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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cross Platform Mobile Development with Visual Studio

    • 2 Comments

    One of the key goals for today’s developers is how to build an app or game and get it on as many platforms in the short most cost effective way.

    However building rich applications targeting multiple mobile platforms and a variety of devices up to now hasn't been an easy task but with In case you haven’t heard yet, the final release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is also now available.

    This update brings many new features, including tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows apps.

    We now make it easier for developers to undertake a multi-device development in a mobile-first world with the technology of their choice – whether .NET, C++ or JavaScript.

    Visual Studio+ Xamarin

    Microsoft’s partnership with Xamarin has enabled C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices including iOS and Android. Developers using Xamarin and Visual Studio can create native apps taking advantage of the underlying device, with great productivity of C#, and sharing code and libraries between their iOS, Android and Windows applications.

    Visual Studio + Apache Cordova

    Apache Cordova is a popular open source platform. It is a set of device APIs that allow a mobile app developer to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo Mobile or Sencha Touch, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    image

    The Visual Studio team has recently announced its tooling support for Apache Cordova. What possibilities does it give? Now developers can use Visual Studio to easily build hybrid apps that run on iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone using a single project based on HTML and JavaScript. Click here for more information.

    Why use Apache Cordova and Visual Studio

    1.Developers can use their existing skills in HTML and JavaScript to create hybrid packaged apps for multiple devices while taking advantage of each device’s capabilities.

    2. These tools support end-to-end development of cross-platform mobile applications targeting Android, iOS, Windows and Windows Phone using Visual Studio.

    3. Project templates are available for both JavaScript and TypeScript, and provide a standard blank Cordova starter project. Developers can pick their HTML/JavaScript framework of choice, whether Backbone and jQuery UI, or Angular.js and Bootstrap, or WinJS.

    4. Projects can be built, deployed, and debugged against a variety of devices, device emulators and web-based mobile simulators. By default, you can use the Apache Ripple Simulator to test your app on a number of emulators.     

    image

    5. By installing and configuring the vsmda—remote npm package on a Mac, you can even build for iOS, deploy to a device via iTunes, or start your app in the iOS Simulator on a Mac right from Visual Studio.

    See here how to get started for free

    If you would like to get started with Cordova for Windows devices, you can refer to the Cordova documentation, or see here what you will need if you are working on a Mac, if you want to develop for Windows Phone 8, or for Windows 8.

    Microsoft and Open Source

    You can read about Microsoft Open Technologies contributions to the project. Here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 SDK requirements

    • 3 Comments

    920-responsive3-png

    What are the system requirements for the SDK?

    Here are the system requirements for the Windows Phone 8 SDK

    • Supported operating systems: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 64-bit (x64) client versions
    • Hardware: 4 GB of free hard disk space, 4 GB RAM, 64-bit (x64) CPU
    • Windows Phone 8 Emulator: Windows 8 Pro edition or greater, a processor that supports Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)

    If you have already been developing for Windows Phone 7 note the new requirements

    1. You need to be running a 64 bit Windows 8 OS to install the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    2. If you don’t meet the requirements for the Windows Phone 8 Emulator, the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 will install and run but the Windows Phone 8 Emulator will not function and you will not be able to deploy or test apps on the Emulator. see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/10/24/hyper-v-list-of-slat-capable-cpus-for-hosts.aspx for details on SLAT

    The emulator uses Hyper-V under SLAT so if you try to run a project in the emulator and Hyper-V is not enabled, you will be prompted to turn on Hyper-V. Turning on Hyper-V will require you to restart your computer.

    What new APIs and features can I leverage?

    If you visit the Windows Phone Dev Center you’ll find all documentation and samples for the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

    Here are a couple of new features here just to whet your appetite

    If your teaching or building app/games with the Windows Phone 7 SDK do I have to restart it?

    No. Apps built for Windows Phone 7.5 still run on Windows Phone 8, so finish and publish the apps using your free developer account from http://create.msdn.com via http://www.DreamSpark.com

    If you want to leverage some of the new Windows 8 features, you can do that in your next release.

    Additional Resources

    Check out the following videos from Build 2012 on Windows Phone 8 Development

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 via DreamSpark.com

    • 7 Comments

    Visual Studio 2013, .NET 4.5.1, and Team Foundation Server 2013 are now available for download

    DreamSpark subscribers can download Visual Studio FREE of Charge from either their Institutional DreamSpark ELMS store or direct from DreamSpark.com.

    Visual Studio 2013 is the best tool for developers and teams to build and deliver modern, connected applications on all of Microsoft’s platforms. From Windows Azure and SQL Server to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, Visual Studio 2013 supports the breadth of Microsoft’s developer platforms.

    As part of the Cloud OS vision, Visual Studio 2013 enables developers to build modern business applications that take advantage of the cloud and target a variety of devices and end-user experiences, all delivered within today’s rapid and dynamic application lifecycles.

    Accessing Visual Studio 2013 via DreamSpark.com

    When student download and install Visual Studio 2013 from DreamSpark.com, they will receive a static key to complete the installation. The key simply means the students do not have register or reregister the product every 90 days are per the RTM version..

    For administrators and IT technicians the DreamSpark institutional ELMS Store contains a copy of Visual Studio 2013 with a Pre-Keyed serial number this version can be used to install on institution teaching and learning lab machines either manually or via a managed desktop image.

    Visual Studio and Cloud services

    When the student/institutions have installed Visual Studio 2013 on premise, they will get prompted to go an connect online to use online features of Visual Studio a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Account is required. If a student signs in with their WLID this will save there solutions to the cloud.

    What are the new features

    There are great new features and capabilities in Visual Studio 2013 for every developer, including innovative editor enhancements such as Peek and CodeLens, diagnostics tools for UI responsiveness and energy consumption, major updates for ASP.NET web development, expanded ALM capabilities with Git support and agile portfolio management, and much, much more.  Check out what’s new with Visual Studio 2013 for details.

    Want to know more about Visual Studio 2013

    Visual Studio 2013 launch on November 13th.  at the launch event the Visual Studio team will  be highlighting the array of new features and capabilities in the Visual Studio 2013 release.

    Windows 8.1

    Visual Studio 2013 supports development of great Windows Store applications for Windows 8.1, which is also available for download today  FREE of charge for all  DreamSpark Premium subscribers.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Getting Started with the FEZ Spider Kit for Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer

    • 1 Comments

     gadgetGadgeteer

    Ok I have to confess, I am addicted! I have been playing with a .NET Gadgeteer FEZ Spider Kit from GHI Electronics. The .NET Gadgeteer kits enable you to quickly prototype and test a wide variety of functionality for embedded devices. As you are all aware from some of my recent presentations I am a huge fan of the Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer.

    A number of you  have asked me about about the .NET Gadgeteer kits and how easy is it for Teachers, Lectures and academics to grasp and teach this technology to school, college and University students? Well firstly you need to know some C# if you don't then watch the following tutorials.  

    So for all of you haven't heard about Gadgeteer or are simply wondering what you can do with Gadgeteer  the following guide will hopefully be of assistance.

    The following guide is to:

    1. Introduces you to the basic hardware components of the GHI FEZ Spider Kit

    2. Give you some examples of  how to create your first .NET Gadgeteer application.

    .NET Gadgeteer development requires that you have Microsoft Visual Studio installed on your computer. You can use either of the following Visual Studio packages:

    visual_studio_logo

    • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 - This is the full featured Visual Studio application development suite with support for multiple programming languages.
    • Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express - A free alternative, Visual C# 2010 Express provides lightweight, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use tools for creating applications.

    Both of these are free to download for all UK Students via http://www.dreamSpark.com there is an extensive .NET Gadgeteer support and learning materials available from .NET Gadgeteer http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/get-started.aspx and GHI  http://www.tinyclr.com/support 

    So lets get started

    Building your First .NET Gadgeteer Device

    The FEZ Spider Kit consists of components, which are called modules, and cables that you can use to create various types of functionality in your device. To create your first .NET Gadgeteer device, you will need the following parts:

    • FEZ Spider Mainboard
    • A Red USB Client Dual Power (USBClientDP) module
    • A Button module
    • A Camera module
    • A Display_T35 module
    • Module connector cables
    The FEZ Spider Mainboard

    The FEZ Spider Mainboard includes a processor and memory, as well as 14 sockets. The sockets are outlined by a white box that surrounds the socket number (1 through 14) and groups the socket number with a set of letters that indicate which modules can be connected to the socket.

    .NET Gadgeteer-compatible hardware modules connected to the FEZ Spider mainboard by these connectors allow you to extend the FEZ Spider mainboard with communication, user interaction, sensing, and actuation capabilities.

    The FEZ Spider mainboard includes a Reset button to reboot the system. There is also a small LED (labelled D1) which lights up whenever the FEZ Spider has power.

    Mainboard

    The USB Client Dual Power Device Module

    The USB Client Dual Power (USBClientDP) module (coloured red) enables you to connect the FEZ Spider Mainboard to your computer for programming and debugging. The dual-powered module is itself powered either by a USB port on a computer or by a 7 -30 volt DC power source. A USBClientDP module supplies power to the FEZ Spider and to any other modules that are connected to it. You can plug in both power sources of the USBClientDP module to program and to power at the same time.

    Warning

    Never connect more than one red module to the FEZ Spider Mainboard at the same time. This will damage the hardware.

    The USBClientDP module has a black socket, identical to the sockets on the FEZ Spider Mainboard. Next to the connector, there is a letter D. This means that this particular module can only be connected to a socket labelled D on the mainboard.

    In a similar way, all .NET Gadgeteer-compatible modules have letters next to their sockets that identify which mainboard sockets they can be connected to. Many modules are labelled with multiple letters. This means that they can be connected to any of the labelled sockets.

    Red USB Device Module

    The Module Connector Cable

    Your hardware kit includes many module connector cables of different lengths. Apart from the length, these cables are all identical and can be used interchangeably to connect modules to the FEZ Spider Mainboard. Note that all sockets have a notch and the cable headers have a protrusion that fits into this notch, so the cables can only be inserted one way.

    A .NET Gadgeteer-compatible Module Connector Cable

    Connect the red USB Device module to socket number 1 on the FEZ Spider Mainboard, which is the only socket that has the letter D. Then, connect the small end of the mini USB cable provided with the kit to the USBClientDP module. However, do not connect the other end to your computer yet.

    Connecting the FEZ Spider to the USB Client module

    Warning

    When plugging or unplugging any module into a FEZ Spider socket, always make sure that power is not connected, by unplugging either end of the mini USB cable. The mini USB cable supplies power to the FEZ Spider; if you plug or unplug a module on the FEZ Spider while it is powered, the hardware could be damaged.

    After ensuring that the FEZ Spider mainboard is not powered, continue by getting a Button module from your hardware kit.

    A Button with Multicolour LED

    Turn the Button module over. Next to the connector are the letters X Y. This means that a Button module can be connected to one of the sockets labelled X or Y on a mainboard.

    The Reverse Side of a Button Module

    Get a Camera module from your hardware kit. Turn the Camera module over. This module has a single connector labelled H. Only socket 3 on the FEZ Spider mainboard supports modules labelled with the letter H. Plug one end of a connector cable to the socket on the Camera module and the other end to the FEZ Spider on socket number 3, also labelled HI.

    Camera with Socket labelled H

    Connecting the Modules to the Mainboard

    Connect the Button and the Camera to the mainboard using module connector cables as described in the previous sections.

    The .NET Gadgeteer designer can identify the sockets on modules and on the mainboard that are compatible. This method is described in the following section titled Using the .NET Gadgeteer Designer UI. In this example we will connect the remaining Display_T35 module manually.

    The Display_T35 module has four connectors. Connect sockets 14, 13, and 12 to the Display_T35 module sockets labelled R, G, and B. As you might expect, these letters signify the colour distribution of the Display_T35 module. Connect socket 10 on the mainboard to socket T on the Display_T35 module. Socket T on the Display_T35 module facilitates the touch screen features of this module.

    Warning

    Make the actual connections between all modules and the mainboard before you connect the USBClientDP to the USB port on your computer.

    The following illustration shows the mainboard connected to a Display_T35 module, a Button module, a Camera module, and the USBClientDP module. Now, with all the other modules connected, you can connect the USBClientDP module to the USB port on your computer.

    .NET Gadgeteer Modules with Connectors

    Creating Your First .NET Gadgeteer Application.

    Start Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 or Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express. The following sequence will get your first .NET Gadgeteer Application up and running in less than half an hour.

    To create a Visual Studio application:
    1. On the File menu, select New Project....

      Microsoft Visual Studio

    2. On the New Project screen, under Installed Templates, expand the Visual C# category.
    3. Select Gadgeteer.
    4. Select .NET Gadgeteer Designer Application. Name the project GadgeteerCamera.
    5. Click OK.

      Microsoft Visual Studio, New .NET Gadgeteer Application Project

    Using the .NET Gadgeteer Designer UI

    The .NET Gadgeteer Designer opens with the FEZ Spider Mainboard displayed on the canvas. If the Toolbox is not visible, click the View menu and select Toolbox. The Toolbox with a list of installed modules will open. You can resize or hide the Toolbox to make more work space on the canvas.

    Microsoft Visual Studio, .NET Gadgeteer Application and Toolbox

    If you want to use a different mainboard, open the toolbox, and drag the mainboard icon of your choice onto the designer surface.

     

    Replace Mainboard

    When you drag a new mainboard to the designer surface, you'll be prompted, as shown in the following illustration, to confirm replacement of the mainboard. All existing connections will be removed.

     

    To continue building the example device, open the Toolbox and drag the modules for this example on to the work canvas. You will need the following modules:

    • Camera
    • Display_T35
    • Button

    The Designer canvas with modules is shown in the following illustration.

    Microsoft Visual Studio, .NET Gadgeteer Application and Modules

    As indicated by the instructions in the text box on the canvas, the .NET Gadgeteer Designer will graphically connect all the modules for you. Right click on the design surface and select Connect all modules. You can move the modules around on the design surface to make the connections easier to read. You can also delete any connection by right clicking on the connection and selecting Delete.

    Microsoft Visual Studio, Designer Connected Modules

    To manually set a connection, click on a socket in the diagram and hold down the left mouse button. Then you can drag a line that represents the connection from a module socket to a mainboard socket or in the opposite direction from the mainboard to a module. The sockets that the module can use will light up in green, as shown in the following illustration.

    Writing Code for Devices that use .NET Gadgeteer Modules

    To specify what the modules should do in this application, now edit the Program.cs file. The following illustration shows the Program.cs file open in Visual Studio.

    Microsoft Visual Studio, New Project, default Program.cs Code

    When using the designer, the modules are automatically instantiated by auto-generated code. This code can be found in the file Program.Generated.cs, but during normal use it is not necessary to view this file, and this file should not be edited because the Designer will automatically regenerate it and undo any direct changes made to it. The Program.Generated.cs file is shown in the following snippet.Program.Generated.cs file.

    Microsoft Visual Studio, Progam.Generated.cs Code

    The Button Pressed Event and Delegate Method

    Next, you generate code that will enable the program to react to a button press. To do this, assign an event handler for the Button.ButtonPressedevent. The IntelliSense feature of Visual Studio makes this process very easy.

    In the Program.cs file, after the comment that reads:

     Initialize event handlers here.

    Type button.(button followed by a period). IntelliSense displays a list of properties, methods and events as shown in the following illustration.

    IntelliSense Feature Showing Members of the Button class

    Using the arrow keys, select ButtonPressed. Then type += (plus sign followed by an equals sign). IntelliSense offers option to automatically insert the rest of the declaration:

    IntelliSense Offers to Create the Handler Declaration

    Press TAB to confirm. IntelliSense offers to automatically generate a delegate method to handle the event:

    IntelliSense Offers to Generate the Event Handler Method

    Press TAB to confirm. The following code is generated:

     

    Event Handler for the ButtonPressed Event

    This event handler will be called each time the button is pressed. Delete the following line from the method:

     throw new NotImplementedException();

    And replace it with:

     camera.TakePicture();

    Now when the Button is pressed, the Camera module will take a picture.

    Take Picture in ButtonPressed Event

    The Picture Captured Event and Delegate Method

    The Camera module raises an event when the Cameracaptures a picture. You can use the event to display the picture in the Display_T35 module.

    The PictureCaptured event is an example of an asynchronous event. Calling Camera.TakePicturein the Button.ButtonPressed delegate starts the process, but the result of the action is not returned by the ButtonPressed delegate. Instead, the GT.Picture object returns as a parameter of the asynchronous PictureCaptured event.

    When the PictureCaptured event occurs, you can get the GT.Picture object and display it by using the SimpleGraphics interface of the Display_T35 module. The SimpleGraphics interface supports the DisplayImage method, which accepts a GT.Picture object as a parameter, along with integer values to indicate the X an Y coordinates that position the image on the display.

    All code required to display the picture is shown in the following implementation of the PictureCaptured event delegate.

    Complete Application Code

    All the code for a .NET Gadgeteer Application that takes a picture and displays it in the Display_T35 module is shown in the following example.

    Entire Code Listing

    Deploying Your .NET Gadgeteer Application

    To deploy this application to a mainboard and begin running it, select Start Debugging from the Debug menu, or press F5.

    Start Debugging

    Make sure that the Output Window is visible by pressing the CTRL + ALT + O key combination on your keyboard. If you have enabled sounds, you should hear Windows make the "USB disconnected" sound, followed by the "USB connected" sound as the Mainboard reboots. The Output Window should show the process of loading various files and assemblies. The final line, which appears once the application begins to run, should read Program Started.

    Output Window

    Running the .NET Gadgeteer Device

    When you see Program Started appear on the Output window, you can take a picture. Smile for the Camera, and push the Button. Your picture will appear on the screen of the Display_T35 module. If it works - congratulations! You have completed your first .NET Gadgeteer application.

    To exit debugging mode, select Stop Debugging from the Debug menu, or press Shift + F5.

    Stopping Debugging

    Note: The mainboard continues to be programmed, and will run this application whenever it is powered up, even if it is not connected to a computer.

    Adding Timed Actions for a Surveillance Camera

    An interesting extension of the camera application in the previous example is programming the application to take pictures automatically at an interval set by an instance of the GT.Timer class.

    To create an instance of the GT.Timer class, add the following global variable to the Program class, as shown in the following example. This line of code initializes the GT.Timer to raise the Tick event at an interval of 2000 milliseconds (2 seconds).

        GT.Timer timer = new GT.Timer(2000);

    Create the delegate to handle the GT.Timer.Tick event, but stop the timer until the button is pushed. The following code shows the set-up in the ProgramStarted method.

    Initialize Timer

    In the ButtonPressed handler replace Camera.TakePicture with the following code. The new code starts and stops the GT.Timer.Tick event and toggles the LED indicator on the Button. When the GT.Timer is firing events, you can use the event handler to take pictures instead of the ButtonPressed handler.

    Toggle Timer

    The implementation of the GT.Timer.Tick event is shown in the following example.

    Timer Tick

    When the LED is off and the user pushes the Button, the LED indicator turns on and remains on while the Camera module takes pictures at two second intervals. When the user pushes the button again, the GT.Timer stops, and the LED turns off.

    The following code contains all the code for the camera with timer. The boxes show the changes to the previous example.

    Code for Surveillance Camera

    Troubleshooting

    This section describes common issues that you may encounter and provides suggestions for how to fix them.

    Set-up Issues

    If VS is running when you install GadgeteerCore, you’ll need to close and restart it before creating your first project. Otherwise you won’t see the .NET Gadgeteer Application template.

    You may need to change the USB name of the target mainboard in your first project. The most efficient way to do this is using the MFDeploy tool.

    Sometimes VS will hang at the display: “The debugging target is not in an initialized state; rebooting”. Push the reset button on the mainboard to fix this.

    If you’re using the Display_T35 and see a null reference exception on startup, verify that the touch socket is connected both in the designer and on the module.

    If you’re using a laptop and you see errors on deployment like “Please check your hardware”, try plugging a 7 volt DC power supply into the USBClientDP module.

    The camera image is blurred or not in focus   The lens is screwed into camera base, by unscrewing or screwing in you can focus it.

    Compile Time Errors

    If you receive compilation errors when you attempt to deploy and run your application, read the error message carefully. Most errors fall into one of two categories:

    • Syntax: A statement is missing required syntax, for example, the ending semi-colon character. These types of errors are generally reported unambiguously in the Error output window. Fix the syntax problem and try again.
    • Identifier: An identifier is unknown or invalid. This can happen if you spell the identifier incorrectly, or do not qualify it correctly. All identifiers are case sensitive; for example, Button cannot be entered as button. To help avoid problems with identifiers, use the IntelliSense feature of Visual Studio. IntelliSense presents only valid identifiers.
    Unexpected Application Behaviour

    If your application does not behave as expected (for example, pressing the button does not raise the event), start by checking that the physical socket to which the hardware module is connected agrees with the initializion in code of the identifier that corresponds to the module.

    For example, if you connect a Button to mainboard socket 4, but initialize it to socket 8, the button will not work.

      // Button is actually plugged into socket 4.
      button = new GTM.GHIElectronics.Button(8);

    The programming model for the .NET Gadgeteer platform is event driven. Events are raised that correspond to a hardware change or physical action. For example, when you press a button, the ButtonPressed event is raised, and when you release it, the ButtonReleased event is raised.

    You can use debug statements inside your event handlers to make sure that your handler is receiving the event. For example, if your LED does not light when you press the button, you can insert a statement inside the event handler for the ButtonPressed event to make sure that your button is in fact receiving the event.

     private void Button_ButtonPressed(GTM.Button sender, GTM.Button.ButtonState state)
     {
        Debug.Print("Button Pressed");
        camera.TakePicture();
     }

    When you deploy and run your application, check the Visual Studio Debug Output window for your message. If the message does not appear at the expected time (for example, when you press the button), make sure that the physical socket and logical initializer are in agreement, as previously described. If they are, the button or the module connector cable might be defective. Unplug the mini USB cable from your computer, swap the module connector cable or the button with another from your hardware kit, reconnect the mini USB cable, and try again.

    Deployment

    Occasionally, you may receive an error as you attempt to deploy your application to a mainboard. This can happen if the mainboard is not connected to your computer, or the mainboard requires a restart. If the mainboard is disconnected, connect it and retry. If the mainboard is connected when this happens, disconnect it from your computer (by unplugging the mini USB cable), wait a few seconds, and reconnect it. Then try the deployment again.

    Device Drivers

    When you install the .NET Gadgeteer core, the device drivers that are needed to communicate with a mainboard are also installed. This process usually does not require any intervention on your part.

    In some cases, the .NET Gadgeteer core installation or kit installation might not install the device drivers automatically. If your computer is having problems communicating with a mainboard that you suspect are related to the device drivers, please refer to the Tiny CLR Forum.

    If you get any error during installation of .NET Gadgeteer ensure that you have installed .NET Micro Framework Version 4.1 drivers and SDK from http://www.netmf.com/ 

    Have something to add? Got a request or suggestion?

    You can email the Gadgeteer team at gadgeteer@microsoft.com or follow them on Twitter @netgadgeteer.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Installing Windows Phone 7.1 SDK via .ISO using .MSI and Group Policy

    • 0 Comments

    Win7PhoneNew

    Normally, if were installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 onto a single machine you do it through the web installer located here:

    https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=26

    or via Microsoft Download centre at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=27570

    However, if you need to install it on a disconnected machine (VM image) or deploy the SDK to a number of machines within a lab or cluster  it’s helpful to have an .iso of the installation media to install from.

    Microsoft also provides a download for the .iso as well. You can get it from here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=226694

    Installing the Windows Phone SDK via ISO

    Phone SDK consists of many packages/products and all these are installed on User’s machine as part of Phone SDK installation. Some of these packages are Emulator, XNA, Blend, Visual Studio Add-in for VS Ultimate, etc. Each individual package has got it’s own MSI.

    When you extract the ISO (let’s say in dvd folder), you will find Setup.exe at the base level (dvd folder). This is a chainer and invokes all the MSIs one-after-another, the same way you mentioned below. Anyone who wants to install through ISO, should double-click Setup.exe and installation will start. It also gives you the option of Silent install same as MSI (option /q) and thus can be used through automation scripts as well.

    WCU\WindowsPhone

    This is an important folder which contains most of the package MSIs but they should not be invoked separately. The complete installation is dependent on the sequence in which these MSIs are installed.

    Uninstall:

    After Uninstall, only Expression Blend entries are left back and this is known. Blend is a separately installed product and many Universities may  therefore have this previously installed, as such we decided not to uninstall Blend in case a licensed version is present on the machine and our uninstall causes any problems with previously installed products.

    Summary:

    In short, consider Setup.exe as your master MSI and use it in your scripts, everything should work.

    Creating an bundled MSI file (This may be requirement for some institutional desktop images)

    The creation of MSI is primary used for legacy applications that were written prior to msi technology, and may be unreliable as the "snapshot" technique does not take into account existing software dependencies.

    Windows does not natively contain the necessary tools for you to create your own MSI files. Instead, you will have to rely on a third party MSI creation tool. There are several good tools available for free. Two of the more popular choices are MAKEMSI (http://dennisbareis.com/makemsi.htm) and WinInstall LE 2003 (http://www.ondemandsoftware.com/freele.asp).

    The reason why .MSI files are the preferred installer package for Windows is because of the file format’s capabilities. When you install or uninstall an MSI file on a machine running Windows 7, Windows creates a system restore point. Furthermore, MSI files allow the application to be “self healing”. I’ll talk more about this later on, but basically this means that if part of the application is damaged or removed, then Windows has enough information to replace the damaged or missing parts. Finally, MSI files allow the system to automatically perform a rollback to its previous state if an installation should fail.

    With MSI files having so many capabilities, it should come as no surprise that MSI files tend to be a bit complex. MSI files are actually database files with information pertaining to every file and setting that the application installs or modifies. Because of this complexity, most of the MSI file creation utilities require you to do at least some scripting when you create an MSI file.

    WinInstall LE requires you to have a machine with a clean Windows installation and network connectivity. The software then takes a snapshot of this machine and saves the configuration image. You would then install the application that you want to create the MSI file for and take another snap shot. WinInstall would then compare the snapshots and use the differences between the two images to create an MSI file and the corresponding installation package.

    This method is a little time consuming, but is far less tedious than writing scripts. Another advantage to using this method is that it is possible to install multiple applications on to the clean machine prior to taking the second snap shot. This means that you can create a single MSI file and installation package that deploys multiple applications.

    Publishing and Assigning Applications

    Now that you know how to create an MSI file, there is one last concept that I need to talk about before I show you how to deploy an application thorough the Active Directory.

    As you may already know, in an Active Directory environment, group policies are the main component of network security. Group policy objects can be applied either to users or to computers. Deploying applications through the Active Directory is also done through the use of group policies, and therefore applications are deployed either on a per user basis or on a per computer basis.

    There are two different ways that you can deploy an application through the Active Directory. You can either publish the application or you can assign the application. You can only publish applications to users, but you can assign applications to either users or to computers. The application is deployed in a different manner depending on which of these methods you use.

    Publishing an application doesn’t actually install the application, but rather makes it available to users. For example, suppose that you were to publish the Windows Phone SDK tools. Publishing is a group policy setting, so it would not take effect until the next time that the user logs in. When the user does log in though, they will not initially notice anything different. However, if the user were to open the Control Panel and click on the Add / Remove Programs option, they will find that Microsoft Windows SDK is now on the list. A user can then choose to install Microsoft Windows SDK on their machine.

    Assigning an application to a user works differently than publishing an application. Again, assigning an application is a group policy action, so the assignment won’t take effect until the next time that the user logs in. When the user does log in, they will see that the new application has been added to the Start menu and / or to the desktop.

    Although a menu option or an icon for the application exists, the software hasn’t actually been installed though. To avoid overwhelming the server containing the installation package, the software is not actually installed until the user attempts to use it for the first time.

    This is also where the self healing feature comes in. When ever a user attempts to use the application, Windows always does a quick check to make sure that the application hasn’t been damaged. If files or registry settings are missing, they are automatically replaced.

    Assigning an application to a computer works similarly to assigning an application to a user. The main difference is that the assignment is linked to the computer rather than to the user, so it takes effect the next time that the computer is rebooted. Assigning an application to a computer also differs from user assignments in that the deployment process actually installs the application rather than just the application’s icon.

    Deploying Applications

    Setting up the actual deployment is simple. The biggest thing that you must remember is that the MSI file and the corresponding package must exist within a network share, and everyone must have read permissions for that share.

    To perform the deployment, open the Group Policy Editor. To publish or assign an application to a user, navigate through the group policy console to User Configuration | Software Settings | Software Installation. Now, right click on the Software Installation container and select the New | Package commands from the shortcut menu. Select the appropriate MSI file and click Open. You are now asked whether you want to publish or assign the application. Make your selection and click OK.

    The process for assigning an application to a computer is almost identical. The only real difference is that you would use the Software Settings | Software Installation container beneath the Computer Configuration container rather than beneath the User Configuration container.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Installing Visual Studio 2012 and enabling developer licenses for Windows 8 apps

    • 3 Comments

     

    The  RTM versions of Visual Studio 2012 require developer activation to enable the developer to develop a Windows Store application.

    This activation is via a registered LiveID/Microsoft Account, and simply enrols VS2012 for a 90 day development license.

    clip_image002

    I have a had a number of question how do we do this?

    The process you must be undertaken by a local admin on the desktop, you must also have access to Visual Studio and register your LiveID/MicrosoftID against the machines copy of Visual Studio 2012..

    clip_image004

    clip_image006

    To enable you to undertake the activation on a large scale deployment such as University or college lab environment here are some tips


    We are in the process of producing necessary documentation and white papers but In the meantime the following FAQ is helpful:

    ·         Does the developer license only have to be acquired/renewed in relation to Windows Store app development?
    Yes. To be precise: You need the developer license to install, develop, test and evaluate new style apps BEFORE you submit them to the Window Store. To be able to submit an app to the Windows Store, you'll need to open a separate Windows Store developer account through the developer website.

    ·         Is the license per user or per machine?
    Per User and machine, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         It seems that you have to have local administrator privileges to renew the license, is that correct?
    YES

    ·         Is the renewal of the license something that could be automated by an administrator via remotely deployed PowerShell scripts?
    YES, see section "Getting a developer license at a command prompt" at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         How can I use a DreamSpark account?
    Here is how to associate your DreamSpark account to a Microsoft account and also get a developer license for Windows Phone/Xbox development
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/02/29/dreamspark-and-apphub-account-creation-simplified.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    FREE Unity3d Plug-in for Windows 8 and Windows Phone

    • 8 Comments

    There are three great plugin and Unity3d Asset available today

    image

    Prime 31

    Windows 8

    Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.

    • Microsoft Store Plugin

      The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products. Includes Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 support. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now

    • Metro Essentials Plugin

      There is something here for everyone. The Metro Essentials Plugin exposes RoamingSettings (similar to Apples iCloud), live tiles, toasts, the settings charm, the share charm and snap events. All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now

    • Social Networking Plugin (Twitter and Facebook) $75

      Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into the Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Buy Now

    • Microsoft Ads Plugin

      Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. With over 15 banner variants to choose from you are guaranteed to find one that fits your game without ruining the experience for your users. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now

    • Microsoft Azure Plugin

      The Azure web services are a powerful way to store data. Accessing them from a Unity game has never been easier. One line of code is all it takes to store any object remotely and securely on Azure. Retriving and deleting objects is just as easy.Download Now

    • Flurry Analytics Plugin

      Coming soon...

      Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.

    Windows Phone

     Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.

    • Microsoft Store Plugin

      The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products.Download Now

    • Social Networking Plugin (Twitter and Facebook) $75

      Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into Facebook's Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! Buy Now

    • AdMob Plugin $40

      AdMob has finally made its way to Windows Phone 8! Create and display a banner with one line of code. Full interstitial support is also included for ultra high CPM adverts. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Buy Now

    • Microsoft Ads Plugin

      Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. Monetize your free apps with Microsofts high CPM ad banner solution today! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Download Now

    • Windows Phone Essentials Plugin

      There is something here for everyone. The Windows Phone Essentials Plugin exposes live tiles and push notifications to Unity. A host of Windows Phone sharing tasks are also exposed including the SMS composer, email composer, web browser, link sharing, status update sharing, rate this app, photo chooser and more! All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! Download Now

    • Flurry Analytics Plugin $45

      Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! Buy Now

    image

    BitRave

    Unity Windows 8 Plugins

    Bit Rave have extensive experience working with the Windows 8 platform capabilities, and as part of that we decided to build a library for Unity to make Windows 8 integration easier for everyone.

    Azure plugins are now separate. Information can be found here: http://www.bitrave.com/azure-mobile-services-for-unity-3d/

    Find out just how easy it is for each of the Windows 8 capabilities.

    • Live Tiles - of all shapes and sizes
    • Charms - including sharing and settings
    • Settings - both local and roaming settings
    • Snap View - have your app react to orientation and view changes
    • Search - create your own search charm implementation (coming soon)
    Azure Mobile Services for Unity 3D
    Contents
    Before You Start

    The Azure Mobile Services plugin for Unity 3D is available open source at github.  That’s the place to go if you want to contribute or look at the source.  It’s on github here: https://github.com/bitrave/azure-mobile-services-for-unity3d .  However, if you don’t care about the source, and just use it, head to github as there is an example project with built binaries in it so you can just grab it and use it.

    image

    WinBridge

    The WinBridge is a plugin for Unity that enables easier command of native controls and features of WinRT (the underlying library behind Windows Store, Windows Phone and Xbox One apps). Currently implemented are:
    - Windows store (In-app-purchases, trial upgrade, receipt management, Windows store debugging)
    - Native message dialogs
    - Native and hardware-accelerated video playback
    This plugin is an open-source project by Microsoft developer evangelists, aiming to make porting to and development for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms easier. This plugin ships with compiled DLLs, but the full source is available at https://github.com/ProtossEngineering/WinBridge.

    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/18924

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft R Server now available for Academics and Students via DreamSpark - big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities

    • 2 Comments

     

    rserver

    Microsoft R Server, formally Revolution R Enterprise (RRE), is the fastest, most cost effective enterprise-class big data big analytics platform available today. With Microsoft R Server, it’s possible for students, educators and organizations to have access to the same big data analytics capabilities that are being deployed with great success in the business world.

    Microsoft R Server supports a variety of big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities, as well as provides users with the best of both – cost-effective and fast big data analytics that are fully compatible with the R language, the de facto standard for modern analytics users.

    Microsoft R Server will work with the following operating systems: Windows, Linux, Hadoop, Teradata

    Windows

    64-Bit Windows 7                           

    64-Bit Windows 8.0, 8.1               

    64-Bit Windows 10                         

    64-Bit Windows Server 2008 SP2                             

    64-Bit Windows Server 2012  

    Linux

    64-Bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or CentOS) 5.x or 6.x

    64-Bit SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 or SP3.

    Hadoop Distributions / Operating Systems

    Cloudera CDH 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 on RHEL 6.x

    Hortonworks HDP 1.3 on RHEL 5.x or 6.x

    Hortonworks HDP 2.0 through 2.3 on RHEL 6.x

    MapR M3/M5/M7 v2.02, 3.1, 3.1.1, 4.0.1, 4.0.2 on RHEL 6.x

    Teradata Version / Operating Systems:

    Teradata Database 14.10, 15.00, 15.10 on SLES 10.x or 11.x

    Download now https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=105 

    Server R is the fastest, most cost effective enterprise-class big data big analytics platform available today. Supporting a variety of big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities,

    • 100% R.
    • Provides users with the best of both – cost-effective and fast big data analytics that are fully compatible with the R language, the de facto standard for modern analytics users.
    • Offering high-performance, scalable, enterprise-capable analytics,
    • Supports a variety of analytical capabilities including exploratory data analysis, model building and model deployment.

    Speed and Scale in Parallel Systems

    Allows you to run R scripts in a high-performance, parallel architecture that supports systems from workstations to clusters and grids including Hadoop and enterprise data warehouses.

    Accelerates traditional statistical analysis using big data computation and data management techniques. With Revolution R Enterprise, R users can explore, model, and predict at scale.

    Deploy advanced, R-based analytics inside of the leading Hadoop and EDW platforms and scales analytics to even greater levels of data and computational scale.

    Ensuring Your Analytics Success

    The assurance that you need to deploy advanced analytics confidently within your mission critical applications. Securely integrate your results with your enterprise applications. Build dashboards, custom reporting and provide analytics results to operations, financial and marketing systems. Create leverage across your organization with the insights you need to create better performance for every department.

    Take a Free Course!

    Introduction to Revolution R Enterprise for Big Data Analytics. This is an introductory course for accomplished R users to experience the functionality of the Server R Revolution R Enterprise

    Running Server R in the cloud on Windows Azure

    Wanting to run R Server in a cloud service then we have a preconfigured Azure VM.

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/partners/revolution-analytics/revolution-r-enterprise/

    Useful Links

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How to publish and update your Windows 8 Store App

    • 3 Comments

    For the last few weeks, I have been attending a number of final year project submission meetings across the UK. I have seen a number of amazing apps/games and projects from students across the UK many of these have been produced as part of their academic coursework and now being used to demonstrate the skills which the students have mastered to potential employers.

    One of the key things which frustrates me is the number of students who have built amazing apps or games and simply haven't published these a app store! to simply demonstrate their understanding of app development and more importantly have a app/game which they can demonstrate to a potential employer as part of their portfolio.

    So the following blog is to simply help you all understand how to publish and maintain your published app or games and ideally help you get started on the development of a real portfolio of apps and games in the Windows 8 store.

    So get your completed course, assignment or module published.

    Publishing your app or game requires a series of steps..

    Log in to the Windows Store

    Before you can publish your app, you need a Windows Store account. Go to the Windows Store to register. If you haven't claimed your free Windows Store account via dreamspark go to https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx

    After you log in to the store with your live ID (the one you used for your store account),  go to “Dashboard

    If this is your first time logging in since you created your account, you may see a message that says

    “Before we can list any of your apps in the Store, you’ll need to verify your payment method. Verify your payment method.”

    When you created your account you entered credit card information. A small amount was charged and then reimbursed on your credit card to validate the card. You need to find your billing statement (or call your credit card company) to find out the transaction amount that was charged.

    Select the Verify your payment method link and you will be taken to the Payment account verification screen. When you get there scroll to the bottom of the screen. using the information from your credit card billing statement, enter the amount that was charged or the 3 digit code from the transaction description and select Next.

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    Once you see the message saying “We successfully verified your payment account” You are ready to begin submitting your app!

    How do you Submit your app for Publishing on the Windows 8 Store

    From the top menu, select “Dashboard” then select “Submit an app” from the menu on the right.

    Use the dashboard to see all the applications you submitted and their status in the store certification process. It can take as little as 2 days or as much as 2 weeks for an app to be published after you submit it.

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    Choose a Name for App/Game

    Your app/game name is important! It is the first thing a customer sees when they find your app in the store. Be creative! Make sure you don't use names that are trademarked by others or those who own the trademark could ask to have your app removed from the store.

    So step1. is do some research, search the store for names, phrase, titles and ensure you pick a unique one.

    Enter the app name you wish to use and select Reserve App Name. If you get a message back informing you your app name is already in use, you will have to enter a different app name.

    NOTE: The app name you enter here must match the Display Name in your app manifest in your created app/game

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    TIP: You can just do this first step to reserve your app name before you have the code ready to publish. Your name will be reserved for 12 months.

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    Selling details

    Price - This is where you set the price of your app, and your free trial options. If you choose to charge for your app, pricing can start at £0.99. The price you select may include a sales tax that the customer must pay. Your proceeds will be based on the pretax amount.

    TIP: Apps with free trials of some sort usually get more downloads, you can either limit the duration of the trial, or in your code you can limit the features available on the trial version. Use the license Information class to determine if a trial has expired, or if a user is running a trial version. You can find more information about handling trials in your code here.

    Markets - Select the countries where you want your app to be available. Selecting a country does not guarantee your app will be published there. There is some content and features that is restricted to certain regions, you could be using a feature that is not available in a particular region yet. You might want to consider the primary languages spoken in a particular country when deciding which countries you select.

    TIP: When publishing a game, the countries Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Taiwan require a game to be rated by a rating board and certified to prove the age rating of the game. If you do not have certificate files to prove you have completed that process, make sure you do NOT select those markets or your app will fail certification.

     

    Release Date - If you want your app to be published as soon as it is certified select the first option.

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    Category - Now, select the category that best matches your app, this will affect where your app will be listed in the store, so consider your choice carefully. If a Windows user was searching for an app like yours in the store, which category would they choose to search? It's important to make it as easy as possible for users to find your app in the store. Picking the wrong category can also result in failing certification, because the testing team may not feel the category is appropriate for your app.

    Hardware requirements – If your app has minimum RAM or DirectX requirements, you can specify that here.

    Accessibility – Only select this check box if you have gone through all the accessibility guidelines and tested your app to ensure it is accessible. Accessibility includes testing for users with low vision or screen readers.

    Advanced features - You only need to complete this section if your application supports push notifications (often used to update tiles), connect services such as SkyDrive and Single Sign-On, or in-app purchases. In app purchases is a popular way of making money with apps, the app is free, but a user can make in app purchases improve their app experience. For example, there are games where players can purchase weapons or armour. If you have not implemented any of the above features you can just leave all the fields in this section blank.

    Age rating and rating certificates - This section is to describe the audience for your app and upload your rating certificates. If you can't decide between two age ratings, for example your app has content you feel is suitable for 12 and older, but requires an account that can only be created by users 16 or older, choose the higher age rating. Some countries requires will also require that your app be rated through a ratings board, especially for games. So check the list to see if a market you selected requires a rating certificate. If you try to publish to a market that requires a rating certificate and you do not provide the certificate file, your app will fail certification.

    Cryptography - You must declare whether your app calls, supports, contains or uses cryptography or encryption. There are US regulations regarding the exporting of technology that use certain types of encryption. Apps in the Windows store must comply with these laws because the app files can be stored in the US. These rules apply even if you are a developer in UK selling apps in the UK through the store. So if your app is doing some type of cryptography or encryption you should read up on the regulations to see if your app requires an Export Commodity Classification Number (ECCN).

    Packages - Now it's time to upload your app to the Windows Store. But there are a couple of things you need to do first:Build your package and run the WACK test.

    Building the App package

    · In Visual Studio, change the Build type from Debug to Release and Build the solution by choosing Build | Build Solution from the menu.

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    · From the menu choose Project | Store | Create App Packages…

    · When asked “Do you want to build packages to upload to the Windows Store”, select Yes. and then select Sign In.

    · Sign in with the same email account you used for the Windows Store.

    · Select the app name you reserved to indicate the app for which you are creating a package. If you are resubmitting after a failed attempt to publish or to update your app in the store, you will want to select the checkbox “Include app names that already have packages” so you can see your app in the list.

    · After you select the app name, select Next.

    · Now you must choose which platforms will be able to install your application. If you pick Neutral, you will get a single package with builds that will run on any Windows 8 hardware. If you select individual builds you will get a different package for each build type. NOTE: If you are building an app which requires a lot of memory and processing power and you have not tested it on ARM, you might want to consider selecting x86 and x64 specifically and not including ARM in your release.

    · For the version number, I recommend using the Automatically increment. Otherwise you must make sure the version number in your app manifest file matches the version number on this page.

    · Make a note of the output location, because you will need to upload the file from that location to the store after the package(s) is/are created.

    · Select Create when you are ready for Visual studio to generate the app package.

    Running the Windows App Certification Kit (WACK) test

    After your package is created, you are prompted to launch the Windows App Certification Kit. This will run your app through a series of tests to check for issues that could cause it to fail certification. While it is running you will see the app occasionally launch and close. Do not interact with the app while the WACK test is running.

    To start the WACK test select Launch Windows App Certification Kit. This process can take 10 minutes or so. You will know when it is complete because you will see the test summary page informing you if your app passed or failed. The results window does not automatically appear in the foreground, so you may want to occasionally check your task bar and desktop to see if the test is completed..

    clip_image016

    If your app failed, select “Click here to view full report” then investigate and resolve the issues that caused it to fail, then create a new package and try again. If your app passed, you are ready to upload the package to the store.

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    Uploading the package

    Once your package is created you will find a new folder called “AppPackages” inside your application folder. Inside the “AppPackages” folder is a file that ends with “.appxupload” extension. This is the file you will select when you upload your app.

    If you made changes to your app and rebuilt the package, make sure you pick the most recent app package, the version number in the package file name or the date created can help you identify the most recent package(s).

    Go to the Packages section in the application submission and then drag your package(s) to the app submission page. (remember if you chose to make separate builds for x86,x64 or ARM you will have multiple packages and you will need to upload all of them to the store.)

    You will know when your package is uploaded because you will see it listed as an uploaded package.

    clip_image020

    Description

    App Description - This is where you describe what your app does and this is what users will see when they look at your app in the Windows store. If you want your app to be downloaded by a lot of people, make sure to take time to write a good description. Take a look at the descriptions of similar apps in the store, how will your description stand out? Make sure the first couple of sentences grab their attention. Make sure you have a short list of your app's best features. If you offer a free trial, this is a good place to explain how the trial works. There are some good tips on writing your app description here.

    TIP: If your app will require anyone to log in to complete certain tasks, you must mention that in your description or you will fail certification.

    Screenshots - After you add the description of your app, you will need to upload images of your app including a logo that the will be used to feature the app.

    If you don’t have these images already, you can create them using the simulator in Visual Studio. Change the launch option to Simulator using the drop down key in the menu.

    clip_image022

    When the app launches, on the right side of the simulator is a button with a camera icon which will let you to take a snapshot of the screen and put it in your clipboard. Then you can open an app such as Paint paste it and save it as a .PNG file. If your image is larger than 2 MB you may have to use a tool like Paint .NET (which you can download for free) to save it at a lower resolution. You can’t just resize the image because it must be at least 1366 x768 pixels (landscape) or 768X1366 pixels (portrait).

    clip_image024

    Keywords – If someone was searching the store, what keywords would they use to find your app? Specify these as keywords to help users discover your app.

    Copyright and trademark info – this is a mandatory field where you specify the copyright information for your application. Basically this is where you get to say, whose app is this.

    Promotional Images – If you have a great app, make sure you include some extra images so your app has the potential to be featured in the store! Being featured always results in more downloads, so if you’ve done something amazing, make sure to include all the promotional images so your app could be highlighted!

    Website – If you have a website for your app or other apps you have built, you can include a link to it here

    Support Contact Info – you must provide a way for users to contact you if they have problems with the app. An email address, or a link to a website with a Contact Us option will suffice.

    Privacy Policy - One of the main reason that apps fail certification is developers forget to include a privacy statement in the description section. You may think you do not need a privacy statement because you are not collecting email addresses or personal information. However, if your app connects to the internet, or if the app manifest says it connects to the internet (which it does if you used any of the default templates and you haven't changed it) then your app requires a privacy policy. Any app that connects to the internet fetches the user’s IP address. If your privacy statement is less than 200 words, you can put the text directly in the About page of your app and on this submission page (the privacy statement must appear in both places). If it’s more then 200 words, you need to include a URL to a website that displays your privacy statement. Below are some resources to help you figure out if you need a privacy statement, and how to add a privacy statement

    · Windows 8 Certification Tips: The privacy statement
    · Use a free Azure website to host your privacy policy!
    Notes to testers

    This is a place for you to add any notes you wish to share with the people who are testing your app for certification. For example, if your app requires a login to an online service, you must provide the login information for an account the testers can use. If your app is only intended for a limited audience, it is good to mention that in notes to testers as well, because your app can be rejected because it does not appeal to a wide audience. So, if you are making an app for a specific audience, make that clear in the description and notes to testers. The information you enter in this section is not seen by users of the app, it is only seen by the team who tests your app to see if it is suitable for the Windows Store.

    Submit for certification

    After you have completed all the sections you should see a checkmark beside every section. If there is a section without a checkmark, go back to see if you either missed a mandatory field, or you have a field entered incorrectly.

    clip_image026

    If every section is marked as complete you can now select Submit for Certification.

    Congratulations! You have just submitted your app to the store!

    Once you submit your app, it will take up to 1 weeks to get certified, you can track the progress of your app in the main dashboard. You don’t have to keep coming back here to check the status. If you fail certification, you will receive an email and a detailed error report explaining why it failed so you can correct any errors and resubmit. If you pass certification, you will receive an email with a link to your app in the store!

    clip_image028

    The Windows team has created this great checklist to help you prepare and organize all the required info to make it easier to enter the info when you submit an app.

    Your app is now live and ready for consumers to download and install.

    But what happens when you make a update or find a bug that needs fixing or even adding extra functionality?

    Here is how do you submit a new version of an app/game to the Windows store after you have made updates to the code

    Updating your App/Game

    You’ve submitted your app, and now you’ve made some improvements based on comments or feedback from users, or maybe just because you had some time to improve it. Here’s how you do it.

    Log in to the Windows Store at dev.windows.com and go to the Dashboard.

    image

    Select Details for the app you want to update

     

    When you get to the Details page, select Create New Release

    image

     

    You will need to upload a new package to the store containing your new code.

    Go to Visual Studio, open the .appxmanifest file, go to the Packaging tab and increase the Version number, so it indicates this is a new version of your app.

    You decide how you want to increment the version numbers, but here is some general guidance:

    • Increment the Major number if you are adding significant functionality
    • Increment the Minor number when minor features or significant fixes are added
    • Increment the Revision number when minor bugs are fixed.

    image

    Now go to the menu and choose Project | Store | Create App Package and follow the prompts to build your new app package. It’s always a good idea to launch the Windows Application Certification Kit on your updated app to make sure it still passes the tests with your updates.

    After you have built your new package, return to your app submission screen, select Packages, and upload the new package from your Visual Studio project AppPackages folder (REMINDER: the package is the file with the extension .appxupload).

    When you submit a new version of an app, you must indicate the contents of your update in the Description section.

    App Description

    Enter a description of the update in the Description of Update field.

    Description of Update

    Although it is not required, if you are adding new functionality to your app, consider updating other fields that describe your functionality to users. You want to ensure potential users are aware of the full functionality of your application when browsing the store. Attributes you might want to updated include the Description, the App features list, or the Screenshots.

    If you wish you may change other attributes of your app such as price, age ratings, but that is not required to submit the update.

    After you have uploaded your new package, completed the description of update and made any additional changes you wish to make, select Submit for Certification to submit your updated app to the store.

    Submit for certification

    That's it you have just submitted an updated version of your app to the store.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Project Oxford– Artificial Intelligence based vision, speech and language API

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    Build your own solutions with Microsoft Project Oxford with any language or development platform see https://www.projectoxford.ai/doc

    Artificial Intelligence

    Vision

    The Computer Vision APIs are a collection of state-of-the-art image processing algorithms designed to return information based on the visual content, and to generate your ideal thumbnail. With this API, you can choose which visual features you want to extract that best suit your needs.

    Computer Vision APIs

    Face APIsUpdated

    Emotion APIsNew

    Video APIsNew

    Speech

    Speech APIs provide state-of-the-art algorithms to process spoken language. With these APIs, developers can easily include the ability to add speech driven actions to their applications. In certain cases, the APIs also allow for real-time interaction with the user as well.

    Speech APIs

    Speaker Recognition APIsNew

    Custom Recognition Intelligent Service (CRIS)

    Language

    Spell Check APIs

    Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS)

    Language Model APIs

    Azure in education

    Using Azure in your research or in teaching a course? Microsoft is committed to supporting education and has various programs to meet your needs.

    Educators

    Empower faculty to leverage Microsoft Azure in teaching cutting edge courses

    See all services

    The Educator Grant is a program designed specifically to provide access to Microsoft Azure to college and university professors teaching advanced courses. As part of the program, faculty teaching Azure in their curricula are awarded subscriptions to support their course.

    To apply for an Educator Grant fill out this simple application form.

    Apply now

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