Thanks to Ray Fleming (ex Microsoft UK now out in Australia) for his post and Bilal Mughal's comment on Facebook that reminded me to tell you about free ebooks.
We have 9 free ebooks here available in PDF format. The bonus news is that the Microsoft Press team have now made them available free in two additional formats, DRM-free EPUB and MOBI.
This means you can read them more easily on a wide range of ereaders, notably Kindles and iPads - as well as the Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo eReader. Of course these files can also be read with ereading apps for the various devices on netbooks, laptops, and desktop PCs. The key difference between these formats and the previously-offered PDF and XPS files is that the text is “reflowable,” meaning that it recomposes depending on the width of the screen (or as you resize a Window).
Tip: Choose MOBI format for Kindles, and ePUB for most others
Tip: Choose MOBI format for Kindles, and ePUB for most others
I'm Richard Walters, currently a graduate student at the University of Oxford in the final stages of completing a PhD in Atomic and Laser Physics. Over the past six months, in my spare time, I have been developing for Windows Phone 7, and I am very excited to say that my first app, Calculator², has recently been published in the Marketplace! As someone with no prior experience in developing software for any platform, I have immensely enjoyed building the app, more so than I would have imagined when I started out. I hope with this blog post I can show how easy it is as a student to download the free tools, access the learning resources, and take the plunge into Windows Phone development.
So what started me on the road to building Calculator²? Last July I upgraded to a Samsung Omnia 7. Having never owned a smartphone before, and being a physics student, the first app I searched for was a scientific calculator. I wasn’t very impressed with the apps on offer, so just chose a free one that worked well enough and then downloaded Angry Birds. A few weeks later, I was searching the internet looking for student deals from Microsoft on upgrading to Windows 7, when I stumbled across DreamSpark. I was surprised to find that I could download Visual Studio 2010 Professional and also register as a developer for Windows Phone, all for free! Since I now owned a Windows Phone (although not required) I thought I‘d give it a try and see how easy it was to build an app.
To get going, I downloaded Bob Tabor’s introductory videos from Channel 9, and decided that a simple calculator would be a great first app for learning both C# and the Software Development Kit. If I could get a basic version working then I would prove to myself that Windows Phone apps were well within my ability. I'll admit that I’m not a novice coder; I develop Matlab programs in my research for simulating systems of cold atoms (see here for the research taking place in our department), and have learnt C in the Oxford Physics undergraduate course. However, coding for scientific work is quite different from that needed to build software, so I had a lot to learn. Luckily, there’s a vast amount of information available on the internet to help. Everything in the .NET Framework is fully documented with examples at msdn.microsoft.com. There are also code samples and other learning resources specifically targeted at Windows Phone development on MSDN. However, perhaps the most useful tools were the forums both within App Hub and at stackoverflow.com. Whenever I came across a problem, these were usually the top hits in a search engine, and I was always able to find the help I needed. There’s a great community of experienced developers out there who are happy to help others, and typically the problems I had were exactly those that people before me had encountered also, so the solutions weren't too hard to find.
A few weeks after I started out I already had a basic, working calculator. I was soon having all sorts of ideas on how I could improve on the other scientific calculator apps, and go far beyond what is possible on real hardware. I got a huge buzz out of turning these ideas into reality and wondering what others would make of them. Now that a completed version has been published, it's very satisfying to think that my app could be used all over the World by all sorts of people doing calculations for all sorts of things. Of course, I don't want to stop now! I already have more features I'd like to add to the app (a graphical calculator for starters!), and it should not be too difficult to reuse much of my code to create a version for Windows 8. If you'd like to try my app and see what is possible, please click on Calculator² or alternatively search for 'Scientific Calculator' in the Marketplace (it's a currency, unit and base converter too!).
I would highly recommend Windows Phone development to any student, whether they be a novice – for whom the introductory video series I mentioned looks excellent – or someone more experienced. I think it's fantastic that Microsoft provide the required resources for free, and it’s something that more students should take advantage of. Ultimately, I now have an app in the Marketplace that could earn a fair amount of money, I have a great addition to my CV, and I've learnt a lot of useful techniques that I've now incorporated into my own work. Most of all, I've had a lot of fun along the way!
Here’s a slightly different approach. Read Omid’s journey to Windows Phone development. He started really as an “infrastructure” guy/student but now he is both – and having fun.
I'm Omid Raghimi (@raghimi, About.Me). I'm currently an International computer Science(Network Communications) Student at Kingston University. I came from Iran to study my course in the UK. I also have a MCTS (Windows 7) certificate from Microsoft. I've been through many Microsoft Technologies from MS DOS 6.0 to Managing Forefront 2010. I learned how to troubleshoot windows 98 by myself and after that upgraded myself to Windows XP and after years to Windows 7. My abilities rely mostly on Microsoft Windows Server and related tools and technologies to design and manage Microsoft Networks. Actually, the biggest job I've ever done was designing and implementing a 50 client Domain network with MS Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 by myself and also designing security policies and implementing security using MS Forefront 2010 for that network.
About me as a developer; first started programming in Visual Basic at the age of 14. I only learned some simple and basic parts of Visual Basic and Borland Delphi and with this background I started understanding HTML, PHP, xml and some more.
With this background, let me tell you about My First experience developing app for phones...
At the beginning of studying computer Science in London and after limitations in my country I was introduced to a Microsoft Introduction Lecture over the Imagine Cup. Although it was mostly about Imagine Cup, they talked about a Windows Phone camp in the uni which was coming up. So this was the time which I heard some news over updated Windows Phone. They gave us a link to more information over the Windows Phone camp which lead me to the App Hub. App Hub gave me lots of information over the new Windows Phone and as I had just learned how to write code in Java (simple principles) at the beginning of my course I become curious to write code for Windows Phone. So I started going through the tutorials which were available at App Hub. I downloaded Visual Studio from DreamSpark which was great and free. DreamSpark lets student download software they need which is a great benefit. It was awesome having both a Graphic Design Software (Microsoft Expression Blend) and coding software (Visual Studio) - both good for programmers and designers. I came up with the idea of creating an app which sends polls through SMS with the help of my friend. I started to build my first app with the big help of Microsoft MSDN. It was so much fun because actually they have made an introduction for almost every part. So I just made the app in a day by using both Visual Studio and Expression Blend and went to the Microsoft Phone Camp in my Uni. I talked to The Microsoft Guy about the App and he came up to my laptop and tested it, he asked me to submit it online and after a minute he gave me a Samsung Windows Phone. So the First Easy coding app brought me a Windows Phone. The App made me to upgrade my HTC VIVA touch (windows 5.1 OS) to a Samsung Windows Phone 7.5.
I called the App QSMS and Published it to the Marketplace so easily. It was my first time developing for mobile phones and it was so easy and fast learning how to code. I have plan to develop and publish more useful and free apps to the marketplace and of course the first step would be upgrading QSMS to be able to track and rate the polls.
After my app published, I received an email regarding a point base reward system from Microsoft so every time I develop and publish an App I will get rewarded which is so great.
So I suggest you take a look at the facilities that Microsoft has provided for Students at DreamSpark and if you are thinking about how to code for the first time just take a look at the easy tutorials. You cannot imagine how easy this is. I've always hated to develop for mobile platforms from old platforms like Symbian to new ones like Apple iOS. The reason was that I never found a good help for how to start. No easy step to step guides, no simple examples and so on but when I came up to Microsoft support for Windows phone apps! Man the website really gave me anything I wanted to complete, run and code my Idea for an App. that became the reason for me to consider myself as a developer of Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Trust me! Try it, you will be thrilled.
This was the best experience in my IT life.
Students – we want you to work with us at our UK headquarters in August. How’s that for a headline?
We know that one of the things that makes students so awesome are the amazing ideas you all seem to have. Not only that – but you’re all brilliant when it comes to doing something about them. We’re working hard at Microsoft to make awesome things happen – so why not help you all do the same?
We’ve talked about Windows 8 before. It’s new, exciting, and a great opportunity for student developers to showcase their skills and build applications on a huge platform. We’re giving those great ideas of yours a stage.
We want you to join us, both in person and virtually, during August to create amazing app experiences for people using Windows 8. There’ll be some workshops, some training, some tools and resources for you to make use of – and you’ll all get to publish your app(s) by the end of the month into the Windows Store.
Take advantage of some of your time off of studying – make something amazing happen and get a chance to work with us at our headquarters. Besides, it’ll probably only rain anyway.
So in a nutshell
What do I need?
How do I sign up?
Click here to register!
Registering does not guarantee you a place on this workshop. You will receive an email saying whether you have a place OR not once your application has been looked at.
The registration form will ask you the following key pieces of information:
If you would like to participate BUT cannot make the 6th - 8th August email be sure say no to the ‘I will join you in TVP’ option and we’ll see what other opportunities there are down the line.
We look forward to working with you in August!
Terms and Conditions...
If we accept you onto this programme:
The below post was written by our very own @Lee_Stott after realising that students often don’t know what’s out there for them to use! Enjoy!
For the past few months we have been running a number of Phone Camps across the UK and judging from all the questions and comments in relation to "Metro" there is clearly a lot of interest and passion around this topic from academics and students.
So I thought I would share with you all a quick set of resources for Windows Phone Development.
Consumer site www.windowsphone.com
AppHub – Developer Site for Windows Phone http://create.msdn.com
Windows Phone YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/windowsphone (Watch Social, App and Web videos)
Windows Phone SDK http://www.DreamSpark.com
Windows Phone UX Guidelines http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh202915(v=vs.92).aspx
Design Templates for Windows Phone 7 http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=196225
Windows Phone Grid http://ux.artu.tv/?p=165
31 Weeks of Windows Phone Metro Design http://ux.artu.tv/?page_id=190
Get started, get the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 (Mango) http://create.msdn.com/en-us/home/getting_started
Silverlight Windows Phone 7.1 (Mango) Toolkit http://silverlight.codeplex.com/releases/view/71550
Microsoft Design .toolbox Tutorials http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/tutorials.aspx
Microsoft Design .toolbox Courses http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/
· Calculator http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/modules.aspx?lid=16&mid=46
· Daily Awesome http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/modules.aspx?lid=17&mid=47
· Air Hockey http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/modules.aspx?lid=18&mid=48
· Golf http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/modules.aspx?lid=19&mid=49
Windows Phone Geek - UX Resources http://www.windowsphonegeek.com/Resources/UX#ux
Jeff Wilcox’s “Metro” design guide for developers, v1.00 http://www.jeff.wilcox.name/2011/03/metro-design-guide-v1/
Quick Spacing, Margin, and Icon Tips for Windows Phone Devs http://www.jeff.wilcox.name/2012/01/metroradio-design/
Full Day Event Windows Phone Design Sessions http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jaimer/archive/2010/08/13/windows-phone-design-day-recordings.aspx
Windows Phone Design Day
Metro | the foundation http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechDays/Tekniset-Esitystallenteet/TechNet-2011-Windows-Phone-UX-osa-1
Metro | the foundation part II http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechDays/Tekniset-Esitystallenteet/TechNet-2011-Windows-Phone-UX-osa-2
Think & Design | sketch, wireframe, prototype, design http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechDays/Tekniset-Esitystallenteet/TechNet-2011-Windows-Phone-UX-osa-3
Refine | Best Practices http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/Design-Day-del-2-Refine-Best-Practices
Build | Building a Windows Phone App Prototype with Expression Blend http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/channel9spain/WINDOWS-PHONE-DESIGN-DAY-OPTIMIZA-Y-CONSTRUYE (Note: this video includes both REFINE and BUILD. BUILD starts at
Windows Phone User Experience Design http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/APP-832T
All Thumbs: Redesigning an Existing UI to Suit Windows Phone 7 http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/OPN02
Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/DVC01
Application Design for Windows Phone http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/DVC02
Windows Phone UI and Design Language (MIX10) http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MIX/MIX10/CL14
Mike Kruzeniski: Personal, Relevant. Connected: Designing Integrated Mobile Experiences for Apps and Web http://www.ixda.org/resources/mike-kruzeniski-personal-relevant-connected-designing-integrated-mobile-experiences-apps-a
How was CocktailFlow Designed? Creating a Beautiful Windows Phone 7 Application http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/techdays-live/creating-a-beautiful-windows-phone-7-application.aspx
Albert Shum Talking about Windows Phone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD8MqWvARfA
ReMIX South 2011 Keynote with Albert Shum and Arturo Toledo http://www.vimeo.com/27800521
Silverlight TV 81: Four Great Windows Phone UX Tips http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/SilverlightTV/Silverlight-TV-81-4-Great-Windows-Phone-UX-Tips
Silverlight TV 69: UX and Perceived Performance of WP7 Apps http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/SilverlightTV/Silverlight-TV-69-UX-and-Perceived-Performance-of-WP7-Apps
Silverlight TV 83: Using Wireframes to Visually Communicate a Windows Phone Experience http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/SilverlightTV/Silverlight-TV-83-Using-Wireframes-to-Visually-Communicate-a-Windows-Phone-Experience
Silverlight TV 75: Quick and Dirty UX Testing (Design Tips Mini Series) http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/SilverlightTV/Silverlight-TV-75-Quick-and-Dirty-UX-Testing-Design-Tips-Mini-Series
Silverlight TV 78: Designing Tiles and Splash Screens for Windows Phone (Design Tips Mini Series) http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/SilverlightTV/Silverlight-TV-78-Designing-Tiles-and-Splash-Screens-for-Windows-Phone-Design-Tips-Mini-Series
Inside Windows Phone #24 - User Experience for Windows Phone Apps http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Inside+Windows+Phone/Inside-Windows-Phone-24-User-Experience-for-Windows-Phone-Apps
Windows Phone Design Team @wpdesignteam http://www.twitter.com/wpdesignteam
Windows Phone @windowsphone http://www.twitter.com/windowsphone
Mike Kruseniski Blog http://mkruzeniski.posterous.com/ Twitter @mkruzeniski http://twitter.com/mkruzeniski
Corrina Black, Windows Phone Design Lead for Developer Experience @corrinab http://twitter.com/corrinab
Arturo Toledo, UX Designer Developer Experience @arturot http://ux.artu.tv http://twitter.com/arturot
Windows Phone Design Twitter List http://twitter.com/#!/arturot/windows-phone-design
You may have seen the recently released Consumer Preview of Windows 8, giving you a taste of what our new Operating System has to offer. You may have also downloaded the developer preview or seen some of the sessions from our BUILD conference.
Getting started with Windows 8
This spring we’re running a series of overview sessions for developers across the UK. Join us to get the inside story on how best to take advantage of these opportunities and get ahead of the game on your app building.
Now whilst these are aimed at Professional Developers I think you as students would benefit as well. Here are the initial events and I’ll keep you informed as we do more activity around Windows 8
We know you love the way Windows Phone puts People First. Do you want to win one? Course you do! We have put together a competition for those people who like writing Apps for mobile devices. With our latest programme, only available to students aged 16 or over in the UK, we want to encourage you to write lots of Apps and submit them via App Hub into the Marketplace.
For EVERY app you write, during the periods of the competition, (see the detailed terms and conditions here) you’ll have a chance to win one of 100 Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phones. We also want to reward those who write top quality Apps so we are complimenting the random prize draw with a judged competition, the top prize being a trip to our offices to spend a day honing your skills and your Apps with our deep technical experts.
Putting it simply
To enter the competition you simply need to register with your LiveID, App Hub Publisher name, preferred contact email address and mobile phone number and that’s it. Obviously you then need to publish Apps to have a chance of winning.
Hi everyone! My name is Natasha Joseph and I have just joined the Academic Team at Microsoft. Although I have only been here just over a week, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere different for this year, and am really excited to get going. In writing this blog, I want to give you an insight into what it’s like at Microsoft and give all those young students out there, a few helpful hints on how you could successfully get yourself an internship here, just like me.
For the past two years I have been studying at Exeter University doing Business Management, with the dream of one day becoming a successful manager in marketing. Some may be questioning, ‘what is a girl who is doing business, with no particular technical experience, doing at Microsoft!?’
This is where I want to begin…
When first visiting the offices, I was guilty of those typical Microsoft misconceptions; I was expecting a load of tech geeks in suits, however my whole perception of the place that day changed and I fell in love. The place is relaxed and full of colour, the technology available is far beyond my previous comprehension, the offices are slick and fashionable and the whole lifestyle here is just so forwards moving. I remember leaving that day thinking, ‘WHEN CAN I START!?’ It was perfect and everything I wanted in a workplace. Best of all, I could genuinely imagine myself fitting into the Microsoft community. And that is just what Microsoft is like… a tight knit community and family, a quality that most big corporates lack.
I won’t lie and say that anyone can get a job at Microsoft, but it is justifiable to say that an employee can come from anywhere. The diverse ranges of people within these buildings are just amazing, and I can honestly say that everyone here truly fits in. Whether you are a lover of consulting, a great communicator and networker or a person who prefers a role helping to develop the most innovative of technologies, there is a place for you here. Not only that, but all the work done here is truly meaningful, with every employees making a real difference. That is a quality that really attracted me, as I really wanted a lot of responsibility, and a chance to own my own projects, and that is just what I have been given.
However, the process to get this internship and any job here is not for the faint hearted, as there are a lot of stages in order to get to the final few. These include; application forms, online tests, telephone interviews and assessment centres. I would say to anyone who wishes to apply, that firstly make sure this is the place for you, check it is the culture you want in a workplace, and that there is a role or department you are really interested in (although the HR team here is really good at figuring out how well and where you could fit.) Secondly, at all stages of the application process, BE YOURSELF AND BE HONEST! There is nothing worse than someone who pretends to be a certain way, and then comes to a place which they may not really enjoy. Lastly, I would recommend to really do your research, as you want to love the place you are working in. As I started delving more and more into the world of Microsoft and the sheer range of AMAZING products and services they have to offer, it soon became hard not to love.
If I could leave everyone with one message, it would be to encourage people to apply for jobs here. If you are in the same position as I was just a few months ago, and are looking at companies to work for, this is truly an opportunity of a lifetime and I feel really lucky to have been offered it. I couldn’t speak more highly of the benefits and rewards you can get from working at Microsoft. It is an incredible place to work and I am now a real MICRO-LOVER!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Tashjoseph66, and anyone who has any questions can email me at email@example.com. Keep in touch!
Hi there, my name is Lucas Courtney and I’m a student of Gameplay design and Production at Staffordshire University. Entering into my third year at the university I came to the point where I had to decide what subject or problem my dissertation would look to focus on – which in an industry as varied as that of Games can be quite a daunting task. So I began looking back and thinking what developments have excited me most over the years and came up with the release of Microsoft’s Kinect.
This technology promised whole new methods of human-computer interaction, theoretically allowing designers such as myself to help bend and break the boundaries further and further with whole new arrays of mechanics and features. Over time however, I felt it proved less and less with its catalogue of sports and party games how far the system was able to show us new ground, creating that all important question –what’s causing the problem? Thinking about this I came up with a theory, by relying only on gesture based mechanics for gameplay the boundaries pushed forward become coupled with new ones being erected directly behind. So this is how I came to the topic of my study, I aimed to show that by introducing a traditional controller to the motion capture system of the Kinect we can further increase the levels of interactivity available with the system.
This is how I found myself in early September of 2011 downloading Microsoft’s Kinect SDK with a concerned expression on my face. Having only tinkered with XNA the previous summer for a few weeks and with no formal education on the language I felt that I was in for a steep learning curve if I wanted to tinker around with this complicated array of sensors. I quickly discovered however, that the tools provided by Microsoft and the support of the communities surrounding the development of the sensor made this task far easier than I was originally expecting. With only a few lines of code in the provided Visual Studio IDE I was able to pull out skeletal information from the sensors wonderful NUI library and begin designing the test procedures that I would put subjects through. My tests were relatively simple, asking users to take part in an increasingly difficult target shooting exercise and then a tracing exercise which asked subjects to trace over simple images displayed on the screen. Each of these tests were completed with three different control schemes, one where the user used only gesture based controls, another where the subject used only a controller and a third where the subject used a combination of each to complete the tasks. The recorded results for each test were then compared to show which system proves the easiest and most accurate to use.
As you can probably guess yourselves, I’m expecting the standard control system to prove the better control method of the three but more importantly that the combination system proves more effective than that of gestures alone- the preliminary results I’ve recorded so far currently supporting these hypotheses. By showing traditional controllers provide a more accurate interface I hope to show that this system rather than being forgotten, should be better integrated- perhaps with a redesigned controller similar to Nintendo’s Wii Nunchuck which will allow designers for the system more options and leave players less exasperated when trying to perform simple actions such as moving around an environment.
Upon completion of my research I intend on creating an application which better displays the possibilities inherent in combining the two methodologies in the way of a simple first person shooter – the player being able to move around the environment using the controller’s right analogue stick whilst being able to look around the world by locking the player’s camera to a crosshair defined by where the player points at on the screen – similar to that of a light gun. Within this framework I intend on implementing further systems which will display the possibilities created by gesture based mechanics when movement controls are taken away and placed on the controller – such as menu systems, shotgun cocking and possibly even swordplay.
I finish my degree later this year and plan on pursuing a career in the industry as a gameplay designer and scripter. I’m a believer that above all else designers in the games industry must be willing to explore and provide captivating and intuitive mechanics coupled with narratives which better explain and explore the world around us. If you wish to get in touch or follow my research, feel free to find me at www.Codemonkey87.co.uk where I’ll be glad to explain my research further and answer any questions.
We know a lot of you will have thought about Windows 8, maybe downloaded the Consumer Preview from here, and few of you will have taken on the idea of writing an app for Windows 8. We love you all BUT if you are one of the people who want to write an app for Windows 8 we would love to hear from you.
You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your idea, help you get started and get you involved in our programme for people who are writing apps before the product is released. If you’d rather just get started then Mike Taulty’s blog article here gives you a simple step by step guide.