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Going Native

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Jason Z


Going Native - The Conference
This post has two purposes, both related to its title. First and foremost, today through Friday the 'Going Native 2013' conference is happening. If you aren't familiar with it, this is a C++ conference held by Microsoft in Redmond and it is devoted to all things C++. Many of the big names in C++ are speaking there, including Bjarne Stroustrup himself who gave the keynote today.

The conference itself is very low cost for something of its pedigree, but even if you don't attend in person it is streamed for free from the channel 9 website (the link above has all the details). I have to tell you, the information held within some of these presentations is priceless, especially if you want to move beyond mid-range C++ usage. These guys are the titans of C++, and I haven't been disappointed in the content so far. If you have the time, go check it out - you won't be disappointed. You can also take a look at last year's presentations (Going Native 2012), which are also available through the same interface for free.

Going Native - The Person
The second part of this post is more of a personal note than a development story. I'm sure you heard a while back that the DirectX MVP specialty was being phased out. At the time, I was recently given my fourth MVP award for DirectX, and it was a serious bummer... Being an MVP has many benefits, including having access to some of the great engineers working on the technologies we use every day - so getting the news that my particular specialty was not going to be eligible any more was less than good news.

However, as life so often reminds me, there is usually a silver lining to any bad situation. The C++ MVP group was open to discussions with the existing DirectX MVPs, which naturally I was curious to learn more about. Boy am I happy that I had the opportunity to both discuss modern C++ (indeed, to learn of its existence) and to listen in on discussions from some other experts... Modern C++ is like learning a brand new language, complete with totally different programming paradigms, but wrapped in a very familiar syntax. It can be both powerful and simple, safe and efficient - and it is still the same language that I have been using for 10+ years. Except it is better :)

Since my new awakening to C++11/14, I have been feverishly consuming as much content as I possibly could on these new features and how they can be used in graphics programming. In addition, I have started to realize how outdated some of the designs are that I have used in Hieroglyph 3. So I have started to experiment with some heavy duty changes to some of the major systems. These changes aren't quite ready for primetime, but they are in the works. Since they are some big changes, I need to think about how I will support them in the context of Hieroglyph 3 being used for our book - but demonstrating some modern designs is important enough that I will figure out a good solution without nuking anyone's existing code bases built on Hieroglyph.

For some reason, I haven't heard much discussion in the graphics area about C++11/14 features. They are relatively new, but still should start to be used. So I'm going to be focusing on getting some examples out there, and continue learning as I go. I'm certainly no expert, but I'm learning fast and loving every second of it.

I don't know if I'll get re-awarded as a C++ MVP (I find out on October 1st...) but in either case, I'm happy to have rediscovered C++. Like I said, sometimes life throws you a curve ball - but you can still hit a curve ball :) So I hope you guys and girls are ready and willing to come along with me on this new journey, because I am the most excited and motivated as I have been in a long time.
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