Explorer from the MyGet team. I was truly amazed at the amount of work some teams got done in just an evening. Congras to all participants, and a big thank you for making this such a fantastic code night!

We are currently planning some more hackathon events, please do let us know your feedback on this!

306084_10150742197615050_129685125049_11837026_1031783247_n[1]  559386_10150742305225050_129685125049_11837392_1920625001_n[1]

562516_10150742304725050_129685125049_11837386_343681283_n[1] And special branded M&Ms to give us power to code :)

MEET members

A special call-out to our Microsoft Extended Experts Team: a group of experts we recognize in Belgium and Luxembourg for their great work in the community. A mix of MVPs, User Group leads and overly active bloggers.
The MEET group was one of the active participants in the hackathon and they have several Windows 8 related activities planned including several sessions, Community Day and an app contest by VISUG. 

What’s next?

I already mentioned the Metro Map previously, a full map of activities coming in the next few months around Windows 8 Platform. The Metro Map is now web based too, make sure to take a look at the forthcoming events and register because seats are limited.

In the meantime we also kicked-off the two Calls for Project Windows 8 Apps at the MIC Brussels and MIC Mons. At this stage the introduction session is already done but you still have a possibility to sign up for the training and full project call schedule.

But still, what’s next? How do you go from an idea into moving it into an app? How do you get your tokens to the Windows Store? All of this goes through our App Clinics, then App Excellence labs and in the last stage accessing Store tokens.

App Clinics
Twice a month you can meet with Microsoft Evangelists and experts to discuss your app, Metro UI, get access to devices for testing your app and more. Dates and sign-up info will be announced very soon.