Croatia, thanks for having me!

This year I got the chance to engage the Croatian developer communities in Porec, a beautiful Croatian city at the Mediterranean sea side, during WinDays – the largest Microsoft driven event in Croatia.

As I said in my interview with the WinDays media crew, this was my second time in Croatia. Whilst my first experience in Croatia as a tourist (when I got to visit Dubrovnik) blew me away by the historical culture Croatia has to over, my second time in Croatia blew my away by the quality and software developers, their deep knowledge and familiarity with the latest technologies and trends. Good job, Croatia!

WinDays

WinDays is by far the largest Microsoft driven event in Croatia, which brings together developers, IT professionals and IT business managers and decision makers, making is thus the best opportunity to learn stuff and meet interesting people. Right before I got to the WinDays island (yep, you’ve read that right – the event was hosted in a private resort, on a car-free island! How cool is that?!), I was mindblown by the logistics behind this many-thousands-attendees large event. For example, a few kilometers before arriving in Porec, I started following road signs with the conference’s logo. Second, I had my car parked in one of the largest parking lots completely reserved for the conference, where a minibus got to pick us up. Once we got to the sea-side, a shuttle boat reserved for the conference cross us over to the island, and they had such a boat trip every roughly 15 mins. Once I got to my room, the TV automatically turned on and started playing the conference’s teaser video; in addition, all the WiFi SSID, both in the hotel (room, restaurant, lobby etc.) and in the other conference venues were named WinDays. That’s as much branding as you can get, honestly! Great job, WinDays team!!!

I got to deliver two sessions at WinDays, one on Application Insights (my already traditional ‘Know Your Customers, Know Your Apps!’), where it is my turn to blow people’s mind with the power of usage and performance analytics Application Insights offers almost completely out of the box.

My other session covered features specifically designed for SQL users, named ‘SQL Database from a Developer’s Perspective’ – during this session, I’ve covered my top favorite security and performance features which have either been around for a year or so or were recently added to Azure SQL Database.

Queens

One of the biggest surprises I had at WinDays was the party they’ve put together for attendees and speakers alike. This was also the moment when they offered a prize of 40,000 kuna for the winning Software Startup Academy competition which ran for a few months. Anyway, during this party, they got a Queens cover band to entertain us. At first, especially because of the ‘cover band’ part, I have to admit I didn’t really have high expectations. However, this turned out to be one of the BEST concerts I ever attended -really! I mean the songs they chose, the impersonation they did on Freddy Mercury, the way they got the entire crowd cheered up and in the right mood… WOW!

I’ve also added some photos taken at WinDays, below.






Speaking at Microsoft Summit & CodeCamp Iasi

Last week was one full of traveling experiences and speaking engagements at the two largest IT conferences in Romania: Microsoft Summit and CodeCamp Iasi. I got a chance to talk on the same subject at these conferences, namely Microsoft Azure Visual Studio Online Application Insights (this name is so Microsoft :-)) and according to Andrei Ignat‘s (Microsoft Visual Studio and Development Technologies MVP) review here, I made a good job delivering this session.

Whilst this year’s Microsoft Summit focused a lot on networking, with lots of great opportunities to meet and chat with brave entrepreneurs, successful business all-stars, experienced technical fellows and gizmo master minds, CodeCamp was a developer hardcore event, with not two, not three, but ten (10!) simultaneous developer tracks. Why such a big number, you might ask? Well, considering that there were at least 1.800 attendees at the event, you can imagine why :-). Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft Summit wasn’t any smaller either, especially in terms of attendees. Rumor has it that over 2.100 attendees registered, but the exact number wasn’t made public yet.

However, the absolutely amazing thing about my Application Insights sessions this year at these two conferences was the fact that some developers who attended my session in Bucharest (at Microsoft Summit), decided to show up again (two days later) at the exact same session in Iasi (at CodeCamp), in order to get additional questions answered and take extra notes on the Application Insights usage scenarios.

This is not only overwhelming, but also extremely flattering! For those of you who attended any of my sessions: you were a great audience: THANK YOU!

For those of you who didn’t make it to either of these sessions, I’ve posted the slides further down this blog post. Be aware though that more than half of the session time was spent on demos and How-Tos rather than just slides – the recordings are yet to be announced by the Microsoft Summit organizers; as soon as they’re public, I’ll make them available on alexmang.com as well.

Also Speaking At CloudBrew Later This Month

CloudBrew AZUG

In addition, if you happen to be in Belgium by the end of the month (November 28th), make sure you register for Cloud Brew – at CloudBrew I’ll focus my Application Insights session of IoT monitoring techniques and some other goodies.

Happy coding!

 

Public Events! Register Today!

Public Speaking @ Microsoft Summit 2015

As part of my continious community involvment, for the next 30 days or so I will be busy traveling yet again across all of Romania (South, North-East and then West again) and Belgium. As you might already expect, I’m engaged on a few public events. If you want to drop by and say ‘Hi’, I’d be more than happy:

Unlike the events taking place in Romania – which are considerably large (1500+ participants) – CloudBrew is a very intimate event, with nothing but excellent talks, valuable networking opportunities, beer sampling (that’s why it’s called CloudBrew), excellent food and wonderful prizes. Both CodeCamp and CloudBrew are community driven events (organized by CodeCamp and AZUG (Azure User Group) Belgium respectively), but if you’re especially interested in cloud computing, than CloudBrew is with no doubt the event for you!

At these events I’m yet again going to cover Azure related content. This time however, I’ll go deep into the service called Visual Studio Online Application Insights, show you tips and tricks on various patterns, show you how you could use Application Insights for any Internet of Things projects and how to customize dashboards so they fit your DevOps team’s  requirements. Lastly, you’ll also get a chance to see a complete IoT application running on a Raspberry PI 2 powered by Windows 10 IoT, monitored using Application Insights – #CoolStuffAlert.

To get a sneak preview of what I’m putting together for these events, you still have a chance to watch the recording of my ITCamp session in May here:

ITCamp 2015 – Application Insights for Any App Must-Have Tool for Understanding Your Customers (Alex Mang) from ITCamp on Vimeo.

…or the recording David Giard and I did before my session there:

In addition to what you get from the roughly 50 minute video, please be advised that I’ve updated the presentation so that it’s up-to-date with the features which were added in the meantime – yes, Visual Studio Online is packed with lots of cool features for monitoring usage and application performance.

See you there!

The ITCamp 2015 video recordings have recently been made publicly available on Vimeo and I’ve taken the liberty of embedding my session’s ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool For Understanding Your Customers‘ recording here. Since all the time slots were an hour long, I suggest you get some coffee, sandwiches, sit down and relax :-).

Enjoy the video and reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, via the contact form or comment section below if you have any questions on Application Insights, Azure or anything alike.

Alex

P.S.: you can skip directly to 01:00

While the ITCamp 2015 orga team is still ‘cooking’ all the video recordings of these great sessions, I’ve decided to make my slides from my today’s session, entitled ‘Application Insights for Any App: Must-Have Tool for Understanding Your Customers’, available to you using OneDrive.

Whether you were among the 150+ attendees today or not, among all the other important things I have mentioned, I cannot reiterate enough: knowing both your users and application behavior whilst its in the wild is crucial if you want to be the developer of a successful app and not any other production app. Therefore, DO monitor your users, BUT don’t do it like the NSA does. Instead, let your users know that you know what frustrates them the most, let your users know you are aware of how the application performs and most importantly, ACT on all the telemetry data you are gathering.

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