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Building a Developer Community

Over the years, I’ve been involved in a number of Microsoft related user groups here in Portland.  For some I’ve just been an attendee, others I’ve spoken at, and a few I’ve even organized and ran.  Here’s a few that come to mind:

  • Portland Area Dot Net User Group (PADNUG)
  • PDXUX.Net
  • Portland Silverlight User Group (PDXSLUG)
  • Portland Windows Phone User Group (PWPUG)
  • Portland Area XNA User Group (PAXNAUG)

It’s been tough having my efforts split up amongst all these technology groups.  In fact, all of these groups except one had a specific technology as part of its name.  What’s scary is that I was thinking of doing this again with WinRT.  Really?

What’s needed here is convergence, not divergence.  I need something that allows me to focus (i.e. simplify) my efforts as a speaker/leader/member and not be overwhelmed.  Let’s be honest though, I’m not the only one who needs their life to be simpler.  Developers need less after-hour meetings to attend.  Recruiters need easier choices for which user groups to attend and sponsor.

I’ve discussed this topic thoroughly (both in public and in private) with various members and influencers in the community.  A consensus has been reached and I now have the following announcements:

  1. The Portland Silverlight User Group has been dissolved.
  2. The Portland Windows Phone User Group has been dissolved.

That was easy.  ;-)  Hah, I wish.

My efforts are now being joined with PADNUG to help transform it into more of a generic “Windows” user group.  PADNUG already caters to ASP.NET, C#, SharePoint, WPF, and WinForm developers.  Who it doesn’t cater to as much are WinRT, C++, Windows Phone, and HTML5 developers.  The focus will be on the platform and in using a variety of technologies that make sense.  While the technologies will change, and the devices we develop for will change, one thing that will not change is that of Windows being that platform on which our applications run.  Whether these apps are in the cloud, or on a PC, or on a phone, they will run on “Windows”.  In my opinion this was the central message that came out of BUILD.  Use what you know, build what you imagine, you know the rest.

So how is this going to kick off?  I’ve already accepted an invitation to join the PADNUG’s board of directors.  Next month I’ll be presenting on Windows Phone Development with HTML5 and PhoneGap at PADNUG.  That topic makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider there is a Windows Phone Camp and an HTML5 Webcamp being held next month.  Next year’s going to be exciting in preparing for WinRT.  However we don’t want to leave anyone to feel left out because of the work they’re doing right now.  There is a need to be forward thinking, but also relevant.  For me, this will be an interesting balance to strike.

So do you have any feedback?  Are you pissed?  Are you relieved?  Could you care less?  Assuming you do care, I encourage you to speak up and share your thoughts.  We’re all volunteers here.  If doing it your way means you’ll willing to pitch in and help, then I’m more than happy to hear what you think.

tags: Silverlight | PDXSLUG | PWPUG | wpdev | PADNUG | winrt

Windows Phone "Mango" Hackathon (7/18)

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our July meeting on Monday the 18th. For our next meeting we’re using a hack-a-thon format.  It will be a full afternoon of creating, hacking, and helping you with your apps for Windows Phone “Mango”. Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!

FYI, I have three devices which have “Mango” installed to help you test your apps.


WHAT: PWPUG - July 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 7/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Presentation on new “Mango” Features
1:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world. Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

TOPIC: Windows Phone 7 Hack-a-thon
This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall.  The format is less structured, and more hands-on.  Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be.  Our primary goal is to help you get ready for when “Mango” apps can be published to the marketplace later this fall.  We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy, RunPee).  If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.

If you are new and want to learn, then this is the place to be.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

Get Free Advertising for your WP7 App

Here’s the deal:

  • Any developer that publishes 5 new apps between April 1 and June 30, 2011 gets FREE advertising for 1 of their 5 apps.
  • Impressions will run across MSN, Windows Live and Fox Sports mobile browser ad network for Windows Phone 7 devices.
  • There is a limit of up to 4 offers per developer  (no gaming with multiple emails, multiple mailing addresses or variations of name)
  • There is a limit of 200 offers in total
  • This is open to all US based developers (that meet the legalese: 18+ years old,…); contest rules are at http://bit.ly/WP7DevOffer

Each developer that has at least one new app published and submitted will get a status email weekly so they know how they are doing.

After June 30, 2011, you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to redeem your offer. You will be able to choose which one of your five apps you would like to have advertised for free across the Windows Phone 7 Mobile Ad browser network. Your app will receive 25,000 impressions, which is about 60 days of promotion.

Like I mentioned above, prizes are limited to the first 200 winners so don’t delay!

FYI, for everyone that attended one of my code camp sessions (or watches the online recording) please use the event code of K9AIP and the date of 6/4/2011 when you submit your entries.  Hopefully I'll also see you at the next Portland Windows Phone User Group meeting.

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG | Portland Code Camp

Windows Phone 7 Hackathon (4/29)

The hackathon held on Monday was a success, especially for having such a short notice. Many folks expressed an interest in having a follow-up hackathon at the end of this month, so that's what we're going to do.

Reminder: Anyone who publishes an XNA game to the marketplace will get a sweet XNA jacket (already gave one out on Monday).

To help us plan for food, please visit our Facebook Page to let us know if you're attending.

WHAT: Windows Phone 7 Hackathon

WHEN: Friday, 4/29/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

DETAILS: This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall. The format is less structured, and more hands-on. Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be. Our primary goal is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace. We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy and Soak Your Head). If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

This is the place to be, whether you're new and want to learn, or want the latest info on what's coming in the "Mango" release.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.
NOTE: A light lunch and snacks will be provided.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

Windows Phone 7 Hackathon (4/18)

To help us plan for food, please visit our Facebook Page to let us know if you're attending.

WHAT: Windows Phone 7 Hackathon

WHEN: Monday, 4/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

DETAILS: This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall. The format is less structured, and more hands-on. Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be. Our primary goal is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace. We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy and Soak Your Head). If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

This is the place to be, whether you're new and want to learn, or want the latest info on what's coming in the "Mango" release.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.
NOTE: A light lunch and snacks will be provided.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | wp7dev | PWPUG | XNA

PDX Windows Phone User Group - April Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our April meeting on Monday the 18th. For our next meeting we’re using a hack-a-thon format.  It will be a full afternoon of creating, hacking, and helping you with your apps. Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!

FYI, rumor has it that at least one Samsung Focus will be given away as swag. Stay tuned for more details on how to win.


WHAT: PWPUG - April 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 4/18/2011
11:30 a.m. Lunch / Networking
12:00 p.m. Hackathon, Demos, Help with Apps
4:30 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White, Erik Mork
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world. Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

Erik Mork is a Silverlight Consultant and Trainer. He is a Silverlight MVP and Silverlight Insider who has been working professionally with Silverlight since the 1.0 release and is best known as the creator of the popular Sparkling Client Silverlight Podcast. He is an active contributor to community screencasts and Silverlight Open Source projects.

TOPIC: Windows Phone 7 Hack-a-thon
This event is follow-on from the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed Events that were held last fall.  The format is less structured, and more hands-on.  Whether you need help developing, architecting, pricing, integrating ads, or are just getting started, this is the place to be.  One of our goals is to help you get your app ready and submitted to the marketplace.  We’re happy to share lessons learned from our own experiences (e.g. Alchemy).  If you find yourself to have been inspired by MIX and just want to get together and hack a cool app, we’re more than happy to jump in and help you with that as well.

NOTE: Devices will be available for testing your apps.

If you are new and want to learn, then this is the place to be.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

Windows Phone 7 Contests

Shameless Plug for PDX Windows Phone User Group

For those of you not attending the PDX Windows Phone User Group, you can always start now.  The next meeting is during the lunch hour on April 18th.  Here are some of the reasons why you should attend and become a part of this group.

  • Excellent presentations
  • Lots of swag (Xbox Kinect, Phones, Books, etc)
  • Networking
  • Free help getting your app created and launched into the marketplace.
  • Awesome contests – read on

 

$99 Windows Phone Marketplace Rebate

Get a $99 rebate for your Marketplace fee when you successfully publish two Windows Phone 7 apps that are profiled in the Windows Phone 7 Developer Program (Microsoft Platform Ready for WP7) and in the Marketplace by April 15th, 2011 (see details).

 

April Contest

Microsoft has been having an ongoing contest to submit an app and get a free Samsung device.

If our user group can publish 20+ apps to the marketplace in the month of April then our group will also win an Xbox Kinect.  Erik and I have decided that Xbox Kinect will be given to the person who submits the most apps.

Remember, in order to get your apps to count you must submit them to the user group contest.  Please make sure you use this new event code:  K9AIP

You can use the date of the event you attended as 4/18/2011.

NOTE:  If you’ve previously created apps but haven’t yet submitted those to this sweepstakes, then be sure to get those submitted as well.

I’ll be holding extra nerd dinners and making myself generally available in April to help out individuals get their apps completed and submitted.  You can think of it as free consulting, no strings attached.  Just let me know (kelly@whitepdx.com) if this is something you need.

 

April-May Contest

Microsoft, Telerik, and PreEmptive recently announced a program for user groups to get access to free tools for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.  You probably already knew that the phone tools from Microsoft were free, but these additional tools include Telerik’s RadControls for Windows Phone, as well as PreEmptive’s Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone.

The gist of this contest is

  1. You get the tools to create the app
  2. You create the app
  3. You publish the app
  4. You keep the app and all the revenue it makes.
  5. You notify me (kelly@whitepdx.com) and I then contact Telerik and inform them about your app.
  6. They then send us $100 for our user group, which means more swag, better food, more contests, etc.

 

Ongoing Contests

If you publish an XNA game for the Windows Phone then I’m going to give you one of these exclusive XNA jackets (at least until I run out of jackets).  These are sweet jackets and I’ve got multiple sizes, all you have to do is

  1. Create an XNA game for the Windows Phone
  2. Submit it to the marketplace and get it approved
  3. Submit your XNA game to the user group contest as mentioned above (event code K9AIP)
  4. Demo your game at one of our next user group meetings

 

Final Thoughts

I guess you can say there’s a lot of effort being made into getting apps developed for Windows Phone.  Personally, I’m ok with that.  Microsoft is coming into this space and they have some catching up to do.  I see this as an opportunity, no wait, a *huge* opportunity for developers such as you and I.  Don’t discount the significance of the Nokia deal.

While it’s easy to sit back and have a negative outlook at where Microsoft is right now, doing so means you won’t be able to be a part of the worldwide growth explosion that is happening in mobile.  If you wait even just one year before you jump in with both feet, you’ll be that much further behind, and your negative outlook will be a result of opportunity lost.  If you don’t believe me now, then let’s wait and talk after I get back from MIX.  We’ll have a nerd dinner on the 18th for those of you who aren’t able to attend the user group meeting during lunchtime.

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

Portland Windows Phone User Group - March Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group will be having our March meeting next week.  The topic is on using PreEmptive's new Runtime Intelligence product to build analytics into your application.  We'll also be covering the newly released WP7 tools from Telerik.  Details are below, look forward to seeing you there!


WHAT: PWPUG - March 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 3/21/2011
11:30 a.m. Networking / Showing off apps
12:00 p.m. Presentation
1:00 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30 pm. Testing apps on devices

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and is the Principal of Silvertail Software. He has over 10 years of industry experience building web applications, and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world.  Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly is a regular guest on the show "This Week in Silverlight" on the Sparkling Client podcast. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

TOPIC: Using PreEmptive Runtime Intelligence and Telerik Controls
Microsoft, PreEmptive, and Telerik recently announced a program for user groups to get access to free tools for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.  In addition, each app built and deployed to the marketplace by our members which uses these tools results in $100 for our user group.  Woohoo!

I'll be walking through some of the Telerik controls and discuss how and where you want to use them.  I'll also be demonstrating how to use PreEmptive's tools to both obfuscate your app and instrument it for analytics.  Well go over the Runtime Intelligence reporting capabilities using an app that I deployed in the marketplace last week.  The last thing I'll show is how to notify Telerik so our group can take advantage of that $100 bonus.

Showing off Apps
This is when you (the audience) will get 5 minutes to stand in front of the room and show off you app (3 minutes for presentation, 2 for Q&A).  You can either show it working on a device or in the emulator (device is recommended).  If you do not have a device then I’ll be happy to lend you one of mine.  Just bring your compiled XAP and I’ll load it up for you.

Showing off apps is done on a first come, first served basis.  Don’t worry, this part of the meeting won’t be recorded.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

 


About Portland Windows Phone User Group

The goal of this user group is educate and assist developers on the Windows Phone platform. The group does have typical meetings where presenters speak on a topic. However, the group does devote a large portion of time to members sharing knowledge in helping others to create apps/games and get them tested and approved in the marketplace.

Lunch

A light lunch will be provided (sandwiches and chips from Costco).  However, please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Schedule

11:30am Networking, Showing off apps
12:00pm Presentation
1:00pm Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30pm Testing apps on devices

Format

The showing off of apps will be done on a first come, first served basis.  Meeting presentations will be recorded and made available for online viewing.  Please email me if you’re interested in presenting a topic (kelly@whitepdx.com).

Testing Apps on Devices

If anyone is interested in testing their apps on an actual device, I’ll be available after the presentation to help.  All you’ll need to bring is your compiled XAP file.

Parking

There is a couple of parking garages and areas within a few blocks of the new location. We hope to have more information on parking opportunities for our members prior to the meeting. Plan to arrive early to find parking. Parking will not be validated.

Sponsorship

Please email me if you or your company is interested in becoming a sponsor of the group.

 

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG

Portland Windows Phone User Group - February Meeting

The Portland Windows Phone User Group now has a solid location and timeframe for our monthly meetings.  In the spirit of Mobile Mondays will be meeting on the 3rd Monday of each month from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Microsoft’s new downtown office space.

Lunch

A light lunch will be provided (sandwiches and chips from Costco).  However, please feel free to bring your own lunch.

Schedule

11:30am Networking, Showing off apps
12:00pm Presentation
1:00pm Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30pm Testing apps on devices

Format

The showing off of apps will be done on a first come, first served basis.  Presentations will be recorded and made available for online viewing.  Please email me if you’re interested in presenting a topic (kelly@whitepdx.com).

Testing Apps on Devices

If anyone is interested in testing their apps on an actual device, I’ll be available after the presentation to help.  All you’ll need to bring is your compiled XAP file.

Parking

There is a couple of parking garages and areas within a few blocks of the new location. We hope to have more information on parking opportunities for our members prior to the meeting. Plan to arrive early to find parking. Parking will not be validated.

Sponsorship

Please email me if you or your company is interested in becoming a sponsor of the group.


WHAT: PWPUG - February 2011 Meeting

WHEN: Monday, 2/21/2011
11:30 a.m. Networking / Showing off apps
12:00 p.m. Presentation
1:00 p.m. Wrap up & giveaways
~1:30 pm. Testing apps on devices

WHERE: Microsoft PacWest Office (map)
1414 NW Northrup St
Portland, OR 97209-2798

WHO: Kelly White, Erik Mork
Kelly White is a Windows Phone Development MVP and is the Principal of Silvertail Software. He has over 10 years of industry experience building web applications, and has a passion for startups and ideas that can change the world.  Kelly co-founded both the Portland Silverlight User Group and Portland Windows Phone User Group with Erik Mork. Kelly is a regular guest on the show "This Week in Silverlight" on the Sparkling Client podcast. Kelly presents regularly at User Groups and Code Camps throughout the Pacific Northwest on Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 Development.

Erik Mork is a Silverlight Consultant and Trainer. He is a Silverlight MVP and Silverlight Insider who has been working professionally with Silverlight since the 1.0 release and is best known as the creator of the popular Sparkling Client Silverlight Podcast. He is an active contributor to community screencasts and Silverlight Open Source projects.

TOPIC: Portland Windows Phone User Group Kickoff
This is our first meeting in our new space and at our new time.  We’ll start off with a summary of announcements from Mobile World Congress where Brandon Watson will be discussing the “State of the Union” for Windows Phone 7.  We’ll then dive into a discussion on the state of the current mobile ecosystem.  iPhone is clearly at the top with Android closing the gap, but what about Windows Phone 7?  Does it make sense to go after this platform right now, or should you focus your limited time and efforts elsewhere?  How much money are developers really making?  How should you price your app?  Is now a good time to quit your day job and get in as an app developer on the ground floor?

Showing off Apps
This is when you (the audience) will get 5 minutes to stand in front of the room and show off you app (3 minutes for presentation, 2 for Q&A).  You can either show it working on a device or in the emulator (device is recommended).  If you do not have a device then I’ll be happy to lend you mine.  Just bring your compiled XAP and I’ll load it up for you.

Showing off apps is done on a first come, first served basis.  Don’t worry, this part of the meeting won’t be recorded.

Sponsors: While you are at it, consider visiting our premium sponsors that make these meetings possible:

 

tags: WP7 | wp7dev | PWPUG

Firestarter Bus - Swag for First 40 on the Bus

I blogged earlier about the free bus ride from Portland to Redmond for the upcoming Silverlight Firestarter.    We'll be leaving at 5am sharp and don't want to leave anyone behind, so the question is how do I motivate you to wake up early so you don't miss the bus?  How about we give away swag for the first 40 people to show up and get on the bus?  Consider it done!

The bus ride is sponsored by Microsoft, the Portland Silverlight User Group, and the Portland Windows Phone User Group.

tags: WP7 | Silverlight | PDXSLUG | PWPUG | SLFS10

Portland Windows Phone User Group Meetup (11/8)

The next meetup for the Portland Windows Phone User Group is scheduled for Monday, November 8th.  What’s so special about this date?  It’s the first day that phones are available in the US!  Woot!  Details are included below (light swag for those who attend).  Look forward to seeing you there.

Next Meeting:
When: October 11 from 6pm – 8pm
Where: Lucky Lab Tap Room – 1700 North Killingsworth St, Portland, OR
Map: http://bit.ly/luckylab

Agenda:
6:00pm – Introductions
6:15pm – Tutorial on unlocking phones for development
6:30pm – Hackfest

 

 

tags: WP7 | PWPUG

Portland Windows Phone User Group

Many of you know that I'm super excited about the opportunities with Windows Phone 7.  Erik Mork and I thought it made sense to start a new user group in Portland where individuals could meet, share ideas, and collaborate on this new platform.  We’ve had one meeting where we determined the goals, meeting times, topics, and format.

This group is very democratic, where outside input is not considered, but instead everything is determined by those who actually attend the meetings.  While we do have a mailing list, right now emails on that message board are worthless compared to the voice of a member who actually attends (at least until the number of emails more than doubles the number of voices).

The vision is to have this be a “working” user group, so bring your laptop and prepare to code.  Projects can be done, either for profit or for fun.  Presentations will be short and informal, more of a show-n-tell format.  Right now it's all about helping individuals can come together to find other developers interested in Windows Phone development.

I imagine that as devices become available to everyday developers we’ll see this evolve into more of a traditional user group.  The group’s website is located at http://pdxwinphone.org/.  The group also has a mailing list which can be found at http://bit.ly/pdxwinphone.

This will be an interesting group to watch.  Right now we have 8 people who attend and 20 people on our mailing list.  There is the potential that the attendance numbers for this group could go through the roof.  It all depends on how the public responds to and adopts Windows Phone 7.

I hinted at this above, but honestly I'm fully expecting this group to transition to a traditional user group over the next 12 months.  At that time we’ll be looking at meeting in the new Portland Microsoft Office, located in the Pearl.  I really feel this group needs to meet downtown because that is where the majority of the startups in Portland are located.  My primary goal with this group is to make people successful, not just to help them learn a new technology.  I measure success using the following guidelines:

  • Does this group help startups find developers?
  • Does the group help developers take their ideas to market?
  • Does the group help developers find other developers who then take their ideas to market?
  • Does this group grow developers who are then finding jobs creating Windows Phone apps?
  • Are the companies in Portland using this group as a resource to find and hire Windows Phone developers?

Everything I've mentioned is subject to change depending on your feedback.  Come to a meeting, get involved, let's build some cool apps.  See you soon.

tags: WP7 | PWPUG