Xamarin Insights with Mike James – Sept 23rd

This month (September) Mike James will be returning to us to talk about Xamarin Insights.

More details and registration on meetup.

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Badass: Making Users Awesome – Book review

I feel I should start by apologising to you. I was given a review copy of this book a few months ago but the fact it’s taken me this long to tell you about it is something I should apologies for. You need to know about this book. And yes, I should apologies to the person who gave me the review copy too. ;)

Book Cover


This is a book about products and services but equally applies to apps. Given multiple similar apps, why are some more successful than others and what can we learn from the ones that are successful so that we can be successful too?
The structure and layout of the book is different to most but something you’ll recognize if you’ve read any of the Head First series.

The book aims to provide a “formula for improving our chance of making a sustainable, bestselling product or service” or app!
I think there’s something in it for everyone involved in app development and who want to create apps that uses will love and get value from. Obviously if you’re just building apps for yourself and/or to scratch a technical itch then carry on. Well, actually, upon reflection, there’s still something in this book for you too.

Here’s the thing. When it comes to a product/service/app in any category or niche, what distinguishes the successful from the not so successful is not luck. It’s about making the person using it a badass!

What does that mean?
It’s about creating better users, not better products.
The knock on from this is that people will talk about themselves more (people like doing that) and the reason for that will be your app. The most trusted form of advertising is recommendations from friends and family members. When others discover that the reason for then becoming badass is down to your app you’ll see the number of downloads of your app go up.

You may have heard the advice that you should “build services, not apps”. While that advice is generally good, it’s better to not “build a better service, [but] make a better user of the service”.
If you can create your app so that it creates a great Post-UX UX (the experience after using the app) then you’re on your way to a winner.

The book has a lot of information to help you create apps (and services) that will help create badass users. That is users who “reliably perform in a superior way”.

The advice covers everything you’ll need to know to help your users. Whether it’s practice, examples, struggle, progress, rewards, jargon, choices, memorization, willpower or affordances. There is a lot you’ll need to know and this book will help you through it.

There are also two other things you’ll learn about that are especially close to my heart.
“Cake features” and how you app can actually make people fat. Yes really. And how you can cause an emotional response in your users through appropriate prompts and a compelling context.
I urge you. Go get and read this book to learn more.
You owe it to the people who will use the apps you help create.

Get it from Amazon or O’Reilly.

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Submit-It! – The Apps

Last weekend we organised the Submit-It! hackathon.
It was one day of people finishing and then submitting apps to the Windows and Windows Phone stores.

During the day the apps that were submitted (either as updates or new apps) are:

Beerweiser for Windows Phone
Bikometer for Windows Phone
Castle Hill Crash for Windows Phone
Clock24hr-M for Windows Phone
Hexpand for Windows
Izaak's fAvourite Things for Windows
and Windows Phone
LondonLive for Windows Phone
Match The Pairs for Windows Phone
Milestone Planner for Windows
Music Central Preview for Windows Phone
MV Buddy for Windows
and Windows Phone
Phone Book for Windows Phone
Quarterback Club for Windows Phone
Relative History for Windows
and Windows Phone
UV for Windows Phone

If you want to find out more, Jay has written a blog post about the day and there are lots of pictures on meetup.

As the day proved so popular we’ll probably do something similar again.


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Submit it!

We’re having a hackathon.

Some of you may remember the “publish” hackathons that Microsoft held last year. We’ve teamed up with the lovely people at UI Centric and taken inspiration from last years events to do something similar on Saturday April 18th.

We wanted create an event that is all about submitting to the store. Hence the name.
Tinkering with code and occasionally working towards releasing or updating an app is fine, but actually releasing something is much better. You learn more and other people can actually benefit from using it when your app has been released.

Many of us lead busy lives and finding the time to work on what are often side projects can be difficult. We recognise that having some specific time set aside, away from distractions, to work on your project can be really helpful and productive. That’s why we’ve created this event.

Whether you’re working on your first app or updating one of many apps you’ve had in the store for years you’ll be equally welcome.

And if you submit a new app or update on the day you’ll get:
– help submitting your app (if you need it)
– help with code or design (if you need it)
– food and drink (so you can concentrate on your app)
– somewhere to work without distraction. Power and WiFi provided.
– some goodies : but only if you submit!
– the chance to take home a new device : but only if you submit!

This isn’t an event to come and listen to talks at. It’s not a place to just hang out and chat. We want this to be a place where people are motivated to crack on and release and/or update apps.

Please register on meetup if you want to come and be sure to answer the questions on the registration page when you do sign up.

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Food and drink


More than just beer and pizza!
Our meetings are typically held in the evening. Most people who attend come straight from work and so our meetings are at a time when they would normally be eating their evening meal.
We don’t want you to miss out and we know that you can’t buy any food in the rooms where we’re meeting at the moment. (Obviously this wasn’t the case when we were meeting in pubs and bars.)
Rather than leave people to get hungry or not come because they’d miss out on eating, we provide, courtesy of Microsoft, food and drink at our meetings.

Catering for large numbers of people isn’t straight forward and some of the ways in which everyone is different mean that through choice, belief or medical conditions not everyone can eat everything. Pizza and lager are the food and drink of choice for some but not everyone wants, or can, eat and drink them.

At our meetings we normally order a mix of pizzas with a range of sides. We also provide a wide variety of soft and alcoholic drinks.
When requested we’ve previously catered for vegetarians, vegans, coeliacs and more. We try our best to cater to everyone’s specific needs but, hopefully obviously, can’t always deal with every request. Especially if it is received at the last minute.

If you have any special requirements or requests please let us know when you register or email ‘info [at] windowsapps [dot] london’.

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Extending, Optimizing, and Accelerating Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms App Development – March 25th

When it comes to Xamarin, we know many of you are interested but you also have lots of questions.
For this reason, this month we set out to try and get answers to some of those questions. When people registered we asked them what they wanted to know.
James Montemagno will be speaking and after analysing all your requests he’s come up with the following plan for what to talk about:

Leveraging C# and it’s awesome features to developer iOS and Android apps with Xamarin allows for rapid application development, but how can you go even further. In this session we will take a look at tools, libraries, and other resources to increase productivity enabling you to write less code and share more code across all of your apps. We will additionally dive through everything new in Xamarin.Forms and several tools that Forms has built in to help with cross platform development. No matter how you are developing applications with Xamarin you will be sure to find something new and fun to use on a day to day basis.

If you’re interested in coming and haven’t already done so, please register, so we know how many people to cater for. ;)

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What you want to know about Xamarin – March 25th

This month we’re going to be joined by Xamarin’s James Montemagno who’s visiting from Seattle.

What do you want to know about building apps with Xamarin?
Please let us know when registering or in the comments and James has agreed to talk about the topics that are most requested.

Garry has also volunteered to talk about his experience in taking the Xamarin certification exam. If that’s something you’re interested in doing too, he may have some useful tips for you.

And as ever, we’d love to hear about the apps you’ve been building. If you’re interested in demoing your and and sharing a little about your experience of building it please get in touch.

If you’re planning on coming please register on Meetup OR* Eventbrite so that we have an idea of how many to expect and can organise catering appropriately.

*There’s no need to register on both :)

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Thanks for all the nice things you tweeted about us

Earlier this month @dvlup tweeted asking about the best local dev meetups.

Thanks to everyone who said such nice things about us:

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Back to basics with Visual Studio and lessons in app development – Feb 25th

While thinking about what’s coming in Windows 10 can be exciting, it’s also sometimes good to go back to basics and make sure we understand and are making best use of the tools we have available to us.

Visual Studio is a really powerful tool, with more features than I’m sure any of us realise, so this month, we’re going to have a look at some of them.

We’ll be joined by Mike and Peter from Microsoft and they’ll each be showing us 10 tips in a particular area of the program that will enable us to be more effective and build better apps with less effort
If you think you really know an area/feature of Visual Studio well and want to share your tips too then please get in touch as well. The more we share the more we all learn.

Windows 10 is looking to be a trigger that causes lots of people to build brand new apps or rebuild existing apps from scratch. Similarly, some of us will be building our first apps for Windows 10.
With this in mind it’ll be great if we can help each other avoid the mistakes of our past. If you’ve built any number of apps before then I’m sure you’ve learnt things in the process. What have you learnt that you wish you’d known when you started? By sharing these insights we’ll save each other time and help build even better apps.

All this plus the opportunity for app demos too. If you want to talk about your app then get in touch. Even if you don’t want to demonstrate it yourself but have released or updated an app lately, please leave the details below and we’ll spread the word about what you’re up to.

If you’re planning on coming please register on Meetup so that we have an idea of how many to expect and can organise catering appropriately.

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Windows 10 Announcements – Jan 21st

Apparently there’s going to be a “significant” event related to Windows 10 on January 21st.
Come along and hear all the news and discuss what it could mean for you and the apps you’ve made or are thinking about.


As a group we’re all about helping everyone create great, successful apps and that means more than just hearing the latest news.

The benefit of meeting in person is that it’s easier to learn from other people directly. At this meeting we’d like to provide an opportunity to make it simple to meet and learn from others in attendance. As a way of doing this we’re going to have a “speed networking” session. It’s a simple, non-threatening, way of meeting similar people and learning from them. We hope you’ll take part.

We’d also like to learn from each other’s apps in a collective capacity. To do this we’d like to host another “Pimp my app” session. If you haven’t attended this previously it’s where someone volunteers their app to receive expert suggestions, comments and feedback to help make it better and this is shared with the group. If you’d like your app pimped please let us know in advance.

Additionally, as with past meetings, if you’ve got an app you want to demo or talk about we’d love to hear from you too.

If you’re planning on coming please register on Meetup so that we have an idea of how many to expect and can organise catering appropriately.

Or, if you’d prefer not to use meetup, you can also register your intent to come on: Eventbrite, Lanyrd, Twitter, KweekWeek, Microsoft Technical Communities, Google+ or Facebook.
There is absolutely no reason to register at more than one of the above. Just use whatever is the easiest for you.

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