Interview with Lewis Benge, the App Mentor for this year’s AppFest at Microsoft TechEd 2012


Microsoft TechEd Australia 2012 is just less than a month away and before I fly to Gold Coast to attend and cover the event, I was given a chance to ask a few questions to Lewis Benge, who will be the App Mentor for this year’s AppFest at TechEd 2012.

Q: Will you encourage people to use Mono, a free and open source project by Why?

A: Microsoft now provides a portable class library project type within Visual Studio. These assemblies can then be ported across to the web, Windows Phone, and WinRT – allowing you to encompass common logic for use across all platforms.

The team at Xamarin have also built support for portable class libraries into their Monodroid and Monotouch range; allowing you to also re-use this common logic across the iOS and Android platform. This is a great way for developers to be able to save time, and re-purpose logic where possible.

Q: Some developers have families and a busy life. How can they keep up to date with new development platform, library, pattern, methodology, or language without having to research every month or so, to find out what’s new/adapt to it?

A: Social media is one of my favourite methods of keeping up to date with what is going on in the industry. If you follow key people, and industry peers they are likely to point you to the resources that count.

This is predominantly the way I use Twitter; I follow users such as Scott Guthrie (Microsoft VP of Azure developer tools), and the Windows 8 team, and when they have significant announcements to make they usually link to their blog articles first.

The re-tweets within Twitter is a great way of gauging trending topics; and all in all it cuts out the noise of manually subscribing to multiple blogs, and forums.

Q: Did you ever have App Fest session during a TechEd before (previous years)? If yes, were there any apps built during the App Fest that became a hit in the marketplace/app store? If not, will you be expecting any? What is your expectation?

A: This is the premier year for AppFest at TechEd. Every year there is usually the camaraderie for people to sit and code during the gaps in sessions – however this is the first year where we have a common goal and structure to attend the AppFest. I’m really hoping this year gives us the opportunity to allow people to literally dive in to the code, and start making Windows 8 apps!

The common trends are people have great ideas, and are very passionate about wanting to engage with this new opportunity. The AppFest is a great starting point to pursue these ideas, with the support and assistance of the mentors and Microsoft team. As for hit ideas? We’ve already seen Australian apps take off in the Windows 8 store, so I’m more than confident people will be able to deliver great apps for both personal, and business use!

Lewis BengeLewis Benge is a technical consultant specialising in multi-channel platform development in a range of different verticals. This year, he will be an App Mentor at AppFest, a 24-hour Windows 8 hackathon at Microsoft TechEd 2012.

With a strong background in eCommerce and retail, Lewis has a good range of skills to tackle regular challenges of integration into various hardware and devices, as well as a variety of service-based architectures.

More recently, Lewis has spent a lot of time focusing on next generation hardware devices such as Microsoft Kinect, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Windows 8, iOS/Andrioid devices, and various embedded platforms with a specific focus on how these smarter, smaller devices will affect business and consumer platforms.

 Have you registered for TechEd yet? You can do so here.


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