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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