Category Archives: App Development

Celebrating 3 Years at Microsoft!

It’s been three years since I joined Microsoft… how did I get here? Before you begin, check out my new Facebook page for developers: Shahed Codes! And then connect with me on LinkedIn!

mslogo Wake Up And Code!

With a background in ASP .NET web application development for enterprise customers, I recently published my first book, “ASP .NET Core Essentials”, via Packt Publishing. You can check it out at the following URL: https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/aspnet-core-essentials

But first, a little history…

Back in 2011, I published a couple of silly little indie games for Xbox 360, using XNA and C# in Visual Studio. While working at my day job, I had gotten a little bored with business applications and decided to teach myself game programming. I made a little profit with my games, including Angry Zombie Ninja Cats.

Ninja Cat Sprite Sheet

Ninja Cat Sprite Sheet

With mixed reviews, the ratings bounced back and forth between 3 stars and 4 stars, and finally settled on approximately 3.5 stars. The game even got a brutally honest review from Indie Gamer Chick, who later invited me to write a couple of dev articles for her website:

The latter article even got republished on Gamasutra:

By 2012, I branched out into make free dev tools for XBLIG indie devs, such as the XNA Sales Data Analyzer and XBLIG Basic Starter Kit. The Sales Data Analyzer tool was received well by the indie media (including my now-colleague Dave Voyles), and was used by XNA developers across the US and around the world! :)

statsUS analyticsMap

The first time I ever spoke at a public event was at NoVA Code Camp in 2013, while I was working at Excella Consulting. I joined my colleagues Sahil Talwar and Doguhan Uluca in delivering a 3-part presentation on a complete end-to-end lean web application architecture. Specifically, I talked about Entity Framework Code First Migrations.

Source: https://twitter.com/shahedC/status/326068261336788992

Combining my background in enterprise business applications and indie game development, I decided to start speaking on various topics ranging from ASP .NET to Xbox game development. By 2014, I achieved a triple-achievement with the following:

  1. mentioned in Official Xbox Magazine
  2. selected to received MVP Award
  3. received job offer from Microsoft
Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

The MVP Award for Microsoft is only for members of the community who are not employees of Microsoft, so I gave up the award when I accepted a job offer from Microsoft in March 2014. Since then, I’ve had the chance to work with all sorts of development tools, technology and platforms, including:

All of the above allowed me to start working on customer projects ranging from Xamarin and Azure to ASP .NET Core and IoT. Upcoming projects will include Bot Framework, Cognitive Services and HoloLens! I also got a chance to build an internal Kinect v2 application called Speech Bubbles, which tracks passers-by and displays cartoon bubbles above their heads to follow them around as they continue walking.

I had the opportunity to record 3 courses for Microsoft Virtual Academy with my then-colleague James Quick. The primary topic was Game Development with Construct 2, including the use of Xbox One controllers and the publishing process of getting your game into the Windows Store and the Xbox Store.

mva

Over the years, I’ve had the chance to speak at various community events around the DC/MD/VA region, along the East Coast and even across the US. When Unity Technologies came to town, I hosted their official Unity Roadshow events with Carl Callewaert, Unity’s Global Director of Evangelism. I even took some time off to fly to Barcelona (Spain!) to teach a game dev workshop to a team of King employees. In case you haven’t heard of King, they’re the developers of a popular mobile game called Candy Crush.

carl-unity king

In addition to community events, I’ve delivered talks and mentored students at various hackathons, including: American University, Georgetown University, Gallaudet University, Howard University, University of Maryland @ College Park, University of Maryland @ Baltimore County, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

universities

One of these hackathons was HackMIT, where I had the opportunity to join my colleague Gavin Bauman in training a group of HackMIT attendees at the beginning of the hackathon. We also mentored the students throughout the event.

Fast-forward to 2017, I’ve been facilitating the NoVA Code Camp event at the Microsoft office in Reston VA (now twice a year). This community-led event owes its existence to volunteers from the community, including current organizers Ed Snider and Stan Reeser. Past organizers include Tasha Scott and Greg Hurlman.

The following Twitter Moment consolidates the tweets that mention our sponsors and speakers at NoVA Code Camp 2017.1 for Spring 2017:

FB-FindUsOnFacebook-printpackaging-2

I’ve continued to administer and moderate multiple developer groups on Facebook (and a real-life Meetup group):

Hope you found some inspiration in my journey. If you’ve made it this far… check out my previous anniversary blog post from 2016!

 

 

Xamarin, Xbox One Dev Mode, Bot Framework and HoloLens @ Reston meetup

I presented Xamarin, Xbox One Dev Mode, Bot Framework and HoloLens at my Reston meetup group, DC-MS-Devs. Here is all the presentation material with the slides, links and my contact information. Each segment covered an overview + demo with input from guest speakers.

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1 of 4: Intro to Xamarin

Download PPTX or view slideshow below for Intro to Xamarin

SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/shahedC3000/intro-to-xamarin-63161570

Xamarin is now a part of Microsoft and is included at no extra charge with any version of Visual Studio, even the free Community Edition! Build mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows all from Visual Studio using C#!

2 of 4: Xbox One Dev Mode

Download PPTX or view slideshow below for Xbox One Dev Mode

SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/shahedC3000/xbox-one-dev-mode-63161595

In addition to Xbox One dev kits for approved developers, anyone can now use a retail Xbox One to develop apps or games for Xbox One! Learn how you can get started today!

3 of 4: Intro to Bot Framework

Download PPTX or view slideshow below for Bot Framework

SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/shahedC3000/intro-to-bot-framework

Microsoft’s new Bot Framework allows devs to create intelligent bots to interact with users in a natural way. The possibilities of these new types of technologies get tremendously larger when coupled with Azure Services.

4 of 4: Intro to HoloLens

Download PPTX or view slideshow below for HoloLens

SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/shahedC3000/intro-to-hololens

HoloLens dev kits have started shipping! Learn how you can apply for one and get started with the HoloLens Simulator on Windows 10!

 

 

Build 2016 Recap

Need to catch up on Build announcements?

build

Start here:

Here’s a quick recap:

Windows Facts and Features

Windows for Developers

Xbox + HoloLens

Cortana + Skype

Azure

Labs

3rd Party References:

Universal Apps for Windows 10

Here is the material for “Universal Apps” delivered at the DC MS Devs meetup @ Reston VA on Thu March 24, 2016.

 

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/shahedC3000/universal-apps-for-windows-10

Download PPTX: http://wakeupandcode.com/public_downloads/Win10-2016.pptx

GitHub Link: https://github.com/Windows-Readiness/WinDevHOLs

 

 

Why Microsoft?

To celebrate my 2-year anniversary at Microsoft as a Sr. Technical Evangelist, I wanted to put my thoughts down in a blog post and discuss it in a video. This post also answers the question “Why Did I Choose Microsoft?” In today’s open-source, cross-platform world, Microsoft is becoming more and more relevant, from cloud services (hosting Windows and Linux servers) to mobile app services (supporting iOS and Android) and everything in between.

Wake Up And Code!

Jump to Video: https://youtu.be/bPnWf2HKVMw

video-teleport

 

mslogo Why Microsoft?

Sometimes, people ask me “Hey, you are promoting Microsoft products just because you work for Microsoft?” I usually respond “Actually no, I joined Microsoft because I enjoy using and promoting Microsoft products.” You see, today’s Microsoft supports many operating systems, programing languages and platforms that crosses overs in way that turns competition into collaboration”

As a consumer, I started using DOS and Windows 3.1 when I first learned how to use a computer. I jumped onto Windows 95 along with the rest of the world. I picked up productivity apps like WordPerfect and Quattro Pro, but was introduced to Office products such as Word and Excel. Today, I have multiple devices running Windows 10, including my Xbox One! :)

As an enterprise developer, I have been using Microsoft software development tools and business applications for almost 2 decades now. My first real job was in the Summer of 1997 when I used Active Server Pages to develop database-driven web applications. Today, I’m using Visual Studio 2015 to work on everything from ASP .NET Core 1.0 web applications to Windows 10 apps/games, and even games developed in Unity. Having tried out other dev tools, I would happily admit that Visual Studio is arguably the best IDE out there. For a lighter code editor, there’s Visual Studio Code for PC, Mac and Linux users.

Screenshot of photo and caption from IGC :-)

Screenshot of photo and caption from IGC :-)

As an indie developer, I started making silly little games for Xbox 360 using XNA and C# within Visual Studio for Xbox Live Indie Games. I even got slayed by Indie Gamer Chick, but survived to write 2 articles for her blog (Earning Your Keep and Redefining Indie Success). I followed up my indie games with free dev tools for XBLIG developers around the world, which really got me involved in the dev community. Long before my colleague Dave Voyles and I joined Microsoft, he wrote up a couple of reviews on my dev tools (XBLIG Sales Data Analyzer and XNA Basic Starter Kit) before we had even known each other.

As a community leader, I created Facebook groups for Construct 2, Unity, and Xbox One. I wasn’t sure which would take off, but all three of them are very active today. I recently launched a new group for HoloLens, and also run a real-life Meetup group for DC/MD/VA developers using Microsoft tools, technologies and platforms. It’s great to see continued interest from my audience in everything form cloud services to game development tools.

I was even fortunate enough to get mentioned in the Official Xbox Magazine, in the same month that I was selected for the Microsoft MVP program and offered a job at Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist!

Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65

As a technical evangelist, I have been working with students, startups and developers all over DC/MD/VA, coast to coast across the US and around the world via in-person events and online videos. Looking for one of my videos? Head on over to MSDN Channel 9, where you’ll find plenty of videos for all things Microsoft and more!

My colleague James Quick and I also have 2 sets of videos on Microsoft Virtual Academy, with the 3rd set coming soon!

  1. Construct 2: http://aka.ms/mva-construct2
  2. Advanced Construct 2: http://aka.ms/mva-construct2-advanced
  3. Windows 10 Games with Construct 2: (Coming Soon!)

So, why did I choose Microsoft? I followed my passions, and this is where it led me. 😎

To wrap things up, check out this video of me talking with my friend Frank La Vigne, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, on his YouTube Channel Frank’s World TV.

YouTube Video on FWTV: https://youtu.be/bPnWf2HKVMw

BUT WAIT, THERE’s MORE!!!

In my latest Channel 9 video, check out my other video with Frank where we discuss how to get started with game development!