DevOps on the Microsoft Stack – Pre-order now

The last couple of months I’ve been bussy working on my new book: DevOps on the Microsoft Stack

DevOps on the Microsoft Stack Book Cover 3D

DevOps is a popular subject and Microsoft has a very good tool suite in the form of Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Azure. This books takes you on a tour through these tools.

You’ll learn about a host of features like:

  • Agile Project Management
  • Version Control with TFVC and Git
  • Technical Debt Managament
  • Package Management
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
  • Testing and test automation
  • Monitoring

Pre-order now

Writing is almost finished and you can pre-order the book on Amazon or directly from Apress. If you order a copy, please let me know what you’re looking forward to! You can reach me through the comments on this blog or by sending me a tweet (@wouterdekort).

What I learned at the Microsoft ALM Summit

Last week I had the privilege of visiting Barcelona. A beautiful city with some great places to visit, nice weather and really nice food. But that wasn’t the goal of my visit.
Microsoft organized the West European ALM Summit in Barcelona last week. The ALM Summit is a partner event where all ALM partners have a change to get the latest ALM news and meet there fellow colleagues.

So from breakfast with Sam Guckenheimer to drinks with Craig Kitterman, the ALM summit is a great place to meet people and learn directly from Microsoft.

Cloud

The summit took two days. One day was focused on Cloud, the other day on Mobile. Which isn’t strange since Microsoft is a ‘Mobile first, Cloud first’ company.

Microsoft is really targeting the Cloud with its ALM innovations. From the new Cloud Deployment Projects to Dev/Test, ALM and Cloud go hand in hand as far as Microsoft is concerned.
Although I understand their goals, this sometimes means that new features have no value to customers who are solely on-premises. Of course Microsoft hopes that ALM Partners help customers move to Azure.

This is why Microsoft is pushing on using Azure for Dev/Test scenarios. And to be clear, Dev/Test on Azure is a great scenario. It’s cheap and flexible and with the Virtual Network support Azure offers, it’s also secure.

One particular area that was discussed are the MSDN benefits for Azure. Did you know that as a developer with an MSDN subscription you have free monthly credits for Azure? Depending on if you have a Professional, Premium or Ultimate subscription you get between $50 and $150 Azure credits a month that you can use to experiment with Azure and run small workloads.

In addition to Dev/Test scenarios, Visual Studio Online is also complimentary to your on-premises TFS environment. For example, Application Insights and Cloud Load Testing are features that you can use without storing any code in VSO but that really complement your on-premises TFS.

Mobile

The second day was all about Mobile. What I found particularly interesting was the comparison between Cordova and Xamarin. For example, Microsoft said they used Cordova for the Connect() event app. This app is only used for one or two days and is mostly about displaying data. Cordova is a great solution for apps that don’t require a great performance or deep interaction with the device.

Especially with the new Cordova support for Visual Studio, Cordova is something you should
consider for ‘quick and dirty’ apps. Xamarin is on a whole other level. This is if you want to invest in a quality app that runs natively on a device.

DevOps

What is totally clear is that MIcrosoft is focusing on DevOps with their ALM platform. This means that Microsoft invests in tooling that makes DevOps practices easier.

If you understand this focus it’s easier to understand why tooling like Smart Unit Tests is being released instead of investments in Coded UI.

Forrester gave a presentation where they showed that DevOps is required for succeeding in developing modern applications. For example, the most popular apps in the different app stores are all updated on a daily to weekly basis. This can’t be done without a good DevOps implementation.

So Microsofts vision is clear. They are really pushing on Mobile and Cloud and are underpinning this with their ALM tooling. Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio Online and Azure will be the future of their investments and if we want to stay up to date as ALM consultants that’s where we should focus.

All in all, it where a nice couple of days and I’m looking forward to the summit next year! Are you looking into Cloud, Mobile and DevOps on the Microsoft stack? Please let me know!

And my new book is finished!

The last couple of months I’ve been very busy writing my new book:

Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 and JavaScript

After writing, editing, reviewing and repeating this a couple of times, my new book is now officially finished! You can preorder it and it will start shipping on 8/1/2014.

The last year, I’ve worked on three books that help students get their Microsoft certification. Writing a book is a daunting tasks but the moment your book is finished and you hold the first print in your hand is still very cool.

Getting started with Windows Store development

If you want to get into Windows Store development, getting certified is a good first step. Why? For me, studying for an exam helps me to get a broad overview of what’s possible and deepen my knowledge on the essential areas. This is also true for the Windows Store exam. You will learn all the basics you need to start developing your apps and know what’s possible with apps on the Microsoft platform. My new book focuses on helping you get the Microsoft exam 70-481 to prove that you’re capable of developing Windows Store apps.

One thing to be aware of is that Microsoft Exam Reference books are completely aligned with the exam certifications. This means that the chapters exactly follow the objectives of the exam. Sometimes this means that the book jumps from one topic to another. If that’s the case, it’s because the Exam objectives are organized in that way. You will get most out of the book if you start with carefully reading the Exam objectives and then choose those chapters that you want to learn more about.

So if you are into app development get my new book now!

If you have any questions or feedback feel free to leave a comment, reach me at twitter (@wouterdekort) or send me an email at wouter.dekort@seizeit.nl

Build here we come!

Only six more days and then Microsoft //Build 2014 will start! The schedule still only shows the begin and end times but slowly some details are coming out.
So here are my personal hopes and speculations on what Microsoft is going to show us next week.
One source of inspiration is the schedule for the Dutch TechDays that will be held two weeks after Build. This week a 16 sessions showed up on the schedule with the following entrigung title:
 

to be announced after //Build

The following speakers will be presenting those sessions:

  • Marcel de Vries (ALM MVP and Microsoft Regional Director for the Netherlands)
  • Alex Thissen (.NET architect at a Dutch company)
  • Rajen Kishna (Microsoft Technical Evangelist focused on Windows 8 and Windows Phone)
  • Maarten Struys (Microsoft Account Technology Strategist focusing on Windows Embedded, Windows Phone and Windows Store apps)
  • Andy Wigley (Microsoft Technical Evangelist focused on Windows Phone)
  • Matthijs Hoekstra (Senior Product Marketing Manager focused on Windows Phone)
  • Bart de Smet (Microsoft Software Development Engineer focused on C#/Reactive Extensions and cloud)
  • Robert Green (Microsoft Technical Evangelist focused on Visual Studio)

So what can we conclude from this list?
There is definitely going to be Windows Phone news. This shouldn’t be a surprise since Windows Phone 8.1 rumors are all over the internet. Other rumors focus on the merge of Windows Store for Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8 Store. Will this be announced this year or do we have to wait to 2015? We will see!
The other interesting sessions will revolve around ALM, C# and Visual Studio. Since those are the areas I really look forward to here some hopes of mine:

  • Roslyn! I really hope we get at least a new CTP or maybe even a beta.
  • Brian Harry already mentioned on his blog they did a huge update to Visual Studio Online that’s still hidden behind feature flags. In his ALM Summit keynote in Germany he mentioned that Release Management will be added to Visual Studio Online so that’s at least one thing we can expect. The other feature I really hope for is the merging of Lab Management and Release Management. Currently there is a lot of overlap between those services and it’s hard to explain this to customers other then ‘wait and see’. Let’s hope Build will clear this.
  • Project N: at the Visual Studio 2013 launch a brief demo was shown on compiling C# directly to machine code. Maybe we are going to hear more about it.
  • C# 6: Mads Torgersen already demoed some expected new C# 6 features at the NDC and I hope that together with Roslyn we will get our hands on those new features.
  • Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2 will probably be released. Currently in CTP 2, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a new beta with a Go Live license.
  • I’m also wondering if we will be seeing anything new related to Azure. At least the name change to Microsoft Azure is scheduled for Thursday during Build so maybe that will be live and we will get some new features?

So that are my hopes and speculations. New ALM and new C# stuff would make my Build great. It would also be nice to see Satya Nadella in person and maybe we can even get some Developers Developers Developers.
So what are your thoughts? Any new speculations? Any things you hope for? Or want to grab a cup of coffee during Build? Just leave a comment!