• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Can the UK be the winners of the Imagine Cup.. again..


    Last year was amazing! we all watch Colinked (SoundSynk) from the University of Exeter pick up the top prize in the WW finals.

    This year, why not finish your week watching live to see if the UK team Vanguard with Ripple - with our very own UK Microsoft Student Partner Danny Brown as the lead developer can win it again for the UK!

    It will be broadcast live here at 4pm 1st August 2014 https://www.imaginecup.com/custom/index/worldfinals#?fbid=l1izHbXZVIX on Friday so lets wish the UK team the best of luck!!

    For more details on this year finalist see https://www.imaginecup.com/Blog/Details/meet-the-imagine-cup-2014-world-finals-teams#?fbid=W37Oxxp64Ps

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Project Siena Beta 3 building an app without programming skills


    Beta3 release of Project Siena. This new release makes it even easier for business experts, business analysts and other app imagineers to create powerful custom mobile apps that are connected to enterprise services, major SaaS, and popular web and social services.

    Siena Beta 3

    The Beta3 release is a major addition to Project Siena’s empowerment of business experts and analysts. Key new functionality includes:

    • One-click read/write connection to Yammer, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Coursera, Bing Search, and Bing Translate.
    • Connections to more types of RESTful services with OAuth 1 and OAuth 2 support.
    • A WADL accelerator for the ecosystem to rapidly create connections to RESTful services – this will be released over the next four weeks.
    • Write back to SharePoint lists.
    • Data visualization through interactive charts.
    • International languages support throughout the UI and in formulas and functions – this will be released over the next four weeks.
    • Across the board improvements, including more control over interactivity and design.

    In Beta2, we introduced the concept, illustrated below, that non-programmers could consume services as easily as using an Excel function. And composing multiple services was just like linking two Excel functions.

    Beta3 takes the ability to work with services to another level, where getting started with key services is now as easy as adding a PowerPoint slide layout to a deck. 

    Please install the latest release of Project Siena from the Windows Store, check out http://microsoft.com/ProjectSiena , watch a tutorial video, download a sample app for inspiration, and then bring your own ideas to life in a Siena

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    CMake for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps


    CMake is a cross-platform project files generator that enables re-use of shared C++ code across multiple IDEs or project systems. An early build of CMake that allows you to target Windows Store and Windows Phone apps is available on CodePlex here.

    The Microsoft Open Technologies have been  working with Kitware and CMake community to incorporate feedback and integrate it soon in the public CMake repository.

    To learn more on using CMake for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps, the team has created a short quick-start exercise (with sample code and installer) that you can try out here. If you are interested, feel free to check out all the labs in the Code2Win Challenge.

    Here is a list of those you can use today to build your Windows Store and Phone apps:

    Boost C++ Libraries
    Kinect SDK

    Here are the latest announcements from Microsoft Open Technologies



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    YoYo GameMaker Studio Resources



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Key Resources


    Icon of devices and checkbox.

    Here a set of quick links for some of the most common asked questions I get re Windows Phone

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cross Platform Mobile Development with Visual Studio


    One of the key goals for today’s developers is how to build an app or game and get it on as many platforms in the short most cost effective way.

    However building rich applications targeting multiple mobile platforms and a variety of devices up to now hasn't been an easy task but with In case you haven’t heard yet, the final release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is also now available.

    This update brings many new features, including tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows apps.

    We now make it easier for developers to undertake a multi-device development in a mobile-first world with the technology of their choice – whether .NET, C++ or JavaScript.

    Visual Studio+ Xamarin

    Microsoft’s partnership with Xamarin has enabled C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices including iOS and Android. Developers using Xamarin and Visual Studio can create native apps taking advantage of the underlying device, with great productivity of C#, and sharing code and libraries between their iOS, Android and Windows applications.

    Visual Studio + Apache Cordova

    Apache Cordova is a popular open source platform. It is a set of device APIs that allow a mobile app developer to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo Mobile or Sencha Touch, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.


    The Visual Studio team has recently announced its tooling support for Apache Cordova. What possibilities does it give? Now developers can use Visual Studio to easily build hybrid apps that run on iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone using a single project based on HTML and JavaScript. Click here for more information.

    Why use Apache Cordova and Visual Studio

    1.Developers can use their existing skills in HTML and JavaScript to create hybrid packaged apps for multiple devices while taking advantage of each device’s capabilities.

    2. These tools support end-to-end development of cross-platform mobile applications targeting Android, iOS, Windows and Windows Phone using Visual Studio.

    3. Project templates are available for both JavaScript and TypeScript, and provide a standard blank Cordova starter project. Developers can pick their HTML/JavaScript framework of choice, whether Backbone and jQuery UI, or Angular.js and Bootstrap, or WinJS.

    4. Projects can be built, deployed, and debugged against a variety of devices, device emulators and web-based mobile simulators. By default, you can use the Apache Ripple Simulator to test your app on a number of emulators.     


    5. By installing and configuring the vsmda—remote npm package on a Mac, you can even build for iOS, deploy to a device via iTunes, or start your app in the iOS Simulator on a Mac right from Visual Studio.

    See here how to get started for free

    If you would like to get started with Cordova for Windows devices, you can refer to the Cordova documentation, or see here what you will need if you are working on a Mac, if you want to develop for Windows Phone 8, or for Windows 8.

    Microsoft and Open Source

    You can read about Microsoft Open Technologies contributions to the project. Here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft ‘IoT’ Internet of Things Developer Program




    About the Windows Developer Program for IoT

    Designed for developers

    This is the first in a series of Internet of Things (IoT) programs for the creation of connected devices.  This program is tailor-made for both makers and Windows developers entering into the IoT space.

    Rapid hardware development

    The accessibility of Arduino combined with the connectivity of Windows.  Quickly iterate and expand on hardware and software designs using existing shields and sketches.

    Windows platform with Visual Studio

    Leverage the Windows platform and its diverse hardware ecosystem. Utilize familiar Win32 programming using best in-class development and debugging tools.

    Open community

    Connect with your fellow developers and share code contributions through GIT. Participate and influence subsequent releases of the SDK.

    Start building



    Learn how you can make great connected things and contribute back to the community.


    Set up your Galileo board and get your project rolling.


    Find a sensor, look at samples, or check out the project the community is building.


    If you're not already a part of the program, sign up here.

    Community resources

    Wiring for Windows

    Visit the Github repository for our open source implementation of the Arduino API set on Windows.

    Stack Overflow: Q&A

    Post questions and see responses about this Developer Program on Stack Overflow.

    Wiring API

    Visit Wiring.org to find a description of the elements that constitute the Wiring framework.

    Follow us on Twitter

    Follow the #winbuilder hashtag on Twitter.

    MSDN: forum

    Post questions and see responses about the Developer Program on the MSDN forums.

    IRC channel

    Listen in or contribute to the live community chat.

    Report bugs

    Review or submit bugs for Microsoft and the community at our Microsoft Connect site.

    YouTube channel

    Watch videos of maker events and community projects.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect V2 Preview SDK now available includes UNITY3D plugin


    This week we released a preview version of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 and began shipping KinectV2 pre order devices to developer around the world.

    Whets New in Kinect V2

    • The new sensor can track as many as six complete skeletons and 25 joints per person.
    • Improved skeletal tracking: The enhanced fidelity of the depth camera, combined with improvements in the software, have led to a number skeletal tracking developments. In addition to now tracking as many as six complete skeletons (compared to two with the original sensor), and tracking 25 joints per person (as compared to 20 with the original sensor).
    • Higher depth fidelity: With higher depth fidelity and a significantly improved noise floor, the v2 sensor gives you better 3D visualization, increased ability to see smaller objects and all objects more clearly, and more stable skeletal tracking.
    • 1080p HD video: The colour camera captures full, beautiful 1080p video that can be displayed in the same resolution as the viewing screen, allowing for a broad range of powerful scenarios. In addition to improving video communications and video analytics applications, this provides a great input on which to build high-quality, augmented reality scenarios, digital signage, and more.
    • New active infrared capabilities: In addition to allowing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor to see in the dark, the new infrared (IR) capabilities produce a lighting-independent view, which makes machine learning or computer-vision–based tasks much easier—because you don’t have to account for or model lighting-based variation. And, you can now use IR and colour at the same time.
    • Wider/expanded field of view: The expanded field of view enables a larger area of a scene to be captured by the camera. As a result, users can be closer to the camera and still in view, and the camera is effective over a larger total area.

    In addition to the new sensor’s key features, the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 includes:

    • Improved skeletal, hand, and joint orientation: With the ability to track as many as six people and 25 skeletal joints per person—including new joints for hand tips, thumbs, and shoulder centre—as well as improved understanding of the soft connective tissue and body positioning—you get more anatomically correct positions for crisp interactions and more accurate avateering.
    • Support for new development environments: New Unity support provides faster, cost-efficient, and high quality support for cross-platform development, enabling developers to build their apps for the Windows Store using tools they already know.
    • Powerful tooling: Thanks to Kinect Studio’s enhanced recording and playback features, developers can develop on the go, without the need to have a Kinect sensor with them at all times. And Gesture Builder lets developers build their own custom gestures that the system recognizes and uses to write code by using machine learning.
    • Advanced face tracking: With significantly increased resolution, applications can capture a face with a 2,000-point mesh that looks more true to life. This means that avatars will look more lifelike.
    • Simultaneous multi-app support: New multi-app support enables more than one application to access a single sensor simultaneously. This means you could have a business intelligence app running at the same time that a training or retail or education experience were running, allowing you to get analytics

    For Game developers, Architects and AR Professional.

    The new SDK 2.0 public preview includes Unity support for faster, cost-efficient, and high quality support for cross-platform development, enabling developers to build their apps for the Windows Store using tools they already know. see online training at http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/Kinect-for-Windows-v2-SDK-and-Unity-3D


    Join our Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn from our experts and jump start your development.

    Key links

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Game Developers Launch New Projects After £225,000 Funding From Creative England



    Today we gathered at Dolby HQ in central London to celebrate UK Indie games developers.

    It was he chance of this years Greenshoots  teams to showcase their brand new games.

    Greenshoots is a programme from Creative England and Microsoft to support start-up game studios with bringing new and exciting game titles to the Windows platforms.

    From underwater shoot ‘em ups and robot-infested puzzle games, to futuristic galaxy battles and crazy golf, the nine selected developers each secured funding of £25,000 to support the development of their new games for mobile and tablet platforms.

    Greenshoots, which also includes workshops and business expertise from Microsoft, Creative England and industry partners, helps new and emerging companies to kick-start development of new intellectual property (IP) and reach a global audience. While developing their title for Windows 8 or Windows Phone, the programme encourages developers to push their game out across all platforms.

    Ian Livingstone CBE, Creative England board member, said: “The UK has a wealth of creative talent that is the driving force behind the booming indie games industry. But in order to scale, these businesses need the right investment and support. I’m delighted that vital funding is being provided by a dedicated team through the Greenshoots programme to meet this urgent need. The resultant games benefiting from this essential funding speak for themselves.”

    Jaspal Sohal, Creative England’s Head of Games and Digital, said: “These fantastic games are exactly what the Greenshoots programme is all about – supporting new and emerging games developers and seeing their ideas come to life. They are a prime example of what can be achieved with the right investment and support. We are proud to have worked with such a talented bunch of games developers whose passion has been evident throughout the whole process. Now get playing!”

    Details of Greenshoots Round 2 will be announced in September.

    Here is a quick video of the games from this years Greenshoot cohort http://youtu.be/X-BVQzgtulg

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building your Windows 8 and Windows Phone Icons – Windows Store Image Generator


    In order to take advantage of the different screen resolutions and pixel densities that your Windows 8 and windows Phone apps will be displayed at, you’ll need to output some of your apps’ bitmap assets at different sizes.

    Why do you have create so many app icons?

    This is simply related to the different in screen sizes, resolutions and pixel densities across devices, read these guidelines for scaling to pixel density.

    Getting Started building Icons

    To create all the required images for the current Windows Store application requires you to generate 44 images at specific sizes and which need to follow a defined naming convention for Window’s resource loader to supply the right image for the right device.

    There a tool

    Check out the Windows Store Image Generator.

    The Window Store Image Generator simply allows you to upload one image which it uses to automatically generate the 44 images your project requires. You can then download them in one ZIP file and drag and drop into your VS project.

    This tool saves at least a couple of hours of pixel resizing!

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