Charles Petzold on writing books, reading books, and exercising the internal UTM

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New Book — New Chapter in Life

August 7, 2014
Roscoe, N.Y.

Six months ago I started doing some contracting work for the documentation team at Xamarin — the company that provides tools for developers to write Mac, iOS, and Android apps using C# and .NET. It was a good fit for me. The work experience was so enjoyable that when Xamarin offered me full-time employment, I jumped at the opportunity.

My job title is Programmer/Writer, and right now, my main job at Xamarin is to write a book about Xamarin.Forms — the new C# and XAML platform that lets you share user-interface code between iOS, Android, and Windows Phone applications. Here's the tentative cover:

More details can be found on the Xamarin blog entry "Xamarin Acquires Petzold". We expect the book to be published in the spring of 2015.

I'm also very excited to be going to Evolve, Xamarin's cross-platform mobile development event being held in Atlanta during the week of October 6 – 10, 2014. I'll be giving two talks at Evolve on Xamarin.Forms, and every attendee at Evolve will get a printed Preview Edition of Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms. Of course I'll be available to autograph copies of the book or anything else.

Obviously after many years as a freelance writer (and sometimes consultant), this is a big change in my life. Recently, my old friend Jesse Liberty and I sat down (virtually speaking, of course) to chat about these changes for Jesse's Yet Another Podcast #128: The Legendary Charles Petzold. Jesse has been exploring Xamarin.Forms as well, and he'll also be speaking at Evolve.

Because most of my programming activities will now be for Xamarin, I don't expect this blog to have many programming-related entries in the future. Instead, I'm going to try to blog more about interesting books I've been reading (mostly science and math oriented, I suspect) and music. The DirectX Factor column I've been writing for MSDN Magazine will have its last installment in the October 2014 issue.

Otherwise, my day-to-day life hasn't really changed that much. I still work at home, and because I've kept normal work hours for years, I'm still at my desk roughly between 9 AM and 5 PM. Except now I'm actually part of a great team and a great company.

Oh — there's been a couple other changes: I now have a MacBook Pro on my desk and a Nexus 5 on a USB cable (and otherwise in my pocket) and an LG G Watch on my wrist that I'm eager to try coding for using Xamarin tools.


Congratulations! I am happy that your considerable talents can now be applied to cross-platform solutions. Your Presentation Manager and Win32 books were my go to references while working on those platforms. I look forward to once again having one of your books as a guide.

— Kurt Jung, Thu, 7 Aug 2014 11:33:26 -0400

Xamarin has been one of those things I've been meaning to get around to looking in to in detail for a while now, but I've somehow not managed to find the time.

Something tells me now that there's [going to be] a Petzold book on the topic I might finally get in to it.

Great news and I can't wait to read the book!

— Steve, Thu, 7 Aug 2014 12:55:24 -0400

This is so great! I grew up on your books. I'll buy this just to keep up :)

Speaking of which, early drafts?

Good luck on your new job!

— Dmitry Z, Fri, 8 Aug 2014 11:14:00 -0400

Sounds great Charles. Congrats!

Soner Gönül, Sat, 9 Aug 2014 08:57:56 -0400

I'd like to see the pre-pay/early draft model you used for Programming Windows. I found that very valuable.

Looking forward to reading it--

— Daryl, Sat, 9 Aug 2014 11:49:37 -0400

Mixed feelings really, happy for you that you have a new challenge and I know what contracting and the inevitable "rest" periods can be like, but I will miss your MSDN magazine column.

Anything you can share in the future re: Maths and Music (especially Violin) would be very much appreciated

Best of luck

PS enjoyed reading "Code" recently

— Geoff Hunt, Tue, 19 Aug 2014 04:52:58 -0400

I am super excited to get my hands onto that book . Yet another ' Petzold Gem ' will be added in my reading list.

Rahul Gupta, Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:21:32 -0400

eagerly waiting for the book......

— Shashank Pratapwar, Thu, 4 Sep 2014 09:27:58 -0400

A great news !

I am eager to read your new book !

— Alain Mari, Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:49:34 -0400

Dear Mr. Petzold,

I cannot remember the last time I was looking forward during the entire day to go to bed at night and cuddle up with a book in my hands, but I've just discovered "Code", and it is happening. :)

Thank you.

— Bert, Sat, 13 Sep 2014 05:25:19 -0400

Thanks! — Charles

Hi Charles

Very excited at the prospect of reading your new book. I remember when you blogged:"..I doubt I'll write another programming book". I'm glad that turned out not to be the case!

I'm using Xamarin on a 4GB macbook (an older white one), and it is monumentally slow! Am I doing something wrong or can it not cope on older machines? I thought 4GB would be enough!


— Mr Gutbucket, Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:09:19 -0400

How will you keep both experienced .net developers and experienced apple developers happy that wish to learn Xamarin.Forms, given they will come at the book with a very different mindset?

— Ian, Wed, 8 Oct 2014 10:13:05 -0400

Perhaps everyone will unite in the desire to do cross-platform mobile development using the world's greatest programming language, C#. — Charles

I have read several of your books, I come from Chengdu, China.

Congratulations! I admire your works!, Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:43:25 -0400

I have been wanted to dive into Xamarin!!! Now I have a good excuse to do it. Congrats and I hope it works out for you. But does this mean no more MS Press Books? :(

— Jhan Jensen, Thu, 4 Dec 2014 13:46:20 -0500

This is a Microsoft Press book. — Charles

Are you still going to be writing "Programming Windows" books? With Windows 10 coming out in 2015, and the push towards universal apps that run on Phone/Tablet/PC/Xbox, perhaps a new "Programming Windows: Writing Universal Apps for Windows 10" book is needed. :)

— Leo, Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:45:02 -0500

If the Windows 8 version of "Programming Windows" had sold well, I would now be working on a Windows 10 version. But the Windows 8 version of "Programming Windows" had very disappointing sales, and that's why I'm now working at Xamarin. — Charles

When I downloaded your book as an aid to my brand new Xamarin University subscription, I didn't realize that you had joined Xamarin. Congratulations!

— Terry Westley, Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:11:25 -0500

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