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 email@example.com 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!
My husband likes cherry ice cream. My son likes chocolate. I like mint chocolate chip. Our favorite ice cream shops sell all three flavours, so we all leave happy!
When I started coding, I quickly discovered that a big part of development was making choices. I also discovered myself frustrated when working with tools and platforms that did not give me choices and forced me down a specific path.
When Microsoft first released .NET, I liked having the option to code in VB or C#. Though many hard core programmers scoffed at VB, it was a language familiar to many and supporting it allowed more programmers to move to the .NET platform without having to learn a new programming language. If you were a C programmer you tended to gravitate to C#, if you were a Visual Basic programmer you coded in VB .NET
I admit it, C++ scares me a little bit, but it’s a great programming language. I just haven’t spent much time using it. It’s very popular for gaming, and with DirectX and C++ you can build great games for Windows 8. (You can build great games with HTML5/CSS as well!) If you are a C++ programmer you can build apps for the Windows 8 store using C++. Check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C++ to learn more.
If you are already familiar with the .NET framework, you may find it easiest to develop your apps in C# or VB .Net. For more information on getting started with Windows 8 apps using .NET check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C# or Visual Basic. By the way, if you’ve already coded with Java, C# will seem very familiar.
Pick the option which will get you up and coding the fastest. Windows 8 is here, and you can publish apps to the Windows 8 store. Download Windows 8 today and find your favorite flavor!
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.
The categories in Imagine Cup are more flexible than ever! Taking a project course? Building a game? Got a good business idea? Your code could take you to world finals in St. Petersburg Russia!
They just announced the rules and competitions for Imagine Cup 2013 and this is the year to enter! We’re still sorting out what we are doing in Canada in terms of a local final (we’re doing our best to make sure there is a Canadian team at the worlds again). Whatever happens at the Canadian level the categories for entering are all driven by the world wide Imagine Cup rules and competitions that were announced today. So you can start planning your entry today. I’m really excited about some of the new categories! Let me give you a quick overview.
Don’t forget we’ll be providing resources and having events to help you get coding on Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Azure, all skills you can use to enter Imagine Cup 2013!
I have travelled across Canada and seen so many amazing games built by Canadian students. But last year you could only enter the games category if your game followed the Imagine Cup theme “Change the World”, there were also multiple game categories with different rules. This year it is simple, build an awesome game! Windows 8? Windows Phone? Xbox Indie Games? Kinect? You’ll be judged on whether your game is fun, innovative, the execution, and its business viability.
Facebook and Microsoft, just two companies that were created by students, yet none of them would have qualified for the Imagine Cup because they weren’t tied to the theme of changing the world. Well with the innovation category we’re looking to see what amazing things you can do with Microsoft technology: Windows 8? Windows Phone? Azure? .NET? Kinect? Xbox Indie Games? You’ll be judged on innovation, impact, and execution. So that idea you’ve had in your head, that project you were planning for senior year? This is the year to enter it in Imagine Cup!
This is similar to the Software Design category of years past. We’ve been blown away year after year by the ideas students have come up with and developed to help others using Microsoft technologies and we want that to continue! So the Citizenship category asks you what can you do to make the world a better place through technology. Entries are judged based on Impact, feasibility, and execution. Use Windows 8, Windows Phone, ASP.NET, Azure, you decide!
Challenges are usually a slightly different sort of competition, but they can still get you to world finals in Russia! If you don’t have time to build a full project with a team, this might be the best way for you to compete.
Pass the quiz on Windows 8 knowledge, build a Windows 8 app. Apps will be judged based on Topic definition and business viability, Windows Experience and User Design Experience, Windows 8 platform Originality and Innovation. The top 3 entries worldwide will fly to the world finals to show the world what they’ve accomplished!
Pass the quiz on Windows Azure knowledge, build a cloud based app, and you could find yourself in St. Petersburg! Apps will be judged on Originality and Innovation, Windows Azure Platform Functionality and Solution Detailed Design, and User Experience. The top 3 entries worldwide will attend the world finals.
Pass the quiz on Windows Phone knowledge, build a Windows phone app. Apps will be judged based on Innovation and feasibility, Solution design architecture and functionality, and utility and delight. The top 3 entries worldwide will fly to the world finals.
Are you a student at least 16 years of age? Undergraduate or graduate student it doesn’t matter. You can have a team of up to 4 students and one faculty member. Find out more at the Imagine Cup website, this is the year to enter Imagine Cup! Find out more then Dream it! Build it! Live it!