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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Last week I was travelling the country talking to academics and students about the opportunity of building apps for Windows 8.
During the week I had a number of really interesting discussions, however on Friday I had a comment from one student, who simply believed Windows 8, was for touch devices only.
We got onto the topic of keyboard and mouse as I was presenting using a Lenovo thinkpad which supports both touch and keyboard and mouse. I was simply demonstrating Windows navigation via touch and then via keyboard and mouse during the presentation demos and the student in question seemed to be blown away by this and when we discussed this it more detail after the event he wasn't aware of the number of Windows Shortcut keys available.
So here a quick list of some of my favourites
Charms and menus
Apps Search Screen
Files Search Screen
Split to the right
Split to the left
Scroll Start Screen
Apps Options/App bar
One great thing about academia is that its always important to understand your skills, particular situation, objectives and what you are trying to achieve.
So thanks to Joel Citzen and his blog The following guidance will help you get started to being the most effective developer.
What type of developer are you?
New to the Platform Typically you would have no existing apps and can’t wait to build and ship your app to Windows Phone Store or Windows Store. In this case the suggestion is that as a beginner you grab the free tools and start exploring building for either platform. You can explore:
Seasoned in Windows Phone App You already built Windows Phone Apps and now want to build apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. You will find a lot of similarities when you develop your apps for both platforms. To get started explore:
Seasoned in Windows Store App You already built Windows Store apps and now want to build apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. You will find a lot of similarities when you develop your apps for both platforms. You can get started by exploring these sources:
Seasoned in another Platform You’ve built apps for other platforms, and want to ship them or port them to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Many of the programming concepts will be familiar. Both platforms support C++, and the tools have templates to help you get started. To learn more explore:
Games Creator from another Platform You’ve built games for another platforms and want to port them to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. We’ve invested significantly in native gaming support on Windows Phone 8 and this will make it possible for you to port your existing games to both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Check these resources:
Maximising Code Reuse.
After choosing your approach, based on what type of developer you fall under, you can now decide what choices to make to maximize code reuse in your apps. As a developer, you want to streamline your development and make maintaining your app efficient. When building an app for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, you should look for opportunities to share code, designs, and assets as much as possible so that you maximize the return on your investment.
Version: 1.0 Date published: 11/26/2012 Language: English
WindowsPhone8TrainingCourse2012-11-18.104.22.168.Setup.exe 157.3 MB Download
Hands on labs for Windows Phone 8 software development
Supported operating systems: Windows 8
Windows 8 – http://dev.windows.com Windows Phone SDK 8 – http://dev.windowsphone.com
Additional Learning Resources
Windows Phone API QuickStart Poster (PDF) Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 platform comparison What's new in Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Using the MVVM pattern in Windows 8 Targeting Multiple Platforms with Portable Code: Overview Sharing XAML UI Polymorphism (C# Programming Guide) MVVM Quickstart Implementing the Model-View-ViewModel pattern in a Windows Phone app How to: Add Existing Items to a Project Getting started developing apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 Develop Windows Store apps using C++ and XAML: Hilo Design library for Windows Phone Design guidance for Windows Store apps Cross-Platform Development with the .NET Framework Creating Windows Runtime Components Create a Continuous Client Using Portable Class Libraries Asynchronous Programming with Async and Await (C# and Visual Basic) Announcing the release of the .NET Framework for Windows Phone 8
BUILD 2012 VIDEOS
Create Cross-platform Apps using Portable Class Libraries (Build 2012) How to Leverage your Code across WP8 and Windows 8 (Build 2012) Windows Phone 8: Using C++ in your Applications (Build 2012) Windows Phone 8: Native C/C++ Game Development (Build 2012)
Dare to be Digital is a video games development competition for extremely talented students at Universities and Colleges of Art.
Teams of 5 students, usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio, assemble at Abertay University for 9 weeks during June to August to develop a prototype video game, receiving mentoring from industry. The students also receive a weekly stipend of £150 per student, free accommodation at the University's halls of residence and a team budget of £200.
At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games. At the Dare awards ceremony, three prizes of £2500 will be awarded to the three highest scoring teams based on the criteria of innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology (none of the three will be specifically attributed to any particular criterion). Seven months later the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted "Ones to Watch Award".
Sounds good, yes? here are the benefits to student who take part:
Dare 2012 winners announced at Dare ProtoPlay
So on the 14th August 2012 The three BAFTA-nominated winners of Dare to be Digital were revealed at the climax of Dare ProtoPlay. Over the weekend a record-breaking audience of 10,000 people played the 15 games over three days at the free Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee.
The three games who now compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award at the 2013 BAFTA Video Games Awards are:
- Starcrossed, for Windows Phone 7 by Kind of a Big Deal (team leader Kimi Sulopuisto, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean, Minttu Meriläinen, Vili Viitaniemi)
- Pixel Story, for PC by Loan Wolf Games (team leader Martin Cosens, Luke Harrison, Ashley Hayes, Thomas McParland, Benjamin Rushton)
- Project Thanatos, for PC and virtual reality headset by Raptor Games (team leader Hugh Laird, Andrew Coles, Tom Kemp, Tom Laird, Alexandra Shapland)
Kimi Sulopuisto from Kind of a Big Deal said: “This is the biggest thing I’ve achieved in my life. I’d absolutely encourage anyone looking to make their own games to enter Dare to be Digital – you’ve nothing to lose, and you could win so much.”
Martin Cosens from Loan Wolf Games said: “This is absolutely amazing. For anyone wanting to make games, I’d say don’t hesitate, just do it. Don’t let anyone curb your ideas or hopes, as things like this can happen – you can get into Dare to be Digital, and get nominated for a BAFTA.”
Hugh Laird from Raptor Games said: “We were hoping and praying we’d get nominated for a BAFTA – it really justifies nine weeks of hard, hard work. And we didn’t expect to win the audience award, which is just the icing on top.”
Johnny Minkley, BAFTA Games Committee member and Dare judge, said: “I’m hugely impressed with the standard of all the games on show and the professionalism and passion of all the Dare to be Digital teams. “It was a hard choice for the judges, but all three BAFTA nominees are strong games and very different games. It will be a really tough decision for the judges to pick the final BAFTA winner at the Video Games Awards next March.”
Loan Wolf Games were also the winners of the brand new £25,000 Channel 4 prize. They will now be funded and supported to complete their game for a full commercial release.
Raptor Games also won the public vote for the Intel Visual Computing Tools Audience Award, with each team member receiving an Intel Ultrabook.
Kind of a Big Deal were supported to take part in Dare to be Digital by the Scottish Government as this year’s Nordic competitor, as were the Chinese and Indian teams.
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “The entrants to Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital get better and better every year, and all 15 teams have done something incredible – built a professional, playable and exciting game in just nine weeks. “The BAFTA-nominated winners – Kind of a Big Deal, Loan Wolf Games and Raptor Games – stood out from the tough competition for their exceptional game design, playability and commercial appeal, but all 15 teams have the experience now to enter the games industry or start their own businesses. “We look forward to seeing, and playing, many successes from them in the future.”
This year’s Dare ProtoPlay festival was also expanded to include Dare Indie Fest, a conference for budding entrepreneurs and a showcase of games from independent companies.
Dare Indie Fest was presented by the Abertay Prototype Fund, which provides grants of up to £25,000 to small and startup games companies. Over 40 games were available to play for free throughout the Dare ProtoPlay weekend, including the 15 student games and new titles from independent game developers from across the UK and as far afield as Romania. Continued Scottish Government support of £85,700 enabled teams from China, India and Finland to take part in Dare to be Digital this year. Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop officially opened the Dare ProtoPlay festival on Friday. Support from EventScotland enabled Dare to be Digital to expand into the City Square marquee. The event was also supported by Ukie, Dundee City Council and Interactive Tayside.
I am pleased to announce that the Winning Game - Starcrossed, for Windows Phone 7 by Kind of a Big Deal (team leader Kimi Sulopuisto, Petri Liuska, Andrew MacLean, Minttu Meriläinen, Vili Viitaniemi) is now live in the Windows MarketPlace achieving a NEW Record. Ensuring their app was published into the commercial marketplace – via the Windows Phone Marketplace in the shortest time after Dare.
Starcrossed is a whimsical 2D platformer game where you guide a crash-landed astronaut back to his home planet, using a rocket launcher to send him flying through space from one asteroid to another. Gravity plays a pivotal role as it will affect the astronaut’s movement. Temperature is also important: be careful not to expose the astronaut to the burning heat of the sun or the freezing conditions of outer space for too long!
Starcrossed was created during the Dare to be Digital 2012 games development competition. The game was one of the winning entries and is nominated for BAFTA "Ones to Watch" award 2013.Features:- Intuitive one-touch controls- 30 levels of fast and quirky gravity-based gameplay- Various different planets, each with their unique properties- Vivid colours and a painterly look- Original sound and music Watch the game trailer at: http://youtu.be/VSUO5dtWnx8 Follow the team at: www.facebook.com/starcrossedgame www.facebook.com/koabd2012 www.twitter.com/koabd2012 Find their publisher at: www.facebook.com/kajakgames and www.twitter.com/kajakgames
Watch out for our guest blog from Kimu Sulopuisto from Starcrossed tomorrow, where he will discuss Starcrossed and his experience of Dare and Windows Phone 7 and what a Kind of a Big Deal achieved from the event.
If your really interested in competitions and gaming then check out http://www.imaginecup.com
Last week a student at the University of York asked me about my views on typescript.
So what is Typescript
Microsoft Technical Fellow Anders Hejlsberg states that. TypeScript is designed to add those extra bits, with static typing and classes at the top of Hejlsberg's list of developer desirables.
So how is Typescript being used, TouchDevelop is a novel, touch-first IDE originally written as a Windows Phone 7 app using C# and XAML.
For more details on Touch Develop Development see the following //build session. http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2012/3-018
Typescript site http://www.typescriptlang.org/
New feature now available in Microsoft TouchDevelop, the mobile programming environment.
TouchDevelop Web App Preview at touchdevelop.com/app runs on
For Windows Phone 7/8 you can get the fully featured app in the Windows Phone Store that can access even more sensors and data.
We have quite some fun testing the latest TouchDevelop releases on many different devices…
TouchDevelop lets you create and run apps on pretty much any modern computing device you might own from smartphones to tablets and even PCs. TouchDevelop features a predictive on-screen code keyboard and a touch-optimized programming language.
Having been designed for mobile devices from the ground up, TouchDevelop is an excellent option for programming on touchscreen devices without keyboards. You can also use it with a traditional keyboard and mouse if your device supports them.
After you have designed your fun game or a useful tool, you can share it with other people with a single tap or mouse click, so that they can run it or tweak it. More than 12,000 scripts have already been shared with over 40,000 users who have signed in to the TouchDevelop experience.
TouchDevelop is also an excellent option for learning programming.
The high-level programming languages makes it super easy to create simple apps. But TouchDevelop is not just for beginners – for more complicated tasks only sky is the limit, thanks to the underlying powerful language and extensive library support.
If the TouchDevelop environment is not enough, you can export true apps and submit them to the Windows Store or the Windows Phone Store to start earning money and building a portfolio
Start coding with the Web App in your browser at touchdevelop.com/app or get the Windows Phone app.
Like TouchDevelop on Facebook to stay up to date.
Win cash by developing apps with TouchDevelop! Winners will take the stage in Las Vegas at a special live event during IEEE CCNC 2013.*
I recently took part in a Microsoft Partners in Learning Virtual University series on TouchDevelop delivered by Jonathan 'Peli' de Halleux who works for Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA. The series was part of a PIL Appathon Competition for educators around Europe, the final stage of which will be a 24 hour Appathon in London just before BETT in January 2013. I had no idea what to expect from the series and had no idea about what TouchDevelop was. The series was excellent and I know have a firm understanding of the fundamentals of TouchDevelop and how to create simple apps using it. It was also a fantastic experience to be part of a community of learners from around Europe sharing experiences during online sessions and via PIL network forums.
I teach Games Development at Reid Kerr College in Paisley, Scotland and I currently mainly use XNA with C#; however we have been looking at different tools to introduce students to programming such as Scratch, Kodu and MIT App Inventor, as XNA can be quite a jump for students who have never programming before. We are also keen to get students creating APPs and after learning about TouchDevelop I think it is a great platform to achieve these goals.
The really big difference about TouchDevelop and other dev tools is that it allows you to actually code and test your APP on a mobile device. You can choose to develop on a PC and then package it as an APP, but you can code on any device which has a modern HTML5 browser. So if your device can run IE10 or the latest versions of Safari or Chrome, you will be able to use TouchDevelop to code and test APPs on your device. I have used a variety of platforms successfully with TouchDevelop; on desktop PCs I have used IE10 in Windows 8 and Chrome in Windows 7. I have also used Safari on both the iPhone and iPad and on my Windows 7 phone I have used the dedicated TouchDevelop APP. So although TouchDevelop only creates APPs for the Windows Marketplace on WP7/8 and Windows 8, you can develop and test APPs via the TouchDevelop site on your favourite browser on pretty much any device.
Coding with TouchDevelop on iPhone
Another great part of TouchDevelop is the community aspect to it. The scripts (APPs) you publish are available to the rest of the community to use and play, which means if you don’t know how to do something you can look up someone else’s script doing a similar task and you will quickly find the solution. You can also take other user’s scripts and alter them and credit is still given to the original publisher as it shows how many variations of your scripts are out there. You can also build libraries yourself and then these libraries can be used by other users when creating their own apps and once again you can see how many scripts are using your library. One other great feature of TouchDevelop is the ability to have a high score table which the community can immediately contribute to as soon as you hit the publish button from your script. This is not publishing it as an app on the marketplace it is just making it available for the community to try out and it only takes 2 or 3 lines of code.
High Score Table
TouchDevelop comes with a variety of libraries which makes most tasks easy to do. I have been working a lot with the game board, which has built in functions for dealing with sprites, collisions, physics and touch events.
Pong created in TouchDevelop
Once I got used to working with the interface and the language I was able to quickly put together some games. I created a touch version of PONG in about 2 to 3 hours, in which you use your finger to control a Bat by sliding your finger up & down to try and defeat an AI controlled Bat. I also created a Space Invaders clone called TouchInvaders which took me roughly about 4 hours to get a working version, although I did go back later and tweak it to add shields and play about with the controls.
TouchInvaders on iPhone
TouchInvaders running in Chrome on a Windows7 PC
TouchInvaders running in IE10 desktop browser on a Windows 8 PC
TouchInvaders running in IE10 on a Windows 8 PC
TouchDevelop is still in its infancy and therefore has a number of minor bugs, but the Microsoft team are constantly working on these and improving it and adding functionality on almost a daily basis. Overall I would say that TouchDevelop has amazing potential and is a good alternative to some of the other tools out there that can be used to teach programming at a beginner’s level, however unlike Scratch it actually allows you to make games I would want to play.
David thanks for your comments and if your interested in learning more about touchdevelop see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/12/03/touchdevelop-web-app-preview-at-touchdevelop-com-app-runs-on-windows-ios-android.aspx
The Windows Phone 8 Jump Start videos are now available online. The Windows Phone Jump Start is two full days of demo-rich sessions led last week by our own experts, Microsoft Technical Evangelist Andy Wigley, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Strategist Rob Tiffany. Andy and Rob are two of the most respected authorities in mobile app development and were excited to help C#/XAML developers get the most from the Windows Phone 8 platform.
Jump Start Training On Channel 9: First session (of 21): Introducing Windows Phone 8 Development Part 1 (Links to others on that page)
Jump Start Training on Microsoft Virtual Academy: Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start
More details are on Andy Wigley blog the presenter of Windows 8 Jump Start: Windows Phone 8 Jump Start Video recordings now available!.
Starting with last month’s //build 2012 conference, where we took the wraps off the new Windows Phone 8 developer platform, releasing the new SDK and continuing through last week at our popular Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training, our team has worked to compile useful technical content to guide you as you dive into development of new Windows Phone 8 apps. If you weren’t able to hear our experts deliver the content live, don’t worry, every breakout session is now on-demand on Channel 9. Check out the //build 2012 wrap-up blog post for a complete list of all available content, including the below topics:
Native C/C++ Game Development
XAML Application Development
Leverage Code across Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8
In-app Purchase & Dev Center
Networking, Bluetooth and NFC Proximity
Making Money With Your Apps
HTML5/IE10 for Developers
Maps, Location & Background Execution
Performance & Optimization
Photo and Lens Apps
Tiles, Lock Screen and Notifications
Using C++ in Your Apps
Using the Speech API
Wallet and Deals for Devs
App to App Communication
With the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, this academic year promises to be our biggest yet for the opportunity of building amazing games in a variety of technologies and frameworks including C++, DirectX, Unity, MonoGame, Marmalade, C#, Construct2, GameMaker and HTML5!
Want to be part of the excitement? We’re hiring NOW for our 1st phase of Windows Games Ambassadors.
There are up to 20 Ambassador places available. Applications close Friday 4th January at 5pm (GMT).
Apply Now - http://www.ubelly.com/fancy-being-a-microsoft-university-gaming-ambassador/
Students Developers who are undertaking gaming course, proactive and personable are perfect for the role. Being trustworthy is also a quality we look for in all Ambassadors as you’ll be relied upon to perform your duties in your own time. It’s essential that you’re interested in games development and have demonstrable skills in at least one of these technologies XNA, C++, C#, DirectX Unity and HTML5 don’t worry if you’re not the savviest of tech minds or a C++ ninja as we will provide you access to training resources. Finally you must be an student studying a gaming related course at university in the UK.
As one of the first to get to grips with the opportunity of games development for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. There will be opportunities to unleash your inner developer and people skills setting up your own partnerships between Microsoft Developers and local student bodies as well as running local development events and supporting gaming competitions and incentives.
Don’t worry if this sounds above you; the role will not require more than 12 hours of your time per month (we’re also considerate to the demands of your exams periods) and you’ll be given bespoke training and guidance throughout the year, you will also develop your own portfolio of at least 4 Windows Store games which will become a key part of your CV and portfolio.
We’ll give the latest tech in the shape of a brand new Windows 8 device and a Windows Phone 8 and regular incentives. However more importantly you’ll gain valuable experience working with the biggest technology brands in the world on their latest opportunity in gaming!
Interested? Yes? Then just add your details to the form below to apply and Good Luck!
So what does it involve?
As a team we are responsible for helping students, start-ups and indies design, create and publish great quality games for Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone.
The Ambassador role is to help us achieve this by:
· creating great quality games
· writing great content and blogs that we can use to showcase student talent
· co-delivering content with Microsoft at events aimed at the gaming industry
So we are looking for students who:
· are experienced software developers specifically in gaming
· are passionate about developing games and for Microsoft
· are able to prove this passion
you have written an application
· are at a UK university and over 18
· have the support of a faculty member
· are able to articulate technology to a crowd
We do want to encourage discussion and debate about technology and hence your experiences and opinions are extremely valuable. If you want to share your passion and develop industry-leading skills, we want to hear from you.
What will you get in return?
As part of your role as Ambassador you will receive the following
· Amazing Microsoft Kit and access to developer tools
· Online sessions and calls with the UK Windows 8 and Windows Phone Gaming Team
· technical education sessions organised on-line
· the ability to showcase your skills to a wider audience though Microsoft promoting your games and developer skills to the wider student, developer and indie community
· increased visibility in your university (dependant on you driving this with your faculty contact)
How do we select Ambassador?
We’ll review applications in Jan. Subsequent selection will take place until the end of Feb 2013.
To consider applying for the Ambassador Program, you must be:
· Over 18 years of age.
· Studying a full-time gaming related course at an officially recognised university in the UK.
· Have the support of a Faculty Member or a Professional within the technology industry.
· Everyone needs to have published at least four games the Microsoft or Store (Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 during the role)
· If you have an app in the design stage you can become an Ambassador on probation for 3 months until your first game gets published
What are we looking for?
All Ambassadors should have the following basic qualities:
· Passionate about gaming and gaming technology and what it can do
· Someone who loves to learn
· Be part of an active and vibrant network
· Demonstrates a high degree of responsibility, honesty, and integrity
· Good rapport with faculty and students studying other disciplines
· Willing to share knowledge & eager to educate and inspire others
· High level of social activity, both online & offline
· Willingness to support and organise university events and involve the local community
What’s the fine print?
· The time commitment is somewhat variable and depends on you and the activity but it might be somewhere between 1-3 hours/week.
· Students must be enrolled fulltime in an accredited academic institution within the UK and studying a gaming related degree course.
· In order for new people to be accepted onto the programme we expect prospective Ambassadors to provide some evidence that you have the desire, capacity and willingness to share your passion for gaming technology.
· If we find it is not meeting your needs then Ambassadors are free to leave the programme at any time
· Microsoft retains the right to exclude people from the programme at any time.
· Your details will not be used for any other marketing purpose.
How to apply?
Applications for the 2013 Academic Year are now open. To apply for the Ambassadors programme, please refer to the competencies required and the responsibilities above.
· Complete the application form at http://www.ubelly.com/fancy-being-a-microsoft-university-gaming-ambassador/
· You will need to provide contact details from an academic member of your department or the professional who you have worked with in the technology industry
Best of luck!
Windows Azure Storage pricing has been reduced and two key Windows Azure Active Directory features are now offered at no charge. In addition, the Windows Azure Media Services Encoding Reserved Units preview is now available.
Windows Azure Storage
Effective December 12, 2012, we announced another price reduction for Windows Azure Storage by 28%. This follows our March 8, 2012, reduction of 12% furthering our commitment to best overall value in the industry. We also added more value to our storage offerings in a number of ways. For more information, please read our Windows Azure blog or refer to the Storage section of Data Management on the Pricing Details webpage.
Windows Azure Active Directory To help make identity management in the cloud accessible and available to every business and organization in the world, we now are offering two key features of Windows Azure Active Directory at no charge.
• Access Control provides centralized authentication and authorization by integrating with consumer identity providers such as Facebook or by using an on-premises deployment of the Windows Server Active Directory service. With Access Control, you can create a single application that can allow users to sign in with both their organizational credentials stored in Windows Azure Active Directory or Windows Server Active Directory, or by using popular consumer identity services like Microsoft Account, Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Historically, Access Control has been priced by number of transactions, but now it is available at no charge.
• Core Directory and Authentication enables capabilities such as single sign-on, user and group management, directory synchronization, and directory federation. These capabilities are currently free of charge in the Windows Azure Active Directory Developer Preview and will remain free of charge after Windows Azure Active Directory reaches general availability.
Please note that additional capabilities such as Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management will be available as separately priced options. For more information, please refer to the Identity section of our Pricing Details webpage.
Windows Azure Media Encoding Reserved Units preview Starting today, you can take advantage of improved media task processing throughput with the Media Services Encoding Reserved Units preview. Encoding Reserved Units allow you to process media tasks in parallel at a rate equal to the number of reserved units purchased. During preview, the original Media Services Encoding will remain free of charge. However, Encoding Reserved Units will be charged at the rate of £60.0039 each per month, calculated on a daily basis using the highest number of reserved units that are provisioned in the account in the corresponding 24-hour period. For more information, please refer to the Media section of our Pricing Details webpage.
Curricula Resources and access to Windows Azure of Educators and students
Introduce students to and educate them in the new computing paradigm using the Windows Azure platform for development, labs, and projects; take advantage of free and long-term access to top cloud resources. http://aka.ms/tioxvb
Phone Application Development
Teach the fundamental concepts and design guidelines of mobile computing using top professional developer tools and comprehensive training resources. Inspire students to create apps for Windows Phone. http://aka.ms/xc5wy3