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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
We are pleased to announce new versions of Blend + Sketchflow preview for Visual Studio 2012. Bringing Blend and Visual Studio together offers more value. Blend is a great tool offering a wide variety of designers and developers the ability to quickly and easily build great looking and powerful UI.
These new versions make available capabilities that were previously only available in Expression Blend such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and SketchFlow support, unifying the design-centric tools for building Windows Store Apps and Windows desktop apps to Visual Studio users.
This is for evaluation only and none of the platforms contain a go-live license. Therefore you SHOULD use other released versions of Blend for production work.
What is the Blend + Sketchflow Preview for Visual Studio 2012?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 can help you design user interfaces for applications with robust tools that solve complex design tasks for building Windows Store apps.
The Blend + Sketchflow Preview introduces powerful WYSIWYG design capabilities to Visual Studio developers by providing support for WPF and Silverlight.
What is the difference between Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012 RTW? Do I need both?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 is a unique, innovative authoring tool with rich visual tools for creating Windows store apps using HTML/CSS and XAML. Blend is installed with most versions of Visual Studio 2012.
Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 delivers WPF, Silverlight, and SketchFlow support compatible with Visual Studio 2012. You can install this alongside Visual Studio 2012 RTW.
What is SketchFlow; how does it differ from Storyboarding in Visual Studio 2012?
SketchFlow provides an informal and quick way to explore, iterate and prototype user interface scenarios. SketchFlow is for building working prototypes of software for developers, while the new storyboarding capability allows PowerPoint to be used for capturing lightweight requirements from stakeholders.
Today marked an exciting day, we announced via S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post that MSDN subscribers including DreamSpark premium institutional administrators now have access to Visual Studio 2012. DreamSpark subscribers can download and install Visual Studio 2012 later this month once its made available.
Additionally we confirmed that we will be having a Virtual Launch Event on September 12, 2012 for Visual Studio 2012 please see further details at http://visualstudiolaunch.com.
So from today all versions of Visual Studio 2012, including Visual Studio Professional, Premium, Test Professional, and Ultimate. Additionally, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Express for Web, Visual Studio Express for Windows 8, and Team Foundation Server Express are now available.
So What is new in Visual Studio 2012?
Visual Studio 2012 includes numerous updates to simplify the development experience, help teams collaborate more effectively, and delight end-users across a variety of devices. Although there are too many features to highlight here, below are a few key new features:
· Improved web development tooling with Page Inspector and DOM Explorer
· Support for Microsoft’s latest platforms including Windows 8.
· Visual Studio Light Switch and Blend for Visual Studio are included giving developers access to rapid application tools and designer surfaces.
· Write simplified asynchronous code using the .NET Framework 4.5
· Take team collaboration to the cloud with Team Foundation Service Preview or on-premise with the latest version of Team Foundation Server.
· Improved support for SharePoint development
There have been some changes to the Visual Studio SKUs, what is the current line up?
We are always focused on providing the right products to meet the needs of our various customers. For Visual Studio 2012 we have the following SKUs.
· Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate
· Visual Studio 2012 Premium
· Visual Studio 2012 Professional
· Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012
· Visual Studio Test Professional 2012
We have also simplified our Visual Studio Express SKUs so developers can focus on the latest Microsoft platforms.
· Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web
· Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8
· Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2012
Where do I go to get Visual Studio 2012?
There are a variety of ways to buy Visual Studio 2012. MSDN, DreamSpark Premium and DreamSpark subscribers will get it as part of their subscription. . Enterprise and volume licensing customers can get Visual Studio 2012 through their existing channels.
For developers that would like to purchase Visual Studio without going through an MSDN subscription, they can get it through a Microsoft Academic resellers:
· S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post
· Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event
· Visual Studio Website
Windows 8 RTM is available for developers and new developer content based upon RTM is now available in the Windows Dev Center: http://dev.windows.com.
The Windows 8 RTM is available for developers blog details how to get a 90 day evaluation version of Windows 8 RTM if you’re not part of TechNet, MSDN or DreamSpark Premium for institutional administrators.
The Windows Dev Center, now contains brand new overviews and migration guides for apps built on RP as well as..
The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites
· Windows 8 app developer blog: Get coding and design best practices and tips, and updates on events and offers for developers.
· Windows Store for developers blog: Get all the latest news on doing business in the Windows Store.
Want to get upto speed on Windows 8 during the summer holidays? Here is a list of camps for you to attend. There are limited numbers at each event so if you want free training, app support and to get ahead of the curve with Windows 8 then you should sign up now!
What to expect:
The Windows 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows 8 related topics.
The Windows 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the basics of the OS and interaction with the OS, Metro style UX with examples in Store apps, The Store and the developer opportunity, the high level view of the platform - i.e. WinRT and the choice around implementation technology, and the tooling - the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend. In addition, you will learn how you can publish your Windows 8 app into the Windows Store in advance of general release through the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs at this camp.
The Windows 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm, or 9pm for the hardcore attendees
Before you arrive, please ensure you have downloaded:
1) Windows 8 Release Preview installed and running on your machine 2) Visual Studio 2012 Express RC installed
Lastly, please let us know as soon as you can if you cannot make the camp as there will be many developers who are keen to take your spot. Please let us know (via written email) at least 2 days in advance if you are unable to attend the camp or a £20 administration fee will be charged. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Windows 8 Camp. Click here to register for an event near you!
Don't forget we have lots of Windows 8 curricula resources available and additional resources see
Curricula resources via Faculty Connection http://www.microsoft.com/faculty http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/07/09/windows-8-curricula-and-resources-now-at-faculty-connection.aspx
Windows 8 Camp in Box http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/07/16/windows-8-training-camp-in-a-box.aspx
Creating your first Windows 8 Metro Style Design Game http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/07/16/creating-your-first-windows-8-metro-style-design-game.aspx
XNA Developers and Windows8 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/08/01/xna-developers-and-windows-8.aspx
Get up to speed on Windows 8 in 6 weeks http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/07/24/get-up-to-speed-on-windows-8-in-6-weeks.aspx
This week, the Windows Phone Team launched the new Windows Phone Dev Center. Student still get free access as before via DreamSpark but the experience is slightly different. Here is a summary of the key changes you should familiarize yourself with:
· App Hub remains only as a landing page, the App Hub has split in two: Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Games Indie Games Portal. This is what you see when you get to http://create.msdn.com:
· Windows Phone Dev Center has rebranded Windows Live ID as Microsoft Account, from a technical perspective though it is still a Windows Live ID. Xbox Live still call it Windows Live ID.
· As with App Hub today, in order to get free access to Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Live Indie Games Portal, students need to have a verified DreamSpark account. So nothing new here. We have updated the Windows Phone App Hub page on DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=26) and created a new page for Xbox Indie Games Development (https://staging.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=48 with instructions to download tools and get access to the two.
· We have architected the experience to ensure that students needs to verify their student status only once, regardless of whether they start from Windows Phone Dev Center, Xbox Live Indie Game Portal or DreamSpark as follows:
o When a student starts the registration process on the Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Live Indie Game Portal and gets to the Payment process page, they select ‘’I am a student’’ to get free access. At that point the two stores check against AVE database to see if the Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID exists as verified. If yes, they get in for free, if not they get directed to DreamSpark to verify. So if the student had already verified on DreamSpark or (any of the two stores when trying to register on the other), she will get in automatically.
o On DreamSpark, when students create a new DreamSpark account to get access to Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Indie Game Portal from the respective pages, we basically ask that they create a Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID first and make that WILD the student’s DreamSpark account (since students on DreamSpark can create account with any email type). In this way they are guaranteed to get in automatically into the two stores. If they already have a DreamSpark account, we map it to their Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID, for the same purpose.
Please therefore direct all your students to DreamSpark as a starting point for creating a Apphub Developer account.
· Students that had Windows Live ID mapped to a verified DreamSpark account, and got free access to the App Hub in the past, can continue to use the same Windows Live ID to access both new app stores. All their apps and games are still there. Only change is that Windows Phone Dev Center now calls it Microsoft Account as per below.
· The student has account type has disappeared, now it is ‘’individual/students’’. Students get the free access when they select ‘’I am a student’ The experience has been designed this way so that when students graduate they do not need to create a new account or migrate their apps. All they need to do is select a different payment option, pay and continue to avail of the same account and keep their existing apps.
· DreamSpark account and hence the free access to the app stores is valid for 12 months. Once the 12 months have passed, students will be asked to verify their student status again. They can do that by selecting ‘I am a student’’ when they reach the payment option in the registration process of both Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Indie Games Portal. They will be directed to DreamSpark to verify.
If you have any questions please contact
Customer service email: DreamSparkSupport-EM@eu.subservices.com
All EMEA Service Center details: https://www.dreamspark.com/Support/RSC.aspx#Europe
For further information on Microsoft DreamSpark, please visit our website: http://www.dreamspark.com
Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage all your applications from System Center 2012.
So how are academics using these resources and services
Prof. Baesen's from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (a.k.a. KU Leuven) in Belgium published yesterday a paper called "Beyond the hype: cloud computing in analytics". looking at Machine Learning. KU Leuven has set up a benchmarking experiment using Machine Learning techniques used in analytics, the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and the middleware of Techila Technologies. The results were compared with those obtained in a non-parallelized setup. The results show that significant analysis speed-ups can be gained when performing computational tasks in cloud.
Researchers have amazing opportunity now with Microsoft and Openness additionally were extending this approach to the world of big data with Hadoop.
As you know from my previous posts Hadoop uses map reduce, the key to the power and scability of Hadoop is that it applies these map reduce concept on large clusters of servers by getting each node to run the functions locally, thus taking the code to the data to minimise IO and network traffic using its own file system – HDFS.
As your all aware there are lots of toolsets for Hadoop, many of these are built on Hive which presents HDFS as a data warehouse that you can run SQL against and the PIG (latin) language where you load data and work with your functions.
Microsoft are developing in conjunction with developer Horton Works the following functionality:
At the time of writing there these tools are still in development and there is only “by invitation” admission to Hadoop on Azure. If your interested in this please do get in touch. simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows Server 2012 technical launch event 25th September 2012
To go along with this event the UK Technet team are running a competition.
We have 29 HP ProLiant MicroServer’s to give away in association with Servers Plus at the launch event as part of a prize draw that will be announced when we make the event registration page available (Terms & Conditions available here)
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.
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
I am getting a lot of requests from the academic community for what support we are providing them for adopting the new Windows Server 2012? Another question is in regards to the alignment of training? and how can this be aligned into curricula? with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Release to Manufacturing ‘RTM’
I have talked a lot about Windows Resources in the past few blogs including our full curricula resources at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
In specific to Windows Server 2012 we have two specific certification paths MCSA/MCSE and we now have all the course materials available for your courses this academic year.
The Windows Server 2012 MCSA now becomes the core starting point for a student’s career in IT, providing a platform for multiple paths including Server & Desktop Infrastructure, Private Cloud etc.
Here are some key pointers:
NEW MCT Prep-Kits
· MCT One Note Trainer Pack and 45 min video on www.mctvirtualsummit.com
· Activate your FREE MCT membership through IT Academy now!
MCT Download Centre
· MCT Prep versions of Windows Server 2012 Microsoft Official Curricula available
· WS2012 JumpStart Videos here
· Free MS Press Book, Introducing Windows Server 2012 here
· Information on the new MCSA exams for Windows Server 2012, inc. upgrade paths here
We have also just launched the new www.coursewaremarketplace.com service yesterday which now includes Windows Server 2012 content.
This includes new features like:
- Digital and Printed content (digital discounts)
- Collaboration features for note taking and annotations across classes
- E-reading software supported by multiple platforms and browsers
- Includes Windows 8 App at W8 launch
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.