This event was awesome. Seeing it develop from a #UKMSPMeetup right through to an actual event has been good fun. You may have seen my previous post detailing the day's sessions.

21 of us battled our way through the snow and delayed trains to Microsoft's London building for the event. Those of us that couldn't make it had it available to them via a live stream. First things first; being students, and it being lunchtime, we had food laid on by Microsoft's catering, some very nice food might I add.

MSPs making good use of the plugs!

This gave us some time to spend playing with some cool stuff; Kinect, Surface and some high range PCs. There are some videos floating around the net. @Growkin is in this one having a go on Dance Central.

Even with the Kinect advert rug!

Intro Session: Welcome to the future

Ben Nunney gave this motivational talk analysing the past, present and giving a sneak peek of the future of Microsoft and technology as a whole. Going through from Windows 1.1, coding in BASIC through an Acorn - bought back memories of primary school - and moving to a vision of the future. Naturally it had numerous geek references throughout.

Session 1: Developing for Windows Phone

Kris Athi gave this platform overview for Windows Phone. He covered how development is tackled in the real world, which is quite different from the majority of University techniques by utilising the Model View Controller Model, which is essentially enabling the business logic to be implemented whilst a separate developer or designer produces the UI for the application. I found this talk particularly useful as it incorporated a lot of what we're planning to use in RefuCate, Inspiratech's Imagine Cup entry. He showed how to create your own version of a Silverlight control and still keep it separate from the back-end code.

Session 2: Developing for the Web


Martin Beeby gave this talk covering the world of web development today with the advance of HTML5, whilst keeping in mind that other users may not have access to an HTML5 capable browser, or some of it's features and therefore not ruining a website for these browsers by using feature detection. He gave a hands on demo using Azure to show how quick and easy it is to package a product using Visual Studio 2010 and deploy it to the cloud ready for vast scalablility.

Some people seem to have become hooked on some of the HTML5 games @thebeebs mentioned. Namely Pirates Love Daisies.

Session 3: Game Development for Xbox, Phone and PC

Paul Foster spoke on this topic.This was another technical session majorly based on leveraging the capabilities of the XNA Framework and game studio. He showed how the same code could be used to deploy across all platforms with merely the input and vibrations being different, separated by compiler directives, clearly defined for your active projects. We were told that the Windows Phone 7s renders more pixels than the original Xbox, that's some power!

He showed how fast an application could be developed using other re-usable code from the off. Making use of this he live-developed a 3D game with collision detection, chase camera, and sound! It's far easier to get stuck in than my first attempts at starting from scratch. Head over here if you're after getting started with XNA. Make use of the code snippets and sample games to get a feel for it.

Session 4: How to get jobs, get skills, and make lots of money

Phil Cross took the stage for this. He gave a really useful insite into the way some of the major companies assess job candidates along with a fun and semi-serious group session. It was interesting to hear what companies out there are looking for from candidates. We were given an opportunity for some hands-on experience in a mock assessment. A realistic scenario where teamwork and building was assessed - without it being the first time in a real application scenario. Certainly a highly valued exercise!

After all of this we had a great meal courtesy of Microsoft. A great end to a great day. I'm very grateful for all the time and effort that went into the day. Inspiring and insightful.
"You are magnificent -  now go and be awesome" - Ben Nunney (quoting himself)