May, 2013

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TouchDevelop.com Create Apps and Games Anywhere on all devices

    • 1 Comments

    image

    Do you remember this?

    image

    Well now you can do much more… on any device which supports Html5

     So what is Touchdevelop.com

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    •Create apps on mobile devices for mobile devices

    •Create and run apps instantly on any HTML5 enabled device (PC, Laptop, Phone, Tablet)

    •Requires HTML5 Web browsers (IE10, Chrome, Safari on iOS)

    •Windows Phone = full access NB. Full access to all sensors, graphics, media, contacts, appointments, web requests, etc…

    •Web browser = limited access Geolocation, Maps, Accelerometer supported in most browsers However No access to local media, contacts, appointments and Limited access to web requests because of browser security (CORS)

    •Create apps purely using touch or click (keyboard is optional)

    •Syncs to the cloud (no need to save to internal or external devices)

    •Create an app once & it’s almost instantly available on all your devices

    •Game board template comes with built in physics (gravity & friction)

    •Built in sprite support (you can set speed, rotation, check for collisions)

    •Publish to Windows 8 or WP7/8 stores

    •Publish to WebApp and Facebook App

    From a teaching and learning pedagogy perspective I recommend the following progression

    Kodu and enter the KoduCup

    Scratch

    TouchDevelop  and enter the Imagine Cup

    C# and (XNA) and enter the Imagine Cup

    C++  and enter the Imagine Cup

    Curricula resources available at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    If you want to get Started with Touchdevelop you can follow the following Video Workshops

    Student App Day - Turtle Workshop

    Student App Day - Bubble Popper Workshop

    Student App Day - Monster Slicer Workshop

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Developing a Windows Store Business App using C#, XAML, and Prism

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    About patterns & practices

    The Microsoft patterns & practices team is responsible for delivering applied engineering guidance that helps  Software architects, developers, and their teams take full advantage of Microsoft’s platform technologies in their  application development project.

    They have a simple goal of helping software development teams be more successful with the Microsoft application platform.

    They do this by delivering guidance that:

    −     Helps to simplify the Microsoft application platform.
    −     Provides solution guidance to common problems.
    −     Helps development teams grow their skills and learn.

    For more information: http://www.microsoft.com/practices

    Guidance on how to create a Windows Store business app using C#, XAML and the Prism library.

    Ever wanted to know how to start building Windows Store Business app take a look at the AdventureWorks Shopper reference implementation and the Prism for Windows Runtime library.

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    The AdventureWorks Shopper reference implementation uses the Prism library to demonstrate modern development practices such as the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern with navigation and app lifecycle management. Additionally the reference implementation demonstrates validation, application data management, accessibility, localizability, touch, search, tiles, tile notification, and multiple view states. It also provides guidance on testing your app and tuning its performance.

    Similar to the Prism library for WPF and Silverlight or “Prism Classic,” Prism for Windows Runtime makes it easier to design and build flexible and easy-to-maintain Windows Store business apps using modern development practices.

    These apps are “built to last” and “built to change.” They use design patterns that embody important architectural design principles, such as separation of concerns and loose coupling.

    What’s in the Box?

    ─     Reference Implementation (RI) – the Adventure Works Shopper RI demonstrates validation, application data management, accessibility, localizability, touch, search, tiles, and tile notification.

    ─     Quickstarts:

    Hello World – demonstrates how to create a Hello World app for the Windows Store using the Prism library. Event Aggregator – demonstrates how to send loosely coupled messages between components.Validation – demonstrates how to validate data on forms in a Windows Store app.

    ─     Prism library

    Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) with app lifecycle management and navigation
    Event Aggregator in a Portable Class Library
    Validation
    Delegate Command
    Flyout, Search, and Settings

    ─     Guide – Developing a Windows Store business app using C#, XAML, and Prism for the Windows Runtime” is designed to help developers create Windows Store business apps using the Prism library.

    clip_image003

    How to Get It?

    The Prism library source code is available with the AdventureWorks Shopper reference implementation on the MSDN Code Gallery at http://aka.ms/prism-winrt-code. The Prism binaries are available on NuGet. Search for prism.storeapps and prism.pubsubevents.

    You can view the documentation at http://aka.ms/prism-winrt-doc or download a PDF version at http://aka.ms/prism-winrt-pdf.

    Videos

    Introducing Prism for Windows Store Apps:

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ZipApp Perfect tool for non-programmers to build Windows 8 apps quickly.

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    This post was originally posted at The Developer Movement, I wanted to share this with UK educators and students to demonstrate how easy it is to get started as a Windows 8 app publisher.

    http://www.zipapp.co.uk

    The promise: “Quick, simple and faster than hell”, “You don’t need to be a programmer”

    The reality: Yes, a non-programmer can build a useful app in an afternoon.

    What will the app be able to do?

    ZipApp supports creating apps with the following types of content

    • Static content (hardcoded images, formatted text, and hyperlinks)
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
    • RSS

    What do you need before you start?

    Not much, you should have an idea for a suitable app and the content you want to include in the app.

    Will I need anything else to publish the app?

    When you finish creating your app, the ZipApp tool will send you a .zip file containing the code for your application. You cannot just take that code and publish it to the store. You will need Visual Studio 2012 and the Windows 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) to build the package that you submit to the store. Installing the Windows 8 SDK requires Windows 8. So all that to say, if you plan to publish the app you need

    Now let’s dive into the tool and see how it works!

    Create an account

    Visit ZipApp and create yourself an account by selecting Register

    clip_image001

    You can use a Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, or Google account to log in, or you can just create a local account with a username and password of your choice.

    Create your first application

    Once you log in you are brought to your application screen. The developer of this tool must have a sense of humour, when you first log in you get a message “Yikes! You don’t have any applications…Click the ‘Create New’ link below to create one.”

    As per the instructions, select Create New to create your first application

    Create application

    Enter Application Details

    Next you are asked to enter some basic information about your app: a name and a description.

    Select one of the predefined templates, they give you a snapshot so you get a sense of how the application will look with each theme.

    Select a pre-defined icon. The icon you select will appear as a logo for your app on tiles, and if you have a blog feed with posts that do not have associated pictures, the icon will appear as a default image.

    NOTE: I couldn’t find a way to upload my own icon, which was a little frustrating because I had a logo I wanted to use. If this really bugs you, it is possible to open up the application code after you get the package from the tool and replace the logo. Of course that means if I use the tool to update my app later I’ll have to re-do the work of replacing the icon. Maybe down the road they will add a browse to upload your own icon.

    Application Details

    When you have entered your information select Create to continue.

    NOTE: You can come back later and change any of these settings and values later if you change your mind.

    Adding content to your application

    Now you are back at the application dashboard and you can see your Application in the list. To add content to the application you need to create groups and articles.

    Select View Groups to start adding content.

    Create Group

    Since you have no content you see an empty list and a suggestion to create a new group.

    Create Group

    What is a group?

    There are 5 types of groups you can create

    Group types

    • Static Content – this type of group contains hard coded content that you include. For example you could include a club charter, or a team schedule. One static content group can contain multiple articles. So you could have a Hockey drills group that contains 10 articles each describing a practice drill you can do to become a better hockey player
    • Twitter – Twitter groups display the twitter feed for a particular twitter handle or hashtag, you just provide the tag or handle
    • Facebook – Facebook groups display the content from a Facebook page. Just specify the URL of the Facebook page to start grabbing the content
    • YouTube – YouTube groups add a YouTube playlist. Just specify the YouTube username of the user whose playlists you want included
    • RSS – If you have a blog or other content from an RSS feed you want to include in the app, you can specify the RSS feed URL to display that content as a group.

    NOTE: You can re-order the groups after you create them by clicking on the arrows icon

    Re-order Groups

    Creating a Static Content group

    I want to include a calendar of different races. Sadly, there is no RSS feed for that, but I do have a list of them I can provide as static content

    Static Content

    A Static group by itself doesn’t display any content, so now I have to define articles to display in the group. For each article I can include formatted text, images, and hyperlinks.

    Select View Articles to start adding content to the group.

    View Articles

    Now I can add my first article to the group by selecting Create New on the Articles page.

    Create Article

    Now I can specify a name, subtitle, and description for the article. I can also specify an image to display above the article.

    If you decide to upload an image. You must browse to the image you want uploaded, then select the image and choose Insert to add it to your article.

    Add image

    NOTE: The image is optional, if you don’t specify one, the app will display the icon you selected when you created the app as an image. Including images for each article makes for a more attractive application.

    NOTE: I found uploading images a bit buggy. It always showed the spinning icon as if it was still uploading, but when I selected Cancel and came back to the image screen, the image was in fact uploaded and I was able to select it and add it to my article.

    Continue adding all the articles you want in the group. When you are ready to add a new group just click on Groups in the left hand menu.

    Creating a Facebook group

    This is really easy, just create a new group. Select the Facebook tab and then enter the page for the Facebook page whose posts you want fed into the application.

    NOTE: You don't enter the entire URL just the page name, so for example if the page is at www.facebook.com/MyGreatPage you would just specify MyGreatPage in the Page field. I made the mistake of putting the entire URL and couldn't figure out why my Facebook group wasn't appearing. I didn't get an error message, I just didn't see the Facebook group in the finished app.

    Facebook group

    Creating a Twitter Group

    Creating a Twitter group is easy. Create a new group, select Twitter and specify either a twitter handle or a hashtag you want to use as search criteria for tweets to display in your app.

    Twitter Group

    NOTE: Make sure you read the small print here, if you enter a hashtag AND a twitter handle, you will only see tweets from the specified user which use the specified hashtag!

    Creating a YouTube Group

    Creating a YouTube group is easy. Create a new group, select YouTube and specify either a Username whose YouTube Playlists you would like listed, or the RSS feed for a YouTube feed.

    Youtube group

    Creating an RSS Feed Group

    Creating a RSS Feed group is easy. Create a new group, select RSS and specify the URL for the RSS feed (e.g. a blog feed) whose content you would like listed.

    RSS Feed

    Generating the app

    After you have defined all the groups and articles for the content you want to provide in your app, it’s time to download the app. Select Download from the top bar.

    Download Source Code

    At the bottom of your screen (at least in Internet Explorer, that’s where it appears) You will see a pop-up showing a .zip app you can save to your computer.

    Download file

    Save the file to your computer.

    Congratulations you have just built an app!

    Yeah, I know, seeing a .zip file, or a list of files inside a .zip file isn’t that exciting, so let’s look at how you test and publish the app.

    How do you test your app?

    You will need to install Windows 8 and the Windows 8 SDK to test your application and see it running.

    Once you have the Windows 8 SDK installed, launch Visual Studio 2012.

    If you unzip the .zip file you downloaded, you will see the files that make up your Windows 8 app. The file with the extension .jsproj is the file you want to open from Visual Studio.File list

    In Visual Studio on the top menu select File | Open | Project/Solution and then browse to and select the file ZipApp.jsproj

    You may be prompted whether you will allow Visual Studio to open projects from untrusted sources. You cannot open the file in Visual Studio unless you select OK.

    Untrusted Source

    The project will now be loaded into Visual Studio. You can see the files listed in the Solution Explorer pane on the right hand side.

    Solution Explorer

    There are two ways to test the game.

    • You can launch it inside a simulator, this pops up a separate windows on your desktop with the game running inside the window. It takes up more memory and will be a bit slower to launch if you run it this way.
    • You can launch it on your local machine. If you do this, your PC will actually run the game as if you had clicked on the tile to launch the game from your Start Screen. When you want to exit the game and go back to Visual Studio just use <CTRL>+<D> on your keyboard to return to the desktop.

    To test your app, go to the menu and find the drop down arrow beside the play button where it says Local Machine, use that drop down to select either Local Machine or Simulator.

    After you select your preferred testing option, select the play button or use <F5> to start the game.

    Debug Application

    Go ahead and try it!

    NOTE: For some reason when I ran my app the first time I got a message telling me “my file content does not conform to specified schema” because my description attribute was invalid. When I double clicked on the error message it opened up the AppxManifest.xml file and when I scrolled over on the line that said started with <VisualElements I noticed some weird characters in the middle of my description string “#A13;D45” stuff like that. When I deleted those extra characters, the error went away.

    Error message

    Once your app is up and running try it out! select different groups and articles to see how it works.

    NOTE: Unfortunately Search and Share do not seem to be supported. I suppose that might be difficult to do with all the different content, but it’s a shame, because Search and Share are great features to support in a Windows 8 app. As a programmer I can always add those features after the fact.

    When you want to leave the app, return to Visual Studio (<CTRL><D> takes you back to the desktop) and select the Stop button to Stop running the code.

    Stop Debugging

    Now that you have seen the app in action, you may wish to go back to the ZipApp website and change the theme, the icon, add additional content, or change titles and subtitles and regenerate a new copy of the app. Do this as often as you want until you are happy with the results.

    How do I publish the app?

    This How to Publish an app post provides detailed step by step instructions on how to publish your app.

    NOTE: If an app connects to the internet that means it gets the IP address from the user’s computer. Since it is accessing information from the user that means you have to provide a privacy policy that declares how you use that information.

    The privacy policy has to go in 2 places

    • In the About settings of the app
    • When you Submit the app to the store under the Description section you have to provide your privacy policy

    What’s great about ZipApp is it generates a web page with a privacy policy for you and puts it in the About settings. YOU have to get the URL for that privacy policy and put that in the privacy policy field when you submit your app to the store.

    To get the URL for your app’s privacy policy:

    1. Launch your app
    2. Bring up charms <Windows>+<C>
    3. Choose Settings
    4. Choose Privacy
    5. It will launch a browser showing the page with your privacy policy.
    6. Copy the URL from that page and specify that as the privacy policy for your app when you submit it to the store.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Nokia & Raspberry an interesting recipe

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    EcoPi – Monitoring boiler energy consumption using Windows Phone and Raspberry Pi

    Final year university student Lewis Greyson at the Lincoln School of Computer Science (LSoCS) recently showcased his dissertation project along with his fellow students at a show and tell event held within the school. The event was designed for final year students to present their development work to all staff within the school with lots of high-quality work present ranging from IR tracking to mobile tourism applications. Lewis decided he wanted to use Windows Phone (WP) technology and a Raspberry Pi to power his project’s sustainability concept called ‘EcoPi’. Lewis describes his project:

    “This project discusses research on the issues surrounding domestic energy consumption and climate change. The purpose of the research is to aid the production of a ubiquitous system informed from energy consumption literature. A user study will be conducted to monitor a household for a week using the developed system. It is suggested from the literature that the results of this study will show that the participants are not necessarily aware of how their heating system behaves. It is hoped the results will encourage the participants to make changes to their heating system, thus proving behavioural change. The overarching goal is show that mobile devices have a positive impact on the participant and therefore the devices can be used for such research”

    clip_image002

    The development side of the project includes a WP application that monitors user locations using either GPS or 3G with location data saved at intervals. A Raspberry Pi with a temperature sensor is housed in the user’s home with the temperature sensor located on the boiler. The Pi polls the temp sensor and stores the data to a database, the user can view timeline graphs on the phone of the boiler temperature and whether or not they were at home when the boiler switched on. This creates greater awareness of wasteful energy consumption from the boiler, allowing the user to act upon it.

    clip_image004

    Lewis was inspired to build a Windows Phone app following his experience on the Social Applications Development module at Lincoln. The module teaches students the underpinning design theory and development skills on how to combine the WP and Azure platforms to create apps with a social computing theme.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Unity step up their support for small Indies and Students by going FREE

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    Unity_logi

     

    “The basic version of Windows Store will be free, so Win8 desktop/tablet/WP8 are all covered.  Also all users of Unity Pro will get the basic Windows Store product for free.” Andy Brammall, EMEA Biz Dev for Unity

    Announced by Unity is their support for small indies and students (as measured by a annual turnover of less than $100k)

    Unity announced that they are now  providing free licensing to iOS, Android and Windows/Windows Phone platforms. 

    This is a significant announcement for the UK with indie game devs and a great opportunity for you to build and publish games to both Windows & Windows Phone. Unity is one of the largest middleware frameworks utilised by all flavours of games developers.  It’s estimated to have around 60% utilisation of the total game dev audience (including students).  With this announcement Unity have allowed developer to publish games to all app stores so if your a developers who is currently developing for iOS & Android you can now look to publish these titles to Windows 8 and Windows Phone for FREE. 

    This announcement about free licensing takes away a key blocker which has prevented UK Students from publishing portfolios of games developed in Unity.

    For more details see http://blogs.unity3d.com/2013/05/21/putting-the-power-of-unity-in-the-hands-of-every-mobile-developer/ and http://www.develop-online.net/news/44232/Unity-mobile-game-development-goes-free

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Join Microsoft on the 20th of June 2013 to learn about Windows Azure in Education

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    Azure in Education

    Join Microsoft for this one day event to lean 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.

    Location

    Christopher Ingold Lecture Theatre
    UCL Chemistry Building,
    20 Gordon Street,
    WC1 6BT London
    United Kingdom

    Date

    Thursday, 20 June 2013 from 09:00 to 16:40 (BST)

    Register Here http://azureineducation.eventbrite.co.uk/     
        

    Agenda
    8.30 - 9.00 Arrival
    9.00 - 9.10 Welcome to UCL
    9.10 - 10.00 Welcome to Windows Azure - Rob Frazer Microsoft, Cloud CTO
    10.00 - 10.15 Morning Break 
    10.15 -11.00 Windows Azure in Academia - Ashwin Karuhatty Microsoft, Director of Academic Programs
    11.00 - 12.00 Windows Azure PaaS, IaaS, SaaS - Carlos Oliveira http://www.shapingcloud.com and Windows Azure User Group http://ukwaug.net/
    12.00-13.00 Lunch Break (Lunch will not be provided)
    13.00 - 13.50 Windows Azure Pop Up Labs - Steve Plank Microsoft, Azure Technical Evangelist
    13.50 - 14.00 The Windows Azure Prime Challenge
    14.00 -15.00 Windows Azure VM Depot - Steve Lamb, Microsoft Open Technology http://vmdepot.msopentech.com/
    15.00 - 15.15 Afternoon Break
    15.15 - 16.00 Windows Azure in Research - Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research Connections
    16.15 -16.40 Azure Q and A Panel Microsoft
    16.40 Close

    Educators

    Microsoft provides Educator Grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure in their curricula through Windows Azure academic passes. More info

    Students

    Need access to Windows Azure outside the classroom? Working on a project on cloud computing? Or maybe your master thesis? More info


    Researchers

    Tap into resources offered by Microsoft’s Windows Azure Research Engagement project to take your research to the cloud. More info


    Institution Administrators

    Help your students get the technology skills they need to be successful through Microsoft IT Academy. More info

    Register today

    http://azureineducation.eventbrite.co.uk/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Azure and JaNET Peering announced = UK Education reducing costs for Cloud Services

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    WinAzure_v_rgb  janet

    As part of our on-going commitment to add value to the education community we serve, we are thrilled to be working with JaNET to provide additional support and services to their user base.

    JaNET provides and develops a network infrastructure to support world-class research and education to over 18 million end users and helps academic institutions to better communicate, collaborate and co-operate, globally.

    With the JaNET network now peered with the our datacentre, both Microsoft and JaNET can build on this strong and unique foundation to add additional services that reduce costs and help make the community more competitive.

    With the Cloud Services for Education agreement service already helping institutions, such as Goldsmiths, save in excess of £20,000 in legal due diligence, we are excited about the next stage in the evolution of our work with JaNET which is focused around Azure.

    The press release from JaNET below covers these exciting developments in more detail, but in essence, with our joint dedication to the sector, Janet and Microsoft is able to offer improved access to infrastructure and application services such as websites, virtual learning environments and research projects.

    A launch event for the strategic agreement, where a formal signing of the agreement will take place, is scheduled for the 21st May at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the full press release from JaNET is shown below.

     

    Over 18 million students and staff to benefit from faster, more secure cloud-computing

    More than 18 million students, staff and researchers at institutions across the UK could start to benefit from a faster and more secure connection when using their institution’s cloud-based IT services, thanks to a new peering arrangement between Microsoft and JaNET, the UK’s research and education network.

    This new agreement enables improved access to infrastructure and application services such as websites, virtual learning environments and research projects. Janet has recently become part of the JISC group, the UK’s champion for digital technology in research and education.

    Connecting the networks privately eliminates the need to traverse data over the public internet. This enables a high bandwidth connection for students and staff to use Windows Azure. Bandwidth is managed, ensuring high-speed delivery with no delay or latency.

    The move to peer the Microsoft Windows Azure data centre to the Janet network comes as part of a new strategic alliance between the two organisations, being signed at Goldsmiths, University of London on Tuesday 21 May (press welcome to attend by prior arrangement).

    Professor Anne Trefethen, Chief Information Officer, University of Oxford: “In the UK, higher education institutions are fortunate to have high speed network services as provided by Janet. The capability afforded by Janet’s peering with Microsoft’s Azure Cloud with high-bandwidth secure connections creates new opportunities for researchers and the University community as a whole.”

    Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University Paul Watson comments: “Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise research by offering vast compute resources on-demand. At Newcastle University, we already have over £20M of research projects that are supported by the cloud. However, one of the major barriers holding back further cloud adoption is the time it takes to transfer large datasets from the lab to the cloud for analysis. This new link between Janet and the Azure Cloud removes this barrier, and will allow a far greater range of research projects to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing.”

    The alliance agreement also means any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365, negotiated by Janet.

    An early beneficiary of this arrangement is Goldsmiths, which is also one of a select group of institutions responsible for initiating work on the alliance. Basem El-Haddadeh, Director of IT Services at Goldsmiths said: “The work on Office 365 will save the sector considerable time and money in legal due diligence and speed up adoption of Office 365. We’re really pleased with the roll-out at Goldsmiths and our staff and students are already enjoying using the new system. I’m looking forward to the benefits the strategic alliance can bring.”

    “Through the peering and strategic alliance, we are demonstrating our commitment to UK research and education institutes’ increasing desire to access cloud technologies and we are complementing our world class fibre network with Microsoft’s leading technologies to support the sector,” said Dan Perry, Director of Product and Marketing at Janet.

    Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft Ltd said: “We are delighted to be working with Janet to provide additional value-added products and services to the research and education community. We have a long-standing relationship with this sector and are looking forward to more collaborative working with Janet to grow our offering.”

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    //Build/2013 Conference See what's next • Learn from our engineers • Network with your peers

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    The right content for your role

    image

    There are hundreds of thousands of topics in the Dev Center, http://dev.windows.com and http://dev.windowsphone.com. We know in any organisation discoverability and sharing of content is critical to success.

    So why not get to grips with this detail in person at Microsoft //Build/2013.

    Last month Steve Guggenheimer announced //Build/ 2013, the conference is taking place June 26-28, 2013 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. //build/ is a great opportunity to learn more about developing Windows Store apps.

    The conference will include great presentations, demos, info sessions, etc.  There will be no better place to get the latest and greatest info on Windows Store app development.

    You can see all the details about the conference and register at www.buildwindows.com.

    Here are some key resources for the each roles in your organisation.

    Developers

    When you go to the Windows Store apps home page, you’ll see:

    • “Key tasks and content” prominently called out to help you jump into the content you need. Events as well as new resources.
    • Downloads to help you dive right into coding, all the resources you need to get started, and our detailed guidance on getting your app into the Windows Store.
    • Important code samples are highlighted, and how-to guidance is more easily navigated with an eye toward the development lifecycle.
    • One Dev Minute” videos throughout the site, which give you a quick look at how to add features to your app.
    Designers

    The Design section. You can find useful downloads and reusable design assets more easily, and design inspiration and case studies give you the tools you need to make a unique experience on Windows.

    Businesses

    The business opportunity of the Windows Store is significant, with a better economic model than competitive platforms and flexibility that enables you to build the business you want. The new Market section of the site provides great tips for marketing your apps, evaluating telemetry data, and passing app certification.

    There’s more to come

    With //BUILD/2013 less than a month away, stay connected by following @windevs @ukmsdn on Twitter and subscribing to the Windows Store newsletter for the latest information on Windows 8.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Are you a true mobile developer? Do you develop apps for all platforms iOS, Windows Phone, Android or the web?

    • 1 Comments

    This week I had a very interesting meeting with Kim Blake from UKIE. Kim is a Next Gen Skills Talent Development Coordinator, and part of her role is to simply understand and explain the skills educators and game developers need to ensure that the maximise their potentials.

    So we got into the discussion of a mobile developer today... The simply fact is, if your a real mobile developer you develop apps for all platforms iOS, Windows Phone, Android and the web?.

    iphone       Nokia-Lumia-620-front Samsung-Galaxy-s2-3

    We then got into the discussions of how app development skills are truly transferable skills. For example to be a successful app developer you need to competent in the following areas.

    1. Finance - How to monetize your app? Freemium, IAP, Paid, Subs Based..

    2. Marketing - How to promote and market your app? Branding, Apps store advert and description

    3. Social - How to influence your customers and channels? Twitter, Facebook, linkedin and blogs

    4. Development - How to build an app effectively? Code portability, code reuse and cloud services.

    So where do you get started building apps for Windows 8

    Windows8Site

    With Windows 8 you can take your existing app development skills and start applying them to developing great apps.

    Why should you build apps for Windows 8

    Here are just a few of the benefits:

    • Target millions more devices and users for your apps.  You can code once and have a great app experience that scales across millions of devices from tablets to all-in-one PCs, from 10" to 27" screen sizes.
    • Choose from several supported programming languages, technologies, and standards—some of which you may already know. Windows 8 lets you build Windows Store apps using a variety of programming languages. You can program your apps using C#, C++, or Microsoft Visual Basic, while using Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) to declaratively describe the user interface. Or you can build apps using web technologies like HTML5, Cascading Style Sheets, Level 3 (CSS3), and JavaScript. Developers looking for the best possible performance on Windows 8 can use Microsoft DirectX with C++.

    Resources

    The info throughout this section is intended for developers who are creating apps  for platforms like iOS, Windows Phone, Android, or the web, and who want to create similar Windows Store apps for Windows 8. To learn more, click one of the links in the preceding section.

    Topic Description

    Resources for iOS developers

    Apply your existing iOS app development skills toward developing great apps for Windows 8.

    Resources for Windows Phone developers

    Apply your existing Windows Phone app development skills toward developing great apps for Windows 8.

    Resources for Android developers

    Apply your existing Android app development skills toward developing great apps for Windows 8.

    Resources for web developers

    Apply your existing web development skills toward developing great apps for Windows 8.

     

    Run-time requirements

    To successfully start creating Windows Store apps, you'll need the following at a minimum:

    Related topics

    For everyone
    What's a Windows Store app?
    Windows Store app development: the basics
    Windows 8 Product Guide for Developers
    Make great Windows Store apps
    For developers
    Develop Windows Store apps using Visual Studio 2012
    Windows Dev Camps
    Windows Store App Labs

    For designers and developers
    Download design assets for Windows Store apps

    For Students
    Follow the Student resources guide

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cinder C++ now supports Windows 8 Store Apps/Games

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    Cinder is a cross platform framework for C++ design engineering. In order to run and Apple, Android and Windows devices prior to Windows 8, the rendering libraries leveraged OpenGL as the open source, cross platform solution.

    Even though DirectX has been Microsoft's preferred rendering solution for advanced graphics programming. Windows traditionally provided both DirectX and OpenGL support from the desktop. However, Windows 8 Store applications are now exclusively DirectX based, to maximize reusability across the entire domain of Microsoft experiences including Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows 8, and gaming. This means that Cinder apps that leverage OpenGL for their rendering will not work as Windows Store apps.

    To get a Cinder project running as a Windows Store app, the Cinder project needs to leverage a DirectX render instead of the default OpenGL renderer…”

    Microsoft Evangelism team have been doing lots activity with the open source community in helping bring Windows Store support to Cinder. We are pleased to confirm there is now on a public branch on GitHub.

    This is an initial implementation and there is still a bit of work to do ( such as adding XAML support, etc. ) but the broader creative coding community is already embracing it.

    The following screenshots are from the DirectX, Windows Store samples that ship with the branch.

    The getting started guide here:

    http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/articles/Getting-started-with-Cinder-for-Windows-Store-Apps

    As well as discussion on the official Cinder forums here:

    http://forum.libcinder.org/#Topic/23286000001540037

    And the DirectX / Windows Store branch of this library can be Cloned from here:

    https://github.com/cinder/Cinder/tree/dx_rt

    Some of the feedback so far:

     “A big "Thank You" to Microsoft for investing in Cinder. I think it's a wise move: you'll get the love of hundreds of creative coders around the world, and word-of-mouth goes a long way! Looking forward to learn more about DirectX and the Windows 8 system. I hope video playback will be implemented as well, the current QuickTime-based solution is a big performance hog on Windows at the moment.” – Paul Hoax

    “It's very exciting to see such a contribution to Cinder: definitely a win-win for both Microsoft and the Cinder community. For me, it will be the perfect opportunity to learn DirectX 11 and get my hands dirty on the more advanced features its graphics pipeline. Lots of potential there I believe! Cheers,” - Éric

    Let me know how you are using Cinder and any feedback and thoughts on these resources?

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