The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption:
Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.
To apply for an Educator Grant please contact AzureU@Microsoft.com and provide us with:
Windows Azure Educator Grants FAQs
Q: What are the Windows Azure Educator grants?
A: The Windows Azure Education Grants are focused on enabling educators to easily leverage the benefits of the Windows Azure platform for curriculum development and teaching. Through these grants, educators can obtain easy access, with no Credit Card required, to the Windows Azure platform for an extended period of time at no cost for themselves and their students. Access to the Windows Azure platform is made possible through 5 month Windows Azure platform academic passes. Educator Grants may be available up to the number of students within the course, dependent on the volume of requests, pass availability, and the needs of the course.
Q: What resources are available through the Windows Azure platform academic pass?
A: Each 5 month Windows Azure platform academic pass provides the following resources:
Windows Azure 2 small compute instances 3GB of storage 250,000 storage transactions SQL Azure Two 1GB Web Edition database
AppFabric 100,000 Access Control transactions 2 Service Bus connections Data Transfers (per region) 3 GB in 3 GB out 1 Hosted Service
Q: What is the Gifting Letter and who needs to sign this?
A: If you are granted a Windows Azure Educator Grant, we require that you sign a “Gifting Letter” in order to ensure compliance with all applicable government gift and ethics rules, which restrict/prohibit government employees. Your ethics officer, (or designated executive/office responsible for your organization’s gifts/ethics policy), or responsible attorney should review and sign this letter.
Q: How do the Windows Azure platform academic passes get redeemed?
A: Each Windows Azure platform academic pass is redeemable through http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/ If you receive an Educator Grant we will send you a PowerPoint deck which will guide you and your students through the easy process of redeeming these passes.
Q: Why is Microsoft offering this?
A: A large percentage of the academic community has developed curricula materials leveraging the Windows Azure platform for teaching Cloud-centric courses. We are experiencing an increase in demand from the academic community for access to the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure Educator Grants allows us to enable even more members of the academic community to leverage the Windows Azure platform within their courses.
Q: Are Windows Azure Educator Grants available globally?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are available worldwide.
Q: Is there an available education discount program for the Windows Azure platform?
A: At this time, we do not offer education discount pricing for the Windows Azure platform.
Q: Who can apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Educators at accredited academic institutions can apply for the Windows Azure Educator Grants.
Q: How do I apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Applying for a Windows Azure platform academic pass is easy. Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/
We will ask you for the following information:
· Your name · Your email contact · Country · Institution/University name · Course name · Course description · Number of students in your course · Number of Windows Azure platform academic passes needed · Date when Windows Azure platform academic passes will be used
Q: What factors will Microsoft consider when determining who will receive a Windows Azure Educator Grant?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants will be awarded based on factors such as purpose of use, number of passes required, and timing requirements for usage of the passes.
Q: I am a student. Can I apply for a pass?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are only valid for valid faculty. If your faculty has been awarded a Windows Azure Educator Grant, you will be able to get a pass through him/her for you coursework. If you are interested in learning more about the Windows Azure platform, we encourage you to share these Educator Grants with your faculty or leverage the FREE 90-day trial offer at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Q: Does my Windows Azure platform academic pass expire?
A: Yes. The Windows Azure platform academic pass will expire 150 days after it has been activated. You will be receiving email notifications when the expiration date is close, and you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription, if you want to continue on using the Windows Azure platform.
Q: What happens to my data application when my pass expires?
A: Shortly prior to the expiration date you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription. All of your data will be erased when your pass expires. If you choose to not migrate your Windows Azure account to a paid account, please be sure to back up your data.
Q: Do I have to use a credit card to redeem my pass?
A: No. You do not need to use a credit card to redeem your pass activate your Windows Azure account.
Ideal for those with fundamental programming skills, this tutorial provides practical, learn-by-doing exercises for mastering the entire Windows Azure platform.
For more details see http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/overview/
Microsoft Research Connections announced the release of the book, TouchDevelop—Programming on the Go, available in print form, as an e-book, and on the web. TouchDevelop has reached new heights as the only programming environment on mobile touch devices that creates apps directly for the Windows Marketplace. This book is a comprehensive guide on how to use TouchDevelop to write fun, productive apps that make full use of a device's audio, camera, sensors, and so on.
Touchdevelop — Programming on the Go by Nigel Horspool (University of Victoria), Judith Bishop, Arjmand Samuel, Nikolai Tillmann, Michał Moskal, Jonathan de Halleux, Manuel Fähndrich (Microsoft Research)
Download the book for FREE.
Download as single file
Alternative download option: one file per chapter
Who this book is for
This book has much to offer to both students and teachers: For teachers, it walks in detail through all of the screens of the TouchDevelop app, and it points out similarities and differences of the TouchDevelop language compared to other programming languages that the teacher might already be familiar with. For students and enthusiasts, the book can serve as a handy reference next to the phone. The book systematically addresses all programming language constructs, starting from the very basic constructs such as variables and loops. The book also explores many of the phone sensors and data sources which make creating apps for mobile devices so rewarding.
How to read this book
If you are new to programming with TouchDevelop, or if you have not yet worked on touchscreen devices, we suggest that you read the book starting from chapter 1. If you are already familiar with the basic paradigm of the TouchDevelop programming environment, then feel free to jump ahead to the later chapters that address particular topic areas.
Two apps, one book
This book is written from the perspective of a Windows Phone user – all screenshots and navigation instructions refer to the Windows Phone app. The TouchDevelop Web App runs in many modern browsers on many different devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Macs, PC. The Web App uses the same programming language and has a very similar navigation structure as the TouchDevelop Windows Phone app. As a result, you can reuse the lessons of this book when you create mobile apps in your web browser.
I wanted to put this quick blog together to answer the most common questions I get from students/developers wishing to build apps.
1. How can I get a Store Account for Windows?
All Students get FREE Windows 8 Store accounts via DreamSpark follow this presentation on the steps to how to validate your FREE Windows 8 Store account
2. What are the resources available if I want to start developing a Windows 8 or Windows Phone application
Windows 8 Developers – http://dev.windows.com
Windows 8 Designers – http://design.windows.com
Windows Phone Developers – http://dev.windowsphone.com
Windows Phone Designers – http://design.windowsphone.com
3. Not a designer, where can I get a logo?
Images from www.thenounproject.com Remember to check licensing first!
4. I want nice fonts, but aren’t they expensive?
www.Fontsquirrel.com is an excellent resource
5. Where can I get colours to match my app?
www.kuler.adobe.com and www.colorlovers.com are excellent, free, searchable resources
6. Where can I get background/pattern for my app?
Great resource with some nice tutorials www.dinpattern.com
DVD + On-line
Windows Phone Programming in C# by Prof Rob Miles;
WP7.5 update + extra modules This material contains a ten chapter textbook with labs, demos and step by step instructions on how to create Windows Phone 7 applications.
1st & 2nd Year Programming courses
Introduction to Game Programming with XNA and Windows Phone 7 by Prof Kelvin Sung (UW)
WP7.5 update + new material
This material is a 16-hour course designed to teach students how to build a 2D interactive video game.
3rd & 4th Year (require background in data structure)
Introduction to Mobile Application Development Using Silverlight by Michael Iantosca.
Students learn the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop a mobile application on the Windows Phone 7.5 platform using Microsoft Silverlight. 2nd & 3rd Year: background in programming needed (preferably C#, but C, C++, Java helps
Designing for Windows Phone by Microsoft
This material contains the following 7 lessons on how to design for the Windows Phone: METRO Design, Building WP7 Assets, Layout Controls in Expression Blend, Creating Animation and Basic Interactivity, Working with the Visual State Manager, Adding Data to your Application and Creating the Flickr4Fun app. [ HCI and Software Dev-t classes 1nd - 3rd Year: ]
Azure Mobile Curriculum by Rob Miles
Find out how Cloud computing works and what it brings to the Windows Phone user. The content will show you how to use the cloud for data storage and databases, farm out heavyweight tasks for cloud data processing and use the cloud to perform identity validation. [addition to above courses]
If you would like to receive a FREE copy of the CD please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your University contact details and full UK postal address.
PLEASE NOTE THE DVD WILL ONLY BE POSTED TO UK INSTITUTION ADDRESS
Don't forget students can get great resources and developer tools for free from http://www.dreamspark.com and check up on all the latest offers and prizes via the Microsoft UK Student Blog and Facebook Group
In line with the todays launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I have collected a set of useful resources and links
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Download
Windows 8 Consumer Preview download (web installer or ISO’s), videos, and FAQ’s.
Developer downloads for Metro style apps
Visual Studio 11 Express and the Windows 8 SDK + all the extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Design assets for Metro style apps
100+ Photoshop files with common controls, shell components, tiles, icons, animation clips, color wheel references, and more.
Metro style app developer content
Windows Dev Center home
Links to Metro style app, Desktop app, Hardware, and IE development.
Metro style app development home
Links to key resources for designing, developing, and selling Metro style apps.
Product guide for developers
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Developers.
Comprehensive docs, articles, quickstarts, roadmaps, tutorials, checklists, developer agreements, and whitepapers covering all aspects of app design, development, and selling:
· Getting started · Planning apps · Designing UX for apps · Developing apps · Packaging apps · Debugging and testing apps · Selling apps · API reference · Concepts and architecture · Language reference · End-to-end apps
Design principles, UX design patterns, detailed UX guidelines, downloadable design assets, assessing usability.
Selling apps in the Windows Store
Windows Store markets, developer agreements, and checklists to prepare.
Visual Studio Express and the Windows 8 SDK + extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Metro style app samples
Over 200 official samples from Microsoft are available in multiple programming languages. You can copy code inline, upload new code, rate, and leave comments.
Developer forums for Metro style apps covering designing, developing, and selling apps.
Blogs for developers
Building Windows 8 blog (B8)
An inside look at how, what, and why different features of Windows 8 are being built. This blog is written by Windows President Steven Sinofsky together with members of the Windows engineering team.
Windows Store blog for developers
All about doing business in the Windows Store. Members of the engineering team who’ve built the Windows Store write posts along with Antoine Leblond, Vice President of Windows Web Services.
Windows 8 app developer blog (D8)
Explores best practices for coding and designing Metro style apps. It is written by the team of developers who are building Windows 8.
Windows Internet Explorer Engineering Team Blog.
Inside Windows Live blog
The engineering being Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, and Windows Live.
Visual Studio Blog
The official source of product insight from the Visual Studio Engineering Team.
The Windows Blog
Consumer and general interest topics.
Social channels for developers
Twitter (Building Windows 8)
Twitter (Windows Dev Center)
Consumer Preview Newsletter
Launching with Consumer Preview
Tips, offers, and news about Windows 8 including resources for developers and businesses.
Desktop app developer/partner content
Desktop app certification requirements
Certification requirements for Windows 8 desktop apps.
Desktop App Certification Kit
The Windows 8 SDK includes the Windows App Certification Kit to test desktop apps and get them ready for certification.
Tips and fixes for common issues with desktop apps for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and software for Windows Server 8 Beta.
Compatibility of desktop apps and devices with Windows 8. Partners can add products and update compatibility status using this template.
Hardware developer/partner content
Hardware Certification Requirements
Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements and Policies
Hardware tools and certification kit
Windows Consumer Preview Kits and Tools for hardware development
Driver development documentation
Developing, testing, and deploying drivers
Hardware and driver community resources
Forums, blogs, and newsletters for the hardware and driver developer community.
GameSalad Creator is a 2D object oriented tool that allows you to create completely original games using a drag and drop interface, enabling you (the user) to create applications for Windows 8, iOS, Android, HTML5, and even for the Mac Platform without typing a single line of code so perfect for those developing there first app. This is possible by using Creator's unique design and powerful features to turn logic and assets into finished high-quality products. For our purposes, ‘logic’ refers to the combination of Rules, behaviours, and Attributes that jointly define how a project operates, and ‘assets’ are the images and sounds imported into your project.
To download Creator for Windows, head over to http://gamesalad.com/creator to get the most recent version.
GameSalad Windows Creator supports Windows 8, Android, and HTML5 publishing while Mac Creator supports iOS, Windows 8, Android, HTML5, and Mac Platform. An active Professional GameSalad Membership subscription is required for Android and Windows 8 publishing. As Pro memberships are account based, you'll only need one even if you plan on using both Windows Creator and Mac Creator. Simply log in to the Creator with your Pro account and you're good to go.
What Screen Size/Canvas should I use?
This is common question the setting should be 720p HD as the native resolution for Windows 8 is 1366 x 768
Publishing your GameSalad Apps and Games to Windows 8 To publish for Windows 8, you'll need a Windows 8 Developer License (available at http://dev.windows.com) or if your a student or educator via DreamSpark.com (available at https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx) and an active GameSalad Pro membership subscription (available at http://gamesalad.com/creator/pricing)
It's important to note that while it’s possible to publish for Windows 8 using any supported Windows operating system, you'll need a Windows 8 environment to adhoc test your game. Another key detail is that unlike iOS publishing, the code signing process isn't divided into developer signing versus distribution signing. Instead, you'll simply upload the resulting APPX file using the Windows 8 developer portal (available at http://dev.windows.com) when you're ready for submission via .
Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but this time using the newly added 'Windows 8' platform tab. This page has the following fields and configuration options:
Its vital that these field are completed I will explain each of these settings individually in regards to what they do and how they affect your game. Keep in mind that many of the terms I'll be using are Windows 8 user-interface specific.
This is One of the most common reasons Windows 8 apps fail certification is lack of a privacy statement.
Windows 8 Certification requirement 4.1.1 states
Now most of us building apps read that and think, I’m not collecting anyone’s email address or phone numbers with my app so I don’t need a privacy statement. Then you submit your app for certification and it fails! Why?
Personal information includes: Webcam snaps, Audio/Video recordings, Photos, Documents, Contacts, and so on. So if you are using the webcam to take pictures or creating a document that access contact information or users files you need a privacy statement.
Personal information also includes: IP Addresses. That means if your app has the ‘internet client’ capability enabled in your app you are going to need a privacy statement. By the way, the default templates in Visual Studio include the ‘internet client’ capability, so unless you change the default manifest, you will need a privacy statement.
According to Windows 8 certification requirement 4.1.1
• Informs users of the information collected by your app
• Informs users how that information is used, stored, secured and disclosed
• Describes the controls that users have over the use and sharing of their information
• Describes how they may access their information
• Complies with applicable laws and regulations
Where can I find some examples?
A good example is
This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.
This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.
Is there a code sample for adding it to settings?
Windows 8 UI Features
Tile Settings (Including 'Tile Background Colour', 'Foreground Text', 'Show App Name', 'Logo', and 'Small Logo') - These are all fairly self explanatory, but each includes a tool tip with additional details for further clarity. Note both the Logo and and Small Logo must either be a .png or a .jpg and their required dimensions must be pixel perfect. Splash Screen (Including 'Splash Screen Background Colour') - again must be pixel perfect in size and .png or .jpg. Snap View Image (Including 'Background Colour' and 'Vertical Alignment') -- Must be pixel perfect .png or .jpg
Windows 8 Store Package Settings (Including 'Package Name', 'Publisher ID', 'Publisher Display Name', 'Version Number', and 'Store Logo') - With the exception of the Store Logo, these fields contents are provided to you by Microsoft, through the developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field, these will need to be a perfect match to the information provided in the developer portal. The logo must be pixel perfect and .png or .jpg. Ensure that the following fields must be character-for- character exact to what's on your Windows 8 developer portal http://dev.windows.com, otherwise your app submission will be unsuccessful:
Display Name, Package Name, Publisher ID (minus "CN="), Publisher Display Name.
Once you've filled out the Web Publish form and have generated/downloaded your game, you're ready to submit to the Windows Store. After registering a Developer Profile via www.DreamSpark.com or directly at http://dev.windows.com you will be given a Publisher ID and Publisher Display Name. To find these values you will need to login to your Developer Account via dev.windows.com From your Developer Dashboard under Profile click on Account You will under Display Info your publisher Display Name and Publisher ID. It is critical that these values are input exactly as they appear on the page (Again, no need to include the CN= when entering your ID, GameSalad take care of this in the publishing system) Before publishing the final product for submission to the Windows 8 Store you will need to have reserved the App Name via your developer portal on Microsoft's Website.
To Reserve App Name: Go to your Dashboard Click on Submit an App Click App Name Add the Desired Name to the App Name field and submit. Reserving the App Name will then provide you with the Package Name. To get the package Name: Go to Your Dashboard Click Edit on the App in Question Click on Advanced Features Click on Push Notifications and Live Connect Services Click on Identifying your app The Identity Name at the bottom of the page is your Package Name.
Steps for ad-hoc testing your Windows 8 game: Prerequisites
If your a student simply head over to
Getting Started Building Windows 8 apps https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx
If your a Non Student developer you will need
• Windows 8 SDK (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/hh852363.aspx)
• Visual Studio 2012 Express or Professional installed (http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/products/visual-studio-express-products)
• GameSalad App-Signer available at http://gs.downloadables.s3.amazonaws.com/AppSigner0.10.0.zip (this is required to sideload and test your app/game before publishing to the windows store)
Getting Started testing your app/game
• Install Visual Studio and Windows 8 SDK Download and Extract the GameSalad App Signer to the directory of your choice (we recommend your Documents folder)
• Go to Directory that the App Signer was extracted into
• Right Click AppSigner.exe and select Send to > Desktop Create Shortcut
• Right Click Shortcut and select Properties
• Go to Compatibility Tab and select the Run as Administrator (bottom of window)
• Apply > OK
• Build your app or Game with Gamesalad and publish the app
How to Use the GameSalad AppSigner after you have created your app/game
• Double Click to Run Program
• App Path - Browse to the published APPX file that you desire to sign • Publisher ID - This is the Publisher ID that was used during publishing
• Key Name - This can be anything that you desire. Ideal use case is to enter in the name of the Application without spaces.
• Click Sign App • You are now ready to Side Load your game for ad-hoc testing
To Side Load for Testing
• Browse to directory that has the signed APPX
• Right Click the Add-AppDevPackage.ps1 and choose Run in Power Shell
• Follow the prompts in Power Shell ◦ NOTE: If this is the first time that you are side loading an application for testing, you will be prompted to Acquire a Developer License. The account that you use to sign in must be a Microsoft Live account. Once you are signed in, continue following the prompts. ◦ NOTE: If the version Number of the app/game was not increased during publishing, and you have previously installed a version of the app/game onto the Windows 8 device, you will need to uninstall the existing version prior to installing.
• Once the app has been installed, proceed to the Windows Start Screen and click the icon for your test application.
Publishing your app to the Windows 8 Store
Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but complete all the fields in the 'Windows 8' platform tab as instructed above.
This week I had a really interesting discussion/debate with a University lecturer on teaching user interface design and it took me back just to how things have changed since the mid-nineties.
When I was a student a lot of CS courses which looked at interface design had materials which referenced the following statement “The Evil’s of Rapid Prototyping,” and many slide decks contained reasons why rapid prototyping was a bad idea. Most of the reasoning centred around prototyping tools being so complex back then, they needed to be operated by developers; subsequently, the design process tended to be influenced by all design work needing to be interpreted through the lens of what a prototyper could actually achieve with the software available.
Fast forward to today and there’s been a rethinking on prototyping. Is this good or bad?
I recently blogged about how professional organisations are using tools such as OneNote for UI/UX design. Additionally there a lots of new prototyping tools have appeared over the past few years and they’re rapidly being adopted by interaction designers.
So we concluded that the creators of these tools never attended one of these courses!
So the question I now want to pose is.. how do go about teaching modern user interface design and application workflows on your courses and what tools and resources do you use?
As we know prototypes can be as simple or as complex as necessary for the project on which you are working.
What tools do you use?
Microsoft SketchFlow includes several tools to make your prototype interactive in order to more closely mimic the flow of a production application. For example, with SketchFlow, you can do the following:
Begin a prototype with just a site map and a few notes jotted on the application screens, and then continue to refine your prototype as you go along.
Either draw user interface (UI) elements, or import them from common drawing programs.
Animate your prototype, creating a visual representation of the interaction between the user and the application.
Use the full library of standard UI elements and custom controls.
Create sample data on the fly, easily build data-driven UI, and add styles to your data.
Create interactivity without writing code by using built-in behaviours. Behaviours are extensible, making it easy to add custom behaviours to your prototyping toolbox.
Either write code to create custom elements, or use pre-built elements from your development team
For more details on Sketchflow see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/expression/ee215229.aspx
Tutorials on Sketchflow see www.microsoft.com/.../creating-navigation.aspx
But what about considering Modern design principles..
With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 we have the following key principles which need to be adhered
So the key things you need to consider when designing your apps for modern applications are..
Ensure that you weave platform features into your core scenarios and prototype design to leverage the power of the underlying platfom..
So lets think about the platform features available..
To help develop these scenarios here are list of the key resources.
Microsoft Design Guidelines for Windows Phone http://design.windowsphone.com
Microsoft Design Guidelines for Windows 8 http://design.windows.com
Microsoft User Experience Fundamentals and online training http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Windows-8-UX-Fundamentals-Training-Workshop-2012
So where to start?
To help you get started on your app development here are some templates and guidance from http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Windows-8-UX-Fundamentals-Training-Workshop-2012
Example of a completed template for a new app design/concept.
In summary, using any form of prototype technique makes it easy to sketch out a conceptual application and ensure the following are achieved.
So what are you waiting for? You can just create a series of screens and use the templates above and then begin to draw. As your idea progresses, you can add interactive elements that make your prototype as close to the finished product as you need it to be to communicate the design idea you want to convey.
Reviewers can use the tools such as SketchFlow, One Note to view the application flow, and then leave feedback directly in the project as annotations. Once the feedback has been incorporated and the prototype is complete, the prototype project can be handed off to a developer for conversion into a final application,
Techila is a middleware solution for High Performance Computing that enables existing applications to utilize more computing capacity. I believe that the key problem in business and operational computing is the lack of application performance. There are enormous amounts of computing capacity available using Windows Azure cloud service.
Techila allows applications to utilise all available computing capacity. To try demonstrate this a great example of the benefits of Techila and the Windows Azure with Techila integration is a case study, which Techila did with a leading cancer researcher. The researchers in question had a project, which would have taken 15 years. He had developed his research application in MATLAB. He used the Windows Azure with Techila integration to boost the performance of his application with the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. This allowed him to complete the project in 4,5 days! Being able to do something in 4,5 days, which usually takes 15 years gives a real competitive advantage.
Techila develop the solution in close co-operation with end-users and system administrators from the very beginning.
Techila has selected Pharma, Economics/ Financial, and Universities/ Academia as the key markets because of the fact that they are strong on Techila's home market, Finland. But I want to emphasize that unlike many other distributed computing solutions, Techila is a fully horizontal middleware, which can be used in any segment and which can increase the performance of any application: The code can be a MATLAB application, or it can be R (or C/C++, Java, Perl, Python, Fortran,...) They also offer an open API, which can be used to connect any ISV application (3DSMax, SAS, COMSOL, Sungard,...) to the Windows Azure capacity.
Also please find below a demo of run a 2-day long computation in a couple of minutes using 500 Azure instances using MATLAB:
Techila with R language can be found here:
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a few hundred people at Apps World on a session entitled Cross Platform Panel: Exploring Methodologies & Tools.
This is a fascinating area as today’s modern app developers are now ultimately having to become more agile in their abilities and use the best tools available to develop an app for as many platforms as possible within a shortest period of time to maximise the revenue their app or game can achieve.
However having to develop an application or game for a diverse range of mobile platforms iOS, Android, Windows Phone etc.. has a number of constraints which need to be taken into consideration for example each have their own ‘native’ development languages, UI/UX, developer tools and environments.
But for the modern developer there is an ever growing list of cross-platform frameworks that allow you to minimise the cost and effort of developing mobile apps, but which to choose?
Here is a list of some of the most common cross platform frameworks available for today’s mobile app builders.
Enyo is a free and open source (Apache 2.0 license) cross-platform and cross-browser application development framework that enables developers to create HTML5 applications and deploy them to many modern desktop browsers and mobile devices.
Enyo is built around the philosophy of fully-encapsulated components, which allow a developer to reuse component pieces (or even an entire application) in new or existing projects. It is possible to embed full Enyo applications in the DOM elements of existing Web pages.
Enyo has a dependency mechanism (package.js) to enable a basic modular approach to building applications. If you look at most Enyo projects, you will see references to a $lib directory in one or more package.js files, usually to include optional modules such as Layout (lists and responsive components) and Onyx (a widget library).
Intel App Framework is a framework for building cross-platform mobile application using HTML5 technologies. The framework started life as jqMobi, a mobile optimised version of jQuery, which was created by the team behind appMobi. Intel acquired the jqMobi tools and staff in February 2013.
Intel App Framework is free and open sourced under an MIT licence. Intel also offer XDK, which is a a full suite of tools built around the App Framework. XDK adds an IDE, build tools and an emulator.
jQTouch is a Zepto/jQuery plugin which provides a framework for developing iOS and Android applications. It is both open source and free to use.
jQTouch provides a structure on which to base the HTML, the majority of the application styling, page transition animations and touch based event handling; however, it’s not a fully featured application development solution.
iOS version uses the out-of-the-box jQuery Mobile styles
Windows Phone uses the jquery-metro-theme extensions to support the Windows UI style together with Windows Phone specific features such as the app-bar.
Kendo provide a suite of web development frameworks, all of which are built on top of the ‘core’ Kendo UI MVVM framework. The Kendo UI Mobile framework adds a set of UI widgets for the creation of mobile interfaces. The mobile framework has a look and feel that mimics the native Apple, Android and Windows Phone themes.
Lungo is a framework for developing cross-platform applications in HTML5. Lungo applications are run in the browser, similar to other HTML-based frameworks such as jQuery Mobile. Lungo provides 2 main workflows:
Lungo provides a rich set of classes to help decorate basic HTML5 markup. The markup is then given behaviour and interaction based on the structure by Lungo, without any developer code being required. Lungo’s philosophy is that you should be able to create a prototype of your application to show basic interaction and page flow without having to write any JS yourself.
Lungo also provides a JS API to interact and enhance the prototype. The Lungo API is similar to the common functionality you’d see in other mobile frameworks, such as DOM manipulation (through Quo.js), page routing and navigation, storage etc.
mgwt is an open source mobile widget framework build using GWT. mgwt provides a number of UI widgets, CSS styles and a PhoneGap API which make it easier to develop native-like applications using GWT.
PhoneJS is a commercial HTML5 framework for cross platform mobile application development from DevExpress. PhoneJS is free for non-commercial use.
PhoneJS uses the Knockout MVVM framework for structuring the application, with the PhoneJS CSS providing a native-styled UI for the various phone platforms. PhoneJS applications use PhoneGap for packaging.
DevExpress also offers a more integrated solution based on PhoneJS, called DXTREME Mobile, which adds Visual Studio tooling.
Titanium APIs provide an abstraction layer for the Android and iOS UI elements, allowing you to write your view code against the Titanium abstraction. Although, there are some view concepts which have not been abstracted, meaning that developers have to write platform specific view code
Xamarin have two commercial products, Xamarin.iOS for iOS development and Xamarin.Android. The Xamarin frameworks allow you to write applications using C# and the .NET framework. For each platform Xamarin provide bindings to the native platform APIs. As a result Xamarin applications make use of the native UI for each mobile platform. Xamarin do not provide a Windows Phone product because the C# and .NET code used for Android and iOS development is directly portable to Windows Phone.
What resources are available to help evaluate which is the best solution?
To help solve this problem PropertyCross presents a non-trivial application, for searching UK property listings, developed using a range of cross-platform technologies and frameworks. Property Cross has a simple aim is to provide developers with a practical insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each framework so this is a definite resource you should check out if your interested in cross platform development.
I would love to hear your experiences of developing apps and games for cross platform support and which tool you find the most useful?
This week I have been at Campus Party in the TheO2 which is pretty specular location for any event. During the week I have been discussing apps and game development with 1000s of students. One of the most popular questions I have had was what are the to main 8.1 changes? This lead into lots of discussions around the fact that the snap view is optional and the default view is 500px. The fact that there are 2 more tiles sizes, and the search capability is in app search and much smarter and finally there are a number of new controls.
So here a quick summary of all the facts and resources if you have questions about any of the above.
· Windows 8.1 Preview http://windows.microsoft.com/preview
· Windows 8.1 Feature Guide http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/apps/bg182410
· Windows 8.1 UX/UI http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/bg182890.aspx
· Windows 8 UX Design Jump Start (MVA) http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/windows-8-ux-design-jump-start
· For further design information http://design.windows.com
Some useful sessions to watch from Build.
· Designing and Building User Interfaces for Windows - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-168
· Upgrading Windows 8 Apps to Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-077
· Beautiful Apps at Any Size on Any Screen - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-150
· What's New in XAML - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-164
· What's New in WinJS - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-165
· Building Apps that Work Together - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-010
· Building Apps That Integrate with People and Events - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-007
· Design and Build a Great Search Experience in Your App - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-144
· Alive with Activity: Tiles, Notifications, and Background Tasks - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-159
· Monetization Opportunities for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-121
· First Impressions Matter: Delighting Your User from the Moment They Click “Buy" - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-095