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    How to get your free student Windows 8 store account

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    The Windows 8 store is open for individuals to publish and students can get a Windows store account for free through the DreamSpark program, here’s how you do it.

    Microsoft announced this week, that the Windows 8 Store is open to individuals and that they will be providing free accounts to students through the DreamSpark program, the same awesome deal we got for the Windows Phone marketplace. That means the only thing standing between you and an app in the store is some time at your keyboard geeking out!

    How do you get your free marketplace account, go here and follow the instructions, the rest of this blog provides more detailed instructions on how to create your marketplace account.

    You must

    1. Verify you are a student
    2. Get your registration code
    3. Register at the Windows Store
    4. Get Coding!

     

    1. Verify you are a student

    Already got a DreamSpark account?

    Then jump to step 2 and Get your registration code!

    Don’t have a DreamSpark account?

    You need a DreamSpark account in order to get a registration code. It’s the registration code that allows you to create your store account for free. Only students or educators can create DreamSpark accounts. If you are a student or educator and do not have one yet, create a DreamSpark account.

     

    2. Get your registration code

    Go to DreamSpark and Sign in with your DreamSpark account, now from the top menu select Students | app development

    Select Windows 8 Learn more

    Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Get Your Registration code

    You will be brought back to the top of the screen. In the box with the title Get Registration Code. Select Get Code Now.

     

     

    After you select Get Code now a code will be displayed in the box. Write that code down. That’s the code that will allow you to create your Windows Store account for free. Now you can creating your Windows Store account!

     

    3. Register at the Windows Store

    Go to the Windows Store

    • If you already have a Windows Phone store account you can link the accounts and keep the same publisher display name for both accounts or you can start over and create a new Publisher account for your Windows 8 Store account.
    • You will be asked to confirm or enter information about your store account including your Publisher display name. This is the name that will appear in the store as the publisher for all your apps.
    • You will have to accept the application developer agreement.
    • Enter your registration code in the registration code box so you don’t have to pay the $49 account fee.image

     

    • You will now be asked to enter your credit card information.
    • Yes, even if you get a free Store account you are required to enter credit card information. Pre-paid credit cards won’t work. That’s because this is another way of confirming your identity. You enter credit card information and a small amount is charged to your credit card and then reversed. You will need to look at your credit card statement to find the transaction in order to be able to verify your Store account.

    • After you enter your credit card information you will see a confirmation screen you can use to double check your information before you create your account by clicking the Purchase button. DONT FORGET TO READ THE SMALL PRINT THAT EXPLAINS THE FINAL VERIFICATION OF YOUR CREDIT CARD!

    image

      Now that your account is created, you need that credit card statement! It may take a day or two for your online bill to show the transaction. If you are in a hurry, you can try calling your credit card company to get the information sooner. If you do not have online billing, you will have to call the credit card company or wait until you get your credit card bill in the mail.

      Once you have the credit card bill with the transaction information return to the Windows Dev Center, Sign In, select Dashboard from the menu, and select Verify your payment method.

      At the bottom of the screen you are asked to enter the 3 digit code that appears in the transaction description OR the transaction amount that was charged (and will be refunded to the credit card!)

      Verify payment

      Once you have entered that information, Congratulations! You are ready to submit your first app to the Windows store! Whenever you are ready return to the dashboard and choose Submit an app to get started! 

      4. Get Coding!

      Go reserve the name of your app (before someone else nabs it! Better to be Timer than Timer74) and get coding! Here’s a few resources to help

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      Building a great Windows 8 app Step 4: Pick your programming language

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      Windows 8 start screenWhat’s the best programming language for your Windows 8 app? .NET, JavaScript with HTML/Canvas, or C++?

      This blog is part of a series, you can see the rest of the series here.

      If you want to develop for Windows 8, you need to decide which programming model best suits your needs and skills and find some resources to help you get started with your chosen model. Don’t forget in Canada, any app you publish before end of March 2013 can earn you rewards through the Developer Movement, and students building apps can enter them in Imagine Cup!

      Let’s look at options for different types of developers:

      • Are you a web developer?
      • Are you a game developer?
      • Are you a .NET developer?
      • Are you a Java developer?
      • Are you a C++ developer?
      • Are you an iOS developer?
      • Are you an Android developer?

      Are you a web developer?

      If you’ve been coding HTML, HTML5, CSS or JavaScript you can use those same programming skills to build a Windows 8 app. To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using JavaScript.

      Websites have been built with HTML, CSS and JavaScript for years. In the past few years the trend has been towards HTML5. Microsoft started to enter the HTML5 world with Internet Explorer 9. IE9 added a lot of support to HTML5 features, and IE10 took it even further. Windows 8 continues the trend of supporting HTML5. If you haven’t explored it yet, HTML5 is more than just new markup tags like <video> and <audio> it includes improvements to CSS (like media queries to handle different screen sizes) and updates to JavaScript. HTML5 has been gaining in popularity in the web space because it does not require any plug ins and every year more HTML5 features are being supported by more browsers. So if you are already developing websites with HTML and JavaScript take what you know and apply it to Windows 8 app development.

      Are you a game developer?

      There are a number of options for game development on Windows 8, what makes sense for you depends on your existing game experience and the complexity of the game you plan to build.

      C++

      I would not recommend C++ and DirectX for a beginner programmer, but, when it comes to high performance games, serious gamers turn to C++ and DirectX. With DirectX and C++ you can build great games for Windows 8. To get started, check out the Developing Games for Windows 8 or Developing apps with C++ and DirectX (scroll down to the section Game Programming in C++.)

      JavaScript with HTML and Canvas

      Easier for beginners than DirectX, you might be surprised at the games you can build with HTML and Canvas. It is growing in popularity for web games, especially with fewer platforms supporting Flash. The same HTML and Canvas capabilities that exist on the web can be used to build cool games for Windows 8. To get started here’s a good post by David Rousset called Everything you need to know to build HTML5 games with Canvas

      Have you already built XNA games?

      XNA is not included on Windows 8, however there is an open source cross platform implementation of the XNA framework called MonoXNA that you can use to build Windows 8 apps. To get started check out Tara Walker’s blog on Windows 8 development using C#, XNA and MonoGame 3.0

      Do you prefer a 3rd party tool which generates the code for you?

      There are a lot of companies out there who produce tools for beginner and experienced game developers. These products have their own development environments and generate the application code for you. Some of these tools are free, some charge you either for the development environment tools, or to publish the apps. To get started check out cross platform tools that support Windows 8

      Are you a .NET developer?

      If you are already familiar with the .NET framework, you will probably find it easiest to develop your apps in C# or VB .Net with XAML. To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C# or Visual Basic.

      Are you a Java developer?

      If you have already coded in Java, you will find it pretty easy to pick up C#. Consider building your apps with C# and XAML.To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C# or Visual Basic.

      Are you a C++ developer?

      Go ahead and build your app using C++ and XAML. To get started check out Building your first Windows Store app using C++.

      Are you an iOS developer?

      There’s some great resources to help you bring your knowledge of Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and XCode to Windows Store app development. To get started check out Resources for iOS developers. If you are planning to build a new app and want to target multiple platforms you may also want to check out Cross platform tools that support Windows 8.

      Are you an Android developer?

      The platforms are different, but you can certainly take an app you built for Android and port it to Windows 8. To get started check out this article Porting Android apps to Windows 8 . If you are planning to build a new app and want to target multiple platforms you may also want to check out Cross platform tools that support Windows 8.

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      Visual Studio Tips and Tricks: 5 great keyboard shortcuts

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      VisualStudioLogoHere’s five of my favorite keyboard shortcuts in Visual Studio, I think there’s a good chance there is at least one of them you haven’t seen before!

      Find more Visual Studio tips and tricks here

      Move code ALT+UP/DOWN

      This keyboard shortcut is new in Visual Studio 2013. If you put the cursor on a line of code and use the <ALT><UP ARROW> key the line of code you have selected moves up. If you use the <ALT><DOWN ARROW> the line of code selected moves down.

       

       

      Create Collapsible Region CTRL+M+H/CTRL+M+U

      Chances are you have noticed the “+” and “-“ symbols in the margins that allow you to collapse and expand your classes and functions. Did you know you can create your own collapsible regions? If you select a section of code and then use the key sequence <CTRL><M><H> you turn that region into a collapsible/expandable region. The key sequence <CTRL><M><U> will remove the collapsible region (it doesn’t delete the code, it just removes the icon that allows you to expand and collapse.

       

       

      Comment code block CTRL+K+C/CTRL+K+U

      Whether it’s because you are trying to track down a but, or experimenting with code change, from time to time you will want to comment and uncomment blocks of code. If you select a block of code and use the key sequence <CTRL><K><C> will comment out the section of code. <CTRL><K><U> will uncomment the code.

       

      Peek Definition ALT+F12

      When you are going through your code and you want to examine the code in the method you are calling, many programmers will use the <F12> key or the pop-up menu option Go To Definition. Go To Definition will navigate to the called method, however many times you don’t need to navigate to the code. Sometimes, you just want a quick look at the method. If you have installed Visual Studio 2013 there is a new keyboard shortcut <ALT><F12> which will give you a preview of the method being called inline. You can use the <ESC> key to close the preview.

       

       

      Navigate Forward/Backward CTRL - /CTRL SHIFT -

      When you have multiple files open at the same time you may want a way to quickly move back and forth between two or three different locations in your code. If you have moved from one location to another you can use the keyboard sequence <CTRL><-> to move to the previous location and then you can return using <CTRL><SHIFT><->

       

      Where do I get Visual Studio 2013?

      Students can download Visual Studio 2013 Professional at DreamSpark

      MSDN subscribers can download it from MSDN

      Anyone can get express versions of Visual Studio for free or 90 day trials of Visual Studio Professional, Premium, or Ultimate at the Visual Studio downloads center.

      Learn more about the new features of Visual Studio by watching the Visual Studio 2013 New Features at Microsoft Virtual Academy

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      What cross platform development tools support Windows 8 and Windows Phone?

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      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.

      appDesigner

      • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS
      • Price: Revenue from published apps is split 50/50
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: appDesigner
      • Description: Use AppDesigner to create an interactive app with drag and drop images, video, and audio files to prototype. Once you’ve finished upload to AppDesigner.com. The business development team reviews your app concept and provides and upload code to build the finished app. When you receive your upload code, you upload your app concept and the technicians build a native app for the store.

      Xamarin.Mobile 

      • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 support, iOS, and Android
      • Price: around $999
      • Coding language: C#
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio, or MonoDevelop IDE on PC or Mac
      • Description: A library that exposes a single set of APIs for accessing common mobile device functionality across iOS, Android and Windows platforms. This increases the amount of code you can share across mobile platforms making app development easier and faster. They currently abstract contacts, camera, and geo-location. Future plans include notifications and accelerometer services.

      Trigger.io

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android
      • Price: starts at $19/month pricing varies based on Number of developers and number of apps
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Trigger.io Toolkit or use your own IDE
      • Description: Build apps using the best of HTML5 and native. Forge is a development framework which enables you to create native apps for multiple platforms from a single HTML% codebase. It consists of a JavaScript API that exposes device functionality and UI components such as the Camera, SMS, Contacts, Topbar and Tabbar navigation and a cloud build service to compile your app for each platform that you want to support.

      Appcelerator

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 (coming early 2013), iOS, Android, mobile web
      • Price: packages listed on website but not prices
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Titanium Studio
      • Description: Appcelerator is the first application development mobile platform to combine the flexibility of open source development technologies with the power of cloud services. Develop using a JavaScript based development platform. Leverage experiences like push notifications with the cloud services.

      Marmalade

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (end of 2012), Windows 8 (early 2013), iOS, Android, BlackBerry
      • Price: There is a free license for students and educational institutions. Community license is $149, Indie license is $499
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: Tool that allows you to develop cross-platform native games and apps in C/C++ and deploy to both mobile and desktop with a unified toolset. You can submit your games and apps to stores like Steam and you can now mix HTML5 with native platform code.

      Apache Cordova (formerly known as PhoneGap)

      • Platform support: Windows Phone support, Android, iOS, Blackberry, QT, WebOS
      • Price: Open source
      • Coding language – HTML, CSS, JavaScript
      • Description: Set of device APIs that allow a movile app developer to access native device function such as camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Because these JavaScript APIs are consisted across multiple device platforms and built on web standards, the app should be portable to other device platforms with minimal to no changes. Apps using Cordova can be made available from the device’s app store

      Sencha Touch

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire
      • Price: There are free options, but it depends on licensing model
      • Coding language – HTML, CSS
      • Development Environment: Sencha Cmd
      • Description: A high performance HTML5 mobile application framework. With over 50 built-in components, state management, and a built in MVC system, Sencha Touch provides everything you need to create universal mobile web apps.

      Embarcadero RAD Studio XE3

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Mac OS,
      • Price: There are special programs for academic usage, editions but not prices are listed on the site
      • Coding language: HTML5, C++
      • Development Environment: RAD Studio XE3
      • Description: A way to build data rich visually engaging applications for Windows 8, Mac, Web and mobile.

      appMobi

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Open Web
      • Price: For hobby developers free but no cloud services, for money making apps charges based on monthly active users
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: appMobi or your own IDE
      • Description: A complete ecosystem to support cross platform mobile app development and deployment using HTML5. appMobi augments HTML5 by providing functions that HTML5 lacks: device and OS interface, user authentication, in app purchasing, rich media push messaging, gamification, social networking, live app updates. From a single HTML5 code base, store ready apps can be built for a variety of platforms.

      RhoMobile

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Embedded, Windows desktop, iOS, Blackberry
      • Price: Couldn't find any pricing information on the site
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: RhoMobile Suite
      • Description: Let's you create flexible OS independent applications that look, feel and act the same on every supported device. device type, operating system and screen size doesn't matter. You control how applications behave on different devices.

      jQuery mobile

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: A unified, HTML5 based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Lightweight code with a flexible easily themable design

      3D Graphics and Gaming

      Yo Yo Games GameMaker

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8,
      • Price: Studio (Free), Standard ($49.99 can export to Windows 8), Professional ($99.99 can export to Windows Phone with $199.99 add-on), Master ($499.99 can export to all supported platforms)
      • Coding language: Drag & Drop and GameMaker Language (GML)
      • Development Environment: GameMaker Studio
      • Description: Caters to entry level novices and seasoned game development professionals equally allowing them to create casual and social games for mobile, desktop and the web. Developers can create fully functional prototypes in just a few hours, and a full game in just a matter of weeks. When you’re done GameMaker will produce an app store ready app for different stores from the same source code.

      Unity

      • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android
      • Price: Unity Pro is $1500 + add-on for different marketplaces
      • Coding language – C#, JavaScript, Boo
      • Development Environment: Unity Pro
      • Description: Unity allows you to create and market high quality games with less time, cost and effort. They have an entire mobile game development ecosystem: powerful rendering engine, continuously updated development toolset that includes real-time shadows and dynamic fonts; in-depth documentation; thousands of ready-made assets.

      Construct2 by Scirra

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 (added Nov 30, 2012), iOS, Android, Facebook, Web, Desktop
      • Price: Free edition to make games supports windows 8 app but has limited events, layers and effects, If you plan to make money you need personal version is 70 British pounds, if you plan to make serious money (over $5000 USD) the business edition is 259 British pounds
      • Coding language – drag, drop, click
      • Development Environment: Construct 2
      • Description: A code free 2D game engine that allows you to add physics effects to your games, special effects, and is extendible with a JavaScript SDK

      monogame

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Android, iOS, Mac
      • Price: open source
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio or MonoDevelop
      • Description: If you are comfortable developing with XNA, this is an interesting option. MonoGame is an open source implementation of the Microsoft XNA Framework. Their goal is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone to port their games to iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 8.

       Cocos2d 

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7 (with XNA) iOS, Android, BlackBerry
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: C++, C# (for Windows Phone 7)
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio, Eclipse, xcode
      • Description: An open source mobile 2D Game framework. Mobile games can be written in C++, Lua, or JavaScript. The goal of this open-source project is to allow users to create cross-platform code.

      SharpDX

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, .NET Framework, Windows
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: .NET
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: SharpDX is a free and active open source project that delivers a full featured Managed DirectX API under the .NET Platform. It is used to make games, advanced rendering or multimedia applications. Develop multimedia applications for desktop, WinRT and Windows Phone with the same API

       

      Ogre3D

      • Platform support: Windows 8 (community created), Windows Phone 8, more…
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: C++
      • Development Environment: A C++ Compiler (e.g. Visual Studio)
      • Description: An open sources graphics rendering engine. An open source easy to use OO interface designed to minimize the effort required to render 3D scenes and to be independent of 3D implementation (i.e. Direct3D/OpenGL). It is not a gaming engine, just a graphics engine. You need to know how to program, Ogre is not a game shell or scripting language. It requires more knowledge to use properly, but it is also more powerful tha a scripting kit will be. There are wrappers that offer the possibility to use other programming languages that C++ but they are not officially supported by the Ogre Core Team. (MOGRE is the .NET version)

      Axiom 3D

      • Platform support: XNA & DirectX (so Windows Phone & Windows 8)
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: .NET
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: The Axiom 3D rendering engine is a Object oriented 3D graphics engine using C# and the .NET platform. It is an easy to use, flexible, extendable, and powerful engine that allows for rapid development of games and other graphical applications. The core of Axiom is a port of the OGRE Graphics engine.

      Game Salad

      • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS, Android, Mac
      • Price: To publish to the Windows 8 store or Android store you need the Pro edition which is $299/year, they advertise student pricing available
      • Coding language: drag & drop
      • Development Environment: GameSalad Creator
      • Description: GameSalad Creator provides a visual drag and drop interface and complex behavior library to provide almost limitless freedom to game designers. Create games fast with no coding. Their web publishing system allows for cross platform game publishing.

      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!

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      Some useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8

      • 4 Comments

      Many of us don’t have touchscreen devices (yet) so here’s a few good keyboard shortcuts.

      Even though I do have a touchscreen laptop, I still use keyboard shortcuts. Just like CTRL+C and CTRL+V come to you without thinking, a few of these shortcuts are sure to make their way into your collection after you install Windows 8 and start coding apps. If you haven’t downloaded Windows 8 RTM yet. Check out our blog post with instructions on how students can download Windows 8 for free!

      Moving between Metro and Desktop

      <Windows> Brings up the Metro start screen. You can start typing to search for an app, just like the Win7 start menu.
      <Windows> + <B> Go to the Desktop from the Metro Start Screen
      <Windows> + <D> Brings you to Windows desktop from the Metro Screen

      Snapping

      <Windows> + < . > snap right
      <Windows> + <Shift> + < . > snap left
             

      Switching between applications

      <Windows> + <Tab> Opens the Metro application switcher menu, switches between applications.
      <Windows> + <J> Switches focus between snapped Metro applications.
      <ALT> + <F4> Close an application
      <Windows> + <R> To bring up the run window from the desktop, so you can type in an application name to run

      Semantic Zoom

      <CTRL> + <+> Zoom in
      <CTRL> + <-> Zoom out

      or hold down <CTRL> and use Mouse Wheel to zoom in and out

      Displaying App & Charms Bar

      <Windows> + <C> Brings up the Charms menu, where you can search, share, and change settings.
      <Windows> + <Z> Opens the App Bar for the current Metro application.

      All the other shortcuts I could find!

      <Windows> + E – Launch Windows Explorer with Computer view displayed.

      <Windows> + F – Brings up the Metro File search screen.

      <Windows> + H – Opens the Metro Share panel.

      <Windows> + I – Opens the Settings panel, where you can change settings for the current app, change volume, wireless networks, shut down, or adjust the brightness.

      <Windows> + K – Opens the Devices panel (for connecting to a projector or some other device)

      <Windows> + L – Lock PC and return to Lock screen.

      <Windows> + M – Minimize all Windows on the desktop

      <Windows> + O – Locks device orientation.

      <Windows> + P – Choose between available displays.

      <Windows> + Q – Brings up the Metro App Search screen.

      <Windows> + R – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and display the Run box.

      <Windows> + U – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and launch the Ease of Access Center.

      <Windows> + V – Cycles through toasts.

      <Windows> + W – Brings up the Metro Settings search screen.

      <Windows> + X – Launch Start Menu.

      <Windows> + Y – Temporarily peek at the desktop.

      <Windows> + Page Up / Down – Moves tiles to the left / right.

      <Windows> + , (comma) – Aero Peek at the desktop.

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