August, 2013


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Increase opportunity – Build for Windows Phone and Windows


    A well-designed and built Windows Phone 8 app can be a great start for building a Windows 8 app. You can leverage the same programming language skills like C# and XAML, and powerful development tools, such as Visual Studio 2012, to accelerate your development, testing and publication time. By building apps for both platforms, you’ll increase your opportunity to reach more customers in over 190 markets.

    We’re making it easy for you to get started with this collection of our best guidance to take advantage of the shared core.

    Here are some key Resources and Guidance

    Maximize code reuse when building for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8

    Windows 8, Windows Phone 8: Building for Both

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Only DreamSpark gives you the pros’ most integrated developer tools at no cost to students —like Microsoft Visual Studio Professional.





    It’s the full suite, not a trial version! So start building apps, games and sites right away in HTML, C++, C#, Ruby, Java and more.


    No cost. No catch. Start downloading today at

    You’ll find everything from student app contests to coding camps, tutorials, expert help and free resources to get your first Windows app built and published.

    Want to know more about DreamSpark download these datasheets

    DreamSpark Faculty DataSheet


    DreamSpark Institution DataSheet

    DreamSpark  Student DataSheet









  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    GDC/GamesCom 2013 Cologne


    Last week I had a hectic week in the city of Cologne, Germany.


    Why Cologne well simply because Cologne was serving as host to both GDC Europe and Gamescom 2013.


    I had the opportunity to meet many of my European colleagues and represent the UK developer ecosystem on the ground for two of the most important gaming conferences in the world.

    2013 is a important year and a year when Microsoft can say we have the best 3 screen experience with Xbox 360 and Xbox One as the best gaming console and Windows & Windows Phone as the Best Off-Console Gaming Platforms:

    During GDC and GamesCom we used the full selection of devices, with an unprecedented level of presence including a total of over 40 devices with dozens of games from top UK publishers and indies.

    I had a packed four days with meetings and evenings with gatherings hosted by the likes of Pocketgamer, Rovio, UKIE, UKTI and Crytek.

    I met with dozens of UK developers and companies from all over the world, and discussed and identified many new opportunities relating to Windows Phone, Windows 8, Azure and XboxOne. From an academic perspective I got to meet an array of world wide academics and student developers and had a great session with the IGDA 2013 Scholars.

    One of the many highlights of the week was watching AJ from Dlala Studio, give a truly excellent presentation at GDC. His talk,

    Building Tomorrow’s Blockbuster Today Across Phones, Tablets, and PCs


    Anthony James Grand-Scrutton, Chief Executive Officer at Dlala Studios & Kristina Rothe, Game Development Evangelist at Microsoft


    Your games’ success depends on reaching the most gamers on as many devices as possible. Targeting a broad range of hardware doesn’t have to be expensive or painful. Microsoft’s gaming platform offers access to more screens, in more countries with more flexibility than any other platform. Whether you are a small Indie game shop or a member of a large, multi-year cross-team development pipelines – This session will show you how to design, build and publish your game in the most effective way to capture the most players across multiple screens and how Dlala did it.

    Device & Services

    2013 is the year that “Gaming Takes Many Forms”, and specifically that only Microsoft allows you to have deep immersive experiences across Console, Desktop, Laptops, Convertibles, Tablets, AllinOnes and Phones. 


    We had a variety of devices on site at GDC Europe – Windows 8.1 which proved to great discussion starting point



    Envy x2 +Revolve 810
    XPS 10, XPS 12, XPS 18
    ATIV Smart PC range
    Surface RT + Surface Pro
    ZenBook Prime + 27inch AllinOne  
    920, 1020, 925
    ATIV S



    Gamescom has become — it’s the world’s largest gaming event with over 340,000 visitors, more than 6,000 journalists, and 635 exhibitors from 88 countries attending in 2013.

    Selection of Photo Pre and during Show.

    WP_20130819_005WP_20130820_003WP_20130820_008WP_20130820_014WP_20130821_016WP_20130820_007   imageWP_20130821_026WP_20130820_012WP_20130821_019WP_20130820_017

    The week was full of action, and Cologne was an amazing host city. We’ll certainly be returning next year, and we’d love to welcome any of our new German friends to visit our office in LA whenever they have the opportunity. The pork knuckle might not be as big, nor the beer as strong, but we promise to show you just as good of a time!

    Project Spark


    One of the things I think will really exciting to the academic world is Project Spark.

    Project Spark was officially disclosed at E3.

    Project Spark is game builder at Gamescom project Spark had a huge presence and brought plenty of details on the game creation project.

    The following video is a sneak into what future game designers and developers will see  when the project is released.

    Via: Engadget

    • A pick-and-choose style menu system makes game creation easy.
    • Motion tracking.
    • Facial recognition utilities.
    • The new HD Kinect, allows Project Spark users to record motion sequences and overlay them onto characters.
    • Add facial movements or voice recordings using the HD Kinect as well.
    • Users can share their creations or co-operate on projects over the cloud.
    • World can be created as large as a user wishes them to be.

    Related articles

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Updating your app from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1


    Updating your apps to Windows 8.1 Preview provides significant benefits.

    · Numerous performance improvements in common scenarios, including app startup time and panning within large data collections

    · Improved rendering of animations

    · New and improved controls

    · More flexible app layouts and Window states

    · Additional tile sizes and templates

    · Better integration of contacts and calendar

    · More natural in-app search experience

    Updating your app now will help give you a chance to prepare for some of the changes and new features in 8.1.

    Important: The Windows Store is not yet open for submission of Windows 8.1 apps. Windows Store apps written for Windows 8.1 will be eligible for submission to the Windows Store later this year. At that time you will be able to onboard new apps or onboard an 8.1 version to the same app ID as your existing Windows 8 app. This enables your 8 and 8.1 apps to share ratings and reviews – it also means that users will automatically get the 8.1 version of your app when they update and you will be able to continue to update both your 8 and 8.1 versions moving forward.

    To help developers get started on updating their Windows 8 apps to Windows 8.1 the following white paper has been produced 

    The white paper provides information about how to migrate a Windows Store app built for Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Preview. It provides guidelines for developers to successfully port their existing Windows 8 code investments to Windows 8.1. It assumes that the reader is familiar with Windows Store app development, the Windows Runtime, either XAML or the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS). The current version of this paper is maintained on the web at:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Presentation from Windows Azure in Education Event Summer 2013


    Azure in Education

    On the 20th of June a number of UK academics and researchers joined us at UCL for a one day event.

    The event was simply to learn how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects.

    Additionally we focused on how Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructure and application needs. see for attendees.

    Here are the presentations from the day

    Welcome to Windows Azure - Rob Frazer Microsoft, Cloud CTO


    Windows Azure in Academia - Ashwin Karuhatty Microsoft, Director of Academic Programs 

    Windows Azure PaaS, IaaS, SaaS - Carlos Oliveira and Windows Azure User Group


    Windows Azure Pop Up Labs - Steve Plank Microsoft, Azure Technical Evangelist  


    The Windows Azure Prime Challenge  


    Windows Azure VM Depot - Steve Lamb, Microsoft Open Technology

    Windows Azure in Research - Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research Connections  

    For More details on Windows Azure in Education see the following resources


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


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


    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Watch the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit ON DEMAND



    This year Microsoft;s Faculty Summit, was streamed LIVE to people all over the world. For those of you who weren't available to watch the live stream during July  you can now watch all of it on your computer.

    During the summit viewers watched and participated in the keynote Q&A with Bill Gates, and watched live streaming of key faculty summit presenters; and the first-day closing keynote speaker, Doug Burger, who presented “The Beast from Below: How Changes in the Hardware Ecosystem Will Disrupt Computer Science.”

    These sessions are now available for on-demand viewing.

    Learn more:

    · Watch Bill Gates’ keynote

    · Watch the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit on demand

    Read more about the Faculty Summit at the MS Research Connections blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    From Big Data to Big History and Beyond


    The largest and most prestigious European research networking conference, the TERENA Networking Conference (TNC) took place in Maastricht, Netherlands, from June 3 to 6, 2013. More than 500 participants attended the event, including decision makers, networking specialists, and managers from all major European networking and research organizations, universities, and worldwide institutions, and industries .

    Kenji Takeda from Microsoft Research Connections gave a keynote address exploring the opportunities of cloud computing in research. The availability of big and broad data is becoming a foundation upon which we can accelerate our research and education across all disciplines, including science, engineering, technology, social science, anthropology, history, and government. Takeda’s talk explored how Windows Azure is enabling new capabilities and insight in data-intensive research through services and tools in areas including big history, astronomy, genomics, medicine, and environmental science.

    Learn more:

    · Watch the TERENA 2013 keynote online

    · Hear about big data and cloud computing

    Learn more about Windows Azure for Academic Research project

    Lean more about Windows Azure for Undergraduate teaching and Learning

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    10 Reasons To Use Team Foundation Service


    I recently had an interesting discussion with Giles Davies, Giles is from Visual Studio UK Team @VisualStudioUK. The discussion was about group based projects and how academics and students could use technology to assist them in this task.

    So I asked Giles to write a short summary of what he believes is best tool for group based projects Team Foundation Services.

    So wouldn’t it be good if you could use an integrated team environment for your development projects, and you didn’t need to set anything up or have any connectivity other than the internet?

    Well, that’s exactly what Team Foundation Service (TFS) provides and I want to set out the reasons why I think it could really help groups of students to work together on software development projects.

    Before I start on the reasons, a quick background on what it is. Team Foundation Service is the Azure hosted version of Team Foundation Server, providing an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution for software development teams. Marketing speak aside, that means that you get integrated version control, requirements and bug tracking, agile tools, a build engine and more.


    So, why do I think you should be looking at Team Foundation Service?

    1 You don’t need to install anything

    Simply go to and sign up for an account. There’s no server or server install because that’s all being provisioned in the cloud with Azure for you. It’s quick and painless and there are plenty of tutorials.

    2 It’s free

    If your team consists of 5 people or less, or you have MSDN you’ll never need to pay for TFS. In fact, at the moment, any number of people can use it for free, but the licencing will be put in place sometime this year.

    3 You just need an internet connection

    No VPN, nothing fancy, just an internet connection. So your team can all contribute and collaborate from anywhere that you’ve got a connection (home, the pub, the train, maybe even the faculty J ).

    4 You just need a Microsoft account

    To authenticate you just need a Microsoft account (what used to be called a Live Id, e.g. a Hotmail address). Not got one? Create one for free.

    5 You get your choice of version control

    What’s the most important tool for a software development team? Version control. What does TFS give you? A choice of either Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) or Git, so if you want to work in a completely distributed way with local repositories, go for Git, otherwise choose TFVC.


    It doesn’t just have to be source code, and it doesn’t have to be “Microsoft” source code, so you can version control artwork, documents and other artefacts as well.

    I won’t go into the choice in detail, but if you want to know more I ran through why you might choose which version control option here.

    6 You get somewhere to collaborate

    When you’re working on your project, in your team, where do you record ideas? Where do you assign tasks within the group? How do you know what each person is working on and how much work is left to do? Where do you record bugs? How you manage your project using Scrum or Kanban? I think you know where I’m going with this – all this, and more, is provided by TFS, including inviting new people to the project, Product Backlogs, Sprint Backlogs, Task boards, Capacity Planning, Burndowns, Velocity, Kanban and collaborating in Team Rooms.


    No more scribbling something down in a file, or on paper, or having stale data in an email. Your group can work remotely, at different times of the day, but you’re still all looking at THE current set of information for your project. You have a great idea at 3am – add it to the Product Backlog.

    7 You get hosted build environments

    Build your code either on a schedule or continuously. You can build it locally on a build machine, but TFS also includes hosted build servers in Azure, so you don’t need to find a local machine if you don’t need to. Include unit tests in your build to drive, and demonstrate, quality in your project. More information here.

    8 You get test case management

    Don’t forget to test your code J Define a test plan, set up test cases, execute tests and even use the cloud based load testing with Team Foundation Service.

    9 You can work with your preferred IDE locally

    Are you coding using C#, VB .NET, C++, F#? Carry on using Visual Studio (and don’t forget that students can get Visual Studio Professional for free via DreamSpark.

    Are you coding using Java or other languages in Eclipse? Carry on.

    Are you developing iOS applications with XCode? Guess what, XCode’s supported too.

    10 You’ll be using an environment used by professionals developers all over the world

    TFS is used in a large number of organisations, of all sizes, all over the world. You’ll be using an environment that a lot of professional development teams use and gain an understanding into how, and with what tools, software development teams work together.

    More information

    The UK Microsoft Visual Studio team, covering Agile, ALM, Quality, TFS and Visual Studio and have a great blog at

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