I’m pleased to let you know we’ve completed our “AppHub Integration: Linking Simplify Account with Live ID” release! Snappy name that one, but it does actually explain what we have done! Ronseal and “Does exactly what it says on the tin” springs to mind.
This will improve your experience if you were having difficulties with App Hub registration. As you create a new DreamSpark account that is not a Windows Live ID, you are now able to map this account with the Windows Live ID account you have to use on App Hub – it’s still a requirement there.
Here is the workflow:
See - told you it was simple! Connect with us on Facebook or email us if you have questions!
The D&AD Awards deadline is coming up fast. We have, in conjunction with the Widows Phone team, sponsored an award – but why should you enter?
And that’s just for starters. Also up for grabs:
You can check out the Graduate Academy video here – BUT more importantly check out OUR brief here.
Not only do you get the chance to enter a fantastic design for a multi screen experience, you get to see me, Phil Cross, and our Windows Phone Product Manager, Will Coleman, discussing the brief on a freezing day in London….Who had the idea to record the video outside – ah, it was me – DOH!
Tie up with a designer, get your ideas down and submit your entry – 76% of winners get a placement or a job, plus there are some other tangible prizes eg Kinect, phone….
We know a lot of you use DreamSpark but we’d like to know a little more about its value to you. So…..there is a survey we are running in conjunction with c3education to get a more detailed understanding of UK Students use of it. We would like to see if it is helping raise attainment levels for students and get general feedback on the programme. We need this so that we have evidence to share with the public and with journalists interested in the story and the data needs to be very defensible. The ideal situation would be to establish a baseline for the beginning of the programme and to record impact perhaps twice a year, to check whether we are on track.
Now we know surveys can be quite tedious and offer little value to you so… c3education will offer an Xbox 360 and a Kinect sensor to one lucky winner who completes the survey by 29th Feb 2012 and gives us their contact details at the end of the survey. You have to be a UK student. The winner will be drawn at random from all completions who fill in their details in the survey. That is if you want to win one . We will also share top level results through this blog and our Facebook and twitter accounts.
To complete the survey click here – should take no more than 5 mins to complete.
In addition there is a separate Educator survey so if you want to promote that then email us on email@example.com and we can send you the link so you can pass it on to your educators.
Below, hear from Russell Hunt, a student at Staffordshire University, on his experiences of developing for Windows Phone, and what he learnt at the Staffordshire Windows Phone Camp:
I’ve been aware of Windows Phone (and the Mango update) since they were released, but have not had the time to devote to learning how to develop mobile applications for them until recently. I’m a final year student at Staffordshire University studying Web Development, and started a business last year with a fellow student from the course. App Haus, our business in Stafford, produces websites and mobile apps primarily for iPhone and Android.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve had clients ask for apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, but never Windows Phone – hence not devoting time to learning the SDK until now.
I was excited to hear that Microsoft would be coming to Staffordshire University to host a Phone Camp event, designed to instil our students with the knowledge and ethos of the Windows Phone platform, and the Metro design language behind it. Although I’d never looked into designing apps for WP before, I had used friends’ devices and come to admire the thought-out UI which places emphasis on surfacing information through great typography rather than searching for it among icons and gradients. We’d been academically introduced to Metro just last semester in a lecture on User Experience Design.
Students at the Phone Camp came from across the broad spectrum of web, multimedia and computing students at the university. The demand to attend was huge and doubling the original capacity still left a few students without a ticket. Some were there as part of their Mobile Multimedia and Gaming module to begin to implement the designs they’d already produced into a working app. My business partner, our employee, and I all attended with a view to evaluating whether we can offer clients Windows Phone apps in future.
I’d given myself a head start for the Phone Camp, having installed the tools and thought out my app a few days beforehand. I read the User Experience Design Guidelines, downloaded and investigated the Sample Projects, and found 31 Days of Windows Phone particularly helpful. Thanks to a selection of Windows Phones at our university, I had the opportunity to borrow a device to evaluate the look and feel of existing built-in and 3rd party apps.
The app I am developing, known currently as Local Chat, will show other users of the app who is nearby, and facilitate conversations between users. Before the Phone Camp, I was able to implement the main screen of the application, featuring a Pivot control between a Bing map, current conversations and settings. I learnt how to respect the user’s accent colour, and ensured this was used to highlight important information. I had a basic grasp of data binding and Converters too.
During the Phone Camp, I learnt some of the core functionality required in any app such as how to create more pages and link them together, how to attach event handlers to controls and how to customize the application icon displayed on the Start Screen.
Since Phone Camp, I’ve put my skills into action and have finished a large amount of the user interface. Currently, I’m writing the Node.js server that will power the application, then I’ll return to C# to hook up the application. Once it’s ready and polished, I’ll submit it to the Marketplace and consider adding new features I’ve thought of or that users suggest.
I’ve found the visual tools inside Visual Studio to be more than sufficient for me so far, but have seen other students really getting along with Expression Blend. Adobe Fireworks is my graphics editor of choice, having used it for years before Macromedia existed. My sketches for the app were a little less hi-tech, with pen and paper using Michael Bach’s template.
I’m not really a console gamer and definitely not a games developer, so while I can appreciate the look and feel of the Metro dashboard on a friend’s Xbox, I can’t see myself developing any games for it at present. I used my hybrid stylus-based Windows XP Tablet PC extensively in school, and enjoyed using the applications that were enhanced for tablets (OneNote, Crosswords, Hexic!). I use and develop for an Apple iPad and Android Galaxy Tab 10.1 at present, but certainly look forward to getting reacquainted with a Windows tablet.
With my final year at Staffordshire University coming to an end this spring, I look forward to returning full time to App Haus, developing mobile applications. Depending on how my experience with Windows Phone progresses, I hope to be able to either offer it as an additional platform in the business or perhaps to continue developing apps in my free time.
Keep your eyes on the Marketplace for my app, attend a Phone Camp at your university if you’ve not done so yet and comment below or get in touch if you've got any questions or comments.
We recently “supported” Global Game Jam and we thought you might be interested in a guest post from a team from Nottingham Trent University - This Statement is False - who developed a game called ‘FLERBS’ XNA and won the best game award.
So a quick intro bio of the teams skill sets, experiences and how they went about developing an XNA app within 48 hours!
All members contributed to the level creations.
Why did you attend the game jam?
Patrick :- I attended the Jam as I have been doing for several years now, I enjoy the challenge of the limited time frame and seeing so many awesome games being produced in such a short time frame.
Frank:- I attended to do something out of the ordinary and challenging and learn a bit about game development.
Danielle:- I believed that joining a team from DevSoc to go to the Global Game Jam in Birmingham was a great opportunity in gaining experience and furthering my skills as a games programmer.
What skills did you use were these taught, learnt or was this something new?
Patrick :- the main thing's I learnt from this jam were related to team management and how to get everyone to produce components that would work together. it was much more difficult than it looks.
Frank:- I learnt how to animate mainly and do art but thank god they had Photoshop, I know alot about Photoshop.
Danielle:- Most of the skills I contributed to making the game (sprite animation and sound effects) were totally new and learnt within the first half of the event.
What technology did you use? i.e. Visual Studio, Xbox controllers etc..
Patrick:- XNA 4.0, VS2010, XBOX 360 controllers, GIMP 2.0, Audacity.
Frank:- I used photoshop mainly and the level editor that Patrick made.
Danielle:- I used Visual Studio 2010, XNA Game Studio 4.0, Xbox 360 controllers, and Audacity.
What were the outcomes?
Patrick An awesome game!, that and a better understanding of team management.
Frank:- I knew that when Patrick, team leader thing, was happy with it, then I was happy with it, but I definitely need to learn more about tile sets and the art could have been a lot better from my part, but it was useable.
Danielle:- As a whole we created a really fun and addictive multi-player game. Got a sound effect stuck in your head? You can blame me for that one!
What next? Are you thinking of building Windows Phone app or finishing of the xna programme, thinking about PC or Xbox opportunity?
Patrick:- looking at entering the next Jam either developing an XNA game or a windows phone game, and would be happy to enter if an event was organised specificity for it.
Frank:- With a team? Whatever's happening at the next jam.
Danielle:- There might be a possibility of a remake of the game from scratch (for Xbox 360), but I would love to start learning to make games and apps for my Windows Phone 7.
What are the teams members aspirations future career intentions?
Patrick :- continue on with the Phd, and continue jamming.
Frank:- I want to be a teacher funnily enough.
Danielle:- Being the only member of the team who is not studying a computer science degree of some variety, but a Forensic Science (Physical) degree instead, I want to one day become a Forensic Ballistics expert. I will always be looking to enhance my coding skills though as I find it really enjoyable.
They have a website if you are interested: - http://www.devsoc.co.uk/, lots of pictures on Flickr:- http://www.flickr.com/photos/75666795@N03/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/75352867@N06/. Alternatively watch them on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCB15D86703073568&feature=view_all
So I guess our message is – GO FOR IT! it always impresses me the skills and abilities most students have. Believe in yourself and its amazing what you can achieve.
Codeworks and Sunderland Software City are doing a “regional heat” of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, and invite interested parties to come along to the information session where our very own Ben Nunney will be speaking. The information sessions take place on Thursday 2nd of February in Newcastle (http://www.amiando.com/ImagineCupNCL) or Friday the 3rd of February in Teesside (http://www.amiando.com/ImagineCupTees) from 17:30-20:00.
If you are no longer a student but want to be involved in the Imagine Cup North East, then go along to Imagine Cup North East's 36Hour Hack on February 17th-18th as a mentor for the student teams. Imagine Cup North East are looking for people who have run their own software business, venture capitalists, professional software developers and designers, and marketeers with a good understanding of software.
Becoming a mentor will give you the opportunity to spend time with the next generation of developers and designers, and give something back to the community, whilst assessing the skills of students currently on courses within the region's universities.
As a mentor you would need to do be available the weekend of the 18th February to meet with the different groups and offer advice over an 8 hour period (minimum), and be willing to answer a few follow up emails or calls from the teams.
There is more information on becoming a mentor at http://www.imaginecup.com/CompetitionsContent/Mentors_Faculty.aspx
Thanks for getting involved!