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A few weeks ago, I had a chance to drive to Vancouver, Canada and interact with the Windows developer community at Microsoft TechDays Canada 2010. This is a two-day technical conference covering eight cities across Canada this fall. (You can read more about this conference by visiting www.techdays.ca).Over the past couple of years, the best part of my job has been filled with meeting developers all around the globe and this was no exception. It’s always great to see the passion around writing code as well as the enthusiasm surrounding current trends and topics!

While I have always enjoyed and learnt a lot while writing and debugging code, I’ve often come to the realization of learning by observing or more importantly listening to peers & others who are as passionate about developing software as I am. This is where I’ve loved initiatives like .NET rocks! Simply put, it is the Internet Audio Talk show for .NET developers hosted by Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell. This dynamic duo provides an excellent discussion forum on a number of key technologies and topics that are important to .NET developers. In fact, I enjoy listening to .NET rocks so much that I would classify it to be an essential resource for any developer in the English-speaking world. (Yes, I really do feel this way.)

Anyway coming back to TechDays, in addition to delivering an in-person session around Developing for Windows, Mark Relph (Sr. Director, Windows Business Group and my boss ) sat down with Richard and Carl to talk about developing applications on the Windows Platform: .NET Rocks! Episode #598 – Mark Relph Wants More Windows Applications!

Of particular note, Mark talks about the massive opportunity with Windows – over 175 million copies of Windows 7 sold till date, over 1 billion inspired Windows users and over 250K devices that work with Windows 7. The adoption of Windows 7 in the marketplace has been nothing short of amazing! But what’s most interesting is the vast number of touch enabled devices already available, and if you think about it, that number will only continue to grow! This is an important point to make when you consider the impact that this will have of the expectations of your end users. If you’ve built an application that doesn’t support touch or it’s an application that’s not optimized for a “touch-first experience”, your users will notice. Further in his conversation, Mark underscores the need for developers to ensure that applications are “finger-friendly”. That is, developers need to consider the aesthetic qualities of applications (e.g. size of buttons and other visual cues) to make it stand out for their customers.

Additionally, he points out that there are many aspects of Windows development, including the opportunities that exist for developers building applications for Windows. It’s pretty amazing when you consider the breadth of technologies a developer has at this disposal with targeting this platform. This includes native code (e.g. Win32), managed code (e.g. Silverlight,WPF) and HTML5 through support in Internet Explorer 9 for hardware-accelerated graphics and text. Cross-cutting these technologies are a spectrum of capabilities made available to developers, including integrated sensors, speech, text recognition, and touch. In short, Windows provides an amazing platform for developers building applications today!

I won’t recap the entire discussion here, but there is plenty more in this discussion with Richard and Carl that you don’t want to miss! So, hit up this link and listen to the whole interview!

Want more?

First, check out the Windows API Code Pack. This is a must-have library for managed code developers building applications for platforms like Windows 7. It provides a solid foundation for developers to target features like the Sensor Platform API through managed code. Download the Windows API Code Pack and start integrating your applications with Windows 7 today!

Next, if you’re building applications for Windows in native code, you should check out Project “Hilo”, a series of articles and sample applications that demonstrate how you can leverage the power of Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010 and Visual C++ to build high performance, rich responsive client applications. This set of sample applications has been recently updated so make sure to check it out!

Finally, if you’re looking to find more information about building applications for Windows, I would strongly encourage you to check out and bookmark the newly-redesigned site, DevelopForWindows.com. There you’ll find a wealth of resources, designed not only to point you in the right direction but to help inspire you as well when build applications for Windows.

Party on people!