Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
The RTM versions of Visual Studio 2012 require developer activation to enable the developer to develop a Windows Store application.
This activation is via a registered LiveID/Microsoft Account, and simply enrols VS2012 for a 90 day development license.
I have a had a number of question how do we do this?
The process you must be undertaken by a local admin on the desktop, you must also have access to Visual Studio and register your LiveID/MicrosoftID against the machines copy of Visual Studio 2012..
To enable you to undertake the activation on a large scale deployment such as University or college lab environment here are some tips
We are in the process of producing necessary documentation and white papers but In the meantime the following FAQ is helpful:
· Does the developer license only have to be acquired/renewed in relation to Windows Store app development? Yes. To be precise: You need the developer license to install, develop, test and evaluate new style apps BEFORE you submit them to the Window Store. To be able to submit an app to the Windows Store, you'll need to open a separate Windows Store developer account through the developer website.
· Is the license per user or per machine? Per User and machine, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx
· It seems that you have to have local administrator privileges to renew the license, is that correct? YES
· Is the renewal of the license something that could be automated by an administrator via remotely deployed PowerShell scripts? YES, see section "Getting a developer license at a command prompt" at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx
· How can I use a DreamSpark account? Here is how to associate your DreamSpark account to a Microsoft account and also get a developer license for Windows Phone/Xbox development http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/02/29/dreamspark-and-apphub-account-creation-simplified.aspx
Windows Server 2012 Training & Certification Now Available to all Microsoft IT Academy members
if your interested in IT Academy please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itacademy/
1) Certifications and official Microsoft training and certifications are now available for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Private Cloud, Windows Store Application
In addition to this we now have new structure for Microsoft Technical Certifications
With a dedicated number of suitable examinations for the FE/HE education market which adds added value to the student experience and curriculum content aligning your courses with employees requirements.
2) Windows Server Certification and examination tracks
3) Microsoft Second Shot promotion is active so students (and lecturers) get a FREE retake if they do not pass first time for more info click here
4) Courseware available for Windows Server 2012 is now available to all Microsoft IT Academy members
Module 1: Managing a Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure
•What's New in Server Manager
•Introducing IP Address Management
•PowerShell and Server Core Enhancements
•What’s New in Active Directory
•Introducing Dynamic Access Control
Module 2: Network, Storage, and Service Access in Windows Server 2012
•What's New in Remote Access
•New and Improved Networking Technologies
Module 3: Server Virtualization in Windows Server 2012
•What’s New in Networking
•Introducing Hyper-V Replica
•What’s New in Live Migration
•What’s New in Guest Clustering and VM Monitoring
First Look Clinic Syllabus
Hands On Lab Syllabus
5) Microsoft IT Academy now includes a number of enhanced resources including new online digital content and resources for more information click here
Click Here for the FREE E-Book on Windows Server 2012
Today we are announcing the following changes to www.dreamspark.com
1. An new site design which is the result of improvements to the user experience based on internal and external feedback. Notably creating more clarity around the fact that the DreamSpark program is both a direct to student program and a subscription based program for academic institutions. As a result we have created two hubs with distinctive colour branding through the site to direct users to the right information and software access depending on their role:
a. DreamSpark for Students – direct access to the individual students experience (www.dreamspark.com/Student/default.aspx )
b. DreamSpark for Academic Institutions – information about the DreamSpark subscription such as program benefits, EULAs, usage guidelines, and the steps to purchase a subscription etc. (www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Subscription.aspx )
The site today is going live in English only. Customers selecting other languages will fall back to English UI. The DreamSpark team are working as fast as we can to launch the localized versions. They should become available in the week of 24th of Sept.
As part of this site redesign we are rebranding the DreamSpark subscription to DreamSpark Standard in response to the feedback received by customers and to avoid confusion with DreamSpark for students.
2. The new site has shifted from focusing purely on software downloads to bringing tools and resources related to development on our platforms (Windows 8, Windows Phone and Games) and most importantly a new section under Student dedicated to App Development) also accessible from the Student sub-navigation .
3. A page dedicated to Windows 8 App Development where students can find the resources and tools they need to start developing Windows 8 apps, including a pointer to downloading the getting started guide. .
4. Free access for students to the Windows Store: From the Windows 8 App Development page, users will be direct to the Windows Store Access Page on DreamSpark where they can verify their user status and then get a Registration code to use in the Windows Store to register for FREE.
a. Overview of the DreamSpark program explaining what it is? www.dreamspark.com/what-is-dreamspark.aspx
b. New Software Deployment guide for institutions, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Software-Deployment-Guide-en-us.pdf , detailing step by step how administrators can provide software access to students, faculty and labs via a DreamSpark MSDN Subscriber Portal and ELMS Webstores
c. ELMS overview: www.dreamspark.com/Institution/ELMS-Overview.aspx
d. DreamSpark Standard usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
e. DreamSpark Premium usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
f. STEM definition page, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/STEM.aspx
g. New DreamSpark Standard EULA:www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-EULA.aspx
h. DreamSpark Premium EULA page to www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-EULA.aspx
i. Revised FAQ’s; more information, more relevant to each audience (student, educator, and institution) accessible from top nav bar.
j. Separation of Student support from Subscription support with two dedicated pages: www.dreamspark.com/student/support.aspx and www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Support.aspx
k. DreamSpark for Academic Institution, and the Academic Institution Hub nav bar explaining how access an existing subscription:
So if you don't like the all White look of Visual Studio 2012 you can now customize the Visual Studio 2012 colour palette, with a FREE extension.
This extension is supported for Visual Studio 2012 Professional and higher.
Simply download the extension here to select the theme.
To use the new theme colour, within Visual Studio simply choose the theme and select the colour scheme desired.
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Preview now open. Apply Today!
Self-nominations are now being accepted for access to the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview Program. With this program, we will provide tools to developers of the top apps, giving them a chance to fix known issues and to optimize their current apps for Windows Phone 8. To apply for program access, please visit Microsoft Connect to complete a short survey and accept the program terms. You will need the following:
Application Product ID
Name of your local Phone Champ (if you don't know, check out the Find My Champ app)
Self-nominations will be accepted until Monday, Sept. 17. Those accepted will hear from us in the following week with instructions for how to proceed. For more detailed information, please check out Todd Brix's blog post outlining the program. Additionally, please read on, as we have included many useful tips for creating a great app, whether you participate in the preview program or not.
Future-proofing your Windows Phone apps
Utilize these quick tips as you build your Windows Phone 7.5 apps so they work well on Windows Phone 8 and beyond. Take a look at the article we posted today on the Windows Phone developer blog on "future-proofing" your apps. To summarize, here are a few tips.
Avoid unsupported and undocumented features, such as event ordering, timing dependencies and non-public APIs.
Prep for hardware diversity by actually checking for everything your app uses and taking appropriate action if it's not there. For example, to reach the widest possible target market, constrain your app to run within 90MB of memory to run on low-memory devices.
If you choose to obfuscate your code to protect IP, do so conservatively to ensure version-resilience. Specifically, try to avoid optimization features of obfuscators that eliminate unused code and data, coalesce strings and merge assemblies.
For more great suggestions on how to best develop your Windows Phone 7.5 apps, we've put together this list of MSDN Magazine articles that cover camera use, data binding, feed-readers, and more.
Using Cameras in Your Windows Phone Application
Windows Phone Data Binding
Get Your Windows Phone Applications in the Marketplace Faster
Behind the Scenes: A Windows Phone Feed-Reader App
Pragmatic Tips for Building Better Windows Phone Apps
Maximize your opportunity - build apps in the top downloaded categories
In January we published an infographic that provided an at-a-glance view of Marketplace statistics. Since it was one of our most popular and shared posts, we thought we'd do it again. Here's a snapshot showing a few key stats, including overall growth of apps in Marketplace, as well as the breakdown of most downloaded apps by type, both free and paid. Watch the Windows Phone Developer blog later this week for the full graphic containing more quick and useful facts.
Dream.Build.Play Challenge brings high-quality, fun games to Windows Phone
Microsoft recently announced the winners of its annual Dream.Build.Play Challenge, which invites developers to compete for cash prizes by creating games for Windows Phone or Xbox 360. Check out the winners here – all were selected based on the following criteria – Fun Factor, Innovation and Production Quality. Inspired? Submit your game and be the next big game developer for Windows Phone!
Windows Phone partner offerings
Tap into offerings and resources from partners, communities and people from the Windows Phone developer ecosystem. For a complete list of what's available from Windows Phone partners, from components and tools to Web API & Cloud services – visit our partner resources page.
Add sleek, smooth and finger-friendly experiences to your Windows Phone applications with Bee Mobile XAML components.
Handle scoring, leaderboards, in-game notifications, game achievements, player login, built in CRM features, game management and more the with Scoreoid server platform.
Student Developer? Start here!
"Interested in developing Windows Phone Apps, but not sure how to get started? Meet Peter, a student developer with 2 apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Also, check out this guest post from Martin Gernegross, student developer of Windows Phone App Flying Tiles. Ready to get started building Windows Phone apps? Download the Getting Started Guide here. "
This weekend were collaborating with online blended learning service Train2Game and the University of Bedfordshire to set the world record for the largest game jam held in a single location, at the Microsoft and Train2Game Gameathon 2012
Yesterday students on Train2Game courses gathered at the University of Bedfordshire. Student will be developing applications based on the theme ‘Pride of London’ from 14th September to 16th September 2012, students have formed into development teams and are now busy creating videogames for Windows 8 in 48 hours. The world record will be set with a target of 301 or more participants. Representatives from The Guinness Book of World Records are in presence in and adjudicating the event
“We’re teaming with Train2Game not only to set a world record, but also to support gaming development in the UK,” said John Richards, senior director, Windows Partners and Developers at Microsoft Corp. “We’re working with the students developing for Windows 8, as they are the future of the industry.”
Myra Smallman, Course Director, Train2Game: “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to work with one of the most respected technology companies in the world. Microsoft is a major player in the video games industry globally and being part of this relationship will be incredibly positive for Train2Game students when they look for employment in the future. The students taking part will also be world record holders, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Are you ready?
We started with proceeding grouping all the attendees across two lectures theatre, technical presentations from Simon Michael and myself gave students a overview of designing great games for Windows 8 before the two packed rooms.
After the presentations the proceedings were streamed across the theatres and Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, welcomed all the attendees to the University and to the challenge ahead. Tiga CEO, Richard Wilson then welcomed the students to the gaming industry, Mira Smallman then presented the Rules of Engagement for the World Record attempt clearly outlining the rule and record breaking conditions.
Our keynote speaker, Scott Henson, Senior Director or Microsoft Studios, gave a inspiring presentation on his passion for gaming and discussed the opportunities of the gaming industry and achievement of Microsoft and the RARE studio.
To close off, Scott had the pleasure to announce the theme for the games ‘Pride of London’.
Student then eagerly departed the theatres to their team rooms to begin brainstorming and coding.
So its now day 2. Unfortunately there has been no sleep for the competitors as they are only allowed 1 hour break every 8 hours .
The teams have been getting their hands dirty coding C++ DirectX Windows 8 games. As we all know there is simply no better way to apply the learning’s of the last few weeks than getting in front of the computer and start to code on your idea.
Team responsibilities are now well established with teams averaging 6 – 8 members so 2 designers, 2 developers, 1 QA and 1 Artist.
Most of the teams are Team Foundation Server via TFS preview accounts or GitHub to work allow them to effectively to work in groups.
We have already seen some really interesting concepts and prototypes and students are mastering Blend and Visual Studio 2012 in an amazing way.
From a personal standpoint, there is a fantastic atmosphere across all the rooms and teams.
Looking forward to another 24 hours.. Thankfully I did have some sleep..
Windows Azure Educator Grants are a great way for you and your students to get access to Azure for the duration of your class. These passes are available for faculty teaching Azure.
Azure in Education Passes
· 5 month passes for PAAS: Any educator may apply online requesting access, and sharing the course name he/she is teaching, and how many students/passes they are requesting.
· NEW 5 Month passes teach with IAAS: Premium services will be enabled, to include 3 core = 2 small VMs (Windows or Linux VMs.), 10 Free Website/ Media Services(TBC)..
· NEW 12 month passes for Educators. Any educator applying for a grant, will receive an educator pass that is 12-months long and renewable, as part of their class request.
· Imagine Cup Passes – Competitors will be offered passes
For additional questions or special requests email AzureU@microsoft.com
We all now demand beautiful, elegant apps that are alive with activity. If your an IT Academy you can now get your students demonstrating there expertise at designing and developing the fast and fluid Windows 8 apps by earning the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
If your interested in IT Academy please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itacademy/
With new certification for Windows Store Apps. There are two paths to achieving this certification—using HTML5 or C#.
To earn the MCSD certification, take the exams indicated below
If you want to upgrade your current certification to validate your up to date skills:
Find out more about upgrade paths
Take the exams needed to upgrade to MCSD: Windows Store Apps
If you’re new to certification, check out the Microsoft certification tracks available to you.
Get your MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5
Get your MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#
Note: Exams 70-480, 70-481, 70-482, 70-483, 70-484, and 70-485 will become available in beta version during the summer of 2012. If you are interested in taking the beta exams, be sure to complete a Microsoft Learning SME profile to indicate your skills and experience with Visual Studio 2012, or watch for announcements about upcoming beta exams at Born to Learn. MCSD certification requires candidates to show continued ability to perform in their chosen solution area by completing a recertification exam every two years.
Upgrade your MCPD certification to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5
Upgrade your MCPD certification to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#
Note: Upgrade exams will be available in the spring of 2013.
So this week has been really busy, I have been presenting at events the length and breadth of the UK. On Thursday and Friday I has the pleasure of attending Euro Gamer 2012, to represent Microsoft at the Games Industry Fair. During Euro gamer event we demonstrated Windows 8 and the games from the Train 2 game World Record gameathon teams, we also demoed new games from number of UK Indie development studios who will be launching new titles aimed specifically for the Windows 8 platform for the Launch of Windows 8.
On Friday I attend the Careers & Education panel discussions representing Microsoft on the Game in Education discussion panel which took place in front of hundreds of eager students and graduates who want to get into the industry. The video recording of the panel discussion will be available at http://www.gamesindustry.biz/fair#home
One of the key questions the panel received was how do you get into the industry? Well the simply answer from all the members was to get yourself noticed!
To help provide some guidance have a look at the following presentation which highlights some of the opportunities for building games and entering competitions such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup or UK specific competition such as Search for a Star. For guidance on the skills you need for development take a look at this post.
Another question was ‘How do I make my app/game shine/standout in the marketplace?’
Here a deck to guide you through some great examples of functionality you should add to a Windows 8 game
The following are a simply checklist of features you should consider and test in the development of your Windows 8 application or game.
Windows 8 life cycle
It's important to understand the life cycle process of Windows 8 and handle this in your code. When a user taps on an application to launch it, it is activated and enters Running mode. If the user closes the application it will be terminated. But what if the user user hits the Windows key and launches another application, or simply navigates to another application? In this case, the previous application will go to Suspended mode. In suspended mode, the application does not consume any CPU,but it will lose state, so you may need to add code to remember state when the app enters the suspended state. You will also want to add code in the Activated event handler to reload state when the user returns to the application
Implement search contract Let your users quickly search through your app's content from anywhere in the system, including from within other apps. And vice versa. For more info, see Adding search.
Implement Share contract Let your users share content from your app with other people through other apps, and receive shareable content from other people and apps, too. For more info, see Adding share.
Implement Play To contract Let your users enjoy audio, video, or images streamed from your app to other devices in their home network.For more info, see Streaming media to devices using Play To.
File picker and file picker extensions Let your users load and save their files from the local file system, connected storage devices, HomeGroup, or even other apps. You can also provide a file picker extension so that other apps can load your app's content.
For more info, see App contracts and extensions.
Full Screen View - App fills entire screen
Snap View - App is snapped to a narrow region of the entire screen
Fill View - App fills remaining screen area not occupied by the app in the snapped state.
For more info, see Supporting multiple views and Choosing a layout.
Toast notifications Let your users know about time-sensitive or personally relevant content through toast notifications and invite them back to your app even when your app is closed.Learn more about tiles, badges, and toast notifications. move to the 3rd app
Secondary tiles Promote interesting content and deep links from your app on the Start screen, and let your users launch your app directly into a specific page or view.Learn more about secondary tiles.
App tiles Provide fresh and relevant updates to entice users back into your app.Learn more about app tiles. more up
Animation Use our library of animations to make your app feel fast and fluid. Help users understand context changes and tie experiences together with visual transitions. Learn more about animating your UI.
Settings contract Let your users create the experience they want by saving app settings. Consolidate all of your settings under one roof, and users can configure your app via a common mechanism that they are already familiar with.Learn more about Adding app settings.
Roaming Create a continuous experience across devices by roaming data that lets people pick up a task right where they left off, and preserves the UX they care most about, regardless of the device they're using. Make it easy for users to use your app everywhere, from their kitchen family PC to their work PC to their personal tablet, by maintaining settings and states with roaming.Learn more about Managing application data and see Guidelines for roaming application data.
User tiles Make your app more personal to your users by loading their user tile image, or let the users set content from your app as their personal tile throughout Windows.
Touch gestures Let your users connect devices, by physically tapping them together, to light up experiences where you expect multiple users to be physically nearby (multiplayer games). Learn more about proximity and tapping.
Cameras and storage devices Connect your users to their built-in or plugged-in cameras for chatting and conferencing, recording vlogs, taking profile pics, documenting the world around them, or whatever activity your app is great at. Learn more about Accessing content on removable storage.
Accelerometers and other sensors Devices come with a number of sensors nowadays. Your app can dim or brighten the display based on ambient light, or reflow the UI if the user rotates the display, or react to any physical movement. Learn more about sensors.
Geolocation Use geolocation information from standard web data or from geolocation sensors to help your users get around, find their position on a map, or get notices about nearby people, activities, and destinations.Learn more about geolocation.
Semantic zoom if you have more than 4-5 groups. Semantic zoom makes scanning and moving around a view fast and fluid, especially when the view is a long panning list.
Offline mode Users to have better experience using your app, then your app should supports an offline mode where your application will load previous data.
Commands for a particular view/ page are in the App bar The app bar contains transient access to commands relevant to a particular view.
Scale to different screens resolution Design an app UI that looks great on devices of various sizes—from a small tablet screen, to a medium laptop screen, and all the way up to a large desktop or all-in-one screen. See Guidelines for scaling to screens.
For more information on what to consider when designing a Windows 8 app refer to the Detailed UX guidelines for Windows 8 style apps.
If you would like to attend a FREE Windows 8 training camp please see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8/
This week sees the launch of Visual Studio 2012. On the 12th of Sept we launch Visual Studio 2012 with Jason Zander CVP who will be presenting the keynote.
This is where the development of apps really starts! Visual Studio 2012 is the most significant Tools product we have ever launched and has been 18 months in the making.
Visual Studio 2012 is key to enabling Agile software development.
Tim Anderson has been recently been undertaking interviews for The Register and The Guardian. If you’re not familiar with his work then you can see the first review he has written here: Visual Studio 2012: 50 Shades of Grey by Microsoft
The launch of Visual Studio 2012 on the 12th of September will be streamed on line: http://www.visualstudiolaunch.com/vs2012vle/Home
Visual Studio 2012 Roadshow
During the first week of Oct the UK Visual Studio team will be travelling the country bringing the launch experience to Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Reading. Further details about the Roadshow can be found here: Visual Studio 2012 Launch Roadshow
Download Visual Studio Now
Visual Studio 2012 can be downloaded for free from Microsoft DreamSpark