On Thursday 1st of August at 6 PM
I was shivering. I got a beautiful mail that I became an MVP Developer
A Microsoft MVP or Most Valuable Professional
is an award for your work in the community. Community work is by example:
running a user group, speaking at conferences, contributing to OSS and a few
Most of the MVP’s have besides their MVP
status work as a paid job. For me being an MVP without a paid job is a real
honor for me. I know that I am with the little few. I promise to take my
responsibility for the community.
And want to thank you all. All of you
attended sessions from me at conferences or Meetups. Organizers of conferences
and meetups who gave me the chance to speak to their audience. Without the
opportunity to talk at a lot of conferences and meetups last year I wouldn’t be
I plan to speak a lot more conferences in the
next year (I mean from September until July). I hope to surprise you with new
topics within my expertise. I believe I can make a difference in Accessibility
and Diversity and Inclusion. But not only in these fields.
So I plan also a series of technical talks
where I do discuss technologies that I use to make our (DDSoft) ‘s accessible
software. I want to reach people that aren’t in the scope of accessibility but
that will benefit from my product/technology knowledge.
And I have a little surprise: in one of the coming blog posts, I do an announcement…
So as I make apps for people with
disabilities and my biggest user base at this time are people with intellectual
disabilities in Belgium means that an accessible and easy to digest UI is
really important on Android phones. Most of the people in this category live on
a fee and an iPhone is most of the times too expensive. But I have an iPhone
thanks to a beautiful sponsorship for our nonprofit from Rotary. So testing my
UI was in the past pretty difficult. Android emulators are mostly pretty slow,
even on a quite good laptop. So the time it takes to stop debugging, do some UI
changes and rebuild and reload on the emulator can take some time. Do we want
I was choked from the 🔥🔄 announcement at the Xamarin Dev Summit. I wasn’t there in person but as a good Microsoft fan, I watch pretty much every live stream. Thanks to Maddy Leger I had the opportunity to go into the early access preview and in 1 week time, Hot Reload changed my life!
Adjusting little tweaks in UI, adjusting
bigger UI changes, it’s all in the speed of light. It’s pretty fast!
I can write hours about this, but maybe a video about me playing with 🔥🔄 will show you how easy you make an accessible UI:
What I am doing in
-I add text to the
-I change the text
-I change the
Here you have before and after:
So in less than 3 minutes, I made my application more accessible. Is this the end of this application? NO! It’s just a play around in 5 minutes. Before this recording, I’d played already with 🔥🔄 and I experimented with changing form a stack panel to a grid, and I played even with Shell and Visual! Hot Reload works pretty fast and fluid!
live-streamed a part of Xamarin Dev Summit in Houston. Honestly, I submitted a
proposal for some talks at this event. I wasn’t chosen. Pity but proposal
declines are a part of speaker’s life. You have to deal with it.
I saw the Keynote and
was very impressed about Hot Reload for
Xamarin.Forms, a really cool feature that will be in private preview very
soon. So I hope to be in the group of lucky ones for the preview. More official
Microsoft communication here: https://devblogs.microsoft.com/xamarin/xaml-hot-reload/.
I believe as a developer of accessible apps, where UI is very important this will be a major dev improvement for me. Testing as much little tweaks like back and foreground colors, sizes and font sizes of objects will be a very fluent job.
Since the keynote I felt big love, Xamarin Love. When I heard about the latest updates, I updated my Visual Studio 2019, some Android SDK’s and upgraded to the latest Xamarin.Forms 4.1.0.x and Xamarin Essentials 1.2.0. When all updates were ready (and this didn’t took much time!) I’ve started debugging my current project (DDGuard) and everything did run smoothly! This was like MAGIC!
On the night of 13th of July (CET +1) the 10x hype, or the 10x Engineer hype raised on Twitter! As some of you may know, I am not a fan of hypes. Or am I not? I don’t want to be a fan of hypes. But sometimes I am a fan of some hypes, and do participate in some hypes. Just to tease: I am planning to make a conference talk: “Mind the Hype”. This talk will be about the good, the bad and the ugly of hypes. If people are interested in this talk, please let me know!
So, let the
introduction behind, let’s talk about the I
am 10x, or the 10x Engineer hype!
Today I posted this tweet:
This tweet was based on the 10x engineer hype. I didn’t put in ‘engineer’ and I forgot the hashtag. Of course I didn’t forgot my own two hashtags. So I even could add: “I am too impulsive”. I see the Tweet and as fast as possible I want to make my own tweet without taking enough time to check if I added the correct hashtags or if I don’t have typo’s! If you see Tweets from me with typo’s it’s because I was too impulsive, a drawback of my autism.
But it’s not all negative. This tweet has a negative sound. But to be clear: autism also has a lot of advantages. So I could write:
Munich, Germany! Beside of USA, visiting Germany was for me a dream destination! Why? I like the German language and the ‘meat culture’. In June I had the opportunity to talk at Xamarin Expert Day in Munich, and.. I had a blast!
I start with the culture. Germany has as I said a ‘meat culture’ and a ‘beer culture’. For me, as a Belgian, maybe I say stupid things if I say: “I like the German beer culture.” Big glasses, beer gardens, and why don’t you combine your IL beers with some meat?
Back on topic, Xamarin Expert Day! Start with the keynote! Jim Bennett – not a complete unknown Xamarin guy – was really rocking the stage! ‘Xamarin, past, present and future’ was his talk. It was a nice overview of the past, and the present. But the future was more teasing. Of course there are rules about “Microsoft’s’ internal kitchen” and MVP Summits. But for an autistic person, I was thinking the complete day about the future.. But I loved the talk and the energy!
Luce Carter gave a talk about Xamarin Shell, I really loved this concept and her explanation. I believe Xamarin Visual (a part of Shell) will help me for accessible apps!
Ulrike and Sia made another Accessibility Talk, I liked their concepts. It’s nice that the field ‘accessibility’ is so big! In their talk ‘Beyond Accessibility’ I heard a lot of renewing concepts, really helpful concepts and this concepts fit all together with mine concepts. Nice that you can apply different ‘views’, ‘angles’ of accessibility to make the most accessible solution ever!
Of course I had my talk, I presented for the first time “Improve People with disabilities’ lives with Xamarin.Essentials”. A talk how you can engage accessibility with API’s from Xamarin Essentials. I covered, Text To Speech, Settings, Device Info, App Info, Connectivity and a few more. Yes, all this API’s improve accessibility!
So I liked Munich and
I loved the German culture, Xamarin Expert Day Munich as a great conference
and I really had a blast and learned new
By the end of 2018, I realized that 2019 will be the year of #7ThYearMagic, I invented this hashtag because I believed my life-dream was going to be reality.
Why was 2019 the era of #7ThYearMagic, there’ s no ‘7’ in 19? Well, well, in 2012, 7 years ago, I made the decision to give my programming talent as volunteer. If you are like me, quite spiritual, 7 is a magic number. It’s going to happen in 2019!
My life-dream was going to USA as speaker and visit the Microsoft Headquarters! But was this my only big dream? What if the dream is over? Last month ‘my dream’ finally happened! I visited Microsoft HQ in Redmond and spoke at my first US conference #ndcminnesota.
While I was living the dream, I noticed: “this is not the end, maybe just the beginning”. Do I have other dreams? Is it over? NO! I’d love to share my knowledge as public speaker. Traveling to tell the world to be inclusive for people with disabilities doesn’t end if I visited US Once!
So proud to share next URI, my speaker site! It covers all my past and next talks. In this fall I have already 3 nice conferences! But my #7ThYearMagic dream doesn’t stop here!
On January 25th I travelled for the 2nd time this
year to London. I really love London and the variety of conferences this
This time it was time for a brand new conference: Microsoft, The Ignite Tour. Microsoft
Ignite is a big conference in the US. But since fall 2018 many of the Microsoft
experts are touring the world. The concept
of the conferences is: no keynotes, but a lot of break-outs straight from
The conference bought also a nice networking experience. You
could network at the Microsoft booth with the experts from The States. I call
it Microsofties as you know from other blogposts. There was also a drinks
reception, specific booths par division. I liked especially the Diversity in Tech booth. More about
Diversity and Inclusion are also covered in my session report.
This conference covered a lot of Diversity & Tech talks
and panels. I really liked it. I visited more D&I than tech talks, at a
tech conference! Love it!
The technical talks:
I liked the talk Discovering Microsoft Azure form Jim Bennett. I use Azure quite a long time but Azure expands so fast. When I started by example, containers didn’t exist. In this talks Jim gave a good explanation of containers in Azure. There are also a lot of new compute options. Jim covered them all. But the biggest take-away from this talk is about the Azure Resource Manager. I used it wrong, honestly. With the new knowledge I can configure it the right way right now!
“I have a hammer, a hammer in the morning, a hammer in the evening…” is the song Jim Bennett pushed into my brain in his demo of Microsoft Cognitive Services in the talk Using Artificial Intelligence to augment data. This was a good talk with a very good understanding to get started.
What’s the difference between a picture (file) in Azure
Blobs and Azure Files? A big difference! Azure
Files are for data storage. The data can be a picture by example, but also
a lot more. The files can be used via an external disk. If you are putting a
picture in Azure Blobs it’ meant to
be shared as JSON. This was one of the lessons Amy Boyd learned me at the session Storing Data in Azure!.
How were the Paralympics in London accessible to all? What were the first opinions? What happened to the UK people after the Paralympics? The London Paralympics has definitely changed a lot in the mind of people about life with physical disabilities. A view under the hood of the London Paralympics was covered by Dan Brooke, Hector Minto and Kerry Hollis
The Autism Hiring Program is my favorite one in US. Pity it’s not in Belgium. As people know I am autistic and working for Microsoft is one of my dreams. I learned more about the program in the talk It’s Ok to be not ok. Ayeshna Hirani, Marleen Reininger and Rob Ede covered also what Microsoft is doing to support mental health.
The rest of the conference was filled with topics as the LGBT+
Community. D&I islands in corporates and of course a lot of sessions about Microsoft
After this conference
I needed to make an action plan to get started when I am home. In fact everyone
should do this? Which people will you contact first? Which technology to test first.
One of my actions of my action plan was definitely subscribing to the Diversity
and Tech community online. I am happy with this step.
So this was my report of Microsoft Ignite The Tour London. I loved it! More legs of the tour here: