I’m pleased to announce that my newest book, “Keeping Windows 8 Tablets in Sync with SQL Server 2012,” is now available for sale on Amazon.
Spending a decade travelling the globe to help the world’s largest companies design and build mobile solutions had taught me a few things. Large organizations are not interested in constantly running on the new technology hamster wheel. They prefer to leverage existing investments, skills, and technologies rather than always chasing the next big thing. Don’t believe me? Take mobile and the cloud for example:
- In 2003 I was building Pocket PC solutions for large companies that wirelessly connected apps on those devices to SAP. I assumed mobile was going mainstream that year. I was wrong. I was early. Mobile apps wouldn’t explode until the end of the decade with the iPhone 3G.
- In 2004, my partner Darren Flatt and I launched the first cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) company to facilitate software distribution and policy enforcement on early smartphones and handhelds. Early again. MDM didn’t get big until the end of the decade.
- At PDC in 2008, my company launched our cloud offering called Azure. We skipped directly to the developer Nirvana called Platform as a Service (PaaS). I spent a few years doing nothing but speaking and writing about Windows Phones communicating with Web Roles. Turns outs companies wanted to take smaller steps to the cloud by uploading their existing servers as VMs.
Being early over and over again taught me how the real world of business operates outside of Redmond and Silicon Valley. Businesses need to make money doing what they do best. Where appropriate, they will use technology to help them improve their processes and give them a competitive advantage. So let’s cut to the chase and talk about why I wrote my new book:
- Tablets and Smartphones are taking over the world of business and outselling laptops and desktops. This is a well-known fact and not speculation on my part.
- There are 1.3 billion Windows laptops, tablets, and desktops being used all over the world. Windows 7 is in first place with Windows XP in second.
- Companies run their businesses on Microsoft Office combined with tens of millions of Win32 apps they created internally over the last 2 decades. Intranet-based web apps also became a huge force starting in the late 90s.
- Tools like Visual Basic, Access, PowerBuilder, Java, and Delphi made it easy to rapidly build those Win32 line of business apps in the 90s and helped ensure the success of Windows in the enterprise.
- Many of those developers moved to VB and C# in the 2000s to build .NET Windows Forms (WinForms) apps that leveraged their existing Visual Basic skills from the 90s.
- Some businesses built Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) infrastructures of Web Services based on SOAP and XML over the last decade in order to connect mobile devices to their servers. Most business did not, and instead opted for out-of-the-box solutions that didn’t require them to write a lot of code so they could get to market faster.
- While the “white collar” enterprise recently started building business apps for the iPhone and iPad, the “blue collar” enterprise has been building WinForms apps for rugged Windows Mobile devices using the .NET Compact Framework and a mobile database called SQL Server Compact for over a decade.
- Most businesses run servers in their own data centers. Many of them are using virtualization technologies like Hyper-V and VMware to help them create a private cloud.
- Of the businesses that have dipped their collective toes in the public cloud for internal apps, most of them are following the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model where they upload their own servers in a VM. Just look at the success of Amazon and the interest in Azure Infrastructure Services.
So the goal of my new book is to help businesses transition to the tablet era in a way that respects their existing investments, skills, technologies, enterprise security requirements, and appetite for risk.
Since I’ve been involved in countless mobile projects where companies used the Microsoft data sync technologies already baked into SQL Server and SQL Server Compact, I decided to illustrate how to virtualize this sync infrastructure with Hyper-V. With an eye towards existing trends that are widely embraced, this gives businesses the flexibility to use this proven technology in a private, public, or hybrid cloud. Companies authenticate their employees against the same Active Directory they’ve used for over a decade. I’m deadly serious about security and you’ll be glad to know the technology in this book handles it at every tier of your solution with Domain credentials plus encrypted data-at-rest and data-in-transit. You also have the option of synchronizing mobile data with any edition of SQL Server 2005, 2008 or 2012 using Microsoft sync technologies that takes care of all data movement plumbing. Your development team avoids writing thousands of lines of code to create web services, sync logic, change tracking, error handling, and retry logic. With Microsoft lowering risk to your project by taking care of the server backend, security, and data sync technologies, your team can focus on building the best possible Windows 8 tablet app for the enterprise.
Speaking of tablet app development, it’s important to show you a path that doesn’t force you to learn all-new tools or programming languages, frameworks, or paradigms. As a developer, you get to keep using Visual Studio along with the Desktop WinForms skills you’ve mastered over the last decade. Better still, you can accomplish everything using the free version of Visual Studio 2012. While you might be thinking Windows 8 tablet solutions must be created via Windows Store apps, this is not the case. Instead, I show you how to apply Modern UI principles to Desktop WinForms apps that are full-screen and touch-first. Concepts like content over chrome, use of typography, and UI elements with large hit targets are all covered in detail. I also respect your investment in Windows 7 laptops and tablets by ensuring your touch apps are backwards compatible and keyboard + mouse/trackpad friendly.
If you’re looking to build a new Windows 8 tablet app using what you have and what you know, this book is for you. If you’re looking to port an existing Windows XP or Windows Mobile WinForm app to a Windows 8 tablet, this book empowers you with the skills to make your porting effort a successful one.
The takeaway is you don’t have to scrap your existing investments to participate in the tablet revolution. I purposely made the book low-cost, hands-on, short, and to-the-point so you can rapidly build mobile solutions for Windows 8 tablets instead of wasting your time with theory. Take “Keeping Windows 8 Tablets in Sync with SQL Server 2012″ for a spin so you can start building mobile apps for the world’s first and only enterprise-class tablet today.
Stay in Sync!