Boston Windows App Developer MeetupIf you’re plugged into Meetup in the Boston area, you may have noticed a bit of activity around a new group – the Boston Windows App Developer Meetup.

As part of our efforts to support developers in the area that are building Windows 8 and Windows Phone applications, your local evangelism team – Chris, Michael, Edwin, and I – have converged on a plan of activities to support the variety of learning styles, experience levels, and schedules of all you eager developers. Given that Meetup has become a de facto “go to” site for technical events in this area, it was more or less a no-brainer to consolidate all of our recurring activity announcements in one place.

We will use the Meetup site to advertise three primary types of recurring events:

Office Hours provide a regular, weekly opportunity to stop by with application development questions, for troubleshooting, and to get access to devices for testing.  Barring occasional schedule and venue conflicts, these will run on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Microsoft Store in Boston. There is no formal agenda, and you’re welcome to drop in at any point during the scheduled time period.

In-store Presentations, will follow our Office Hours in the Microsoft Store, starting at 6:30 (so we have a chance to grab a bite at the food court or neighborhood restaurant).  These presentations will cover a variety of topics of interest to Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers, including technical content, design guidelines, market opportunities, the 3rd party ecosystem, etc. We also plan to leverage these events to highlight the successes of area developers who have applications in the Windows Stores.

Workshops will be held at the Microsoft Offices at 1 Cambridge Center or NERD (depending on venue availability). These workshops are focused on providing technical training to build Windows 8 and Windows Phone applications, so we encourage you bring your laptop (with Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8) as well as code you are working on. Our goal is to start with about an hour or hour and 1/2 of content focused on a particular development technology, such as C#/XAML, HTML5/JavaScript, C++, Windows Azure Mobile Services, as well as partner technologies like Xamarin, GameMaker, GameSalad, and more. The remainder of each three-hour session is open hacking time: work on your app with access to us and other experienced app developers, bounce ideas off each other, and continue progressing toward getting your app into the store. The workshops aren’t one time only, so if you can’t make a session or two because of conflicts, the same topics will be offered again in short order.

We are also working on a series of larger, all-day immersive Firestarter events, which follow a more traditional Microsoft model of technical presentations covering the gamut of a given platform.  Look for an imminent announcement of two Firestarters – one for Windows Phone and one for Windows 8 – to be held in the Boston area in February. Since these events are being run, managed, and coordinated across the entire East Region of the US, registration will not be via Meetup, but we will be sure to send a note to the Meetup membership when the registration sites are available.

This is an amazing time for developers – great technology, great community, and great ideas – and we’re excited to help be a (small) part of all of the awesome applications you’ll be developing. We’re eager to help, and hope you’ll let us know what’s working (and what’s not) as we roll out this cadence of events.