Who’s on 8: Word Guesser

Word Guesser in the Windows Store

Here’s a shout out to Kyle Mitofsky for getting Word Guesser published in the Windows Store. I’m a big fan of word games, and although this one has a simple concept – essentially a binary search – it’s really tough to put it down!

What’s additionally great about Kyle’s work here is that he’s put all of his code out there on GitHub so you can see and learn exactly how he built the app and leverage that to achieve your own successes in the Windows Store.

But he didn’t stop there, he was one of the presenters at the recent Vermont Code Camp where he covered Introduction to Windows 8 Apps for Windows Form Developers (and also posted his slides). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend code camp, but from his description he certainly got a lot done in that hour!

This talk will focus on the differences between traditional desktop applications and new Windows Store apps. We’ll build a couple small metro applications using VB/XAML while leveraging new controls to build an immersive application that meets Windows 8 Design Guidelines, by supporting app bars, settings panels, snapped layouts, and asynchronous calls. We’ll even get to debug code on the SurfaceRT tablet provided by Microsoft to the .NET user group.

For those of you that see Windows 8 app development as a huge learning curve or requiring super-human design abilities, Kyle’s code and slides are a fantastic way to jump in and begin leveraging the skills you already have.

Congrats, Kyle, and thank you for sharing your own experiences with the greater development community!

Publish Your First Game – Hartford, Sept. 28

I am somewhat of a rarity – a geek that’s not really a gamer (well, unless you count Wordament with my 40 1st place finishes, w00t!), but for those of you that are and/or aspire to bring your own game concepts to life, plan to attend the FREE Windows 8 Game Development for Beginners workshop this Saturday, Sept. 28th, at the Microsoft Farmington Office.

Even if you have no software development background, you’ll be able to quickly grasp how to create a casual game using Construct 2 and package it for submission to the Windows Store. I’ve done that a few times – check out Letterman for instance, but don’t be fooled by how simplistic that one looks. With the same tool, another developer (with considerably more artistic skills than I) created the stunning Mortar Melon app (below) that’s on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Mortar Melon - built with Construct 2

So set aside a few hours this coming Saturday (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.), bring your laptop with Windows 8 (or even Windows 7), and join me and Josh for a fun and informative session.

Lunch is on us!

And if you have teens or preteens that might be interested in taking part bring them along too. At past workshops in Farmington and elsewhere, we’ve had several parent-child teams participate. After all, the family that codes together….

Umm, what’s this Codocent thing?

Opening day!

Welcome to the inaugural post of my new presence on the web. If you were directed here from my MSDN Blog, nothing’s really changed in terms of my role as a Microsoft Technical Evangelist. One of the primary motivators for the move was to gain more flexibility and control over my blog hosting and perhaps most importantly provide a responsive theme for mobile users – something that wasn’t easily achievable on the MSDN platform. By the way, my MSDN Blog and all the past articles will remain in place, and you can get there by clicking the “M” icon on the right sidebar.

What’s with the name – codocent – you ask? Well, my eponymous URL, jimoneil.com, was already claimed; the owner wasn’t interested in relinquishing (and from the state of that site apparently not too keen on publishing either); and I didn’t want to settle for just a .net or .me version.

That set me off on a brainstorming mission.

  • I love code. I love the craftsmanship aspect, the discovery of a better way to do things, and the learning along the way. I knew that “code” needed be part of my brand.
  • My other passion is teaching, helping folks understand concepts, seeing the lightbulb come on and learning from them as well as they go through that process.

Many of you know that I have a strong background in the classics, so it’s second nature for me to reach for words with Latin roots. “Teacher” in Latin is “doctor”, which has an patently different connotation in English, but from that I gravitated to “docent”, which literally means “they teach” but in English refers to learned guides in museums, historical sites, and other such attractions.

Codedocent, though, doesn’t quite roll of the tongue: co-dedocent? code-o-cent?

Enter a bit more of my classical training (and some poetic license). In poetry, there’s a device known as elision where you conveniently leave out parts of a word or phrase to fit a meter or make it easier to pronounce. Take the word temperature for instance – not many of us spend time with that second ‘e’.

codocent then is an elision of code and docent and with that comes a bit of serendipity. A co-docent is exactly what I aspire to be. As I explore and write about technical topics like mobile development and cloud architectures, I endeavor to expose others to what I’ve learned.

But it’s not a one-way street. Through every interaction I take away something from the audience that I’m ostensibly there to educate. Each individual comes from a different place, a different context, different experiences, and I learn as much from them as I hope they do from me.

So it’s in that spirit of mutual learning that I’m kicking off this new blog. I hope you’ll join me on the journey and participate in the conversation here and whenever we have the chance to meet in person.