Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
How can students in Canada get their hands on Windows 8 RTM and Visual Studio 2012 so they can start building cool apps?
On August 1st the Windows team announced they had completed the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 8. The blog announced that developers could download the final version on August 15th with an MSDN subscription. But what about students on Dreamspark? Well students at schools who have subscriptions to Dreamspark premium are in luck, as of August 25th they can start downloading Windows 8 as well!
If you haven’t explored the joys of Dreamspark yet, let me get you started so you can download Windows 8 and more!
If you have Dreamspark premium your school will have some sort of portal where you can login, for example, these are the portals for Concordia and Carleton University.
Tip: I found these by doing a Bing search for “Dreamspark”, “MSDN” and the university names. MSDN AA or MSDN Academic Alliance is the former name of Dreamspark Premium
Somewhere on your school portal you will find a link to login or to go to the Software Library. You will be prompted for a username and password. This will be your university email and password. Do not include the domain name in the email (e.g. for SusanIbach@Carleton.ca my username would be SusanIbach.
After you log in you’ll be redirected to the Dreamspark webstore. Where you will see a list of all the cool software you can download.
If you want to develop Windows 8 apps, you will want Microsoft Windows 8 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, but go ahead and explore some of the other choices, this is a fun place to explore and try all sorts of great tools like Expression Studio for doing User Interface design, Visio to do your flowcharts and UML diagrams, or SQL Server so you can become a database guru!
To get up and running with Windows 8, just select Windows 8 and you’ll be brought to a screen where you can choose whether you want the 32-bit or 64-bit versions, you can also choose whether you want the French or English edition.
Select Add to Cart for the version of the software you prefer, and then you go to the checkout
When you choose Check Out you are brought to the End User license Agreement. Do take time to read the restrictions, you will notice that under the No Commercial Use it does specifically say “You may however submit software programs that you create using the Student Subscription software to Microsoft app stores, including for revenue.” So yes you can use the software you download from Dreamspark to create apps and publish them on the Windows marketplace and you are compliant with the license agreement.
You will be asked to complete order information including your name and email address, and the option of subscribing to stay up to date on the latest Microsoft events and promotions (not a bad idea, sometimes we have some pretty awesome promotions!)
Finally you will get a window where you can choose to Start the Download of the software and you will get a product key to activate the software. You will be downloading an .ISO file, so you will need to burn it onto a CD, or find software that opens the .iso.
Tip: Once you have installed Windows 8 on your laptop, you’ll be able to open .iso and .vhd files directly! One more reason to download and install Windows 8 !
If your school does not have Dreamspark Premium and you are part of a technical program like Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Information Technology, as examples, you should talk to your professor and see about getting your school subscribed to Dreamspark Premium, they can find the information on how to apply here.
If you have Dreamspark Standard, you can download Visual Studio, but you won’t be able to download the software for OS like Windows 8. So your best bet is to download Visual Studio and then download the Windows 8 90 day evaluation.
Just about any school can apply for Dreamspark Standard, so ask your teachers to look into applying here. But I realize not every school in Canada has Dreamspark (yet). So, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide us with evidence that you are a student in Canada, and we can provide you with a code to access Dreamspark standard. This will get you lots of great software (like Visual Studio!) to help you get coding, but you won’t be able to download the OS software like Windows 8. That is reserved for Dreamspark Premium members. You can still download a 90 day trial of Windows 8 here.
You’re building great functionally into your apps but don’t forget to the features that will make it shine on Windows 8.
Some of windows 8 features are new concepts. As developers we need to become familiar with them and learn when and how to use them. Windows 8 has new features such as contracts, personalization, and different views. Using these features will make your app more metro and will help it shine, some of these concepts require mastery to get published in the store. In this post I’m going to give you a checklist of features you should think about during design and development on the Windows 8 platform.
Windows 8 life cycle
It's important to understand the life cycle process of windows 8 and handle this in your code. When a user taps on an application to launch it, it is activated and enters Running mode. If the user closes the application it will be terminated. But what if the user user hits the Windows key and launches another application, or simply navigates to another application? In this case, the previous application will go to Suspended mode. In suspended mode, the application does not consume any CPU,but it will lose state, so you may need to add code to remember state when the app enters the suspended state. You will also want to add code in the Activated event handler to reload state when the user returns to the application
For more info, see App contracts and extensions.
For more info, see Supporting multiple views and Choosing a layout.
Engaging the user
For more information on what to consider when designing a Windows 8 app refer to the Detailed UX guidelines for Metro style apps. Happy coding!
The Azure team has been adding new resources and features to make it easier to use put your Java code in the cloud
If you are a Java programmer and are thinking it’s time to move some of the code to the cloud, either because you want to access it from mobile apps, or because you want to start up a small business but you don’t want to go buy multiple servers to set up redundancy and backups, or maybe like an unnamed student I know, you discovered your internet provider doesn’t take kindly to you hosting from your basement. There are lots of reasons to have Azure host your code, that’s not the point of this post, I want to show you some of the resources to help Java programmers specifically use Azure.
Your first stop should be the Windows Azure Java Developer Center, you’ll find information about developing and deploying Java apps on Windows Azure. I’ll highlight a couple of the resources in this blog, but there is a lot more at the developer center.
If that’s what you want to do there are a couple of useful tutorials to help you learn how to do it on Azure. The tutorials will help you set up a VM, configure to run your code and move your code to the cloud. By the way, No, the VM doesn’t have to be Windows Server. Yes, you can use Linux! Check out these tutorials for more info.
Take your pick, we have three SDKs you can download here
There’s also a good blog post on the Windows Azure team blog highlighting some of the new features for Java in Azure including some updates to the plugin for Eclipse and some authentication updates.
I just typed the words Mac, and Java in a blog on a Microsoft site, weird. Well, as a programmer I have always been a big fan of software that gives me choices and lets me choose how I want to do something, so personally I like this trend. The programming divide just got a little smaller.