Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear manager, why you should give me a touch-enabled developer portable … or a separate touch enabled tablet

If you look at  ATMs, automatic checkouts at grocery stores or even at the on board computing you will notice that there’s a change in how you interact with these devices: you touch the screen to start the interaction.

In 2008 Gartner analyst Steve Prentice predicted the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years  (see Say goodbye to the computer mouse), a statement which now seems a little bit exaggerated but maybe it is only the timeline were he was off.

Currently when you think about a great touch experience you think about smartphones and tablets (with the most notable examples the iPhone and iPad) but not really about PCs.

But touch as a way of interacting with business applications would in fact make more sense in some scenarios or provide a more intuitive user experience – something which sometimes referred to as NUI (Natural User Interfaces).

With the introduction of Windows 8 – Microsoft will finally be able to compete with the Android and iOS user experience  (See Windows 8: Touch Keyboard – Handwriting recognition, metro UI (You Tube video)) by providing as a first-class experience.

In 2011 the PC market grew 15% to  414.6 million units of which 15% tablets (majority driven by iOS or Android) (Source: Canalys) – this leaves about 300 million PCs shipped with Windows on it. Even if this number declines in 2012-2013 this still provides for an enormous user base which will be accustomed to using touch in applications. When you look at the current types of applications in the Apple market place or even on the Windows 8 market place you will notice that the majority is aimed at consumers and not at business scenarios.

But consumerization of IT will force developers of business applications to provide the same fluid (and natural) user experience. An interesting statement is made in Consumerization of IT: Getting beyond the Myths:

And while browsing e-mail and social networking sites is still the primary use of personal devices, executives say the consumerization of IT is playing an increasingly important role in mission-critical tasks such as customer relationship management, time and expense tracking, and enterprise resource planning.

For us developers building touch-based touch-based systems will require understanding a new set of guidelines, thinking about user scenarios and target audiences and careful interface design. Off course it all starts with having a touch enabled device.

The thing I’m not really sure about is whether to use a touch enabled portable (I really like the Lenovo X220) or buying a separate tablet such as the Acer Iconia Tab W500 or the more pricier option a Samsung Series 7 XE700T1A. From a developer perspective, this would also provide for a viable alternative since Visual Studio 2011 Beta provides the ability to debug your Metro apps remotely).

Leave your comments and thoughts …


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Introduction to OData and SharePoint Server 2010

Open Data Protocol (OData) is quickly gaining popularity as a web protocol for querying and updating data. A few Microsoft products already expose their functionality as OData services, including SharePoint 2010, SQL Azure and SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services. OData is a set of extensions of the ATOM protocol to makes it easier to share data over the web.

In SharePoint Server 2010 every SharePoint list is exposed through an OData REST API (you might also see some people referring to it as WCF Data Services) – which you can access using the following URL format:


Monday, March 26, 2012

Excel versus SharePoint lists–interesting links

Most people think about using document libraries when managing documents within SharePoint but maybe you could use SharePoint lists as an alternative for your Excel documents – check out these excellent articles for more information:

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TechDays 2012 Belgium Content available online

All recorded content and slides for TechDays 2012 Belgium are available online since last week, including related downloads and content. Check it out on

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Second SharePoint Saturday Belgium on 28th April 2012

On Saturday the 28th of April BIWUG is organizing  SharePoint Saturday Belgium for the second time. SharePoint Saturday is an educational, informative & lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals & MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint-orientated topics. SharePoint Saturday is FREE, open to the public and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint!

Don’t forget to register for the event using this link -

Belgian Windows Phone 7 User Group– is launched

A couple of weeks ago WiPhug was launched - WiPhug is a Belgian user group that focuses on Windows Phone development. The idea is to share knowledge, skills and ideas with the entire community not only about Windows Phone development but also about everything that has something to do with WP7.

WiPhug is currently been run by Dennis Miscoria, Danny Van Neyghem, Nico Vermeir, Glenn Versweyveld, Bart Lannoeye, Michael Bruyninckx and Johan Peeters.

End of April they will organize their first event at RealDolmen Kontich which is fully booked.  Make sure to follow the website for more news about coming events.

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Microsoft Extended Experts Team MSDN

Heb je een complex probleem, maar niet de kennis om het op te lossen? Dan kun je op deze MEET pagina in contact komen met een community van Belgische experts.

Alle leden van MEET zijn geselecteerd voor hun kennis en vaardigheden in hun vakgebied. En ze zijn bovendien uitstekende communicators. Allen delen ze kun kennis via hun persoonlijke blog en regelmatig houden ze ook lezingen voor Microsoft of hun respectievelijke user group.

MEET krijgt de uitdrukkelijke steun van Microsoft Belgiƫ en Luxemburg. Mail naar voor meer informatie over het programma.

Op zoek naar infrastructuur experts? Ga naar de TechNet MEET members.


[FUN]: Object is in a zombie state

SharePoint development inspired by the movies – LOL: