• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Adding adverts into your Windows 8 and Windows Phone Apps and Games

    • 1 Comments

    One of the most popular questions from Unity Porting Camps http://www.unityportinguk.com has been how can I add ads to my app

    Well we have a number of supported Advertising SDK which are listed at our partner services portal for Windows 8 and Windows Phone development at http://services.windowsstore.com/.

    The Partner portal has links to partners providing the following services for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    • Advertising
    • Analytics
    • Controls & Frameworks
    • Cross Platform Tools
    • Database
    • Design
    • Developer Tools
    • Gaming Middleware
    • Geolocation
    • Graphics
    • Has Offer
    • Media Services
    • Networking
    • Payments
    • Performance
    • Push Notifications
    • Social Plugins
    • Storage
    • Testing
    • UI Controls
    • User Management

    Here are the available Advertising SDK which support Windows 8 and Windows Phone

  • Scoreoid

    Scoreoid is a real-time marketing platform that powers engagement and monetization. Scoreoid enables brands, studios, publishers and app developers to interact and engage with their users in real-time. "We help you touch your users".

  • AdRotator

    AdRotator is a multi-platform Ad Rotating solution that integrates multiple AdProviders in to a single control and can manage rotation of those ads based on the developers configuration. It also features fallback capabilities to always ensure the app/game always has ads to show.  We also support remote configuration so the developer can alter their Ad Configuration on the fly without re-deploying their app/game or show their own ad to pass in formation to clients.

    Get the New Unity Plug-in!

  • MediaBrix

    MediaBrix powers the industry's leading advertising and services platform for social and mobile games.

  • PreApps

    PreApps.com is the leading platform introducing new mobile apps to user and the marketplace prior to release. Our vision is to build an ecosystem, which connects app developers with app users prior to release to in turn create better quality, more successful apps. Our collaborative process has demonstrated to increase app downloads, enhance app ranking, and overall app quality

    Get the PreApps Featured Feedback app for free!

  • LeadBolt

    FREE CASH TO ADVERTISE YOUR APP! Click Learn More.
    LeadBolt is an award winning mobile app discovery, advertising and monetization network focused on delivering innovative solutions for Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android app developers and now for Windows Store apps.
    Through the largest range of traditional and high-performance ad formats, LeadBolt delivers industry leading results to developers wanting to have their app discovered by users and increase their downloads.

    Get a code for extra $! Click here for more info.

  • Inmobi

    InMobi is the largest independent global mobile ad network and monetization platform with a global reach of over 691 million consumers across 165 countries on our network, we can help you reach your mobile audience anywhere in the world. Our highly skilled mobile experts plus local account managers will be on hand to help you book and optimize your campaign.

  • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Store apps

    Whether you're developing in HTML or XAML, the Microsoft Advertising SDK has made it easy to insert ads into your Windows 8 apps. With a few lines of code, you can quickly get ads being served in your app by following the simple steps outlined in our SDK documentation.

  • AdDuplex

    AdDuplex is a cross-promotion network for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps empowering developers to advertise their apps for free by helping each other.

  • Ads Plug-in for Unity3d

    unity

  • At the Unity camps lots of people are interested in Ad services which provided by a dedicated Unity3d plugin.

  • One of the best I have seen in use is the Unity3D plug-in for AdRotator

  • The AdRotator plug-in enables you to use our Windows and Windows Phone AdRotator solution in Unity3D projects for those platforms and configure how AdRotator works directly from the Unity editor.

  • Using this is simple and goes like this:

    • Download the Unity AdRotator asset from our codeplex site (We will look to publishing it on the Unity3D store at some later date)
    • Add the Asset package to your Unity3D project
    • In the scenes where you want AdRotator displayed, Ad the “AdRotatorManagement” manager game object to your scene (needs to be the top most item in the hierarchy), after installing the asset, this will appear in the game object create menu.
    • Use the inspector to configure how you want AdRotator to display in your scene.
    • Edit the AdRotator configuration files in the Assets / AdRotator folder (there is one for WinPhone and one for Win8 at the moment but we may unify that later) – Note don’t touch any of the other files
    • When your ready, deploy your game to a Windows 8 C#/XAML or Windows Phone 8 project (these are the only two supported options at the moment)
    • Lastly, open your generated solution and ad the V2 AdRotator beta to your project through NuGet and any other Ad Providers you wish to use.
    • **Note, check the readme that comes with the AdRotator NuGet package if you intend to use PubCentre, there is an additional step to pass the reference for PubCentre directly to AdRotator which will be needed.
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building a WebGL game for Windows 8 Store

    • 2 Comments
    WIN8
    Install Visual Studio 2013

    To build a Windows 8.1 app for the Windows Store, you’ll need.

    1. Windows 8.1

    2. Visual Studio 2013 to package your code.

    3. Windows Store and Developer account.

    Simply follow the procedure described here: Get started - Download the tools . You can install the free version: Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows 8 or if your a student you can head over to www.dreamspark.com and install Visual Studio Professional or Ultimate for FREE.

    If your a student you get a FREE developer account via https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx

    Taking your WebGL Browser to an app

    1. Select a third party engine for this we will be using babylon.js OpenSource engine.

    Babylon.js is a WebGL engine described in my previous post. However it doesn't matter if you use three.js or any other engine the concepts described remain exactly the same.

    My key rule of thumb is Babylon.js is perfect  if starting from scratch. If you already have browser and WebGL implemented three.js is a good starting point

    Building a  simple BabylonJS sample

    - Download BabylonJS on Github: https://github.com/BabylonJS/Babylon.js . Take the complete package embedding our sample scenes. We’re going to use the Espilit scene.
    - Download also our Hand.js polyfill: http://handjs.codeplex.com/
    - Create a web project using your favorite tools. Copy babylon.js & hand.js into a “scripts” folder and copy the “Espilit” scene from github into an “Espilit” folder.- On your web server, add support for the .babylon & .babylonmeshdata MIME types. If you’re using IIS, add this block definition into your web.config:

    <system.webServer>
      <staticContent>
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".fx" mimeType="application/fx" />
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".babylon" mimeType="application/babylon" />
        <mimeMap fileExtension=".babylonmeshdata" mimeType="application/babylonmeshdata" />
      </staticContent>
    </system.webServer>

    - Create a HTML page with this code and name it “index.html”:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
        <title>BabylonJS - Espilit demo</title>
        <script src="scripts/hand.minified-1.1.3.js"></script>
        <script src="scripts/babylon.js"></script>
        <script src="scripts/main.js"></script>
        <style>
            html, body {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                padding: 0; margin: 0;
                overflow: hidden;
            }
            #renderCanvas {
                width: 100%; height: 100%;
                touch-action: none; -ms-touch-action: none;
            }
        </style>
        </head>
        <body>
            <canvas id="renderCanvas"></canvas>
        </body>
    </html>

    - Create a “main.js” file into the “scripts” folder with this code:

    document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", startGame, false);
    function startGame() {
        if (BABYLON.Engine.isSupported()) {
            var canvas = document.getElementById("renderCanvas");
            var engine = new BABYLON.Engine(canvas, true);
            BABYLON.SceneLoader.Load("Espilit/", "Espilit.babylon", engine, function (newScene) {
                // Wait for textures and shaders to be ready
                newScene.executeWhenReady(function () {
                    // Attach camera to canvas inputs
                    newScene.activeCamera.attachControl(canvas);
                    // Once the scene is loaded, just register a render loop to render it
                    engine.runRenderLoop(function () {
                        newScene.render();
                    });
                });
            }, function (progress) {
                // To do: give progress feedback to user
            });
        }
    }

    And we’re done! We’ve rebuilt in a few lines of code the very same demo as this one: http://www.babylonjs.com/index.html?ESPILIT.

    Creating a Windows 8 Store App

    1. Copy/pasting into a Windows Store App project

    - Open Visual Studio 2013 and create a “JavaScript” –> “Windows Store” new project. Name it “WebGLStoreGame”:

    image

    - Copy/paste the index.html file as well as the 2 “Espilit” & “scripts” folders into the Windows Store App project:

    image

    - by default, a Windows Store HTML5 project starts by loading “default.html”. Let change that. Double-click on “package.appxmanifest” to open the properties page & change the start page by “index.html”:

    image

    That’s it! You’ve just finished migrating the code into a Windows Store application! Press CTRL+F5 or the play button to launch the game:

    image

    You now need to add Windows 8 feature such as snap and charms

    Updating your Windows 8 game to embrace the Windows 8.1 platform

    First article you have to read as a game developer is that one: Designing a great game for Windows. It will briefly explain you how to embrace the Windows 8.1 platform & its design considerations: live tiles and notifications, share contracts, app bar, support for a variety of form factors and screen sizes, snap view, etc.

    For JavaScript developers, download this good simple sample to start with: JavaScript and HTML5 touch game sample. You’ll find the code to create an app bar & a settings flyout panel for instance. I’ve used this sample project to modify the one we’ve created together.

    Handling multiple views of a Windows Store app, Snap/Full

    You really have 2 choices:

    1 – Preserve the full screen rendering with its aspect ratio by adding black bars. There is an easy solution based on CSS3 look at this detailed article: Modernizing your HTML5 Canvas games Part 1: hardware scaling & CSS3
    2 – Simply change what the camera is now viewing. For that, you just have to listen to the onresize event and change the size of the canvas. The BabylonJS engine will automatically reflect the changes for you.

    In my case, I’ve decided to implement the 2nd solution for this tutorial:

    imageimage
    imageimage

    To understand how it works, simply have a look to the code in the Visual Studio solution available to download at the end of this article.

    The game now support Keyboard and Touch inputs

    Adding Xbox Controller input

    As this is web based game there is currently no exposed API to allow me to use an Xbox Controller as input  inside the IE11 JavaScript engine. However, DirectX and more particularly XInput expose the API to get the data from an Xbox Controller. Read more about that here: Getting Started With XInput

    The idea is then simply to build a WinRT component in C++ wrapping those API for the JavaScript world.

    What is excellent is that this sample has already been written and available among the Windows Store Apps samples: XInput and JavaScript controller sketch sample as we know controllers are desired control mechanism for most gamers.

    Adding XInput Control

    1. Download the XInput and JavaScript controller sketch sample sample and copy the C++ project into your “WebGLStoreGame” Visual Studio solution:

    image

    2. Add a reference to this project into the “WebGLStoreGame” JavaScript project. For that, right-click on “References” and “Add Reference…” :

    image

    3. Select “Projects” and “GameController” :

    image

    4. Calling the C++ logic directly from your JavaScript code. Here is the code to control the camera function with a controller- BabylonJS camera. :

    // babylon.xboxControllerCamera.js
    var BABYLON = BABYLON || {};
    (function () {
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera = function (name, position, scene) {
            BABYLON.FreeCamera.call(this, name, position, scene);
            // You need first to referance the WinRT C++ component from the Windows SDK samples
            if (GameController) {
                // Although the API supports up to 4 controllers per machine,
                // this sample only works with a single controller.
                this.controller = new GameController.Controller(0);
            }
        };
        // We're mainly based on the logic defined into the FreeCamera code
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype = Object.create(BABYLON.FreeCamera.prototype);
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype.angularSensibility = 8000000.0;
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype.moveSensibility = 20000.0;
        BABYLON.XboxControllerCamera.prototype._checkInputs = function () {
            var offsetLeftX, offsetLeftY, offsetRightX, offsetRightY;
            var state = this.controller.getState();
            if (!state.connected) {
                return;
            }
            // Gamepad thumbstick values are between -32768 and 32767. 
    // Drawing position is moved incrementally if // the thumbstick value exceeds a deadzone value of 6500. offsetLeftX = Math.abs(state.leftThumbX) > 6500 ? 0 + state.leftThumbX : 0; offsetLeftY = -(Math.abs(state.leftThumbY) > 6500 ? 0 - state.leftThumbY : 0); offsetRightX = Math.abs(state.rightThumbX) > 6500 ? 0 + state.rightThumbX : 0; offsetRightY = -(Math.abs(state.rightThumbY) > 6500 ? 0 - state.rightThumbY : 0); this.cameraRotation.y += offsetRightX / this.angularSensibility; this.cameraRotation.x += -offsetRightY / this.angularSensibility; var speed = this._computeLocalCameraSpeed(); var direction = new BABYLON.Vector3(speed * offsetLeftX / this.moveSensibility, 0,
    speed * offsetLeftY / this.moveSensibility); BABYLON.Matrix.RotationYawPitchRollToRef(this.rotation.y, this.rotation.x, 0,
    this._cameraRotationMatrix); this.cameraDirection.addInPlace(BABYLON.Vector3.TransformCoordinates(direction,
    this._cameraRotationMatrix)); }; })();

    It’s pretty straight-forward. The X axis on the left analogic joystick is “strafing” left/right and the Y axis is moving forward/backward in the direction of the camera.

    The right analog joystick is controlling the orientation of the camera.

    You could even go further by sending vibration data to the controller during your game when the player will be touched by the enemies for instance.

    Getting your game ready for Store

    1. Passing the WACK test

    The first thing you need to do before submitting your app to the Windows Store is running the WACK (Windows App Certification Kit) tool. It will run automatic tests against your app to ensure you have the minimum quality bar (decent launch time, no crash, etc.).

    You’ll find interesting details on what’s the tool is doing there: Using the Windows App Certification Kit and how to use it.

    To be sure to pass this WACK test using this tutorial, you need to do a last specific task for JavaScript. All JS files must be saved as UTF-8. This is explained here: Windows App Certification Kit tests : “HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files must be encoded in UTF-8 form with a corresponding byte-order mark (BOM) to benefit from bytecode caching and avoid certain runtime error conditions.

    In conclusion, check that all files are UTF-8 encoded. For instance, “babylon.js” could be using another encoding type. To change that, open the “babylon.js” file and select Save As from the File menu in Visual Studio. Select the drop-down control next to the Save button and select Save with Encoding. From the Advanced save options dialog, choose the Unicode (UTF-8 with signature) option and click OK.

    image

    Download the Visual Studio solution

    If you’d like to review the complete solution, feel free to download David Cathue fill solution here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    WebGL to Windows 8

    • 0 Comments

    WebGL offers new very interesting opportunities for the gaming industry.

    You can now develop a game for the web running cross-platforms and take the very same code to build a Windows Store App and add some platforms specifics & monetization.

    Pre-requisites: validate your game in IE11 which now supports WebGL

    Step 1. Validate your code against Internet Explorer 11.

    To test against IE11, the best experience is to install any version of Windows 8.1 on a development machine. IE11 is also now available on Windows 7.

    You can also test it as a first experience via Virtual Machines or via BrowserStack or bootcamp, parallels on Mac.

    If you dont have access to MSDN or a copy of Windows 8 You can find free VMs to download on our Modern.IE website: http://www.modern.ie/en-us as well as a 3-months trial for BrowserStack.

    Of course, especially for a game, you will have to test at the end on real device to tune the performance and the gameplay.

    Step 2. Be sure that your game runs in every WebGL-enabled browser/platform.

    Doing these two tasks will save you some time in the future and maximize your reach.

    So what is new with IE11

    IE11 embeds the JS & rendering engines being used to execute Windows Store Apps. So, when you’re writing HTML5 Windows 8.1 Store Apps, you’re more or less targeting IE11.

    Using a WebGL engine

    I would strongly suggest using a WebGl engine rather than writing yourself your code against the low-level API of WebGL.

    Any WebGL engine working fine in Internet Explorer 11 but here a two excellent opensource options.

    ThreeJS

    Three.JS: http://threejs.org/ created & mainly maintained by Mr Doob.

    There are lots of resources available to learn ThreeJS

    BabylonJS

    Open-source WebGL engine specifically designed for creating games.

    Developed by

    3D engine: David CATUHE (@deltakosh)
    Scenes: Michel ROUSSEAU (@rousseau_michel)
    Game FX: Pierre LAGARDE (@pierlag)
    Game FX: David ROUSSET (@davrous)

     Babylon.JS is scene oriented and has a great Blender exporter.

    Using Web Application Template

    For Games with WebGL. A nice way to get these to WP8 and W8 is the web app template. http://wat-docs.azurewebsites.net/

    You can also relatively easily add xbox controller, sound etc.. using Xinput control feature of Windows 8

    Please watch the videos below demonstrating the use of the Web Application Template (WAT) being used to build a Windows 8 HTML5/JS game.

    The game can also be built as a native Windows 8 game the advantage this had over the WAT was the game could work offline.

    Here is a recording of the endeavours and this 10 minute video shows how you would technically go about porting a game like this using both the WAT approach and the native approach.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T51tgL3qzi8&feature=youtu.be

    The native implementation 6:40 seconds in : http://youtu.be/T51tgL3qzi8?t=6m40s

    If you just want to see the app running then check out 5.42 minutes in http://youtu.be/T51tgL3qzi8?t=5m24s

    For more details of the Web Application Template see msft.it/60119JW9

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Azure in UK Education

    • 0 Comments

    Learn more about Microsoft Azure could help your institution discover the modern cloud by viewing/download our new infographic below:

    Resources available

    Microsoft Azure for education, teaching students all about cloud http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    Microsoft Azure for Research – Power your research with cloud http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/azure/default.aspx

    Microsoft Azure in Education from Microsoft Education UK

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Summary of Microsoft Azure Build Announcement

    • 0 Comments

    At the Build 2014 conference, we introduced the new Microsoft Azure Preview portal and the new Basic tier of compute instances. We also announced the general availability of the Web Sites Basic tier along with enhancements to the Web Sites Standard tier, Active Directory Premium, Scheduler, RA-GRS, Dynamic Routing Gateways and Point-to-Site, AutoScale, and Visual Studio Online. In addition, Azure Automation public preview was announced and Azure Backup pricing was reduced.

    Azure Portal 

    The web browser portal brings together portions of both Azure and Visual Studio Online—Microsoft Azure Web Sites and SQL Database—plus, eventually, more and more add-on tools across the app lifecycle from both Microsoft and partners.

    Try the portal at http://Portal.azure.com, you can sign in, work, and browse, and also move back-and-forth between the Preview portal and the current Microsoft Azure management portal.

    Basic tier of compute instances

    A new Basic tier of compute instances offers similar CPU and memory configurations as the Standard tier of instances, but these instances cost up to 26.6% less.
    The Basic tier doesn’t provide load-balancing and automatic scaling features, as the Standard tier does. Instances in the Basic tier are best suited for applications such as single-instance production workloads, development workloads, test servers, and batch processing, where those features might not be required.

    For more information, visit the Virtual Machines website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Machines Pricing Details website.

    Windows Azure Web Sites

    Azure Web Sites Basic tier now generally available (GA), and Web Sites Standard tier customers to receive more value Web Sites Basic tier, a new entry-level tier, provides support for small, medium, and large virtual machine (VM) sizes and enables you to scale up to three VM instances. The Basic tier includes 10 GB of storage and supports custom domains. SSL is available at standard rates. Advanced features like AutoScale, Backup, web jobs, and staging slots require customers to subscribe to the Standard tier.  Web Sites customers using the Standard tier will now receive even more value. At no additional cost, customers can now upload and use five SNI and one IP SSL certificates with 50 GB of storage. Plus, Standard tier customers will now receive all the new advanced capabilities, including live debugging, Backup, and site slots. Standard tier instances support up to 500 websites; scale up to 10 VM instances; and offer AutoScale, which dynamically adds or removes VM instances based on actual customer traffic.

    These are perfect for student projects For more information, visit the Web Apps website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Web Sites Pricing Details website.


    Azure Active Directory Premium now generally available

    Azure Active Directory Premium, the Microsoft identity and access management solution for the cloud, provides synchronization with on-premises directories, single sign-on to hundreds of SaaS applications, machine learning–based security and usage reports, alerting, and Multi-Factor Authentication. Azure Active Directory Premium also empowers end users with self-service password reset, delegated group management, and a customizable environment for launching enterprise and consumer applications.

    Azure Active Directory Premium includes entitlement to Forefront Identity Manager Server and Client Access Licenses. Azure Active Directory Premium will be available for purchase through the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement volume licensing program for academic institutions.

    For more information, visit the Azure Identity and Access Management website.

    Scheduler now generally available

    Using Scheduler, you can invoke actions—such as calling HTTP/S endpoints or posting a message to a storage queue—on any schedule. With Scheduler, you create jobs in the cloud that reliably call services both inside and outside of Azure, and then run those jobs on demand, on a regularly recurring schedule, or on a designated future date. Scheduler is backed by a 99.9 percent SLA.

    For more information, visit the Scheduler website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Scheduler Pricing Details website.

    Read-Access Geographically Redundant Storage now generally available

    The new read-access service is now available as another option for geographically replicated storage accounts. As with other options, the stored content is replicated to a secondary location, but now you can have read access to the secondary location in case of a major disaster in the primary location. The secondary location is in the same region but is hundreds of miles from the primary location.

    This is perfect for Universities who now have campus location in other countries.

    Virtual Network Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site now generally available

    Last year, we announced a feature called Dynamic Routing Gateway and Point-to-Site VPN, which supports route-based VPNs and allows you to connect individual computers to a virtual network in Azure. That feature is now generally available.  The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway in a virtual network will now have the same SLA as the Static Routing VPN Gateway. The Dynamic Routing VPN Gateway will continue to be free until May 1, 2014. Starting May 2, 2014, it will be charged at the general availability price.

    For more information about the service, visit the Virtual Network website. For a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Virtual Network Pricing Details website.

    AutoScale now generally available

    In Azure, you can configure your application to automatically scale up or down to accommodate current demand, and use auto-scaling rules to minimize costs. AutoScale is now generally available for Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Web Sites, and Mobile Services.
    For more information about how to use AutoScale, visit How to scale an application and How to scale web sites.

    Visual Studio Online now generally available

    Visual Studio Online, the cloud solution that enables development teams to plan, build, and ship software across a variety of platforms is now available with a financially backed SLA.

    Try Visual Studio Online for your next development project. It will guide you through setting up an environment for you or your team that includes everything from hosted Git repositories and project-tracking tools, to continuous integration and deployment to Azure—all without having to install or configure a single server.

    For more information, visit the Visual Studio Online website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit Visual Studio Online Pricing Details website.
    If you choose not to continue to use the Visual Studio Online service at the new prices, you can disable Visual Studio Online for your account by using the Azure Management Portal.

    Azure Automation public preview now available

    Azure Automation allows you to automate processes for your infrastructure and application lifecycle by enabling integration, orchestration, and automation of tasks using Runbooks built on Windows PowerShell Workflow. With Automation, you can author Windows PowerShell Runbooks that integrate into other Azure services, as well as external systems you use to deliver your end to end tasks that simplify cloud management.

    For more information on Azure Automation, visit the Automation webpage. To get started with Automation, go to the Automation: Getting Started guide.

    Azure Backup price reduction

    Effective April 1, 2014, customers will see lower prices for Backup. Backup helps you protect important server data off-site with automated backup to Azure. Now you can benefit from simple, reliable off-site data protection at a lower cost.

    For more information, visit the Azure Backup website. To get a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the Azure Backup Pricing Details website.

    For more details on the Microsoft Azure Announcement at Build see the following sessions

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So what is the best FREE Hackathon tool - Windows App Studio

    • 0 Comments

    At Build last week we launched a new tool  Windows App Studio Beta.

    With Windows App Studio you can build universal Windows app projects that results in an app for Windows Phone and Windows, all in a single session.

    This is the perfect tools of Student Hackathons combined with a  FREE DreamSpark Subscription which includes a FREE developer accounts for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.

    You can build and publish apps directly to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Store in the shortest possible period of time.

    Getting Started and Creating your first app with Windows App Studio

    Windows App Studio give you the ability to switch/toggle between Windows Phone and a Windows, this automatically updates your app view to see how the changes will be reflected on-screen, based on the device type. You can even make changes to your dynamic App Studio content hosted in the cloud and push to both Windows Phone and Windows users when they launch your app. And all from within the Windows App Studio Beta website. So no IDE or software is required to be installed on your PC or MAC 

    clip_image002

    When you generate your app, you’ll notice that you can still download the app directly to your Windows device, you can download packages to publish, or you can download the original source code for Windows Phone 8.0, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 8.1 apps and make modification in Visual Studio IDE which off course is FREE via www.dreamspark.com

    clip_image004

    Creating an app from an existing web page  

    You can still start your project from scratch, called an “Empty App”, or start with one of dozens of templates. New in this release, we’ve added the ability to build a template that allows you to create a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app from an existing website.

    What is really cool about this is you can and add native controls we call this type of app a WebApp. and this enhancement is developed from our Open Source Project Web Application Template which allows you take any existing responsive web site into a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app see http://wat.codeplex.com 

    But with Windows App Studio we make this really simple for all users by simply entering the URL of the mobile website, you can create a Web App Template (WAT) for Windows Phone directly within Windows AppStudio without having to use Visual Studio. .

    clip_image006

    If you have already used App Studio to create an existing App you can easily update the App to support both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    If you have already created a Windows Phone app using App Studio, it’s easy to also create a Windows app.

    Publishing your Apps to Store

    If you are planning to publish to the Store, you’ll first need to register for a Dev Center account ($19 USD annual registration fee or FREE for students via DreamSpark).

    To Setup your FREE developer account Get your FREE Registration Code

    You will need to reserve a name for your app—just go to Dev Center to reserve the App Name, and then place the App Identity, App Display Name, Publisher ID, and Publisher Name (as it appears in Dev Center) in your App Studio project. This places the necessary data in your app manifest, which is needed for app submission. We have added support for this directly on the Publish Info page in App Studio.

    Be sure to invest time to create an app title, app description, and image for your app tile that will capture the attention of your target audience. Then, you’re ready to publish in the Store.

    clip_image010

    So if your looking at building a portfolio of apps or have a hackathon download Windows App Studio Beta.

    You will be amazed at  just how easy it is to get started creating apps for Windows and Windows Phone. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Universal Apps, new Nokia Devices, Developer SDKs and Windows SensorCore

    • 0 Comments

    This week was packed with news from the BUILD conference for Windows and Windows Phone developers. If you didn't have a chance to join us in San Francisco don't worry, we share the highlights here and you can catch one of the sessions at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014

    Windows Phone 8.1 and the One Windows platform

    Windows Phone shipments are growing at 156% annually, shipping more phones than iPhone in 24 markets, and capturing second place of operating systems in 14 markets (source: IDC). This surge in device shipments is also translating to demand in Windows Store, with more than 4 billion cumulative app downloads, 12 million store transactions per day, and a 390% increase in monthly paid app revenue since the launch of Windows Phone 8.

    At Build this week Microsoft announced a converged platform for developers with the announcement of Universal apps.

    The new Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 share more than 80 per cent of their APIs and empower you to deliver better experiences through the cloud. What’s more, the converged platform elevates developers' reach to over 100M active app purchasing users to date, with growth rate of 250% annually.

    Here are just a few of the Windows Phone 8.1 enhancements designed to help you create unique app experiences:

    1. Windows Phone Store learns the types of apps users like and provides personal recommendations based on what they’ve downloaded or what their Facebook friends have liked.
    2. Blue Enterprise Feature Pack makes existing Windows Phone devices even more secure phones for businesses.
    3. Camera Burst mode enables capture of multiple shots with one press of the camera button (even capturing shots that occur before the button is pressed).

    New Devices

    Nokia Also announced three new phones which continue the momentum of Nokia Lumia and the converged Windows platform.

    Nokia Lumia 930 is an iconic, beautifully-crafted and engineered device that takes full advantage of the new Windows Phone 8.1 platform. The phone includes a 5-inch FullHD ClearBlack AMOLED display, quadcore processing, and comes with PureView 20-megapixel imaging and SensorCore.

    Nokia Lumia 630 and Nokia Lumia 635 bring Windows Phone and Lumia innovations to more affordable prices while delivering an uncompromised Windows Phone 8.1 experience. The Nokia Lumia 630 is available in several configurations, including smart dual-SIM 3G and blazing fast internet experience in the Lumia 635 LTE version – unique value and experience in their pricepoints.

    Enhancement for developers

    Nokia Announced enhancements to its Nokia Lumia SDK and the ability to extend your Windows Apps with Nokia SDKs The Nokia Imaging SDK has been used by developers like you to build more than 1,500 imaging apps. The latest release, Nokia Imaging SDK 1.2 Beta:

    Windows Phone 8.1 support allows your single code base to support the newly-announced Windows Phone 8.1 plus Windows Phone 8.0, Windows 8.1 and 8.1 RT.

    New features include

    1. Animated GIF support lets you create animated apps to excite and wow users.
    2. Image Alignment API helps you stabilise photo sequences.
    3. Local Blending API , lets your apps combine and position images of different sizes on top of each other. This is great for adding badges or stickers to images, or combining front and back camera photos for the perfect group shot.

    Low Power and Energy usage coming to Windows with SensorCore technology

    The Nokia Lumia phones announced this week are the first phones to incorporate low-power SensorCore technology that makes apps context aware and empowers consumers to get more relevant health data and track their progress towards everyday fitness goals. At Build, we announced an update to Bing Health & Fitness that uses the new SensorCore technology to allow consumers to track and make progress on their fitness and lifestyle goals like never before by taking advantage of pedometer and motion data.

    The SensorCore SDK is currently available as a private beta and we’re working to get this technology out to public soon.

    Nokia Lumia App Labs Webinar

    To learn more, register now for the Lumia App Lab webinar covering Nokia Imaging SDK 1.2 beta 

    Register for 10 April 4 pm. London

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Win a Microsoft Research Internship

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    The Microsoft Research -  Bright Minds Competition http://research.microsoft.com/undergrad

    image


    A Bright Minds Internship is your opportunity to work on real-world projects alongside some of the brightest minds in computer science at Microsoft Research
    Cambridge.

    Successful candidates will embark on an eight week internship programme starting 30 June 2014 and will benefit from a competitive salary, subsidised accommodation, free bike rental, assistance with travel costs, discounts on Microsoft hardware and software, onsite gym membership and free beverages.
    image To be eligible to enter, you must:

    • Be in your penultimate year of undergraduate studies
    • Be studying engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, design, social sciences or computational sciences
    • Have strong analytical abilities and interest in research
    • Have programming skills
    • Have the right to work in the UK

    Closing date for applications is 18 April 2014.

    Visit the Bright Minds web page to find out how to apply. http://research.microsoft.com/undergrad

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    A run down of the Build 2014 keynote announcements

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    clip_image001[1]

    Microsoft’s Build conference began yesterday with a series of fast-paced announcements and presentations by several key personnel demonstrating the company’s shift to open Windows to the entire platform.


    What follows is a summary of major announcements made on Day 1 and Day2. 

    Day 1 Keynote
    Joe Belfiore, CVP Operating Systems Group, started the keynote by talking about Windows Phone 8.1.  This update brings several usability enhancements to the phone’s OS, including more personalization and customization for the lock and start screens.  The biggest addition is the arrival of Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to a device personal assistant.

    Brief overview of the new features of Windows Phone 8.1:
    • Action center  (pull down from the top)
    • Battery life
    • Can use dual SIM cards
    • Quick settings – wifi / Bluetooth / airplane mode / etc
    • Internet Sharing

    Personalize lock & Start screens
    •New APIs to customize lock screen
    •Customize number /size amount of icons
    •Customize wallpaper that the tiles display on

    Cortana
    •Presence as a Live tile
    •Cortana can be extended with 3rd party apps
    •Supports creating speech enabled 3rd party apps
    •Cortana’s stores user personalization information in the notebook, which allows users to customize what items Cortana knows about.

    Wi-Fi Sense
    •Simplify connecting to Wi-fi networks ◦Allows auto-accepting Terms of Use when required
    ◦Can provided name/email/ phone number when required, also can be edited
    •Can automatically share Wi-fi passwords with approved contacts ( Outlook.com / Skype contacts / Facebook friends).  Shared transparently between machines, but the user never actually sees the password.

    Enhancements for the enterprise
    The enhancements to Windows Phone 8.1 are not limited to the end user.  Nick Hedderman, Senior Product Manager demonstrated several new phone management features for corporate phone administrators:

    Windows Phone 8.1 for Business
    •Enroll device into a corporate role (even if the one previously was setup for personal-use only)
    •Support Enterprise VPN
    •S/MIME◦Signed and encrypt emails
    •Can disable local downloading of files.
    •Can deny apps from running on a phone, even existing installed apps already on the phone
    •When a user leaves the corporation or switches devices, the corporate management is completely removed.  App permissions are restored, VPN removed, etc

    Windows 8.1 Updates
    Moving beyond the updates for Windows Phone 8.1, the keynote then moved to the forthcoming Update for Windows 8.1.  This Update will be made available for free to all Windows 8.X users on April 8. 

    Windows 8.1 Update 1
    •Cortana on the phone and Bing on desktop share user details (when you are logged in to Bing).
    •Windows Task bar can have apps pinned to it
    •This includes displaying their live tiles on the Start menu
    •Switch between apps whether they are Modern of Win32 desktop apps
    •Doesn’t affect the changes / operation for touch based operations
    •New PC Settings Tile◦Provides natural/familiar home for PC settings
    •Power button and search button display on Start screen by default
    •Right-click context menu to resize / pin to taskbar
    •Control click to select multiple tiles and move them around en masse
    •Improving Windows Store update to mouse & keyboard friendly
    •New apps are highlighted in the All Apps list when they are added so they are not as easy to overlook when added

    Moving into OpenSource
    WinJS is now open source (under the Apache license) and going cross-platform.  Joining this announcement is the availability of Windows 8.1 Update on MSDN and DreamSpark.  VS2013 Update 2 RC is publicly available for all versions (paid and express) of Visual Studio.  Windows Phone 8.1 will be available for developers later this month.

    Nokia and devices
    Stephen Elop, EVP of Nokia presented several new phone types, including the new flagship device, the Nokia Lumia 930.  This will be made available in June.  The Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 will target the lower end of the market, but still include a 1.2GHz quadcore SnapDragon processor.  The 630 will be available in a dual-SIM card model.  Prices range from $159 to approximately $189.

    What's did the new CEO say
    New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella concluded the keynote by addressing some prerecorded user questions.  The main theme of his comments was that he wants Microsoft to operate as a challenger to the current market. 

    The day 2 keynote opened with Microsoft’s Scott Guthre

    Azure adoption
    •Currently Azure is hosting 250K active websites and over a million SQL databases.

    What impact is the cloud having - Cloud Gaming a new era
    •Titanfall used a pool of 100,000 virtual machines on day 1. In order to ensure a consistent experience they are literally allocating a VM from the pool for each game. Project Azure Thunderhead

    Virtual Machines
    •Visual Studio Integration: you can now create, destroy, and manage VMs from within Visual Studio. You can even enable remote debugging in a virtual machine directly from the IDE.
    •VM images can now capture storage devices, reducing the amount of effort needed to setup a cloned instanced.

    Remote Server Management
    •Management tool Puppet now is deeply integrated into Azure.
    •Growing and shrinking services on demand
    •Auto-scaling virtual machines has also reached general availability.
    •Auto-scaling works with Azure Websites as well, allowing web servers to be dynamically added or removed as the load changes.

    Azure Website Service
    •Build with the skills you have Azure now supports NET, PHP, Python, Node.js and Java support for the Azure Website Service.

    Security of Azure Web Sites
    •Every Azure Website instance will now include a free SSL certificate.

    Managing queues and workloads
    •WebJobs can be run in the context of the Azure Website. In the past background tasks had to be run on a separate VM, which can significantly increase costs if the tasks are usually idle.

    A new opportunity DevOps
    •PowerShell for Visual Studio and Azure
    •When new ASP.NET projects are created you can provision Azure VMs at the same time. If you do so, PowerShell based deployment scripts are created at the same time.
    •PowerShell editing is now supported by Visual Studio.

    New Azure Portal
    •A new portal for Azure has been created. The primary selling point is easier to understand billing metrics. Directly from the home page you can see how much Azure is costing you on a service by service basis.
    •AppInsights is being integrated into the Azure portal. This product is used to collect data about how an application is being used in terms of features, duration, etc. It also includes performance and error metrics.

    Web developers
    •Live Editing HTML and CSS using Browser Link
    •Most browsers allow you to edit CSS and HTML directly in the browser.

    Visual Studio 2013 enhancement
    •Ability to hook your browser (IE, Chrome, etc.) to the IDE using Browser Link.
    •Make HTML or CSS in the browser and have those changes automatically reflected in the source code. Essentially the browser becomes your code editor.
    •Static Analysis for JavaScript
    •JSHint is now integrated into Visual Studio.

    Azure for Mobile
    •Azure’s Mobile Services now support Active Directory using OAuth tokens.
    •These tokens can then be used to access Office 365 APIs in addition to the application’s custom backend. So Azure Mobile Services now supports the enterprise.

    Cross Platform support
    •Xamarin and Visual Studio  illustrate iOS and Android support using .net and C# for building cross platform

    Databases - Azure SQL
    •Azure Databases can now grow to 500GB with a 99.95% a SLA. This is enterprise support!

    Backup and Restore
    •The ability of now having self-service backups are available for up to 31 days on all accounts. Administrators can choose to rollback to any point in time within that window.
    •Active Geo Replication keeps replicated servers hot so that you can fail over in the event of an outage.

    BigData- Data Scientist the NEW ROCK & ROLL
    •HDInsight
    •YARN and Hive Query are now supported in HDInsight.

    OpenSource Commitment
    •Roslyn – The .NET Compile Platform
    •The new language services will be available in the next version of Visual Studio.
    •The entire Roslyn project is being open sourced, including the VB and C# compilers.

    Development languages
    •C# 6.0 - Static using statements are supported so you no longer have to prefix static functions such as Max with the class name. This is feature already seen in Visual Basic and Java.
    •Xamarin -Xamarin has started supporting Roslyn with the option to choose alternate compilers in their IDE. Currently Roslyn is only active during compilation but they intend to add syntax highlighting and other features.
    •.NET Foundation -The .NET Foundation is a new organization for governing the various open source offerings for .NET from Microsoft, Xamarin, and others.
    •Visual studio online - Visual Studio Online has reached general availability.

    Source code and team working
    •Team Foundation Server enhancements for source control including 3rd IDE and source control including GIT.

    Migrating VB 6 and .NET Applications Forward to modern apps
    Announcement of WebMap2. This product takes legacy WinForms applications and converts it into an HTML based application. It does this by splitting the .NET code into views and controllers. It then converts the views into HTML while the bulk of the code lives in server-side controllers.
    •Mobilize.NET also has a product for converting legacy VB 6 applications into WinForms application. This can be used as-is or as a stepping stone into web-based technologies.

    Internet of things
    •.NET Micro Framework -The .NET Micro Framework is now being updated to support generics and modern versions of Visual Studio.

    App building tools
    •AppStudio: Concert Websites into Mobile Applications
    •The new AppStudio tool can convert websites into mobile applications. By default this is just a wrapper around the website using the Web Application Template. Wat.codeplex.com but you can enable caching for off-line use by modifying a configuration file. This is available for “both windows and non-windows” devices including Android.

    Universal Apps and Xamarin
    •Windows Universal app recompiled with Xamarin which supports Android and iOS.

    Conclusion

    Overall a really exciting keynote which firmly places Microsoft as a supporter of developers now matter what your platform of choice.

    You can watch the keynotes a conference sessions at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Reach millions of players. Just like that.. with Unity3D

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    It's so easy to bring your existing Unity titles to Windows Store and Windows Phone. Use the resources on this page to port your content quickly and efficiently to a whole new global audience.

    Start with the basics

    Our Getting Started guides cover everything you need to know: configurations, SDKs, general considerations and first steps

    Windows Store

    Getting started on Windows Phone (663 KB)

    Windows Phone

    Getting started on Windows Store (720 KB)

    Then get the porting tips

    Once you get the basics, read our porting tips that pinpoint what to consider when adjusting your code to target Windows Store and Windows Phone

    Windows Store

    Porting tips for Windows Phone (819 KB)

    Windows Phone

    Porting tips for Windows Store (813 KB)

    Port your Unity3d games to Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Phone in a day!

    Nokia, Microsoft and Unity are hosting a series of Unity porting days across the UK and we would love to see you there! Attend and receive a token for FREE registration to the Microsoft App Store!

    There will be hands-on advice and Unity experts to help you port your existing or new mobile games. Don’t delay… there are just 100 places per venue on a first come, first served basis.

    Attend one of the UK Unity3d Porting Events

    Places still available at Birmingham, Manchester and London

    Unity Porting Days

    Power Up: The Beautiful Game competition

    The competition is open to all UK games developers who port and publish their games titles to Microsoft Windows 8 and/or Windows Phone Stores. Each game entered will receive points based on a wide range of game experiences and the number of downloads in the Stores. The top 20 games will win great prizes (prize fund in excess of $50,000!) and all entrants have an opportunity for their games to be discovered and downloaded by 100,000s to millions of players.

    Power Up - The Beautiful Game

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