January, 2013

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Windows Startup Challenge!

    • 0 Comments

    clip_image002

    Are you ready to launch your Windows Store app at DEMO Mobile 2013?

    If you have a Windows Store app idea, we want you to apply and compete for a chance to launch your app at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.

    It’s easy to enter the challenge

    1. Submit app prototype! This can be a video, a slideshare presentation, screenshots, whatever as long as it hits on the judging criteria

    2. Get votes! Once your app prototype is approved, tweet the link using #windowschallenge and share it to collect votes (50% of your score will be based on public voting)

    Prizes

    First Prize: Top team will receive a free trip to San Francisco to launch at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.

    Second Prize: Top five teams will receive a marketing package to promote and launch the app

    Third Prize: All semi-finalists will receive free design and technical support from experts

    About the Challenge

    This is a joint effort between Microsoft, Startup Weekend and DEMO to accelerate apps from prototype to development to launch.

    Entre Period

    The entry period ends on January 29, 2013. Please submit a prototype of your app here.

    Questions

    For other related inquiries and questions, go to our support group on Facebook or email us at WindowsChallenge@microsoft.com. More information including the Official Rules can be found here.

    clip_image003

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to learn Windows 8 development – Gameification with Visual Studio Achievements

    • 0 Comments

    4544.clip_5F00_image003_5F00_thumb[1]

    I am excited to announce an update to the Visual Studio Achievements extension: the availability of nineteen new achievements all oriented toward Windows 8 app development.

    These new achievements can be earned in JavaScript, C#, VB and C++. Some examples include: I Like To Move It Move It which is earned by using the accelerometer and The Play Is The Thing which is earned by using the AutoPlay contract. You can see a complete list of the nineteen new achievements at Channel9

    If you are new to Visual Studio Achievements, check out this post.

    Download It

    Download Now

    If you already have the extension installed for Azure or Visual Studio achievements, you can update the extension right from the Visual Studio Extension Manager.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Mobile App Programming for Everyone with TouchDevelop NEW CURRICULA PACK

    • 0 Comments

     

    Touchdevelop

    New curricula available Learn programming on the go with TouchDevelop! In this short course, you will learn how to write mobile apps directly from your web browser. With its simple language, touch-friendly interface and cloud-connected environment, TouchDevelop is a great place to get started.

    Download teaching curriculum pack.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using Construct2 to build a HTML5 Window 8 Game

    • 0 Comments

    scirra-logo-01     WinPhone8 html5 Win8_logo

    Using Construct 2 to build an awesome Windows 8 HTML5 game.

    Construct2 is a superb application for building HTML5 games, you can download the Free edition and get going with the Beginner's guide to get started on building great games in a very short time period also I have produced a really nice framework for curricula adoption see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/10/15/learning-to-build-a-html5-windows-8-game-in-15-lessons.aspx 

    Setup

    You will need Windows 8. You then need to install Visual Studio 2012 Express on Windows 8 if you have a DreamSpark account then you can install any version of Visual Studio 2012. You will also need to ensure you setup a FREE windows 8 and Windows Phone developer account via DreamSpark see https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-Store-Access.aspx

    Development
    You'll need to add touch controls. See this tutorial on touch controls for help on that. Different devices have different size screens. See supporting multiple screen sizes. You can add the Windows 8 object to your project to take integrate with Windows 8 specific features like snap and roaming storage.
    Exporting from Construct 2

    First, ensure your project has the right Name, Description and Author properties set, since these will be used in the exported app.
    In the Export Project dialog, choose Export for Windows 8 and follow the next steps as you would for exporting an ordinary project.
    In the export directory you will find a Visual Studio project.

    Note there are three image files for the app icons, app-logo.png, app-smalllogo.png and app-storelogo.png. You should replace these with your own images but keep them exactly the same dimensions. The main project file has the extension .sln (solution). Double-click it in Windows 8 and Visual Studio should open it.

    Testing from Visual Studio

    If you've not used Visual Studio before, it's a complex and sophisticated tool for application development. However, you only need to use a small number of commands to configure and test your app. Find the "Solution Explorer" bar which lists all the files in the project.
    The solution explorer.

    Double-click package.appxmanifest. This file contains all the settings for your app. There is one thing you need to set up because Construct 2 can't export it for you, which is the publisher certificate for your app. Click the Packaging tab, which probably has a red X by it because the certificate is not set.
    The app manifest.
    Now click Choose Certificate.... In the dialog that opens, click the dropdown and select Create test certificate....
    Choosing a certificate.

    A dialog appears with your Publisher ID and a password entry. Don't enter a password - leave it blank and hit OK. Click OK on the Choose Certificate dialog as well, and you should now have a certificate set.

    If you've done this correctly the red X should have disappeared too.

    Test certificates only allow you to test your app. When publishing to the Windows 8 App Store, you'll need a different certificate to publish your app.
    Now you can launch your app by pressing F5. Visual Studio will build it and launch it as a Windows 8 app, which uses the Internet Explorer 10 browsing engine. This allows you to test everything is working in the new browser and OS. You can also try tweaking the settings in package.appxmanifest, which include options like orientation lock and other tile images.

    Publishing
    To submit to the Windows 8 App Store, start following the steps from this URL: https://appdev.microsoft.com/StorePortals/ You might also be interested in exporting to Windows Phone 8 as well (which must be done separately).

    For more details on Construct2 and Windows 8 see http://www.scirra.com/
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 in the curriculum

    • 0 Comments

    AsusVivoTab Nokia-Lumia-920 Win8_logo WinPhone8logo

    Interview with Paul Boocock, Computer Games Programming Lecturer at Staffordshire University

    photo

    1) Why did you make the decision to develop / teach for Windows Phone and Windows 8?
    It was an easy decision. The tools are free and easily accessible, not to mention easy to use. Developing for these platforms is always popular too, our students have previously enjoyed developing XNA games for PC/XBOX, so moving those modules towards Windows Phone and Windows 8 is the obvious progression. I’m really optimistic for the future of Windows Phone and Windows 8 and I hope developing for the platform at this stage will give students a good opportunity to get applications into the marketplace and for them to prove popular whilst there is a little less competition.

    fcet_games_lab_xboxes_tcm44-40144

    2) What were some of the features you used from Windows Phone and Windows 8 and why?
    The key reason was the introduction of DirectX on Windows Phone. This gave us an opportunity to create a new Mobile Games Development module, which takes the DirectX skills the students have already learnt by this stage and apply them on a mobile platform by building 3D games on Windows Phone. Also, our Games Development students are taught heavily in C++, so being able to write Native Code on Windows Phone was a big bonus.
    We also found that students could get applications up and running much faster on these platforms when compared to others, through a combination of the tools and the platform features, many students are especially fond of designing their UI using XAML.

    3) What was the experience like of using Windows Phone and Windows 8 and would you recommend it to students and other educators teaching game development?
    I find Windows Phone development great. It’s extremely easy to pick up and the documentation is second to none. Building a module around it is easy as all the features are now present in the platform, the only issue is the SLAT Processor requirement for the Windows Phone 8 emulator but this is something which we’ve come up with a solution for quite easily. I’d definitely recommend it to other educators and I push my students towards Windows Phone development whenever I get the opportunity.

    WP_20130108_005

    4) How did you go about persuading senior academic or decision maker re the opportunity of Windows Phone and Windows 8?
    This was an easy one! There’s a lot of enthusiasm around mobile development and we we’re looking into getting more mobile development in our course, especially in Games Programming. As Windows Phone and Windows 8 gives us the opportunity to continue developing in the programming languages we predominately teach, this was a popular choice for many of the teaching staff.

    5) What are doing to help students develop portfolios and CVs are you successfully getting students to submit their game to the Store?
    I believe the assignments which we set the students give them a really good starting point to getting together an application or game which makes a great item in their portfolio but could be a starting place for creating something worthy of the store.
    I’m also teaching more about what is required to be an indie developer, especially looking at publishing games and the financials involved. This is a strong interest area of mine, as it’s what I have done previously and still do to some extent. It’s a great opportunity for students to earn some money and to really show off by getting their applications and games published.

    Thanks for the interview Paul and looking forward to seeing what your students deliver.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Global Game Jam 2013

    • 0 Comments

    MicrosoftLogo

    Exciting gifts for Global Game Jam UK venues.

    I pleased to announce that Microsoft will be providing Global Game Jam prizes for UK venues.

    The UK venues will hosting a differentiator competition based on building games for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as part of the differentiator we will be offering prizes for the for the best game jam game made for Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8 at each UK Global Game Jam venue.

    ubelly

    To top it off, we are also offering a national prize selected from all the UK GGJ games that makes it to the marketplace by the end of February.

    To enter this competition there will be an online entry system  at www.ubelly.com/gaming which will go live during the Global Game Jam, teams simply need to register online and confirm the details of their games Windows store/marketplace submission,

    So what are you waiting for! Get over to http://globalgamejam.org/ and register today and check out the following resources.

    Windows Phone http://dev.windowsphone.com

    Windows 8 http://dev.windows.com

    Ubelly Gaming Resources http://www.ubelly.com/gaming

    Developer Resources, Camps and howtos – http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8

    Even if your not physically attending a Game Jam you can enter the following online competition. http://www.ubelly.com/global-game-jam/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TypeScript and real life examples

    • 0 Comments

    typescript

    Over the Christmas break I had a few emails asking me about TypeScript http://www.typescriptlang.org/ the JavaScript extension invented by Anders Hejlsberg.

    So what is TypeScript?

    1. TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript development.
    2. TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
    3. TypeScript supports Any browser. Any host. Any OS. Open Source

    So where is TypeScript being used?

    Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012

    The TFS team made the decision to convert all of our JavaScript to Typescript. TFS had over 150,000 lines of JavaScript.

    The approach... more details at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry/archive/2012/10/24/typescript-a-real-world-story-of-adoption-in-tfs.aspx

    As we looked at how to approach the effort of migrating our code, we talked to a few other team at Microsoft who had adopted Typescript before us.  One was Erich Gamma's team.  Erich estimated that manual conversion, to get fully annoted Typescript, one class/function/line at a time could be done at a rate of 300 or so lines per hour.  Of course, all valid JavaScript is valid Typescript so you can just change the file extension and be compiling it but if you want all the benefits you will want to take advantage of some type annotations and that's the manual part.  80,000 lines, at 300 lines per hour was a daunting proposition.  So we decided to invest in a tool to help with the process.  Thankfully, we had been pretty rigorous in our approach.  We used Javadoc fairly consistently to document our APIs.  We used consistent patterns for our classes and modules, etc.

    All told, it took us (1 dev) less than a week to write a tool (in Typescript, of course, :)) that would recognize Javadoc and the rest of our patterns and convert them to the corresponding Typescript constructs.  It took about another week to run the tool, tweak our Javadoc comments (like filling in some that had been missed), update our build process, test the conversion, etc.  Of course there's more we can do with Typescript.  For instance, we didn't have any previous recognizable pattern for interface contracts - so there was nothing for the tool to use to generate the Typescript constructs.  Over time, we'll be going through by hand, as we have reason to revisit modules and further tightening up the Typescript.  I expect we'll find more issues that we don't know about now.

    Overall, we've been super happy with the result.  We feel like we're going to be more productive with better tooling experiences like Intellisense, the code will be better structured, more maintainable and ultimately higher quality.  It's been a very good experience and if you've got a sizeable JavaScript codebase.

     

    TouchDevelop

    If you've not met TouchDevelop before it provides a drag-and-drop scripting environment which, it has now been revealed, has been developed in TypeScript.

    The Web App has some amazing features,  including code synthesis and trace+ replay and its a great tools for inspiring school children and beginners to programming. see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/12/13/touchdevelop-making-apps-for-mobile-devices-on-mobile-devices.aspx

    Although TouchDevelop was designed for devices, specifically Windows Phone 7, with touchscreens, it can also be used with a keyboard or a mouse and so the browser-based version probably is an improvement in terms of productivity. It also provides the "work everywhere" element that allows for collaboration; as all the TouchDevelop client apps use the touchdevelop.com cloud service, all of your scripts will get synchronized between all platforms and devices and you only need to log in with the same credentials to access them. TouchDevelop Web App loads automatically on TouchDevelop.com  and, having logged in with your Windows Live, Google or Facebook credentials, you find yourself in the Hub, where can view tutorial videos, visit the showcase to see apps already developed or just get on with creating your own apps in a highly intuitive environment. And once you have created an app you want to publish there are buttons to create a Windows Store app and to create a Windows Phone app.

    TypeScript and the opportunity

    So with these two great examples I encourage you to give it a try.  You may be surprised at the bugs you find in your JavaScript code even if you've worked hard already to make sure there aren't any.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So, do you know how big Visual Studio is?

    • 0 Comments

    VS2012

    Well there is Visual Studio IDE, then there is Team Foundation Server and Office integration and… well you get the picture.

    VS2012

     

    Yes its a vast set of products which as academics and students you get for FREE via DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com

    Continuous Improvement

    Additionally we have now adopted a continuous delivery schedule of both the Visual Studio IDE and Team Foundation Server to continuous delivery with a 3 monthly cadence. Yes, that means that you should now be upgrading your Team Foundation Server every Quarter and that your developers should be updating their client. Before you all shout yes we know this is issue for managed desktop estates so… You know what… they don’t have to upgrade huge services packs in addition to windows updates, VS updates are now a “patch” that just updates your install.

    With the move to continuous improvement and service delivery comes many problems that need solving. Like any continuous service improvement programme these may create new problem but rather than fix them, and like real world examples these raise a number of important learning issues which are vital for the modern IT professional and developer to understand and work out benefits vs risks.

    For example students should be continually asking the following questions in relations to their exercises and assignments.

    1. How to deploy with minimal production impact?
    2. How to update the database without hours of down time?
    3. How to update different components of our application on different cadences?
    4. What if I update one and not the other?

    If you solve these problems not only will you be able to deliver more frequently, but what you will deliver will be in smaller chucks and therefore at a significantly lower risk. Not only that, in solving your deployment problems and essentially continuously practicing them you minimise the risk of delivering to production any significant issues or problems. The result is happy consumers…

    So what has Microsoft doing about this

    Just 3 months after RTM and barely 6 weeks after the Visual Studio 2012 launch the first quarterly update, Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, became available and planning for Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 started.With the launch of Visual Studio Team Foundation Service the Team Foundation Server team, arguably responsible for the most complex component of Visual Studio are delivering even more frequently.

    The summary is:

    • Team Foundation Service updates every 3 weeks
    • Visual Studio Client updates quarterly

    They are effectively on a 3 week Sprint cycle and are delivering new features to production every three weeks as well as hotfixes every Monday if needed. So for more keep an eye on Brian Harry Blog site see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry

Page 4 of 4 (38 items) 1234