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Goodbye Skype, Hello Skyscanner!

It’s been a great 2.5 years at Skype and today is my last day. I’m leaving to Skyscanner to build a new mobile product from scratch – something I have only done so far as side projects until now.

Skype has been an awesome place to work at. I’ve worked with all of you great people, learned tons, all while having a blast. I’ve collected some of the learnings that I’ll take with me from here for the road forward.

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Writing good code matters. Writing code that solves the right problem matters even more. Taking an extra few minutes now to make sure you’re solving the right problem will save more than a few minutes minutes of coding later.

The most efficient meetings are not real meetings, they’re conversations. Like a chat on the hallway, pairing in front of a computer or a quick catch up with markers in one of the phone booths. I’ve come to avoid meetings – especially large ones – as much as I can in favor to these.

There are few things that bond a team better than being given authority and ownership to deliver more and better – and succeeding in doing so.

Nothing gives me as much a piece of mind when committing code as having a robust automation and deployment pipeline in place. Things could still go wrong, but there’s a much lower chance they will.

Thanks to one 3am call while doing devops I’ve gained more appreciation for automating failovers and planning for these than I had for years before.

The key to build software in an agile way isn’t about following the scrum or kanban process itself, keeping track of velocity or other metrics. It’s about continuously and consciously improving after every iteration at a personal and team level – and shipping faster and better we thought we could.

A must read book for every engineer: Clean code. A must use perk for everyone at Microsoft: MSLibrary.

On the most productive teams people don’t care about titles. Devs write tests, SDETs can and do write prod code, PMs do testing and everyone contributes to the spec. Teams where people are careful to only do work that is part of their role responsibility spend more time talking about who should do what and ultimately deliver slower.

I’ve yet to find a better and more fun way of solving a hard or complex problem then pairing with anyone on the team.

Working with a group of people you get along well matters. Working even on straightforward tasks with enthusiastic and fun people is always interesting and a good time.

If you feel you’re not learning or being stretched as much as you could be – challenge yourself more. I always feel excited and full of energy when starting something new and unknown – may this be using a new framework, tool, language, project, switching teams – or jobs!​

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Thanks for everything.

- Gergely

PS:Every time someone will stop me to talk about Skype I’ll feel proud to have been part of this team. Keep on building stuff that people use and love.

Learning WinJS Fundamentals

I’ve just published my first Pluralsight course, WinJS Fundamentals. WinJS is the Javascript framework developed by Microsoft to help with developing Windows 8 apps on the Javascript / HTML stack – which is the alternative to the C#/XAML stack on this platform.

Why Learn WinJS?

So why would you want to choose Javascript – and with it, WinJS – over C# and XAML to build Windows 8 applications? From my view these are the top 3 reasons to do so:

  • 1. Javascript is a Really Hot Technology
    Javascript is becoming really popular with web development (from jQuery to Angular.js) and server side development alike (Node.js). On Github Javascript is the #1 language used in repositories as of December 2013. It’s hard to find a more popular language than Javascript today.
  • 2. Microsoft is Investing Heavily in the Javascript Stack
    There is a lot of investment going into the Javascript stack on Windows 8 from Microsoft. In 2012 WinJS 1.0 was released. Only a year later, in 2013 WinJS 2.0 came out with lots of new features and significant improvements. I am expecting this investment to continue for the coming years, WinJS and the Javascript stack in Windows 8 becoming even more powerful.
  • 3. Most 1st Party Windows 8/8.1 Apps are Already Built Using Javascript / HTML
    Do you know what technology was used to build the email app on Windows 8.1? Skype? Music? Games? Video? Weather? News? Travel?

    win8Apps2
    These – and most other preinstalled apps – were all built on the Javascript/HTML stack, making heavy use of the WinJS framework. If Microsoft decided this stack was good enough to build key Windows 8 apps with them, it will likely work for your app as well.

What’s In this Course?

The course aims to cover the basics of WinJS, concepts that almost all apps will use. These topics are:

  • Introduction and WinJS Overview
    What the main features of WinJS are and how does WinJS compare to other popular Javascript frameworks like jQuery, Angular.js or Knockout.js.
  • Classes and Namespaces
    Working with classes in Javascript is possible, but the syntax is not very straightforward. WinJS introduces class helpers to deal with classes in a clean and structured way and adds support for using namespaces.
  • Mixins and Events
    WinJS introduces a powerful feature, mixins, to help with code and functionality reuse between classes. Mixins is a similar concept to multiple inheritance and event support for classes is easy to implement implemented using some of the built in mixins like eventMixin.
  • Data Binding
    WinJS has built in data binding support to allow updating the HTML UI of the application from the javascript data source. In this module we’ll be convering one time, one way and two way data binding, as well as data binding converters.
  • Promises
    Promises is an asynchronous programming concept which allows working with asynchronous operations in a nice and clean way. In WinJS, promises are a really important part of most applications, so because of this it is critical to understand them and know how to use them.
  • Pages and Navigation
    By using pages in our application, the app can be structured in a clean and modular way. In this module we’ll be going through the most important things to know on using pages and navigating between them.

If you’d like to watch this course, you can do here, on Pluralsight. If you don’t have a Pluraslight subscription, you can sign up for a free trial and watch most of the course using the trial period.

Other Resources to Learn WinJS

This course is meant to be to give solid understanding of the most important parts of WinJS. If you want to learn more or about different parts of WinJS, here are some further good resources:

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