By Matt Lacey

A wide variety of different people attend meetings of the Windows Phone User Group (WPUG). They're mostly developers but a number of designers and even a few people who are just interested in the platform come along too. The experience of attendees ranges from having built and released multiple Windows Phone 7 apps to no mobile experience or experience entirely with other mobile platforms.

We hold meetings to provide the opportunity to meet and learn from others who are interested in the platform.

Meetings typically start with longer talks about specific areas of the platform, tools or concepts. For many this is the reason they come to their first meeting. The reason people keep coming back is because of the other part of the meetings. This is where we turn the meeting over to anyone to show what they’ve made and talk about what they learnt in the process.

This process can take the form of a demo and/or a presentation but is usually a bit of both. Previously this has featured everything from early stage prototypes of what people are trying to achieve all the way through to fully completed high profile apps for big name brands.

The real world experiences and lessons shared are where the real value in attending meetings lies. This can be seen in the Q&A that always accompanies each demo. Whether it’s questions about “How did you deal with X?” or “Did you try Y?” everyone is keen to share their experiences so everyone can create better apps.

It’s not just about “formal” presentations though. The conversations in between can be just as informative. Whether talking to someone at the bar about their current project, getting to play the new game someone has made or discussing the latest hardware, the room is full of people keen to talk about the phone and creating apps for it.

All this leads to people leaving meetings: motivated to finish apps they’d started but not yet finished; buzzing with ideas for new apps and features; or planning to implement a potential performance improvement they’ve been made aware of. And yes, these same people often return at subsequent meetings to show how they’ve improved or finally finished their apps.

Meetings are free to attend but advance registration is requested to help plan for the number of people intending to attend. The next meeting in London is this Wednesday (Sept 21st). Please register at http://wpug14.eventbrite.com/ if you’d like to come

You can see details of past meetings at http://wpug.net/meetings and a selection of the apps created by attendees at http://wpug.net/apps