We're continuing our Monday series, "Interview with a TechNet Wiki Author!" Today's author is XAML GUY. I actually don't need to explain who XAML guy is.. He is ...He is ...

  • He is a Member of the TechNet Wiki Community Council
  • He is a blogger on the Wiki Ninjas blog
  • He is the owner of the weekly Top Contributors blog posts
  • He is the leader of the amazing TechNet Guru contest
  • He is the creator of the TechNet Wiki Windows 8 app
  • He is the creator of the Wiki Crawler Windows Azure Web app
  • He is the creator of the TechNet Guru judging app

After reading this amazing list I could say that there is no need for an interview.. Because XAML Guy is like the Cristiano Ronaldo of the modern football. He is indispensable for our Wiki Ninjas group. We are very fortunate to have him in our team! I want to THANK YOU before everyone Peter! You are a great person and a great contributor!


Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

My name is Peter Laker. You'll find another interview here that covers all the basics.


What are your big work projects right now?

During the day (and often into the evening) I am working on various Interior Automation projects for an internationally renowned automation company, like an airport-scale lighting control interface, and an AutoCAD to XAML conversion tool.

What I have been most impressed with lately is the extent to which you can load up a Silverlight or WPF Canvas with tens of thousands of individually controllable objects. And how smoothly you can animate flying in and out of huge AutoCAD style floor plans.

I have also been moving into Windows 8, ASP.Net MVC4 and HTML5 development. XAML is still by far the richest and quickest way to develop most Line of Business applications, where you have control over client machine specifications. However, I clearly see the Mobile/BOYD potential of common denominator JS/HTML5. Welcome back old friends!


What are your big Wiki projects right now?

I'd like to highlight the weekly Top Contributions Awards, and Microsoft's TechNet Wiki Guru Awards
The weekly round-up of contributions is always fun to do. I wrote a crawler which scans every change over each week.
When I started, the crawler was easily able to crawl all the changes and generate a giant DataGrid of results that I manually interrogated for winners. Wiki popularity grew so much, that this ended up taking hours to crawl and then manually write the weekly blog from. The Internet and the website can at times be a little flakey, so I also had to contend with crashes and reruns. 
Here is a video I made some time ago of the crawler and the process of collecting the data for the weekly blog - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufaReEg36FE
The crawler has now matured into a much more stable database application that can be stopped and restarted at any point.
However, I was still spending a lot of my spare time writing the actual blog, off the back of that data. Which was preventing me from moving forwards with any new ideas.
So I automated myself, so to speak. I now auto-generate certain portions of the HTML template for the weekly blog, like the most articles and most revisions awards. It saves me heaps of time building the blog post from scratch, cutting, pasting and formatting article titles, names and hyperlinks. This has freed me up to add new features and analytics to the crawler, plus other internal spin-off reporting features, for the Council to monitor, and our Ninja bloggers to blog about.
The TechNet Guru Awards have been an amazing experience. It is incredible to see so many high calibre contributions, from so many prominent members of our technical community.
Between you and me (and anyone who reads this blog) this is a chance for many high ranking Microsoft technology experts to meet the developers (their users) and get to know some of the regular contributors. This is real ground-to-top contact, between developers and makers of the actual technologies.
I am very excited at how many note-worthy MS names we have judging the contributions, and proud to have them involved in this project. I believe it helps to break down the Ivory Tower image that some technology departments portray. Now has never been a better time to make your mark, get your name known in the highest circles of your favoured technology, and even add to your portfolio/cv, with some worthy praise from some very important players.
Forget LinkedIn friend endorsements, get endorsed by someone who actually MADE the technology!!

- Ninja Gokan Ozcifci