It's a truism that technology change is ever accelerating. In the Windows IT/developer world, the most dramatic changes currently occurring may well be in the mobile and cloud areas. Last year, at DevProConnections, we were keeping a watchful eye on cloud and mobile. Later in 2010, we thought it was time to start covering Windows Azure and mobile topics in earnest—responding to the dev audience's growing interest in these topics by publishing several well-received articles on mobile development, cloud, and Windows Azure. Even so, we weren't seeing strong evidence of a groundswell of interest from devs in those areas or much activity from third-party vendors—yet.

But what a difference a few months make. Up until last fall, Microsoft had little significant presence in the smartphone area. But with the release of Windows Phone 7—and just in the last week, Windows Phone 7 announcements from Microsoft and several vendors in the .NET developer ecosystem, the situation is changing rapidly.

The same sort of acceleration is happening in the Microsoft platform world concerning the cloud. Azure is becoming a viable platform—for development as well as hosted services such as storage.

The challenge, as usual in our world, is to keep up with the changes—so, for example, when your CEO says, "we need a mobile app for our ordering system" or mandates putting core business apps and data in the cloud, you know how to respond to meet the request.

Mobile and Cloud Resources for Developers and IT Pros
DevProConnections, and its sister publications Windows IT Pro, SQL Server Magazine, and SharePointPro Connections, can help provide some of that knowledge. These sites offer dozens of timely how-to articles and commentaries on mobile and cloud topics for .NET developers, IT pros, and database professionals. (See the end of this article for a list of mobile and cloud articles.)

Another resource I'm excited about is the upcoming Mobile, Cloud and Virtualization Connections event, April 17–24 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Not just because it's only a two-hour flight for me to Vegas, or publication staff get to stay in a fancy hotel... I am especially looking forward to this conference because of the energy and excitement in these technology areas. I'm looking forward to the exchange of ideas on leading-edge topics with leaders in mobile development, carriers, and cloud security, to name a few. I'm impressed with the speaker/session lineup: a panel discussion "Which Platform Do You Bet On?" with Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, Big Nerd Ranch's Aaron Hillegass, and others; Cloud Security Alliance's Jim Reavis on "Building the Trusted Cloud" (I want to know if that's possible); Michele Leroux Bustamante on Identity Federation; and a panel discussion with Riverbed's Steve Riley, Cloud.com's Peder Ulander, and others on Virtualization in the Cloud.

Finally, you can look forward to continuing coverage of mobile and cloud topics in DevProConnections in 2011—with a cluster of features in the April and May issues on Windows Phone 7 and iOS application development, a review of mobile development tools, and how-to features on implementing Windows Azure and SQL Azure from a .NET developer perspective. With all these resources, you'll be equipped with knowledge to respond to the dramatic technology changes this year has already brought and promises to continue bringing.