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!
On Monday I will in Redmond with the UK Winners Team Siymb for the World Wide finals of the Imagine Cup
· Follow the completion live on Twitter at #ImagineCup for live updates
· Save the Date for the World Wide ChampionShips: https://imaginecup.com/worldchampionship
· Check out the Imagine Cup Facebook event!
· Watch Imagine Cup on Periscope! Follow @MSFTImagine for live updates.
Live Webcast: July 31, 2015
· Watch Satya Nadella crown the next World Champion!
· Live stream starts Friday, 31 July at 12:00 pm PT at https://imaginecup.com
Good Luck to Jakob and Konstantin's and here to bringing the trophy home with team SIymb and the University of Exeter!
C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners
Over the course of 25 episodes, our friend Bob Tabor, from LearnVisualStudio.net, teaches you the fundamentals of visual C# programming.
Tune in to learn C# concepts applicable to video games, mobile environments, and client applications.
Check out other Microsoft Virtual Academy courses for all levels http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com
All Schools, Colleges and Univeristies can get a DreamSpark subscription, we are pleased to offer you new Microsoft software and services for free:
Simply sign up your institution or register as a student at www.dreamspark.com
Visual Studio 2015 is the brand new release of Microsoft’s premier coding tool available to students now. This new release has enhanced support for creating Windows 10, Android, and iOS apps including a full Android emulator and much more. You can get the new Visual Studio from your school’s webstore. If your school doesn’t offer a webstore, you can get Visual Studio 2015 Community directly from DreamSpark.com.
To help you quickly discover some of the core new capabilities we’re delivering with the 2015 edition, check out our Community page and featured videos.
Ask questions about Visual Studio Online or find answers already posted.
Visual Studio Blog
Check out Visual Studio blog for details on new Visual Studio features.
Developer Release Notes
Check out the product roadmap and recently released features.
Share your suggestions and ideas for the Visual Studio suite of products.
Watch the short deep dive videos to learn about the new features.
Visual Studio Online
Check out the cloud collaboration tools for the entire team.
This week we have lots of updates regarding the Imagine Cup 2015
Announcing a celebrity judge for the Imagine Cup World Championship, two brand new World Finals awards, and the grand finale
Imagine Cup Ability Award – including a week long boot camp in Redmond
Imagine Cup Peoples Choice Award – chosen by Microsoft staff - winner gets $1000 and Trophy
Check out the winners of the Break Into Code competition winners announced
Break into code Winners
1st Place Winner $3,000 – Rainbow Breaker by Connie, UK
2nd Place Winner $2,000 – Super Cool Brick breaker by Abhimanyu, India
3rd Place $1,000 –UFO Breaker by Esteban, Mexico
1st Pace Winner $3,000 –Crusher by Faturahman, Indonesia
2nd Place Winner $2,000 – Endless Bricks Henrique, Brazil
3rd Place Winner $1,000 – Dragon Smash by Jonathan, UK
Watch the full announcements and more at Imagine TV
If you get the following error when signing up for the Microsoft DreamSpark Azure Student offer https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99 we could not find offer ‘ms-azr-0144P’
The first question.. is did who have previously have an Azure subscription?
This includes the standard free trial, from more than nine months ago, this may be the problem.
If you do get this error message above you cannot activate the student offer so if you do get this error message the Azure Support can fix your account to enable you to activate DreamSpark Azure offer:
To open a support request 1. Go to http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/support/options/ 2. Select “Having issues with sign in or signing up for an account?” option 3. For Problem Type, select “I cannot sign up for a new account” option 4. Click Start request button to provide further detail of your State your a DreamSpark user and they you tried to apply via https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
Deploying a Web App using Visual Studio
With Visual Studio 2015 and the Azure SDK you create website and publish it to Azure, all within Visual Studio 2015, and see how this works.
· Visual Studio Community 2015
· Azure SDK 2.7
· Activated your free Azure student subscription through Microsoft DreamSpark step by Step instructions at ://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2015/07/19/microsoft-azure-free-websites-and-blogs-via-microsoft-imagine-amp-dreamspark-and-setting-up-wordpress-on-azure-for-students.aspx
Open Visual Studio Community 2015
If you haven’t already, sign in to your Microsoft Account by clicking “Sign in” in the upper right corner. You need to use the same Microsoft Account that you used with DreamSpark and Azure already.
Once you sign in, Visual Studio 2015 will automatically recognize your Azure subscription key thing is ensure you login to Visual Studio with your DreamSpark account
Cloud Explorer is Visual Studio 2015’s direct connection to Azure. Let’s open that tool now from the menu by clicking:
View / Other Windows / Cloud Explorer
And just like that, here’s your Azure subscription!
See that Actions pane at the bottom? (You can get the same thing if you right click on one of your web apps.) It’s pretty handy: “Open in portal” will open your web app within the Azure Portal while “Open in Browser” pops open your default web browser and goes straight to your live web app.
But we’re going to make something new! Let’s get started.
Go to the menu and click:
File / New / Web Site
You’ll then see this window where you click ASP.NET Empty Web Site:
Then you’ll see your Solution Explorer on the right with your brand new WebSite solution!
From Solution Explorer, right click on your WebSite solution and click:
Add / Add New Item
Or you can hit Ctrl+Shift+A.
This gives you a new window where you’ll click HTML Page and Add:
Now Solution Explorer will show your new empty web page file:
It’s called HtmlPage.html. We’ll make this your homepage for the project, so we should rename it to index.html. That’s a standard name for a homepage and web browsers will find it more easily.
Do you know how to rename a file in a Visual Studio project?
There are two ways:
1) Right-click on HtmlPage.html and click Rename from the pop-up window
2) Look below Solution Explorer in the Properties window where it shows the File Name field. Click HtmlPage.html there and rename it to index.html.
All set? Let’s do a little web coding!
Let’s make as simple a web page as we can just so we can see Visual Studio 2015 and Azure in action. Your index.html file should now be open in the main window. (If not, double click it in the Solution Explorer.)
It already has this text:
1: <!DOCTYPE html>
5: <meta charset="utf-8" />
Click the cursor in between <title> and </title>. We need to give your web page a title – let’s call it Hello Cloud! Just type that right in between.
4: <title>Hello Cloud!</title>
Then click on that blank link in between <body> and </body>. Type this in just as it appears:
1: <h1>Hello Cloud!</h1>
2: <p>Check out this sweet website I made in Visual Studio
So now you’ve got a complete web page! It should all look like this:
8: <h1>Hello Cloud!</h1>
9: <p>Check out this sweet website I made in Visual Studio
Done! Let’s ship this thing and go home. All we need to do is publish it as a web app to Azure.
Back in Solution Explorer, right-click on your WebSite solution and click Publish Web App:
This opens a Publish Web window. “Profile” should already be selected on the left. Click Microsoft Azure Web Apps, and then from the next pop-up window click New…
Now it’s time to do some serious Azure stuff. We’re going to name your web app and assign it a bunch of Azure attributes: an App Service plan, a Resource group, and a Region. Here’s the window:
Let’s do a few things:
1) Click in the blank field by Web App name and type a name for your web app.
This will be the URL for your website. Whatever you type will be put in front of “.azurewebsites.net”.
In my example its called “myhellocloud” so my website URL will be http://myhellocloud.azurewebsites.net. (In fact, you can go look at it right now if you want.) Since “myhellocloud” has been used you’ll need to type something else the greed tick will appear if the URL is valid.
2) For App Service plan, click the dropdown and select “Create new App Service plan”.
3) For Resource group, click the dropdown and select “Create new resource group”.
4) For Region, click the dropdown and select the region closest to you in the world.
Now your window looks like this:
So let’s fill in those two fields! You can name your App Service plan and resource group whatever you want.
What is an App Service plan? It’s just a set of attributes that you can reuse across multiple apps. The attributes include a pricing tier (SELECT FREE and a Subscription (if you have multiple Azure subscriptions).
The plan you create right now will probably work for all the web apps you build while you’re a student. You can name yours whatever you want. I’ve named mine “myappserviceplan”.
What is a Resource group? It’s just a label that lets you group multiple Azure resources together so it’s easy to select them all at once in the Azure Portal.
Developer generally create resource groups which simply group group together a bunch of specific resources so they can view them all at once, monitor them as a group, track the costs and billing for that group, and so on. Since it’s just a label you can name it whatever you want. I’ve named mine “myresourcegroup”.
What is a Region? The dropdown lists every Azure datacenter in the world that you can host your web app in.
Rule of thumb is you want to put data closed to your Region, So for the UK select a European Data Centre
Here is what my window looks like now:
Let’s click Create and see what happens! Oh, this happens:
After a little while, or maybe a few minutes, the web app is set up and it’s time to actually publish your web page. Here’s the window – all you do is click Publish:
Within Visual studio you can see the Output window, this shows the progress of publishing your homepage to the Azure datacenter in the region you selected.
Next your Web browser will open a window and display your new web site.
Want to see my site live for real? It’s right here:
Remember Cloud Explorer? Why did we open that thing anyway? Let’s go back and check on it. Do two things:
1) Click the Refresh button. That’s the blue circle arrow near the top.
2) Double click Web Apps in the list to expand its contents.
THERE IT IS! My new web app, myhellocloud, is right there in Cloud Explorer. I can right-click it (or use the Actions panel) to open it in my browser anytime. I can also open it in the Azure Portal, but we can explore that some other time.
Your index.html file is probably still open. If not, double click it in Solution Explorer.
Click your cursor at the end of that </p> line and hit Enter to start a new line. Then type something like this:
1: <p>Updating My web page which is being hosted on
2: Azure datacenter!</p>
Whatever you type has to have that <p> at the start and </p> at the end.
So now my index.html looks like this:
11: <p>Updating My web page which is being hosted on Azure
To publish the page again
Just right-click your Web Site solution again over there in Solution Explorer and click Publish Web App from the pop-up window:
Then you’ll see this window again:
All you do is click Publish. The window goes away, that Output window at the bottom of the screen goes crazy for a few seconds, and then BAM you’re at your updated homepage!
If you don’t see the change you made, hit F5 to refresh your browser.
Now you’ve made your first web page in Visual Studio 2015 and Azure.
The Cloud” is a term that we use to describe a way of hosting and running websites and applications where we ship off our files and databases to whomever we choose and have all the worries of managing the details of hardware, operating systems, networks and datacentres managed for us by them. This way, the specialists at the cloud provider can focus on providing a high quality, scalable platform, and the customer can focus on developing and deploying their website or application.
There are many cloud providers and today we will look at the recently-refreshed Windows Azure from Microsoft.
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform and runs on their datacentres all around the world.
Whats cools is Microsoft Azure supports all non-Microsoft technologies or frameworks such as PHP, Node.js, Python and Java – actually Azure supports all these and more; any operating system and any language.
For Cloud for Students
Microsoft Azure is now free under Microsoft Imagine and can be activated at Microsoft DreamSpark
Free Azure for students has consistently been one of the most popular requests fielded to us since the inception of Azure. Well, we are glad to announce that free Azure for students is now a thing! With a few simple steps, you should be able to activate your subscription in under 10 minutes. Once completed, you should be able to spin up a web app within seconds. Without further ado, let’s get started.
First, visit the Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark site.
If you don’t have a DreamSpark account already, you will need to activate it before you can have access to your Azure subscription. You’ll notice that the green “Register Now” option is disabled and that is why.
Setting up DreamSpark
DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) is a program that provides students with free Microsoft software, the ability to try Azure cloud services without entering a credit card, and a store account. Chances are your college or Uni is already signed up for DreamSpark and all you need to do is create your own account to start reaping the benefits.
But even if your institution isn't signed up, if you are a student you can still get it. Here's how!
To create your DreamSpark account go here and select Create Account http://www.dreamspark.com or via Microsoft Imagine http://imagine.microsoft.com
You will be prompted to sign in with a Microsoft account (hotmail.com, live.com, outlook.com) if you don't have a Microsoft account you can create one here. You can use an existing email address for your Microsoft account.
You will now see a screen where you specify your name, date of birth, preferred email, most of this is pre-populated based on the settings in your Microsoft account. Consider selecting the checkbox so Microsoft can let you know about programs and offers in your area. After you have completed all the required fields select continue to verify.
Now, DreamSpark wants to verify that you are in fact a student. There are five different ways to do this, pick the one that works for you!
1. I have a school email account – If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, you can just provide your school email address to get verified
2. Get verified through my school account– If your school has a DreamSpark subscription, but validates DreamSpark through school accounts rather than email addresses you can select this option.
All Colleges and Unis in the UK use this authentication method, so if you don't see your school listed it doesn't necessarily mean your school does not offer DreamSpark to its students! It just means they have chosen another method for authentication, you may want to try the email address option instead. If you choose the school account you have to search for your school in the list.
3. I have an International Student Identity Card – This is not your university or college student ID card. this is the international student card (you can apply for one here) if you pick this option you can type in your ISIC serial number or the ISIC/CIP number or your ISIC/NUS card number to prove you are a student.
4. I have a verification code – this option requires you to enter a verification code. But where do you get a verification code? You need to reach out to a Microsoft representative or possibly a school administrator. Attending a Microsoft hackathon or workshop is a great place to meet someone and find out how you can get a verification code. Entering a code will give you access to DreamSpark resources for one year. If you are a teacher, you can also reach out to a Microsoft representative to get verification codes for your students if your school does not have a DreamSpark subscription. You may also want to check out some of the material that helps you teach coding at aka.ms/learn2code
5. I can supply documentation – if none of the above options works, choose this option. You can provide a scanned copy of your school ID card, a current report card, or acceptance letter to a university or college as proof that you are a student to get validated.
Once you have created and verified your account, you can now download software, get a code that allows you to publish apps to the Windows store for free and get free cloud services on Azure including website hosting!
Creating Your Azure Account via DreamSpark
Head back to the Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark site. The register option should now be available and you should click on it. Make sure to be signed into your DreamSpark enabled Microsoft account before you do this (you can sign in on the top right).
A verification by phone is required. This is an important security measure that ensures that only you have access to your account in the event of a password reset, by tying your account to your cellphone or telephone number.
You’ll receive a text or a call at your number, depending on the option you chose. Enter the code to finish the sign up.
Congrats! This is probably the most tedious part of using Azure, so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.
All you have to do now is wait for the Azure servers to provision your account, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes you will be presented with the Azure Portal you may be presented with the new Preview Portal or Standard Portal.
This is the new Preview portal
This is the standard azure portal
You now have access to your very own Azure account! To use a new service, go to “New” and search for whichever service you want to use.
If a service is greyed out, its because it’s not yet available for students. Stay tuned on our blog to hear about new service additions. Here are some specific resources you can check out to help you with some of the currently available Azure DreamSpark offerings:
Web Apps Overview Application Insights Overview Visual Studio Online Overview
So create a free web site and portfolio today using CMS such as WordPress
Getting a WordPress site up and running
Getting a WordPress website (build in PHP and usually run on Apache with MySQL) up and running on Windows Azure. Simply head over to https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
The first step is to set up an account on Azure so make sure you have followed the instructions above.
Sign into your Azure Portal https://manage.windowsazure.com/
From here, click on the “Sign in to the Management Portal” link
Select the “Manage” option in the navigation at the top of the screen and you’ll be taken to the page shown below.
The Azure management page
The first time you access it you’ll get a little tour, but eventually you’ll get to your dashboard, which will be empty and look something like this:
As you can see you Azure dashboard is empty
Just a side note: When I registered there was a short wait before the “web sites” option (which we will be using below) was available to me; just a couple of hours.
Choose the “Cloud Services” option on the left and click “create a cloud services”.
Choose “Compute” then “Web App”
Choose the “from gallery” option, highlighted above, and then find the WordPress option in the list of apps available.
Click the “Next” arrow and choose your website’s URL; leave the database setting as “Create a new MySQL database”; and choose the region closest to you (or your audience).
Click the “Next” arrow again and confirm your new MySQL database settings, then click the final “Next” icon to complete the process and Azure will begin deploying your new site.
A few moments later and it will inform you that the deployment is complete, and the site is up and running.
That’s it! Your WordPress site is now live and can be accessed at the URL you configured in the setup earlier; you can get there nice and quickly by clicking the “Browse” icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the Azure portal.
As this is WordPress, the first time you access it, it will ask you to complete the installation by making a few configuration choices.
Click the “Install WordPress” button at the bottom to complete the setup and WordPress will show you a “Success!” message with a “Log In” button that will take you to your new WordPress admin login area. Enter your chosen WordPress username and password and log in to see your blog Dashboard.
You’ll want to visit the Settings section using the menu bar on the left to tweak any final settings, but you’re all ready to go!
With any hosted service you’re likely to want to be able to view usage statistics, configure FTP and publishing access, etc. So let’s switch back to Azure.
Set up FTP access
Click on the name of your new site in the Web Sites list and you’ll see a one-off startup page welcoming you and giving you some options for how to proceed.
First off, let’s set up FTP access so that you can begin customising WordPress further with custom themes and plugins. Click on “Set up deployment credentials” under the “Publish your app” heading (if you’ve dismissed the welcome screen you can access this through the “Reset deployment credentials” option under the “quick glance” heading on the dashboard).
Choose your username and password, click the tick to confirm and you’ll be sent back to the welcome screen with a success message.
Click the “Dashboard” option at the top of the Welcome screen and you’ll see your Azure website dashboard (you can get back to the welcome screen by clicking the cloud with a lightning bolt icon on the left of the dashboard option).
Here you can see a wealth of usage information, as well as plenty of further configuration options. If you scroll down a little, you’ll find your FTP address on the right, under the “FTP hostname” heading. Use this along with the credentials you just set up and you can begin uploading to, and editing your, WordPress installation.
Publishing alternatives Git or Visual Studio Online
If you use git as your source control you can configure Azure to have its own git repository for your website, which you can push updates to and it’ll build and deploy your changes automatically. Click the “Set up Git publishing” option to be guided through that.
You also have the option of linking your site to Visual Studion Online for publishing via that code-base, or you can download a publishing profile to load into Visual Studio to allow direct publishing from there.
Other CMS on Azure
Azure also has off-the-shelf installations of Drupal, Joomla and Umbraco in its gallery and
Azure ML Studio – Getting to Grips with Machine Learning and Microsoft Azure
With ML Studio there is no need for a student to have any experience in computer programming so its perfect for Geography, Sociology and other discipline who create vast amounts of data.
Azure ML provides a very low-friction way of enabling students to discover how different ML algorithms perform using real-world examples, such as predicting car prices, estimating Twitter sentiment, Detecting credit risk anomalies and predicting flight delays.
Where Azure ML really helps is through instructors pre-building ML workflows and sharing them with students, either privately using a collaborative workspace, or publicly through the Azure ML gallery.
(Figure shows evaluating a model in Azure ML, including ROC curve and scoring metrics – see https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/machine-learning-walkthrough-4-train-and-evaluate-models/)
Getting Started with Azure ML
One of the best ways of getting started with Azure ML is to setup workflows with data and allow students to ‘fill-in-the-blanks’, maybe comparing how different ML algorithms perform on the same problem.
Datasets and access to data for ML
There is a plethora of sample datasets built into ML Studio for you to create educational material around, as well as many tutorials already built by the community published in the gallery.
Getting to Grips with ML A unique feature is the ability to include your own R and Python code, so there is ultimate flexibility in what you can do. And when a model has been validated, it is easy to publish this as a web service with an auto-documented REST API, to be consumed by apps. Again all students now get Free web services with Microsoft Imagine via DreamSpark
Get started with Azure ML for education:
Microsoft has a growing need for smart talent in this area, so we fully support the efforts of academia to educate and inspire the next-generation.
So please explore and let us know what you are doing with Azure Machine Learning and your students, we’re here to help.
Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark gets you started with the services you need to develop in the cloud at no cost:
Free Learning Resources
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Web Apps for Developers ISBN #: 9781509300594 PDF
Continuous deployment using Microsoft Azure Web Sites PDF
Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure™: Best practices for DevOps, data storage, high availability, and more ISBN #: 9780735695658 EPUB MOBI PDF
Master Data Services Capacity Guidelines PDF EPUB MOBI
Multidimensional Model Programming PDF EPUB MOBI
Transact-SQL Data Definition Language (DDL) Reference PDF EPUB MOBI
Monitor and Tune for Performance PDF EPUB MOBI
High Availability Solutions PDF EPUB MOBI
Free learning Resources
Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online ISBN #: 9781509300648 EPUB MOBI PDF PDF
Azure on DreamSpark is available now for validated DreamSpark students at no cost and no commitment, with no time limit and no accidental charges. You can upgrade to more services later if you want, but you can host your web apps and websites today with the power of the Microsoft cloud behind you and it won’t cost you anything.
Microsoft Azure Learning Resources – Free Ebooks
Introducing Windows Azure™ for IT Professionals ISBN #: 9780735682887 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Fundamentals of Azure ISBN #: 9780735697225 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Machine Learning ISBN #: 9780735698178 EPUB MOBI PDF
Microsoft Azure Essentials Azure Automation ISBN #: 9780735698154 EPUB MOBI PDF
Introducing Microsoft Azure™ HDInsight™ ISBN #: 9780735685512 EPUB MOBI PDF
Visual Studio 2015 is a rich, integrated development environment for creating stunning applications for Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as modern web applications and cloud services. To find out more information about the Visual Studio 2015, please visit Visual Studio site or watch Visual Studio videos on Channel 9.
July 20 at 3:30 pm GMT and watch the Visual Studio 2015 final release event online. Follow @visualstudio for updates. https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/visualstudio-release-event-vs
We invite you to join us online to learn about the new features and technologies coming with this release. You will be able to engage in live, interactive Q&A sessions with the engineering team, before jumping into the technical details covered in over 60 on-demand sessions. You will also have the opportunity to see the Visual Studio developer team creating an end-to-end solution for an open-source project, leveraging the newest tools and technologies. See how they tackle the different problems along the way, and ask them questions directly.
Visual Studio 2015 launches on July 20th with several changes to the product line-up.
As always Visual Studio 2015 will be made available at DreamSpark.com and through DreamSpark Standard and Premium at launch.
DreamSpark will offer all three Visual Studio 2015 SKUs:
Visual Studio 2013 included Premium and Ultimate SKUs for DreamSpark Premium schools. Both of these have been replaced by the single Enterprise SKU for DreamSpark Premium.
Please note that as usual, Visual Studio SKUs in DreamSpark do not include an MSDN subscription
Where can I download Visual Studio
Only Visual Studio Community 2015 will be offered at DreamSpark.com. Visual Studio Professional and Express are being removed.
Because Community and Professional are nearly identical, there should be no impact to student usage.
The DreamSpark Standard ELMS webstore will only offer Visual Studio Community 2015 for students.
The DreamSpark Standard MSDN Benefit Portal will offer product keys for Visual Studio Professional 2015. This is to support lab installations in campus facilities.
VS Community is not suitable for labs because each copy is activated by a single user’s Microsoft Account.
The DreamSpark Premium ELMS webstore will offer Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 for students.
The DreamSpark Premium MSDN Benefit Portal will offer product keys for Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 for lab installations
Getting Visual Studio Versions via DreamSpark
So what is Visual Studio Community.
Visual Studio Community is identical to Visual Studio Professional except for three things:
1)The Community license does not support Enterprise customers.
2)Product activation of Community requires a Microsoft Account instead of a product key.
3)The CodeLens feature is not included.
In all other ways, Visual Studio Community is the same as Visual Studio Professional.