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I’m so excited. In the first week of April I will attend the Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference in San Francisco. For a Microsoft Developer, this is the most influential event where you connect with thousands of other great developers from around the world, and get the Latest News from Microsoft’s Developers.

The venue for this event is the Moscone Center, where also last year’s BUILD event was held. Companies like Google and Apple also held large events here.

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BUILD 2014 was opened for registration on January 14 at 18.00 (Swedish Time). I reserved my ticket just three minutes later, and it didn’t take long before the event was sold out. So, on April 1 I will be on location and connect with some of the world’s greatest Microsoft Developers, to learn and share for several days. Hopefully Steve Ballmer will be there to hold a keynote before he steps down as CEO of Microsoft.

The sessions hasn’t been revealed yet, but there will be over a hundred sessions to pick from. I’ve watched a few sessions from BUILD 2013 on Channel9, and my expectations are high. Attending this event will put Mindbite even more in front of our local competition.

My trip will start a little earlier with a flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday the week before BUILD. There I will meet up with my old Mindbite-colleague Johan, that works for NetRelations in Los Angeles. Very exciting!

PCH

On Sunday I plan to travel the coast by car from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If everything goes as planned I will arrive in San Francisco on Monday afternoon to check in at Hilton, which is located just 10 walking minutes from the Moscone Center.

I will post more details regarding this trip before, during and after. So check out this blog for breaking BUILD News in April!

If you’ve booked your ticket to BUILD, send me a message and we’ll connect in San Francisco! If you come in early, as I do, maybe we could go sightseeing together before the event.

// @robinmansson /

Yesterday I attended the WP7 CodeCamp at Microsoft’s head office in Sweden. It was a WP7 coding event with approx. 40 developers and some people from Microsoft. We kicked off with an introduction by Dag König, presenting some news in WP7 Mango development and some example projects we could work with.

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Outside Microsoft. Pretty cool facilities.

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Our dev team working working on a Memory game using Augmented Reality. For four hours we brainstormed, and developed an app that we later showed for the other attendants.

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At 15.00 we took the stage and demoed our apps. Here you can see Jessica Engström showing off here XNA Game.

About an hour ago I arrived at the Ibis Hotel in Akalla, Kista. Not the worst hotel (even though its price would suggest that). So Marcus & Kim, you’re still in the lead.

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Tomorrow I will attend the Windows Phone 7 CodeCamp at Microsoft’s head office in Sweden. We’re 45-50 developers gathering at Microsoft for a whole day, focusing on development for WP7. Dag König will lead us through the new features in the Mango release.

Closing comments

Very exciting.

A few days ago me and my colleague Kim went to Linköping to attend Swenug’s (Swedish .Net User Group) seminar about Windows Phone 7. The seminar was organized by the newly founded Swenug chapter in Linköping/Norrköping, sponsored by the company Sigma.

The evenings speaker was Dag König, Developer Evangelist at Microsoft, who gave us a 2.5 hour presentation about developing apps for Windows Phone 7. The presentation was interesting, inspiring and somewhat frustrating.

Windows Phone 7 is really a nice phone with a compelling and intuitive UI. Apps are developed with .Net Framework in Visual Studio 2010 and since we have used this technology for a very long time we could start developing apps any day. The frustrating part is that the phone was released several years to late. The competition is too far ahead of Microsoft and the market share for WP7 is extremely poor.

The Windows Phone 7 was released in October 2010, but still it lacks Swedish language, Swedish keyboard and Marketplace in Sweden. So if you buy a Windows Phone 7 you can’t buy any apps. You can download free apps though.

For the moment, these languages exists in the phone:
English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Marketplace is available in:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, and United States.

WP7 also lacks Copy/Paste and Multi-tasking, features that is kind of a standard in other smartphones. Rumors say these features will be released in an update later this year.

So, if Windows Phone had Swedish features and if you could buy apps from the Marketplace, I would consider switching my iPhone for a Windows Phone 7.

The fun part

As a programmer I develop applications using Microsoft .Net Framework daily and it’s an easy task to start develop apps for Windows Phone 7. The possibilities are great and I really hope that the market will adopt the phone. Nokia is one of the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world and a few weeks ago they announced their switch from Symbian OS to WP7. This could be the thing that will take WP7 to the market and makes it a product to compete with iPhone and Android. I surely hope so.

WP7 has a great API that gives the .net developers a great chance to create amazing apps. Our company is a Microsoft Certified Partner so we use Visual Studio 2010 Premium, so we have everything we need to start developing apps. If you’re not a partner or you don’t have MSDN Subscription you can download a limited version of Visual Studio 2010 for free. The WP7 SDK is also free, so everyone can start developing apps.

Microsoft has a huge developer community so if/when WP7 becomes a success, there will most likely be a large quantity of useful apps to buy/download in Marketplace.

Certification process

Just like on iPhone (and Android I suppose) there is a certification process for releasing you app to the Marketplace. From what we learned at the seminar it takes about 3-5 day to get your app approved (or most likely rejected at first).

The certification process consists of both automatic and manual tests made by Microsoft. Apparently they are very strict and you must follow the UI guidelines to be able to get your app approved.

Even though Swedish users can’t buy apps, they can distribute and sell apps in the Marketplace. To be able to buy an app you must have an American or British credit card.

Demos

Dag König has released two apps on the Marketplace; Trafiktitt and Trafikofon. They are free of charge so Swedish users can download them to their phones. Dag showed us parts from these apps’ source code and also started a new solution and developed a rough version of Trafikofon. It was very interesting and the coding was very familiar.

Dag’s last demo was a Push Notification demo. We learned how to register the app with a service and later on letting the service push updates to the phone. Push Notifications is one of the things I love most and the feature is a vital part of the OS.

What’s next for us?

We just begun testing WP7 development at Mindbite, and we will continue to gain insight in WP7. If or when the phone gains a larger market share we will be able to develop apps for our customers.

Closing comments

Windows Phone 7 is a great and beautiful Phone OS that gives the existing developer community a chance to create stunning apps and make money. It’s sad that Microsoft jumped on the train several years to late. But I hope they learned something and that they will start releasing updates that will make the phone a competing product on the already tough market.