December, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

December, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Learn Windows Azure Next Tuesday (Dec 13th)



    Next Tuesday, Dec 13th 2011 Microsoft will be holding a special Learn Windows Azure training event for developers.

    The Event will provide a great way to learn Windows Azure and what it provides. You can attend the event either by watching it streamed LIVE online.

    Learn Window Azure Event

    cloud power hclip_image001

    During the Learn Windows Azure event attendees will learn how to start building great cloud based applications using Windows Azure.

    The event will contain an overview of Windows Azure, explaining the concepts and the core features and benefits.  There will demos of how to build applications for it using .NET, Visual Studio and the Windows Azure SDK. In addition the event will go into detail on Cloud Data and Storage, how to use the Visual Studio Windows Azure Tools, how to Build Scalable Cloud Applications, and to close there will be an Q&A panel with Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell and Mark Russinovich.

    Register Now for Free

    The free Learn Windows Azure event will start at 9am (PST) on Dec 13th. You’ll be able to watch the entire event live on Channel9 or attend it in person. Both options are completely free.

    • Register now to watch online or attend the event in person for FREE
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Introducing DataMarket–Windows Azure MarketPlace



    Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket, which was first announced as Microsoft Project Codename “Dallas”. The Windows Azure MarketPlace changes the way information is exchanged by offering a wide range of content from authoritative commercial and public sources in a single marketplace. This makes it easier to find and purchase the data you need to power your applications and analytics.


    Find and publish applications and building block services for Windows Azure
    Directory available -

    Data Sets

    The data market is simply a resource for discovering, purchasing, & selling data, Data can be hosted in Windows Azure or by the data provider
    All data available within the Data Market is exposed as OData services, present data providers include:, Navteq, Greg London, etc.
    Directory & Commerce available today -

    So what are the benefits?

    Building an application becomes much simpler. DataMarket provides a single location a marketplace for data where you can search for, explore, try and purchase the data you need to develop an application. It also provides the data to you through a uniform interface, in a standard format (OData—see for more information). By exposing the data as OData, DataMarket ensures your able to access it on any platform (at a minimum, all you need is an HTTP stack) and from any of the many applications that support OData, including applications such as Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2010, which natively supports OData. DataMarket provides a single marketplace for various content providers to make their data available for sale via a number of different offerings (each offering may make a different subset or view of the data available, or make the data available with different terms of use).

    What new UK data is available?

    Were pleased to announce that Open Data web site is publishing the real-time Met Office Weather forecast data into the Windows Azure Datamarket SQL database so this is now accessible by Users/Developers from  either or Windows Azure DataMarket for free.

    · What is already implemented is daily + 5 days weather forecast and hourly – next 3 hrs + 5 days forecast
    · We’re adding Met Office 3rd dataset – raw weather Observation data over the next week
    ·  Access dataset via Windows Azure MarketPlace

    Getting Started with DataMarket

    To get started, you register on DataMarket using a Windows Live ID and log on to the site. From here, you can search through the datasets currently available on the site, viewing the details of each (description, pricing, visualizations, terms of use and so on) to determine which publishers deliver the type of data which best suit your needs. For more details see and

    Selling Data on DataMarket

    Many popular apps and Web sites generate, store and consume large amounts of valuable data. But typically that data is only leveraged within the app for which it was created. With the introduction of WCF Data Services and OData, we had a simple way for developers to expose their data for broader use, offering a data services platform and making it easier for that data to be used not only within the initially intended application, but within third-party apps.

    With DataMarket, there’s a simple opportunity for UK Universities to not only expose that data to apps they build, but also to generate profit by selling data they’re already required to store and maintain. DataMarket is built on Windows Azure and SQL Azure and allows publishers to create datasets for data that they host in SQL Azure. To learn more about how you can become a DataMarket publisher, check out and

    Additionally for the UK Education sector there is a vast amount of open government data available here: which can be used by academics and students whom wish to build or develop applications or services.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Previewing The Windows Store



    Microsoft yesterday revealed some details into the Windows Store


    For those of you who aren't aware of Windows 8 or the announcements of the Windows Store


    Here are some links to enable you to get up to speed;

    Windows Store Announcement video ;

    Application Cert Requirements

    Making Money

    In-App Purchases

    all of those last 3 are linked from “Selling Apps”

    Windows Store for developers blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Samsung Surface 2 SUR40 a bit more about PixelSense


    With Samsung accepting table pre-orders for January delivery and screen production now ramping up, it looks like I will be seeing a lot of the devices within teaching, learning and research in 2012.

    A number of UK universities have now placed pre orders for the SUR40 and it  looks like we may finally be moving towards seeing a consumer Surface table become a reality. Samsung have also announced some bold move looking beyond the Surface, Samsung has also hinted that it's looking for new applications for the PixelSense panels, and wants to "take the lead" in the touch display market.

    Check out the video below, which explains a bit more about how PixelSense works.

    With this technology the future may look like this sooner than expected.

    Download the SDK and find training, documentation, and guidance on the new Surface development center at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Are you teaching Mobile development?


    Which Platform are you teaching?


    Have you spent the time to understand the landscape of device distribution and decide how to prioritize the development of your application training curriculum?

    Are you training or developing your courses to meet specific platform or versions?

    The following pie chart below demonstrates how many different versions of Android are in use. The chart contains information relating to the number of devices and Android version that has accessed Android Market within a 14-day period ending on the data collection date noted below.



    Platform Codename API Level Distribution
    Android 1.5 Cupcake 3 0.9%
    Android 1.6 Donut 4 1.4%
    Android 2.1 Eclair 7 10.7%
    Android 2.2 Froyo 8 40.7%
    Android 2.3 -
    Android 2.3.2
    Gingerbread 9 0.5%
    Android 2.3.3 -
    Android 2.3.7
    10 43.9%
    Android 3.0 Honeycomb 11 0.1%
    Android 3.1 12 0.9%
    Android 3.2 13


    Data collected during a 14-day period ending on November 3, 2011

    So what does all this mean?

    The purpose of this graph is to demonstrate the shear number of versions which you need to support if your developing apps for the Android market, unfortunately from a teaching perspective this casts a number of issues on which version and API to choose.

    With Windows Phone its so much more straight forward

    All Windows Phones must have a particular minimum specification, so these are the very least you can expect to find on a device.

    The Windows Phone specifications ensure that every Windows Phone has a consistent set of features that customers can rely on. This also provides developers with a base set of features they can build rich and creative applications upon.

    • Standard Hardware
    • A common set of hardware controls and buttons that include the Start, Search, and Back buttons.
    • A large WVGA (800 x 480) format display capable of rendering most web content in full-page width and displaying movies in widescreen.
    • Capacitive 4-point multi-touch screens for quick, simple control of the phone and its features.
    • Support for data connectivity using cellular networks and Wi-Fi.
    • 256 MB (or more) of RAM and 8 GB (or more) of flash storage.
    • A-GPS
    • Accelerometer

    Optional Hardware

    • Compass
    • Gyro
    • Primary Camera
    • Front-facing Camera
    It is quite likely that different phone manufacturers will add their particular “take” on the platform, so you will find devices with more memory, faster processors, hardware keyboards and larger screens.

    A key issue with teaching  Android is that you need to develop your application for the version that is at the very top of the chart, then your application is compatible with 100% of active devices (and all future versions), because all Android APIs are forward compatible. Or, if you develop your application for a version lower on the chart, then it is currently compatible with only a % percentage of devices indicated.

    Again a huge issue is the API Support from each device. The following table specifies the API Level supported by each version of the Android platform.

    Platform Version API Level VERSION_CODE Notes
    Android 4.0 14 ICE_CREAM_SANDWICH Platform Highlights
    Android 3.2 13 HONEYCOMB_MR2
    Android 3.1.x 12 HONEYCOMB_MR1 Platform Highlights
    Android 3.0.x 11 HONEYCOMB Platform Highlights
    Android 2.3.4
    Android 2.3.3
    10 GINGERBREAD_MR1 Platform Highlights
    Android 2.3.2
    Android 2.3.1
    Android 2.3
    Android 2.2.x 8 FROYO Platform Highlights
    Android 2.1.x 7 ECLAIR_MR1 Platform Highlights
    Android 2.0.1 6 ECLAIR_0_1
    Android 2.0 5 ECLAIR
    Android 1.6 4 DONUT Platform Highlights
    Android 1.5 3 CUPCAKE Platform Highlights
    Android 1.1 2 BASE_1_1
    Android 1.0 1 BASE

    Windows Phone application development

    You write Windows Phone applications in exactly the same way as you write other applications for the Windows desktop. You use the Visual Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment). You can debug a program running in a Windows Phone device just as easily as you can debug a program on your PC desktop. You can also create solutions that share components across the desktop, Windows Phone and even Xbox platforms.

    You can take all your Windows Desktop development skills in Silverlight and your console skills in XNA and use them on the phone. If you learn how to use the Windows Phone you are also learning how to write code for the desktop (Silverlight) or console (XNA).

    This is great news for you as it means that you can write programs for Windows Phone without having to learn a lot of new technologies if you have previously written programs for desktop computers then the move to Windows Phone.

    The Windows Phone Emulator

    The Windows Phone development environment is supplied with an emulator which gives you a Windows Phone you can play with on your PC desktop. If you have a PC system that supports multi-touch input you can even use this with the emulator to test the use of multi-touch gestures with your Windows Phone programs.

    While the emulator is feature complete, in that it behaves exactly like a real phone would in response to the requests from your software, it does not mimic the performance of the actual phone hardware. Programs running on the emulator are using the power of your PC, which may well be much greater than the processor in the phone. This means that although you can test the functionality of your programs using the emulator you only really get a feel for how fast the program runs, and what the user experience feels like, when you run your program on a real device.

    The emulator will allow you to test motion controlled programs by allowing you to tip and turn a “virtual” phone on your PC screen. The inputs to the program will reflect the orientation that you see on your screen. You can also pre-record a set of movements to allow you to perform repeatable tests using particular movements or gestures. There is also provision for location emulation. You can select on a map where you want the emulated phone to “be”. You can also input paths for the phone to follow and then replay these, so that you can create journeys to test location aware applications.


    So if your interested in developing for Windows Phone download the necessary tools from Microsoft DreamSpark

    If your interested in teaching Windows Phone in your curricula see Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources Center for a complete set of resources

    If your interested in porting existing Android applications to Windows Phone take a look Windows Phone Interoperability Bridges site

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Update Includes Social Networking Features



    A service update for Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes new social networking and cloud features which is great news for Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance members.

    The Microsoft Dynamics® Academic Alliance is a program for member universities and colleges who wish to enhance the learning experience by integrating Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software in the curriculum.

    These updates help position Microsoft in the new world of social networking and for Dynamics Academic Alliance members it will allow you to start bring the new aspects of social networking into your teaching.

    “By bringing together new social-collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with familiar collaboration technologies such as Office, SharePoint and Lync, businesses will be able to expand their relationships with customers and gain even deeper insight and understanding,” wrote Brad Wilson, General Manager of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group.

    Useful Resources

    For more see

    Read success stories

    Faculty Connection Resources for Dynamics

    Linkedin Group


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