Aligning Microsoft Development and Design

A Pattern Emerges

This is a fascinating and challenging time to be a professional developer. Professional developer roles and tasks are combining, eliding, and altering. This month DevProConnections features a look at the developer’s role in web and app design in the twenty-first century.

In a classical and well-endowed IT group there would have been right-brained designers creating a beautiful and functional UI and left-brained developers mapping out the patterns in code. These were two different worlds. But these days are disappearing—they’re looking more and more like a diorama in the natural history museum.

Designers are increasingly development savvy and have access tools in places like Visual Studio where only developers had gone before. Developers quite often find they are alone in an organization and tasked with both design and development for an app or website. Microsoft’s MIX conference reflects this convergence; a conference created for designers has in recent years been heavy with development sessions and information. While this is unsettling for long-time practitioners in one or the other role this shift strongly reflects the needs of the culture and the rapid pace of change.

Change Your Mind

Billy Hollis, this month’s guest editor, is a Microsoft regional director, an ASP.NET expert and a developer who is passionate about design. He notes that vastly improved graphics hardware, wildly varying screen resolutions, the advent of touch and sophisticated mobile devices, and ubiquitous media bring both opportunity and demand for change to the world of UI design. I find it fascinating that he doesn’t think it’s technology or changing roles that hold back great leaps in design: He says that developers are held back by the way they think. He’s written a call to action for all developers who want drive change in the world of new UI technologies “to understand your current mental blockages and work to overcome them.” This is a must-read guest editorial.

Featured Content This Month

Our mission is to give developers practical advice they can use. It’s really not good enough to just say “change the way you think.” Check out Billy Hollis’s article on prototyping to see how his team took on this challenge. Also, go to our website and read the web-exclusive article by Ward Bell on designing with data.

Microsoft itself has launched several new or enhanced platforms over the past eighteen months. Check out Jonathan Goodyear’s BackDraft column for a dash through the multiplicity of new offerings.

DevConnections 2010 November 1-4

Fast on the heels of Microsoft’s PDC, which will beam keynotes and all sessions world-wide from the Microsoft campus on October 28-29, comes our DevConnections conference. This year DevConnections is at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Many of our authors, including Billy Hollis and many of our regular columnists will have sessions there, with practical advice on how to best leverage the latest trends in development. Look for our DevProConnections magazine booth at the conference Expo; please drop by, we’d like to meet you there. We’re looking for developers in the community who are passionate about information exchange. Are you interested in blogging with us? Visit our booth at the conference or drop me a line anytime at [email protected] com.

Windows IT Pro Magazine Celebrates 15 Years

And here’s a quick shout out to our fellow publication Windows IT Pro magazine: Congratulations on 15 years of covering the IT industry. We’re glad you’re in IT with us!

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