• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview open now for existing Phone developers

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    Windows Phone

    Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Preview now open. Apply Today!

     

    Self-nominations are now being accepted for access to the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview Program. With this program, we will provide tools to developers of the top apps, giving them a chance to fix known issues and to optimize their current apps for Windows Phone 8. To apply for program access, please visit Microsoft Connect to complete a short survey and accept the program terms. You will need the following:

     

    Developer ID

     

    Application Product ID

     

    Name of your local Phone Champ (if you don't know, check out the Find My Champ app)

    Self-nominations will be accepted until Monday, Sept. 17. Those accepted will hear from us in the following week with instructions for how to proceed. For more detailed information, please check out Todd Brix's blog post outlining the program. Additionally, please read on, as we have included many useful tips for creating a great app, whether you participate in the preview program or not.

     
     

    Future-proofing your Windows Phone apps

     

    Utilize these quick tips as you build your Windows Phone 7.5 apps so they work well on Windows Phone 8 and beyond. Take a look at the article we posted today on the Windows Phone developer blog on "future-proofing" your apps. To summarize, here are a few tips.

     

    Avoid unsupported and undocumented features, such as event ordering, timing dependencies and non-public APIs.

     

    Prep for hardware diversity by actually checking for everything your app uses and taking appropriate action if it's not there. For example, to reach the widest possible target market, constrain your app to run within 90MB of memory to run on low-memory devices.

     

    If you choose to obfuscate your code to protect IP, do so conservatively to ensure version-resilience. Specifically, try to avoid optimization features of obfuscators that eliminate unused code and data, coalesce strings and merge assemblies.

    For more great suggestions on how to best develop your Windows Phone 7.5 apps, we've put together this list of MSDN Magazine articles that cover camera use, data binding, feed-readers, and more.

     

    Using Cameras in Your Windows Phone Application

     

    Windows Phone Data Binding

     

    Get Your Windows Phone Applications in the Marketplace Faster

     

    Behind the Scenes: A Windows Phone Feed-Reader App

     

    Pragmatic Tips for Building Better Windows Phone Apps

     

    Maximize your opportunity - build apps in the top downloaded categories

     

    In January we published an infographic that provided an at-a-glance view of Marketplace statistics. Since it was one of our most popular and shared posts, we thought we'd do it again. Here's a snapshot showing a few key stats, including overall growth of apps in Marketplace, as well as the breakdown of most downloaded apps by type, both free and paid. Watch the Windows Phone Developer blog later this week for the full graphic containing more quick and useful facts.

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    Dream.Build.Play Challenge brings high-quality, fun games to Windows Phone

     

    Microsoft recently announced the winners of its annual Dream.Build.Play Challenge, which invites developers to compete for cash prizes by creating games for Windows Phone or Xbox 360. Check out the winners here – all were selected based on the following criteria – Fun Factor, Innovation and Production Quality. Inspired? Submit your game and be the next big game developer for Windows Phone!

     

    Windows Phone partner offerings

     

    Tap into offerings and resources from partners, communities and people from the Windows Phone developer ecosystem. For a complete list of what's available from Windows Phone partners, from components and tools to Web API & Cloud services – visit our partner resources page.

     

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    Add sleek, smooth and finger-friendly experiences to your Windows Phone applications with Bee Mobile XAML components.

     
         

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    Handle scoring, leaderboards, in-game notifications, game achievements, player login, built in CRM features, game management and more the with Scoreoid server platform.

     
         

    Student Developer? Start here!

     

    "Interested in developing Windows Phone Apps, but not sure how to get started? Meet Peter, a student developer with 2 apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Also, check out this guest post from Martin Gernegross, student developer of Windows Phone App Flying Tiles.
    Ready to get started building Windows Phone apps? Download the Getting Started Guide here. "

     
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Well what are you doing this weekend? I may be breaking a record..

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    Guinness

    Windows 8 Game Apps - World Record attempt for the Largest GameJam in a single location

    Friday, Sept 14th to Sunday, Sept 16th

    University of Bedfordshire, Luton

    For the past few weeks we have been working closely with a specialised gaming institution called Train2Game to ensure that their students are firstly aware and secondly up to speed on developing beautiful stunning and awesome games on Windows 8.

    So this weekend Microsoft will be supporting Train2Game. Guinness World Record Attempt GameJam.

    Yes… we have taken over the University of Bedfordshire in Luton for the weekend. The University IT Team have successfully upgraded to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 via DreamSpark premium.

    The IT team have built a custom image and have successfully deployed this to the current PC estate for use throughout the event.

    ubelly

    All the PC’s located in the computer labs and study spaces are now Windows 8 and the event images compromises of Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Ultimate RTM and various design and graphics packages and tools necessary to build amazing games.

    The event will  start on Friday and last for the next 48 hours we have over 330 game development students, these students will work in teams developing Windows 8 Game Apps using only C++ and DirectX.  A unknown theme will be announced at the keynote by Scott Henson of MS Studios and officials from Guinness World Records will be present throughout the event adjudicating the proceedings.  The existing World Record is held by Singapore at 301 game developers so we will all hopefully be successful record breakers on Sunday.

    In preparing for the Game Jam the 330+ students have, for the past six weeks, been developing Windows 8 games to practise their skills.  These 330+ students can also now take advantage of these skills and build and deploy games for FREE to the Windows Store using their DreamSpark subscriptions which provide them free developer accounts for the Windows Store and Windows Phone MarketPlace.

    The experience and our involvement will help encourage them continue developing games in C++ and DirectX for Windows 8 and  Windows Phone 8.  Give the students some real practical example of working within teams and provide them with evidence and portfolios of real apps, with user ratings and feedbacks which they can then use to demonstrate skills to potential employers.

    We are also working with Train2Game in building a Windows 8/Phone 8 Game Development module for their 9,000 students to take as an option on their Degree/Masters courses.

    Happy coding! Oh yes, I will be playing some of the games developed on Sunday. So expect more details after I have recovered from sleep deprivation.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Improvements to DreamSpark and FREE store access for Windows 8 student developers

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    Today we are announcing the following changes to www.dreamspark.com

    1. An new site design which is the result of improvements to the user experience based on internal and external feedback. Notably creating more clarity around the fact that the DreamSpark program is both a direct to student program and a subscription based program for academic institutions. As a result we have created two hubs with distinctive colour branding through the site to direct users to the right information and software access depending on their role:

    a. DreamSpark for Students – direct access to the individual students experience (www.dreamspark.com/Student/default.aspx )

    b. DreamSpark for Academic Institutions – information about the DreamSpark subscription such as program benefits, EULAs, usage guidelines, and the steps to purchase a subscription etc. (www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Subscription.aspx )

    The site today is going live in English only. Customers selecting other languages will fall back to English UI. The DreamSpark team are working as fast as we can to launch the localized versions. They should become available in the week of 24th of Sept.

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    As part of this site redesign we are rebranding the DreamSpark subscription to DreamSpark Standard in response to the feedback received by customers and to avoid confusion with DreamSpark for students.

    2. The new site has shifted from focusing purely on software downloads to bringing tools and resources related to development on our platforms (Windows 8, Windows Phone and Games) and most importantly a new section under Student dedicated to App Development) also accessible from the Student sub-navigation .

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    3. A page dedicated to Windows 8 App Development where students can find the resources and tools they need to start developing Windows 8 apps, including a pointer to downloading the getting started guide. .

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    4. Free access for students to the Windows Store: From the Windows 8 App Development page, users will be direct to the Windows Store Access Page on DreamSpark where they can verify their user status and then get a Registration code to use in the Windows Store to register for FREE.

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    Additional Resources

     

    a. Overview of the DreamSpark program explaining what it is? www.dreamspark.com/what-is-dreamspark.aspx

    b. New Software Deployment guide for institutions, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Software-Deployment-Guide-en-us.pdf , detailing step by step how administrators can provide software access to students, faculty and labs via a DreamSpark MSDN Subscriber Portal and ELMS Webstores

    c. ELMS overview: www.dreamspark.com/Institution/ELMS-Overview.aspx

    d. DreamSpark Standard usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-Usage-Guidelines.aspx

    e. DreamSpark Premium usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-Usage-Guidelines.aspx

    f. STEM definition page, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/STEM.aspx

    g. New DreamSpark Standard EULA:www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-EULA.aspx

    h. DreamSpark Premium EULA page to www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-EULA.aspx

    i. Revised FAQ’s; more information, more relevant to each audience (student, educator, and institution) accessible from top nav bar.

    j. Separation of Student support from Subscription support with two dedicated pages: www.dreamspark.com/student/support.aspx and www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Support.aspx

    k.  DreamSpark for Academic Institution, and the Academic Institution Hub nav bar explaining how access an existing subscription:

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Resources for cross-platform development

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    I received a question at yesterdays ALT-C conference on what articles and resources Microsoft had for cross-platform development, our team (Microsoft Open Technologies) have been working with the open source communities on various projects such as PhoneGap for Windows Phone 7 or jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone.

    You can find information and resources here http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/

    You will find pointers to interesting related articles in these posts:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/obloch/archive/2012/02/24/no-mobility-without-interoperability.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/obloch/archive/2012/03/05/a-developer-s-perspective-on-the-mobile-ecosystem.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/obloch/archive/2012/03/08/how-to-approach-mobile-development-today.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/obloch/archive/2012/03/15/concretely-what-does-interoperability-looks-like-for-mobile-platforms-these-days.aspx

    These articles don’t bring a strict recommendation but rather raise the questions a developer should ask himself when considering a cross-platform project.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Inter University Game Jam 2012

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    Do you have students who love to write games? The competition has specific categories focused on Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    Have you individuals or teams to enter the UK’s Uni Game Jam 2012, hosted at the Nottingham Trent University on the 17th – 18th Nov. Why not use this event to refine your entries for this years gaming competition at the www.imaginecup.com 

    For further details and entry requirements see http://www.devsoc.co.uk/game-jam

    posterv3 (6)

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event 12th Sept

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    This week sees the launch of Visual Studio 2012.  On the 12th of Sept we launch Visual Studio 2012 with Jason Zander CVP who will be presenting the keynote.

    This is where the development of apps really starts!  Visual Studio 2012 is the most significant Tools product we have ever launched and has been 18 months in the making. 

    Visual Studio 2012 is key to enabling Agile software development.

    Tim Anderson has been recently been undertaking interviews for The Register and The Guardian.  If you’re not familiar with his work then you can see the first review he has written here: Visual Studio 2012: 50 Shades of Grey by Microsoft

    The launch of Visual Studio 2012 on the 12th of September will be streamed on line:  http://www.visualstudiolaunch.com/vs2012vle/Home

    Visual Studio 2012 Roadshow

    During the first week of Oct the UK Visual Studio team will be travelling the country bringing the launch experience to Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Reading.  Further details about the Roadshow can be found here:   Visual Studio 2012 Launch Roadshow

    Download Visual Studio Now

    Visual Studio 2012 can be downloaded for free from Microsoft DreamSpark

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Professional Exams now available for developers

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    We all now demand beautiful, elegant apps that are alive with activity. If your an IT Academy you can now get your students demonstrating there expertise at designing and developing the fast and fluid Windows 8 apps by earning the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

    If your interested in IT Academy please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itacademy/

    With new certification for Windows Store Apps. There are two paths to achieving this certification—using HTML5 or C#.

    To earn the MCSD certification, take the exams indicated below

    If you want to upgrade your current certification to validate your up to date skills:

    Find out more about upgrade paths

    Take the exams needed to upgrade to MCSD: Windows Store Apps

    If you’re new to certification, check out the Microsoft certification tracks available to you.

    Get your MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5

    Exam 480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3plusExam 481: Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 and JavaScriptplusExam 482: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using HTML5 and JavaScriptequalsMCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML

    yields

    Schedule your Microsoft Certification exam through Prometric

    Get your MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#

    Exam 483: Programming in C#plusExam 484: Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using C#plusExam 485: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C#equalsMCSD: MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#

    yields

    Schedule your Microsoft Certification exam through Prometric

    Note: Exams 70-480, 70-481, 70-482, 70-483, 70-484, and 70-485 will become available in beta version during the summer of 2012. If you are interested in taking the beta exams, be sure to complete a Microsoft Learning SME profile to indicate your skills and experience with Visual Studio 2012, or watch for announcements about upcoming beta exams at Born to Learn. MCSD certification requires candidates to show continued ability to perform in their chosen solution area by completing a recertification exam every two years.

    Upgrade your MCPD certification to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5

    MCPD: Windows Developer 4plusExam 480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3plusExam 490: Upgrade your MCPD: Upgrade your MCPD: Windows Developer 4 to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5equalsMCSD: MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5

    yields

    Schedule your Microsoft Certification exam through Prometric

    Upgrade your MCPD certification to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#

    MCPD: Windows Developer 4plusExam 483: Programming in C#plusExam 491: Upgrade your MCPD: Windows Developer 4 to MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#equalsMCSD: MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C#

    yields

    Schedule your Microsoft Certification exam through Prometric

    Note: Upgrade exams will be available in the spring of 2013.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Tips for building stunning Windows 8 application for ARM

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    ARM-logo

     

    So if your interested in developing application of games for Windows 8 ARM devices the following white paper on ARM Development is an essential read

    Additionally we have produced some best practice guidance for developing applications and games using HTML5/JS C# C++

    For more details on Windows 8 see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Student to Business

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    S2B_Web_Banners_V1

    Microsoft supports the dreams and aspirations of the next generation of technology innovators the students now studying will drive the next wave of technology innovation and Microsoft is committed to helping them achieve their goals through programs such as Microsoft Students to Business (“S2B”).

    What is the S2B Program?

    The Microsoft S2B program connects companies with talented university or post-graduate students like you  for entry-level jobs or internships in the technology industry by matching qualified candidates with open positions.

    Why should you register?

    In one word: access! Students are given FREE access to

    · Training and certification offers to help them develop the necessary skills for a successful career;

    · Software via DreamSpark

    · Jobs via Microsoft’s vast network of partner companies looking for qualified students to help their businesses grow.

    At S2B, we believe: Skills + Software + Experience = Jobs

    Register today at www.microsoft.com/s2b

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio 2012 Colour Theme Editor

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    So if you don't like the all White look of Visual Studio 2012 you can now customize the Visual Studio 2012 colour palette, with a FREE extension. 

    screenshot

    This extension is supported for Visual Studio 2012 Professional and higher.

    Key features

    • Choose from several prebuilt themes including a Visual Studio 2010 theme (named Blue), a Light theme with a dark editor, a Dark theme with a light editor, and four additional coloured themes (Red, Green, Tan, Purple)
    • Ability to copy/paste, undo/redo, and multi-select edit colour values
    • A new and improved colour picker to easily change your theme’s colours
    • More Visual Studio UI that can be modified including most tool window backgrounds and selection colours
    • Customize your editor fonts and colours from the Theme Editor UI
    • Copy colours from existing themes to easily create variations on the prebuilt themes

    Simply download the extension here to select the theme.

    To use the new theme colour, within Visual Studio simply choose the theme and select the colour scheme desired.

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