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!
The Cloud” is a term that we use to describe a way of hosting and running websites and applications where we ship off our files and databases to whomever we choose and have all the worries of managing the details of hardware, operating systems, networks and datacentres managed for us by them. This way, the specialists at the cloud provider can focus on providing a high quality, scalable platform, and the customer can focus on developing and deploying their website or application.
There are many cloud providers and today we will look at the recently-refreshed Windows Azure from Microsoft.
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform and runs on their datacentres all around the world.
Whats cools is Microsoft Azure supports all non-Microsoft technologies or frameworks such as PHP, Node.js, Python and Java – actually Azure supports all these and more; any operating system and any language.
For Cloud for Students
Microsoft Azure is now free under Microsoft Imagine and can be activated at Microsoft DreamSpark
Free Azure for students has consistently been one of the most popular requests fielded to us since the inception of Azure. Well, we are glad to announce that free Azure for students is now a thing! With a few simple steps, you should be able to activate your subscription in under 10 minutes. Once completed, you should be able to spin up a web app within seconds. Without further ado, let’s get started.
First, visit the Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark site.
If you don’t have a DreamSpark account already, you will need to activate it before you can have access to your Azure subscription. You’ll notice that the green “Register Now” option is disabled and that is why.
Setting up DreamSpark
DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) is a program that provides students with free Microsoft software, the ability to try Azure cloud services without entering a credit card, and a store account. Chances are your college or Uni is already signed up for DreamSpark and all you need to do is create your own account to start reaping the benefits.
But even if your institution isn't signed up, if you are a student you can still get it. Here's how!
To create your DreamSpark account go here and select Create Account http://www.dreamspark.com or via Microsoft Imagine http://imagine.microsoft.com
You will be prompted to sign in with a Microsoft account (hotmail.com, live.com, outlook.com) if you don't have a Microsoft account you can create one here. You can use an existing email address for your Microsoft account.
You will now see a screen where you specify your name, date of birth, preferred email, most of this is pre-populated based on the settings in your Microsoft account. Consider selecting the checkbox so Microsoft can let you know about programs and offers in your area. After you have completed all the required fields select continue to verify.
Now, DreamSpark wants to verify that you are in fact a student. There are five different ways to do this, pick the one that works for you!
1. I have a school email account – If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, you can just provide your school email address to get verified
2. Get verified through my school account– If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, but validates DreamSpark through school accounts rather than email addresses you can select this option.
All Colleges and Unis in the UK use this authentication method, so if you don't see your school listed it doesn't necessarily mean your school does not offer DreamSpark to its students! It just means they have chosen another method for authentication, you may want to try the email address option instead. If you choose the school account you have to search for your school in the list.
3. I have an International Student Identity Card – This is not your university or college student ID card. this is the international student card (you can apply for one here) if you pick this option you can type in your ISIC serial number or the ISIC/CIP number or your ISIC/NUS card number to prove you are a student.
4. I have a verification code – this option requires you to enter a verification code. But where do you get a verification code? You need to reach out to a Microsoft representative or possibly a school administrator. Attending a Microsoft hackathon or workshop is a great place to meet someone and find out how you can get a verification code. Entering a code will give you access to DreamSpark resources for one year. If you are a teacher, you can also reach out to a Microsoft representative to get verification codes for your students if your school does not have a DreamSpark subscription. You may also want to check out some of the material that helps you teach coding at aka.ms/learn2code
5. I can supply documentation – if none of the above options works, choose this option. You can provide a scanned copy of your school ID card, a current report card, or acceptance letter to a university or college as proof that you are a student to get validated.
Once you have created and verified your account, you can now download software, get a code that allows you to publish apps to the Windows store for free and get free cloud services on Azure including website hosting!
Creating Your Azure Account via DreamSpark
Head back to the Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark site. The register option should now be available and you should click on it. Make sure to be signed into your DreamSpark enabled Microsoft account before you do this (you can sign in on the top right).
A verification by phone is required. This is an important security measure that ensures that only you have access to your account in the event of a password reset, by tying your account to your cellphone or telephone number.
You’ll receive a text or a call at your number, depending on the option you chose. Enter the code to finish the sign up.
Congrats! This is probably the most tedious part of using Azure, so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.
All you have to do now is wait for the Azure servers to provision your account, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes you will be presented with the Azure Portal you may be presented with the new Preview Portal or Standard Portal.
This is the new Preview portal
This is the standard azure portal
You now have access to your very own Azure account! To use a new service, go to “New” and search for whichever service you want to use.
If a service is greyed out, its because it’s not yet available for students. Stay tuned on our blog to hear about new service additions. Here are some specific resources you can check out to help you with some of the currently available Azure DreamSpark offerings:
Web Apps Overview Application Insights Overview Visual Studio Online Overview
So create a free web site and portfolio today using CMS such as WordPress
Getting a WordPress site up and running
Getting a WordPress website (build in PHP and usually run on Apache with MySQL) up and running on Windows Azure. Simply head over to https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
The first step is to set up an account on Azure so make sure you have followed the instructions above.
Sign into your Azure Portal https://manage.windowsazure.com/
From here, click on the “Sign in to the Management Portal” link
Select the “Manage” option in the navigation at the top of the screen and you’ll be taken to the page shown below.
The Azure management page
The first time you access it you’ll get a little tour, but eventually you’ll get to your dashboard, which will be empty and look something like this:
As you can see you Azure dashboard is empty
Just a side note: When I registered there was a short wait before the “web sites” option (which we will be using below) was available to me; just a couple of hours.
Choose the “Cloud Services” option on the left and click “create a cloud services”.
Choose “Compute” then “Web App”
Choose the “from gallery” option, highlighted above, and then find the WordPress option in the list of apps available.
Click the “Next” arrow and choose your website’s URL; leave the database setting as “Create a new MySQL database”; and choose the region closest to you (or your audience).
Click the “Next” arrow again and confirm your new MySQL database settings, then click the final “Next” icon to complete the process and Azure will begin deploying your new site.
A few moments later and it will inform you that the deployment is complete, and the site is up and running.
That’s it! Your WordPress site is now live and can be accessed at the URL you configured in the setup earlier; you can get there nice and quickly by clicking the “Browse” icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Azure portal.
As this is WordPress, the first time you access it, it will ask you to complete the installation by making a few configuration choices.
Click the “Install WordPress” button at the bottom to complete the setup and WordPress will show you a “Success!” message with a “Log In” button that will take you to your new WordPress admin login area. Enter your chosen WordPress username and password and log in to see your blog Dashboard.
You’ll want to visit the Settings section using the menu bar on the left to tweak any final settings, but you’re all ready to go!
With any hosted service you’re likely to want to be able to view usage statistics, configure FTP and publishing access, etc. So let’s switch back to Azure.
Set up FTP access
Click on the name of your new site in the Web Sites list and you’ll see a one-off startup page welcoming you and giving you some options for how to proceed.
First off, let’s set up FTP access so that you can begin customising WordPress further with custom themes and plugins. Click on “Set up deployment credentials” under the “Publish your app” heading (if you’ve dismissed the welcome screen you can access this through the “Reset deployment credentials” option under the “quick glance” heading on the dashboard).
Choose your username and password, click the tick to confirm and you’ll be sent back to the welcome screen with a success message.
Click the “Dashboard” option at the top of the Welcome screen and you’ll see your Azure website dashboard (you can get back to the welcome screen by clicking the cloud with a lightning bolt icon on the left of the dashboard option).
Here you can see a wealth of usage information, as well as plenty of further configuration options. If you scroll down a little, you’ll find your FTP address on the right, under the “FTP hostname” heading. Use this along with the credentials you just set up and you can begin uploading to, and editing your, WordPress installation.
Publishing alternatives Git or Visual Studio Online
If you use git as your source control you can configure Azure to have its own git repository for your website, which you can push updates to and it’ll build and deploy your changes automatically. Click the “Set up Git publishing” option to be guided through that.
You also have the option of linking your site to Visual Studion Online for publishing via that code-base, or you can download a publishing profile to load into Visual Studio to allow direct publishing from there.
Other CMS on Azure
Azure also has off-the-shelf installations of Drupal, Joomla and Umbraco in its gallery and
Azure ML Studio – Getting to Grips with Machine Learning and Microsoft Azure
With ML Studio there is no need for a student to have any experience in computer programming so its perfect for Geography, Sociology and other discipline who create vast amounts of data.
Azure ML provides a very low-friction way of enabling students to discover how different ML algorithms perform using real-world examples, such as predicting car prices, estimating Twitter sentiment, Detecting credit risk anomalies and predicting flight delays.
Where Azure ML really helps is through instructors pre-building ML workflows and sharing them with students, either privately using a collaborative workspace, or publicly through the Azure ML gallery.
(Figure shows evaluating a model in Azure ML, including ROC curve and scoring metrics – see https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/machine-learning-walkthrough-4-train-and-evaluate-models/)
Getting Started with Azure ML
One of the best ways of getting started with Azure ML is to setup workflows with data and allow students to ‘fill-in-the-blanks’, maybe comparing how different ML algorithms perform on the same problem.
Datasets and access to data for ML
There is a plethora of sample datasets built into ML Studio for you to create educational material around, as well as many tutorials already built by the community published in the gallery.
Getting to Grips with ML A unique feature is the ability to include your own R and Python code, so there is ultimate flexibility in what you can do. And when a model has been validated, it is easy to publish this as a web service with an auto-documented REST API, to be consumed by apps. Again all students now get Free web services with Microsoft Imagine via DreamSpark
Get started with Azure ML for education:
Microsoft has a growing need for smart talent in this area, so we fully support the efforts of academia to educate and inspire the next-generation.
So please explore and let us know what you are doing with Azure Machine Learning and your students, we’re here to help.
Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark gets you started with the services you need to develop in the cloud at no cost:
Free Learning Resources
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Web Apps for Developers ISBN #: 9781509300594 PDF
Continuous deployment using Microsoft Azure Web Sites PDF
Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure™: Best practices for DevOps, data storage, high availability, and more ISBN #: 9780735695658 EPUB MOBI PDF
Master Data Services Capacity Guidelines PDF EPUB MOBI
Multidimensional Model Programming PDF EPUB MOBI
Transact-SQL Data Definition Language (DDL) Reference PDF EPUB MOBI
Monitor and Tune for Performance PDF EPUB MOBI
High Availability Solutions PDF EPUB MOBI
Free learning Resources
Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online ISBN #: 9781509300648 EPUB MOBI PDF PDF
Azure on DreamSpark is available now for validated DreamSpark students at no cost and no commitment, with no time limit and no accidental charges. You can upgrade to more services later if you want, but you can host your web apps and websites today with the power of the Microsoft cloud behind you and it won’t cost you anything.
Microsoft Azure Learning Resources – Free Ebooks
Introducing Windows Azure™ for IT Professionals ISBN #: 9780735682887 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Fundamentals of Azure ISBN #: 9780735697225 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Machine Learning ISBN #: 9780735698178 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Automation ISBN #: 9780735698154 EPUB MOBI PDF
Introducing Microsoft Azure™ HDInsight™ ISBN #: 9780735685512 EPUB MOBI PDF
Visual Studio 2015 is a rich, integrated development environment for creating stunning applications for Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as modern web applications and cloud services. To find out more information about the Visual Studio 2015, please visit Visual Studio site or watch Visual Studio videos on Channel 9.
July 20 at 3:30 pm GMT and watch the Visual Studio 2015 final release event online. Follow @visualstudio for updates. https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/visualstudio-release-event-vs
We invite you to join us online to learn about the new features and technologies coming with this release. You will be able to engage in live, interactive Q&A sessions with the engineering team, before jumping into the technical details covered in over 60 on-demand sessions. You will also have the opportunity to see the Visual Studio developer team creating an end-to-end solution for an open-source project, leveraging the newest tools and technologies. See how they tackle the different problems along the way, and ask them questions directly.
Visual Studio 2015 launches on July 20th with several changes to the product line-up.
As always Visual Studio 2015 will be made available at DreamSpark.com and through DreamSpark Standard and Premium at launch.
DreamSpark will offer all three Visual Studio 2015 SKUs:
Visual Studio 2013 included Premium and Ultimate SKUs for DreamSpark Premium schools. Both of these have been replaced by the single Enterprise SKU for DreamSpark Premium.
Please note that as usual, Visual Studio SKUs in DreamSpark do not include an MSDN subscription
Where can I download Visual Studio
Only Visual Studio Community 2015 will be offered at DreamSpark.com. Visual Studio Professional and Express are being removed.
Because Community and Professional are nearly identical, there should be no impact to student usage.
The DreamSpark Standard ELMS webstore will only offer Visual Studio Community 2015 for students.
The DreamSpark Standard MSDN Benefit Portal will offer product keys for Visual Studio Professional 2015. This is to support lab installations in campus facilities.
VS Community is not suitable for labs because each copy is activated by a single user’s Microsoft Account.
The DreamSpark Premium ELMS webstore will offer Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 for students.
The DreamSpark Premium MSDN Benefit Portal will offer product keys for Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 for lab installations
Getting Visual Studio Versions via DreamSpark
So what is Visual Studio Community.
Visual Studio Community is identical to Visual Studio Professional except for three things:
1)The Community license does not support Enterprise customers.
2)Product activation of Community requires a Microsoft Account instead of a product key.
3)The CodeLens feature is not included.
In all other ways, Visual Studio Community is the same as Visual Studio Professional.
Getting the latest Windows 10 SDK
Windows 10 SDK preview (10166 or newer) from the Windows 10 Developer Tools page. This tool will also be in the RTM version of the Windows 10 SDK..
To deploy an app to a device, you need to enable it for development. First, upgrade the to the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 10149 emulator released recently and follow these simple steps to prepare your device:
1. On the phone that you want to enable for development, go to Settings. Choose Update & security then select For developers. 2. Select Developer mode to enable side-load scenarios using WinAppDeployCmd.exe.
For more details, please read the MSDN topic Enable your device for development. Once you have successfully enabled the phone for development, follow the steps on the MSDN topic Windows 10 Application Deployment to get your apps on to the device.
Tip: If you’d like to see the tool in action, watch this video.
The Microsoft Band Web Tiles Preview makes it simple to deliver “glanceable” information to Microsoft Band from virtually any data source accessible through the web.
Web Tiles use the power of the Microsoft Health platform, leveraging internet connectivity, to bring content directly to the Microsoft Band.
With Microsoft Band Web Tiles, developers “author” the web tile only once to support multiple mobile platforms (iOS, Android and Windows). Authoring a Tile is simple: Developers can choose to read the Web Tiles documentation and author the Web Tile using their favourite text editors, or they can choose to author the tiles using the newly released Web Tiles Authoring Tool which provides a UI-based, step-by-step guide to creating a Web Tile package in as little as five minutes.
Microsoft Band Web Tiles are supported on all mobile platforms where Microsoft Health is available.
Developers should visit the Microsoft Band Web Tiles developer site, read the comprehensive documentation, download sample Web Tiles, and start creating new Web Tiles using the Web Tiles Authoring Tool.
More details about the new Web Tiles for Microsoft Band by @shanselman
The BBC together with Microsoft and a range of other partners will provide every Year 7 student (age 11-12) in the United Kingdom with their very own BBC micro:bit, a personal computing device that they can use to explore the possibilities of computer science, both in and out of the classroom.
The device has been specifically designed for students starting with little or no computing experience, to show them that they can progress and ultimately create the type of computer games and other programmes and apps that they use every day.
Microsoft has been working closely with a range of companies, including ARM, Farnell and Samsung, to create the BBC micro:bit. The device itself is less than half the size of a credit card, with a distinctive appearance designed to show off its circuitry and hardware.
Microsoft is providing the web-based programming tool Block and Touchdevelop, the Microsoft Azure-based hosting service and teacher training materials.
For more details on Touchdevelop see http://www.touchdevelop.com
More detailed blog on the BBC Micro:bit and the Microsoft team see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ukschools/archive/2015/07/07/microsoft-and-the-bbc-micro-bit-a-million-ways-to-inspire-a-generation.aspx
We also announced a Microsoft Azure offer for student
Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark.com gets you started with the services you need to develop in the cloud at no cost:
Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark is available now for all validated DreamSpark students at no cost and no commitment, with no time limit and no accidental charges.
You can upgrade to more services later if you want, but you can host your web apps and websites today with the power of the Microsoft cloud behind you and it won’t cost you anything so its perfect for students building portfolio, career or blogs. see https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
The 2015 World Semi-Finals round of the Imagine Cup are now complete, this year we had over 150 teams from 64 countries competing.
Team Siymb from Exeter University will be representing the UK in the Innovation category at the 2015 World Wide Imagine Cup Finals in Seattle, on the 31st of July for a chance to win $50,000 & a 1-1 with Satya Nadella!
Please join me in congratulating team Siymb on this incredible achievement !!
Who are team Siymb?
Team Siymb are made up of Konstantin Wuenscher, Konstantin Delov and Jakob Zeitler who are a mixture of 1st & 2nd year Exeter University Students.
Siymb looks towards bringing conferences and exhibitions to the twenty first century. It will shatter the fishbowl full of business cards and burn their contents to ashes. The basic idea is using Microsoft Band wearable to transform the way people interact with each other during conferences and exhibitions.
With a simple handshake, participants will be able to exchange details about each other. No more looking for the right profile or lost contacts. All the information you need will be available through our integrated online system. To build our customer database simultaneously, they will be targeting the organisers of those event, rather than selling to individuals and offer them various benefits in return of their investment.
The team have already had a TV debut to an audience of over 2,000 viewers when they appeared on day 1 of the Azure Tech Days Special.
Having won the Cloud Innovation Award at the Imagine Make It Happen event back in March, the team shared their story with Andrew Fryer on how they are connecting data with their smart bracelet through the cloud and using Azure to solve some of the business challenges they faced whilst developing their Imagine Cup project.
What happens next?
The UK has a legacy of success at the World Wide Finals, taking the trophy home in 2013! with team Colinked
From now until the end of July we will be working with Team Siymb in for preparing for the World Wide Finals. If your interested in finding out who the competition is then see the full list of finalist here
What opportunities are in store for the team once they get to Seattle: The Imagine Cup 2015 Agenda
There are some fantastic opportunities in store for Team Siymb during their week-long visit to Seattle!
Find the full agenda below:
Briefing begins at 5:00pm
TechReady Ask the Experts
Event Ends 2pm CET
Our World Wide Final Imagine Cup 2015 Journey is just beginning and we are all very excited about what lies ahead!
Please help us amplify Team Siymb’s success by sharing their story on your and in your networks!
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wriggle.rocks
Twitter - https://www.twitter.com/@siymb_com
With the standard being so high this year, all of our UK World Semi- Finalists have done incredibly well to get to this stage in the Imagine Cup if you want to read more about the UK finals see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoftuk/archive/2015/04/02/imagine-make-it-happen-uk-cup-finals.aspx
At \\Build 2015 Day 2 keynote John Shewchuk showed off ManifoldJS.
What is ManifoldJS
The example John Shewchuk showed in the Build Day2 Keynote was a fictional demo app called Shiftr which lets developers vote on developer frameworks.
In the demo, John simply created the cross platform app by using the following command
“ManifoldJS http:/www.samplesite.com” and ManifoldJS generated projects for Chrome, iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
He then loaded the Android solution via Android App Studio and fired up the Android Emulator which ran the app without any additional code changes.
So the demo clearly demonstrated that with ManifoldJS, developers can simply create the standard manifest, and ManifoldJS creates the apps for the different platforms and devices with minimal intervention.
Welcome to Windows 10 and our Four Universal Windows Platform Bridge toolkits that enable you to quickly bring your existing code base to the Universal Windows Platform and add capabilities such as live tiles, active notifications, and Windows Store in-app purchases.
What are Universal Windows Platform Bridges?
What are the toolkits?
Each toolkit provides you with tools and run-time technologies that are tailored for your codebase.
Android Runtime (Project Astoria)
Enables you to build apps using Android code to target Windows 10 phones without having to leave your Android IDE.
Enables you to build a universal Windows app from within Visual Studio 2015 using your existing Objective-C® code.
Classic Windows apps (Project Centennial)
Allows you to package and publish your current .NET and Win32-based Windows applications to the Windows Store, providing a new way of distributing and monetizing your application on Windows PCs and allows you to take advantage of Universal Windows Platform capabilities and APIs.
Web apps (Project Westminster)
Use this page https://projectipreviewsignup.windows.com/ to sign up for previews of the following UWP Bridge toolkits:
If you are interested in "Project Astoria", please visit the "Project Astoria" page.