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!
Due to the number of comments I have had on this post, I just wanted to confirm what products will be available under DreamSpark for students.
MSDN Subscriber Downloads: August 15th, 2012
Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8 are available as of, August 15th, on MSDN Subscriber Downloads to DreamSpark Subscribers.
To confirm DreamSpark Premium Subscription Program Administrators may follow these steps to get immediate access to the software:
1) Visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/downloads
2) Sign in with the Windows Live ID associated with their DreamSpark Subscription
3) Search for the product of choice and click on “Download”
4) To acquire product keys the administrator may click on “Product Keys” and “Get Key” for applicable SKUs.
a. Note: Not all Visual Studio 2012 SKUs require a product key.
5) The file will be downloaded in .iso format.
a. Click here for instructions on how to use .iso files.
Please see the SKU Availability Matrix below for specifics on which products will be available on DreamSpark.com, and through DreamSprk Premium ELMS Institutional WebStores. The SKUs highlighted in red will be available starting August 25th, with the remaining releasing in a week thereafter, To confirm, Windows desktop operating systems are only available to students at education institutions which have purchased a DreamSpark premium subscription for STEM based disciplines .
Note: these SKUs will be available in the following languages on the 25th, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian, Chinese Simplified, and Chinese Traditional, with rolling releases of additional languages following on a week after:
For Visual Studio SKUs a separate Portuguese-Brazil language pack will be required, and will also be available on the 25th.
Visual Studio Professional 2012
Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web
Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows
Visual Studio Premium 2012
Visual Studio Ultimate 2012
Visual Studio TFS Express 2012
Visual Studio TFS Server 2012
Team Explorer for Visual Studio 2012
Team Explorer Everywhere for TFS
Windows 8 Debug/Checked Build
Windows 8 Enterprise
Over the past few weeks with the Public Beta of Unity for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 have had a number of questions about the opportunity of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and UNITY3D.
Unity is popular cross-platform game engine with a built-in IDE developed by Unity Technologies. It is used to develop video games for web plugins, desktop platforms, consoles and mobile devices, and is utilized by over one million developers.
Unity in education is primarily used to create mobile and web games, but can also deploy games to consoles or the PC.
A number of 3rd Party Unity assets are presently being developed to provide full support for Windows 8 and Windows Azure.
One of these plug-ins is developed by Bit Rave. 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.
Bit Rave are currently looking for people interested in joining a closed beta. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate.
So what important about Windows 8 features?
Live Tiles are what makes your Windows experiences come to life. Bit Rave Live Tiles allows you to update and manage Live Tiles from within Unity.
For more information on Live Tiles check out Guidelines and checklist for tiles and badges on MSDN.
With both square and wide tile, Bit Rave makes it trivial to support both.
With support for text tiles and image tiles, there are lots of options.
And for Unity Pro users, you how about a screenshot on your live tile!
You can also manage rotating tile updates with just a few lines of code.
Windows 8 comes with a variety of devices, all with varying different screen layout capabilities. Bitrave's Snap View library helps you implement responsive applications for all changes in UI without having to leave Unity.
To learn more about the view states, check out Guidelines for Snapped and Fill Views on MSDN.
Register for snap, filled, and full screen views with the following line of code.
Register for orientation changes with the following line of code:
Charms covers both the settings charm, and the share charm for sharing content from within your app. For integration with the Search charm, it has it's own component appropriately named Search.
Setting is how your users find your help, your privacy policies, and find out further information about yoru application. You can trigger the settings charm manually with a single line of code.
Sharing is one of the key components of Windows 8 applications. Sharing allows your application to interact with other applications who can consume the content. You can allows your application to share with your favourite social media client, or maybe share an image with a photo manipulation app.
Bit Rave for Live Apps allows you to share seamlessly. To register content for sharing, it can be all done in a single line of code!
3: "Hello World!");
Or maybe you want to share an image from within game:
And for Unity Pro users, how about sharing a screenshot from a camera!
And you can even trigger the UI manually from within game:
With your Microsoft ID following you between machines, you can now take advantage of Roaming Settings. Use roaming settings to synchronise high scores and game files across machines. Bitrave Settings let you do all this simply and easily without having to leave Unity, and also supports Local Settings for non-roaming preferences and data.
Register for updates to settings data with the following line of code.
Roaming settings go with you, and all it takes is just a line of code to set them.
1: RoamingSettings.SetValue("high-score", hiScoreValue);
And just one line of code to retrieve.
1: var highScore = RoamingSettings.GetValue("high-score");
Local settings act just like roaming settings, but stay on a single machine when you don't want them to roam. You set and retrieve them in the same way.
1: LocalSettings.SetValue("high-score", hiScoreValue);
1: var highScore = LocalSettings.GetValue("high-score");
Azure Mobile Services allow you to take your application to the cloud quickly and easily.
And now you can access Azure Mobile Services directly from your Unity code.
Initialisation is just as simple as you'd expect.
1: var service = AzureMobileServices("url", "token");
Insert an item into your Azure database in a single line of code from Unity.
Update items in the Azure databsae with just one line of code from Unity.
Remove items from the Azure database in 1 line of code from Unity.
Query items in your Azure Mobile Services from Unity.
1: service.Where<ToDoItem>(p => p.Category == "Exercise", MyCallback);
2: public void MyCallback(List<ToDoItem> items)
NOTE: await / async will be available when supported by Unity. Until then we are using callbacks.
Lookup items in your Azure Mobile Services from Unity.
1: service.Lookup<ToDoItem>(myItem, MyCallback);
2: public void
3: MyCallback(ToDoItem item)
Microsoft recently ran an full day of events to highlight the opportunity of Windows and Unity.
You can watch the content below and get access to all the materials at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Building-Windows-Games-with-Unity?d=1
This session is a lightning tour of the Windows 8 experiences, and the most relevant improvements that game developers will run into when building a game for the Windows Store. You will also get a comprehensive overview on the economics behind the Windows Store
End-to-End: Develop, debug and deploy a Unity game for the Windows Store
In this session, we will build a game using Unity Editor and then export it for usage in a Windows Store app. You will see the exporting of the unity player, the visual studio project and deploying to a Windows RT device.
Deep dive: Tips & tricks for porting games from other platforms to Windows 8
Go deep under the hood of Unity for Windows Store apps. After this session you will understand how the engine works, and the changes you will need to make to port a Unity game to run on the Windows Store app model.
Sharing code: Reuse all this new knowledge on the Windows Phone platform
Most of what you learned so far on building Unity games for Windows 8 is applicable to Windows Phone too. In this session, we will highlight the few differences across the platforms; we will start with the Windows Phone Store monetization differences and then get to the tools and platform differences. ...
Differentiate: Integrate your game with Windows 8 platform features (such as contracts,…
To have a truly great game, you will need to integrate with Windows 8 features like contracts, live tiles, and push notifications; in this session you will see coding examples and learn techniques for writing plugins that integrate a Unity game with native Windows 8 features.
Introduction to building games with Unity
In this session, Carl Callewaert demos how to build a game using Unity Editor.
Partner Session: Rogue Rocket Games
Rogue Rocket games has released two games to the Windows Store: GunPowder and SushiChop. In this session you will hear their lessons learned during their journey writing these two games.
Partner Session: Coding Jar Studios
Coding Jar Studios started by writing Fling Theory for the Windows Store and quickly ported the game to Windows Phone. In this session you will hear their lessons learned while writing the Windows game and porting it to phone.
Partner Session: Luminary
Luminary is one of the first companies that ported games to Windows Phone. In this session you will hear their lessons learned in porting a Unity game from other platform to Windows Phone.
The Secure Download Manager (SDM) is Kivuto's proprietary software program for managing the secure download of files from DreamSpark.com and institutions DreamSpark ELMS Stores.
When you download software with the new SDM for the first time, you will be prompted to download and install the SDM on to your computer.
You will need to install the SDM on your computer only once; all subsequent downloads will automatically launch the SDM. The SDM provides for secure, effective and efficient file downloads, especially for files that are too large for some browsers to download.
Note: The DreamSpark SDM is only available for Windows.
OPERATING SYSTEMS SUPPORTED BY KIVUTO SDM Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 Windows 8 Windows 8.1 Mac OSX running Windows via VM Image or BootCamp
WEB BROWSERS SUPPORTED BY KIVUTO SDM IE 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Firefox Chrome
How do I download and install the SDM?
Where can I find the SDM on my computer?
How do I download my software?
If you have any questions about the new Secure Download Manager contact Kivuto at DreamSpark@kivuto.com.
Further details on DreamSpark Secure Download Manager
Getting Started with a ELMS Store
Getting Started Guide - http://kivuto.com/dreamspark/DreamSparkGettingStartedGuide_en.pdf
Tutorial Videos for setting up ELMS - Training Videos
DreamSpark for Institutions - Microsoft DreamSpark Program
August the 1st marked a important day for academic institutions wishing to use/teach Windows 8 in the next academic session.
Windows 8 reached Release to Manufacturing, Windows 8 is now being issued to all PC OEM and manufacturing partners.
More details http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/08/01/releasing-windows-8-august-1-2012.aspx
So over the next few days/weeks you will see the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012.
More details http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/08/01/windows-8-has-reached-the-rtm-milestone.aspx
Developers can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to all the tools and resources they need to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. While all apps during the preview phases were free, at RTM developers can begin charging for apps, so those with access to RTM bits will begin to see paid apps appear in the Windows Store.
Also, Windows Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing.
On September 4. That’s when Windows Server 2012 will be generally available for evaluation and download by all customers around the world. On that day we will also host an online launch event where our executives, engineers, customers and partners will share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS. You will be able to learn more about the features and capabilities and connect with experts and peers. You’ll also be able to collect points along the way for the chance to win some amazing prizes. You don’t want to miss it. Visit this site to save the date for the launch event.
More details http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/archive/2012/08/01/windows-server-2012-released-to-manufacturing.aspx
counts as credit toward the following certification(s):
Use code : HTMLJMP for a free exam credit, the exam will normally cost £99.
After passing 70-480, you will be given a certification for Microsoft Specialist and this is one of the three exams which will ultimately certify you as MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer).
MCSD is one tier above MCSA (Associate) and is a respectable title in the field of web development.
Exam registration: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-480 Link for free online training: https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/tracks/developing-html5-apps-jump-start?o=1943 Link to MCSD page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/mcsd.aspx
This offer is available for a limited time only until March 2013 and is open to IT Academy members also so all students undertaking a course can sit a free exam at any prometric testing centre.
A large number of the UK’s Universities and colleges have been using XNA since 2004 within gaming course curricula on Windows, XBox and Windows Phone. We have a huge set of Free curricula resources for XNA game development at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
XNA over the last 7 years has provide a number of students and indie game developers with an impressive content pipeline, game assets, load functionality, animation, math, sound and user input tracking via gamepad, mouse, keyboard and touch with game logic organized in a straightforward game loop architecture, more recently we have also added curricula for XNA and Kinect.
Within education XNA has been a huge driver for a number of students and developers who wanted to learn how to create games. XNA along with Visual Studio made it as easy as File –> New –> XNA Game Studio Project and you were off developing.
Since Windows 8 is built on the strong foundation of Windows 7, any app built for Windows will run in the Windows 8 desktop environment. This includes apps based on XNA, Win32, .NET, WPF, Silverlight, etc.
Windows 8 also introduces a new type of app called a Metro Style App for developers that wish to make their app available in the Windows 8 Store, for free or for sale. Using Visual Studio 2012, you have a language choice of C++, XAML with C#, VB or C++, or HTML5/JS to create a Metro Style App.
Using the XNA Framework is not a choice for building a Metro Style App. Official Microsoft guidance on game development is documented here.
Windows 8 allows you too build highly immersive games using HTML5/JS, XAML/C#, XAML/VB or C++ and DirectX.
However a number of you have already stressed too me, that you and your students have been developing with XNA and have an existing code base, or would like to import existing XNA games too Windows 8 your only option it would seem is running as a desktop app.
This is where MonoGame comes in…
MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal is to allow XNA developers on Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux with both PlayStation Suite and Windows 8 support currently under development.
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
MonoGame provides a cross platform XNA Framework implementation for XNA developers who want to take their code to non-Microsoft platforms as well as the ability, to target Windows 8.
MonoGame for Windows 8 you can take your XNA code and with a recompile and some additional features too simply create a Metro Style App for example Armed within the Windows Store uses MonoGame. I have too stress MonoGame is still under development and so any use of it should come with a note of advice to stay on top of that effort.
In order to provide a complete implementation of XNA on Windows 8, MonoGame leverages SharpDX , an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API for managed code (.NET) and Windows 8 (WinRT). SharpDX is an open-source project, free of charge available under the following MIT License.
Over the past few days I have had a few questions re how does a University go about installing Enterprise apps onto Windows 8 machines without having to setup Microsoft LiveIDs on each of the machines,
As your all aware from the Consumer preview, applications are installed via the Microsoft Store, authentication to the store is based upon your Microsoft LiveID. As a consumer you simply click on the store icon and use the Windows 8 Store to get an application onto Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
However if you are an Enterprise looking to get Metro applications onto your employees/students or lab Windows 8 desktops then you will likely want to do it more directly.
Which is where “sideloading” fits in.
Microsoft Technet has detailed documentation on Windows 8 Sideloading to add and remove line-of-business (LOB) Metro style apps
At which point installing an app is as simple as
Additionally you can also remove apps via this process
More details on the Windows Store can be found here
And Building Windows 8 blog
Then this free day of training is the quickest way to find out all you need to know.
The Windows Phone Camps will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps from scratch. You'll be guided through the development process with a series of hands-on workshops and short tutorials, with some seasoned experts to give you one on one help when you need it. There'll be topics like; Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. Also, there will be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets. There's even an introductory design session to help you make your app look its best. Just pick the workshops that are most useful for you and work at your own pace.
Once you've got the basics, you’ll be off and running and ready to develop your own apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, and of course there's the all-important opportunity to meet up with likeminded devs.
The camp kicks off at 9am and finish at 6pm. By registering and attending, you will receive (fanfare please) an exclusive Windows Phone Design Guide Sketch Pad as well as your own customized Hit & Run Windows Phone Camp T-shirt.
Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!
Got a question? You might find the answer below...
How much do I need to know about Windows Phone to attend this camp?
You don't need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Phone or app development to attend. The purpose of the camp is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Phone app development.
Who can attend these camps?
Academics, Students, developers, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about developing apps for Windows Phone.
How much does it cost to attend this camp?
Your luck's in - it's FREE.
What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of this camp?
There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the camp. This includes bringing your own suitable laptop with the Windows Phone Developer tools installed (these are free), preferably the latest version of the tools.
It would also be useful if you could read the following documentation:
If you have a Windows Phone please bring it with you.
Are you holding these camps elsewhere in the country?
Yes, this is a series of Windows Phone Camps kicking off around the country. Follow us on Twitter (@ukmsdn) to see where we’re visiting next.
What if I've registered already and can't make it on the day?
Please let us know as soon as you can if you can't make the camp as there will be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you've registered and committed. Thanks!
Who are Hit & Run?
They're do cool live on-site event screen-printing. You'll get the chance to create your very own t-shirt with your unique design at the end of the camp.
What’s the Windows Phone Design Sketch Pad?
In the spirit of highlighting good design, we intend to provide each attendee with an exclusive Windows Phone design sketch pad with Windows Phone design guidelines as well as open spaces and templates to sketch your next big Windows Phone app idea. Great stuff!
Register at the event of your choice below. Go on. You know you want to.
London - Saturday 17 September
Manchester - Saturday 24 September
There has never been a better time to learn how to program. Modern programming languages, coupled with powerful and widely available development environments, provide an excellent place to work.
A wide range of operating environments, including mobile devices, cloud computing, robotics, embedded devices, and games, means that you can apply your programming-acquired skills in a huge range of different areas.
Programming lets you bring your ideas to life, and with the launch of Xbox for Education, Microsoft is trying to making programming more exciting and interesting for students of all ages. With Xbox for Education and Microsoft DreamSpark we’re getting students coding in C# and XNA and we hope to aspire tomorrow’s games developer and help students learn a lot about how games work and even create totally new ones of their own.
As part of its effort to further increase computational thinking and games development in young people, Microsoft is also introducing a discounted Xbox 360 programme to schools which includes a 3-Year DreamSpark subscription.
DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com provides the tools to help student’s designs and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at school. It also equips and supports teachers through the provision of software and lessons plans.
The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk
Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.
These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.
C# is a popular programming language used by many software developers all over the world. The C# skills that you pick up from the Xbox in Education can also be used as the basis of a career in programming should you find that you really enjoy writing programs. Additionally the design of the C# language is very similar to C, C++, and Java you will find that your skills can be used with them too.
XNA is a framework which allows games to be written in C#. It provides all the “heavy lifting” concerned with creating a game framework. It drives the display, manages content, and provides an easy to use way of interacting with gamepads and other controllers. It also provides a common platform so that XNA games can run on a variety of different devices, games can also be distributed to Xbox users around the world using the Xbox Live service.
One of the questions I get from game developers is around debugging of a App/Game after they see reported crashes
Here is a quick guide to how to debug the crash logs from the WP8 dev center
Firstly you need to download and analysis the crash logs
Login to https://dev.windowsphone.com Click Dashboard Click Reports Select Crash Count Click Export Strack Traces This will download a .cab
If you then look up specific error numbers at https://dev.windowsphone.com/ and http://msdn.microsoft.com a specific link to Debugging on Windows Phone http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-US/OEM/docs/Debugging/Debugging_Windows_Phone
To Analyse the log
You need to save the .cab then right click and extract it.
Then double click on the mini dump file and open into VS.
They will see something similar to below.
This gives limited info because the debug symbols are missing.
The symbols are located in two places. To install all available symbols, do the following two steps:
Run the provided symbols installers from the WDK download on the Windows Connect site http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff557573(v=vs.85).aspx.
Run setup.exe from the Windows Phone download on the Connect site. Check the desired boxes for Debugger Symbols, and click the Next button.
Add the paths of the symbols to the symbol path. For example, you can use .sympath inside the debugger to add folder locations. For more information, see Symbol path.
For a large workgroup, consider creating a symbol server. For more information, see Symbol stores and symbol servers.
You can then load them in using the links on the right.
If you don't install the symbols “Debugging with native only “ gives the limited call stack: