Contributing to the IoT Community in Pakistan

Keeping this post micro. I got connected with Mr Ammar Jafri a few weeks ago on the Internet of Things Facebook group ( which is my weekend passion and thousands of folks participate and contribute to it. My love for IoT is very organic as I have deeply tried learning courses like Software Agents, Distributed Computing, Semantic Web and Machine Learning during my Masters at The University of Melbourne actually more than a decade ago. Today IoT is a commodity and I am fully committed to evangelize it in Pakistan as a personal hobby/passion. That’s the reason I accepted to present keynote on IoT in Government plus also led the panel discussion lasting more than 1.5 hours hosted by Mr Jafri and his team which indeed is a unique and great step forward. I am humbly thankful to him for inviting over and letting me brush up my concepts at the Conference. Out of many great people I came across, just to name a few are Mr Javed Ashraf from NUST; Mr Mehzad Sahar from Telenor; Mr Benedikt from Microsoft, Dr Yasir Ayaz from NUST; Ms Saria Benazir from NDU; Dr Adnan Khan from NUST; Ms Nafeesa Bohra from MUET; Dr Lee from MoIT; Dr Irfan ul Haq from PIEAS; Dr Saad Qaiser from NUST; Dr Syed Affan from INNEXIV and Engineer Muhammad Azeem from Jolta. This august forum was attended by students, researchers, faculty, government employees, representatives of NGOs and other organizations. Last but not least there were many people with disabilities who were present the whole day and keenly participated. I was amazed to see their potential and courage!

Below is the link of my presentation, thoughts/comments – welcome.!AneQ-lZH2GyGoIAgjz__euIx0UISrA

Since HEC, PTA, CDA Training Academy, MoIT and other organizations also supported the event and it seems like now the groups will break out into different committees leading to promote IoT and develop its framework and standards in Pakistan.

Looking forward!


The game of dominance!


Generally, junior professors write long and unsolicited emails to senior professors, who reply with short ones after a delay; the juniors then reply quickly and at length. This is not because the seniors are busier, for they, too, write longer and more punctually when addressing their deans and funders, who reply more briefly and tardily. The asymmetry in length and speed of reply correlates with dominance.

When a subordinate chimpanzee grooms a dominant one, it often does so for a long time and unsolicited. When it then requests to be groomed in turn, it receives only a brief grooming and usually after having to ask a second time.

I like the aforementioned paras and yes at times this is true.. to read the full context check out the link below:

Next big thing in the ICT Sector of Pakistan–National Policy re-structuring–part 1

Saturday is one off those days where you can’t pull an anti social person like me out of the bed, make it anything.. I have missed many activist campaigns, meet-ups etc & etc in last few years. However today, Jehan Ara’s tweet for the discussion meeting regarding the next ICT Policy couldn’t stop me to be the first person at T2F to attend this significant meet up attended by leading community influencers like Imtiaz N Muhammad, Sabeen Mahmud (T2F), Sana Saleem, Awab Alvi and others.

Some great minds of Pakistan like Jawwad Ahmed Farid, Jehan Ara & others are working on this initiative since last year to secure the interest of people like us whose bread & butter is associated with the ICT sector of Pakistan.

I might be a little wrong due to lack of information in reporting things but as far as my personal view is concerned this step is the next big thing in the ICT sector of Pakistan and Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA ) is playing a vital role in this.

Pakistan has a prominent presence in the region and emerging markets due to it’s sizeable population consisting of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) students plus the large number of Developers & IT Pros working in the industry. Hence there has to be a principal policy in place which lays down the framework and priorities to be fulfilled by the Government, Trade Associations, Industry, Academia & Community.


Some sharp minds are actively working on the policy document to give it a shape and present it to the Government, just to give you some insights the following areas are on priority and reforms will happen in them if this policy comes in place.

The below will have an impact on National Level.

1) Ease of access to digital content and information on primary, secondary, higher education level in remote areas.

2) Innovation & automation in the Agriculture industry and empowerment of Farmers.

3) Better health facilities & management through placement of electronic systems.

4) Improved Governance through electronic security systems; citizen journalism and other technology aided initiatives.

5) More opportunities for start-ups in terms of incubation, funding, ease of processes & coaching etc.

There are also certain areas which will have an obvious impact specifically on the industry which I shall cover in the next part of the article.

Call for Action:
All of us have equal rights and responsibilities as far as the national interest is concerned, let us identify areas which need improvement and share with P@SHA and help them get us the best version of this framework, the next big thing in the ICT sector of Pakistan.

Microsoft Launches 3rd BizSpark Camp Program in Pakistan


Microsoft Pakistan launched 3rd BizSpark Camp Program in Pakistan. Microsoft BizSpark Camp Program targets early stage software startups, with resources including access to Microsoft software and development tools at no cost. The program will also provide access to technical, business trainings, support and market visibility from Microsoft, through a select group of network partners – industry associations, agencies, incubators and investors – chartered with advancing entrepreneurial ism.

“Microsoft platform offers unique opportunities for developer community to build innovative solutions for solving business problems enterprises are facing in the current economically challenged environment”, said Zafar Ul Islam, Enterprise Technology Specialist, Microsoft Pakistan. “Microsoft BizSpark Camp Program enables the startups to capitalize on these opportunities by allowing free access to licensed software, latest development tools and services. It helps them to connect with various stakeholders in the industry & provide market visibility”.

The launch event was attended by more than 100 representatives from different companies, all of whom are potential candidates for this program. The event was supported by partners including Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) – Karachi Chapter, IEEE Karachi Section and wi-tribe Pakistan.

Startups need a solid technology platform, technical assistance, mentoring and market exposure to develop and grow their business. For the last 3 years BizSpark Camps have been playing a vital role in empowering startups by giving them business & technical coaching along with market visibility and assisting them in creating sound connections . We at P@SHA are keen to work with Microsoft to facilitate the young talent of Pakistan and to help them create an impact in the global ICT arena,” said Jehan Ara, President, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES (P@SHA).


This time the key focus of BizSpark Camps is on Windows Phone games and advance applications development. The camp will comprise of hands on technical trainings on Windows Phone application development along with business trainings on the concept of innovation, entrepreneurship, software sales and marketing.

Our passion is helping Pakistan software startups succeed across the globe by offering them technology access, support & visibility”, said Abid Zaidi, Commercial Account Segment Lead, Microsoft Pakistan. “Through BizSpark Camps we will be providing technical hands-on and business skills trainings to startups and entrepreneurs to help them deliver value and the best of user experience through their products and services”.

The launch of the BizSpark Camp Program clearly highlights Microsoft’s continued investment and commitment to the startups of Pakistan, and aims to accelerate the success of early stage start-ups from the country, thus helping to cultivate an already growing and successful economy.

Microsoft BizSpark Camp 2012, Pakistan, in action..


Just to give you a quick overview that in 2nd week of April 2012 Microsoft Pakistan will be launching it’s BizSpark Camp on Windows Phone Game & Application development in Karachi. To support and help young start-up companies of Pakistan, BizSpark Network Partners including P@SHA, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITeS; The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Karachi Section and IEEE, Karachi Section are also onboard.

After the launch of Camps, start-ups will be given a week’s time to submit their product ideas and shortlisted companies will be provided Technical & Business trainings.

Mentorship, Market Visibility & Showcasing event(s) will occur as per the practices of previous years.

For more details on BizSpark please visit: or contact Microsoft Innovation Center Pakistan.

Start-ups!; Hurry Up!!

My talk at 1st National Conference of Ubiquitous Computing at Karachi Pakistan

A few days back I was invited to speak at the First National Conference on Ubiquitous Computing by Ms. Faryal from Newport Institute of Communications and Economics, Karachi.Leading speakers from Government, Industry & Academia including Mr. M. Sualeh Farooqui Secretary, IT Department, Govt. of Sindh; Mr. Rehan AllahwalaCEO, Super Technologies ; Prof. Dr. S. M. Aqil BurneyProf., Dept of CS, UoK and others presented in this event.

My take on the subject matter was to align the concept of mobility with ubiquitous computing where to me the real time practical implementation of this domain lies in our pockets in the form of Phones & Tablets.

I tried presenting some cool infographics which stated that the use and utilization of smartphones has almost surpassed the PC market and its around a 15 billion dollar industry led by Games and other apps.


Microsoft obviously is a key player in the game where it completes the cycle by having a single development environment enabling developers to program for Windows Phone, Windows 8 (metro style apps), Kinect for PC/XBox and obviously the Cloud Computing Platform, Windows Azure.

We are already in the era where every service and logic will reside centrally on cloud and we would be utilizing those on various interfaces through heterogeneous devices.

I would like to thank the management and team of Newport Institute for taking step forward and providing such as great learning platform and I hope this continues!

Controls available in Visual Studio 11 for designing Windows 8 Metro Style Apps


While it is very easy to create Metro Style Apps using Visual Studio while programming in VB, C#, JS, HTML, C++ & etc. A great deal of investment has been done by Microsoft in providing rich controls which glorify the beauty of Metro Style Apps.

It is really upon the creativity of a developer that how he/she leverages and various customization options by living in Visual Studio & Expression Blend environment.


Although you would nearly find all XAML controls in the toolbox but some of them which you would be regularly coming across and would be creating more impact to Metro Style Apps can be (visible in picture 1), Grid View, Flip View, App Bar, Panning Indicator, Toggle Switch, Rating, List View & Progress Bar etc.

Keep creating state of the art Apps! a big market is on your way…

BizSpark Camps on Windows Phone Application Development, comes to Pakistan…


Really excited to share that this year Microsoft will be having BizSpark Camps on Windows Phone Application Development in Pakistan. The first roll-out of the camps will take place at Karachi in April 2012 timeframe where this year the focus will be on Game development & App development utilizing sensors and other great device capabilities.


So if you are a start-up and willing to create a strong app on Windows Phone then, get yourself enrolled on and reach Anas Kidwai ( at Microsoft Innovation Center.

The start-ups will be invited to the launch event where they will be given the chance to interact with industry gurus and then interested start-ups will submit their idea documents. Top 10 – 15 shortlisted start-ups will be get access to the training program and will be facilitated through the product development process later followed by market visibility through Microsoft & other BizSpark Partners.

My first Windows 8 Metro style app using VB.NET

Taking a look around Visual Studio 11, Me & my friend Asif decided to get a Windows 8 Metro Style App developed using Visual Basic .NET, the below screenshot is of this app where it picks the list of tools available at Microsoft download center and makes you download them while staying within your application..  It’s a Windows 8 metro style native app using WIN RT and has been developed on Visual Studio 11 express Beta for Windows 8. VS 11 provide templates and the abstraction layer of WIN RT makes life very easy to program such an app while staying in your favorite dev environment.

The inspiration and some of the code was drawn from:

However this app is quite simple and I am sharing the UI & Backend code below:

In UI it’s all about a listview, webview and a button control and below is it’s XAML:

<Grid Background=”{StaticResource ApplicationPageBackgroundBrush}”>


<RowDefinition Height=”140″ />

<RowDefinition Height=”*” />


<!– Title –>

<TextBlock x:Name=”TitleText” Text=”{Binding Title}”

VerticalAlignment=”Center” FontSize=”48″ Margin=”56,0,0,0″/>

<!– Content –><Button x:Name=”btnExit” Content=”Exit” HorizontalAlignment=”Right”  />

<Grid Grid.Row=”1″>


<ColumnDefinition Width=”2*” MinWidth=”320″ />

<ColumnDefinition Width=”3*” />


<!– Left column –>

<!– The default value of Grid.Column is 0, so we do not need to set it

to make the ListView show up in the first column. –>

<ListView x:Name=”ItemListView”

ItemsSource=”{Binding Items}”

Margin=”60,0,0,10″ SelectionChanged=”ItemListView_SelectionChanged”>




<TextBlock Text=”{Binding Title}”

FontSize=”24″ Margin=”5,0,0,0″ TextWrapping=”Wrap” />

<TextBlock Text=”{Binding Description}”

FontSize=”16″ Margin=”15,0,0,0″/>





<!– Right column –>

<!– We use a Grid here instead of a StackPanel so that the WebView sizes correctly. –>

<Grid DataContext=”{Binding ElementName=ItemListView, Path=SelectedItem}”

Grid.Column=”1″ Margin=”25,0,0,0″>


<RowDefinition Height=”Auto” />

<RowDefinition Height=”*” />


<TextBlock x:Name=”PostTitleText” Text=”{Binding Title}” FontSize=”34″/>

<WebView x:Name=”ContentView” Grid.Row=”1″ Margin=”0,5,20,20″/>




The backend is all about getting the data from RSS feed, parsing it and assigning it to the controls:

(this is not all the code)

Public Async Function GetFeedsAsync() As Task

Dim feed1 As Task(Of FeedData) =


Me.Feeds.Add(Await feed1)

End Function

Private Async Function GetFeedAsync(feedUriString As String) As Task(Of FeedData)

Dim Client As New SyndicationClient

Dim FeedUri As New Uri(feedUriString)


Dim Feed As SyndicationFeed = Await Client.RetrieveFeedAsync(FeedUri)

‘ This code is executed after RetrieveFeedAsync returns the SyndicationFeed.

‘ Process the feed and copy the data we want into our FeedData and FeedItem classes.

Dim FeedData As New FeedData

FeedData.Title = Feed.Title.Text

If Feed.Subtitle.Text IsNot Nothing Then

FeedData.Description = Feed.Subtitle.Text

End If

‘ Use the date of the latest post as the last updated date.

FeedData.PubDate = Feed.Items(0).PublishedDate.DateTime

For Each Item As SyndicationItem In Feed.Items

Dim FeedItem As New FeedItem

FeedItem.Title = Item.Title.Text

FeedItem.Description = Item.Title.Text

‘ Handle the differences between RSS and Atom feeds.

If Feed.SourceFormat = SyndicationFormat.Rss20 Then

FeedItem.Description = Item.Summary.Text

FeedItem.Link = Item.Links(0).Uri

End If



Return FeedData

Catch Ex As Exception

Return Nothing

End Try

End Function

So just two things: and you’re good to go with App Development:

1)      XAML

2)      The same old backend programming techniques

Happy Coding J

Detailed Reference:

Migrating ASP.NET 1.1 Applications to ASP.NET 4.0

Migrating your ASP.NET 1.1 applications to the newer version of the framework is a topic which is under discussion at many places these days, the main reason for this move is because Visual Studio 2010 (the latest VS release to date) has stopped supporting .NET Framework 1.1 applications and it only allows you to have application built on 2.0+ i.e. (2.0; 3.0; 3.5; 4.0). So if you are looking forward to scale your apps, take them to 64 bit, use them with latest Server OS (2008 R2) or want to have (SQL 2008 R2) as backend then the only solution with which you are left out is to MIGRATE.

One can take two approaches to migration, in the first phase you can simply take your app to the latest platform and run it properly (even this is going to take some efforts) and once you are done then revamping the app phase starts and you can utilize the latest available tools and features in order to increase performance and productivity.

Here on I will list an outline which needs to be followed in order to ensure the smooth migration, the attached presentation and the references provided in this article will further explain every single step:

1) Set your migration agenda and goal

2) Develop a complete understanding of the .NET Framework, what has changed, what has been added etc


3) Develop an understanding of ASP.NET, learn, what modifications have been made to the web framework in its version 2.0 & 4.0

4) Prepare and execute a checklist before migration (clean code, 0 compilation errors, rights and privileges etc)

5) Understand and execute the migration process (facilitated by the built-in migration tool & CWA (Convert to Web Application) command).


6) Sort and Fix the errors / warnings faced during the migration


7) Perform post migration checks (32 bit dependencies, incase you have moved to 64 bit; XHTML compliance, incase you are targeting newer browser version; 3rd party add-ons etc)

The above outline is well explained in my presentation ( prepared by seeking help from the following references.

My Presentation: