Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
Become an MSP and bring technology and awesome opportunities to your campus! In this blog post I’ll explain what you need to do as an MSP and some of the great perks you get in return. So join now!
The Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) program can be summarized in the following 4 words: “We believe in you!”
For us, it is not about track records, it is all about passion. We want to see where your love for technology can take you. Of course we prefer people passionate about Microsoft technologies, but simply having the urge to find out more about them, regardless of whether you own an IPhone or an Android phone, is enough to get you in our MSP position.
We have great MSPs all over Canada, some are working with their faculties student society, others directly with teachers, some even have their own start ups. You could be one of them! We want to know how you can help! What are your strengths and how we can empower you so you can shine!
A MSP is the point of contact between students and Microsoft. They help other students find out about the initiatives we put in place such as Developer movement and Imagine Cup. If you like free stuff or helping the world make sure to check those two links out. This last semester we had March App Madness Hack-a-thons which were coordinated events across Canada to teach and then let students develop their own Windows Phone 7 Apps! All thanks to our MSPs. They organized the events, gave tutorials and helped guide the rest of the students in the development of their app.
We are always on the lookout for those highly energetic students that want to get involved with our technology! If you are one of them, apply now!
The MSP position is not all about work. We have a line up of great rewards as a thank you for all the effort you put into it. For starters, MSP get a full MSDN account. More than 5000$ value! (This convinced me when i joined. Nothing like Legal free software)
If that is not enough, read the title of this section again!
We want to help you Improve your career prospects. As a MSP, you are invited and engaged in most of our own and 3rd party conferences in your region. You will get to network with some of the top technology professionals and sometimes even with part of our leadership team. Recently, for instance, our MSPs in the Toronto region had the chance to sit down and chat in a round table with Microsoft Canada’s President Eric Gales. Every year brings new opportunities for you’ll get to take advantage of!
Furthermore, this September, we will be having an international MSP virtual Summit. Where MSPs will get training and knowledge on how to present effectively, how to develop for different platform, how to take advantage of the technologies we have and much more!
Remember that you will be directly engaging with Microsoft. Doing a great job as an MSP helps your chances of finding great opportunities! Being in the front lines lets you touch all the latest technology as early as possible.
There are many other perks and goodies that you constantly receive from us. Join the team, get involved and get ready to shine!
Here are a couple of tricks you may not know for selecting and editing text with as few keystrokes as possible.
Don’t forget students can get Visual Studio Professional for free through DreamSpark!
Find more Visual Studio tips and tricks here
Cut, Copy, Paste: Three commands programmers use every day. Let’s face it, all coders are basically lazy: The less keystrokes the better. That’s why it’s nice to know the fastest way to select the text you want to cut, copy & paste. In this post I’ll share a few different techniques for selecting code. You probably know a couple of the tricks listed below, but did you know all of them? If you have any tricks of your own, please share!
You can select text using the keyboard as well as the mouse. If you put the cursor anywhere in the code and hold down the <SHIFT> key and then use the right or left arrow key, you can make a selection one letter at a time.
If you hold down the <SHIFT> and <CTRL> keys then using the arrow keys will select one word at a time.
If you hold down the <SHIFT> key and then press the <END> key you select from the cursor location to the end of the line
I discovered this trick by accident, and fell in love with it. If you want to select an entire line of code, all you need to do is put the cursor anywhere on the line, do not make any selection at all and then do the desired command (Cut, copy, or paste). When there is no text selected, cut, copy and paste default to selecting the entire line. Try it!
Have you ever tried to select code on multiple lines? If you just start in the middle of a line of code and select multiple lines of code you end up with a selection like this:
Now try holding down the <ALT> key as you make a multiple line selection. This works if you are selecting with the keyboard or the mouse.
When you use the <ALT> key you get something called a box select. This can be useful if you are trying to copy a list of variable names, comments, or namespaces without the entire line of code.
Okay if you actually scrolled down this far, here are the two bonus tips I promised.
Not only can you select code over multiple lines with the <ALT> key, you can actually edit code on multiple lines as well. Let’s say you have a list of variables declared as private and you decide they need to be public. Use the <ALT> key to do a multiple line selection of the keyword private across all the declarations.
Now start typing the word public, as you type it will replace the selected text on each line with the new text you type
Last but not least, you can actually insert text on multiple lines of code using the box select technique as well. Let’s say I wanted to add some similar comment text after each variable declaration above. Use the <ALT> key to do a multiple line selection, but make your selection at the position in the line where you want to add the comments.
Now start typing the text you want to insert, as you type it will be added to all the lines.
If you like that multi-edit feature, you may also want to check out this neat little add-on for Visual Studio called MultiEdit Extension for Visual Studio. After you install the extension, if you hold down <ALT> while mouseclicking in the editor it will add multiple selection points wherever you clicked. Then you just type and your text is added to all the selected positions. Scott Hanselman wrote a blog post about it here. Thanks Andrew for pointing out this neat little extension.
DreamSpark gives students access to free software and free accounts for the Windows Store but how do you sign up?
DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) is a program that provides students with free Microsoft software. Chances are your school is already signed up for DreamSpark and all you need to do is create your own account.
To create your DreamSpark account go here
Enter your name, date of birth, password, and whatever email address you wish to have associated with your DreamSpark account. After you have completed all the required fields select continue to verify.
Now, DreamSpark wants to verify that you are in fact a student. There are three ways to do this
1. Get verified through my school – if you pick this option you will be presented with a text box, type in the name of your university or school. Then select your school name from the dropdown list
When you select a school, you are asked to enter your university email address. This is how DreamSpark confirms that you are in fact a student at that school. Your school’s email domain name (e.g. @CarletonUniversity.com) is stored in DreamSpark for every school that is registered for the program. If you do not have a valid school email address, or your school is not listed you will have to select another method of verification.
2. I have an ISIC card – if you pick this option you can type in your ISIC serial number or the ISIC/CIP number or your ISIC/NUS card number to prove you are a student.
3. I have a verification code – this option requires you to enter a verification code. But where do you get a verification code? You need to reach out to a Microsoft representative or possibly a school administrator. You can also try reaching out to DreamSpark support to ask about manual verification but scanning and emailing proof of your student status to receive a verification code.
Once you have created and verified your account, you can now download software and get codes to provide you with free Windows Store account and free Windows Phone store accounts so you can develop and publish your apps for free!
Want your app on multiple platforms without rewriting all the code? Here’s a summary of some of the tools, libraries and SDKs out there to support building multi-platform apps.
Every mobile developer struggles with the decision of which platforms to support, and most end up building for more than one platform. I am frequently asked what tools are out there to make it easier to build for multiple platforms. Well, there are lots of options out there for you, everything from professional paid tools to open source libraries. I decided to sit down and put together a list for you. Information is all based on what I could find on their websites at the time this blog was posted. For the most up-to-date information I recommend you visit the product sites themselves. Each product title is linked back to their website. There are some gaming and graphic specific tools listed as well.
Don't forget good design of your app also makes it easier to implement on multiple platforms. Using a Model View ViewModel architecture makes it easier to re-use your code. Check out this MVVM Light Toolkit or Okra (formerly Cocoon) to help you get started with the MVVM model pattern in XAML. This is great when combined with portable class libraries which allows you to share code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 apps.
Apache Cordova (formerly known as PhoneGap)
Embarcadero RAD Studio XE3
Yo Yo Games GameMaker
Construct2 by Scirra
I’m sure there are some I missed, feel free to add comments to point out any good tools and tips for cross platform development that you have discovered. Don’t forget in Canada when you publish your app you could earn rewards through Developer Movement!
IdeaPress claims you can create a Windows 8 app from your WordPress.com or WordPress.org site without any coding! They are right!
As Windows 8 matures, more tools and templates are appearing to help developers and non-developers create Windows 8 apps. Today I decided to test one of those tools: IdeaPress. I’ll be testing it by creating an app from my personal WordPress.com site. If I get a chance I’ll try to do another blog with a self hosted WordPress.org site to see how that works.
The tool: IdeaPress
Note: For a limited time in Canada one of Microsoft’s partners, IdeaNotion, is offering 200 people a $50 Visa Gift card as a reimbursement for your Windows Store Developer Account when you publish an app using the IdeaPress tool. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your blog URL to secure your Visa gift card.
You can choose
Note: IdeaPress tells you what image sizes are required for each logo or page. I used Paint to resize my images, you can also use free tools such as Paint.NET to resize images.
Note: Even though I uploaded the images for my tile and splash screen I got an error saying I hadn’t uploaded any images. As soon as I uploaded a Default Article Image (under Layout and Theme) the error message went away, so I think Default Article image is mandatory and you just get a misleading error message when you don’t provide all the mandatory images.
8. When you have a look and feel that you like, go to the App Generation tab.
On the App Generation tab you get to choose whether to Generate a Visual Studio Solution or an App Package.
Regardless which option you choose you will require a Privacy link.
Finally you can check the box that says you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions and choose Submit. IdeaPress will email you a link to your solution or package and you can start the process of submitting it to the store! No coding required!
So there you have it, if you have a WordPress.com blog site you can build and publish a Windows 8 app without writing any code!
NOTE: My first two attempts to publish to the store failed certification, thought I would share with you why I failed certification and how I fixed it. The first time it was rejected because they did not feel I had selected a suitable category. So i changed the category to Lifestyle since my personal blog covers a fairly broad range of topics. The second time I failed because to post a comment on a post you need to log in with a WordPress account. I did not mention that in my app description, and I failed to provide an account the store certification team could use to test that feature in the Notes to testers section. Once I made those corrections my app passed certification and is now published to the store.