1996 to 2012 – still no evidence… I give up!

In 1996 I was happily working on large Unix applications when I was approached by Microsoft to join a brand new European arm of the (then famous – apparently) Microsoft US Developer Relations Group as something called a “Technical Evangelist” (Which incidentally caused all sorts of problems when I put that down on a mortgage application form the same year!)

My plan was simple.

  • Join for two years.
  • Use those two years to “understand the enemy”
  • Get insider confirmation of just how sucky Windows really was and how arrogant all those Microsoft folks were.
  • Once this was done I could then get back to my beloved Unix for development and Apple Macintosh for design and fun.

Well, after nearly 16 years I have given up looking.

The people are lovely – smart and caring. The technology is competent and some of it is fantastic. Yes I did find some sucky technology and even had to evangelise the merits of some (but even Entity Framework 1.0 blossomed in time)  – but overall Microsoft makes great stuff.

I therefore give up 🙂 Mission aborted.

I have decided it is time to leave Microsoft and spend the beginning of 2013 with family before working out what to do next. I’m sure whatever I do it will be fun – and definitely different to the last 16 years 🙂 Oh – and it will be “up north” as I’ve moved from sunny Bath to chilly North Yorkshire. We had snow today!

An enormous thank you to everybody I ever met, presented to, advised, sort advice from, drank with, ate with, slept with (Mike T knows what I mean there).  I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with and met so many smart people. I could list them… but I have my tea waiting downstairs…

Take care all

P.S. I’m still working for Microsoft through December…

Slides and links from Windows 8 Round Table 29th Nov 2012

If you attended the event yesterday in London then firstly, thank you for coming and secondly, you can find the slides we used attached to this post or via this direct link.

The tips I listed in my part of the day can be found at Windows Store Tips.

And finally, my group is very active in helping developers and designers skill up for Windows 8. Check out the resources (including in-person free training) at http://www.windows-store.co.uk/training

Round Table 29th Nov 2012 novideo

Windows Store Tips:Follow the company developer account guidelines

[Windows Store Tips]

When you create a developer account on the Windows 8 store you can either create a company account or an individual account. I have seen several companies get into a “bit of a pickle” with store company accounts.

We now have some detailed guidelines which will help avoid problems later on, including:

  • Create your Microsoft account using an email address that belongs to your company’s domain, but not to a single individual—for example, windowsapps@fabrikam.com.
  • Add a company phone number that does not require an extension, or an additional email distribution list as a proof.
  • Limit access to your company’s Windows Store Dashboard to the smallest number of developers as possible.
  • In general, use trusted PCs as your security proof. All key team members must have access to these trusted PCs.
  • If you need to allow access to the Windows Store Dashboard from a non-trusted PC, limit that access to a maximum of 5 developers. These developers should access the Windows Store Dashboard from machines that share the same geographical and network location.
  • Frequently manage your proofs to keep them current.

Installing an application on Windows RT for testing is simple pimple

There appears to be a small myth that getting a Windows 8 store app on a Windows RT device  during development is complicated. I think this stems from a) some of the (quite complex) blogosphere posts on Windows RT and sideloading for Enterprise and b) the expectation that some form of remote deployment/debugging will be required.

However, if all you want to do is install and run it then it really is very simple.

In Visual Studio, use the Store menu to create a package.



At which point Any CPU is normally fine – unless you are using a C/C++ component in which case you will want to generate a ARM package.


Now navigate to the directory


And copy the entire sub folder onto a USB stick. The appxupload is NOT what you want.


Place the USB stick into your Windows RT device and open the folder to reveal the contents.

Right click on the .ps1 file and “Run with PowerShell”


You will then get a series of prompts – agree to them all 🙂




Note: If it is the first ever time you have done this on the device you will also be prompted to get a developer license (free).

And when complete the application will be on your Start screen – far right, unless you previously installed it.


A random collection of Microsoft Surface reviews

Mainly so I can find them again!


How NOT to port an application from Windows Phone 7 to Windows 8

Back in March 2011 I spent a few hours developing a simple application for Windows Phone. The result was BMI Stones and Pounds – a very simple 3 screen application:


To better help Windows 8 early adopters build applications I realised I needed to get an application into the store so I could answer with certainty more of the store related questions I was getting plus get a feel for what it takes to port a Windows Phone 7 application to Windows 8. I had 2 hours free one evening end of October… the end result is BMI Stones and Pounds Lite – a very simple 1 screen application 🙂


The “process” was simple. I opened up two instances of Visual Studio 2012, one for the Phone application, one for the Windows 8 application. Then proceeded to copy across the “inner” XAML and the business logic classes. At which point I took some “shocking” short cuts and justified them to myself by adding “Lite” to the end of the app name. Good tip that… maybe not 🙂


  • I dropped persisting input
  • I combined it crudely into a single screen app
  • I cheated for my full screen view – it is the snap view (which was easy to do starting from phone) centred

But it worked, it passed certification (I followed my own store tips) and it is now live in the store.

If you want to really port a Windows Phone application, check out these links I gathered up earlier in the year, especially the Telerik case study:

Also check out http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/blog/From-Windows-Phone-7-to-Windows-8-Metro-one-apps-journey

Happy porting…

Resources for iOS developers targeting Windows 8

A lot of companies we have been engaging over the last few months to get applications into the Windows 8 store have already build applications for IPhone and/or IPad.

The great news is this week we made it that bit easier for iOS developers to transition to Windows 8 by pulling together all the relevant resources into one place www.interop.windows.com. The currently includes a wide variety of relevant articles such as:


Windows Phone 8.0 SDK is here … now where do I start?

I have previously spent all of …hmmm… maybe 3 hours developing for Windows Phone. The result was BMI Stones and Pounds which to my surprise has had nearly 1000 downloads.

From next week I switch from “Windows 8 Evangelist” to “Windows 8 and (a little) Windows Phone 8 Evangelist”. Which is awesome as Windows Phone 8 devices look amazing to me (Had a chance this week to try out Nokia, Samsung and HTC devices) and the skills I have been learning on Windows 8 should transition over nicely. However I have a lot to absorb over the upcoming weeks.

I think my path will be roughly this… (in-between the day job of helping companies build Windows 8 applications)

Install the Windows Phone 8 SDK – DONE

I particularly like the new emulator.


Check out the what’s new section of the documentation – In progress. There is a lot of new stuff!

Set aside some time to watch the best of Build 2012 on Windows Phone – In progress. I’ve started with the Application Model by an old ex-Microsoft UK colleague, Andrew Clinick.

Then I’ll have a go at “porting” BMI Stones and Pounds from its humble 7.0 Silverlight code base to a WinRT 8.0 app with a couple of new features like Fast Application Switching and Tiles. Simple stuff… but will start to give me a feel.

Thankfully we do have Phone experts in the team i can call on in the meantime!