Launching AzureAustin user group May 13, 2013

On May 13, 2013, I’m launching a new user group, AzureAustin (please RSVP so we can plan food accordingly).

For those who know me, you know that I led the Austin .Net User Group for 5 years, that I was on the founding board of directors for AgileAustin, and that I co-founded AgileATX (now known as ATX Code Lunch – and superbly facilitated by Chad Myers).  I’m launching this new group because the nature of the data center is changing rapidly, and Microsoft is one of the big 3 lending momentum behind the trend.

I also see the Microsoft technologist having a key role to play in the new DevOps world, and this group will be central in bringing together developers and technologist responsible for running critical software systems for their companies.  By coming to together, sharing successes, and discussing challenges, we can mutually sharpen each other and learn from each other.  This group is sponsored by Microsoft and will be held at the Austin Microsoft office.  In addition, each month will have a food/drink sponsor for dinner.

At 5:30, please arrive for 30 minutes of networking and getting started with the food.  The business meeting/presentation will begin at 6PM.  We will conclude at 7:30 and have final announcements and a give away drawing.

Please share this with all you know: managers, executives, developers, I/T admins, and anyone who has a hand in developing and running business software systems.  Along with Windows Azure, we will discuss all relevant topics around the technologies used to build and operate systems that can run in Windows Azure.

I look forward to seeing you there.  Please contact me if you have any questions about the group, or if you would like to volunteer to help make the group better!

And RSVP for the first meeting!

Xamarin Evolve conference brings cross-platform mobile development to the enterprise

Today, I am here at the Xamarin Evolve worldwide developer conference.  Xamarin has employees in  many countries, and as far as I can tell, the company has flown most of its research & development department in to Austin to serve as speakers and staffers for the conference. 

The conference has two parts, training, and lectures.  The first two days are hands-on training sessions with two tracks: fundamentals, and advanced.  Essentially, the fundamentals track appears to be full of long-time C# programmers who are new to the Xamarin tool and developing for iOS, Android, and Mac.  The advanced track are targeted topics for folks already intimately familiar with the popular mobile operating systems.

For readers not familiar with Xamarin, this company, run by Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman of Mono fame, produces a stand-alone IDE for development of cross-platform native mobile apps on the Mac, and a Visual Studio extension for developing these within the Visual Studio project system.

You can read more about Xamarin here

For many years, the consumer markets have driven the mobile development technologies.  The market demanded mobile applications, and the industry used the tools available to serve those customers.  The cost of developing multiple code bases for the different platforms almost forced some enterprises to give HTML5 a look for cross-platform apps.  There are some interesting HTML5 approaches to this, but Xamarin brings the promise of native applications to the C# developer using Visual Studio.  Moreover, after researching and playing around with the product, it now appears feasible for enterprise developers to take native mobile applications in-house.  The ability to use C# and Visual Studio to target iOS, and Android as well as WP8 is a game changer.

I will continue to watch this technology closely, but this is a transformative moment.