Microsoft Q&A Session: Visual Studio, Phone Gap, Xamarin and DevExtreme

SitePoint forums are hosting a mega one-hour live Q&A session with Microsoft. We’re covering cross-platform development with Microsoft Technical Evangelists @EstherMosad and @PaulUsher. Join us on April 7, 10AM AEST (find your timezone here) and talk all things Visual Studio, Phone Gap, Xamarin and DevExtreme.

This will be a great follow-up to our previous two sessions with Andrew Coates, on Azure Mobile Services. If you’re a mobile dev, catch up on thread 1 and thread 2.

This session will be facilitated by myself and all questions answered by Microsoft Evangelist Esther Mosad and DevExpress Technical Evangelist Paul Usher over one hour.

**We’re assembling questions before hand as well as on the day. To ensure your question is answered, please reply to this thread with your question and keep the question to the topics at hand :slight_smile:

Cross Platform Development In an increasing business environment where more and more companies are allowing employees to bring their own devices, developers are faced with the challenge of creating high quality software that spans all major operating systems. Join us to see how the Microsoft Azure platform provides an important backbone to cater for these different scenarios including mobile services, notifications, simplified authentication and more. In this Q&A session we’ll be covering all topics including Visual Studio, Phone Gap, Xamarin and DevExtreme.

Esther Mosad has been a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft since leaving University two years ago. She has a particular focus on Azure development on mobile devices and websites. Esther also works heavily with startups across Australia ensuring they make the right tech choices to accelerate their success.

Paul Usher is a Technical Evangelist at DevExpress whose technologies help software developers build high-performance business solutions, see complex software with greater clarity, increase productivity, and create stunning applications for Windows® and the Web. He has developed more than 100 commercial applications on Windows, OS X, iOS, and other platforms that are used worldwide covering a wide range of industries. His blog is available at

**We’ll be giving away 8 Power Packs over the course of all 4 Q&A sessions for the ‘best question asked’ and ‘most engaged user in a Q&A session.’ To be in the running, reply to this thread with your questions and participate on the day.

Contest Rules:

  1. See our full Terms & Conditions.
  2. There are a total of 8 PowerBanks as described in the image above. Each session will contain two winners.
  3. A judging panel consisting of SitePoint staff will judge SitePoint Forum members, 2 in each Microsoft session, based on the quality of questions asked and the quality of their participation in the session. The judges decision is final.
  4. The winners will be contacted via Private Message and in the event they do not respond, will be contacted via email where there email is known. Winners will need to provide a valid mailing address.

I run visual studio on core i3 processor with 4Gb RAM. But most of the time I stay off visual studio because it is quite slow. After trying all sorts of optimizations, it hasn’t improved much. My only resort at the moment is to upgrade the RAM to 12Gb and move files off the HDD to keep it light.

Is there anything the Visual Studio team is doing to address the speed and memory consumption of the Visual Studio IDE?

If there is none, can it be made a priority for next updates to the IDE?

I can guarantee you a faster IDE will less RAM requirement for smooth run will attract a lot more developers to the platform.

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I see

Updated ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit
Visual Studio Blog
26 Mar 2015 8:30 AM

If you use the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit, you know that our long-time Visual Studio partner DevExpress maintains it, and that it’s free and open-source. Recently they released an updated and improved ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. You can download this new version here:

In a short time that they have taken over the project, they have fixed the most glaring issues along with a number of other changes to make the Toolkit a solid library to have in your ASP.NET application.

Back when I started I often got confused between JavaScript, JScript and VBScript.

What is the current situation for ___script coding using Visual Studio?

Microsoft is currently showcasing some great developer tool integration with IE/Spartan and Chrome’s dev tools. Is the intention long term to keep this option open? Or is this a stop gap effort until the IE/Spartan dev tools are up to par?

As a long time web developer (~20 years) I’ve become so accustomed to the great tools from Firefox/Firebug & Chrome that developing in IE first… (e.g. not just for sanity tests) just hasn’t ever been an option. I’d like to see it that IE becomes a “first class citizen” in the developer browser list.

Although Visual Studio is not the IDE I know well, I do use it from time to time and more or less regularly. Can it be used to program automatizations for Azure?

I am assuming here that you can automate process and messages if only becuase it makes sense to me.

There may be better tools to do the job, of course, and maybe Visual Studio is not suitable for this.

A few tools and tips for debugging would be nice. This question may be too vague to be answered though

@PaulUsher I would ask what’s the application he’s more proud of and why. I assume that you also use Azure, and for sure you used some others. How does it compare to other products?

I don’t work with “apps” (so to speak) at all, but I wonder how broadly the above quote can be applied. For example, can any of those features (notifications, authentication) etc. be used with “web apps” (i.e. websites), or is this really just for more traditional, downloadable apps?

Hi RalphM
Azure and it’s App Services can definitely be used for web apps. In fact Azure web sites (part of App Services) is designed for you to deploy your web apps while using Azure’s other features for your back end services. You can use Azure to front-end web apps, web site, web API web services, media systems (London Olympics for example) and many other things. You can use push notifications from your web apps to mobile devices, web sites and Windows Universal apps.

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How do you see Azure playing a role in cross platform development from a device independent standpoint?

Welcome everyone to our last Microsoft Q&A session of this series! Unfortunately Esther can’t join us today, so we’ll be spending the next hour with the extremely talented and knowledgable Paul Usher, @PaulUsher.

Paul is a Technical Evangelist at DevExpress, whose technology helps software developers build high-performance business solutions, see complex software with greater clarity, increase productivity, and create stunning applications for Windows® and the Web. He has developed more than 100 commercial applications on Windows, OS X, iOS, and other platforms that are used worldwide covering a wide range of industries. His blog is available at

He’ll be answering all your questions on Xamarin, DevExpress and PhoneGap today. If you have any Visual Studio questions for Esther, please post them in this thread and we’ll forward them to her.

Let’s get started! Paul, can you tell us which platforms we can target with a single code base?


Thanks Jasmine, in short, you can target all the major players with a single code base, and best of all, you can use your preferred language to do it.


I’ll pitch in if you like.

Can you tell me what options devs have for cross-platform?

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Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms allow devs with C# skills to focus on just that, while PhoneGap and products like DevExtreme allow HTML/JS devs to stay with what they are familiar with.

go for it Rocky :slight_smile:

Great question Rocky, I have never seen Azure as anything other than platform independent, it provides a great backbone to all the core OS’s out there. Using PhoneGap/DevExtreme, or Xamarin.Forms it is so easy to create, debug, deploy or publish anything from simple todo through to complex enterprise grade apps.

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In Response to Steve_Web above, yes you will see a full featured set of development tools in Spartan. IE tooling has gotten much better over the years, the F12 experience works very well. That will be improved in Spartan.

The applications have been varied over the years, the more recent ones use Azure as much as possible, Azure SQL Database, Blob storage, Web sites, Mobile Services. Debugging is always a tricky one, it depends on the tools you are using. Obviously if you are coding inside VS then choose IE for the output and you have your integrated debugger right there. :slight_smile:

Welcome, @PaulUsher

thank you @meaghan_miller