January, 2013

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to pimp your Windows Phone 8 emulator – well here you go http://wp8emulatorskins.codeplex.com/

    • 2 Comments

     

    If you want to change the look of your Windows Phone 8 emulator

     

    You can now do this using the WP8 Emulator Skin Switcher to make it look like a Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X or Samsung Ativ S. Which is perfect for when you need to run demos and the emulators during a presentation.

    Here are some of the awesome devices available

    HTC_8S_Blue_Skin_Up_480x800 HTC_8S_Orange_Skin_Up_480x800 HTC_8X_Neon_Skin_Down_720x1280 HTC_8X_Red_Skin_Down_720x1280 Nokia_Lumia_820_Cyan_Skin_Up_480x800 Nokia_Lumia_820_Red_Skin_Up_480x800 Nokia_Lumia_920_Grey_Skin_Up_768x1280 Nokia_Lumia_920_Red_Skin_Up_768x1280 Samsung_ATIV_S_Skin_Down_720x1280 Nokia_Lumia_820_Yellow_Skin_Down_480x800 Nokia_Lumia_920_White_Skin_Up_768x1280 Nokia_Lumia_920_Yellow_Skin_Up_768x1280

    Getting Started

    Using the emulator skin switcher is easy. download the latest release, install it and launch the application. select the skin you want to use and restart the emulator. it should now use your selected emulator skin. You can select a different skin for each resolution.

    Download the Emulator Skin Switcher from http://wp8emulatorskins.codeplex.com/

    emulator skin switcher 720 emulator skin switcher wvga

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    iOS, Android, Windows Devs – Love the cloud with Windows Azure Mobile Services

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    It has been less than four months since we introduced the first public preview for Windows Azure Mobile Services and in this short time we have seen continual improvements to the service offering including:

    · SDKs for Windows Store, Windows Phone 8 and iOS app

    · Auth using Microsoft Account, Facebook, Google and Twitter

    · Push Notification support via WNS, MPNS and APNS

    · Structured storage

    · Deployments in East and West US and European data centres

    Mobile Services December 2012 Update Features

    New functionality has been released for Mobile Application developers on all platforms.

    · Scheduler (a.k.a “CRON”): you can now run a server script on a pre-set schedule.

    · Availability in the North Europe datacenter: you can now deploy your mobile services in Europe to enjoy reduced latency for your European customers.

    · Command-line support: you can now use the Windows Azure command line tools to create and manage your mobile services.

    Interested in getting started with Azure Mobile Services

    Azure Academic Passes

    Educators

    Learn how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application needs

    Would you like to start teaching the cloud? Apply for a grant - http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.  Educators will receive a special 12-month pass for their exclusive use, and may request 5-month non-renewable passes for distribution to their students.  Each pass is valid from the date of redemption. Educators may apply for passes for each of the courses they are teaching, and may only distribute these passes to students registered as part of their educational institution.

    Students

    Got a great idea for a Windows Azure project?  Compete in the Imagine Cup and you can get access to Windows Azure for 9 months and could win a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, and up to $10,000 in the 2013 Windows Azure Challenge! Get all the details and get started at http://www.ImagineCup.com/.

    Not ready to  take the Imagine Cup challenge?  As a student you can take advantage of the free Windows Azure trial offer and run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for 90 days*.

    Get Started with Code Samples

    We have released 6 new sample applications that demonstrate step-by-step how users can use the key functionality available within Windows Azure Mobile Services from your Windows Store apps.  Each of these samples is released in both XAML/C# and HTML/JS in the Dev Center for Windows Store apps MSDN Code Gallery

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    Event Buddy Sample - Storage, Auth and Push Notifications with Mobile Services (New)

    In this sample you will start with a disconnected Windows Store app that manages events & sessions. You will connect it to Windows Azure Mobile Service to provide structured storage, auth using Twitter or Facebook and push notifications.

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    Get Started with Data in Windows Azure Mobile Services Tutorial Sample

    This sample supports the Get started with data in Mobile Services tutorial, which shows you how to use Windows Azure Mobile Services to leverage data in a Windows Store app. 

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    Visual Studio Toolbox – Using Mobile Services in a Windows 8 App (New)

    In episode 56 of Visual Studio Toolbox Robert Green demonstrates a sample Windows 8 app that uses Azure Mobile Services. This sample is the corresponding app which manages customers and their projects.  The code shows you how you connect to the mobile service and how to perform CRUD operations on data.

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    Authenticate Microsoft Account, Facebook, Twitter and Google w/ Mobile Services (New)

    This sample demonstrates how you can easily wire up your Windows Store application to require your users to Authenticate against well know social identity such as Microsoft Account, Facebook, Twitter and Google using Windows Azure Mobile Services.

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    Tile, Toast and Badge Push Notifications using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    This sample demonstrates how you can easily register a channel in Windows Azure Mobile Services and then send different types of push notifications such as tile, toast and badge notifications from a server side script to your client application.

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    Raw Notifications using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    This sample demonstrates how you can easily send Raw push notifications to your Windows Store apps using Windows Azure Mobile Services.

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    Send Push Notifications at Periodic Interval with the Mobile Services Scheduler (New)

    This sample demonstrates how you can offload work from your Windows Store app to be processed on a scheduled basis using Windows Azure Mobile Services. It shows how to create a Scheduled Script that polls a feed and send a Push Notification to update the tile with latest news.

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    Geolocation sample end to end using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    This sample provides an end to end location scenario with a Windows Store app using Bing Maps and a Windows Azure Mobile Services backend. It shows how to add places to the Map, store place coordinates in a Mobile Services table, and how to query for places near your location.

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    Enqueue and Dequeue messages with Windows Azure Mobile Services and Services Bus (New)

    My Store - This sample demonstrates how you can enqueue and dequeue messages from your Windows Store apps into a Windows Azure Service Bus Queue via Windows Azure Mobile Services. This code sample builds out an ordering scenario with both a Sales and Storeroom and app.

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    Capture, Store and Email app Feedback using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    This sample shows how you can implement a Feedback charm option in your Windows Store application and submit the feedback to be both stored Windows Azure Mobile Services and emailed directly to you.

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    Upload File to Windows Azure Blob Storage using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    This demonstrates how to store your files such as images, videos, docs or any binary data off device in the cloud using Windows Azure Blob Storage. In this example we focus on capturing and uploading images, with the same approach you can upload any binary data to Blob Storage.

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    Create a Game Leaderboard using Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    The My Trivia sample demonstrates how you can easily add, update and view a leaderboard from your Windows Store applications using Windows Azure Mobile Services.

       

    Videos

    We just launched a new Windows Azure Mobile Services series to help people get started with each of the Mobile Services features.  In addition to the previous channel9 videos from Scott Guthrie and Josh. We have published 8 new getting started and how-to videos for Windows 8 & Mobile Services.  We will add more videos to this series for iOS and Windows Phone 8 soon.

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    Introduction to Windows Azure Mobile Services

    Creating your first app using the Windows Azure Mobile Services Quick Start (New)

    Connecting your Windows Store app to Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

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    Validate and Modify Data with Server Scripts in Windows Azure Mobile Services(New)

    Getting Started with Authentication in Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

    Authenticate and Authorize users with Server Scripts in Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)

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    Add Push Notifications to your apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services (New)


    Getting Started with the Windows Azure Mobile Services Scheduler (New)


    iOS Support in Windows Azure Mobile Services

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    Creating your first iOS app with the Windows Azure Mobile Services Quick Start (New)

     

    If you have any Feedback re the use of Windows Azure Mobile Services below is a list of the currently available feedback channels available.

    · Tech Q&A – Use this MSDN forum

    · Feature voting – Use this UserVoice forum

    · Customer Feedback – please email this DL

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Building Games for Windows Phone –Nokia App Labs training 23rd Jan and 24th of Jan

    • 0 Comments

    nokia-lumia-920-yellow-front-large Phone_games

    Lumia App Labs: Games on Windows Phone 8 Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:00:00 AM GMT - 8:45:00 AM GMT

    Microsoft Windows Phone 8 offers native code support that enables development and porting of high-performance games. This training-lab webinar will give you an overview of Windows Phone 8 capabilities supporting complex games development. It also will introduce available tools and frameworks that increase developer productivity and will demonstrate a hands-on approach to games development with the Windows Phone SDK 8. By leveraging frameworks such as the Microsoft Direct3D API and support for popular physics and rendering engines, you can now create games with native performance as well as use your own or third-party engines and middleware for games development for Windows Phone 8 users. We suggest that you install the Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0 in advance to get the most out of this training lab. While you’ll learn a lot with or without the SDK, you’ll learn more if you have the SDK installed and can begin using the API as soon as you complete the training. It will also help to have a Lumia phone built on Windows Phone 8 available for testing.

    Register Now

    Nokia Game WindowsPhone_P

    Lumia App Labs: Games on Windows Phone 8 Thursday, January 24, 2013 4:00:00 PM GMT - 4:45:00 PM GMT

    Microsoft Windows Phone 8 offers native code support that enables development and porting of high-performance games. This training-lab webinar will give you an overview of Windows Phone 8 capabilities supporting complex games development. It also will introduce available tools and frameworks that increase developer productivity and will demonstrate a hands-on approach to games development with the Windows Phone SDK 8. By leveraging frameworks such as the Microsoft Direct3D API and support for popular physics and rendering engines, you can now create games with native performance as well as use your own or third-party engines and middleware for games development for Windows Phone 8 users. We suggest that you install the Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0 in advance to get the most out of this training lab. While you’ll learn a lot with or without the SDK, you’ll learn more if you have the SDK installed and can begin using the API as soon as you complete the training. It will also help to have a Lumia phone built on Windows Phone 8 available for testing.

    Register Now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in creating Music and Audio Apps for Windows Phone – Nokia Lumia App Labs – 16th and 17th Jan

    • 0 Comments

    Nokia-Lumia-920

    Lumia App Labs: Nokia Music Windows Phone API - Wednesday, January 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM GMT - 8:45:00 AM GMT

    We suggest that you install the Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0 in advance to get the most out of this training lab.

    While you’ll learn a lot with or without the SDK, you’ll learn more if you have the SDK installed and can begin using the API as soon as you complete the training. It will also help to have a Lumia phone built on Windows Phone 8 available for testing.

    Register Now

    WinPhone8Screen

    Lumia App Labs: Nokia Music Windows Phone API - Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:00:00 PM GMT - 4:45:00 PM GMT

    We suggest that you install the Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0 in advance to get the most out of this training lab.

    While you’ll learn a lot with or without the SDK, you’ll learn more if you have the SDK installed and can begin using the API as soon as you complete the training. It will also help to have a Lumia phone built on Windows Phone 8 available for testing.

    Register Now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Need a Linux, WordPress, Ubuntu or other open source VM for your Azure IaaS implementation? the Answer is easy check out VM Depot

    • 0 Comments

    VM_Depot

    VM Depot—find, deploy, and share images for Windows Azure

    VM Depot is a community-driven catalogue of preconfigured operating systems, applications, and development stacks that can easily be deployed on Windows Azure. Find your favourite software and deploy it in minutes, or join the community, build a virtual machine image, and share it with others. Learn more.

    VMDepotLogo

    VM Depot is brought to you by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TypeScript and Windows 8 Applications

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    Huge thanks to Chris Sells, Developer Tools at Telerik who has produced some excellent Windows 8 TypeScript Templates

    To get started using these Windows 8 Visual Studio 2012 TypeScript templates you will  first need to install the TypeScript plug-in for Visual Studio 2012. Currently these templates have been tested under TypeScript 0.8.1.1 only and the generated .jsproj files have this path hard-coded in.

    Chris has produced an excellent comprehensive blog at http://www.sellsbrothers.com/Posts/Details/12724

    You can download the Windows 8 TypeScript samples from here, extract the three folders (blankts, blankfixedts and navts) into your VS2012 JavaScript project template folder.

    e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\ProjectTemplates\JavaScript\Windows Store\1033.

    Once the files are there, shutdown all instances of Visual Studio 2012 and execute “devenv.exe /InstallVSTemplates” as admin. If you have multiple copies of Visual Studio installed, make sure you’re executing the one for VS2012.

    Once you’ve completed those steps successfully, you should see three new TypeScript-based templates as shown in the very first figure of his blog post.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 Jumpstart training content

    • 0 Comments

    WinPhone8

    Want to learn how to develop for Windows Phone 8?

    Nokia-Lumia-920

    Microsoft’s FREE Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training is now available, to help you get up to speed with the latest updates to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Jumpstart is a fast-paced and demo-packed learning ‘experience’ tailored to show developers how to build responsive, appealing, and effective applications quickly.

    I have a few questions this week regarding thing like In App Purchase and Speech input for windows 8. There are 20 modules available online for your on-demand viewing which break the training down into bitesize chunks which include video, sample code and powerpoint presentations.

    HTCHomepageHero

    Here’s a full outline of the course that was delivered, with direct links to each module. For those of you who are new to the world of Windows Phone, this is a great way to start developing apps right away.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build a bot that will compete in an online game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – Participants code a player ‘bot’, host it on Windows Azure, and its take part in battles with other competitors.

    • 0 Comments

    Microsoft's US team are holding a challenge aimed at US based holders of a Windows Azure account (including a 90-day free trial) can win prizes is running again with three weeks still to go. However as this is US Challenge UK entries cannot win but I thought it may be of interest to some academics and students as its a nice little challenge as don't have to be in the US to play the game and as a challenge in AI or applied statistics it is probably interesting enough to attract entries from UK Academia however I must stress your imaginable for prizes if your in the UK academic or student.

    As with earlier versions of the game, participants code a player ‘bot’ that that will compete in an online game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – with some additional embellishments. The bots are hosted on Windows Azure and  take part in battles with every other competing bot.

    A bot that wins a game scores 3 points on the leaderboard and a tie scores 1 point. The number of points you can receive depends on the number of players.

    The game is both a sweepstake and a contest. Each Friday until the end of the contest on January 25th 5 bots will be selected as winners from the US – Therefore UK Enterants will not be permitted to win prizes.

    As with its previous versions, the concept of this game is to build a bot that will compete in an online game of Rock, Paper, Scissors – with a few additional rules.  participants code a player ‘bot’, host it on Windows Azure, and its take part in battles with other competitors.

    So Get Botting!

    Do be aware however that deploying the Bot Lab will incur charges if you're not using one of the free Azure account offers see http://www.windowsazure.com/education for specific offers. If you are using a trial offer, hosted time will consume "compute hours" from your free allotment. Therefore, be sure to 'turn off' your Bot Lab when you're finished.

    For more details and Information see Rock Paper Azure Site
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 Developer and App publishing tips

    • 1 Comments

    WinPhone8 Windows Phone

    Tips for updating existing Windows Phone 7 apps in the Windows Phone MarketPlace for Windows Phone 8 users.

    As a developer you can update both your Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 apps in the Microsoft Dev Center and republish any amendments or changes. I have had a few questions about with path in Dev Center should I follow to ensure both my apps are updated accurately.

    The Microsoft Dev Center supports multiple XAPs for any app.

    Therefore as a developer you can choose to have a single XAP (typically targeting Windows Phone 7) or have two XAPs (one for Windows Phone 7 and one for Windows Phone 8) by doing this the app has a single GUID, and has a optimised experience for each platform.

    What happens if I build a new version of my existing Windows Phone 7 app in the new Windows Phone 8 SDK?

    If you have updated an existing XAP with a new Windows Phone 8 XAP, you potentially risk eliminating the Windows Phone 7 version.

    To mitigate any issues take one of the following steps.

    1. To Keep a single XAP which works on Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7

    Recompile the Windows Phone 7 app with the new Windows Phone 8 SDK and update the XAP file. NB. This is ideal scenario if your app doesn't require use of any of the Windows Phone APIs. However if your app takes advanatage of the Windows Phone 8 APIs please use option 2 below.

    2. To enable two versions of your app. One for Windows Phone 8 and one for Windows Phone 7

    You will need to create the new Windows Phone 8 version and utilise the new APIs and then add this new Phones 8 XAP to the Dev Center.

    To Add your app to the Dev Center

    1. Login to the Dev Center https://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us

    2. Select ‘add new’

    3. Upload your new Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 XAP (ensure version number is higher on the Windows Phone 8 XAP than your existing or new Windows Phone 7 XAP)

    4. Add meta data (NB. Please ensure the country list and language support selected is identical on both XAPs, if these do not match your app will NOT Appear in search Windows Phone now has 191 new markets so developers need to ensure they cross submit to take advantage of these new markets and consumers.

    5. Click Submit

    6. Your new apps will then be tested and published if they pass all necessary checks.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Rapid2D C++/DirectX Gaming Engine and Competition

    • 0 Comments

     

    Are you using or teaching C++/DX?

    Teaching C++ is like teaching no other programming language or development tool. Among the complications in designing and presenting a C++ course are:

    The worst fault a C++ course can have is to focus exclusively on the rules, but many courses do just that. I have seen some courses which explain every detail of every language feature drawing little distinction between important and unimportant or between good and bad. Such courses may
    help the student pass a certification examination, but they won't help him or her to develop high-quality software.

    The value of any programming course lies in conveying a solid grasp of problem solving and good programming practice. Because of the vast range of
    choices in C++ that need is especially acute here. We shouldn't  worry if students haven't memorized every detail of C++ syntax and semantics; they can always
    look something up when they need it. If they understand the purpose of each feature, the relationships among features, and how to use C++ well, they will
    have gotten value from the course.

    Teaching C++

    From the feedback I had this year from games educators the majority say teaching C++ is an enjoyable experience.  However with the release of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 C++ is also an educational experience for many of the lectures with new opportunities and new enhancements to DirectX. Any many lectures have already commented that they  learn something new about the subject matter each time. Given the pace of growth in the language, in related libraries, in add-on products, and in object-oriented C++ and the opportunity of Windows is pretty exciting.


    Having fun

    Despite the daunting difficulties, a good C++ course ought to be an enjoyable and satisfying experience. More than most other languages, C++ lets us exercise
    creative design over a wide range of levels.

    It's fun to design and build classes and other object-oriented constructs and then see them exhibit the desired behaviour.

    It's fun to debate the pros and cons of alternative approaches to some problem.

    One of the key issues students state is that they spend lots of time on framework design or development and not actually producing a fully operational game. Well, for all you who want to let your students experiment and develop a game I would like to make you aware of Rapid2D.

    Rapid2D C++ Framework

    Rapid2DLogo

    Rapid2D is the only Game Engine that has been specifically designed for the production of Windows 8 Apps. The Rapid2D engine can be used to produce apps for Windows 8 PC, Tablet and Windows Phone 8.

    Rapid2D has a unique GUI interface that makes games production fast and accessible to both the experienced and novice developer. Rapid2D is designed to be intuitive allowing the fast production of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications. The engine uses the widely uses C++ for scripting.

    Rapid2D Easter Competition

    We've got a great competition for you! Make an app using Rapid2D and - provided the game meets the Windows 8 submission criteria - we'll help you publish your app to the Windows 8 Marketplace. In addition, the app that is judged to be the best by our Rapid2D team will receive a Windows 8 Tablet.

    Competition Details
    • The competition is open from today and closes on 1st March 2012.
    • The theme for the app must be Bunnies or All Things Easter.
    • You can submit your entry any time from today until the closing date of 1st March 2012 at 5pm.
    • Provided your game meets the Windows 8 submission criteria we'll publish your game in time for Easter.
    • After the closing date one winner will be selected by our Rapid2D programming team. The winner will receive a Windows 8 Tablet.
    • There will be two runners up who will receive Windows 8 phones.
    • Please send your zipped entry to competition@rapid2d.com to arrive with us not later than 5pm on 1st March 2012. We are hoping that your entry will not be too large to email, but if it is please contact us by email at competition@rapid2d.com, tell us the size of the file and we will arrange an upload location for you and respond via email.

    Please click here to view the terms and conditions of the competition (PDF, opens in a new window).

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