Mentors of WOWZAPP FI 2012 – Jeffrey Burtoft


The next mentor I got to talk to was Jeff Burtoft who has come a long way to our northern winterland from sunny Redmond.

Hi, Jeffrey. Thanks for joining me this morning. Tell us Finns a little about you.

So I’m an HTML5 evangelist at Microsoft based in Redmond, US. In my everyday work I handle developer relations, work with companies and individuals, attend conferences, and work directly with application makers. Briefly put I help people understand how our products work and how they can utilize them effectively. I’m also big on Open Source.

HTML5 is a big bet for Microsoft to take on, because Microsoft doesn’t own it. The big benefit is that a lot of companies out there have the necessary skillset required for starting to write apps, so there’s great growth potential that can yield quick results.

How do you feel about the role of HTML5 in Windows development?

This is actually what brought me to Microsoft. HP tried to do the same a few years back with PalmOS but unfortunately the time just was not right. Microsoft took the same core concept and executed it well, so now we can build native applications using the same technologies we use for web.

What about these new languages that interpret into JavaScript?

I’m not a big fan of “sublanguages”. In large scale development environments vanilla JavaScript works very well – stacking abstraction layers tends to increase complexity.

What kind of help have you been giving so far here in WOWZAPP?

That’s a wide array. There have been students who look really young and who have never written JS or C# before, only Java. But after watching the intros they’re already writing apps full speed ahead. Then there are groups who are writing whole applications who ask specifically how this and that API work. The whole spectrum, really.

How is Finland treating you?

I’ve never been in Finland before and it surprised me how web-develoment oriented Finns are. It’s great that I can help people and simultaneously I get a lot of feedback to take back to our product groups. I hear from actual users what’s important to them and what’s not.

Any closing words for students in particular?

Don’t wait for graduation or someone else to have an idea – you’ve got the tools right now to start buiding and creating the future yourself.

Follow Jeffrey Burtoft on Twitter at @boyofgreen, #wowzapp for global updates, and #wowzappfi and @wowzappi for updates related to the Finnish event. Follow also the WOWZAPP live stream by Ch9 at

About the Author

Tsuri KamppuriTsuri Kamppuri (@tsurinosu)Tsuri Kamppuri is a Bachelor’s Degree student of Media Engineering from JAMK University of Applied Sciences. While not developing software for Suomen Verkkomaksut where he works, he enjoys a healthy dose of HTML5 and front-end development with a hint of occasional snowboard and powder snow under his feet.
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