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!
Well there is Visual Studio IDE, then there is Team Foundation Server and Office integration and… well you get the picture.
Yes its a vast set of products which as academics and students you get for FREE via DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com
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.
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:
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
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
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.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is an emerging short-range radio technology that is poised to revolutionise how we use mobile phones in everyday interactions.
Nokia are hosting a great webinar. Where they will introduce the basics of NFC and how the technology is implemented in Nokia Lumia phones.
They will also demonstrate how you can use NFC via Microsoft Windows Phone 8’s Proximity API in your applications to share content, read data from and write data to NFC tags, and create your own application launch tags.
You will need to install the Microsoft Windows Phone SDK 8.0 in advance to get the most out of this training lab. You’ll learn more if you have the SDK installed and can begin using the API as soon as you complete the training. Also, it will be helpful to have a Nokia Lumia phone built on Windows Phone 8 available for testing.
Lumia App Lab: Develop NFC apps in Windows Phone 8
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:00:00 AM GMT - 8:45:00 AM GMT
Learn about NFC technology and how to use Microsoft Windows Phone 8’s Proximity API in your apps for Nokia Lumia phones to share content, read data from and write data to NFC tags, and create your own application launch tags.
Click Here to Register
Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:00:00 PM GMT - 4:45:00 PM GMT
So what is TypeScript?
So where is TypeScript being used?
Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012
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
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.
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
This week I had a interesting email from an academic interested in exploring F# for functional programming. F# for those who aren't aware has a number of opportunities in academic teaching, learning and research including analytical programming the sort that are encountered in finance and data science.
Microsoft Research have recently announced a web based IDE entitled Try F#. Try F# is much more than a set of tutorials its actually a web based IDE which lets users write code in the browser and share it with others on the web to help grow a community of F# developers.
Very similar to Microsoft Touchdevelop at www.touchdevelop.com this latest release of Try F# is an evolution that keeps the tool in synch with the new experiences and information-rich programming features that are available in F# 3.0, the latest version of the language. The tutorials incorporate many domains, and help users understand F#’s new powerful “type providers” for data and service programming in the browser-based experience.
The following video includes some recent work by University College London.
Try F# now includes “create and share” experiences that help you write simple code to solve complex problems and then easily share snippets or sample packs with others.
F# communities make it easy to get involved: Microsoft F# discussion forum F# on Stack Overflow F# on Developer Fusion
F# communities make it easy to get involved:
Simple Code for Complex Problems - F# is expressive and concise, which allows developers to implement their algorithms more directly. This means less code to read and maintain.
Rapid Prototyping- Using F# Interactive, code can be executed immediately without first compiling, which enables fluid problem exploration. Developers can use F# Interactive to iteratively refine algorithms to production quality.
Fewer Bugs- Case studies and user reports consistently show that F#'s strong type system reduces software bugs. Units of Measure further increase these benefits by preventing code from accidentally combining such elements as inches and centimeters, dollars and euros, or any custom units.
Reduced Complexity- F# makes it easier to write functional programs, which eliminates complex time and state dependencies. This helps prevent bugs, makes unit testing more straightforward, simplifies refactoring, and promotes code reuse.
If your interested in learning more about F# in academia please contact Kenji Takeda at Microsoft Research Connections
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
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
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.
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.
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. Now click Choose Certificate.... In the dialog that opens, click the dropdown and select Create test 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.
The Awesome team of
From Channel9.msdn.com have released FallFury open sourced C++/DX 2D Game for Windows 8
You are playing as a bear that falls down from the sky, collecting buttons, avoiding obstacles and fighting monsters.
This project demonstrates the capabilities of Windows Store hybrid applications, leveraging both the power of DirectX and XAML. It also supports an extensible level model, where developers can adjust the character behavior and the item sets by modifying specially designed XML files.
So if your interested in building a C++/DX game then here a 12 step tutorial of FallFury
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.
You can also download a free ebook by Kraig Brockschmidt for web developers creating Windows Store applications.
The links below will provide you with additional help in getting started
There's a new set of resources that have been produced with designers and User Experience professionals in mind. Again, keep checking back to the main design portal at design.windows.com for the most up to date information.
Today the Windows Phone team announced the availability of the Windows Phone SDK Update for Windows Phone 7.8 for targeting the Windows Phone 7.8 operating system which replaces Windows Phone 7.5.
This is an optional update that adds two new Windows Phone 7.8 emulator images to your existing SDK installation. The emulator will allow you to fully test how your Windows Phone app’s Live Tiles will look and behave when they are run on a device running Windows Phone 7.8.
The Windows Phone Team have announced this and detail whats included in the Windows Phone SDK update.If your an existing Windows Phone developer I would recommend you look at Thomas Fennel’s blog on how to ‘light up’ your 7.5 app in Windows Phone 7.8 and 8.0 for a technical overview of how to use the new emulator images.
The Windows Phone SDK update adds the following capabilities to your machine:
Most importantly, any Windows Phone apps that you build using the Windows Phone 7.8 SDK still target and run on Windows Phone 7.5. This update simply makes it easier to test how your apps appear on devices running Windows Phone 7.8.
At a high level, Windows Phone 7.8 allows you to have your 7.5 apps behave much like apps do on Windows Phone 8 devices, allowing you to do the following on a user’s start screen:
Taking advantage of the new tile options available in Windows Phone 7.8 uses the same reflection approach that folks have been using over the past few months light up their 7.5 apps on Windows Phone 8 (refer to the ‘lighting up’ your tiles on Windows Phone 8.0 topic on the Windows Phone Dev Center for details).
Additional links for more information
The SDK update requires an existing installation of the Windows Phone SDK:
For further information on developing Windows Phone apps that light up on Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8.0, you may find the following links helpful:
Windows Phone SDK Update for Windows Phone 7.8