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!
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a few hundred people at Apps World on a session entitled Cross Platform Panel: Exploring Methodologies & Tools.
This is a fascinating area as today’s modern app developers are now ultimately having to become more agile in their abilities and use the best tools available to develop an app for as many platforms as possible within a shortest period of time to maximise the revenue their app or game can achieve.
However having to develop an application or game for a diverse range of mobile platforms iOS, Android, Windows Phone etc.. has a number of constraints which need to be taken into consideration for example each have their own ‘native’ development languages, UI/UX, developer tools and environments.
But for the modern developer there is an ever growing list of cross-platform frameworks that allow you to minimise the cost and effort of developing mobile apps, but which to choose?
Here is a list of some of the most common cross platform frameworks available for today’s mobile app builders.
Enyo is a free and open source (Apache 2.0 license) cross-platform and cross-browser application development framework that enables developers to create HTML5 applications and deploy them to many modern desktop browsers and mobile devices.
Enyo is built around the philosophy of fully-encapsulated components, which allow a developer to reuse component pieces (or even an entire application) in new or existing projects. It is possible to embed full Enyo applications in the DOM elements of existing Web pages.
Enyo has a dependency mechanism (package.js) to enable a basic modular approach to building applications. If you look at most Enyo projects, you will see references to a $lib directory in one or more package.js files, usually to include optional modules such as Layout (lists and responsive components) and Onyx (a widget library).
Intel App Framework is a framework for building cross-platform mobile application using HTML5 technologies. The framework started life as jqMobi, a mobile optimised version of jQuery, which was created by the team behind appMobi. Intel acquired the jqMobi tools and staff in February 2013.
Intel App Framework is free and open sourced under an MIT licence. Intel also offer XDK, which is a a full suite of tools built around the App Framework. XDK adds an IDE, build tools and an emulator.
jQTouch is a Zepto/jQuery plugin which provides a framework for developing iOS and Android applications. It is both open source and free to use.
jQTouch provides a structure on which to base the HTML, the majority of the application styling, page transition animations and touch based event handling; however, it’s not a fully featured application development solution.
iOS version uses the out-of-the-box jQuery Mobile styles
Windows Phone uses the jquery-metro-theme extensions to support the Windows UI style together with Windows Phone specific features such as the app-bar.
Kendo provide a suite of web development frameworks, all of which are built on top of the ‘core’ Kendo UI MVVM framework. The Kendo UI Mobile framework adds a set of UI widgets for the creation of mobile interfaces. The mobile framework has a look and feel that mimics the native Apple, Android and Windows Phone themes.
Lungo is a framework for developing cross-platform applications in HTML5. Lungo applications are run in the browser, similar to other HTML-based frameworks such as jQuery Mobile. Lungo provides 2 main workflows:
Lungo provides a rich set of classes to help decorate basic HTML5 markup. The markup is then given behaviour and interaction based on the structure by Lungo, without any developer code being required. Lungo’s philosophy is that you should be able to create a prototype of your application to show basic interaction and page flow without having to write any JS yourself.
Lungo also provides a JS API to interact and enhance the prototype. The Lungo API is similar to the common functionality you’d see in other mobile frameworks, such as DOM manipulation (through Quo.js), page routing and navigation, storage etc.
mgwt is an open source mobile widget framework build using GWT. mgwt provides a number of UI widgets, CSS styles and a PhoneGap API which make it easier to develop native-like applications using GWT.
PhoneJS is a commercial HTML5 framework for cross platform mobile application development from DevExpress. PhoneJS is free for non-commercial use.
PhoneJS uses the Knockout MVVM framework for structuring the application, with the PhoneJS CSS providing a native-styled UI for the various phone platforms. PhoneJS applications use PhoneGap for packaging.
DevExpress also offers a more integrated solution based on PhoneJS, called DXTREME Mobile, which adds Visual Studio tooling.
Titanium APIs provide an abstraction layer for the Android and iOS UI elements, allowing you to write your view code against the Titanium abstraction. Although, there are some view concepts which have not been abstracted, meaning that developers have to write platform specific view code
Xamarin have two commercial products, Xamarin.iOS for iOS development and Xamarin.Android. The Xamarin frameworks allow you to write applications using C# and the .NET framework. For each platform Xamarin provide bindings to the native platform APIs. As a result Xamarin applications make use of the native UI for each mobile platform. Xamarin do not provide a Windows Phone product because the C# and .NET code used for Android and iOS development is directly portable to Windows Phone.
What resources are available to help evaluate which is the best solution?
To help solve this problem PropertyCross presents a non-trivial application, for searching UK property listings, developed using a range of cross-platform technologies and frameworks. Property Cross has a simple aim is to provide developers with a practical insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each framework so this is a definite resource you should check out if your interested in cross platform development.
I would love to hear your experiences of developing apps and games for cross platform support and which tool you find the most useful?
We are pleased to announce new versions of Blend + Sketchflow preview for Visual Studio 2012. Bringing Blend and Visual Studio together offers more value. Blend is a great tool offering a wide variety of designers and developers the ability to quickly and easily build great looking and powerful UI.
These new versions make available capabilities that were previously only available in Expression Blend such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and SketchFlow support, unifying the design-centric tools for building Windows Store Apps and Windows desktop apps to Visual Studio users.
This is for evaluation only and none of the platforms contain a go-live license. Therefore you SHOULD use other released versions of Blend for production work.
What is the Blend + Sketchflow Preview for Visual Studio 2012?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 can help you design user interfaces for applications with robust tools that solve complex design tasks for building Windows Store apps.
The Blend + Sketchflow Preview introduces powerful WYSIWYG design capabilities to Visual Studio developers by providing support for WPF and Silverlight.
What is the difference between Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012 RTW? Do I need both?
Blend for Visual Studio 2012 is a unique, innovative authoring tool with rich visual tools for creating Windows store apps using HTML/CSS and XAML. Blend is installed with most versions of Visual Studio 2012.
Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 delivers WPF, Silverlight, and SketchFlow support compatible with Visual Studio 2012. You can install this alongside Visual Studio 2012 RTW.
What is SketchFlow; how does it differ from Storyboarding in Visual Studio 2012?
SketchFlow provides an informal and quick way to explore, iterate and prototype user interface scenarios. SketchFlow is for building working prototypes of software for developers, while the new storyboarding capability allows PowerPoint to be used for capturing lightweight requirements from stakeholders.
Typically, you develop an application for Windows Phone 7 by using Microsoft Silverlight and one of the managed programming languages—usually C# or XNA.
A Windows Store app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic, using XAML, is the preferred model for ports from Windows Phone 7. If you are familiar with Silverlight, you can port to a Windows Store app using XAML by using familiar languages like C# or Visual Basic, and a similar set of UI elements and APIs.
For more detail about porting a Windows Phone 7 application to XAML, read Migrating a Windows Phone 7 app to XAML.
However if your a game developer then you can move your existing Windows Phone XNA using Monogame.
Porting to Windows Store app using MonoGame
For some background you can read these posts:
During the ThreeThing Game event, Dean Ellis @InfSpaceStudios talked through the porting of a one of the teams Windows Phone game, Shear Carnage to Windows 8, the initial port took 7mins 47seconds, which is pretty impressive stuff!
Some of the key features, the team now need to work on now to get the app store ready is..
Overall this is pretty stunning for existing Windows Phone developers taking existing or new phone apps to both the Windows Phone Marketplace and Windows 8 Store.
A large number of the UK’s Universities and colleges have been using XNA since 2004 within gaming course curricula on Windows, XBox and Windows Phone. We have a huge set of Free curricula resources for XNA game development at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
XNA over the last 7 years has provide a number of students and indie game developers with an impressive content pipeline, game assets, load functionality, animation, math, sound and user input tracking via gamepad, mouse, keyboard and touch with game logic organized in a straightforward game loop architecture, more recently we have also added curricula for XNA and Kinect.
Within education XNA has been a huge driver for a number of students and developers who wanted to learn how to create games. XNA along with Visual Studio made it as easy as File –> New –> XNA Game Studio Project and you were off developing.
Since Windows 8 is built on the strong foundation of Windows 7, any app built for Windows will run in the Windows 8 desktop environment. This includes apps based on XNA, Win32, .NET, WPF, Silverlight, etc.
Windows 8 also introduces a new type of app called a Metro Style App for developers that wish to make their app available in the Windows 8 Store, for free or for sale. Using Visual Studio 2012, you have a language choice of C++, XAML with C#, VB or C++, or HTML5/JS to create a Metro Style App.
Using the XNA Framework is not a choice for building a Metro Style App. Official Microsoft guidance on game development is documented here.
Windows 8 allows you too build highly immersive games using HTML5/JS, XAML/C#, XAML/VB or C++ and DirectX.
However a number of you have already stressed too me, that you and your students have been developing with XNA and have an existing code base, or would like to import existing XNA games too Windows 8 your only option it would seem is running as a desktop app.
This is where MonoGame comes in…
MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal is to allow XNA developers on Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux with both PlayStation Suite and Windows 8 support currently under development.
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)
MonoGame provides a cross platform XNA Framework implementation for XNA developers who want to take their code to non-Microsoft platforms as well as the ability, to target Windows 8.
MonoGame for Windows 8 you can take your XNA code and with a recompile and some additional features too simply create a Metro Style App for example Armed within the Windows Store uses MonoGame. I have too stress MonoGame is still under development and so any use of it should come with a note of advice to stay on top of that effort.
In order to provide a complete implementation of XNA on Windows 8, MonoGame leverages SharpDX , an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API for managed code (.NET) and Windows 8 (WinRT). SharpDX is an open-source project, free of charge available under the following MIT License.
Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption:
Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.
To apply for an Educator Grant please contact AzureU@Microsoft.com and provide us with:
Windows Azure Educator Grants FAQs
Q: What are the Windows Azure Educator grants?
A: The Windows Azure Education Grants are focused on enabling educators to easily leverage the benefits of the Windows Azure platform for curriculum development and teaching. Through these grants, educators can obtain easy access, with no Credit Card required, to the Windows Azure platform for an extended period of time at no cost for themselves and their students. Access to the Windows Azure platform is made possible through 5 month Windows Azure platform academic passes. Educator Grants may be available up to the number of students within the course, dependent on the volume of requests, pass availability, and the needs of the course.
Q: What resources are available through the Windows Azure platform academic pass?
A: Each 5 month Windows Azure platform academic pass provides the following resources:
Windows Azure 2 small compute instances 3GB of storage 250,000 storage transactions SQL Azure Two 1GB Web Edition database
AppFabric 100,000 Access Control transactions 2 Service Bus connections Data Transfers (per region) 3 GB in 3 GB out 1 Hosted Service
Q: What is the Gifting Letter and who needs to sign this?
A: If you are granted a Windows Azure Educator Grant, we require that you sign a “Gifting Letter” in order to ensure compliance with all applicable government gift and ethics rules, which restrict/prohibit government employees. Your ethics officer, (or designated executive/office responsible for your organization’s gifts/ethics policy), or responsible attorney should review and sign this letter.
Q: How do the Windows Azure platform academic passes get redeemed?
A: Each Windows Azure platform academic pass is redeemable through http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/ If you receive an Educator Grant we will send you a PowerPoint deck which will guide you and your students through the easy process of redeeming these passes.
Q: Why is Microsoft offering this?
A: A large percentage of the academic community has developed curricula materials leveraging the Windows Azure platform for teaching Cloud-centric courses. We are experiencing an increase in demand from the academic community for access to the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure Educator Grants allows us to enable even more members of the academic community to leverage the Windows Azure platform within their courses.
Q: Are Windows Azure Educator Grants available globally?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are available worldwide.
Q: Is there an available education discount program for the Windows Azure platform?
A: At this time, we do not offer education discount pricing for the Windows Azure platform.
Q: Who can apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Educators at accredited academic institutions can apply for the Windows Azure Educator Grants.
Q: How do I apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Applying for a Windows Azure platform academic pass is easy. Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/
We will ask you for the following information:
· Your name · Your email contact · Country · Institution/University name · Course name · Course description · Number of students in your course · Number of Windows Azure platform academic passes needed · Date when Windows Azure platform academic passes will be used
Q: What factors will Microsoft consider when determining who will receive a Windows Azure Educator Grant?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants will be awarded based on factors such as purpose of use, number of passes required, and timing requirements for usage of the passes.
Q: I am a student. Can I apply for a pass?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are only valid for valid faculty. If your faculty has been awarded a Windows Azure Educator Grant, you will be able to get a pass through him/her for you coursework. If you are interested in learning more about the Windows Azure platform, we encourage you to share these Educator Grants with your faculty or leverage the FREE 90-day trial offer at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Q: Does my Windows Azure platform academic pass expire?
A: Yes. The Windows Azure platform academic pass will expire 150 days after it has been activated. You will be receiving email notifications when the expiration date is close, and you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription, if you want to continue on using the Windows Azure platform.
Q: What happens to my data application when my pass expires?
A: Shortly prior to the expiration date you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription. All of your data will be erased when your pass expires. If you choose to not migrate your Windows Azure account to a paid account, please be sure to back up your data.
Q: Do I have to use a credit card to redeem my pass?
A: No. You do not need to use a credit card to redeem your pass activate your Windows Azure account.
Ideal for those with fundamental programming skills, this tutorial provides practical, learn-by-doing exercises for mastering the entire Windows Azure platform.
For more details see http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/overview/
This week we released a preview version of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 and began shipping KinectV2 pre order devices to developer around the world.
Whets New in Kinect V2
In addition to the new sensor’s key features, the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 includes:
For Game developers, Architects and AR Professional.
The new SDK 2.0 public preview includes Unity support for faster, cost-efficient, and high quality support for cross-platform development, enabling developers to build their apps for the Windows Store using tools they already know. see online training at http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/Kinect-for-Windows-v2-SDK-and-Unity-3D
Join our Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn from our experts and jump start your development.
In line with the todays launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I have collected a set of useful resources and links
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Download
Windows 8 Consumer Preview download (web installer or ISO’s), videos, and FAQ’s.
Developer downloads for Metro style apps
Visual Studio 11 Express and the Windows 8 SDK + all the extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Design assets for Metro style apps
100+ Photoshop files with common controls, shell components, tiles, icons, animation clips, color wheel references, and more.
Metro style app developer content
Windows Dev Center home
Links to Metro style app, Desktop app, Hardware, and IE development.
Metro style app development home
Links to key resources for designing, developing, and selling Metro style apps.
Product guide for developers
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Developers.
Comprehensive docs, articles, quickstarts, roadmaps, tutorials, checklists, developer agreements, and whitepapers covering all aspects of app design, development, and selling:
· Getting started · Planning apps · Designing UX for apps · Developing apps · Packaging apps · Debugging and testing apps · Selling apps · API reference · Concepts and architecture · Language reference · End-to-end apps
Design principles, UX design patterns, detailed UX guidelines, downloadable design assets, assessing usability.
Selling apps in the Windows Store
Windows Store markets, developer agreements, and checklists to prepare.
Visual Studio Express and the Windows 8 SDK + extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Metro style app samples
Over 200 official samples from Microsoft are available in multiple programming languages. You can copy code inline, upload new code, rate, and leave comments.
Developer forums for Metro style apps covering designing, developing, and selling apps.
Blogs for developers
Building Windows 8 blog (B8)
An inside look at how, what, and why different features of Windows 8 are being built. This blog is written by Windows President Steven Sinofsky together with members of the Windows engineering team.
Windows Store blog for developers
All about doing business in the Windows Store. Members of the engineering team who’ve built the Windows Store write posts along with Antoine Leblond, Vice President of Windows Web Services.
Windows 8 app developer blog (D8)
Explores best practices for coding and designing Metro style apps. It is written by the team of developers who are building Windows 8.
Windows Internet Explorer Engineering Team Blog.
Inside Windows Live blog
The engineering being Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, and Windows Live.
Visual Studio Blog
The official source of product insight from the Visual Studio Engineering Team.
The Windows Blog
Consumer and general interest topics.
Social channels for developers
Twitter (Building Windows 8)
Twitter (Windows Dev Center)
Consumer Preview Newsletter
Launching with Consumer Preview
Tips, offers, and news about Windows 8 including resources for developers and businesses.
Desktop app developer/partner content
Desktop app certification requirements
Certification requirements for Windows 8 desktop apps.
Desktop App Certification Kit
The Windows 8 SDK includes the Windows App Certification Kit to test desktop apps and get them ready for certification.
Tips and fixes for common issues with desktop apps for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and software for Windows Server 8 Beta.
Compatibility of desktop apps and devices with Windows 8. Partners can add products and update compatibility status using this template.
Hardware developer/partner content
Hardware Certification Requirements
Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements and Policies
Hardware tools and certification kit
Windows Consumer Preview Kits and Tools for hardware development
Driver development documentation
Developing, testing, and deploying drivers
Hardware and driver community resources
Forums, blogs, and newsletters for the hardware and driver developer community.
Microsoft Research Connections announced the release of the book, TouchDevelop—Programming on the Go, available in print form, as an e-book, and on the web. TouchDevelop has reached new heights as the only programming environment on mobile touch devices that creates apps directly for the Windows Marketplace. This book is a comprehensive guide on how to use TouchDevelop to write fun, productive apps that make full use of a device's audio, camera, sensors, and so on.
Touchdevelop — Programming on the Go by Nigel Horspool (University of Victoria), Judith Bishop, Arjmand Samuel, Nikolai Tillmann, Michał Moskal, Jonathan de Halleux, Manuel Fähndrich (Microsoft Research)
Download the book for FREE.
Download as single file
Alternative download option: one file per chapter
Who this book is for
This book has much to offer to both students and teachers: For teachers, it walks in detail through all of the screens of the TouchDevelop app, and it points out similarities and differences of the TouchDevelop language compared to other programming languages that the teacher might already be familiar with. For students and enthusiasts, the book can serve as a handy reference next to the phone. The book systematically addresses all programming language constructs, starting from the very basic constructs such as variables and loops. The book also explores many of the phone sensors and data sources which make creating apps for mobile devices so rewarding.
How to read this book
If you are new to programming with TouchDevelop, or if you have not yet worked on touchscreen devices, we suggest that you read the book starting from chapter 1. If you are already familiar with the basic paradigm of the TouchDevelop programming environment, then feel free to jump ahead to the later chapters that address particular topic areas.
Two apps, one book
This book is written from the perspective of a Windows Phone user – all screenshots and navigation instructions refer to the Windows Phone app. The TouchDevelop Web App runs in many modern browsers on many different devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Macs, PC. The Web App uses the same programming language and has a very similar navigation structure as the TouchDevelop Windows Phone app. As a result, you can reuse the lessons of this book when you create mobile apps in your web browser.
I wanted to put this quick blog together to answer the most common questions I get from students/developers wishing to build apps.
1. How can I get a Store Account for Windows?
All Students get FREE Windows 8 Store accounts via DreamSpark follow this presentation on the steps to how to validate your FREE Windows 8 Store account
2. What are the resources available if I want to start developing a Windows 8 or Windows Phone application
Windows 8 Developers – http://dev.windows.com
Windows 8 Designers – http://design.windows.com
Windows Phone Developers – http://dev.windowsphone.com
Windows Phone Designers – http://design.windowsphone.com
3. Not a designer, where can I get a logo?
Images from www.thenounproject.com Remember to check licensing first!
4. I want nice fonts, but aren’t they expensive?
www.Fontsquirrel.com is an excellent resource
5. Where can I get colours to match my app?
www.kuler.adobe.com and www.colorlovers.com are excellent, free, searchable resources
6. Where can I get background/pattern for my app?
Great resource with some nice tutorials www.dinpattern.com
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