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June, 2012 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows 8 Release Preview: download and build your apps for Windows Store


    Windows 8 Release Preview has been made available last week, representing another important quality milestone in the road to Windows 8 General Availability (GA).

    In this post we provide you with the must-know information around what and where to download the bits, the tools and information on how you can count on our support in taking your app to launch.

    Windows 8 Release Preview: downloads

    1. For Windows 8 downloads and ISO files you can go to
    2. For developer downloads you’ll find the developer SDK with Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8 RC and Expression Blend for Visual Studio, remote debugging tools, Live SDK and more:
    3. New samples for Release Preview: Download sample app pack (300 MB)
    4. Updated documentation:
      If you have read through the documentation previously you’ll see that a lot of the content has been updated, this includes both the developer documentation as well as UX Guidelines.


    Changes with Windows 8 Release Preview: the most important resources

    Belgian Apps?

    If you have been following our local activities around Windows 8, ever since our developer event in March Windows 8 Developer Day and Night of Windows 8 (app-a-thon), you know folks are working hard on apps.

    We are very happy to announce that two of our Belgian partners we’ve been working with since the early stages now made it into the Windows Store for Release Preview: Le Soir by Rossel and Slash Monsters by Fishing Cactus/Tokkun Studio. Le Soir is the first European newspaper in Windows Store!



    Your app in Windows Store? Loads of stuff coming to you

    As we get closer and closer to the next milestone for Windows 8, locally here in Belgium and Luxembourg we are preparing a bunch of ways to support you along the way into publishing that app in Windows Store by launch – you do want to take that first mover advantage.

    How we’re helping you

    Below you can find a collection of activities and resources coming your way. Or come our way by means of an App Clinic.

    image Training events for developers and designers
    Windows Camps and UX Workshops, check out our Metro map.       
    image Seaside coding at the Belgian Coast: Summer App-a-thons on Windows 8 Metro Style Apps.
    When: 12 July (and 8 August in Antwerp)        
    app clinic

    App Clinics: join Evangelists, external developer or Metro UX consultants to discuss any questions on your mind regarding your app.

    By joining an App Clinic you are also on the right track to get access to App Excellence Labs.

    Lab App Excellence Labs
    When you’ve been in touch with us through an App Clinic and your application is polished enough go to review, you are invited to participate in an App Excellence Lab. This is a 2-hour review of you application with a Microsoft engineer and if you pass the requirements checklist you get a Windows Store Token! 
    Because the Store is still closed for public registration for now, this is the only way to get registered and reserve your app name for future fame.
    Have an app ready? Register your interest via the App Clinic form (mention App Excellence Labs) .

    We are looking forward to helping you take advantage of this huge new opportunity to reach millions of users worldwide.
    It’s going to be a hot Summer!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New Windows Azure Features and Services Announcement and Live stream today


    Yesterday, Microsoft announced previews of new Windows Azure services that help developers build applications that connect data to users across public and private clouds, take advantage of VHDs and deploy scalable websites quickly and cheaply. 

    Today, Scott Guthrie will host “Meet Windows Azure” to introduce these new services.  And on Monday, as part of TechEd North America and broadcast live online, Scott, along with Mark Russinovich, Quentin Clark, and Bill Staples will host “Learn Windows Azure” to provide deeper demonstration of the latest Windows Azure features and services to build, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.

    Among the highlights of the announcements made yesterday:

    • Windows Azure Virtual Machines enable the moving of workloads on virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises environments and the cloud.  Windows Azure supports both Windows and Linux VHD images, which can be customized or chosen from a pre-populated gallery.  With the commonly supported VHD format, developers and IT Pros can move existing workloads like a SQL Server database or an existing line-of-business application into Windows Azure to create greater scale, lower cost or deploy to new users.  It has never been easier to move your applications to the cloud and boost them with virtually unlimited power, flexibility and reliability.
    • Windows Azure Virtual Network enables the creation, extension and management of virtual private networks into Windows Azure.  Organizations can now more effectively and securely extend their corporate networks into the cloud.  Did you ever wish you had an extra couple of servers for running a calculation job or to deal with a peak in user demand?  Now you can seamlessly add and remove computing resources to your network, as your need them.
    • Windows Azure Web Sites makes building .NET, Node.js, Java and PHP web experiences easier and cheaper than ever while supporting deployment techniques like Git and FTP and framework applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco and Drupal that web developers already know and trust. Why should it be hard to setup a website that can scale with user demand, that is always up and running, regardless of the technology you’re using?
    • Python support, new Tools  The new Windows Azure SDK (June 2012) includes updated support for Java, PHP and .NET and adds Python support, while providing 100% command line support for developers using a Windows PC or a Mac.  No matter what your development flavor is, you can build applications that take advantage of Windows Azure and all its building blocks – experience the openness and interoperability of Windows Azure.

    To discover, learn and get started building applications on the Windows Azure platform, I encourage you to:

      image Follow the live stream of “Meet Windows Azure” and discover the new Windows Azure services.
      image Tune into Learn Windows Azure on Monday June 11 for a deeper demonstration of what’s new. 

      Set up a trial account for getting free access to Windows Azure.

      image Of course you want to play with these new features! How can you host your own virtual machine in Azure? What is needed to create a PHP web site using MySQL on Azure?
      As of Monday June 11, the Azure Training Kit will be updated and guide you step-by-step through a series of hands-on labs.

      Download the tools now and get started!        
    1. Katrien's MSDN Blog

      Join us for the seaside Windows 8 Summer App-a-thon on July 12


      Windows 8 Summer App-a-thon (Belgian Coast)

      The word is out: on July 12 we’ll be organizing the first of our Summer App-a-thons.  And it’s going to be a special, seaside app-a-thon, at the Belgian coast in Blankenberge.  What could be more inspiring for building great Metro-style apps than the sound of waves crashing into the beach, ice cream and a beautiful sunset!

      We’re building upon the success of the coding night at the Windows 8 Developer Day and have a hackathon to build cool Metro-style apps.  So team up with your best UX or developer friend and form a killer app team, come alone or sign up with an entire group, whatever you want! 

      This seaside Summer App-a-thon promises to be an experience like N.O. O.T.H.E.R!   Hands on. Code. Build. Shine. Totally Windows 8. 

      There will be 2 coding sessions: 1 for Day Birds from 10AM - 4PM and one for Night Owls from 6PM - 12AM. You have 3 registration options:

      1. Only the Day Birds coding session
      2. Only the Night Owls coding session
      3. Both the Day Birds and the Night Owls session  


      So if you’re a developer or UX designer, sign up right now to join us for an unforgettable experience!   

      Sign up

      Technical pre-requisites

      - Familiarity writing either desktop apps, mobile applications or developing websites. Familiarity with either Javascript, C# or C++.
      - Bring your own laptop: any device capable of running Windows 8 and Visual Studio Express
      - Required software: 

      Windows 8 Release Preview
      Visual Studio 2012 RC
      Windows 8 SDK samples

    2. Katrien's MSDN Blog

      This is why these 3 young Belgians need your Imagine Cup Vote!


      imagine-cup-2012The Microsoft Imagine Cup brings together students from all over the world and asks them to use their creativity and passion for technology to help solve the world’s toughest problems. Back in May you could read that 2 of our Belgian teams made it to the finals in Sydney.

      One of the teams “Make a Sign” created this amazing project that uses Kinect in combination with Azure to recognize sign language used by deaf people and learn people how to use it. Earlier this week the 3 students from HEPL in Liege met with minister-president Rudy Demotte of the Walloon region.
      Press: On RTL TV news. In La Derniere Heure. In Le VIF.

      So before you read/watch any further do this:  go to the People’s Choice Award site and vote – and then ask your friends, family and network to vote too. Then read the rest of this post and you’ll know why you did the right thing Smile.

      Congratulations to:

      Julien Rousselle

      Antoine Trippaers

      Nicolas Bertrand

      This is where you can find the full project video:

      Imagine Cup 2012 - Make A Sign (Project Presentation)
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    June, 2012