Energy. Emotion. Expertise. Those are three words that come to mind as I think about day one of the de:code developer event in Japan. What an AMAZING day it was to enjoy the keynotes and technical content from my new peers in Microsoft Japan.
The overall event production was far more than what I expected. The keynote was as expertly done as any event I've been a part of in the past. I loved the opening energetic video and the closing video brought tears to some eyes (unfortunately, it was words in Japanese and I didn't understand).
First up was Microsoft Japan CVP Yasuyuki Higuchi-san giving the opening keynote talking about the new Microsoft and what it means for developers and IT Pros. Having Satya Nadella as our new CEO, with an engineering background, is significant for this audience. Higuchi-san also highlighted several of the recent product announcements including Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana.
After the opening remarks from Higuchi-san, it was time to get into the developer content. Katsura Ito-san, Microsoft's Developer & Platform Evangelism lead in Japan, took the stage to talk about Microsoft's story for developers and IT Pros. She talked about how Microsoft's platform is significant for a variety of developers whether building software for the Enterprise, the Web or for embedded devices. Microsoft also helps IT Pros manage infrastructure across a variety of devices including iOS.
My favorite demo was from my friend and teammate Akira Inoue. He showed how to use Visual Studio, Windows Azure and Visual Studio online together to build a Windows touch application connected to a web application via SignalR. The tools in Visual Studio for buiding web applications are amazing. If you have not tried BrowserLink, then you need to get Visual Studio and try it now. It is an amazing developer experience.
One of the most exciting moments was when Microsoft gave away both a Toshiba tablet and a Windows Phone to all the attendees. It was clear by their excitement, that the audience wasn't expecting it!
After the keynotes, I had the opportunity to attend five sessions:
Introduction to Microsoft Azure (Ayako Omori)
Ayako-san gave a great session on Microsoft Azure to an audience that was fairly new to our cloud offering. She showed how you can get WordPress running in the cloud in less than five minutes. She also showed how you can deploy websites into the cloud and configure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks for your infrastructure. She gave a great overview of all the services available to developers in Microsoft Azure.
One ASP.NET and the Evolution of the Web (Akira Inoue)
Akira-san gave an amazing presentation on the new features in ASP.NET and Visual Studio. He started by showing how Office 365 is using SignalR to communicate between instances of the Office apps running in the cloud. He then talked about new web patterns and how ASP.NET is evolving to be a flexible and powerful solution whether you are a Web Forms developer, or prefer the MVC frameworks. Both are now supported in the same One ASP.NET project with scaffolding support to speed of development. Finally, Akira-san showed off what is coming in the future with a more modular webstack enabled by OWIN and the Katana Project.
Sending Push Notifications to iOS, Android and Windows (Daisuke Inoue)
Next, I attended a session by Daisuke-san. I'm really impressed when an speaker is willing to take on the challenge of demoing devices on stage that require device connectivity. Daisuke-san did a wonderful job with this sesssion, despite a few connectivity issues that always occur during sessions with room full of phones, tablets and laptops. He showed how you can send push notifications to multiple devices (iOS, Android and Windows) using a single, consistent API.
Developing multi-device apps with Office 365(Tsuyoshi Matsuzaki)
One of my favorite sessions of the day was delivered by Tsuyoshi-san. I've always been excited about the potential of building applications on top of Office. But the technology that Tsuyoshi-san demonstrated is just amazing. First, he talked about building apps that connect to Office 365 APIs using OAuth for authentication and a common consent form to grant access to Enterprise resources (Email, Calendar, Sharepoint). But the most powerful point was made when he used these tools along with Cordova in Visual Studio to build a hybrid multi-device app that connected to his email account. There is a whole world of apps that can be built, leveraging Office, that is only limited by your imagination.
Advanced Azure Websites (Tatsuro Shibamura)
This session was great to end the day with. It was delivered by Tatsuro-san, one of the Japan MVPs. Tatsuro-san showed features of Microsoft Azure Websites that I did not think were possible. From a Debug and Process Explorer in the Kudu console to being able to connect IIS Manager to your Azure Website. I learned a lot from this session and it made me really appreciate the depth of knowledge that our MVPs in Japan have. I also got to sit with this great group of developers in the community who were there to support Tatsuro-san.
The day ended with a great Attendee Party where I got to meet a lot of developers in the community and reconnect with some developers I already knew. The party was MCed by DJ Taro (a popular DJ in Japan) and a band called azure# performed.
Looking forward to Day 2!!