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December, 2011 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Xbox Companion App release for Windows Phone 7 (cross-posting)


    Have you seen the Productivity Future Vision video released a few weeks ago? May you think a lot of it is not more than science fiction. I look at it focusing on the overall trends and pieces of technology that are coming together more and more to move towards that vision.

    Yesterday’s Xobx Companion App for Windows Phone release is an example of how things come together. You can control your Xbox through the app, learn more details about what you’re listening to or playing, get access to more content, and more.

    My colleague David Hernie blogged about the release, so check out all the details in his post “Control Your Xbox with your Windows Phone Using the Xbox Companion App”.

    >> Direct link: Download Xbox Companion App here, it’s free.

    Before leaving you, a few screenshots to give you an idea:

    xbox1Capture   xbox2Capture  xbox3Capture


    Want to be  that you can keep up on all the latest stuff from Windows Phone through the The Birdsflok website and @WP7BE Twitter handle.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip: SkyDrive APIs for Docs and Photos, Hotmail calendars and more


    Last week the Windows Live team announced the availability of the SkyDrive APIs for Docs and Photos, so you can leverage the user’s free cloud storage in your own applications. There are several ways to integrate:

    • REST APIs for usage within any type of application or device such as websites, mobile apps, basically any application that can do a REST call.
    • Live SDK for Windows Phone, allowing you to integrate with SSO using a Windows Live ID and have access to SkyDrive, Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger
    • Live SDK with Windows 8 Preview: more details in this post “A preview of Windows Live for Windows 8

    In addition to SkyDrive the APIs also give you access to the user’s Hotmail contacts and calendars as well as integrating with Messenger via XMMP.

    Take advantage of these features to give your users seamless access to their documents and photos in your applications. As the usage of cloud behind the scenes becomes more and more current users grow the expectations that their content is always available and synchronized from wherever they access your app. SkyDrive might be one of those options for you.

    >> Official blog post: SkyDrive APIs for Docs and Photos—now ready to cloud enable apps on Windows 8, Windows Phone and more

    >> Live Connect Developer Center

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Web & Phone UX Event: Recordings, slides and content now available


    In November we held the Web & Phone UX event in Ter Elst (Edegem), bringing a full day of sessions focusing on Web & Phone (WP7) Design and Development. Sessions included HTML5, Windows Phone Metro Design from thinking to building and refining, JavaScript habits and patterns, Windows Phone Mango development and Responsive Web Design. All of these sessions delivered by international speakers paired with some of the local experts: Arturo Toledo, Corrina Black, Elijah Manor, Gill Cleeren, Christophe Peerens, Bram Vanderhaeghe, Simon Coudeville and Thomas Deceuninck.

    WP_000473 WP_000467 WP_000472

    Further in this post you can find information about the recorded sessions as well as information on the several events and programs on Windows Phone Development in Belgium.
    Scroll to:


    Recorded content, slides and resources

    All of the content was recorded and are now uploaded together with slides, top recommended resources and even some of the demos to the Channel9 pages.
    Important note: due to some technical issues during recording the quality is not optimal and a few sessions are audio-only. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

    If you missed the event now is the time to get into the content and learn more on Windows Phone 7 & Web user experience and development. We started off with a general session on Microsoft Design: Multiscreen experiences and the Future by Arturo Toledo. In this keynote you can learn more about Metro Design Language and Kinect gestures.
    A detail page per session has been made available with slides, content and recommended resources:

    Keynote: Microsoft Design: Metro, Multiscreen Experiences, Kinect and the Future
    Speaker: Arturo Toledo

    Good JavaScript Habits

    Good JavaScript Habits

    Speaker: Elijah Manor
    DESIGN. Visual, Interaction, Motion and Best Practices Windows Phone Apps.

    DESIGN. Visual, Interaction, Motion and Best Practices Windows Phone Apps.

    Speaker: Arturo Toledo

    What is HTML5 and CSS3 and how can I use it today?

    What is HTML5 and CSS3 and how can I use it today?

    Speaker: Elijah Manor

    REFINE: Best Practices.

    REFINE: Best Practices.

    Speaker: Corrina Black

    Bite on the Mango: what’s new in Windows Phone 7.5


    Bite on the Mango: what’s new in Windows Phone 7.5

    Speaker: Gill Cleeren

    Windows Phone Development Journey from Development to Publishing

    Windows Phone Development Journey from Development to Publishing

    Speaker: Christophe Peerens

    6 Things Every jQuery Developer Should Know

    6 Things Every jQuery Developer Should Know

    Speaker: Elijah Manor

    BUILD. Make it XAML with Expression Blend – Windows Phone Apps.


    BUILD. Make it XAML with Expression Blend – Windows Phone Apps.

    Speaker: Corrina Black

    Responsive Web Design: Get Started

    Responsive Web Design: Get Started

    Speakers: Bram Vanderhaeghe, Simon Coudeville, Thomas Deceuninck


    Windows Phone and Web Development events and programs in Belgium

    1. Windows Phone programs in Belgium to help developers become successful

    2. Web Development tools and support


    Getting started

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Join us for the first PHP & Windows Azure Hackthon in Belgium


    My second post of the day is another one about User Groups and communities. You’d think we only work with Microsoft-technology focused user groups? You’d be wrong Smile

    One of the user groups I’ve been working with in the past few years is the PHPBenelux. Since there are enough interesting touch-points around interoperability, MS’s increased support for PHP on Windows and of course support on Windows Azure platform there is no reason why we would not collaborate.

    Some of the folks in the PHP community have been great to work with, and it’s a great pleasure to be sponsoring the PHPBenelux Conference again this year (27-28 January 2012). What’s new: with the help of Michelangelo van Dam (@dragonbe) and Maarten Balliauw (@maartenballiauw) we’ll be hosting a free half day Azure/PHP Hackathon on January 27th 2012.

    When getting your ticket for the conference be sure to add the free hackathon and come hack away on PHP & Azure.

    My thanks to the whole PHPBenelux community. We look forward to another successful PHPBenelux Conference.

    Some references:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Call for C++ Community folks in Belgium – January 10th meeting


    Are you passionate about C++ and interested in finding like-minded people? Feel like coming together, setting an informal User Group in 2012? We’d like to support you in that and have a call to action for you.

    Marc Gregoire, C++ MVP and author of the book Professional C++, 2nd Edition is one of the folks passionate about the technology and interested in starting up a more active C++ community in Belgium. Are you interested? Join Marc and us for an informal discussion at the Microsoft office in Zaventem on Tuesday January 10th 2012 at 6:30 PM.

    Contact Marc through his blog, leave a note on this blog or reach out to me via Twitter and we’ll see you in January.

    If you are looking for some of the other Microsoft technology communities we have the full listing here:

    As I’m sure I’ve said it before, developer communities are doing a great job in Belgium. With the end of year period I just wanted to make sure I give a special thank you for the motivation you give us at MSDN Belgium. Keep up the good work and looking forward to continuing the collaboration in 2012!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2012 Developer Content Update


    We’re almost ready to confirm 100% of the developer agenda for TechDays 2012, February 14th to 16th 2012. Take a look at the online session listing and speakers where you can see for yourself and have your preferred agenda in mind.
    Just in time for the end of the early bird, ending today!

    Top speakers

    This year we are welcoming some regulars as well as some new faces to the event. Speakers like Jeff Prosise, Bart De Smet, Brian Keller, Wade Wegner, Tarek Madkour, Matt Milner and more. Alex Turner is also back after a few years away, as is Nikhil Kothari the creator of Script#. From over the English channel we are welcoming Steve Sanderson and Richard Finn for the first time, as is Rob Miles joining us for the second year.

    Local speaker favorites and again a few new faces for TechDays: Gill Cleeren, Maarten Balliauw, Kevin Dockx and Sam Vanhoutte, and Peter Himschoot and Jurgen Postelmans for the post-conference deep dive.

    As for the keynote: we still have an announcement to be made there once we are ready to confirm.

    The big content themes

    Our big focus is giving developers get a head-start on the platform and tools such as the next generation of Visual Studio Tools and Languages, the main patterns and paradigms to build applications leveraging cloud services and targeting multiple devices.
    At the same time we also ensure there are enough sessions that go deep on current technology learning’s and real world architectures.

    Post-conference deep dive

    This year the developer deep dive on “Web Development Futures” is delivered by Jurgen Postelmans and Peter Himschoot from U2U. Peter and Jurgen prepared a full day of sessions focusing on Visual Studio 11 for web development, ASP.NET (4.5) Web Forms, ASP.NET MVC 4, HTML5 and WCF. If you are looking at how to leverage new tooling for HTML5 and JavaScript development, target multiple devices, take advantage of ASP.NET features you should not miss this deep dive.


    A grab at some of the sessions

    The Future of C# and Visual Basic (Bart De Smet)
    Today's trend of connected, service-oriented, cloud-centric applications forces us to rethink everyday programming tasks such as I/O, ensuring responsiveness and scalability. Asynchronous programming is an essential tool in achieving those goals, unfortunately lacking language support.
    With C# 5.0 and Visual Basic 11 this changes, thanks to the introduction of the new async and await keywords. Come and learn how to use those exciting new programming language features for a variety of asynchronous tasks, including the usage of new Windows 8 Runtime APIs.
    After covering caller-info attributes - a little language feature introduced in this iteration of the languages as well - we'll have a look at project "Roslyn", turning compilers into services that can be leveraged to write custom refactorings, great IDE experiences, meta-programming, REPLs, and more.

    Project Roslyn: Exposing the C# and VB compiler’s code analysis (Alex Turner)
    Until now, the VB and C# compilers have been used as black boxes. You put text in, and you get out a binary file. In our long-lead project, codename “Roslyn”, we’ll be changing that dynamic by building an API that exposes our compilers’ analysis engines. In this session, we’ll give an overview of the Roslyn project and share our early plans for the future version of the C# and VB compiler and language services. We’ll look at object models that can be used for code generation, analysis, and refactoring, and upcoming support for scripting and interactive use of C# and Visual Basic.

    Devices + Cloud: Using Windows Azure with Windows Phone, iOS, Android (Wade Wegner)
    So, you’re building apps that span multiple devices apps and you’re curious about what the cloud can offer. Is it possible to deploy scalable Web apps and services on Windows Azure? How about storing data in the cloud? Is it possible to use the cloud for push notifications to the device? In this session, you'll learn how to build Windows, Windows Phone, Android and even iOS apps that are backed by scalable cloud services with the Windows Azure platform. This demo-focused session will cover the end-to-end experience and address how to tackle issues such as authentication, storage and notifications across a wide range of devices.

    Developing HTML5 Applications with Script# Compiling C# into JavaScript (Nikhil Kothari)
    Script#, a free C# to JavaScript compiler, brings the power of Visual Studio and .NET Tools to build a productive and familiar development model for creating, testing and managing modern applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript along with popular frameworks such as jQuery. This session provides a hands-on look at using Script#, shares success stories and experiences from real-world use. More information about Script# is at and Come learn about getting started, and contributing to the project.

    Windows Phone Fast App Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking (Ben Riga)
    With Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) comes the ability for users to switch quickly between running applications. This dramatically enhances the end-user experience and will be expected by end-users. In this session you'll learn how fast app switching works and how to prepare your application for this functionality. Finally we'll cover how to incorporate background tasks into your applications for notifications, file transfers and audio.

    Silverlight, MVVM & WCF RIA Services: an architectural story (Kevin Dockx)
    At the start of each project, you’ll have to lay out your solution architecture - and it’s very important to “get this right”. Silverlight, MVVM & WCF RIA Services work nicely together, but as with each architecture, the best solution depends on your application requirements. What are your options in this case? What are the pitfalls? How can you tie these technologies together to provide you with a solid foundation for your projects? This is an in-depth session, based on real-life experience.

    Building services for your phone and tablet applications using WebAPI (Matt Milner)
    The Web API is a new framework for building web services in .NET. In this session you will learn how to use this framework by example as we build a service and show how it can be consumed from mobile clients such as tablets and phones.

    More details to be announced soon for the last set of speakers and sessions, we do have a few sessions under the covers that will make developers happy Smile

    So what’s your top list of sessions? I’ll aggregate some of the lists blogged by the community soon, so don’t hesitate to put up your list to be referenced.

    See you at TechDays!

    Note: schedule, speakers and agenda are subject to change.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2012: 80% of agenda online and 1 more week to benefit from 15% discount


    Just 1 more week to benefit from a 15% discount on your ticket for TechDays 2012: the Early Bird pricing ends on December 21. Registrations are coming in strong, so be sure to secure your spot before we sell out!

    Top Speakers

    Developer Track
    Alex Turner

    Brian Keller

    Jeff Prosise
    IT Pro Track
    Corey Hynes

    John Craddock

    Adam Hall

    We are happy to confirm speakers like:

    - In the Developer track: Alex Turner, Brian Keller, Bart De Smet, Gill Cleeren, Jeff Prosise, Maarten Balliauw, Matt Milner, Ben Riga, Steve Sanderson, Nikhil Kothari, Rob Miles, Tarek Madkour, Wade Wegner

    - In the IT Pro track: John Craddock, Kurt Roggen, Ilse Van Criekinge, Adam Hall, Corey Hynes, Kim Oppalfens, Mike Resseler, Dan Holme 

    International speakers are teamed up with our local experts to give you a top content mix.

    TechDays program: 80% of agenda is finalized

    This year promises to bring a lot of new content from Microsoft. Looking at the next versions of tooling, languages, OS and management you know this is not a standard TechDays event. Our content is split into current and upcoming technology.

    Deep Dives (February 16)

    Peter Himschoot and Jurgen Postelmans (U2U) will be delivering a full day .NET 4.5 and Visual Studio (Dev11) Futures for Web Development Deep Dive covering all the latest and greatest in .NET 4.5, focusing on Web Development with ASP.NET, HTML5 and WCF.

    Rhonda Layfield will be delivering a full day deep dive covering all the different tools and techniques to deploy Windows 7, she will also cover the upcoming Windows OS deployment tools.

    Mike Resseler & Tom Shinder will deliver a full day covering private cloud topics, including Management and Operations of your private cloud infrastructure.

    About TechDays 2012

    Join our 10th anniversary edition in a new location (Kinepolis Imagibraine - Braine l'Alleud) and learn about:
    • Windows & Internet Explorer
    • Windows Server 8 & Hyper-V
    • Windows Phone 7 development
    • System Center 2012 & Windows Intune
    • Tooling and languages with Visual Studio, C# and VB Futures
    • Next generation apps
    • Cloud development with Windows Azure Platform
    • Web development with HTML5, JavaScript and ASP.NET
    • ...


    Hope to see you at the TechDays 2012!

    Questions? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or simply via e-mail.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New Windows Azure Site and Features Available (cross-posting)


    Cross posting from my colleague Bart Vande Ghinste’s blog.

    Yesterday Microsoft released the new Windows Azure Website with improved billing, management and SQL Azure capabilities. The site is in English today with localized versions planned to roll out next year

    A highlight of the new features include:

    • Implementation of “Spending caps” where you can eliminate the risk of being charged by setting a €0 cap or reduce risk of large bills from unexpected usage by setting a higher cap and receiving alerts as they approach the cap.
    • SQL Azure database size increased from 50GB to 150GB and lowered prices
    • SQL Azure also has a new sharding feature along with SQL Azure Federation that enables you to build applications that are virtually unlimited in size
    • Open Source Experience with an updated Java SDK, a new SDK for Node.js that makes Windows Azure a first-class environment and new limited preview of Hadoop on Windows Azure
    • Simplified billing/reporting experience that integrates directly into the Management Portal
    • ISO 27001 complaint (public certification coming next month)

    On Tuesday December 13th after European Business hours, Microsoft will be holding a special Windows Azure event for developers. Join us LIVE from the Microsoft Redmond Campus to learn how to get started building applications for the cloud from Microsoft technical leaders Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich. More details can be found here.

    You can start building your application on it in some simple and easy to do steps:

    1. Setup an Account:

    Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the trial from

    Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

    2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

    Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at

    When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    JIT for Christmas, Lumia 800 for WP7 project call participants


    Some folks are getting an extra Christmas present this year Smile 
    Read further what my colleague David Hernie has the pleasure to announce! And don’t hesitate to participate next time.

    The Microsoft Innovation Center organized in 2011 four Windows Phone 7 project Calls. The objective of this initiative is to stimulate and support developer, student or company to develop innovative apps on the Windows Phone 7.5 platform.


    The contract was simple –

    • Participate to the training,
    • Subscribe to the Marketplace,
    • Develop at least 6 applications before Dec 31
    • Tweet about it on #wp7be & #micbelgique.


    I’m really pleased to announce

    1. Matthieu Vandenhende
    2. Glenn Versweyveld
    3. Alice Cloquet
    4. Bart Smets


    A phone is waiting for you at the Microsoft Office at Zaventem – 9th floor – Reception Desk. (Available from Tuesday noon)- Please come with a valid ID


    You want to participate to our next project call - Very simple

    Save the date, the next one will be organized in February after the TechDays.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Azure Spotlight: Numeri’zik Robot Stream Goes Cloudy (cross posting)


    Leveraging an interesting post from my colleague Nick with a case on Numeri’zik’s project on Windows Azure.


    Numeri’zik is a Belgian startup company that is involved in the digitization of media and new ways of communication. They are a member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, through which they have access to Microsoft software, support and a worldwide ecosystem of peers and partners.Numerizik Logo

    Robot Stream LogoCompanies need to communicate to their employees about internal events, organizational changes, HR-related announcements, etc. Often email or other electronic communication is not appropriate and a more personal approach is needed. However, bringing all employees together in one physical location may not always be possible for different reasons.

    Numeri’zik has built the Robot Stream application, which provides companies and institutions with an Enterprise Radio that gives them an innovative, fun and informal way to communicate with their employees. Through Robot Stream, you can integrate information messages in a music stream and target them at all or specific groups of employees, regardless of their location. Whether it’s in the coffee corner, during lunch in the cafeteria, on the PC or smartphone, you can reach anyone, anywhere in the organization.

    With support from the Microsoft Innovation Center in Mons, Numeri’zik has developed the Robot Stream solution using Microsoft’s Cloud Computing platform. The streaming server is hosted in Windows Azure and which can communicate with an on-premise Robot Stream appliance (NumeriBox).

    By leveraging Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Numeri’zik can offer its customers a solution that is highly available without having to invest in and manage a server infrastructure. At the same time, as the number of Robot Stream users fluctuates the platform can flexibly scale up or down, optimizing the operational cost.

    Follow Numeri’zik:



    Do you want to be the next one to feature your cloud application here?  You can get started with the Windows Azure platform in 2 easy steps:

    1. Setup an Account:

    Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the free trial from
    Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

    2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

    Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at

    When all steps are executed successfully you should have your first application running on the Windows Azure Platform. Let us know about it and maybe you’ll be in the spotlights!


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December, 2011