Pluralsight blog Where devs, IT admins & creative pros go for news, tips, videos and more.
Supercharge your skills with expert-authored tech & creative training. Unlimited. Online. Get it now →

Paul Ballard

Paul Ballard is a Chief Architect specializing in large scale distributed system development and enterprise software processes. Paul has more than twenty years of development experience including being a former Microsoft MVP, a speaker at technical conferences such as Microsoft Tech-Ed and VSLive, and a published author. Prior to working on the Windows platform, he built software using a vast array of technologies including Java, Unix, C, and even OS/2.

Paul Ballard has written 524 posts for Pluralsight blog

Is Windows XP really dead?

By Paul Ballard on May 15, 2014

The day of reckoning for Windows XP has come and gone, but what does the end of Microsoft support for Windows XP really mean? Here’s what you need to know.

4 ways to launch your product inside a big company

By Paul Ballard on April 8, 2014

By now most of us have heard the story of how one man’s puzzle game called Flappy Bird netted him bazillions of dollars or how a geek named Mark Zuckerberg catapulted his way to hoodied nerd history. But not every developer is out there going at it alone. While we might idealize the rugged individualist programmer, many of us work as a part of a team inside giant beasts known as corporations. So what happens if you have a great idea for a product but want to build it while still taking advantage of your employer’s 401(k) matching program?

Build day 2: It’s all about Azure

By Paul Ballard on April 3, 2014

Day two of the Microsoft Build conference started with a keynote that was all about Azure and how Microsoft is reaching out with their online services to platforms beyond Windows. Throughout the presentations, there were as many as 44 different announcements of either new Azure features or features previously in beta being made generally available. Let’s go through some of the notable topics that were covered.

Build day 1: Windows, Nokia and getting personal with Cortana

By Paul Ballard on April 2, 2014

This year’s Build conference is a more intimate affair with fewer sessions, a much smaller overall conference space and approximately 5,000 attendees. Today’s keynote had several important announcements and demos along with the usual gaffes that accompany launch events. But perhaps the most popular topics today were the in-depth view of Cortana, and the announcement that the Windows operating system would be free on devices with screens smaller than nine inches.

Is Bing Code Search ready for everyday use?

By Paul Ballard on February 28, 2014

Microsoft recently released a new add-in for Visual Studio 2013 that allows you to run a Bing search that returns code snippets directly in the source code editor. The add-in claims to use contextual elements including the project type, semantic context via C# compiler services (Roslyn) and “a few other sprinkles of Microsoft Research magic” to search partner websites to return code snippets that are suitable for direct embedding into your code.

Why developers should care about Net Neutrality

By Paul Ballard on February 25, 2014

Last month a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to enforce rules created in 2010 that ensure service providers can’t discriminate against any legal web site or online content. The flip side of this rule is that they also can’t play favorites in returns for buckets of money from content and web providers. These rules, referred to as the “Open Internet” rules were intended to be an effort to keep the Internet a level playing ground for innovation but internet service providers like Verizon felt these rules unfairly kept them from making money from their own products.

What Microsoft’s change in leadership means for you

By Paul Ballard on February 21, 2014

The mantle of leadership within Microsoft that was created by founder Bill Gates has been passed on for only the second time in the company’s history. As with any significant organizational change, lots of questions have been raised, and industry insiders as well as financial analysts are all looking for clues to what this will mean for Microsoft in the long run.

5 reasons to become a consultant

By Paul Ballard on October 3, 2013

In my last post I pointed out a few reasons why making the switch from employment to consulting might not be all its cracked up to be. In this post, I’ll talk about the positives and why you might want to choose a life of consulting over being an in-house employee. Politics and bureaucracy. One of […]

5 reasons NOT to become a consultant

By Paul Ballard on September 26, 2013

So you think you’re ready to step out of full-time employment into the lucrative world of consulting? There’s no question that with the right skills you can make very good money as a guru for hire. But is it as simple as it seems? After more than 17 years of owning my own consulting firm, […]

Dear developers, Microsoft still loves you

By Paul Ballard on September 9, 2013

Microsoft’s relationship with developers and IT professionals has started to resemble an Eminem and Rihanna song, with both sides taking shots at each other then falling back into a warm embrace. A few weeks ago, Microsoft enraged developers with a decision to not provide early access to Windows 8.1 RTM. The company reversed its decision […]

Microsoft and Nokia merger: What it means for developers

By Paul Ballard on September 4, 2013

After yesterday’s big news that Microsoft is acquiring Nokia’s devices business in a $7+ billion merger, speculation has run rampant on what this will mean to the newly formed company as well as those seemingly left out in the cold, namely other Windows Phone OEMs. Although Microsoft has tried to assure partners and stockholders that […]

New Features in Windows Azure SDK 2.1

By Paul Ballard on August 30, 2013

Several weeks ago, Microsoft announced their new Windows Azure SDK 2.1, an announcement which although you may have missed it (I did) includes some very nice new features.  Along with relatively minor improvements like a new Emulator Express option and support for stopping and suspending VMs directly within Visual Studio Microsoft also cut loose with a Windows Azure […]

Should Microsoft Give Windows 8.1 To Developers Early?

By Paul Ballard on August 28, 2013

Microsoft has just released an official version of Windows 8.1 to manufacturers in preparation for the October 18th launch.  Unlike past releases however, developers and IT professionals with MSDN subscriptions are being told that they too will have to wait until October 18th to get their beloved Start buttons back; and they are none too […]

Upgrade to Team Foundation Server 2013 with Free Support From Microsoft

By Paul Ballard on August 26, 2013

Looking to throw caution to the wind and upgrade to Team Foundation Server 2013 before it’s officially released?  Want to help Microsoft improve their product at the same time?  On September 13-15 you’ll be able to get free help from Microsoft experts for issues installing, configuring, and upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013.  You’ll need […]

The Reports of the PC’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!

By Paul Ballard on August 20, 2013

PC sales have been declining steadily for the past five quarters according to a report from the BBC, falling all the way to circa 76 million units.  This steady downward slide has many people ready to declare PCs as dead as the proverbial door nail with mobile devices now grabbing all of the consumer spending […]

REST Comes to C++ in Visual Studio 2013

By Paul Ballard on August 13, 2013

While the REST SDK for C++ has been around for a while on CodePlex, it’s now taking its rightful place as full member of the Visual Studio 2013 installation.  Code named “Casablanca”, the REST SDK for C++ includes support for JSON serialization, asynchronous streams, as well as a PPL Task programming model.  Designed to enable […]

Why Are Mobile App Developers Avoiding Windows Phone 8

By Paul Ballard on July 29, 2013

While Windows Phone 8 market share has shown a modest increase of 1.1% in the past year, some people including Nokia VP Brian Biniak are slamming Microsoft for the continued lack of apps in Windows Phone 8.  But is Microsoft really to blame?  What do you think is keeping developers off of the Windows Phone 8 platform? Nokia has […]

What’s Not New in Visual Studio 2013 – Thanks Roslyn!

By Paul Ballard on July 24, 2013

With all of the blog posts, tweets, and video walkthroughs of the new features coming in Visual Studio 2013 there is one area that has been intentionally left untouched; the C# and Visual Basic languages.  In a recent blog post Visual C# Program Manager Mads Torgersen explains why they have chosen a slower pace of […]

Keeping Your XAML Apps Responsive

By Paul Ballard on July 17, 2013

As part of their efforts to make creating Windows Store apps easier for developers, Microsoft has released a new tool as part of its upcoming Performance and Diagnostics hub to help developers analyze the responsiveness of their XAML based Windows Store applications.  Launching as part of the Visual Studio 2013 release, this tool includes useful […]

Top 5 Rejected Names for the New XBox One

By Paul Ballard on July 12, 2013

In an Edge interview with Seamus Blackley from days gone by we learned that the original XBox name nearly ended up as some truly terrible alternatives including MARZ (Microsoft Active Reality Zone) and VERV (Virtual Entertainment & Reality Venture).  Given the upcoming release of their latest and most controversial game/media console we thought we’d speculate […]