September, 2011

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Microsoft Windows Phone Camps – Powered by UK Tech.Days Fun, Free & Open to all!

    • 8 Comments

    1012_1a_Mango_Start_Phone_English_Red_061011_jpg

    Want to start developing for Windows Phone, but not yet taken the plunge?

    Then this free day of training is the quickest way to find out all you need to know.

    The Windows Phone Camps will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps from scratch. You'll be guided through the development process with a series of hands-on workshops and short tutorials, with some seasoned experts to give you one on one help when you need it. There'll be topics like; Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. Also, there will be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets. There's even an introductory design session to help you make your app look its best. Just pick the workshops that are most useful for you and work at your own pace.

    Once you've got the basics, you’ll be off and running and ready to develop your own apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, and of course there's the all-important opportunity to meet up with likeminded devs.

    The camp kicks off at 9am and finish at 6pm. By registering and attending, you will receive (fanfare please) an exclusive Windows Phone Design Guide Sketch Pad as well as your own customized Hit & Run Windows Phone Camp T-shirt.

    Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!

    Got a question? You might find the answer below...

    How much do I need to know about Windows Phone to attend this camp?

    You don't need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Phone or app development to attend. The purpose of the camp is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Phone app development.

    Who can attend these camps?

    Academics, Students, developers, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about developing apps for Windows Phone.

    How much does it cost to attend this camp?

    Your luck's in - it's FREE.

    What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of this camp?

    There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the camp. This includes bringing your own suitable laptop with the Windows Phone Developer tools installed (these are free), preferably the latest version of the tools.

    It would also be useful if you could read the following documentation:

    If you have a Windows Phone please bring it with you.

    Are you holding these camps elsewhere in the country?

    Yes, this is a series of Windows Phone Camps kicking off around the country. Follow us on Twitter (@ukmsdn) to see where we’re visiting next.

    What if I've registered already and can't make it on the day?

    Please let us know as soon as you can if you can't make the camp as there will be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you've registered and committed. Thanks!

    Who are Hit & Run?

    They're do cool live on-site event screen-printing. You'll get the chance to create your very own t-shirt with your unique design at the end of the camp.

    What’s the Windows Phone Design Sketch Pad?

    In the spirit of highlighting good design, we intend to provide each attendee with an exclusive Windows Phone design sketch pad with Windows Phone design guidelines as well as open spaces and templates to sketch your next big Windows Phone app idea. Great stuff!

    Register at the event of your choice below. Go on. You know you want to.

    London - Saturday 17 September

    Manchester - Saturday 24 September

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Download Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide

    • 2 Comments
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    DevWp7

    I’m pleased to announce that the 1st edition of “Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide” is available to download.

    This e-book is a community effort to capture useful information and learning about building apps on the Windows Phone platform.

    Download Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide

    For more details on this publication and its authors see Mike Ormond's Blog, please feel free to use this book with students and your courses also if you have any comments suggestions or ideas for additional chapters or content please post your feedback on Mike’s Blog.

    Happy reading!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    HTML5 and Streaming Media Content

    • 1 Comments

    The following is a quick guide on HTML5 Video and the Microsoft Media Platform, I have recently had a number of question and interest from a  number of UK universities whom are looking at providing streamed media content both on and off campus.

    Microsoft has developed the IE Test Drive Video Format support page to see some examples of how various codecs work across the different browsers.

    Testdrive

    What this means?

    Web developers are generally happy to leave their existing solution in place to play their pre-existing video/audio content using plugins. However many are now supplementing these plugins with the HTML5 Video and Audio tag if the browser is able to play their particular codec of choice natively. This is ideal as the most popular mobile platforms H.264, AAC and MP3 are generally well supported using the HTML5 video and audio tags.

    How Do You Get Started?

    clip_image004

    The Microsoft Media Platform (MMP) frameworks are the glue that holds together individual pieces of the Microsoft end-to-end media solution.

    Are the services scalable?

    Microsoft MMP  is the the video platform that sits behind the Rugby World Cup 2011 event.

    The Microsoft Media Platform: Player Framework (that is licensed for commercial use under the Microsoft Public License Ms-PL) has recently added a preview of support for HTML5 (API Documentation) that enables you as web developers to compliment the Silverlight player framework with a HTML5 video experience that enables you to reach additional mobile platforms.

    Commercial Software offerings

    There are a number of commercial solutions available that do all the work for you.

    Example of these include

    JW Player™ (licensed for commercial use)

    SublimeVideo® (Player as a Service).

    What if You Want to use your Own Player or existing solution?

    It is surprisingly easy to utilise your own video solution using the default browser controls and codecs that the browser supports. The markup below shows what you need to play a video in HTML5 with a “Fall Back” to an unlisted video on YouTube.

    image

    Configuration considerations

    1. Video MIME types supported

    Cross Browser HTML5 video running under IIS

      Video Formats supported -

      • m4v,
      • mp4,
      • webm,
      • ogg,
      • wmv,
      • swf fallover.

    The order of your markup does matter please list them as above

    Add in the MIME Types support to IIS.

      Under IIS 7+ this is found under Website -> IIS -> MIME Types, and you’ll want to add:

      File name extension / MIME type:

      • .webm – “video/webm”
      • .ogg - “application/ogg”
      • .ogv - “video/ogg”
      • .mp4- “video/mp4″
      • .m4v - “video/m4v”

    Turn off Compression under Website -> IIS -> Compression, and unchecking “Enable dynamic content compression”, and “Enable static content compression

    Using Microsoft Azure Service

    Azure Storage Explorer also allows you to do this on individual files. of one of the following formats:

    • .mp4 - “video/mp4″
    • .m4v - “video/m4v”
    • .webm - “video/webm”
    • .ogg - “application/ogg”
    • .ogv - “video/ogg”
    • Set these in the web.config

    Video Fall-back settings

    • Fall-back content (like the YouTube example above) is only displayed by browsers that do not support the <video> tag.
    • If the browser supports the video tag but cannot play any of the media types that you have requested the fall-back code won’t fire. In this case you need to use JavaScript to detect this scenario using the canPlayType() method and provide fall-back content as shown in the example below.

    image

    3. Byte Range Requests (seeking)

    • Content should be served from a HTTP 1.1-compatible web server to enable seek ahead to the end of the video.
    • If you server is not HTTP 1.1-compatible (e.g. Azure Storage) you must encode the video with key index frames in the file & not at the end so that seek ahead still works. The “H.264 YouTube HD” profile in Expression Encoder 4 Pro does this.
    • Also note that if the video file is gzipped seeking won’t work. Since with most codecs the video/audio data is already compressed, gzip/deflate won't actually save you much bandwidth anyway.
    • IIS also supports Bit Rate Throttling to save you bandwidth on the server side when delivering video content.

    What’s next for HTML5 Video?

    There are currently a few key areas not addressed by the current W3C Video Standard (full screen support, live streaming, real time communication, content protection, metadata and accessibility). Recently the W3C Web and TV Workshop discussed some of these areas and offered some early thinking on how they may be adopted as web standards in the future.

    A real issues is the lack of a solution for live and adaptive streaming. Currently there are three proprietary solutions that support live and adaptive streaming.

    Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) is currently in Draft International Standard. It looks likely that it will get W3C support if it is offered royalty free.

    DASH supports:

    • Live, on-demand and time-shifted content delivery and trick modes
    • Splicing and ad insertion
    • Byte-range requests
    • Content descriptors for protection, accessibility and rating

    Access to beta test and learn more about HTML5 media services?

    HTML5Labs is where Microsoft prototypes early and unstable specifications from web standards bodies such as W3C. Sharing these prototypes helps Microsoft have informed discussions with developer communities to provide better feedback on draft specifications based on this implementation experience.

    On the labs site Microsoft has released a Media Capture Audio Prototype that implements the audio portion of this W3C specification. The next prototype will support Speech recognition and will implement the Microsoft proposal available on the W3C website.

    Overall Conclusion

    If you are hosting progressive download video and audio on the web you should be looking to support HTML5 video and audio today to extend the reach of your content.

    Useful Resources

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Azure updates and announcements

    • 0 Comments

    Appfabric thumbAzure_thumbnailAzureMarket

    Last week at the Microsoft Windows BUILD event, a number of announcements in relation to Windows Azure were made.These announcements included the following, the release of the Azure toolkit for Windows 8, availability for Bing service APIs (including translation) internationally, a new Azure SDK , updates to Azure management capability and much more.

    Here is a list of some of the key announcements:

    For more details see Windows Azure Marketplace technical details and at the Windows Azure blog here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting up to speed with JavaScript & HTML5

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    How does one get started? Here is a four-step program:

    The fundamentals. If you are looking to get started with the fundamentals, you may want to start online with JavaScript Tutorial. If books are more your speed, you should definitely start with Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke which is available in digital form as well for free.

    Next steps to the next level. Once you have the fundamentals under your belt, you should begin checking out the following videos:

    Did you know Internet Explorer has a JavaScript de-minifier? Ever been frustrated when you view source on a JavaScript file only to be frustrated that whitespacing and tabs have been removed? If you are in Internet Explorer and press F12, it will bring up the Developer Tools. On the Script tab, select the Script file you would like to view which will show you the file:

    clip_image003

    You can then click on the Configuration button and Select “Format JavaScript” and you will see the script in its un-minified state.

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    Today, there are more layout options available to us. For example, we can use CSS3 Media Queries to define styles based not on the actual browser being used, but the precise device capabilities being used to view our site. Media Queries is just one option, but we now are beginning to add other layout items to our arsenal with things such as CSS3 Flexible Box (“Flexbox”) Layout, CSS3 Grid Alignment, CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Positioned Floats. If you are interested in learning more about layout options, check out:

    · IE 10: The Future of Adaptive Web Design

    · The future of CSS Layouts

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure Training Course

    • 0 Comments

    This Resource Kit contains samples that demonstrate HPC application types and concepts shown in the article "Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure Application Models and Data Considerations". This new version of the resource kit includes samples that demonstrate the new features of the HPC Pack 2008 R2 SP2, including using the Message Passing Interface (MPI) on Windows Azure nodes, and the HPC Job Scheduler's representational state transfer (REST) API.

    Download Offline Training Kit

    Target Audience

    This training kit is intended for use by academic whom wish to learn how to use the Azure burst scenario, which is described in the article Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

    Technical Prerequisites
    Units


    Parametric Sweep

    Parametric sweep provides a straightforward development path for solving delightfully parallel problems on a cluster (sometimes referred to as "embarrassingly parallel" problems, which have no data interdependencies or a shared state that would preclude linear scaling through parallelization). One such problem is the calculation of prime numbers over a large range. Parametric sweep applications run multiple instances of the same program on different sets of input data stored in a series of indexed storage items, such as files on a disk or rows in a database table. Each instance of a parametric sweep application runs as a separate task, and many such tasks can execute concurrently, depending on the amount of available cluster resources.


    SOA

    Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is an architectural style designed for building distributed systems. The SOA actors are services: independent software packages that expose their functionality by receiving data (requests) and returning data (responses). SOA is designed to support the distribution of an application across computers and networks, which makes it a natural candidate for scaling on a cluster. The SOA support provided by Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 is based on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), a .NET framework for building distributed applications. Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 improves SOA support by hosting WCF services on Windows Azure nodes in addition to the on-premises nodes.


    Excel Offloading

    The execution of compute-intensive Microsoft Excel workbooks with independent calculations can sometimes be scaled using a cluster. The integration of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 with Windows Azure supports User Defined Function (UDF)-offloading. Excel workbook calculations that are based on UDFs defined in an XLL file can be installed on the cluster’s nodes (on-premises and/or Windows Azure). With the XLL installed on the cluster, the user can perform the UDF calls remotely on the cluster instead of locally on the machine on which the Excel workbook is open.


    Message Passing Interface (MPI)

    Message Passing Interface (MPI) is a platform-independent standard for messaging between HPC nodes. Microsoft MPI (MS MPI) is the MPI implementation used for MPI applications executed by Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2. Integration of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 with Windows Azure supports running MPI applications on Windows Azure nodes.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows HPC with burst to Windows Azure - Code Samples now available

    • 0 Comments

    HPC

    windowsAzureLogo

    Windows® HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 enables administrators to increase the power of the on-premises cluster by adding computational resources in Windows Azure.

    With the Windows Azure “burst” scenario, various types of HPC applications can be deployed to Windows Azure nodes and run on these nodes in the same way they run in on-premises nodes.

    Were please to announced the availability of a selection of code samples which can be download for free, the samples include:

    • Parametric sweeps
      • CPU spinner
      • Image rendering on Renderman files (console client)
      • Image rendering on Renderman files (Windows Phone 7 client) - New!
      • BLAST - New!
    • SOA
      • Square Service
      • Asian Options service
      • Word-association service - New!
    • MPI
      • Pi (π) Calculator - New!
      • Tachyon ray-tracing - New!
    • Excel
      • Asian Options UDF

    The download also includes the AzureBlobCopy utility that is mentioned in the paper. This utility helps you copy files to and from Azure Storage, Azure Nodes, and on-premises computers.

    Note: Code samples that were added in the September 2011 update are denoted as "New!". MPI samples are supported on Azure Nodes that are deployed on a Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 cluster that has Service Pack 2 installed.

    There are also technical articles which provide technical overview of developing HPC applications that are supported for the Windows Azure burst scenario. The article addresses the application models that are supported, and the data issues that arise when working with Windows Azure and on-premises nodes, such as the proper location for the data, the storage types in Windows Azure, various techniques to upload data to Windows Azure storage, and how to access data from the computational nodes in the cluster (on-premises and Windows Azure). Finally, this article describes how to deploy HPC applications to Windows Azure nodes and how to run these HPC applications from client applications, as well as from the Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 SP1 job submission interfaces.

    Download the files

    The links in this section correspond to files available for this download. Download the files from below or visit http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=12006.

    File Name Size
    HPCAzureBurstCodeSamples.zip 60.0 MB Download
    HPCAzureBurstSampleData.zip 130.0 MB Download
    WindowsHPCBurstToAzureApps.docx 379 KB Download
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Preparation for Build Windows useful links and URLs

    • 2 Comments

    build_logo

    So its now only a few days until the Build Windows conference, BUILD takes place between 13th – 16th of September 2011.

    The event has been total sold out for many months. I have to say I am pretty excited!  why?  I am lucky enough to be attending the event.  As your aware from my previous posts Build Windows is a new event that shows modern hardware and software developers how to take advantage of the future of Windows. So make sure you take note of the URLs and twitter addresses below to learn how the new Windows 8 UI is being designed to work seamlessly with a diversity of devices and form factors.

    BUILD will be the first place to take a dive deep into the future of Windows. Microsoft is extending its newest developer event Build Windows globally in multiple ways including live streamed keynotes, having a major international presence in Anaheim. So it want to learn about the future of Windows make sure you take a look at the following..

    BUILD Conference Site - http://www.buildwindows.com/

    BUILD Conference Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/bldwin make sure you follow @bldwin

    BUILD Conference Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Build/156095381124816

    Building Windows 8 Blog - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/

    Building Windows 8 Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/BuildWindows8 make sure you follow @BuildWindows8

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Web developers will be able to easily leverage their HTML5 skills to target Windows Phone.

    • 0 Comments

    If your not really a phone app developer or if you don't have curricula aimed at a specific mobile platform, you may want to look at the opportunity of the PhoneGap libraries.

    PhoneGap

    So what is PhoneGap?

    PhoneGap is an open source mobile framework that enables developers to build applications targeting multiple platforms, by using standard web technologies (HTML5, CSS and JavaScript). On Windows Phone Mango PhoneGap leverages the new HTML5 support provided by IE9.

    PhoneGap is currently in beta, but does includes most of the basic features, and includes JavaScript APIs to use Windows Phone Mango features like:

    • Access Device Information (UDDI and stuff)
    • Add and search Contacts
    • Connection status (network / wifi connection status)
    • Alerts/Notification (alert and confirm)
    • Media Capture (Image and Audio)
    • Camera
    • Accelerometer
    • Geolocation

    Here’s a screen shot of the PhoneGap Unit Test application running on the Windows Phone emulator:

    PhoneGapTestApp

    This is a new option to build applications targeting Windows Phone and gives your students more choices . PhoneGap is unique as its aimed at Web developers and simply allows them to leverage their HTML5 skills to target Windows Phone IE9 browser.

    The beta version of the PhoneGap libraries can be downloaded from: https://github.com/phonegap/phonegap-wp7

    Additional Resources

    For more details and information please read Nitobi’s blog post to get more details on how the whole process works. With the availability of Windows Phone developer tools, made available freely via DreamSpark to all students and academics and the fact that Windows Phone Mango Released to Manufacturing and developer tools hitting “Release Candidate”, it’s the perfect time to start trying this out.

    So please get developing  give feedback and join the PhoneGap open source project.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TechDays.Online FREE ONLINE Training in October 2011–REGISTER NOW

    • 0 Comments

    I am pleased to announce a series of free Tech.Days Online Conferences for academic and student developers.

    Tech.Days online conferences simply give you access to hand-picked video content and technology training from our UK team, and the chance to get involved online, listen to speakers and ask our panel questions Live.

    windowsAzureLogo

    Windows Azure Online Conference / Tuesday 4 October, 3-5pm

    Register for this event here / Click here for more details

    If you are just getting started with cloud computing with Windows Azure, this is the perfect starting point for you This online conference will help you get over any initial stumbling blocks, so you can quickly be productive in this new environment.

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    Windows Phone Online Conference / Wednesday 5 October, 3-5pm

    Register for this event here / Click here for more details

    We’ll help you familiarise yourself with different aspects of designing for Windows Phone, including the philosophy behind Metro and Application design. You don’t need any experience of Windows Phone development, you just need an interest in developing phone apps.

    IE9logohtml5

    Internet Explorer Online Conference / Thursday 6 October, 3-5pm

    Register for this event here / Click here for more details

    In this conference we’ll discuss the difference between a website and a web application. You’ll also learn about HTML5 features that allow applications to do more than is currently possible with just AJAX and HTML 4. In-depth web development experience isn’t necessary you just need to be keen to build your knowledge of the different aspects of IE9.

    How do you Register?

    1. Register simply click on the link for the Tech.Days Online Conference above.

    2. View content - Once you’ve registered you will be sent an email highlighting the video and white paper content to view and digest before the day of your online conference. This hand-picked content helps you cut through the clutter of information around your area of interest.

    3. Send questions or points in advance -  the live online conference will be used to address all your comments and questions - whether they’re sent in advance or asked live.

    4. Attend your live online conference - Join the conference at the scheduled time using the LiveMeeting platform. This will not simply be a presentation based experience: the first part will be a wrap-up and high level summary of the video content; the second part will be a Q&A session where you can post questions to the panel and interact with peers.

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