By Tom Clifton: Indie Games Developer and Microsoft Games Ambassador.
Sometimes you want to try out new technology without committing to it, and this is especially true with a new operating system. What if you don't like it? This is especially true with Windows 8 as there are some big changes from what people are used to. A lot of people like the idea of Windows 8 but want to try it first before they commit to it. By creating a dual-boot for your system you can do this. You can keep your existing OS and add Windows 8 on a separate partition. The first thing you need to do is download Windows 8. If you're a student you can take advantage of DreamSpark and get a free copy of Windows 8. The first thing you are going to want to do is to go to DreamSpark and download your free copy of Windows 8.
Select the More Software Through Your School tab when you are signed in. Then select Windows8. Now you will be given a variety of different options to download. You want the Microsoft Windows 8 Professions 32/63 bit (English-Great Britain) – DreamSpark option. You will then be taken to a download page. Make sure you make note of your product key as you’ll need that later.
The download takes place through Microsofts Secure Download Manager so you will need to download that first if you do not already have it. Once it reaches 100% it will go back to 0%. This is a bit misleading but there are 2 downloads that the SDM makes. Once that second one gets to 100% it should show a launch button which will take you to the downloaded file. This will be a Disk Image (.ISO) file. Now we need to burn that image to a DVD. To do this right click the Disk Image and select “burn disc image”. This brings up a Wizard which will burn the image to DVD for you.
Now we have the copy of Windows 8 we want to partition our hard drive so we can keep our existing installation. Bring up the Run utility by holding the Windows Key and R or by searching Run.
Then type in “diskmgmt.msc”. This will bring up the Disk Management tool. This tool shows me a lot of details about my system. Here you can see that I only have one hard drive, C, with over 300GB free. Now you will need at least a 20GB partition to install Windows 8 but I suggest a lot more if you actually want to install stuff as well. The first time I did this I made a 30GB partition, which did not leave me enough space to reinstall software that I needed on the new partition. I would suggest at least 50GB. As I am unlikely to go back to Windows 7 on this particular laptop I will create a partition of 200GB.
To do this we first need to deallocate some space from C. To do this right click on the visual representation of the drive and select “Shrink Volume..” from the menu. A dialog will appear saying it is querying space. This may take a few minutes. A new window will then appear asking you what size you want to shrink the drive by. Annoyingly this is in megabytes so be careful (1000MB is roughly 1GB). I want to create a 200GB partition so I am going to enter 200000MB. Again this will take a bit of time to do.
When it finishes the Disk Management tool should show something like this:
Now I have just under 200GB of unallocated space. This is not yet usable so we will now have to format it. To do this right click on the unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume..”. This will launch another Wizard. Select the whole volume for volume size. Then assign the drive a letter.
Next you need to select a file system for the drive. You want to select NTFS. You can also give it a volume label. I have named mine “Windows8”. I advise you give it a good label to make it more easy to identify later on.
Once you have done this you will see the following screen.
Now you want to restart your PC and go to the BIOS. For me I had to press F10 to get into it but on another PC I have its Del so it’s a bit of trial and error. Once in the BIOS change the boot order to CD/DVD, then Save and Exit.
This should load up the setup for Windows 8. It will ask you what language you want and prompt you to install. This is where you will need your product key. Once you have done that it will ask you if you want to upgrade or do a custom install. Choose Custom.
Next it will ask you where you want to install Windows 8. This is where the name comes in handy to identify the right drive and partition.Select your Windows 8 partition and click Next.
Now Windows will install. Once it has finished your PC will restart. Don't do what I did and change your BIOS options back to how they were now as it still needs to finish the install! Let it load back up and finish the install first. And that’s it! You should now have both Windows 8 and your previous OS on the same PC. Good luck!
Thought you might be interested in a students experience of writing a game for Windows 8
YouTube link for the game
Windows Store link: (also http://bit.ly/USC2013)
Twitter - @_martingrant
My name is Martin and I’m a second year Computer Games Technology at the University of the West of Scotland. In April a Windows 8 game jam was held at my campus, organised by a Window Game Ambassador. The goal of which was simply to build some kind of game that would be released on the the Windows Store. Microsoft also kindly offered a prize as an extra incentive.
We could use any means possible to build our games be it straight from Visual Studio or any other development software. I chose Construct 2 - an absolutely fantastic HTML5 games engine. If you have ever used GameMaker before, it is quite similar to that but more powerful in some ways. We had a theme to design a game based around mythical creatures, and thus Unicorn Space Command was born. The mere mention of the term mythical and I jumped straight to unicorn, and why not add some space in there too just for the hell of it.
Unicorn Space Command lets you control the turrets of a starship caught in a treacherous asteroid field, firing rainbow lasers at incoming space rocks, blasting them into history so you can make it back home in one piece. The design took a matter of minutes to conjure up, so I got fired right into the development while my artist Callum Lyons got started on producing some lovely space themed imagery. I had never used Construct 2 before so I spent an hour working through a tutorial which let me know right away that I had made the right choice for my development tool, it was just so easy to use it’s unbelievable. To start off I created a very basic prototype where a turret could shoot out some coloured particles wherever the player indicated. Programmer art, of course, then I created a nice starfield background and had some test asteroids fall down the screen. Once I added in collisions the game was more or less complete, once I imported the final artwork I just spend a lot of time polishing it up so the game loop flowed correctly, the spawn times of the asteroids seemed challenging and implemented a basic scoring system. My favourite part of the game might just be the music, it’s incredibly cheesy.
It was surprisingly easy to build my game for Windows 8. Construct 2 has a built in export for Windows feature, from there I just had to edit some of the game files from Visual Studio and that was me ready to upload! It was very cool to be able to create a game that utilised touch controls since a lot of Windows 8 computers are touch screen, something I had never done before. Since I had a very short space of time to create the game I never got to use some of the new Windows features like the charm bar and live tiles but they will be absolutely making an appearance in the next update of Unicorn Space Command. It was so exciting submitting my game to the Windows Store as this has been my first published game. Submission was a very easy and smooth process, you are guided through and shown exactly what you need to create a successful submission. Approval of your game is a fairly transparent process too as you are shown what they are doing with your game at various stages whether it is testing the game or just checking all your data about the game matches up correctly. I chose for Unicorn Space Command to be a free game, it being my first submission. Thankfully as a student with access to Microsoft Dreamspark I get access to a Windows developer account for free, as well as getting access to all sorts of development software. As soon as I got an email telling me it was approved for the store I was refreshing the page constantly just to see my game appear on an international store. What a fantastic feeling that was seeing my game there, starting to feel like my career as a games developer would start taking shape from here on out. My friends were immediately ordered to download the game and give it a shot giving me some great feedback right away.
Since Unicorn Space Command has appeared on the Windows Store it has been going absolutely fantastic. There has been a few articles published about the game so far including one of the largest sites representing games in Scotland (http://scottishgames.net/2013/04/22/unicorn-space-command-game-jam-title-hits-windows-app-store/). I’ve even been gaining a rise in my Twitter followers. Speaking about the game specifically, at the time of writing I am closing in on 200 downloads from various countries around the world. The game has also received a generous number of 5 star ratings. As a Windows Store developer I have access to an analytics dashboard which offers me a plethora of statistics about downloads, playtime and other data that I can use to update my game to create the best experience I can offer to my players. On the Windows Store you can filter games by the highest rating, and I’ve been absolutely shocked that again at the time of writing Unicorn Space Command is currently #48 out of over 6000 games. Every time I check I say to myself “are you kidding me?!”, I don’t think I believe it quite yet.
My plans for the near future are to make a small update to the game and definitely ship it over to Windows Phone, iOS and Android to hopefully see some larger download figures! As I used Construct 2 to create the game, throughout the summer months I will be rewriting it in C++ as I plan on shipping a sequel to the game, involving a number of quite large changes turning it into a much bigger game. I am still going to be continuing to use Construct 2 as I have also purchased a full license for it to make a couple small games to hopefully generate a small stream of ad revenue for some extra summer spending money. April was also a great time for me to create a Windows 8 app as I could gain points from http://www.appbuilder-rewards.co.uk and use them to claim for some free prizes from Microsoft, as well as winning a Windows Phone from the game jam which I plan on using for more games developing, testing future mobile apps.
This has been an amazing experience for me, giving me a taste of the life of a professional games developer. Getting my ideas out there in the public is very cool and the fact that people across the world are actually downloading and rating my game?! I’m still not over it, I check the download stats on a daily basis! I thoroughly recommend some of the resources I’ve mentioned like Construct 2 and DreamSpark and I would like to make a big thank you to Microsoft for making this experience possible for me, and thank you to anyone has enjoyed playing my game!
Check out my website and Twitter for updates on Unicorn Space Command, its sequel and some other brand new games coming soon!
On February 15th, four students came together to form what could be a real game changer in the Windows Store space. It all started at the Imagine Cup event held at Exeter University. Teams from around the country came together, all hoping to create award winning apps in the space of 48 hours. With a trip to St Petersburg, Russia, and $50,000 at stake, competition was stiff, and teams weren’t taking things lightly. It was at this event that SoundSYNK were born.
Meet SoundSYNK (from left to right):
Robert Parker (Programmer), Computer science and Mathematics, 2nd yearEdward Noel (Business), Mechanical engineering, 2nd yearAlex Bochenski (Business), Business and Economics, 2nd yearJonathan Neumann (Programmer), Masters in History, 4th Year (Erasmus Scheme)
SoundSYNK are a team of students from Exeter University, who arrived that day not knowing each other, but all had the dream of learning how to create and deploy an app into store and with the more important aspiration of winning big money! But who knew that just by randomly sitting together at the start of a day, would equal the creation of a dream team! Read below for their story…
"The Idea was born at the Microsoft Imagine Cup regionals held by Setsquared and Ignite Exeter University Guild Enterprise team. It all started on Saturday 16th February 2013 at 2 am in the morning. With $50,000 on the brain, we were caffeine fuelled and desperate for a strong idea to win the regionals. Ideas were banded around, but as the hours passed and our brain power started to dwindle, we sought the aid of music to inspire us. Little did we know this would be the start of an amazing adventure…?
We were playing "Sweet nothings" by Calvin Harris on Alex's laptop, but it was just not loud enough for our liking. Being students we wanted to have a blasting beat to keep us going through the night, but the volume was just not sufficient. At this point, we did the age old technique of lining up all of our phones, laptops, tablets, in the hope that we might be able to play the song at the same time. However, due to our lack of timing, it failed miserably! However, it started to get us thinking- What if we could develop an app that allowed us to sync a load of devices in perfect harmony and in turn create a booming base- this was where the idea began!
With time running out and less than 24 hours before we had to present our apps to the judging panel, we all frantically started researching. Our genius coders Rob and Jonathan- who have previously only developed for iPhone and Android- started looking into what kind of technology was available that could help develop this concept, whilst Ed and Alex scoured the internet desperate not to find someone who had already done this. Lucky for us, no one had! Although this was a Microsoft competition, we wanted to make a platform agnostic app that could be enjoyed by all audiences, whether you had a Windows Phone, iPhone, laptop or tablet. It was hard at first for Jon and Rob, as they had never developed for Windows before, but they found it surprisingly easy to pick up and we quickly started developing the prototype and presentation of the product. Our coders started building the app using Microsoft Visual Studio, making sure it utilized Bluetooth, WiFi, and WiFi-direct. We wanted to create a mesh-network that had more bandwidth than simply connecting devices over WiFi and that could be used anytime, anywhere. By utilizing our backend-technology, we saw that we could send data between devices and overcome the current bandwidth limits of Bluetooth (maximum share between 4 devices), allowing us to share data with an unlimited number of devices... we really wanted to take the party mobile!
With the hours ticking away and our presentation slot looming, we pulled together and made an amazing prototype and presentation that we showcased. Thanks to all this hard work, 24 hours later we were being awarded the 1st place prize by the judging panel. We were ecstatic! With this win came a place in the UK National Finals (the next stage) that were to be hosted in April, but we knew from then on that this would be no easy ride. In order for us to win the $50,000 and that trip to Russia to compete in the World Wide Finals of the Imagine cup, there would be a lot to do!
In the run up to the Finals, we were working night and day perfecting our app and presentation, choosing to demo and tell people about our app at every opportunity we had! This even led Ed to being introduced and pitching the idea to Dragons Den Judge, Doug Richards… not every student can say they have done that! Because of all this pitching we were able to drum up a lot of interest and were invited to attend the ‘Starterfor10’ competition. We managed somehow win a £10,000 grant from Creative England that day, which was against over 150 startups! We were really excited by the way things were taking off and the interest our company was getting, but we didn’t lose our focus as the big day was still yet to come…
8th of April meant only one thing, The UK Imagine Cup Finals. Every day had been leading up to it, but with 10 amazing teams, including some of our own classmates as competition, we knew we had to do a presentation like no other. With banners put up, flashing T-shirts on and devices in hand, we demoed our hearts out, trying to convince all the judges and potential investors that we were not only World Wide Finalist material, but also that we had an amazing story to share…
We came out that day as UK winners, and we cannot even contemplate how many amazing opportunities will come about from this. Without the help of people like Natasha from Microsoft, Setsquared, Ignite and Exeter Innovation centre- who gave us incredible amounts of support from legal, accountancy and investor readiness seminars to putting up with us presenting in front of them continuously- we wouldn’t be half the team we are today.
So what now? We are working with Microsoft UK, Setsquared, Ignite, Creative England and Exeter Innovation Centre to get the working prototype onto the market and to make it a massive success. We also now have a Limited company set up called ‘Colinked’, as what we have come to realise is that our technology can be used for a number of things, from helping out in Natural disasters to replacing it as a sound system at big events! It has really been a real whirlwind adventure ever since we attended the 48 hour hack back in February, and we would have never guessed that 4 students, who had never met each other before that day could come so far, let alone be this successful. We have made it through every stage so far and the only next step is to go on to win the World Wide Finals… Bring on Russia!
Their story clearly showcases how businesses and partners can start up in the most unlikely of places, and it takes real perseverance, talent and drive to make a start-up a success. I know this team will go on to do great things, and I have no doubt that they will be a stand out team at the World Wide Finals. People are already realising the teams potential and are commenting about the clear innovation and talented minds behind this app.
‘This is a huge win for Microsoft, as this clever use of technology shows how Windows Phone applications can be innovative and push existing boundaries. If this application is executed perfectly once it hits the market, this could become a killer app that Microsoft has been waiting for to populate its market space.’ (Brad Sams, Neowin)
We in the UK are proud to have these gifted students representing our country. The app is not out yet, but the team is hoping to launch in June, well ahead of the Imagine Cup finals which takes place in July, so watch this space! If you've been inspired to start building on Windows 8, download the SDK for all the free tools you need.
One of our UK startups www.lockir.com has stared a new social network for students. It’s a social & study platform aimed at students, it was launched few days ago and created by a University of Manchester graduate. Below is his guest post. I’d be really interested in any comments – constructive are best, as I am not a student any more
Lockir (the name is inspired by the idea of college lockers) bridges the gap between social networks such as Facebook, and study platforms such as Blackboard. The likes of Facebook are about sharing your life with friends and family and keeping in touch with them and so don't have a much relevance to students, it has no target audience and is there for everyone and anyone to use with an average age being 41.
Lockir is different, it has been made for students with features tailored for student life. If you look at the main characteristics of students you will realise they are very social, they like to meet new people, they like to listen to music and they like to study (not all!), Lockir has made this possible by putting these aspects into its platform making it fun and exciting.
The study features of Lockir include; peer to peer help through questions and answers for different degrees, sharing documents such as lecture notes and past exam papers, writing notes and sharing them with your group for collaboration. Users that sign up with a university email will get a verified student icon.
The social features of Lockir include; listening to and sharing music, sharing photos, meeting new people, discover what people are sharing, chatting with friends, chatting with Facebook friends directly from Lockir, chat transliterate option allows foreign students to write in their native language (Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Urdu and more).
Lockir is made by Jehad Amlesh, a 27 year old British graduate from University of Manchester with BSc in computer science and MSc from Manchester business school in Business IT, and is now looking to apply to do a PhD. Lockir is self funded. Jehad has had an offer for investment but declined the term sheet as he believed it was too early to allow investors in which could influence his visions for Lockir. The support of free software from Microsoft was enough for Jehad to start Lockir.
In his own words….
"when people hear the words student social network, the first thing that comes to mind is Facebook, but how relevant is Facebook for students? not very, even in its early days it did not have any features which were made for students, it was just a MySpace for .edu and ac.uk emails.
I made Lockir for students, I spent most of my time programming it in the university library whilst engaging with students. Lockirs aim is to create a fun and exciting community for students around the world to connect online ".
We, Microsoft are not endorsing this, just interested in your comments or feedback
I’m an accomplished developer but new to the app concept and certainly new to working for myself and the tools, resources and people at Microsoft have made the journey an enjoyable (and profitable) experience from the off.
What's your background?
I’ve been a full time software developer for about 7 years now, initially working as a subject matter expert creating training material for Microsoft Learning as well as other global technology companies. Now working for a global ISV developing scheduling software used by manufactures the world over (Sailr Solutions), I write Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps in by spare time.
What motivated you to start building apps?
Originally I started developing Windows 8 apps as a way of keeping my skills up to date so it was really more of a hobby, but as times gone on I’ve come to realise that Windows 8 is a fantastic platform to develop for and I’ve been blown away by the response to my apps. I’ve received emails from people all over the world who are using my apps and that’s a really surreal experience.
How did you come up with the initial idea for the app we see in store today?
What was your inspiration for the design?
I generally like an uncluttered and simple UX, simple colour schemes that put the content at the heart of the experience. That’s where Windows 8 really excels.
What’s your process for designing the user journey?
I like to do it the old fashioned way with a pencil and paper! Lots of sketches and notes. I use Team Foundation Server for my source control so I do keep all my notes in there. Its not as chaotic as it sounds!
What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Its been challenging designing an application that targets so many different form factors. Not only have we got varying resolutions to scale to but the app layout needs to respond well to being snapped or positioned in different orientations. There’s obviously only so much testing you can do so in the end you just have to trust your design.
Windows 8 offers many exciting features like Search and Share charms and Live Tiles and I wanted to incorporate these where they were appropriate which presented a few challenges but with help they were quickly overcome.
What technology did you use for your app development?
What's the appeal of Windows from a business perspective?
Obviously the market potential is massive but the big attraction for me is the small cost to market. You can go from idea to market in a few weeks and the revenue share is good too. Microsoft offer an amazing infrastructure so by utilizing services such as Azure and Windows Live services you can quickly build large scalable applications with amazing ease. I'm making around £300 a month at the moment which for something I'm doing as a hobby in my spare time I'm really happy with.
What were the challenges for you building this app?
What's next for you?
When I’m not writing apps for Windows 8 I like to spend my time sailing and I’ve got a great idea for a sailing related application. I’m also working on a project called Eventus which is a socially integrated event management service built atop Windows Azure but that’s in very early stages.
I’ve also got some ideas for a new social reporting feature for ModernMap but its finding the time!
What would you say to other web developers who might be sitting on the fence as far as Windows 8 development is concerned?
If you’ve got an idea then download the tools and go for it. There is so much help and support available from both Microsoft and the developer community so even if you’re new to Windows development it will be a lot easier than you think. Creating a quality application and promoting it can be a lot of work but the rewards are there so get stuck in.
>> Register for a Windows Store account>> Download the free tools>> Build an app in 10 minutes with ZipApp
Richard Walters is a pretty cool guy.
A Physics graduate from the University of Oxford, he’d never built an app – or even thought about it – until he got a Windows Phone and as a student encountered DreamSpark, a free way for students to get all the tools you need to build apps. He built his scientific calculator app, Calculator², for Windows Phone and now has over 250,000 downloads. Not only that, but he ported the app to Windows 8 and in just six months has – wait for it – over 500,000 downloads. It’s the singular most successful calculator app on the Windows Store. How did that happen?
Richard got his Windows Phone when the Windows App Store was still in its infancy. As a Physics grad, calculators were integral to his life. When browsing through the available apps, he was disappointed to find that the selection ‘back-in-the-day’ was not great. However, building the definitive calculator app was not what Richard set out to do. He thought, “if I could build a calculator, I could build anything.” Using building a calculator app as a means to test his skills, Richard inadvertently built the most successful calculator app to date. He had to start from scratch – whilst his PhD was very numbers-oriented, he didn’t know about object-oriented languages and had never used C# before. However, downloading and working with the tools for developing Windows apps was much easier than he thought it would be, and he found helpful online resources in such places as MSDN and stackoverflow.
Richard initially built the app for Windows Phone 7 and then extended his repertoire to Windows 8. “It was very easy for me to port my Windows Phone 7 app to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Particularly in the latter case, my code is 99% identical between WP7 and WP8, with the difference simply because of a few updated controls in WP8. At the moment I’ve duplicated the projects for the app for each platform, but one thing I’ll be doing over the next few weeks is setting up the code to share the same projects/files across each version so that it’s even easier to continue working on the app. Also, it was much easier than I had expected to handle the various screen resolutions and pixel densities in WP8 and W8.”
One of the biggest challenges for Richard was marketing the app. As he wryly observed, “as an independent developer, you can’t invest in marketing.” He initially released the calculator as a paid app with a trial. “This in theory should work well, but for new apps rarely does. If you publish a new app, it’s very difficult for you to get the ratings you need to become visible in the store.” He decided to release a free version with adverts to accompany the paid version without adverts. The free version has not impacted the sales of the paid version. On Windows 8 the app is free and ad-supported, but with an in-app purchase option to remove the adverts. He earns a lot more from the adverts and has had 30-40,000 daily impressions pretty much consistently since it was released. His marketing strategy included contacting WMPoweruser, WPCentral and various other community websites and cajoling them into publishing articles on his apps, as well as using social media methods like Facebook and cross-promotional premises like AdDuplex. “Often one article is enough to be a catalyst for a wave of responses; very often people will pick up on a new app and write their own reviews.”
Should he publish another app, it’s to his advantage that he already has a foothold in the market. He can advertise his new app in Calculator² and get a decent number of downloads off the back of his first insanely successful app. He’s looking forward to adding more features to his app, including a financial calculator and a graphical calculator for instance. “I imagine I’ll spend at least another year working on this app – a good exercise for my new job will be porting Calculator² to Android – before working on something new for Windows. My ultimate aim is to try my hand at developing a game.”
Richard attests his app’s popularity to its design. Before his app came along, the calculators in the app store were essentially clones of hand-held scientific calculators. “Mapping a traditional calculator to a phone screen is not a good idea, as the buttons are too small and mistakes are easily made without tactile feedback.” Richard threw tradition away by utilising the Windows UI and making the app in line with the phone itself. The Windows UI was particularly useful, as it strips away all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there. One of the tricky things was conveying the hidden buttons in the app, but not flooding the app with message boxes. Striking a balance was difficult, but gathering feedback from users has helped to continuously make improvements. “The primary function of the app is that it has be functional,” Richard said.
From Windows 8 design session to 500k downloads
He added all the features that aren’t used often in the app bar and incorporated live tiles – which show the calculation history – to allow the user to jump straight into different parts of the app. Specifically related to Windows 8 (along with live tiles) the snap mode is particularly useful as his app gets used often alongside other apps when doing calculations. The whole app can be navigated by keyboard and touch, complimented by the semantic zoom. He had no means of user testing the app during development, so relied heavily on his own instincts as to what worked best. He never wrote anything down or planned anything; it was literally a case of playing in Visual Studio to see what worked.
Richard didn’t have any preconceptions about working with Windows because he came to Windows 8 and Windows Phone with a clean slate. “The opportunity is definitely there to be successful,” he claims; evidenced in the huge number of downloads he has had since launch. He’s currently earning more from Windows Phone than from Windows 8; a lot of that is to do with the user base as a lot of people are much more used to buying apps on phones than they are on computers. “Hopefully that’ll change as more tablets get into the market,” he observed.
What also adds to this app’s success is its multi-functionality. Not many apps are calculators, currency converters andunit converters. Nor are all these modes calculators within themselves. The app doesn’t just convert one number to another, you can do a whole calculation within each mode.
App building gave Richard a new view on his career; while he was getting into app building toward the end of his PhD, he was becoming disenchanted with academia. He presumed up until this point in his life he’d continue to do scientific research in a research firm after finishing his PhD. From building the app he soon realised he thoroughly enjoyed software development and his eyes became firmly fixed on this as a future career. He didn’t know what his skill set was like compared to other people who’d been taught formally; he just knew he wanted to do it.
Richard once claimed “Windows changed my life” – and that’s not just relating to the success he’s had with his apps. “I went for an interview and as part of introducing myself started talking about my app building experiences. That conversation took up most of the interview and I felt confident afterwards that I had a good chance of being offered the job.” Richard now works as a Graduate Consultant Developer at ThoughtWorks.
“I would definitely recommend developing for Windows 8,” Richard said. “And Windows Phone is looking really good at the moment. The great thing about building apps is just designing something, having a play, and seeing the results instantly. Plus you learn a huge amount from the whole experience, not just in terms of how to code but also marketing, customer support, dealing with finances and much more.”
The US Windows team have been so impressed by Richard’s success that they flew him out to film his story – you can catch the video here(see Independent Developers).
If Richard has whet your appetite for some app development then here’s everything you need to get started:
>> Sign up for a Windows Store account>> Download the Windows 8 SDK for all the free tools you need to get started>> Build a Windows 8 app in 10 minutes with ZipApp>> Collect points for publishing Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps to get rewards like TV's, Windows 8 tablets and travel vouchers. You’ll get 10 bonus points for just signing up to the Rewards Programme between the 1st and 14th April 2013. Register today and start building.
>> Sign up for a Windows Phone store account>> Download the Windows Phone 8 SDK for all the free tools you need
A guest post written by:
A recent graduate in English Literature and Language from the University of Oxford, Laura O’Connor now works at Microsoft as an Associate Consultant in Unified Communications. She is currently immersed in Exchange, Lync and O365. Outside of work, her interests lie far from the realm of technology; she enjoys going to the theatre, reading and writing.
If you are a UK student and have published an app for Windows Phone or Windows 8 we have a Private Facebook group we would like to invite you to join.
It is invite only and you must let us know the details of your app in the MarketPlace or Store. The group is very active and is a great place to share experiences, ideas, issues and opportunities to work together with other student developers.
So how do you join?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your publisher ID, a link to your app and we’ll invite you in! Simple
Use code : HTMLJMP for a free exam credit, the exam will normally cost £99.
After passing 70-480, you will be given a certification for Microsoft Specialist and this is one of the three exams which will ultimately certify you as MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer).
MCSD is one tier above MCSA (Associate) and is a respectable title in the field of web development.
Exam registration: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-480 Link for free online training: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/developing-html5-apps-jump-start?o=1943 Link to MCSD page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/mcsd.aspx
This offer is available for a limited time only until March 2013 and is open to IT Academy members also so all students undertaking a course can sit a free exam at any prometric testing centre.
We’d love to know the value DreamSpark gives you so we can continue to deliver it for free – help us help the next generation of students.
We are inviting students to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting your skills development, learning outcomes and career potential. We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your coursework and test/exam results. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.
We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous. Just to give you a little more of an incentive to help us gather this data we are offering one lucky student an Xbox360. Just click here to complete the online questionnaire. Thanks!
There is a lot in DreamSpark but if you only have a couple of minutes there is a good summary on Slideshare or here goes in detail!
DreamSpark is the first step for students, educators and institutions to make learning software development from the basics eg KODU, to full on App development with Visual Studio more motivating, relevant, and engaging by providing no cost access to professional-level development, design, and gaming software.
DreamSpark is simple; it's all about giving you our professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on your career.
DreamSpark gives Students the chance to develop world class software, web applications, cool and creative designs as well as amazing games. Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools. Check out the DreamSpark getting started-guide on Slideshare.
DreamSpark is about giving educators no cost access to the same professional-level developer, designer and gaming software so you can reach, motivate, and ensure students achieve their greatest potential. DreamSpark gives you the software and resources to ensure classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenge, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways. Plus DreamSpark Premium has a few more products in it!
Learning must be relevant, exciting, and engaging. DreamSpark is aligned with universities, associations, and employers to ensure that educators are able to discover, create, and deliver courses to students that lead to increased technical proficiency, employability and of course creates the next generation of technical leaders. Again on Slideshare DreamSpark & EES licensing
DreamSpark Pricing Model and usage
For more details regarding Microsoft DreamSpark offering contact the DreamSpark support team
NB. Licensing does not allow for the products to be used in class, and FREE licensing does not cover educators
Changes to licensing and costs
DreamSpark for Schools, College and Unis subscription is now available and priced at $99 FREE for EES customers – This change allows all DreamSpark software to be installed for teaching and learning on Institutional Lab machines and it’s a campus license as per EES so you only need to purchase 1 license and not 1 per school or faculty and if your a EES subscriber its included for FREE. (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and is available for all taught discipline, previously this only covered students usage and not licensed for intuitional equipment)
DreamSpark Premium – Previously MSDNAA so includes more products including Visio, OneNote and Project and is aimed at STEM FE and HE institutions and all IT Academy Subscribers. The cost has been reduced to $499 from £1000+ (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and all lab installations)
Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible. To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible.
If your school is part of Computing at School (CAS) get your teacher to look here!