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!
Back in January this year, we announced Visual Studio Achievements for Developers – a fun way bringing Xbox LIVE-like points to everyday programming tasks. The fascinating program makes sure your students hard day’s work doesn’t go unnoticed and after over 80,000 downloads since the initial release, As your aware from my previous blog we have now extended the game to enroll developers working on Windows Azure.
The Visual Studio Achievements Extension has now been updated to include fifteen new achievements, all focused on exercising features of Windows Azure. Using the extension, various achievements are unlocked based on your activity. When you unlock an achievement, Visual Studio lets you know visually with a pop-up. In addition, your Channel 9 profile is updated with any achievements you earn. So, head over to Channel9, sign up for an account and download the plugin.
There are 15 new Azure achievements, such as publishing to Windows Azure from Visual Studio (Heading into the Cloud), using page blobs (Attack of the Blob), using SQL Azure (Database Darling) and configuring start up tasks (It’s My Party). Two of the achievements – Phone in the Cloud and Game in the Cloud – require use of Windows Azure toolkits.
You might also want to check Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – a Windows Phone app that allows you to view Visual Studio Achievements on the go.
The Windows Phone application developed by Den Delimarsky allows viewing Visual Studio Achievements on the go. The source code for the application is available on Codeplex. You can choose to pull the source and compile a XAP yourself, and then side-load it on your phone.
Interestingly, Den has authored a great series of blog posts about this project on DZone with details on each of the different areas, passing on some lessons learned in building this app.
Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – Developing the core Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – What it looks like Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – User details & official project page Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – Storage Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – Basic User Comparison Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone – Final notes before the beta
You can also Download the app directly from the Windows Phone MarketPlace the app is called VSA.
Microsoft Small Basic is, in my opinion, one of the really cool platforms for introducing programming to younger students. A FREE simple IDE, a simple subset of BASIC, and built in turtle graphics all resonate with me. And a number of teachers around the world seem to agree.
What is really great is that we have some Excellent curriculum support. This includes a complete set of PowerPoint presentation with notes for teachers . There are other resources available
Microsoft Small Basic puts the fun back into computer programming. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases students of all ages into the world of programming.
Read the Small Basic FAQ
Download Small Basic from DreamSpark.com
Use the Getting Started Guide to start learning Small Basic
Use the curriculum to expand your knowledge
Read sample chapters from e-books to dive deep into Small Basic
Ask Questions in the Forums
Stay informed about Small Basic by reading our blog
Small Basic Curriculum Resources – Tutorials and Guides.
If you use this curriculum or anything else associated with Small Basic we would love to hear from you? Also any feedback about what we can do better or differently would be appreciated.
Microsoft Student to Business http://www.microsoft.com/studentstobusiness/
Coming soon – Career Week! Week commencing May 14th
Join the discussion on Microsoft student experience Facebook group, the Facebook group will host a themed week around career-related topics. As part of the career week, students will be able to participate in a live Facebook chat with Kevin Otten, Microsoft University Recruiter.
Microsoft IT Academy category has been added to the S2B portals.
This new category will expose jobs requiring MS certifications, encouraging more students to complete courses to increase their employability.
F# for Education and Innovation Workshop
The F# for Education and Innovation workshop will be held at the University of Pisa on June 28, 2012.
The free, one-day workshop provides a forum for attendees to learn and explore the use of F# 3.0 for education, research, and industry. Don Syme, from Microsoft Research Cambridge, will present the keynote session. The workshop will highlight the latest developments for information-rich programming in F# 3.0, delivered through Microsoft Visual Studio 11 and Try F#. The workshop is preceded by a free F# tutorial session on June 27.
If you are interested in attending this workshop, contact Kenji Takeda Microsoft Research.
TouchDevelop is a novel software development environment that lets users write programs for Windows Phone directly on a smartphone, without the need of a separate PC. The Windows Phone app can be used in the classroom—along with accompanying videos, a book, and slides—to teach programming concepts. TouchDevelop is ideal for courses on mobile computing, as it reduces the time required to write apps. It is also relevant for some compiler and computer-language courses.
Windows Phone Loan Programme
To help students gain access to this revolutionary new programming language and environment, we have established a program to lend academics Windows Phones for use in a course for one semester. If your interested please send a short proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. The proposal should include the name of the instructor, the course website, the number of students, and how the smartphones will be used.
· Learn more about TouchDevelop
· Read about the TouchDevelop programming environment
· Learn programming with TouchDevelop
Windows 8 offers unparalleled new opportunities for application developers to build and sell apps world-wide via the Windows Store. In this event, we'll deliver developer-level, demo-driven sessions that give you an accelerated entry into what it means to design, develop and publish exciting, modern, polished, world-ready applications for next-generation devices running Windows 8.
Were hosting a special one day event for UK Students only at
1. Beginners Welcome.
2. A familiarity with .NET development and Visual Studio would be advantageous but not required.
Register Now to avoid disappointment
Agenda (subject to change):
09:30 – 10:00 - Registration Opens
10:00 – 11:00 - Windows 8 for Modern App Development
11:00 – 12:00 - Metro Design Language
12:00 – 12:30 - Lunch
12:30 – 13:30 - "Metro Style" Apps - The Power of the Device
13:30 – 14:30 - “Metro Style" Apps - The Power of the Cloud
14:30 – 15:00 - From Idea to Store – Next Steps on the Journey
“Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. It provides an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. While competing for cash and prizes, students gain real-life experiences, make new friends, and change the world.
Now in its tenth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registered for the Imagine Cup 2011 Competition. The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft encourages the brightest young minds to join together and use technology to take on the toughest problems facing our world today, whether it is combatting diseases, improving education or creating disaster communication systems.
UK Entries for 2012 Imagine Cup Competition
Alperton Community School
Anglia Ruskin University
Banff and Buchan
Belfast Metropolitan College
Birkbeck College, University of London
Birmingham City University
Birmingham Metropolitan college
Blackpool & the Fylde College
Bsix Brooke House Sixth Form College
Canterbury Christ Church University
Cardiff Metropolitan University
City College Plymouth
City of Glasgow College
City of Sunderland College
City of Wolverhampton University
City University London
College of North West London
Coopers Company And Coborn School
De Montford University (Leicester)
Dumfries and Galloway College
Edge Hill University
Edinburgh's Telford College
Forth Valley College
Glasgow Caledonian University
Gunnersbury Catholic School
Haberdashers' Aske's Boys School
Heriot Watt University
Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre
Holy Cross College, Bury.
Imperial College London
Isle of Wight College/Chichester University
John Flamsteed Community School
Ken Stimpson Community School
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys
King George IV College
Kings College London
Kirkham Grammar School
Leeds Metropolitan University
Leeds University Business School
Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool John Moores University
London Metropolitan University
London School of Commerce
London South Bank University
Manchester Metropolitan University
Meridian Business School
Mill Hill Country High School
Monkseaton High School
Newcastle Upon Tyne University
Nottingham Trent University
Oriel High School
Queen Marry University of London
Queens University Belfast
Reid Kerr College
Robert Gordon University
Sir John Deane's 6th Form College
South Downs College
South Essex College Basildon Campus
St Andrews University
St Leonard's RC Comprehensive School
St Pauls Catholic College
St Peter's Sixth Form College
St Wilfrids Sixth Form
St.Augustine High School
Sutton Coldfield College
The Coopers' Company and Coborn School
The Grange School
The Sutton Academy
The University of Birmingham
The University of Bradford
The University of Nottingham
The University of Salford
The University of Sheffield
The University of the West of England
The University of the West of Scotland
Titanic Quarters Belfast BMC (Belfast Metropolitan College)
Torquay Boys' Grammar School
Trinity Saint David
Tyne Metropolitan College
University of Aberdeen
University of Abertay Dundee
University of Bath
University of Bedfordshire
University of Birmingham
University of Bolton
University of Bradford
University of Brighton
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University of Central Lancashire
University College London, UCL
University of Chester
University of Derby
University of Dundee
University of Durham
University of Edinburgh
University of Essex
University of Glamorgan
University of Gloucestershire
University of Greenwich
University of Hertfordshire
University of Huddersfield
University of Hull
University of Kent
University of Kingston
University of Leeds
University of Leicester
University of Lincoln
University of Liverpool
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
University of Northumbria
University of Nottingham
University of Manchester
University of Oxford
University of Plymouth
University of Reading
University of Salford
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University of St Andrews
University of Strathclyde
University of Sunderland
University of Surrey
University of Teesside
University of the West of England
University of the West of Scotland
University of Ulster
University of Wales
University Of Westminster
University of Wolverhampton
University of West London
West London College
Workington Sixth Form
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele
If your interested in porting/migrating from Windows Phone to Windows 8 then the following blog is a excellent resource from Jared Bienz
The first three articles have now been published
Registration is now open for the UK Windows 8 App Excellence Lab for May.
What is it?
The Windows 8 App Excellence Labs is the only channel for UK developers to gain earlier access to the Windows Store. And of course, gain valuable feedback and advice around enhancing their great Metro user experience and much more.
The lab is a 4-hour engagement with a trained Microsoft Services Engineer who will run their app through a series of tests based on a quality checklist to ensure their app is (or will be) in top-notch shape when they submit.
The App Excellence Labs will be held in the Microsoft Technology Centre at Microsoft HQ at Thames Valley Park, Reading
What do you need to do to take advantage of the App Excellence Labs?
1. Apply to join our UK Windows 8 for Application Developer LinkedIn Group.
2. We will reply asking you for some details of what it is you are building and then admit you into the group.
3. You build a great app following the guidance that we have online and which meets the Store certification requirements.
4. We will use the LinkedIn Group to invite you to an Application Excellence Lab at Microsoft in Reading where you’ll work with an engineer to ensure certification requirements are being met and that the app is providing a great experience to the user.
5. You leave the lab with a registration code that lets you begin the app submission process at the Windows Store.
Last January, we released Visual Studio Achievements, bringing gamification to the IDE. The reaction from the developer community was very positive and we’ve had 85,000+ downloads to date.
Today, we’re excited to announce an update to extension, adding 15 new achievements, all focused on Windows Azure development. You can read more about this on the official MSFT blog, the Windows Azure blog and, of course, on Channel9.
A software engineer's glory so often goes unnoticed. Attention seems to come either when there are bugs or when the final project ships. But rarely is a developer appreciated for all the nuances and subtleties of a piece of code--and all the heroics it took to write it. With Visual Studio Achievements Beta, your talents are recognized as you perform various coding feats, unlock achievements and earn badges.
Visual Studio is a powerful tool with tons of features, many of which you may not know about. Earning some of the badges may result in learning about features you didn’t even know existed!
Download it today from the Visual Studio Gallery
With the Visual Studio Achievements Extension, achievements are unlocked based on your activity. Your code is analyzed on a background thread each time you compile. In addition, the extension listens for certain events and actions that you may perform in Visual Studio, reporting progress on these events to the server.
When you unlock an achievement, Visual Studio lets you know visually with a pop-up:
Figure 1 - Unlocking An Achievement
In addition, your Channel 9 profile is updated with any achievements you earn, recalculating your position on the leaderboard:
Figure 2 - The Visual Studio Achievements Leaderboard
Some examples of individual achievements include Regional Manager (have more than 10 regions in a single class), Close To The Metal (use 5 preprocessor directives), Stubby (generate method stubs 10 times) or Interrupting Cow (have 10 breakpoints in a file). All in all, there are 32 achievements awaiting to be unlocked, all of which are listed here. Here's what the 6 different badges look like:
The Six Categories of Achievements
Customizing Visual Studio
Don't Try This At Home
Just For Fun
Unleashing Visual Studio
Each time you earn a badge, a unique page is created with your profile picture, the badge and a description. You can tweet about achievements you earn and/or share them on Facebook:
Figure 3 - Share A Page
Or, you can show a list of achievements on your blog using the Visual Studio Achievements Widget which is as simple as adding one line of script to your page. After all, those badges look so shiny and nice! Here's an example of the widget on a blog:
Figure 4 - The Visual Studio Achievements Widget On A Blog
We're just getting started with Visual Studio Achievements and are hoping to release more in the future. If you have ideas for additional achievements, we'd love to hear about them. Please use the Q&A section of the achievements extension to make suggestions for future achievements. And if you have suggestions, concerns, issues or problems, again, use the Q&A section of the achievements gallery page. Give a read to the FAQ as well as your question may already be answered.