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Joining Microsoft

IdentityMine, Microsoft, MVP, MVVM, Personal, Universal Windows Platform UWP, Valorem, Work, Xamarin, XAML
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Well here is a post I didn’t quite expect to write… but the best things in life are unexpected. I am thrilled and proud to announce that as of August 1st 2017, I joined the Cloud and Enterprise group (aka Azure) at Microsoft.

My role will be a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate and I will explain in this post what it is I will do! I guess an FAQ format is most appropriate here, so here goes:

Are you moving to the USA?

No, I am staying put in Zurich Switzerland, my home for the past 23 years. While I don’t exclude living in the US at some point in the future, now is not that time and I will stay close to the friends and family I have in Switzerland. The role is global, and I will be travelling about the same amount than I am now, including coming to Redmond about 3-4 times a year and going to events worldwide.

It’s really interesting to see all the new people joining the team and I can’t wait to hear more about who else will get on board. Because it is a global role, we will have local offices around the world (in exciting places such as London, Shanghai, Bangalore etc). I really hope I will have a chance to be present at events in places where I couldn’t go yet, especially in Asia and South America. While I am super happy about all the talks I gave in Europe and the USA, I feel that it’s time to go “advocate” in more places now. Can’t wait to create that content and teach.

What will you do?

This is the most interesting part! This group is helping to redefine how we engage with developers on a big scale and be an empathetic advocate to the product engineers building the tools, services, APIs and other tech you use on a daily basis!

If you follow Twitter, you might have seen quite a few very talented people joining the Developer Advocate group. These people have very diverse skills, from web to open source to Linux to Docker and more. Even though I will be “advocating” Azure, my main expertise is going to be with Xamarin development and cloud-connected mobile app experiences, and of course MVVM. XAML has been a primary interest for more than 10 years now, and Xamarin is a technology and a team that I worked with for the past 4 years now. I am really enthusiast about working with these technologies even more intensively now, and most importantly to teach people worldwide how to use them.

Who is employing you? Who is your boss?

Because I am living in Switzerland, technically I will be an employee of Microsoft Switzerland. But I am reporting to Tim Heuer (a great friend!) who is based in Redmond. Our team is a part of the engineering group in Azure and reports up through Scott Guthrie. It’s kind of a hybrid situation, and I expect to be regularly in Wallisellen in the Microsoft Switzerland offices, as well as in Redmond for team meetings a few times a year.

What makes you most excited about this job?

Difficult to answer. When I received the call three months ago, and heard about the amazing job description, I thought it was just great for me. In a later call, I heard that Tim Heuer would be my boss and that was an amazing cherry on a fantastic cake. I have to admit that the thought of getting into Microsoft at this time, under Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie, is making me very happy. It is a great time for Microsoft and especially Azure. I started getting more and more interested in Azure after I joined the Microsoft Regional Directors group. This group of experts is composed of very experienced people who have strategic roles in various firms, big and small. A large portion of the discussions have been focused on Azure, which led me to understand how important this technology is. There are just so many applications and the pace of innovation is quite breathtaking. I have a huge respect for everyone I will be working with, and especially of course for Scott Guthrie, who I have met many times over the past 10 years. He is as nice as he seems but most importantly, he is really, really clever and drives innovation amongst his people. I am delighted to be a part of this new adventure.

What do you regret the most?

I will certainly miss working for Valorem and especially all my friends. I met some of you guys 10 years ago, and we have been working together as a team for more than 8 years. I will be forever grateful to the IdentityMine team who gave me a chance in 2008 and decided to create a whole branch in Switzerland just for me. I think in retrospect it was a win-win, just look at all the amazing projects we realized!

But maybe most painful of all is the fact that I will have to resign from the MVP awards (both Microsoft and Xamarin) and the Regional Director program. Of course the joke is that joining Microsoft is the best reason for losing these awards, but I will really miss the amazing community of peers, some them who grew to become more than dear friends, a family.

Of course the good news is that I will continue to see many of you at conferences and other events around the globe. I will also continue to participate to some of the distribution lists and so we will be able to keep in touch. And as always, if you come to Zurich, let me know and we’ll have a fondue! (or something…).

Will something change for MVVM Light?

Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: Microsoft is very open regarding open source. I retain the full ownership of the project and I expect to be working on it about the same amount of time than I do now (of course on my free time). In the next few weeks you will see a move to Github as well as a version for .NET Standard so keep watching this space for updates.

What’s next?

Well while today is officially my first day at Microsoft, it is also Switzerland’s national day (Happy 726th birthday Switzerland!) and so my first day will be tomorrow. I have the new employee orientation (NEO yay) at the Swiss HQ in Wallisellen near Zurich. I expect that I will get my blue badge as well as a ton of information. At some point I should also get a new laptop (I was given a choice between a PC and a Mac and selected a Surface Pro 4 because I still love the Surface form factor, especially when I travel). Then I will spend a few days in Redmond next week, and connect with some of the team. Really impatient to get started!

I am sure I will have a lot more to say about all this in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Happy coding
Laurent

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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New role, new responsibilities, same passion! Embracing 2017

IdentityMine, Technical stuff, Valorem, Work
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As I am writing this, I just came back from Kansas City, Missouri, where I met with a few people who are going to be an integral part of my next adventure.

I often tell this story: When I was working for Siemens and my passion for software was facing a difficult time, due to the frustrations of not being able to render my designers’ visions in HTML/CSS, I was sent to Las Vegas to attend MIX06, the first ever MIX conference, and to discover Windows Presentation Foundation and Expression Blend, which became two passions of mine. Working with the various teams at Microsoft responsible for these amazing new products, I started blogging about my experiences. This led Microsoft to give me the MVP award in 2007 (and every year since then), this also led Sams publishing to contact me and ask me if I wanted to write a book about Silverlight 2 which Microsoft had just started in preview. I started speaking at conferences, first within Siemens and then at various conferences. This became a side activity that was often crossing paths with my day work as a software developer.

My public speaking, blog writing, and other publishing activities were just something I felt like doing. It was profitable both for the firm I was working for, IdentityMine, and for myself as I was building my personal brand.

In May 2016, IdentityMine was acquired by Valorem, and our activities started encompassing more than the client application development we were known for. Valorem had always been very active in back-end development, from Sharepoint to Azure to Office365 to PowerBI to many other areas which I know of, but which I don’t know much about. This year, I will be starting a new role, which neither Valorem nor pre-acquisition IdentityMine has ever officially had: That of Senior Technical Evangelist.

In this role, I will educate myself in all the various areas where we do business. I want to be able to talk to anyone in the firm and have an understanding of what they are doing. Then, I will be responsible to give visibility to all the amazing people who work at the new Valorem. This includes blogging about activities that we do, projects that we work on, but also exciting new activities which I cannot talk about yet (but video should be involved, fun!!). I also want to make people proud of what they are doing, and to teach them how to talk about it, maybe at local user groups, maybe at conferences, maybe writing for the Valorem blog, maybe writing articles for magazines etc. Teaching people to manage their personal brand, coaching them to put themselves out there, work with the community, etc.

Everyone at the executive level is very excited because that is something that we just didn’t do before, not in any official capacity. This is a new role, which should allow me to explore and try new things, see what’s working. It should also allow me to visit all our various locations, talk to the people, understand what they do, and get more knowledgeable on all the areas that we are covering (which is a lot). Also, it will give me the opportunity to look into new areas that might be interesting for the firm, such as Cognitive services, Blockchain, and many more.

Next to this, I will of course continue to support our sales teams in pre-sales operations, as well as give a hand in architecture or coding for our development teams where needed. And of course I will continue to support our European operation, which as small as it is right now is still generating enough leads and projects to keep things interesting.

I’ll be looking forward to meeting a lot of Valorem employees in the months to come and work with all of you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions, remarks or suggestions. This role is for you in the first place.

Happy coding
Laurent

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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Blog post on IdentityMine.com: Enabling applications for Continuum

IdentityMine, Technical stuff, Universal Windows Platform UWP, Windows 10, Windows Phone, Work
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I just posted a new blog post on IdentityMine’s blog.

One of the most exciting features of the new Windows 10 mobile devices is Continuum. It means that you can connect your Windows 10 phone to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, and use it as a lightweight computer. Since it uses standard, non-proprietary protocols, you have a number of options to connect:

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  • You can use a pure wireless solution with Miracast for the display and Bluetooth for mouse/keyboard. Miracast is built into modern displays and TVs these days, or you can use Miracast-enabled sticks like the Microsoft wireless display adapter.
  • Or you can choose wires and use the Display Dock, and a wired mouse / keyboard.
  • Or of course you can use a combination of the above. These technologies are standard and you can choose!

Read more on identitymine.com…

Ten!

IdentityMine, MVVM, Work, XAML
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Update (10 Jan 2016) I added Techorama to the list of my talks. Hope to see many of you in Belgium!!

It’s been a tradition for me to look in my inbox for an email from the Microsoft MVP award team on January first… this year is special because it is the tenth time that I am getting the award. I am really happy and excited about this milestone, and it’s a great occasion to reflect on a decade of community work with Microsoft frameworks and tools. Getting awarded 10 times in a row is a huge honor and I feel blessed and honored.

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The community work

I have always been active in the community, from my very first involvements with code, starting with many contributions to the early JavaScript community (these were the days of Usenet and the comp.lang.javascript newsgroup, and I started contributing around 1997 probably). These were exciting days because we were pretty much inventing everything, before the early days of frameworks. The very first framework we started to discuss was a horrible thing called Prototype which was making everything way too complicated. JQuery came only quite a lot later. In fact, much of what is discussed these days in the so-called SPA (Single page application) space is either stuff that we had already talked about in the newsgroup, or building on top of it. Always funny to hear again about these topics after so many years.

Professionally, I started using my JavaScript (and HTML and CSS) skills when we started an ASP.NET project around 2002, which took about 3 years to complete. Before that, most of my involvement with JavaScript had been on private time. It was an exciting time with (a) digging deeper into the .NET ecosystem (I had started using .NET with V1.0 in 2001) and (b) using my web skills for money :) It was a great project, and we innovated in many areas, using a lot of AJAX (before it was cool) and other user experience improvements.

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After this project ended, about 11 years ago, I was extremely lucky to be sent to Las Vegas for MIX06 and discovered XAML… The awesome atmosphere at MIX totally pumped me up and led me to start blogging and exploring WPF for a project we were starting. One year later, someone noticed my little blog and decided it was good enough for my first MVP award… The same year Microsoft recommended IdentityMine to us for a WPF training, and I discovered this incredible team of developers and designers (and PMs!) whom I now call my friends, and this amazing place, PNW which feels like my second home…

It was a wild ride for sure. My explorations led me to make friends with a lot of developers within and outside of Microsoft, get very involved with the development of some awesome products like XAML and Blend, to get into the conference circuit, to write two books, to create the MVVM Light Toolkit and manage its growth, to start working with Xamarin (and get awarded an MVP there too), to get accepted in the Microsoft Regional Directors program, and more… And now I feel ready for 10 more years (and quite a few more, in fact :)

2016, public appearances and travel

At the moment I have a few conferences lining up, and a few more that I hope to confirm later on. For now here is what I know:

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I will speak at TechDays Switzerland 2016 in Baden. This is exciting because it is a rebirth of the TechDays conference here, which had disappeared in the past few years. I always love TechDays as a concept. This year we will have a half day of keynotes on February 29 and one day of breakout sessions on March 1st.

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I will attend the Build conference in San Francisco from March 30 to April 1st. This should be an interesting event where we might not see huge announcements but rather see a stabilization and consolidation of Windows 10 and all associated technologies. I like these years where we have a chance to dig deeper in technology, and to polish and refine our devices and frameworks.

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On April 24th to 28th, I will be in Orlando FL at Xamarin Evolve. I am really excited about this opportunity to dive deep into MVVM Light for Xamarin, and specifically the databinding framework. I was very impressed by Evolve 2014 which was my first appearance at this event. It felt almost like the MIX conferences of yore, and a great place to meet a lot of interesting people in this space.

techorama

On May 3 and 4, I cannot wait to go back to Belgium for Techorama. I will be talking about Windows Presentation Foundation 4.6 and show you what’s new. Yes WPF is still important, and is widely used for desktop applications, especially in enterprise and industry. WPF was my first XAML love, and I cannot wait to share some of that love with you all!

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On May 26th-27th, I will be at DevSum in Stockholm Sweden. First time at this smaller conference but I heard so many great thing about it that I am impatient to try it out. Thanks Tibi for having me :)

That’s what is confirmed for now. There is a little more being discussed at the moment, and I will announce it when the time comes. As always, I am really proud and happy to have a chance to talk to an audience about the topics that excite me, and to have the possibility to meet and chat with many of you face to face.

Happy coding!
Laurent

GalaSoft Laurent Bugnion
Laurent Bugnion (GalaSoft)
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Upcoming speaking engagements and travels!

.NET, IdentityMine, MVVM, Technical stuff, Visual Studio, Windows 10, Work, WPF, Xamarin, XAML
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Wow it’s autumn already! When did that happen? The Summer was very busy, with a lot of super interesting work at IdentityMine, the release of MVVM Light V5.2, and preparation for an upcoming article in MSDN Magazine (more about that later) and even some work on some personal apps I wanted to port to Windows 10 and improve.

In the coming few weeks, I have some travel coming up, with speaking engagements. Here is the list below, and I will update it if something new comes up. I really hope to have a chance to see you at one of these talks, and if you do come, please come say hi and let’s chat!

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Back from Vegas and #vslive

IdentityMine, Technical stuff, VSLive, Work, Xamarin
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I just came back from Las Vegas and the Visual Studio Live conference at the Bally’s hotel and casino. I had a very good time there, with great contact with the attendees (notably at the “Birds of a Feather” lunch on Wednesday where each speaker had a dedicated table to have lunch with attendees. Great idea!!), and the pleasure to meet again other speakers and make new friends.

As promised during my sessions, I published the slides, sample code and session information to my Presentations page.

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Going to VS Live!

.NET, IdentityMine, MVVM, Technical stuff, VSLive, Work, Xamarin, XAML
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2015-02-06_23-15-15

I am very excited to talk about Xamarin, cross-platform development and MVVM Light at VS Live in Las Vegas this year.

At IdentityMine, we are very proud and happy to be Xamarin Premier Partners and to work with this great platform to create awesome experiences on all supported platforms. It’s a real pleasure to be present at VS Live and to present two sessions, both on March 17, 2015.

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Two big honors

Build, IdentityMine, MVP, MVVM, Technical stuff, Work, Xamarin
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I am really delighted to make public some big honors that were awarded to me these past couple of weeks.

Microsoft and Xamarin Most Valuable Professional

MVPLogoHorizontal Xamarin MVP Badge2

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Welcome 2015

Blog, IdentityMine, MVP, MVVM, Personal, Technical stuff, Work, Xamarin
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2014 was a great year, with a lot of excitement in the Microsoft community, a lot of awesome news. Microsoft released a few interesting hardware offerings such as the confirmation of the success of the Surface Pro 3, the release of the Microsoft Band and the Miracast wireless display adapter (I have one of each and they work great), a few exciting announcements such as the open sourcing of the .NET core, the release to the public of the free Visual Studio Community Edition, the preview release of Windows 10, continued activity in the WPF team, and more. Microsoft Azure is continuing its expansion in features, and is also becoming more accessible to small business and hobbyists. On the client side, we continue to see a unification of the platforms that will reach its best in Windows 10 with the universal applications running on Windows, Windows Phone and XBOX. And of course the extended partnership with Xamarin (which makes me very happy on a professional and personal level) allows to leverage an ever large portion of that code and run it on iOS and Android devices.

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6 years!

IdentityMine, Personal, Work
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Logotype-pink

Yesterday was my 6th anniversary at IdentityMine, Inc.. The same week, I created a folder for the 100th project I worked on here. It’s amazing how time flies, but more than ever, I feel blessed and happy to work at this amazing firm. I am really proud to work with people whose technical and professional expertise I tremendously respect, and that many of these people became more than colleagues, true friends.

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