Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
For the last few weeks, I have been attending a number of final year project submission meetings across the UK. I have seen a number of amazing apps/games and projects from students across the UK many of these have been produced as part of their academic coursework and now being used to demonstrate the skills which the students have mastered to potential employers.
One of the key things which frustrates me is the number of students who have built amazing apps or games and simply haven't published these a app store! to simply demonstrate their understanding of app development and more importantly have a app/game which they can demonstrate to a potential employer as part of their portfolio.
So the following blog is to simply help you all understand how to publish and maintain your published app or games and ideally help you get started on the development of a real portfolio of apps and games in the Windows 8 store.
So get your completed course, assignment or module published.
Log in to the Windows Store
Before you can publish your app, you need a Windows Store account. Go to the Windows Store to register. If you haven't claimed your free Windows Store account via dreamspark go to https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx
After you log in to the store with your live ID (the one you used for your store account), go to “Dashboard”
If this is your first time logging in since you created your account, you may see a message that says
“Before we can list any of your apps in the Store, you’ll need to verify your payment method. Verify your payment method.”
When you created your account you entered credit card information. A small amount was charged and then reimbursed on your credit card to validate the card. You need to find your billing statement (or call your credit card company) to find out the transaction amount that was charged.
Select the Verify your payment method link and you will be taken to the Payment account verification screen. When you get there scroll to the bottom of the screen. using the information from your credit card billing statement, enter the amount that was charged or the 3 digit code from the transaction description and select Next.
Once you see the message saying “We successfully verified your payment account” You are ready to begin submitting your app!
From the top menu, select “Dashboard” then select “Submit an app” from the menu on the right.
Use the dashboard to see all the applications you submitted and their status in the store certification process. It can take as little as 2 days or as much as 2 weeks for an app to be published after you submit it.
Choose a Name for App/Game Your app/game name is important! It is the first thing a customer sees when they find your app in the store. Be creative! Make sure you don't use names that are trademarked by others or those who own the trademark could ask to have your app removed from the store.
So step1. is do some research, search the store for names, phrase, titles and ensure you pick a unique one.
Enter the app name you wish to use and select Reserve App Name. If you get a message back informing you your app name is already in use, you will have to enter a different app name.
NOTE: The app name you enter here must match the Display Name in your app manifest in your created app/game
TIP: You can just do this first step to reserve your app name before you have the code ready to publish. Your name will be reserved for 12 months.
Price - This is where you set the price of your app, and your free trial options. If you choose to charge for your app, pricing can start at £0.99. The price you select may include a sales tax that the customer must pay. Your proceeds will be based on the pretax amount.
TIP: Apps with free trials of some sort usually get more downloads, you can either limit the duration of the trial, or in your code you can limit the features available on the trial version. Use the license Information class to determine if a trial has expired, or if a user is running a trial version. You can find more information about handling trials in your code here.
Markets - Select the countries where you want your app to be available. Selecting a country does not guarantee your app will be published there. There is some content and features that is restricted to certain regions, you could be using a feature that is not available in a particular region yet. You might want to consider the primary languages spoken in a particular country when deciding which countries you select.
TIP: When publishing a game, the countries Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Taiwan require a game to be rated by a rating board and certified to prove the age rating of the game. If you do not have certificate files to prove you have completed that process, make sure you do NOT select those markets or your app will fail certification.
Release Date - If you want your app to be published as soon as it is certified select the first option.
Category - Now, select the category that best matches your app, this will affect where your app will be listed in the store, so consider your choice carefully. If a Windows user was searching for an app like yours in the store, which category would they choose to search? It's important to make it as easy as possible for users to find your app in the store. Picking the wrong category can also result in failing certification, because the testing team may not feel the category is appropriate for your app.
Hardware requirements – If your app has minimum RAM or DirectX requirements, you can specify that here.
Accessibility – Only select this check box if you have gone through all the accessibility guidelines and tested your app to ensure it is accessible. Accessibility includes testing for users with low vision or screen readers.
Advanced features - You only need to complete this section if your application supports push notifications (often used to update tiles), connect services such as SkyDrive and Single Sign-On, or in-app purchases. In app purchases is a popular way of making money with apps, the app is free, but a user can make in app purchases improve their app experience. For example, there are games where players can purchase weapons or armour. If you have not implemented any of the above features you can just leave all the fields in this section blank.
Age rating and rating certificates - This section is to describe the audience for your app and upload your rating certificates. If you can't decide between two age ratings, for example your app has content you feel is suitable for 12 and older, but requires an account that can only be created by users 16 or older, choose the higher age rating. Some countries requires will also require that your app be rated through a ratings board, especially for games. So check the list to see if a market you selected requires a rating certificate. If you try to publish to a market that requires a rating certificate and you do not provide the certificate file, your app will fail certification.
Cryptography - You must declare whether your app calls, supports, contains or uses cryptography or encryption. There are US regulations regarding the exporting of technology that use certain types of encryption. Apps in the Windows store must comply with these laws because the app files can be stored in the US. These rules apply even if you are a developer in UK selling apps in the UK through the store. So if your app is doing some type of cryptography or encryption you should read up on the regulations to see if your app requires an Export Commodity Classification Number (ECCN).
Packages - Now it's time to upload your app to the Windows Store. But there are a couple of things you need to do first:Build your package and run the WACK test.
· In Visual Studio, change the Build type from Debug to Release and Build the solution by choosing Build | Build Solution from the menu.
· From the menu choose Project | Store | Create App Packages…
· When asked “Do you want to build packages to upload to the Windows Store”, select Yes. and then select Sign In.
· Sign in with the same email account you used for the Windows Store.
· Select the app name you reserved to indicate the app for which you are creating a package. If you are resubmitting after a failed attempt to publish or to update your app in the store, you will want to select the checkbox “Include app names that already have packages” so you can see your app in the list.
· After you select the app name, select Next.
· Now you must choose which platforms will be able to install your application. If you pick Neutral, you will get a single package with builds that will run on any Windows 8 hardware. If you select individual builds you will get a different package for each build type. NOTE: If you are building an app which requires a lot of memory and processing power and you have not tested it on ARM, you might want to consider selecting x86 and x64 specifically and not including ARM in your release.
· For the version number, I recommend using the Automatically increment. Otherwise you must make sure the version number in your app manifest file matches the version number on this page.
· Make a note of the output location, because you will need to upload the file from that location to the store after the package(s) is/are created.
· Select Create when you are ready for Visual studio to generate the app package.
After your package is created, you are prompted to launch the Windows App Certification Kit. This will run your app through a series of tests to check for issues that could cause it to fail certification. While it is running you will see the app occasionally launch and close. Do not interact with the app while the WACK test is running.
To start the WACK test select Launch Windows App Certification Kit. This process can take 10 minutes or so. You will know when it is complete because you will see the test summary page informing you if your app passed or failed. The results window does not automatically appear in the foreground, so you may want to occasionally check your task bar and desktop to see if the test is completed..
If your app failed, select “Click here to view full report” then investigate and resolve the issues that caused it to fail, then create a new package and try again. If your app passed, you are ready to upload the package to the store.
Once your package is created you will find a new folder called “AppPackages” inside your application folder. Inside the “AppPackages” folder is a file that ends with “.appxupload” extension. This is the file you will select when you upload your app.
If you made changes to your app and rebuilt the package, make sure you pick the most recent app package, the version number in the package file name or the date created can help you identify the most recent package(s).
Go to the Packages section in the application submission and then drag your package(s) to the app submission page. (remember if you chose to make separate builds for x86,x64 or ARM you will have multiple packages and you will need to upload all of them to the store.)
You will know when your package is uploaded because you will see it listed as an uploaded package.
App Description - This is where you describe what your app does and this is what users will see when they look at your app in the Windows store. If you want your app to be downloaded by a lot of people, make sure to take time to write a good description. Take a look at the descriptions of similar apps in the store, how will your description stand out? Make sure the first couple of sentences grab their attention. Make sure you have a short list of your app's best features. If you offer a free trial, this is a good place to explain how the trial works. There are some good tips on writing your app description here.
TIP: If your app will require anyone to log in to complete certain tasks, you must mention that in your description or you will fail certification.
Screenshots - After you add the description of your app, you will need to upload images of your app including a logo that the will be used to feature the app.
If you don’t have these images already, you can create them using the simulator in Visual Studio. Change the launch option to Simulator using the drop down key in the menu.
When the app launches, on the right side of the simulator is a button with a camera icon which will let you to take a snapshot of the screen and put it in your clipboard. Then you can open an app such as Paint paste it and save it as a .PNG file. If your image is larger than 2 MB you may have to use a tool like Paint .NET (which you can download for free) to save it at a lower resolution. You can’t just resize the image because it must be at least 1366 x768 pixels (landscape) or 768X1366 pixels (portrait).
Keywords – If someone was searching the store, what keywords would they use to find your app? Specify these as keywords to help users discover your app.
Copyright and trademark info – this is a mandatory field where you specify the copyright information for your application. Basically this is where you get to say, whose app is this.
Promotional Images – If you have a great app, make sure you include some extra images so your app has the potential to be featured in the store! Being featured always results in more downloads, so if you’ve done something amazing, make sure to include all the promotional images so your app could be highlighted!
Website – If you have a website for your app or other apps you have built, you can include a link to it here
Support Contact Info – you must provide a way for users to contact you if they have problems with the app. An email address, or a link to a website with a Contact Us option will suffice.
This is a place for you to add any notes you wish to share with the people who are testing your app for certification. For example, if your app requires a login to an online service, you must provide the login information for an account the testers can use. If your app is only intended for a limited audience, it is good to mention that in notes to testers as well, because your app can be rejected because it does not appeal to a wide audience. So, if you are making an app for a specific audience, make that clear in the description and notes to testers. The information you enter in this section is not seen by users of the app, it is only seen by the team who tests your app to see if it is suitable for the Windows Store.
After you have completed all the sections you should see a checkmark beside every section. If there is a section without a checkmark, go back to see if you either missed a mandatory field, or you have a field entered incorrectly.
If every section is marked as complete you can now select Submit for Certification.
Congratulations! You have just submitted your app to the store!
Once you submit your app, it will take up to 1 weeks to get certified, you can track the progress of your app in the main dashboard. You don’t have to keep coming back here to check the status. If you fail certification, you will receive an email and a detailed error report explaining why it failed so you can correct any errors and resubmit. If you pass certification, you will receive an email with a link to your app in the store!
The Windows team has created this great checklist to help you prepare and organize all the required info to make it easier to enter the info when you submit an app.
Your app is now live and ready for consumers to download and install.
But what happens when you make a update or find a bug that needs fixing or even adding extra functionality?
Here is how do you submit a new version of an app/game to the Windows store after you have made updates to the code
You’ve submitted your app, and now you’ve made some improvements based on comments or feedback from users, or maybe just because you had some time to improve it. Here’s how you do it.
Log in to the Windows Store at dev.windows.com and go to the Dashboard.
Select Details for the app you want to update
When you get to the Details page, select Create New Release
You will need to upload a new package to the store containing your new code.
Go to Visual Studio, open the .appxmanifest file, go to the Packaging tab and increase the Version number, so it indicates this is a new version of your app.
You decide how you want to increment the version numbers, but here is some general guidance:
Now go to the menu and choose Project | Store | Create App Package and follow the prompts to build your new app package. It’s always a good idea to launch the Windows Application Certification Kit on your updated app to make sure it still passes the tests with your updates.
After you have built your new package, return to your app submission screen, select Packages, and upload the new package from your Visual Studio project AppPackages folder (REMINDER: the package is the file with the extension .appxupload).
When you submit a new version of an app, you must indicate the contents of your update in the Description section.
Enter a description of the update in the Description of Update field.
Although it is not required, if you are adding new functionality to your app, consider updating other fields that describe your functionality to users. You want to ensure potential users are aware of the full functionality of your application when browsing the store. Attributes you might want to updated include the Description, the App features list, or the Screenshots.
If you wish you may change other attributes of your app such as price, age ratings, but that is not required to submit the update.
After you have uploaded your new package, completed the description of update and made any additional changes you wish to make, select Submit for Certification to submit your updated app to the store.
That's it you have just submitted an updated version of your app to the store.
Then this free day of training is the quickest way to find out all you need to know.
The Windows Phone Camps will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps from scratch. You'll be guided through the development process with a series of hands-on workshops and short tutorials, with some seasoned experts to give you one on one help when you need it. There'll be topics like; Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. Also, there will be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets. There's even an introductory design session to help you make your app look its best. Just pick the workshops that are most useful for you and work at your own pace.
Once you've got the basics, you’ll be off and running and ready to develop your own apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, and of course there's the all-important opportunity to meet up with likeminded devs.
The camp kicks off at 9am and finish at 6pm. By registering and attending, you will receive (fanfare please) an exclusive Windows Phone Design Guide Sketch Pad as well as your own customized Hit & Run Windows Phone Camp T-shirt.
Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!
Got a question? You might find the answer below...
How much do I need to know about Windows Phone to attend this camp?
You don't need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Phone or app development to attend. The purpose of the camp is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Phone app development.
Who can attend these camps?
Academics, Students, developers, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about developing apps for Windows Phone.
How much does it cost to attend this camp?
Your luck's in - it's FREE.
What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of this camp?
There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the camp. This includes bringing your own suitable laptop with the Windows Phone Developer tools installed (these are free), preferably the latest version of the tools.
It would also be useful if you could read the following documentation:
If you have a Windows Phone please bring it with you.
Are you holding these camps elsewhere in the country?
Yes, this is a series of Windows Phone Camps kicking off around the country. Follow us on Twitter (@ukmsdn) to see where we’re visiting next.
What if I've registered already and can't make it on the day?
Please let us know as soon as you can if you can't make the camp as there will be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you've registered and committed. Thanks!
Who are Hit & Run?
They're do cool live on-site event screen-printing. You'll get the chance to create your very own t-shirt with your unique design at the end of the camp.
What’s the Windows Phone Design Sketch Pad?
In the spirit of highlighting good design, we intend to provide each attendee with an exclusive Windows Phone design sketch pad with Windows Phone design guidelines as well as open spaces and templates to sketch your next big Windows Phone app idea. Great stuff!
Register at the event of your choice below. Go on. You know you want to.
London - Saturday 17 September
Manchester - Saturday 24 September
On the 12th of July 2011 Microsoft released the Surface 2.0 SDK.
The SDK simply makes it easy to create engaging experiences, using multitouch and object interaction, for the next generation device for Microsoft Surface – the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.
The Surface 2.0 SDK replaces the Microsoft Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta that was released last year.
Download the SDK and find training, documentation, and guidance on the new Surface development center at www.msdn.com/windows/surface/
The Microsoft® Surface® 2.0 SDK is a set of controls, APIs, templates, tools, sample applications, and documentation for application developers. Using the familiar .NET Framework 4.0, Windows Presentation Framework 4.0 (WPF) or XNA framework 4.0, and the Surface 2.0 SDK, developers can quickly and consistently create innovative applications that take advantage of the new PixelSense™ technology delivered in the Surface 2.0 platform.
The next generation Surface device, the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, was announced in January 2011 and will be available to commercial customers in 23 countries later this year. For more information on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, visit www.surface.com.
The Surface 2.0 SDK runs on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface or a PC with a 32-bit or 64-bit edition of one of the following Windows® 7 operating systems:
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Ultimate
The Surface SDK supports input devices such as mouse, touch, and tagged objects. With the Surface SDK, you can develop an application that supports various types of input. However, to test your application in a touch-enabled environment, your computer must have a touch-screen digitizer.
The Surface SDK contains the following resources:
These assemblies provide the classes that are necessary to create a touch-enabled application.
Visual Studio project and item templates
These templates enable you to quickly create a touch-enabled application. When you create a project by selecting the Surface template, all of the necessary references and resources are automatically included as part of your project.
The input simulator, input visualizer, and Surface stress tools help you develop and test applications for the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 touch-enabled PCs. With the Surface Input Simulator tool, you can simulate different inputs, hardware capabilities, and tilt of the device.
Sample applications are fully functional applications that you can build and run. These applications showcase various features of the Surface environment. You can run these applications to see Surface functionality in action, and examine the source code to see how certain tasks are performed.
The documentation for the Surface SDK includes short examples of how to perform various programming tasks, longer and more detailed examination into various programming scenarios, and a detailed API reference.
Note: When you are ready to distribute an application that you have created with the Surface SDK, download the Microsoft® Surface® 2.0 Runtime from MSDN and include it with your installation package. The Surface SDK Runtime contains the reference assemblies that are required to run your application.
There are two types of APIs; presentation API and core APIs. The Presentation APIs use Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which is the standard choice for developing touch-enabled applications. The cores APIs are .NET platform agnostic APIs that enable querying a raw image directly and registering for touch events. Learn more about the core API at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff727894(v=Surface.20).aspx.
Your touch-enabled application will usually contain one or more Surface controls. Some of these controls are specialized counterparts to WPF controls, and others enable you to include functionality in your application in ways that have no WPF counterpart. The following table summarizes the controls that are included in the Microsoft Surface SDK for Windows Touch Beta.
The LibraryBar control enables you to list items horizontally, group items into several groups, and scroll groups. By default, the LibraryBar control supports drag-and-drop operations.
The LibraryContainer control is a dual-view control that arranges items in a horizontal bar or in a vertical stack and enables you to switch back and forth between the two views.
The LibraryStack control enables you to display items that are stacked on each other. Users can view the individual items by rearranging the order of the stack or by removing items from the stack. By default, the LibraryStack control supports drag-and-drop operations.
The ScatterView control is a container for any other User Interface (UI) element. When you place a UI element inside of a ScatterView control, that element automatically gains the ability to be moved, rotated, and resized using one or multiple touches.
The ElementMenu control implements a collection of items in a tree hierarchy that users can select.
The SurfaceButton control is a specialized version of the WPF Button control. SurfaceButton provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.
The SurfaceCheckBox control is a specialized version of the WPF CheckBox control. SurfaceCheckBox provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.
The SurfaceTextBox control provides an unconstrained data entry field. The SurfaceTextBox control also provides the on-screen keyboard so that you do not have to specifically invoke the keyboard.
The SurfaceInkCanvas control provides a drawing canvas that you can use with touch input to create, modify, and delete drawing strokes.
The SurfaceListBox control is a specialized version of the WPF ListBox control. SurfaceListBox adds support for panning, the ability to move the content by direct contact with the content itself, instead of using a scroll bar.
The SurfaceRadioButton control is a specialized version of the WPF RadioButton control. SurfaceRadioButton provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.
The SurfaceScrollViewer control is a specialized version of the WPF ScrollViewer control. SurfaceScrollViewer adds support for panning, the ability to move the content by direct contact with the content itself, instead of using a scroll bar.
The SurfaceSlider control is a specialized version of the WPF Slider control. SurfaceSlider provides a different default look-and-feel, and adds support for Touch Visualizations.
The SurfaceWindow control is a specialized version of the WPF Window control. SurfaceWindow provides and activates the necessary event handlers to make sure that it receives touch events.
Samples that use the Core layer and XNA Framework
Draws small images for every contact at every frame. This sample emphasizes multiple touches and shows how to use the Microsoft XNA APIs.
Provides an extensive sample framework that helps you create controls by using the Core layer. The code in this sample eliminates inconsistent behavior among Core-based applications by using the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern.
An XNA-based application that demonstrates how to use the Core Interaction Framework
Shows how to use the RawImage APIs for XNA applications. This sample displays captured normalized (8 bit per pixel) images that are flipped vertically.
Demonstrates how to use the manipulations and inertia APIs to move graphical user interface (GUI) components around in a Surface application in a natural and intuitive way.
Samples that use the Presentation Layer (WPF)
Shows how to build simple application behaviors from touch-enabled controls that the Presentation layer provides, such as updating a text box when a user touches a button
Shows contact properties that are exposed in the Presentation layer (such as x, y, height, width, major axis, minor axis, and orientation) and how you can read and use these properties in a Surface application.
Demonstrates how to integrate sound into Surface applications based on the Presentation layer.
Represents a simple tool that lets a user compare and contrast the properties of two "items" (tagged objects).
Uses the SurfaceInkCanvas control to implement drawing and painting over pictures and video
Shows an implementation of the ScatterView and SurfaceListBox controls to create a simple puzzle game. The ScatterView and SurfaceListBox controls automatically provide some powerful features related to Surface.
Shows how to implement drag-and-drop functionality in a retail application.
Tag Visualizer Events
Shows how to incorporate hit-testing in the TagVisualizer control to let user interface (UI) elements react when tagged objects move over them.
Last week I attended The 2012 Eduserv Symposium. The event was focused on 'Big Data' and discussed whether Big Data represents a challenge or an opportunity and how we can best make use of it. This year's event was held at the Royal College of Physicians.
The key message from the introduction was the importance of uncoupling the issues of Big Data from the industry hype. Throughout the event the Gartner 3 V’s (velocity, volume and variety of data ) were discussed in depth.
Volume as a defining attribute of Big Data
Whilst it is fairly obvious that data volume is the primary attribute of big data, people often ask for a definitive quantity in GB, TB, PB etc. that would qualify as big data.
Whilst simplest answer is to give a data volume, for example 50TBytes which today present represents a reasonably large and expensive dataware house –this answer of course changes as the technology changes over time due to Moore’s Law.
But it’s also worth thinking about what it is you are looking as data, for instance for a large library of photographs the actual data contained in all the images themselves is very large for instance a RAW File from a Nikon D300 is about 25MB, so library with 2 million such images would be about 50TBytes , but the meta data describing those images isn’t that large perhaps 2GBytes.
So to someone actually searching the images for content, e.g. using facial recognition find all the photos of Adele, then that is a big data problem, but if the photos have already been labelled and tagged as being of Adele then that isn’t really a big data challenge as you are only search the Meta data.
Data Feed Velocity as a defining attribute of Big Data
Big data can be described by its velocity or speed. Or you may prefer to think of it as the frequency of data generation or frequency of data delivery. For example, think of the stream of data coming off of any kind of sensor, say thermometers sensing temperature, microphones listening for movement in a secure area, or video cameras scanning for a specific face in a crowd. This isn’t new; many firms have been collecting click stream data off of Web sites for years, using streaming data to make purchase recommendations to Web visitors. With sensor and Web data flying at you relentlessly in real time, data volumes get big in a hurry.
Technologies such as Stream Insight are well positioned for certain types of streaming data, whilst other applications may need specialist development or tools.
Data Feed Variety.
A proliferation of data types from social, machine to machine, and mobile sources add new data types to traditional transactional data. Data no longer fits into neat, easy to consume structures. New types include content, geo-spatial, hardware data points, location based, log data, machine data, metrics, mobile, physical data points, process, RFID’s, search, sentiment, streaming data, social, text, and web. The addition of unstructured data such as speech, text, and language increasingly complicate the ability to categorize data. Some technologies that deal with unstructured data include data mining, text analytics, and noisy text analytics.
A key message was Big Data and the role of the Data Scientist, was not limited to the computer Scientist of the future as Big Data is of use to all disciplines.
Please find below a quick overview deck of how we see the Big Data opportunity at Microsoft.
A interesting case study is Klout Data Services Firm Uses Microsoft BI and Hadoop to Boost Insight into Big Data
Klout wanted to give consumers, brands, and partners faster, more detailed insight into hundreds of terabytes of social-network data. It also wanted to boost efficiency. To do so, Klout deployed a business intelligence solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise and Apache Hadoop. As a result, Klout processes data queries in near real time, minimizes costs, boosts efficiency, increases insight, and facilitates innovation.
Klout helps clients make sense of the hundreds of terabytes of data generated each day by more than 1 billion signals on 15 leading social networks including Facebook and LinkedIn. The data that Klout analyzes is generated by the more than 100 million people who are indexed by the firm. This includes Klout members and the people that they interact with on social sites. Individuals join Klout to understand their influence on the web, which is rated on a scale from 1 to 100. They also sign up to participate in campaigns where they can receive gifts and free services. More than 3,500 data partners also join Klout to better understand consumers and network trends including changes in demand and how peoples’ influence might affect word-of-mouth advertising.
To deliver the level of insight that customers seek and yet meet the budget constraints of a startup firm, Klout maintained a custom infrastructure based on the open-source Apache Hadoop framework, which provides distributed processing of large data sets. The solution included a separate silo for the data from each social network. To manage queries, Klout used custom web services, each with distinct business logic, to extract data from the silos and deliver it as a data mashup.
Maintaining Hadoop and the custom web services to support business intelligence (BI) was complex and time-consuming for the team. The solution also hindered data insight. For example, accessing detailed information from Hadoop required extra development, and so mashups often lacked the level of detail that users sought. In addition, people often waited minutes, or sometimes hours, for queries to process, and they could only obtain information based on predetermined templates.
Klout wanted to update its infrastructure to speed efficiency and support custom BI. Engineers sought technologies that could deliver mission-critical availability and still scale to meet big-data growth and performance requirements.
In 2011, Klout decided to implement a BI solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise data management software and the open-source Hive data warehouse system. Based on employees’ previous experience with the Microsoft BI platform, Klout also knew that SQL Server offers excellent compatibility with third-party software and it can handle the data scale and query performance needed to manage big-data sets.
In August 2011, engineers implemented a data warehouse with Hive, which consolidates data from all of the network silos hosted by Hadoop. In addition, Klout deployed SQL Server 2012 on a system that runs the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system to take advantage of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. Engineers use it to manage all business logic required to facilitate multidimensional online analytical processing (MOLAP). Data is stored in multidimensional cubes, which helps preserve detail and speed analysis. To provide high availability, Klout replicates the database to a secondary system using SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn.
At the time that Klout was initially deploying its solution, SQL Server 2012 and Hive could not communicate directly. To work around this issue, engineers set up a temporary relational database that runs MySQL 5.5 software. It includes data from the previous 30 days and serves as a staging area for data exchange and analysis. Klout engineers are currently working to implement the new open database connectivity driver in SQL Server 2012 to directly join Hive with SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. In addition, to enhance insight Klout plans to work with Microsoft to incorporate other Microsoft BI tools into its solution, such as Microsoft SQL Server Power Pivot for Microsoft Excel.
With its new solution, Klout expects to boost efficiency, reduce expenses, expand insight, and support innovation.
Speeds Efficiency and Cuts Costs By taking advantage of the Microsoft platform for BI, users will be able to get the data they seek in near real time.
Klout is implementing the flexible and scalable infrastructure it needs to continue to push the limits of data analysis.
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
This week I have been at Campus Party in the TheO2 which is pretty specular location for any event. During the week I have been discussing apps and game development with 1000s of students. One of the most popular questions I have had was what are the to main 8.1 changes? This lead into lots of discussions around the fact that the snap view is optional and the default view is 500px. The fact that there are 2 more tiles sizes, and the search capability is in app search and much smarter and finally there are a number of new controls.
So here a quick summary of all the facts and resources if you have questions about any of the above.
· Windows 8.1 Preview http://windows.microsoft.com/preview
· Windows 8.1 Feature Guide http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/apps/bg182410
· Windows 8.1 UX/UI http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/bg182890.aspx
· Windows 8 UX Design Jump Start (MVA) http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/windows-8-ux-design-jump-start
· For further design information http://design.windows.com
Some useful sessions to watch from Build.
· Designing and Building User Interfaces for Windows - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-168
· Upgrading Windows 8 Apps to Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-077
· Beautiful Apps at Any Size on Any Screen - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-150
· What's New in XAML - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-164
· What's New in WinJS - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-165
· Building Apps that Work Together - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-010
· Building Apps That Integrate with People and Events - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-007
· Design and Build a Great Search Experience in Your App - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-144
· Alive with Activity: Tiles, Notifications, and Background Tasks - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-159
· Monetization Opportunities for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-121
· First Impressions Matter: Delighting Your User from the Moment They Click “Buy" - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-095
Here is some useful guidance from the Windows UX team on the correct way to refer to various features in the Windows 8 UI.
These approved terms & phrases are used in the latest materials on http://design.windows.com so please familiarise yourself with these definitions and use them consistently in your teaching and learning.
Metro design style
· Styles that can be applied to enable apps to have a Windows look/feel, be touch targetable, etc.
· The surface that appears along the top or bottom edges of the screen and includes app commands.
· Swipe in from the top or bottom of the screen to see the app commands.
· Developer: To access the commands for an app, swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen to open the app bar.
· The charms connect your app to other apps, the web, your friends, and your devices. Charms provide access to the key Windows features: Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings.
· Tap the Search charm to find what you’re looking for in the app you’re using, on the web, or in other apps on your PC.
· Tap the Share charm to share files and info with other apps on your PC.
· Tap the Devices charm to print and connect to other external devices like media players.
· Tap the Settings charm to change common system settings or the settings of the app you’re using.
· Do NOT use “charms bar”
· Don't use in UI text.
· The area that's the outermost part or the part farthest away from the center of something.
· Swipe in from the right edge to access Search, Share, Devices, Start, and Settings.
· Do not use “edgy”
· To quickly slide a finger a short distance
· Swipe in from the right edge to show the charms.
· Swipe in from the top or bottom edge to show the app commands.
· Swipe in from the left edge to return to an app you were just using.
· Swipe across an email in your inbox to select it.
· Swipe down on a tile to select it.
· Shortcuts to places within an app or to other content.
· You can personalize your Start screen by creating tiles that act as shortcuts to your favourite content.
· Secondary tiles let users personalize their Start screen by creating deep links to specific places within your app.
· Do not use “pinned tile”
Windows Server 2012 Training & Certification Now Available to all Microsoft IT Academy members
if your interested in IT Academy please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itacademy/
1) Certifications and official Microsoft training and certifications are now available for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Private Cloud, Windows Store Application
In addition to this we now have new structure for Microsoft Technical Certifications
With a dedicated number of suitable examinations for the FE/HE education market which adds added value to the student experience and curriculum content aligning your courses with employees requirements.
2) Windows Server Certification and examination tracks
3) Microsoft Second Shot promotion is active so students (and lecturers) get a FREE retake if they do not pass first time for more info click here
4) Courseware available for Windows Server 2012 is now available to all Microsoft IT Academy members
Module 1: Managing a Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure
•What's New in Server Manager
•Introducing IP Address Management
•PowerShell and Server Core Enhancements
•What’s New in Active Directory
•Introducing Dynamic Access Control
Module 2: Network, Storage, and Service Access in Windows Server 2012
•What's New in Remote Access
•New and Improved Networking Technologies
Module 3: Server Virtualization in Windows Server 2012
•What’s New in Networking
•Introducing Hyper-V Replica
•What’s New in Live Migration
•What’s New in Guest Clustering and VM Monitoring
First Look Clinic Syllabus
Hands On Lab Syllabus
5) Microsoft IT Academy now includes a number of enhanced resources including new online digital content and resources for more information click here
Click Here for the FREE E-Book on Windows Server 2012
Just over a month we released the Azure toolkit for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has now released the Azure tookit for iOS, and Android is next in line.
The toolkit contains a “compiled Objective-C library for working with services running in Windows Azure (e.g. push notification, authN/authZ, and storage),” along with Objective-C source code and Xcode project files. It also includes a sample iOS application and its source code, designed to show developers how Azure can be used inside of the platform.
The toolkit has been posted to github and can be found at the following three links:
Details on how to get started can be found here.
Last week at the Microsoft Windows BUILD event, a number of announcements in relation to Windows Azure were made.These announcements included the following, the release of the Azure toolkit for Windows 8, availability for Bing service APIs (including translation) internationally, a new Azure SDK , updates to Azure management capability and much more.
Here is a list of some of the key announcements:
For more details see Windows Azure Marketplace technical details and at the Windows Azure blog here.
Today we are announcing the following changes to www.dreamspark.com
1. An new site design which is the result of improvements to the user experience based on internal and external feedback. Notably creating more clarity around the fact that the DreamSpark program is both a direct to student program and a subscription based program for academic institutions. As a result we have created two hubs with distinctive colour branding through the site to direct users to the right information and software access depending on their role:
a. DreamSpark for Students – direct access to the individual students experience (www.dreamspark.com/Student/default.aspx )
b. DreamSpark for Academic Institutions – information about the DreamSpark subscription such as program benefits, EULAs, usage guidelines, and the steps to purchase a subscription etc. (www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Subscription.aspx )
The site today is going live in English only. Customers selecting other languages will fall back to English UI. The DreamSpark team are working as fast as we can to launch the localized versions. They should become available in the week of 24th of Sept.
As part of this site redesign we are rebranding the DreamSpark subscription to DreamSpark Standard in response to the feedback received by customers and to avoid confusion with DreamSpark for students.
2. The new site has shifted from focusing purely on software downloads to bringing tools and resources related to development on our platforms (Windows 8, Windows Phone and Games) and most importantly a new section under Student dedicated to App Development) also accessible from the Student sub-navigation .
3. A page dedicated to Windows 8 App Development where students can find the resources and tools they need to start developing Windows 8 apps, including a pointer to downloading the getting started guide. .
4. Free access for students to the Windows Store: From the Windows 8 App Development page, users will be direct to the Windows Store Access Page on DreamSpark where they can verify their user status and then get a Registration code to use in the Windows Store to register for FREE.
a. Overview of the DreamSpark program explaining what it is? www.dreamspark.com/what-is-dreamspark.aspx
b. New Software Deployment guide for institutions, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Software-Deployment-Guide-en-us.pdf , detailing step by step how administrators can provide software access to students, faculty and labs via a DreamSpark MSDN Subscriber Portal and ELMS Webstores
c. ELMS overview: www.dreamspark.com/Institution/ELMS-Overview.aspx
d. DreamSpark Standard usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
e. DreamSpark Premium usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
f. STEM definition page, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/STEM.aspx
g. New DreamSpark Standard EULA:www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-EULA.aspx
h. DreamSpark Premium EULA page to www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-EULA.aspx
i. Revised FAQ’s; more information, more relevant to each audience (student, educator, and institution) accessible from top nav bar.
j. Separation of Student support from Subscription support with two dedicated pages: www.dreamspark.com/student/support.aspx and www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Support.aspx
k. DreamSpark for Academic Institution, and the Academic Institution Hub nav bar explaining how access an existing subscription: