A guest post from Matt over at Rogue Code. Rogue Code are top notch Windows Phone Developers ! Matt attended Microsoft Tech Days in Durban, and gives a very cool insight to what the day was all about. Thanks Matt !
Friday the 12th of October, I found myself headed to the International Conference Centre in Durban. The sun was shining bright and the temperature was on the rise, much like it always is in Durban. I was headed to this year’s Microsoft Tech Days. Tech Days is a yearly event hosted by Microsoft aimed at reaching out to the community to bring them up to speed with their latest innovations in hardware and software and what they expect from developers and the like.
Upon entering the main hall of the event I was met by a barrage of various sponsors and Microsoft orientated displays. The hall was packed with event goers who found themselves caught in the customary act of networking, as one would expect from an event such as this. Overall the event had a rather excited vibe in the air, and received a rather good response from the relatively small techy community in Durban.
Once it was apparent that all registration had been completed, we all shuffled into one of the secondary halls, this is where the Keynote session took place. The keynote session was focused on giving a general overview of the topics of the day, to help attendees decide on which sessions they might want to attend. The event hall also had bowls of mints strewn across the tables, which was a major plus – I love mints. The keynotes session had come to a close and I found myself shuffling back into the main hall where we were served a rather tasty breakfast of waffles with syrup and cream. After breakfast we all decided which track we should attend. The topics were:
• Track 1 Windows 8 Part 1: Introduction
• Track 2 Migrating an existing LOB application to Windows Azure
• Track 3 Managing your Core Infrastructure
• Track 4 The New Office: The Insider’s Guide to What’s Coming for IT Pros and Developers
• Track 1 Win 8 Part 2 – Application Development with HTML / JS
• Track 2 Using Windows Azure Service Bus to integrate LOB applications and Office 365
• Track 3 Server Virtualization • Track 4 Call Me If You Can: Lync 2013 Voice Architecture and Management
• Track 1 Windows 8 – End to End Application with C# & Xaml
• Track 2 End to End Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2012 – Part
• Track 3 VDI and Access
• Track 4 Exchange Online in Office 365: Administration Deep Dive
• Track 1 UI Design
• Track 2 End to End Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2012 – Part 2
• Track 3 Introduction to the Windows Azure Platform – using Azure Cloud Services • Track 4 SharePoint 2013: Return of the Technical Jedi!
• Track 4 SharePoint 2013: Return of the Technical Jedi!
With Windows 8 being released to the public on the 26th of this month (October), there was quite a substantial amount of focus paid to the Windows 8 tracks. A large part of the event goers were quite enthralled by the Windows 8 topics, and rightfully so. Windows 8 is bringing a whole new style to the Operating System, they now focus on “content before chrome”, meaning that apps should use all the space they can without wasting it on chrome. Another saying that was tossed around repeatedly in context to Windows 8 apps was “fast and fluid”. All in all it seems that the release of Windows 8 opens up a lot of opportunities to a lot of people, the ability for developers to monetize apps has never been easier than in Windows 8, and the potential market share is absolutely massive.
There was also quite a bit of chatter about the new Office 2013, which looks to be the next major update after the “ribbon” interface. There are a lot of nifty changes in Office making it more user friendly, but what stuck out to me was the new animations and the fluidity of it all. The incorporation with SkyDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage platform) also means that the users’ files now travel with them across any computer, phone, or web browser.
Throughout the day I found myself attending all the Windows 8 tracks, however I managed to speak to some people that had attended the other ones, and they all seem to have been as equally as enlightening. Overall the sessions for the day were rather effective and I believe they not only helped me quite a lot, but a large portion of the Durban techy community. Durban really needs more events like this to, you know…get us all out in the sun for a bit.