My Windows Store Playing App

by Ventsy Popov

Some time ago I started working on a Windows Store cooking app in Bulgarian. I was eager to play a little bit deeper with the new platform from a developer perspective and see how far a got… Now as the result is evident:  (feel free to give some feedback), I decided to drop a few lines with some of the impressions I got during the process of development.

The tools
As many would suspect, nothing is so significantly changed. We have the commonly used IDE – Visual Studio 2012 with the commonly used programming languages such as C# and C++ (along with XAML), and for the more web oriented guys - HTML5 and JavaScript. Of course there are new APIs with new functionalities, but these are the “goodies” to learn after all :).

Some highlights
In my search for new functionalities, there are a few that you might probably find necessary for every other app you develop:

Also, in my case of an app, I have to download the content from a server, which takes some time for the initial loading of the app. In such scenarios it is good to use the so called “Extended Splash Screen” -, in order to give some visual feedback to the user, telling him that the app is still loading.

Apart from the above, this test app of mine is pretty straightforward. It is working in a passive mode (the user is not allowed to add new recipes), but very convenient for the cooking hobbyists to look at their Windows 8 tablet, displaying the recipe they are currently using for a delicious meal :).

Bottom line – with the ready to use templates in Visual Studio 2012 it seems fairly easy to get traction and create a fairly good Windows Store App. Anyone who is curious (itchy) about it – consider it a small challenge… a game if you would, which will help you learn a few new things.


Microsoft | Windows Store Apps

How I Joined Microsoft's Team

by Ventsy Popov

Some Background
Beginning of summer 2011 I decided I need to make some changes in the professional field, and look for new opportunities outside the company I worked for back then. Although I really valued my colleagues there, and from many of them I learned great deal of things, I felt the need to widen my comfort zone and experience new things. Recently after I made this decision and talked to my boss, I was able to find quite interesting projects to work on (and get paid for :)). For some months working on the new projects I was part of an American company's team. The guys were amazingly professional and punctual (it honestly surprised me!). Things happened with very good coordination and pragmatism... as if the work was done in an effortless manner :).

The Catalyst
But how did all this lead to Microsoft? Well... guys that know me, can confirm that I lo-o-ve participating in community events either as a speaker or just attending. The atmosphere in such places is always energizing and motivating. Not only due to the contents leading to gaining some useful knowledge, but also for meeting new people, having the geeky talks and good laughs on jokes which are quite often more than dull for non-technical people :). On such an event I found out about this opportunity in Microsoft for a guy who should take the role of “Developer Evangelist”. A role which did not speak very much to me back then and to be honest, I looked at with suspicion. Nevertheless, I decided not to overlook this chance and give it a good thought (and also make some research). What followed was my decision to pursue this, and series of different types of interviews... and luckily – my hiring :). In the meanwhile I managed to finish the projects was contracted for around that time.

Where are we at
Now, I am a one-month employee. Still on-boarding, but getting better perception of my responsibilities and taking more and more active part in the team with each day. I am excited that one of my goals would be to help the developers' community (not only Microsoft-centric one) learn all about trends in technologies on the road of each participant to being more effective while having great fun :).

The rest is yet to come as they say :)...

Tags: ,