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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Choosing the right cross-platform mobile framework

    • 4 Comments

    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?

    So what Cross Platform Frameworks are available?

    Here is a list of some of the most common cross platform frameworks available for today’s mobile app builders.

    AIR

    The Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) is a cross-platform runtime for iOS and Android. It allows you to develop using ActionScript (a objected-oriented, strongly typed relative of JavaScript) by providing the Flash Player virtual machine to abstract away from the underlying hardware, with an extended API available to access device capabilities such as GPS and camera. Furthermore, this allows developers to use the Apache Flex enterprise application framework which provides its own UI components (and an associated UI framework), data binding, advanced data structures and other essential utilities. Flex also introduces the MXML language for the declarative creation of user interfaces.

    Enyo

    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 does not use templating, instead enyo.Controls (a kind of enyo.Component) render themselves into the DOM based on their owner/parent hierarchy in the application structure. Developers design the application structure/component with JavaScript object literals, adding methods and properties for functionality.

    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

    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.

    Along with its lightweight JavaScript library, Intel App Framework provides a basic MVC framework and many UI components. Rather than mimicking the native look and feel, the framework has opted for providing its own styles which looks the same across all platforms. Styles can be customised using the framework Style Builder

    jQTouch

    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.


    jQuery Mobile

    jQuery Mobile is a HTML5 framework which makes it easy to create websites that mimic the iOS look and feel. This is achieved by providing HTML that is marked up with various jQuery Mobile specific attributes, which is then processed to generate the final markup. Within PropertyCross jQuery Mobile is combined with KnockoutJS, which provides a presentation model (MVVM), RequireJS, for dependency management, and Cordova / PhoneGap, which packages the HTML / JavaScript within a native wrapper for app-store deployment. Cordova also provides a set of APIs for accessing native phone functionalities which are not available via HTML specifications.

    The JavaScript Model and ViewModel code is shared across all mobile platforms, whereas the HTML files, which make up the View, are specific for each platform. This allows the UI for each platform to be tailored to the requirements of each platform.

    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 UI

    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

    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

    Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is an open source set of tools that allows developers to create web apps in Java. GWT compiles Java into an optimised JavaScript application. GWT is most often used for large-scale web applications, with the strongly typed nature of Java making it easier to maintain a large codebase.

    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

    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.

    RhoMobile

    RhoMobile Suite is an integrated set of tools, created by Motorola Solutions, for building cross-platform mobile application using HTML5, JavaScript and Ruby. RhoMobile is made available under an MIT licence. Applications are developed using RhoStudio which is an Eclipse-based IDE. During development, applications can be tested using the built-in RhoSimulator, which is a Webkit-based browser, or a platform specific simulator. Building RhoMobile applications for Windows Phone, iOS or Android relies on the presence of the native SDKs.

    RhoMobile applications follow the MVC pattern, with the application UI defined in HTML (with jQuery Mobile being used to style the output). Application logic can be programmed in either JavaScript or Ruby.

    Sencha Touch 2

    Sencha Touch is a framework for building cross-platform mobile application using HTML5 technologies. Similar to ExtJS, Sencha Touch provides a fully functional JavaScript API and a structured MVC approach for building mobile applications. Coding is done (almost!) exclusively in JavaScript - with the majority of the HTML and CSS being abstracted away behind the concept of “components”, which are configured and generated by the JavaScript code.

    Titanium  

    Appcelerator Titanium is a JavaScript-based development platform for iOS and Android development. The JavaScript code runs on the device within an interpreter, and the UI for a Titanium application is entirely native. Titanium development uses the Titanium Studio IDE, and depending on your OS, the Android SDKs and Xcode are also required.

    The

    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

    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?


    PropertyCross http://www.propertycross.com

    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.

    Conclusion

    I would love to hear your experiences of developing apps and games for cross platform support and which tool you find the most useful?

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Big Data Solution SQL Server, Apache Hadoop and Windows Azure

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    Big Data Solution

    Microsoft’s end-to-end roadmap for Big Data embraces Apache Hadoop™ by distributing enterprise class Hadoop based solutions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure. The roadmap includes Microsoft BI tools such as SQL Server Analysis Services, Reporting Services and even PowerPivot and Excel. This enables you to do BI on all your data, including those in Hadoop.

    Key Benefits
    • Broader access of Hadoop to end users, IT professionals and Developers, through easy installation and configuration and simplified programming with JavaScript.
    • Enterprise ready Hadoop distribution with greater security, performance, ease of management and options for Hybrid IT usage.
    • Breakthrough insights through the use of familiar tools such as Excel, PowerPivot, SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services.

     BI_bd_gal1

    Technical Considerations

    On the more technical front, we have been working on a simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies, including HDFS, Hive, and Pig, which will help broaden the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise.

    The Hadoop based service for Windows Azure will allow any developer or user to submit and run standard Hadoop jobs directly on the Azure cloud with a simple user experience. Therefore it doesn’t matter what platform you are developing your Hadoop jobs on -you will always be able to take a standard Hadoop job and deploy it on our platform, as we strive towards full interoperability with the official Apache Hadoop distribution.

    This is great news as it lowers the barrier for building Hadoop based applications while encouraging rapid prototyping scenarios in the Windows Azure cloud for Big Data.To facilitate all of this, we have also entered into a strategic partnership with Hortonworks that enables us to gain unique experience and expertise to help accelerate the delivery of Microsoft’s Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure.

    For developers, we will enable integration with Microsoft developer tools as well as invest in making Javascript a first class language for Big Data. We will do this by making it possible to write high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript.For end users, the Hadoop-based applications targeting the Windows Server and Windows Azure platforms will easily work with Microsoft’s existing BI tools like PowerPivot and recently announced Power View, enabling self-service analysis on business information that was not previously accessible. To enable this we will be delivering an ODBC Driver and an Add-in for Excel, each of which will interoperate with Apache Hive.

    Finally, in line with our commitment to Interoperability and to facilitate the high performance bi-directional movement of enterprise data between Apache Hadoop and Microsoft SQL Server, we have released two Hadoop-based connectors for SQL Server to manufacturing.

    The SQL Server connector for Apache Hadoop lets customers move large volumes of data between Hadoop and SQL Server 2008 R2, while the SQL Server PDW connector for Apache Hadoop moves data between Hadoop and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW). These new connectors will enable customers to work effectively with both structured and unstructured data.

    For more information see http://www.microsoft.com/bigdata

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Metro Style Gaming

    • 4 Comments

    Next week I will be at the Develop Conference, attending some of the 103 sessions, 5 keynotes, and on the Microsoft stand at the Expo. I’m looking forward to networking with the 1500 developers and 450 companies during the event and discussing the opportunity of developing Windows 8 Metro Style games.

    develop

    On http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452780.aspx we list options for developing Windows 8 games.

    At present there are over 50 games available in the store using the above technologies, here are some good links to get started

    · Metro style app using JavaScript. You can use the established web technologies: HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to develop full-screen, chrome-free games.

    Slide2

    http://bit.ly/metroGamesJS

    · Metro style app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic and XAML. You can use managed code languages like C# and Visual Basic to develop 2D (and lightweight 3D) games. If you have developed in Silverlight for Internet Explorer or Windows Phone 7, this model will feel very familiar.

    Slide1

    http://bit.ly/metroGames

    · Metro style C++ with DirectX. You can develop both 2D and 3D games that effectively use the graphics processing horsepower on a range of Windows desktops and 3D-enabled Windows devices, from high powered gaming rigs to low power slates. It requires a strong working knowledge of Windows programming and native C/C++.

    Slide3

    http://bit.ly/metroGamesDX

    Tutorials

    C++/Direct3D

    There are a number of online tutorial around Marble Maze which is a DirectX game written in C++. This leads you to the more basic “Hello World” example over here although while the results of that example are “Hello World” in nature.

    There’s another, more realistic sample over here with a walk-through to build up a Metro style shooting game. It takes the form of a completed code sample and a walk through of what’s going on in that sample.

    It runs to around 40 source files.

    The key learning outcome for starting to build games for Metro are as follows as these would make excellent starting points for curricula development for Developing Metro Style Games.

    1) Understanding how a Metro style app gets on the screen – i.e. the infrastructure around IFrameworkViewSource and IFrameworkView.

    2) Understanding C++/CX which is a bunch of C++ extensions relatively familiar to people like me who’ve come from the C++/CLI world but a bit odd to a regular C++ developer.

    3) Understanding some of the technologies used like the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) which our default templates throw at you.

    4) Understanding some of the C++ 11 techniques like lambdas which our default templates also throw at you.

    5) Understanding how a Metro style app is meant to work from the point of view of lifecycle management (i.e. suspend/resume/terminate).

    6) Understanding the WinRT APIs available and their main usage and purpose.

    Steps 5 & 6 are common to any Windows 8 Metro style app developer.

    JavaScript

    There is a JavaScript tutorial but the game involved is very, very basic.

    Frameworks

    As we are all aware, there are many game engines /frameworks (middleware) available. Some of these are already supporting development for Win 8 metro games whilst others are planning to support it within the coming months. I have listed the ones which are or have short terms plans to support W8 metro apps. I am sure that there will be more to come…

    Unity

    http://unity3d.com/

    A full games development tool/suite – physics, rendering, scripting, AI etc.

    Windows 8 Metro support:                         coming soon (for GA)

    Dev languages:                                                 (game scripting) C#, Javascript

    MonoGame

    http://monogame.codeplex.com/

    An Open Source, OpenGL implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework

    Windows 8 Metro support:                         coming soon (‘later this year’)

    Dev languages:                                                 C#/XNA

    SharpDX

    http://sharpdx.org/

    SharpDX is an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API under the .Net platform, allowing the development of high performance game, 2D and 3D graphics rendering as well as realtime sound application.

    Windows 8 Metro support:                         Now

    Dev languages:                                                 C#

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Testing and Publishing your GameSalad Games/Apps to Windows 8

    • 2 Comments

    8611.Gamesalad_5F00_4F999756[1]

    GameSalad Creator is a 2D object oriented tool that allows you to create completely original games using a drag and drop interface, enabling you (the user) to create applications for Windows 8, iOS, Android, HTML5, and even for the Mac Platform without typing a single line of code so perfect for those developing there first app.  

    This is possible by using Creator's unique design and powerful features to turn logic and assets into finished high-quality products. For our purposes, ‘logic’ refers to the combination of Rules, behaviours, and Attributes that jointly define how a project operates, and ‘assets’ are the images and sounds imported into your project.    

    To download Creator for Windows, head over to http://gamesalad.com/creator to get the most recent version.

    GameSalad Windows Creator supports Windows 8, Android, and HTML5 publishing while Mac Creator supports iOS, Windows 8, Android, HTML5, and Mac Platform. An active Professional GameSalad Membership subscription is required for Android and Windows 8 publishing. As Pro memberships are account based, you'll only need one even if you plan on using both Windows Creator and Mac Creator. Simply log in to the Creator with your Pro account and you're good to go.

    What Screen Size/Canvas should I use?

    This is common question the setting should be 720p HD as the native resolution for Windows 8 is 1366 x 768

    Publishing your GameSalad Apps and Games to Windows 8

    To publish for Windows 8, you'll need a Windows 8 Developer  License (available at http://dev.windows.com)  or if your a student or educator via DreamSpark.com (available at https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx) and an active GameSalad Pro membership subscription (available at http://gamesalad.com/creator/pricing)

    It's important to note that while it’s possible to publish for Windows 8 using any supported Windows operating system, you'll need a Windows 8 environment to adhoc test your game. Another key detail is that unlike iOS publishing, the code signing process isn't divided into developer signing versus distribution signing. Instead, you'll simply upload the resulting APPX file using the Windows 8 developer portal (available at http://dev.windows.com)  when you're ready for submission via .

    Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but this time using the newly added 'Windows 8' platform tab. This page has the following fields and configuration options: 

    Nickname Short Name Privacy Policy URL Customer Support URL Display Name Description Tile Settings Splash Screen Snap View Image Windows 8 Store Package Settings 

    Its vital that these field are completed I will explain each of these settings individually in regards to what they do and how they affect your game. Keep in mind that many of the terms I'll be using are Windows 8 user-interface specific.


    Nickname - This name helps you tell your apps apart during the GameSalad Web Publishing process. Changing this field from its default setting of "Windows 8" will only change its corresponding tab label in the Platforms list on the left-hand side of the page. In other words, this field is only intended to help users stay organized and has no impact on your published file.

    Short Name - Specifies a short name for the app that appears directly on the tile. Per Windows Store requirements, users are allowed a maximum of 13 characters. The tile that this name will appear on can be see in Windows 8's  "Modern UI Style".
     
    Privacy Policy URL - This URL links to your personal Privacy Policy, which is a requirement of the Windows Store. If you do not a publicly hosted Privacy Policy for your game or games, you'll need to create one prior to submitting. Please do not direct players to GameSalad's Privacy Policy.

    This is One of the most common reasons Windows 8 apps fail certification is lack of a privacy statement.

    Do I need a privacy policy for my app?

    Windows 8 Certification requirement 4.1.1 states

    Your app must have a privacy policy if it collects personal information

    Now most of us building apps read that and think, I’m not collecting anyone’s email address or phone numbers with my app so I don’t need a privacy statement. Then you submit your app for certification and it fails! Why?

    Personal information includes: Webcam snaps, Audio/Video recordings, Photos, Documents, Contacts, and so on. So if you are using the webcam to take pictures or creating a document that access contact information or users files you need a privacy statement.

    Personal information also includes: IP Addresses. That means if your app has the ‘internet client’ capability enabled in your app you are going to need a privacy statement. By the way, the default templates in Visual Studio include the ‘internet client’ capability, so unless you change the default manifest, you will need a privacy statement.

    What do I put in a privacy policy?

    According to Windows 8 certification requirement 4.1.1

    In general, an acceptable privacy policy is one that:

    • Informs users of the information collected by your app

    • Informs users how that information is used, stored, secured and disclosed

    • Describes the controls that users have over the use and sharing of their information

    • Describes how they may access their information

    • Complies with applicable laws and regulations

    We do not provide a sample or a template for a privacy policy beyond that. Since the privacy policy is a document between you and the users of your app, you will have to write it and publish it on a website yourself.

    If you do not actually collect or store personal info from the users, say so in your privacy policy

    Where do I have to put this privacy policy?

    You must provide the privacy policy (or a link to it) in the description page of the submission site and in your settings.

    Where can I find some examples?

    Take a glance at the Windows 8 store and look at the description pages of some published apps. You can also go to the settings page of any installed apps you may have. If your app doesn’t collect personal information, you can probably write it yourself making it clear that you do not collect personal information. If your app does collect personal information you need to do your homework and find out the appropriate legal wording for your privacy policy.

    A good example is

    This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.

    Or take a look at standard Microsoft Privacy policy as basis is http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx

    Is there a code sample for adding it to settings?

    Sure, we all live for cut and paste. I found a nice C# example of how to add a privacy policy to your settings in a blog post at Expression Blend.com. http://www.expressionblend.com/articles/2012/08/16/windows-8-certification-and-privacy-statement/
      
    Customer Support URL - This URL directs users to where they can receive Customer Support for your game, which is also a requirement of the Windows Store. Please do not direct players to GameSalad Customer Support.
     
    Display Name - Specifies the friendly name as it will appear to Customers in the Windows 8 Store.  This is the App name that you reserved for this app in the Windows 8 developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field if you're only publishing to ad-hoc test. If you are publishing to submit to Windows, the Display Name needs to be a perfect match to the app name you previously reserved. 

    Description - A description of your game that will be displayed to your potential players. 

    Windows 8 UI Features

    Tile Settings (Including 'Tile Background Colour', 'Foreground Text', 'Show App Name', 'Logo', and 'Small Logo') - These are all fairly self explanatory, but each includes a tool tip with additional details for further clarity. Note both the Logo and and Small Logo must either be a .png or a .jpg and their required dimensions must be pixel perfect. 
     
    Splash Screen (Including 'Splash Screen Background Colour')  - again must be pixel perfect in size and .png or .jpg.
     
    Snap View Image (Including 'Background Colour' and 'Vertical Alignment') -- Must be pixel perfect .png or .jpg

    Windows 8 Store Package Settings (Including 'Package Name', 'Publisher ID', 'Publisher Display Name', 'Version Number', and 'Store Logo') - With the exception of the Store Logo, these fields contents are provided to you by Microsoft, through the developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field, these will need to be a perfect match to the information provided in the developer portal. The logo must be pixel perfect and .png or .jpg. 

    Ensure that the following fields must be character-for- character exact to what's on your Windows 8 developer portal http://dev.windows.com, otherwise your app submission will be unsuccessful:

    Display Name,
    Package Name,
    Publisher ID (minus "CN="),
    Publisher Display Name.

    Once you've filled out the Web Publish form and have generated/downloaded your game, you're ready to submit to the Windows Store.  After registering a Developer Profile via www.DreamSpark.com or directly at http://dev.windows.com you will be given a Publisher ID and Publisher Display Name.

    To find these values you will need to login to your Developer Account via dev.windows.com

    From your Developer Dashboard under Profile click on Account You will under Display Info your publisher Display Name and Publisher ID. It is critical that these values are input exactly as they appear on the page (Again, no need to include the CN= when entering your ID, GameSalad take care of this in the publishing system) 

    Before publishing the final product for submission to the Windows 8 Store you will need to have reserved the App Name via your developer portal on Microsoft's Website.

    To Reserve App Name: 
    Go to your Dashboard Click on Submit an App  Click App Name Add the Desired Name to the App Name field and submit. 
    Reserving the App Name will then provide you with the Package Name. 
    To get the package Name: Go to Your Dashboard Click Edit on the App in Question Click on Advanced Features Click on Push Notifications and Live Connect Services Click on Identifying your app The Identity Name at the bottom of the page is your Package Name.

    Steps for ad-hoc testing your Windows 8 game: 

    Prerequisites
        

    If your a student simply head over to

    Getting Started Building Windows 8 apps https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx

    If your a Non Student developer you will need

    •    Windows 8 SDK (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/hh852363.aspx)   

    •    Visual Studio 2012 Express or Professional installed (http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/products/visual-studio-express-products)

    •     GameSalad App-Signer available at http://gs.downloadables.s3.amazonaws.com/AppSigner0.10.0.zip (this is required to sideload and test your app/game before publishing to the windows store)

    Getting Started testing your app/game

    •    Install Visual Studio and Windows 8 SDK Download and Extract the GameSalad App Signer to the directory of your choice (we recommend your Documents folder)    

    •    Go to Directory that the App Signer was extracted into    

    •    Right Click AppSigner.exe and select Send to > Desktop Create Shortcut 

    •    Right Click Shortcut and select Properties    

    •    Go to Compatibility Tab and select the Run as Administrator (bottom of window)    

    •    Apply > OK

    •    Build your app or Game with Gamesalad and publish the app 

    How to Use the GameSalad AppSigner after you have created your app/game

    •    Double Click to Run Program    

    •    App Path - Browse to the published APPX file that you desire to sign 

    •    Publisher ID - This is the Publisher ID that was used during publishing    

    •    Key Name - This can be anything that you desire.  Ideal use case is to enter in the name of the Application without spaces.    

    •    Click Sign App     •    You are now ready to Side Load your game for ad-hoc testing  

    To Side Load for Testing    

    •    Browse to directory that has the signed APPX    

    •    Right Click the Add-AppDevPackage.ps1 and choose Run in Power Shell    

    •    Follow the prompts in Power Shell     
    ◦    NOTE: If this is the first time that you are side loading an application for testing, you will be prompted to Acquire a Developer License.  The account that you use to sign in must be a Microsoft Live account.  Once you are signed in, continue following the prompts.     
    ◦    NOTE: If the version Number of the app/game was not increased during publishing, and you have previously installed a version of the app/game onto the Windows 8 device, you will need to uninstall the existing version prior to installing.   

    •    Once the app has been installed, proceed to the Windows Start Screen and click the icon for your test application.

    Publishing your app to the Windows 8 Store

    Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but complete all the fields in the 'Windows 8' platform tab as instructed above.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Porting of a existing XNA Windows Phone Game to Windows 8

    • 6 Comments

    Windows Phone Win8_logo

    Basic considerations

    Typically, you develop an application for Windows Phone 7 by using Microsoft Silverlight  and one of the managed programming languages—usually C# or XNA.

    There are two main Windows Store app development approaches that you can use when migrating your Windows Phone 7 app: XAML, and JavaScript with HTML5. You develop Windows Store apps using C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using one of those languages with XAML, whereas you develop Windows Store apps using JavaScript with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5 along with the Windows Library for JavaScript.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using XAML

    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.

    Porting to a Windows Store app using JavaScript

    A Windows Store app using JavaScript is another model for Windows Phone 7 ports, and may be better suited for simple UI-based apps or to full-screen web apps or clients.

    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!

    ShearC 

    Some of the key features, the team now need to work on now to get the app store ready is..

    • In app advertisement
    • Windows 8 Store app contracts and charms settings to allow the tweeting and sharing of results
    • Development of a online leader board
    • A ensuring the app functions is both landscape and portrait modes.

    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.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    A look at Windows 8 devices

    • 2 Comments

     

    For all of you who have asked what Windows 8 devices will be available later this year? Here is a quick run down on Windows 8 devices from the Computex, as you may be aware from the press announcements Intel made the statement that more than 20 Windows 8 tablets with Intel innards are on the way, meaning these are new slates from Acer, ASUS and Samsung here are some of the models which were on display at Computex and reviews via the verge and engadget.

    Samsung

    Samsung teases Series 5 Hybrid PC, a Windows 8 tablet with magnetic keyboard dock and pen support (update: hands-on photos)

    clip_image002

    The Hybrid is rated for 10 hours of battery life and has a pair of 2- and 8-megapixel cameras. It also supports pen input, and will come bundled with the same S-Pen and S-Memo software used on the Galaxy Note 10.1 (but modified for Windows, of course). This might be a good time to clarify that unlike the 10.1 (or any other Galaxy Tab, for that matter), this is not an ARM-based slate, but rather, an X86 PC.

    Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch hands-on

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/04/samsung-series-5-ultra-touch-convertible

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    Samsung Series 5 Ultra Convertible hands-on

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    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/04/samsung-series-7-all-in-one-PC/

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    Asus

    ASUS outs Tablet 600, a Transformer-like Slate running Windows RT

    Like any Android-powered Transformer, this one packs a quad-core Tegra 3 chip, except it has twice the RAM (2GB). At the center of it all is a 10.1-inch (1366 x 768) IPS+ display with viewing angles similar to what you'll find on current Transformer tablets. Around back, it has an auto-focusing 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash, complemented by a 2-megapixel shooter up front. Other specs include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and your usual array of sensors, including GPS, a gyroscope, e-compass and, last but not least, NFC

    clip_image012

    ASUS reveals TAICHI convertible notebook / tablet with dual 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch displays It http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/04/asus-taichi-n-trig-duosense-pen/

    Two displays in one tablet? Yes you can. ASUS' new TAICHI series packs displays on both the front and the rear, letting you use the device in a variety of configurations. In 'notebook' mode, you can use TAICHI with a backlit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. Once you close the lid, however, it's stylus time. TAICHI includes Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors, 4 gigs of RAM, SSD storage, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, FHD/Super IPS+ displays and, naturally, dual cameras. Despite the display duo, both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch configurations are reportedly as thin and light as the Zenbook line. Both variants will offer 1920 x 1080 pixels on each side, and displays can be used independently, so you can even share the device with a friend -- with completely different content on each LCD.

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    Asus Transformer AiO dual-boots Windows 8 and Android 4.0 (hands-on video)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie87s6U9A6c&feature=player_embedded

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    ASUS announces line of Transformer Books, laptops with detachable touchscreens

    In addition to various Windows 8 tablets and a dual-booting all-in-one, ASUS announced the Transformer Book, a line of notebooks with detachable touch screens that can function as tablets -- not ARM-based tablets, mind you, but full-blown x86 slates. Look no further than the large screen sizes: 11.6, 13 and 14 inches. As mentioned, they pack laptop-grade chips to match, including a Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, backed by discrete graphics. Storage options include SSDs and traditional hard drives, and we're told these lappies can accommodate up to 4GB of RAM.

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    MSI

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/05/msi-slider-s20-windows-8-tablet-hands-on/

    MSI Slider S20 to make Intel's convertible 'Letexo' ultrabook concept a reality. MSI unwraps Slider S20 hybrid tablet with Windows 8 (hands-on)

    S20 variant with a properly speedy low-voltage Ivy Bridge chip as well as 4GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI and USB 3.0. Our friends at Engadget Spanish got an early look and found the tablet a bit chunky with a so-so display, but also thought that it looked like a "robust" design. Check our overseas companions' first impressions for more, and know that the Slider S20 is expected to reach Europe in September at €899 ($1,121) in its full Ivy Bridge glory along with a lower-powered model at €799 ($996).

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    MSI Slider S20

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    Toshiba

    There's a Transformer-style tablet with detachable keyboard dock

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    Acer

    Acer unveils 11.6-inch Iconia W700, 10.1-inch W510 Windows 8 tablets (update: hands-on pictures and video) http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/03/acer-iconia-w700-w510-windows-8/

    That first flavor packs a relatively massive 11.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) display with touch support for up to 10 fingers, and ships with a cradle that positions the device at 70 degrees for landscape viewing or 20 degrees for touch use. It offers more than 8 hours of battery life and also includes a trio of USB 3.0 ports, along with Dolby Home Theater for enhanced audio. Acer appears to be marketing the W700 as a "desktop replacement" when paired with a cradle and keyboard. Unlike the W510, the dock is only used to hold and position the device -- you'll need to use Bluetooth to add an external keyboard. The tablet includes a bevy of connectivity options, including Thunderbolt, micro HDMI, USB 3.0 and a power jack on the left side, a pair of red-grilled speakers on the bottom, and a power button, headphone jack and volume rocker on the right. There's also a five-megapixel autofocus camera and microphone on the rear, and a Windows key and front-facing camera flanking the large, high-res display.

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    Acer introduces Aspire S7 Windows 8 touchscreen ultrabooks

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/3/3061903/acer-introduces-s7-touchscreen-windows-8-ultrabooks/in/2826346

    The 1080p touchscreen laptop is coming in two sizes — 13.3 and 11.6 inches — and Acer is quoting 12 and 9 hours of battery life, respectively. Other details are light, but Acer is adding a glossy layer of glass to the outside of the 13.3-inch machine’s aluminum lid. It seems like the company is tempting fate a little by putting glass on the laptop's exterior, but the "trendy and elegant appearance" must be worth it

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    Acer introduces Windows 8 all-in-one U Series at Computex 2012 http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/03/acer-announces-windows-8-all-in-one-u-series-at-computex-2012/

    Acer just introduced two Windows 8-equipped U Series all-in-one desktops here at Computer 2012 in Taipei -- the 27-inch Aspire 7600U and 23-inch Aspire 5600U. The 7600U features a 64-point capacitive multitouch tilt and swivel display and is only 3.5cm (1.38 inches) thick, while the 5600U is billed as "the thinnest AIO available" (no numbers specified). Both system feature HD visuals and Dolby Home Theater Surround sound, but the company isn't ready to share any other details on specs.

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    Qualcomm

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/05/windows-rt-on-snapdragon-s4-hands-on/

    A1.5GHz dual-core APQ8060A with 2GB of RAM

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    Lenovo

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/05/lenovo-thinkpad-tablet-windows-8/

     

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    Sony VAIO T ultrabook

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/5/3064957/sony-vaio-t13-ultrabook-hands-on

     Sony's 13-inch VAIO T ultrabook, on sale today

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect V2 Preview SDK now available includes UNITY3D plugin

    • 1 Comments

    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

    • The new sensor can track as many as six complete skeletons and 25 joints per person.
    • Improved skeletal tracking: The enhanced fidelity of the depth camera, combined with improvements in the software, have led to a number skeletal tracking developments. In addition to now tracking as many as six complete skeletons (compared to two with the original sensor), and tracking 25 joints per person (as compared to 20 with the original sensor).
    • Higher depth fidelity: With higher depth fidelity and a significantly improved noise floor, the v2 sensor gives you better 3D visualization, increased ability to see smaller objects and all objects more clearly, and more stable skeletal tracking.
    • 1080p HD video: The colour camera captures full, beautiful 1080p video that can be displayed in the same resolution as the viewing screen, allowing for a broad range of powerful scenarios. In addition to improving video communications and video analytics applications, this provides a great input on which to build high-quality, augmented reality scenarios, digital signage, and more.
    • New active infrared capabilities: In addition to allowing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor to see in the dark, the new infrared (IR) capabilities produce a lighting-independent view, which makes machine learning or computer-vision–based tasks much easier—because you don’t have to account for or model lighting-based variation. And, you can now use IR and colour at the same time.
    • Wider/expanded field of view: The expanded field of view enables a larger area of a scene to be captured by the camera. As a result, users can be closer to the camera and still in view, and the camera is effective over a larger total area.

    In addition to the new sensor’s key features, the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 includes:

    • Improved skeletal, hand, and joint orientation: With the ability to track as many as six people and 25 skeletal joints per person—including new joints for hand tips, thumbs, and shoulder centre—as well as improved understanding of the soft connective tissue and body positioning—you get more anatomically correct positions for crisp interactions and more accurate avateering.
    • Support for new development environments: New Unity support provides 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.
    • Powerful tooling: Thanks to Kinect Studio’s enhanced recording and playback features, developers can develop on the go, without the need to have a Kinect sensor with them at all times. And Gesture Builder lets developers build their own custom gestures that the system recognizes and uses to write code by using machine learning.
    • Advanced face tracking: With significantly increased resolution, applications can capture a face with a 2,000-point mesh that looks more true to life. This means that avatars will look more lifelike.
    • Simultaneous multi-app support: New multi-app support enables more than one application to access a single sensor simultaneously. This means you could have a business intelligence app running at the same time that a training or retail or education experience were running, allowing you to get analytics

    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

    Training

    Join our Microsoft Virtual Academy to learn from our experts and jump start your development.

    Key links

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 10 on Embedded devices now available via Windows IoT Insider

    • 1 Comments

    Win10Pi

    This week at  Build 2015  and Raspberry Pi and various other hardware vendors were present. One of the key announcement was the availability of Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview

    Pi10

    The Windows 10 IoT Core Insider is a public release of Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi 2

    So how do you get access to Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview

    To get started register at  http://ms-iot.github.io/content/GetStarted.htm

    Prerequisites

    You need to create a connect account
    You need to have a windows 10 insider account http://insider.windows.com
    You have to take the survey on Connect and accept the terms before getting access to the downloads.

      The Hardware support with IoT insider are

      windows_10_iot_version_1m

      The RPI2 and Minnow run the Windows 10 IoT Core.

      win10pi1

      Arduino

      Windows Remote Arduino

      Windows Remote Arduino allows the control of an Arduino board through a Bluetooth or USB connection from a Universal app running on, say, a Windows 10 Phone or Desktop.

      Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino

      Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino abstracts (or virtualizes) Arduino libraries up into a Universal App on a Windows 10 device. This includes the Arduino wire library.

      The Galileo

      The Galileo runs a headless IoT version of Windows 8.1 with an Arduino IO profile

      So interested in more fromhttp://build.windows.com \\Build 2015

      Some key  IoT Sessions and announcements

      Sessions with the IoT content: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2015?t=internet-of-things

      Raspberry Pi, Arduino  IoT Session Windows for Makers- Raspberry Pi 2, Arduino and More

      Getting a understanding of IoT - Internet of Things Overview

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

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

      • 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

    • Scoreoid

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

    • AdRotator

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

      Get the New Unity Plug-in!

    • MediaBrix

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

    • PreApps

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

      Get the PreApps Featured Feedback app for free!

    • LeadBolt

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

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

    • Inmobi

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

    • Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Store apps

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

    • AdDuplex

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

    • Ads Plug-in for Unity3d

      unity

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

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

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

    • Using this is simple and goes like this:

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

    Installing Windows 8 onto Samsung Series 7 Slate

    • 1 Comments

    clip_image001

    For those who have been asked about running Windows 8 Consumer Preview on the retail version of Nike-Tab (sold as the Series 7 Slate)… please note that has Samsung created a new webpage to assist users with the install + drivers which can be found here: http://www.samsung.com/global/windowspreview/

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