Hi All, our Phone Camps are in full swing, and here’s our quick run down on where we’ve already been, where we’ll be going soon, as well as suggested future locations. We’ll keep updating the locations and dates so favourite this page and keep checking back :)
Abertay, Dundee 9/11/11
Newport, Wales 10/11/11
Kings College London 25/01/12
Cardonald College, Glasgow 09/02/12
Reid Kerr 10/02/12
Liverpool Hope 15/02/12
Southport College 01/03/12
Ravensbourne College 05/03/12
Imperial College 07/03/12
Coulsdon College 28/03/12
Upcoming Confirmed Events:
Leicester College 23/05/12
Nescot College 25/05/12
Edge Hill (Early June)
Events in Planning:
Suggested locations for future events:
If you would like to get in touch about the Phone Camps, or want to know more about getting your phone apps published, then email us at UKStu@microsoft.com
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.
Got a Windows Phone App in development? We have 20 phones to give away to students aged 16 or over in full time education at a UK Educational Institution.
You must have registered on AppHub using your DreamSpark login credentials. You then need to complete this form and email it back to us at email@example.com. First 20 complete entries get the phones!
If you are under 18 then email us on firstname.lastname@example.org as there is a way to get you onto the system with parental “approval”
Please note: this offer is limited to a total of 20 phones to be given away as per this blog entry. By signing the form you agree to return the phone, at your expense and via recorded delivery, to the address below if your app is not published in MarketPlace by December 23rd. If you have already received, or are due to receive a Windows Phone from us through another programme you are not eligible for this offer. One phone per student.
Phil Cross, Microsoft Ltd, Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1W
An article by David Easton, click here to see the original post.
Since Windows 8 was released, it has been one of the most controversial and most talked about operating systems, partly due to how it takes away what most Windows users are used to using and brings in a completely new mind-set. I have been able to experience a time when Windows 98 existed, Windows 2000 then I spent the majority of my time on Windows XP in my High school (even when 7 was released). I completely skipped Vista and finally got Windows 7, what a wonderful operating system, but then Windows 8 came out and it was…confusing at best. I got the preview build on my Samsung non-touchscreen laptop, it was pretty hard to use at first but the keyboard short cuts helped and I just assumed it was much better to use the OS on touch screens and I summarised ‘Windows 8 is good, but really it was made for touchscreens I believe”.
Now that I purchased my Lenovo Yoga laptop, I now realise just how much I was missing.
With the portability of my new laptop (my old one was…pretty big and I couldn’t take it anywhere, stupid purchase decision), it helped me realise how wonderful Windows 8 can be with the touch controls and all of its capabilities, with my old laptop I was still stuck in the Dogma that I needed the start button, I would shy away from the Metro UI and go straight to desktop, it even came to a point I used a add-on start button to add in the old features, kind of embarrassing now that I think about it, I realise now that the removal of the old start button could not have been better. I have everything I need and more on my start screen, it allowed me to maximise my productivity and creativity, as a designer and developer my time is valuable and having access to all of my tools with a few key strokes is amazing and helps you feel much more in control of the system.
And this was on Windows 8, on Windows 8.1 , an update I managed to received a few days ago through MSDN (thank you again Microsoft, always being awesome), it allowed me to check out what I had been missing in the 8.1 preview and more. And whilst it isn’t a ground shaking update to the system, it improved lots of little things and added in fantastic features that make this operating system more ideal for everything I do.
The sidebar/startmenu that slides in from the right is an integral part to the experience and it is a fantastic idea that no matter what app you are on, you are able to access the settings, share app contents and search for things in an app in the same place. Microsoft also makes it easy for developers to take advantage of the extra Windows 8 functionality in their development process.
So I am going to summarise the different sections so it doesn’t feel like a wall of text and you can skip what you don’t want to read.
The main start screen.
In less than an hour, I set up my start screen the way I wanted it. I tried to think of the best way to integrate all the stuff I use onto this ‘dashboard’, one awesome thing about Windows 8 is that if you use an address that already has contacts/calendar, they all sync straight away on your account, so on there you can see live people notifications, tweets and I have set up my various email accounts which is awesome for getting all my mail and keeping up to date with instant notifications.
In Windows 8 it allowed me to manage all my apps and favourites well but on 8.1 you can modify the size of all your apps and so I can make ones that are important, very noticeable and others smaller, this is all trial and error because I wanted my home screen to look aesthetically pleasing whilst offering me all of my quick-links to everything I might need.
As a Creative Cloud member I have access to all of Adobe’s wonderful apps, I have been able to neatly tidy these all in one space with their own group name. Some of the apps are only found on the web and Internet explorer gives you a great feature that allows you to add websites to your start screen, a fantastic addition, as you can see I have Kuler and Edge web fonts in there as well. (At the moment my OCD to keep things neat is bugging me because I still have 2 little slots to fill on the right hand side there on the adobe stuff). You can see on the right I have the game I am working on as a wide tile, with Visual studios and the map maker ‘tiled’ with it, this way I have all the tools bundled together when I need them. I have yet to download office again, an amazing must-have for me, because when I installed this update I could only keep my files so downloading all the software is a work-in-progress at the moment.
I even set up a little ‘inspiration’ group where I put links to great sites that allow me to take a break and try to jog my mind and be productive, though I access these links sparingly, I don’t rely on them everytime I find my self with a ‘creative block’. These links are just there to remind me that I have those at my disposal. You see that is another reason I have this set up, the internet is massive, you know that already and so its easy to lose some of your favourite links if you are always discovering new things. Your bookmarks can fill up fast and you forget what tools you have, in this instance, I have my main apps and shortcuts that let me know what I have straight from the start screen. Also I have rainymood.com on there because I JUST LOVE RAIN. I am a Pluviophile, a lovely word I learnt the other day.
And finally, speaking of rain, my background is a fantastic photo (I couldn’t find the source to thank the owner), but it is actually my desktop background and whilst a subtle feature it is one of my favourite additions, when I go from Desktop to Start, it feels inter-connected. That these two systems aren’t separate, they come together seamlessly and its a big thing for me, to see that wonderful background when I switch between the two states. Maybe it is just me, but I do love it. So now I am going to discuss the apps.
I assume the very reference to that browser makes many people scoff and immediately tell others how much better other browsers are, as a web developer myself I understand the short comings of Internet Explorer (what a lot of people don’t realise OTHER browsers have flaws too, yet IE gets most of the hate from the public). Well If you feel a little open minded you might be surprised to hear that Microsoft are making sure that people who may have not been a fan of past iterations are having less and less to complain about with Internet Explorer 11, I prefer to use the desktop version however the touch app is also amazing and is something I need more time to spend on. I am using it as my default browser now, mostly due to how well it runs and how it looks, I got sick of Google Chromes massive search bar.
Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch this amusing ad Microsoft made for their browser;
Despite that, a lot of people do still hate IE relentlessly but some people never change.
A new app that comes with 8.1, a very nice feature for people that like to read a lot of articles. Essentially if any of you ever used ‘Pocket’ on android, it is the same kind of deal, if you find an article you really want to read but don’t have time to at the moment, you can save it to your reading list by simply going to your side-menu and ‘sharing’ it with your reading list, on the app all your shares are available to read and it dates them to when they were added. A pretty great feature I will have more fun with later.
A previous app from Windows 8, it is more deeply integrated into the system and it is a wonderful addition to the OS, it makes it very easy to access, add and remove files on the cloud from your file explorer.
Zune was a cool piece of software but Xbox music takes it to the next level, I have used quite a lot of music players before but none of them match just how intuitive and easy this app makes music selection and playback. The best part of the app is that its integrated with the sound, so if I am in the middle of some work with the app playing in the background with a song on, if I wanted to change that song I just need to press the volume button and it shows up with the volume with the addition of the current track with music player options and the album cover. I can pause or change tracks which is fantastic. Many of the other players I have done this before but it was a ‘always on top of other programs’ thing that is always on screen and is a bit distracting. Xbox music gets it right and oh, did I mention there are millions of songs to listen to apart from your own library? Yeah, that is pretty awesome. It also has a beautiful design, might I add.
The scope of Windows 8
Windows 8 was not just envisioned as a OS standing by itself, Microsoft have a brilliant vision that connects their Windows Phones, Xbox consoles and Windows 8 together and it is such a powerful concept that, for example on the way back from University, I might want to play some Battlefield, but I want a cool playlist to go with it, so on the bus home I can go on my Windows Phone, check out the Xbox Music app, put a playlist together and then once I get home, I go on the Xbox and the playlist is already there, ready to play as I game, then later on I decide I want to listen to that playlist on my laptop as I work, it is also there. The fact that nothing needs to be singled out on a certain platform is amazing, because despite all 3 devices being so very different yet offer core features, is fantastic and I could start talking about Xbox Smartglass, that connects a tablet to your xbox but I will stop there.
Whilst I have missed out many features and there is a lot more to discover with this update, I absolutely adore Windows 8.1, it is early days and yet I am building it up around me to be my personalised work space that allows me to maximise my efficiency as a developer, designer and as a well-informed human on all the latest news and social updates about my peers.
And the fact is, this is just the beginning of a large vision, its been a hard road to get there, but Microsoft listen very closely to its consumers, it completely changed its vision for the Xbox One (which in some ways, was a shame in my opinion). They try to do their best to offer the best experiences that can only be found on Windows, whilst I am a massive fan of other operating systems, I believe Microsoft nailed 8.1 and hopefully the adoption of the OS should rise when people realise the potential it brings to the table.
Thanks so much for reading, I hope it was a rather informative article and if you have any questions, send them to my askbox on my blog!
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!
Session links now available!
We held a TechDays online conference, Build an App for That, last Thursday where attendees, including students, enjoyed demo-rich sessions designed to help with building applications for the browser, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 7. We now have all the recordings of the sessions available on the agenda links below (we are still waiting for two recording to be put live). If you did attend we’d love to hear your feedback so we can make it even better next time. Please take a couple of minutes to fill in our feedback form
At the same time the Academic Team ran an online session for Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs). The UK MSPs were a really active bunch tweeting a lot on the #uktechdays tag and being really positive and constructive where criticism was required! There may be an MSP at your University. Don’t forget, you can get hold of a lot of the technology from DreamSpark or perhaps check out if your department has signed an MSDN AA agreement.
Applications with Windows and HTML
Applications in Silverlight Introduction
Applications in Silverlight in-depth
15.00 – 15.45
Keynote – Microsoft & The Client Landscape, Mark Quirk
15.45 – 16.30
The Bluffer’s Guide to Expression Blend, Jon Harris
10 minute break
16.40 – 17.25
Modern Windows Applications
Silverlight Platform Overview
WCF RIA Services
User Interfaces with Touch
Silverlight for Windows Phone 7 Overview
Architectural Patterns with MVVM and RIA Services
18.20 – 19.05
Using HTML5 and CSS3 Today
Silverlight for LOB Apps
Creating Silverlight Apps with PRISM
19.05 – 19.50
Internet Explorer 9
Silverlight and Multi-Tier Apps
Premium Media Experiences with Silverlight
The developer Team here selected the following as their picks– do you agree? Let us know what you liked most by posting a comment below.
1. Expression Blend training
2. SketchFlow video
3. Great blog about software design and user experience
4. A fun way to learn about building Silverlight applications with Expression
5. Multi-touch input in Silverlight
6. Building modern Windows applications and more information on WPF (Mike T's content)
Developer conferences are impressive events but are normally
expensive to attend, either money or time.
The Microsoft Professional
Developers Conference (PDC) was no exception until this year!
Instead of going thousands of miles to the US you can join
us on October 28th at one of 7 university locations around the UK for students
interested in leading edge technologies and for professional developers who
want to watch and listen to Microsoft Executives via High Definition Live
Streaming direct from the US.
Since 1991, the PDC has been the centre for students,
developers and architects to gather and hear about the next generation of
Microsoft technologies. This year will be no exception and for the first time
you are invited!
The live streaming of the keynote sessions will be top and
tailed with local UK Microsoft staff and NACUE members to help answer any
questions and manage the local interactive online Q&A! The keynotes detail
the direction Microsoft is heading and will this year focus on Client &
Devices, Cloud Services, and Frameworks & Tools. Following this event
there will be more detailed sessions available for you to watch one line from
Our local sessions will let you engage with like-minded
students and developers to learn about our new technology developments.
Visit the registration sites for more detail and a full
London South Bank University
University of Nottingham
King's College London - http://pdckcl.eventbrite.com/
Cambridge University - http://pdccambridge.eventbrite.com/
University of Surrey - http://pdcsurrey.eventbrite.com/
University of Hertfordshire - http://pdcherts.eventbrite.com
University - http://pdcmanchester.eventbrite.com
University of Southampton - http://pdcsouthampton.eventbrite.com
If you can't make one of those venues and you're
near our offices in Reading, you can stop by here to watch it, too! Details here
Academic Audience Manager
Why aren’t we coming to your Uni!!!! Don’t panic, or get angry….we have a lot more in the pipeline and we want to hear from you. Get in touch via this blog, Facebook, Twitter or email email@example.com and we’ll let you know if your Uni is on the list. If not we can see if we can work something out. If you can get a few people together, preferably developer types and designers, and your faculty will support it we’ll endeavour to get you on the list. The other thing we found out is no one did the pre-work at Dundee so a bit of time was wasted getting everyone to the same level – students eh….
There’s a huge amount of stuff you can do beforehand or in your spare time so if you are not sure where to go then try our specific Windows Phone tab on our Facebook page or the website. Happy coding .
We're going to turn over the blog for another guest blog post - this time we asked people to give us their AppHub success stories, and George rose to the challenge. You can read his post below - and don't forget to submit your apps to the marketplace so that you can earn money, too! Over to you...
Hey there! I'm George Miller, and I am a proud Microsoft Student Partner and Windows Phone developer.
A few days ago I received my first pay out from App Hub from my second app on the market, Bro to Go! An app based on the hit American sitcom, How I Met Your Mother on the CBS network. This is the second app I developed for the Windows Phone 7 platform and the first app I charged for on the marketplace. I chose the platform because I felt it was far more open than my alternative, which was the iPhone App Store, I found coding in Objective C really over complicated than coding in C#, and as a beginner to coding mobile applications it really mattered how easily I could pick up coding for the platform. Being a Mac and PC owner, I had access to both XCode and Visual Studio 2010 and exploring both; Visual Studio was the choice for me, especially when I can use Microsoft Expression Blend for designing my GUI for the app which integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio.
This app was the first app I chose to charge for; having an app already on the market with over a thousand downloads at this point, I decided that I could make some money from developing apps, I knew that charging for an app would lower the download rate considerably so I ‘d have to increase the quality to compensate. I charged the base price for an app, £0.79, thinking I probably wouldn’t reach the pay-out sum but I should try and reach for it. I started the development much like I did for my first app, designed it in Expression Blend and moved across to Visual Studio for the coding. The amount of work a developer puts in to his app and the functionality of the app itself should be related to the price and for my first priced app, I think I chose the correct price band.
A few months later, after only monitoring my first app on the marketplace, it reached over 3,500 downloads I got an email from Microsoft saying I am eligible for my first pay out on my second app. I was amazed, I felt amazing! People liked my work enough that even with a trial version they still want to pay for my app for long term use? It confirmed for me, that this is an amazing platform backed by great people. It was beyond anything I could expect from being a mobile app developer, and even though it’s not the billions you hear about on the news from other famous developers, I felt like I was up there alongside everyone else, contributing to Windows Phone 7.
My advice to anyone else tempted to code for the platform? Play around in Expression Blend and Visual Studio 2010 as much as possible, get a feel for the environment and make anything you like. No matter how trivial, just to learn how. The best thing you can do when trying to make an app you want to publish? Think about something you personally want your phone to do, because if you want it, I can guarantee over a hundred other people want the same thing from their own phone. For me, it wasn’t about the money, it was about the downloads. When I log into AppHub and see thousands of people have downloaded my app, it makes me feel proud of my work. The best thing about it, it is free to do, login to DreamSpark and download all the tools you need; sign into AppHub and you can develop as many apps as you want! P.S: My cumulative downloads stand at over 4,000 now. Seriously try it out!