Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Are you ready to launch your Windows Store app at DEMO Mobile 2013?
If you have a Windows Store app idea, we want you to apply and compete for a chance to launch your app at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.
It’s easy to enter the challenge
1. Submit app prototype! This can be a video, a slideshare presentation, screenshots, whatever as long as it hits on the judging criteria
2. Get votes! Once your app prototype is approved, tweet the link using #windowschallenge and share it to collect votes (50% of your score will be based on public voting)
First Prize: Top team will receive a free trip to San Francisco to launch at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.
Second Prize: Top five teams will receive a marketing package to promote and launch the app
Third Prize: All semi-finalists will receive free design and technical support from experts
About the Challenge
This is a joint effort between Microsoft, Startup Weekend and DEMO to accelerate apps from prototype to development to launch.
The entry period ends on January 29, 2013. Please submit a prototype of your app here.
For other related inquiries and questions, go to our support group on Facebook or email us at WindowsChallenge@microsoft.com. More information including the Official Rules can be found here.
I am excited to announce an update to the Visual Studio Achievements extension: the availability of nineteen new achievements all oriented toward Windows 8 app development.
If you are new to Visual Studio Achievements, check out this post.
If you already have the extension installed for Azure or Visual Studio achievements, you can update the extension right from the Visual Studio Extension Manager.
New curricula available Learn programming on the go with TouchDevelop! In this short course, you will learn how to write mobile apps directly from your web browser. With its simple language, touch-friendly interface and cloud-connected environment, TouchDevelop is a great place to get started.
Download teaching curriculum pack.
Using Construct 2 to build an awesome Windows 8 HTML5 game.
Construct2 is a superb application for building HTML5 games, you can download the Free edition and get going with the Beginner's guide to get started on building great games in a very short time period also I have produced a really nice framework for curricula adoption see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/10/15/learning-to-build-a-html5-windows-8-game-in-15-lessons.aspx
You will need Windows 8. You then need to install Visual Studio 2012 Express on Windows 8 if you have a DreamSpark account then you can install any version of Visual Studio 2012. You will also need to ensure you setup a FREE windows 8 and Windows Phone developer account via DreamSpark see https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-Store-Access.aspx
First, ensure your project has the right Name, Description and Author properties set, since these will be used in the exported app. In the Export Project dialog, choose Export for Windows 8 and follow the next steps as you would for exporting an ordinary project. In the export directory you will find a Visual Studio project.
Note there are three image files for the app icons, app-logo.png, app-smalllogo.png and app-storelogo.png. You should replace these with your own images but keep them exactly the same dimensions. The main project file has the extension .sln (solution). Double-click it in Windows 8 and Visual Studio should open it.
If you've not used Visual Studio before, it's a complex and sophisticated tool for application development. However, you only need to use a small number of commands to configure and test your app. Find the "Solution Explorer" bar which lists all the files in the project.
Double-click package.appxmanifest. This file contains all the settings for your app. There is one thing you need to set up because Construct 2 can't export it for you, which is the publisher certificate for your app. Click the Packaging tab, which probably has a red X by it because the certificate is not set. Now click Choose Certificate.... In the dialog that opens, click the dropdown and select Create test certificate....
A dialog appears with your Publisher ID and a password entry. Don't enter a password - leave it blank and hit OK. Click OK on the Choose Certificate dialog as well, and you should now have a certificate set.
If you've done this correctly the red X should have disappeared too.
Test certificates only allow you to test your app. When publishing to the Windows 8 App Store, you'll need a different certificate to publish your app. Now you can launch your app by pressing F5. Visual Studio will build it and launch it as a Windows 8 app, which uses the Internet Explorer 10 browsing engine. This allows you to test everything is working in the new browser and OS. You can also try tweaking the settings in package.appxmanifest, which include options like orientation lock and other tile images.
Interview with Paul Boocock, Computer Games Programming Lecturer at Staffordshire University
1) Why did you make the decision to develop / teach for Windows Phone and Windows 8? It was an easy decision. The tools are free and easily accessible, not to mention easy to use. Developing for these platforms is always popular too, our students have previously enjoyed developing XNA games for PC/XBOX, so moving those modules towards Windows Phone and Windows 8 is the obvious progression. I’m really optimistic for the future of Windows Phone and Windows 8 and I hope developing for the platform at this stage will give students a good opportunity to get applications into the marketplace and for them to prove popular whilst there is a little less competition.
2) What were some of the features you used from Windows Phone and Windows 8 and why? The key reason was the introduction of DirectX on Windows Phone. This gave us an opportunity to create a new Mobile Games Development module, which takes the DirectX skills the students have already learnt by this stage and apply them on a mobile platform by building 3D games on Windows Phone. Also, our Games Development students are taught heavily in C++, so being able to write Native Code on Windows Phone was a big bonus. We also found that students could get applications up and running much faster on these platforms when compared to others, through a combination of the tools and the platform features, many students are especially fond of designing their UI using XAML.
3) What was the experience like of using Windows Phone and Windows 8 and would you recommend it to students and other educators teaching game development? I find Windows Phone development great. It’s extremely easy to pick up and the documentation is second to none. Building a module around it is easy as all the features are now present in the platform, the only issue is the SLAT Processor requirement for the Windows Phone 8 emulator but this is something which we’ve come up with a solution for quite easily. I’d definitely recommend it to other educators and I push my students towards Windows Phone development whenever I get the opportunity.
4) How did you go about persuading senior academic or decision maker re the opportunity of Windows Phone and Windows 8? This was an easy one! There’s a lot of enthusiasm around mobile development and we we’re looking into getting more mobile development in our course, especially in Games Programming. As Windows Phone and Windows 8 gives us the opportunity to continue developing in the programming languages we predominately teach, this was a popular choice for many of the teaching staff.
5) What are doing to help students develop portfolios and CVs are you successfully getting students to submit their game to the Store? I believe the assignments which we set the students give them a really good starting point to getting together an application or game which makes a great item in their portfolio but could be a starting place for creating something worthy of the store. I’m also teaching more about what is required to be an indie developer, especially looking at publishing games and the financials involved. This is a strong interest area of mine, as it’s what I have done previously and still do to some extent. It’s a great opportunity for students to earn some money and to really show off by getting their applications and games published.
Thanks for the interview Paul and looking forward to seeing what your students deliver.
Exciting gifts for Global Game Jam UK venues.
I pleased to announce that Microsoft will be providing Global Game Jam prizes for UK venues.
The UK venues will hosting a differentiator competition based on building games for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as part of the differentiator we will be offering prizes for the for the best game jam game made for Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8 at each UK Global Game Jam venue.
To top it off, we are also offering a national prize selected from all the UK GGJ games that makes it to the marketplace by the end of February.
To enter this competition there will be an online entry system at www.ubelly.com/gaming which will go live during the Global Game Jam, teams simply need to register online and confirm the details of their games Windows store/marketplace submission,
So what are you waiting for! Get over to http://globalgamejam.org/ and register today and check out the following resources.
Windows Phone http://dev.windowsphone.com
Windows 8 http://dev.windows.com
Ubelly Gaming Resources http://www.ubelly.com/gaming
Developer Resources, Camps and howtos – http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8
Even if your not physically attending a Game Jam you can enter the following online competition. http://www.ubelly.com/global-game-jam/
So what is TypeScript?
So where is TypeScript being used?
Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2012
The approach... more details at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry/archive/2012/10/24/typescript-a-real-world-story-of-adoption-in-tfs.aspx
All told, it took us (1 dev) less than a week to write a tool (in Typescript, of course, :)) that would recognize Javadoc and the rest of our patterns and convert them to the corresponding Typescript constructs. It took about another week to run the tool, tweak our Javadoc comments (like filling in some that had been missed), update our build process, test the conversion, etc. Of course there's more we can do with Typescript. For instance, we didn't have any previous recognizable pattern for interface contracts - so there was nothing for the tool to use to generate the Typescript constructs. Over time, we'll be going through by hand, as we have reason to revisit modules and further tightening up the Typescript. I expect we'll find more issues that we don't know about now.
If you've not met TouchDevelop before it provides a drag-and-drop scripting environment which, it has now been revealed, has been developed in TypeScript.
The Web App has some amazing features, including code synthesis and trace+ replay and its a great tools for inspiring school children and beginners to programming. see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/12/13/touchdevelop-making-apps-for-mobile-devices-on-mobile-devices.aspx
Although TouchDevelop was designed for devices, specifically Windows Phone 7, with touchscreens, it can also be used with a keyboard or a mouse and so the browser-based version probably is an improvement in terms of productivity. It also provides the "work everywhere" element that allows for collaboration; as all the TouchDevelop client apps use the touchdevelop.com cloud service, all of your scripts will get synchronized between all platforms and devices and you only need to log in with the same credentials to access them. TouchDevelop Web App loads automatically on TouchDevelop.com and, having logged in with your Windows Live, Google or Facebook credentials, you find yourself in the Hub, where can view tutorial videos, visit the showcase to see apps already developed or just get on with creating your own apps in a highly intuitive environment. And once you have created an app you want to publish there are buttons to create a Windows Store app and to create a Windows Phone app.
TypeScript and the opportunity
Well there is Visual Studio IDE, then there is Team Foundation Server and Office integration and… well you get the picture.
Yes its a vast set of products which as academics and students you get for FREE via DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com
Additionally we have now adopted a continuous delivery schedule of both the Visual Studio IDE and Team Foundation Server to continuous delivery with a 3 monthly cadence. Yes, that means that you should now be upgrading your Team Foundation Server every Quarter and that your developers should be updating their client. Before you all shout yes we know this is issue for managed desktop estates so… You know what… they don’t have to upgrade huge services packs in addition to windows updates, VS updates are now a “patch” that just updates your install.
With the move to continuous improvement and service delivery comes many problems that need solving. Like any continuous service improvement programme these may create new problem but rather than fix them, and like real world examples these raise a number of important learning issues which are vital for the modern IT professional and developer to understand and work out benefits vs risks.
For example students should be continually asking the following questions in relations to their exercises and assignments.
If you solve these problems not only will you be able to deliver more frequently, but what you will deliver will be in smaller chucks and therefore at a significantly lower risk. Not only that, in solving your deployment problems and essentially continuously practicing them you minimise the risk of delivering to production any significant issues or problems. The result is happy consumers…
So what has Microsoft doing about this
Just 3 months after RTM and barely 6 weeks after the Visual Studio 2012 launch the first quarterly update, Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, became available and planning for Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 started.With the launch of Visual Studio Team Foundation Service the Team Foundation Server team, arguably responsible for the most complex component of Visual Studio are delivering even more frequently.
The summary is:
They are effectively on a 3 week Sprint cycle and are delivering new features to production every three weeks as well as hotfixes every Monday if needed. So for more keep an eye on Brian Harry Blog site see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry