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!
Microsoft’s Imagine Access: The student’s one-stop shop for all things code
At Imagine Access, they will find the tools they need based on their skill level, in one location.
Sometimes getting started in programming can be intimidating, but finding the tools to learn how to code shouldn’t be. That’s why we’ve created a single destination for all students developer resources, tools, software and tutorials.
Imagine Access, your all-access pass to the software tools you need no matter your skill level or experience, and all at no cost to students!
Imagine Access is now your single destination point for all resources whilst you are in education.
Through Imagine Access, you can get all a single destination to all these resources including Full licensed versions of Microsoft Professional Developer Tools and Server Software for FREE including Windows Azure Cloud Services, Unity Game Engine and Xamarin.
Microsoft Imagine Access is simply a resource to help you gain a competitive edge so you can turn your application or game into the next big thing.
Jumpstart your creativity
Empower your creativity and transform your ideas into real apps and games. Microsoft Imagine will help harness your vision and start you on the path to making it the next big thing.
Imagine Cup brings together students from around the world interested in creating the technology of the future. With programs and competitions that foster cross discipline collaboration, you’ll turn brilliant ideas into amazing projects, while developing skills and connections that can launch your career
Microsoft Virtual Academy helps you learn the latest technology, build your skills, and jumpstart your careers. With free, comprehensive, professionally developed training in 11 languages, you’ll keep learning and developing
Channel 9 has dozens of webseries and special shows on every coding topic and technology you can imagine, all free. Plus special live shows where you can ask questions and get the real information you need to build your skills.
Start by Building your future
You’ve got the idea, Microsoft Imagine provides you with free professional developer tools and expert advice you need to complete your coding journey. Put your skills into action and start developing for any platform. Microsoft Imagine helps you build your future, one line of code at a time.
Visual Studio Community 2015 is the foundation of your career in app and game development. Design, code, and debug your own apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.
With Xamarin and Visual Studio Community 2015, you’ll become a mobile developer virtually overnight. you can get a free Xamarin subscription, giving you everything you need to create fully native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows in C# or F# with Visual Studio.
Microsoft Azure is the fastest and most flexible cloud platform around. And it’s the best way for you to create and develop your ideas for a global audience. The world works in the cloud and Microsoft Azure gets you developing for it today.
Using Source Control GitHub The Student Developer Pack assembles a great set of tools and services, free to students! Get your own domain name with SSL, explore crowdsourcing, email services, and much more. Combined with the free Visual Studio Community 2015 and Visual Studio Online, it’s an unbeatable combination to get your coding project off the ground. Get your GitHub Student Developer Pack today!
Ready to go from student to startup? BizSpark is here to help. It’s the free software, tools and support to build apps, the technology to get in the cloud and the exposure to get noticed — and funded. BizSpark ignites your business idea.
Imagine Access is your portal to tools like Visual Studio Community 2013, the Unity Game Engine and Xamarin – everything you need to create apps, games and websites just like the pros.
Make sure you Stand out
Microsoft Imagine gives you the professional support you need to showcase your idea. Share your work with your family and friends. Sell it in the app store or even launch a startup. Show the world what you can do
Imagine Cup provides you with a unique opportunity to grow your confidence and experience by competing on a global stage. Pitch your ideas to industry professionals, win cash prizes and be seen as the next generation of developers, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Windows Store is where you can sell your universal apps that work on both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone. With Microsoft Imagine you can get a free Store Developer Account and start publishing your apps.
Check it out and get started on your first or next amazing game, app, website or service today! And don’t forget to tell us what you think of Imagine Access on Twitter (@MSFTImagine), Facebook or share a screenshot of what you’ve got going on Instagram. We want to hear from you.
Go make the next big thing. We’ll be waiting for you over at Imagine Access!
Cloud computing is changing the technology industry. When you start looking for your first job, will you have the cloud on your résumé? You will if you compete in our new Hello Cloud Challenge!
With Microsoft Azure, students can get a free subscription with no credit card required and start creating web apps, running databases and much more.
Every month, one student will win our $1,000 sweepstakes. To compete, you just complete one or more of our Hello Cloud activities. Each activity you complete gives you another chance to win. And you only have to do each activity once – your name will still be in the sweepstakes month after month!
Register for our Hello Cloud contest today and you can get started!
So what are these activities? They’re actually kind of cool, and doing them will help you learn how to manage and deploy projects in the cloud!
Activity One: Deploy a Web app
Check out our blog for a step-by-step tutorial on how to deploy a web app to Azure from Visual Studio Community 2015. You can use your own web app or just copy and paste our code from right here:
1: <!DOCTYPE html>
4: <title>Hello Cloud!</title>
5: <meta charset="utf-8" />
8: <h1>Hello Cloud!</h1>
9: <p>Check out this sweet website I made in Visual
10: Studio 2015!</p>
When you’re ready, copy your web app’s URL (it’ll look something like http://myhellocloud.azurewebsites.net/ ) and paste it into our Hello Cloud contest submission form available from your Imagine Cup Dashboard. For contest purposes, if we draw your name, we’ll click your URL and verify you have a web app running there. That’s it!
Activity Two: Deploy a WordPress Website
WordPress is a powerful and widely used tool for building and managing websites and blogs. It’s both free and open source, with a huge community of users worldwide. And with Microsoft Azure, you can deploy and configure your own WordPress website in minutes at no cost for students!
To deploy your own WordPress website, just check out our blog for the step-by-step process. When you’re done deploying and configuring your WordPress site, copy your web app’s URL (it’ll look something like http://mywordpresssite.azurewebsites.net/ ) and paste it into our Hello Cloud contest submission form available on your Imagine Cup Dashboard. For contest purposes, if we draw your name, we’ll click your URL and verify you have a WordPress site running there. That’s it!
More Activities Coming Soon
We’ll have more activities soon, including MySQL, Azure Machine Learning and others. So, get started with these two now and then keep coming back to increase your chances to win!
When is the Deadline
We will draw each month’s sweepstakes winner on the last Wednesday of the month. The deadline to get your activity URLs submitted to our Dashboard is the last Tuesday of each month at 2359 GMT that evening.
Once you’ve submitted, you’ll be in all future drawings for the duration of the contest. You can update your submission to add additional activity URLs whenever you want.
How do I get Microsoft Azure?
We’ve got a blog explaining exactly how to sign up. But if you’re already a DreamSpark.com member, just go straight there and get Azure right away!
Microsoft has released a new computer science curriculum designed for teens who may not have expressed much interest in computer programming – and teachers who don’t necessarily have any background in the field, either.
The curriculum, called Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, is available for free to any educator who wants to use it.
The course aims to encourage a wide range of students to explore computer science by teaching them to program and publish real apps and games.
It teaches kids how to code using Microsoft Touch Develop, a programming language developed by Microsoft Research. Touch Develop is designed so that even students without any computer science background can quickly learn how to write simple programs.
Touch Develop also works on any device that has a modern Internet browser. That means students can write programs on smart phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers, regardless of the operating system the device is running.
It’s the same technology that’s being used for the BBC’s micro:bit program, which is providing every Year 7 student in the UK with a gadget and the tools to program on it.
Tom Ball, a research manager in the software engineering group at Microsoft Research who has worked extensively on Touch Develop.
Tom first got involved with the team behind the Creative Coding curriculum when they collaborated on Code.org’s Hour of Code project. That’s a program that aims to introduce millions of kids to the basics of programming through simple, introductory coding exercises.
He hopes this new curriculum will introduce kids to the foundations of computer programming, even if they’ve never considered programming in the past.
“It’s not so much about learning Touch Develop,” Ball said. “Touch Develop is the vehicle to learning about computer science concepts. Creative Coding through Games and Apps was designed by computer science teachers, and it comes with prep materials, lesson plans, assignments, homework and other resources. It’s recommended for students aged 7 and up.
Learn more about Creative Coding Through Games And Apps and download the course materials.
Find out more about Microsoft Touch Develop
Microsoft and the BBC micro:bit: A million ways to inspire a generation”
One of the great advantages of being an educational establishment or a student is access to Microsoft Imagine and Software from DreamSpark.
Today there is a huge desire for students to learn and build applications for as many platforms as possible.
As educators and students you need to learn and embrace modern way of doing cross-platform mobile development.
Todays studios and agencies can no longer afford or simply recruit and retain dedicated teams on all different platforms (Android, iOS, Windows).
So the question I have is are you teaching or learning with Visual Studio 2015? If the answer is No.. here are some reasons to upgrade now!
Getting Started with Cross Platform development
You can also build a native application for Android or Windows devices with C++ templates
You can build native apps for Android and iOS by using C# and the Xamarin framework Apps not only look the way the end user expects; they behave that way too. Xamarin apps leverage platform-specific hardware acceleration, and are compiled for native performance. This can’t be achieved with solutions that interpret code at runtime.
Visual Studio Online
Visual Studio Online (VSO) is the cloud-hosted toolset to organize, build, test, deploy and report on your software project.
Again Visual Studio Online is free to all students via www.dreamspark.com at https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
Why use source control from Visual Studio
Cross platform / all languages
You can write code in Java or any other language using any IDE and fully leverage the capabilities of Visual Studio Online
Git/Github is great but will not support you enough
You can keep your code in Git/Github and use Visual Studio Online for all the other processes. GitHub is great with some nice features like collaborative code review but you have the same capabilities in VSO (if not better like the team management) with a fundamental difference: traceability and predictability
Traceability is the foundation
VSO will connect the dots between the requirements, the project management, the source code, the versions, the defects and the tests. VSO (or TFS for the on premise version) is by far the best (if not the only) candidate to support any organization looking to regroup all the important project artefacts in one place.
By using VSO today, you will get a full traceability on what is happening in your project starting from any angle (requirements, project, code, defect, test…)
Move to Predictability by controlling the quality
Quality is not a “phase” or a “campaign” in the project cycle, it’s something that is diffused from requirements (bad alignment), project management (wrong estimation or no control on the team capacity), code (bad quality), test (not enough or wrong functional and performance tests) or defect (no prioritization)
Tests are the best way to reveal the quality but they will not increase it. It’s the combination of early tests, process (tests at the right time, get insights back to the developer, review practice, automate part of the testing effort) and coverage (code, architecture, functional, performance, mobile scenario ….) that will validate if the task closed was done the right way. To “trust” what you are tracking, you need to validate them with tests.
Visual Studio Online will offer you a platform to track each part of the project, integrated them, set practices and process, manage/run/automate tests and also deploy the solution (with a full release management capability)
Check the links below for more information and start using VSO today for your projects.
VSO for Java teams
Continuous integration with Microsoft Azure’s Java services (hosted build controller with pre-installed Ant and Maven libraries)
Access and manage your Visual Studio Online projects using Team Explorer Everywhere—an Eclipse plugin
integrate with tools like Jenkins or our open REST API
Leverage the best Agile toolset
Monitor the usage of your solution with Application Insights
Cloud based load testing with VSO
Who can enter?
Students ages 6-18 worldwide are invited to explore this exciting and vital area of scientific research in Imagine Cup Earth, a new coding competition for students. Whether you have never coded before and would like to learn, or if you’re already studying coding and want to take on a new challenge, all skill levels are welcome to dream big, build creatively, and boldly bring your ideas to life.
What's the competition?
Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are co-presenting this contest for students around the world. Together, we have created Imagine Cup Earth to inspire the next generation of thinkers, dreamers and future programmers to learn the basics of coding and explore the latest science about our precious home.
What's the prize?
How to enter?
Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about the requirements and read the official rules. Because school schedules vary from country to country around the world, Microsoft Imagine is providing three contest rounds each with their own deadlines and prizes. Students are welcome to compete in any or all of these as is most convenient for them – each round stands alone. All deadlines are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015
Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016
Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016
Each round will have six prizes:
For the best earth-science themed game, app or simulation using Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop or Project Spark.
For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual NASA data and imagery.
1st Prize: $3,000
2nd Prize: $2,000
3rd Prize: $1,000
Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory look forward to seeing what our global community of students creates.
.Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about
You can use Visual Studio 2015 or 2013 to add Application Insights to your app in about 10 minutes. To get started, open up your Windows app (Windows 8 or 10 – client or phone), and do the following:
At this point, you’ll be able to see on Azure, in near real-time, how many folks are using your app in the wild. This telemetry can tell you a lot about your app and where to direct your development efforts – you can measure what features are being used, by how many people, and for how long.
And once you publish your app into the Store and enable the app usage telemetry setting on the Windows Dev Center dashboard (under ‘Account settings’), the data will be visible on the Usage report.
You can then use the TelemetryClient class to gather additional telemetry data like page views (or even pivot/hub control activity), interesting events you want tracked, and exceptions. Beyond the basic page telemetry you get by using Application Insights, you can taking advantage of exception tracking to get a near real-time view into trouble spots (particularly useful when launching an update to the public). To track exceptions, use the following code
catch (Exception ex)
private TelemetryClient telemetry = new TelemetryClient();
TelemetryClient telemetry =
As you get more comfortable with analytics, you can start instrumenting all kinds of things. For example, this sample code tracks how long it takes to accomplish a task:
var stopwatch = System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch.StartNew();
stopwatch = System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch.StartNew();
// ... perform the timed action ...
var metrics = new Dictionary <string, double>
// Set up some properties:
var properties = new Dictionary <string, string>
// Send the event:
telemetry.TrackEvent("SignalProcessed", properties, metrics);
, properties, metrics);
Application Insights comes as part of Visual Studio with automatic instrumentation for ASP.NET or Windows developers. You get vital application telemetry data out of the box, including usage, exceptions/crashes, requests, performance & logs.
Enable monitoring for Azure web apps and VMs directly via Azure portal or install Status Monitor on your ASP.NET web server to get performance monitoring without need to update code and redeploy your application.
Easily add Application Insights SDK to Java, iOS or Android apps. Monitor apps written in languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Node.JS, etc. with open source SDKs on GitHub.
Explore supported platforms
The Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK is now available for Windows 10 devices. The ad SDK also supports Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 apps. The new ad SDK is built using native code and does not require .NET runtime, reducing the memory used and increasing performance.
To use the SDK, install the new ad SDK, then drag and drop the control, and configure it.
Video ads are a highly popular way of monetizing apps and games, and can offer higher eCPM than banner ads. Video Ads are supported in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 through the Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK released today.
Read the instructions on how to use video interstitials to get started.
Dev Center has supported ad mediation for Windows Phone apps for some time now, allowing you to manage multiple ad SDKs from different providers to achieve up to a 99% fill rate, thus increasing the ad revenue in your apps. Enabling ad mediation is easy, just add the Windows ad mediation SDK to an app and submit it to the Store. You can then managing multiple ad networks without having to modify the app code or resubmit the app for certification.
Ad mediation is supported by both Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013, and supports Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.x, and Windows 10 UWP apps.
To try out ad mediation, follow the steps described in the documentation. I also recommend reading the best practices to help you get started. All these new capabilities are detailed in the Announcing the Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK with support for video interstitial ads and ad mediation post from Microsoft Advertising.
You can also take this DVLUP challenge to earn great Rewards
With DreamSpark all Students now get Visual Studio Online for FREE
Making sure that you know all the ways that Visual Studio Online can help you be successful with your team based student projects.
Host your code in the cloud
Host your code in the cloud to access it anytime, anywhere. Pick a traditional, centralized version control system using Team Foundation Version Control, or if you prefer a distributed approach, use Git repos.
Manage your work in one place
Quickly plan, manage, and track work across all your backlogs and teams with easy-to-use, fully integrated tools for agile planning and portfolio management. Maintain a backlog of your project, work in sprints, track progress on a task board, and coordinate your team activity.
Build your applications in the cloud
Create and manage build processes that automatically compile and test your applications in the cloud, either on demand or as part of an automated continuous integration strategy.
Test, test, test
Apart from creating test plans to track manual tests, you can use the cloud-based Load Testing feature to ensure your websites and services can handle the heaviest expected load – it will take you five minutes to be 100% sure. You’ll need Visual Studio Ultimate to create and execute load tests.
Gain insight into your applications
Visual Studio Online Application Insights is a new cloud-based service (currently in preview) that collects rich operational, performance, and customer usage information from client/device apps or server applications – whether they run on-premises, in Microsoft Azure, a third-party cloud provider, or a combination of all three.
Connect with Microsoft Azure
Create test environments, deploy and scale web apps in seconds, build and host backends for mobile applications or explore the DevOps lifecycle through the new Azure Preview portal. Microsoft Azure provides a whole set of services for developers.
For more information Work with non-Visual Studio IDEs (XCode, Eclipse and GitHub) Visual Studio Online API & Service Hooks Application Insights
Windows Bridge for iOS (also referred to as WinObjC) is a Microsoft open source project that provides an Objective-C development environment for Visual Studio/Windows. In addition, WinObjC provides support for iOS API compatibility. While the final release will happen later this fall (allowing the bridge to take advantage of new tooling capabilities that will ship with the upcoming Visual Studio 2015 Update),
The bridge is available to the open-source community now in its current state. Between now and the fall. The iOS bridge as an open-source project under the MIT license. Given the ambition of the project, making it easy for iOS developers to build and run apps on Windows.
Salmaan Ahmed has an in-depth post on the Windows Bridge for iOS discussing the compiler, runtime, IDE integration, and what the bridge is and isn’t. Best of all, the source code for the iOS bridge is live on GitHub right now.
The iOS bridge supports both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 apps built for x86 and x64 processor architectures, and soon we will add compiler optimizations and support for ARM, which adds mobile support.
Windows Bridge for web apps
‘Project Westminster,’ is live and available with the release of Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015. Kiril Seksenov recently wrote a blog post on the web apps bridge detailing what happens at the Windows level, how the bridge functions, how you can use it to build ‘Hosted Web Apps’ and addressing common questions.
The Windows Bridge for Android,
‘Project Astoria’, is currently available as a technical preview by invitation only. To get on the waitlist for early access, please use the sign up form.As we make progress on the Android bridge, we are also contributing to open-source projects used by its community.
Angle OpenGL to DirectX
As part of this work Microsoft has submitted changes to help improve ANGLE. For those who haven’t hear of ANGLE, ANGLE provides translation of OpenGL to DirectX. These changes have been accepted by Google and improved ANGLE’s performance and compatibility with DX feature level 9.3.
The Windows Bridge for Classic Windows apps
‘Project Centennial,’ that will make it possible to package and publish your current .NET and Win32-based Windows applications to the Windows Store, will be ready for public testing next year.
I encourage everyone to check out the Windows Bridge for iOS and install Windows 10 and developer tools. If you feel that we are missing any feature or functionality, my team would love to know at User Voice.
Where to get it
Download the Windows Bridge for iOS SDK here - https://github.com/Microsoft/WinObjC/
Welcome to the public release of Windows 10 IoT Core for the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard Max.
Where do I get the Public Release
Visit the Windows IoT Dev Center to choose your target board, then walk through the steps to provision your board, acquire the tools, and get started Making.
Introduction to Windows 10 IoT Core
Windows 10 IoT Core is a new edition for Windows targeted towards small, embedded devices that may or may not have screens. For devices with screens, Windows 10 IoT Core does not have a Windows shell experience; instead you can write a Universal Windows app that is the interface and “personality” for your device. IoT core designed to have a low barrier to entry and make it easy to build professional grade devices. It’s designed to work with a variety of open source languages and works well with Visual Studio.
Check out what you can build
AirHockey on WIndows IoT Core http://video.ch9.ms/ch9/1469/a6115687-f010-4ad2-b284-b73042151469/WindowsIoTCoreSnippetAirHockey_mid.mp4
Home Automation http://video.ch9.ms/h9/43e4/db7e6abe-2956-439b-9ad6-4a3ea57143e4/WindowsIoTCoreSnippetHomeAutomation_mid.mp4
What’s in the Public Release
The full list of new features and improvements:
Samples and Code
Node.js UWP app that reads from an I2C sensor and serves up a web page with the data here
You can find all the IoT samples on Github, as well as documentation and a growing set of libraries and helper tools. Even our project system and runtime support for Python and Node.js is available open source on Github.
When our samples start turning into full projects, you can find them on Hackster.io.
We’ve also worked with our friends at Arduino to make it very easy to talk to Arduino boards from Windows and even for Arduinos to talk to Windows devices as if they were virtual shields. See this project for more information.
Some Cool IoT demos
Rover Robot Kit – Make and program your own robot using a Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 IoT Core Windows Remote Arduino- using an Arduino from a Windows Phone app to control an LED Home Automation with the RPI2
Cooling off in the Summer: Handheld fan control from an RPI2 Even more robots : GoPiGo
We have more projects in the pipeline, so keep your eyes on our hackster.io hub for more information about our Air Hockey Table, Face Recognition Unlocked Door, and more.
Release Notes : Details about what is covered in this release of Windows 10 IoT Core. Download Now : Click here to start downloading for FREE now. You will need the latest version of Windows 10, Visual Studio 2015 and tools. Community : Share your feedback here and engage with other Makers using our forums.
Show Us What You’ve Got
Tweet @WindowsDev with the hashtag #makeInventDo with pictures so we can have as much fun as you do.