Microsoft Ignite 2015

Earlier this month I went to the annual Microsoft Ignite conference (the Auckland, New Zealand version).  I think I confused a few people when I advised them of my attendance.  Depending which sphere they were in they were expecting me to say I was going to an Apple/iOS related conference or a IBM Notes/Domino one.  As it happens I’d have preferred to go to the former but they are either too expensive, oversubscribed, or just too far away.  And as for IBM these are few and far between – either an occasional one in Australia (AUSLUG) or the big one in Florida.  So this one was close, moderately priced, and interesting.  As it happens a lot of my work still remains in the Windows space so learning about Windows 10 was very useful.
The themes for the conference were as follows:-
     – Windows 10
     – Azure Cloud
     – Windows 10 Universal Apps
     – Cortana
     – QA Testing and Development Teams

Microsoft Windows 10

As this had just been released there was a push to promote how easy it was to upgrade to it.  I suspect they are preaching to the converted here.  However it was interesting to not how many larger organisations already had deployments of Windows 10 within their organisation (whether they liked it or not).  The only catch I head of was that some older printer drivers were not available for Windows 10.

Azure/Cloud

This is not my area of speciality though I can appreciate the functionality Microsoft were providing to allow any organisation to utilise cloud resources for their business.

Microsoft Windows 10 Universal Apps

So these are applications that use the same binary across any platform.  So rather than having one source/binary for Windows desktop and another for Windows Mobile the same compiled executable can be run on both platforms.  Related to this was the number of presentations talking about adaptive UI and UX.  The ideas here are similar (but different) to that presented by Apple in their Auto Layout tools.  Its always good to see how others approach this challenge and cross-fertilise any techniques.

Cortana

The thing I liked about Cortana was that any suggestion it made could be backed up by some ‘evidence’ that you could see.  So a film recommendation will be supported by options or information you had provided previously.  In a way I like the transparency of the decision making but on the other hand a few random left field suggestions will never go amiss.  I was interested in how developers could add in application specific phrases that Cortana would recognise and then pass on to your application.

QA Testing and Development teams

Regardless of the environment there will always be people, communication and project timing issues.  So these talks by team leaders and lead engineers where inspiring and informative as to how they all get the most out of their developers.  It was good to see how much science (as well as folklore) was behind the decisions made and the structures used.
In all, an entertaining and educational few days in Auckland.