Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
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.
Then jump to step 2 and Get your registration code!
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.
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!
Go to the Windows Store
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.
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!)
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!
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
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:
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.
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++.)
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
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
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
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.
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.
Go ahead and build your app using C++ and XAML. To get started check out Building your first Windows Store app using C++.
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.
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.
Here’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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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><->
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
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!
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!
or hold down <CTRL> and use Mouse Wheel to zoom in and out
<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.