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Windows 8 Camp–Ways to Prepare

Monday, July 2, 2012 11:27 AM

When Windows 8 was announced at the BUILD conference back in September, it created quite a buzz among the developer community. By the spring of 2012,  Windows 8 Developer Camps started popping up everywhere imaginable. I received a lot of questions from CTTDNUG members about whether or not we would be hosting one locally.

If you recall my post about the Windows Phone/Azure Developer Workshop that CTTDNUG hosted back in March, you’ll remember that the biggest hurdle to overcome when planning this type of event was finding the right venue. It took some time, but I finally found a venue that was available and provided the prerequisites needed to ensure this camp is a success.

I am very excited that CTTDNUG will be hosting a Windows 8 Camp this summer in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. In fact, it’s coming up in less than 2 weeks. Clearly other developers are excited as well, because our registration numbers show that the event is already 70% full!

On top of that, I was fortunate enough to also book two well-known evangelists to present and teach at this full day developer camp: Andrei Marukovich and Atley Hunter. This was the icing on the cake. With the content provided by Microsoft, and two local experts that live and breathe Windows 8 development, I know that I, along with other developers that attend this event, will have the opportunity to maximize our learning potential and hit the ground running.

If you plan on attending a Windows 8 Developer Camp soon, and want to ensure you get the most “bang for your buck” (figuratively speaking, since these camps are free), there are some things you can do to prepare before the big day:

1) Install the prerequisites on your own device before the big day

I can’t stress this enough. Otherwise, you will be spending valuable time during the hands-on period downloading and installing what is needed, rather than digging into the development and using that time to ask the experts on-hand about programming challenges, issues, questions you may have with respect to your development.


    This is a great introduction to the type of content you will be learning about during the camp. Doing some light reading beforehand might raise some questions about the concepts discussed in the book, which will give you the opportunity to write them down and bring them with you to the camp. The experts on hand will be able to answer them for you.
    3) Make use of the freebies that are available
    Telerik has recently released a preview of their RadControls for Metro. You can sign up to receive a license code to give you access to install the preview for free and start playing around with it.
    Syncfusion also offers a free download of their Metro Studio package, which is a collection of metro style icons that you can customize and use in your own applications.
    Last but not least, once you’ve installed the Windows 8 Release Preview on your own device, go to the Windows 8 Store and download a handful of the free apps that are available. Testing out other Metro apps may give you ideas of what you can do in your own apps and analyze what features you like: application flow, type of animations used, concepts that were leveraged, how live tiles were used, etc.
    I hope you found these tips to be useful as you embark on a new development journey! Although this post focused on how to prepare for a Windows 8 camp, the same ideas are there whichever developer camp/workshop/event you attend. Learning does not begin and end on the day of the event. Attending a developer camp is just one step of many to master whatever technology you are interested in. It is a continuous process, which is fully maximized when you do your homework beforehand, actively participate during,  and follow up by putting what you learned to practice afterwards.
    Happy coding!