• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft announces Windows Azure Toolkits for Mobile Devices including iPhone and Android

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    Today, Microsoft announced Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows Phone, iOS and a preview of tools for Android.

    Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms.

    Today announcement and the release of the API is a key goal to allowing developers to quickly develop and build apps that work with unique devices across a dozen platforms.

    The toolkits leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud resources to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices. As a common back-end, developers can use cloud services to share common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage and even higher-level services like leaderboards.

    Developers can maximize the performance of each mobile device by writing client code that exploits each platform. As more and more mobile applications rely on back-end services, the Microsoft Azure cloud can become increasingly useful and strategic for developers.

    A huge opportunity of the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices to create applications on the major mobile platforms, specifically:

    Windows Azure Toolkit for iPhone (v1.0). Developers can download the package and quickly get started writing iPhone apps on the Windows Azure platform without having to have intimate knowledge of Microsoft tools, such as Visual Studio. Compiled iPhone code libraries to interact with Windows Azure, a sample iOS application, documentation, and a “Cloud Ready” Windows Azure deployment package are included.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:

    iOS:

    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-lib
    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-samples
    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-doc

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone (v1.2). Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:  

    Windows Phone 7:

    http://watoolkitwp7.codeplex.com

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Android (Prototype Preview). With the forthcoming release this summer, developers will be able to extend the functionality now available for iOS and Windows Phone to the Android platform with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android.

     

    To simplify the process of setting up services in Windows Azure, we are also releasing a “Cloud Ready” package for the toolkit. This package is designed to allow someone to quickly get started using Windows Azure without having to open and modify the services.

    Screencasts are available for developers seeking additional information: Getting Started with the iOS Toolkit and Deploying the Cloud Ready Package for Devices.  Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Wade Wegner’s blog contains a more detailed technical review of the iOS toolkit.

    By providing toolkits for Windows Phone 7, iOS, and Android, we are making it faster and easier for developers to use Windows Azure to provide services across device platforms

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Training camp in a box

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    Win8CampInABox

    The Windows 8 Camp in a Box is now available for download.  It includes all of the presentations, code samples, and hands on labs ideal for you getting your curricula up to date with Windows8. The content is available in both XAML/C# and HTML/JavaScript versions.  

    If you have been looking for an opportunity to develop curricula, work books, assessments or simply a walkthrough of a XAML/C# or HTML5/JS application step by step this it!  Full source code and instructions are provided in both html and docx formats. 

    Labs

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Design tips for Windows 8.1 apps

    • 2 Comments

    This week I have been at Campus Party in the TheO2 which is pretty specular location for any event. During the week I have been discussing apps and game development with 1000s of students. One of the most popular questions I have had was what are the to main 8.1 changes? This lead into lots of discussions around  the fact that the snap view is optional and the default view is 500px.  The fact that there are 2 more tiles sizes, and the search capability is in app search and much smarter and finally there are a number of new controls.

    So here a quick summary of all the facts and resources if you have questions about any of the above.   

    Windows 8.1

    · Windows 8.1 Preview http://windows.microsoft.com/preview

    · Windows 8.1 Feature Guide http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/apps/bg182410

    · Windows 8.1 UX/UI http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/bg182890.aspx

    · Windows 8 UX Design Jump Start (MVA) http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/windows-8-ux-design-jump-start

    · For further design information http://design.windows.com

    //build/ Sessions

    Some useful sessions to watch from Build.

    · Designing and Building User Interfaces for Windows - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-168

    · Upgrading Windows 8 Apps to Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-077

    · Beautiful Apps at Any Size on Any Screen - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-150

    · What's New in XAML - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-164

    · What's New in WinJS - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-165

    · Building Apps that Work Together - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-010

    · Building Apps That Integrate with People and Events - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-007

    · Design and Build a Great Search Experience in Your App - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-144

    · Alive with Activity: Tiles, Notifications, and Background Tasks - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-159

    · Monetization Opportunities for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8.1 - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/3-121

    · First Impressions Matter: Delighting Your User from the Moment They Click “Buy" - http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/2-095

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why start learning to build for Windows 8

    • 0 Comments

     

    If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.

    Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experience with Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.

    Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever!

    So lets look at some of the reasons for developers to consider writing applications for the Windows Store.

    1. The Size of the Windows Opportunity

    image
    There is more than 1.25 billion Windows users globally. The market potential for your selling your application is enormous. Clearly, the market for Windows-based applications far outnumbers anything else. Thinking about academia specifically, potential employers will be wanting to recruit students with the skills, experience and portfolio of existing Windows 8 apps to build their latest software releases.

    2. The Scale of the Windows Opportunity

    Simply put the Windows Store offers a marketplace for your application with a global reach of 200+ markets, 100+ languages, even distribution to enterprise customers. A generous revenue sharing model is in place. Imagine that you keep 70-80% of the revenue share from your application.

    3. So what are we doing to help

     

    1. Some amazing help is available from Microsoft
    2. I am talking about the Windows 8 Camps
    3. Sign up HERE for the App Excellence Lab Process
    4. You will get a 2 hour, 1-1 session with a technical person to help review your app, pass it (to submit to the store submission process) or give you feedback you can go away and work on.
    5. The sessions can be virtual or physical so you can do it from your location.
    6. The AEL process is about quality so please make sure your app is in good shape so you have the best possible chance of getting the app through the process.
    7. AELs run from now to GA October 26th so there are lots of dates and times so you will be able to find a time that suits you.
    8. Get to grips with Windows 8 have one-on-one sessions with Microsoft staff
    9. They will help review your application for:
      • Performance
      • Adherence to the Windows 8 Design Principles
    10. This process could result in a your app getting early into the Windows Store

     

    4. So What type of App should I be building?

    What is the Best App Type? - Entertainment apps are the most popular, followed by Books and References, and Games.
    What languages can I develop in? Windows 8, Windows Store apps can leverage a variety of skills you already know (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, XAML, C#, VB, or C++ ).

    5. The Windows Store Ensures Visibility

    Strong support for search, category browsing, ranking lists, editorial content. The Windows Store features latest, most popular, and fast rising apps.

    6. Enterprise Support
    Don’t limit yourself to consumer apps. Perhaps you have an idea for an Enterprise application. Luckily, the Windows Store will have rich support for deployment and management scenarios.  Compliance and security is built in. There is support for direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps.

    7. How you make money
    Your applications can be time-based and feature-based trials, paid apps, including in-app purchases.  In-app purchases can help you customize the transaction flow with the customer. Sales analytics can also help you increase your reach.

    8. Free Apps - Many choose to offer free applications + an ad model

    I personally think it makes the most sense to get your application out there as a trial. We have learned from the Windows Phone marketplace that trial versions get 70 times more downloads than paid versions. 10% of those convert to the paid version, typically within a few hours.

    Resources

    1. The Windows Dev Center

    • Developer downloads – This single page gives access to all of the downloads you need to build apps, including Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Express 2012, design assets, code samples, and additional SDKs and tools.
    • Design resources – All Windows 8 design resources are located at design.windows.com. See case studies, category guidance, and get a new downloadable version of the UX guidelines for Windows 8 apps.
    • Developer content – The ‘Docs’ section of the Windows Dev Center is updated for RTM including more detailed API docs, new How-to articles, a new section for developing apps with C++ and DirectX, and many more samples.
    • Selling content – Find the Windows Store markets, how to price apps, and the latest versions of the Windows Store Agreements including the App Certification Requirements.
    • Community content – Access to developer forums, blogs, Dev Camps, and local event listings

    2. The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Surface 2.0 SUR40 SDK now available

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    On the 12th of July 2011 Microsoft released the Surface 2.0 SDK.

    The SDK simply makes it easy to create engaging experiences, using multitouch and object interaction, for the next generation device for Microsoft Surface – the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.

    The Surface 2.0 SDK replaces the Microsoft Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta that was released last year.

    Download the SDK and find training, documentation, and guidance on the new Surface development center at www.msdn.com/windows/surface/

    Overview

    The Microsoft® Surface® 2.0 SDK is a set of controls, APIs, templates, tools, sample applications, and documentation for application developers. Using the familiar .NET Framework 4.0, Windows Presentation Framework 4.0 (WPF) or XNA framework 4.0, and the Surface 2.0 SDK, developers can quickly and consistently create innovative applications that take advantage of the new PixelSense™ technology delivered in the Surface 2.0 platform.

    The next generation Surface device, the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, was announced in January 2011 and will be available to commercial customers in 23 countries later this year. For more information on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface, visit www.surface.com.

    clip_image002
    Library Controls
    clip_image003
    Element Menu
    clip_image005
    The Input Simulator
    clip_image007
    Raw Image Visualizer

     System Requirements

    The Surface 2.0 SDK runs on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface or a PC with a 32-bit or 64-bit edition of one of the following Windows® 7 operating systems:

    Windows 7 Home Premium

    Windows 7 Professional

    Windows 7 Ultimate

    Additional Requirements:

    • Microsoft Visual C#® 2010 Express Edition or Microsoft Visual Studio® 2010
    • Microsoft .NET 4.0.
    • Microsoft XNA® Framework Redistributable is required to run some Surface SDK samples.
    • Microsoft Expression Blend® 4 is recommended to edit XAML code that defines user interface

    The Surface SDK supports input devices such as mouse, touch, and tagged objects. With the Surface SDK, you can develop an application that supports various types of input. However, to test your application in a touch-enabled environment, your computer must have a touch-screen digitizer.


    SDK Contents

    The Surface SDK contains the following resources:

    Resource

    Description

    Reference assemblies

    These assemblies provide the classes that are necessary to create a touch-enabled application.

    Visual Studio project and item templates

    These templates enable you to quickly create a touch-enabled application. When you create a project by selecting the Surface template, all of the necessary references and resources are automatically included as part of your project.

    Tools

    The input simulator, input visualizer, and Surface stress tools help you develop and test applications for the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 touch-enabled PCs. With the Surface Input Simulator tool, you can simulate different inputs, hardware capabilities, and tilt of the device.

    Sample applications

    Sample applications are fully functional applications that you can build and run. These applications showcase various features of the Surface environment. You can run these applications to see Surface functionality in action, and examine the source code to see how certain tasks are performed.

    Documentation

    The documentation for the Surface SDK includes short examples of how to perform various programming tasks, longer and more detailed examination into various programming scenarios, and a detailed API reference.

    Note: When you are ready to distribute an application that you have created with the Surface SDK, download the Microsoft® Surface® 2.0 Runtime from MSDN and include it with your installation package. The Surface SDK Runtime contains the reference assemblies that are required to run your application.

    Surface API

    There are two types of APIs; presentation API and core APIs. The Presentation APIs use Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which is the standard choice for developing touch-enabled applications. The cores APIs are .NET platform agnostic APIs that enable querying a raw image directly and registering for touch events. Learn more about the core API at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff727894(v=Surface.20).aspx.

    Surface Controls

    Your touch-enabled application will usually contain one or more Surface controls. Some of these controls are specialized counterparts to WPF controls, and others enable you to include functionality in your application in ways that have no WPF counterpart. The following table summarizes the controls that are included in the Microsoft Surface SDK for Windows Touch Beta.

    Control

    Description

    LibraryBar

    The LibraryBar control enables you to list items horizontally, group items into several groups, and scroll groups. By default, the LibraryBar control supports drag-and-drop operations.

    LibraryContainer

    The LibraryContainer control is a dual-view control that arranges items in a horizontal bar or in a vertical stack and enables you to switch back and forth between the two views.

    LibraryStack

    The LibraryStack control enables you to display items that are stacked on each other. Users can view the individual items by rearranging the order of the stack or by removing items from the stack. By default, the LibraryStack control supports drag-and-drop operations.

    ScatterView

    The ScatterView control is a container for any other User Interface (UI) element. When you place a UI element inside of a ScatterView control, that element automatically gains the ability to be moved, rotated, and resized using one or multiple touches.

    ElementMenu

    The ElementMenu control implements a collection of items in a tree hierarchy that users can select.

    SurfaceButton

    The SurfaceButton control is a specialized version of the WPF Button control. SurfaceButton provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.

    SurfaceCheckBox

    The SurfaceCheckBox control is a specialized version of the WPF CheckBox control. SurfaceCheckBox provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.

    SurfaceTextBox

    The SurfaceTextBox control provides an unconstrained data entry field. The SurfaceTextBox control also provides the on-screen keyboard so that you do not have to specifically invoke the keyboard.

    SurfaceInkCanvas

    The SurfaceInkCanvas control provides a drawing canvas that you can use with touch input to create, modify, and delete drawing strokes.

    SurfaceListBox

    The SurfaceListBox control is a specialized version of the WPF ListBox control. SurfaceListBox adds support for panning, the ability to move the content by direct contact with the content itself, instead of using a scroll bar.

    SurfaceRadioButton

    The SurfaceRadioButton control is a specialized version of the WPF RadioButton control. SurfaceRadioButton provides a different default look-and-feel, adds support for Touch Visualizations, and customizes the handling of input device events so that if multiple touches are targeting the control, the Click event is raised only after all touches are lifted.

    SurfaceScrollViewer

    The SurfaceScrollViewer control is a specialized version of the WPF ScrollViewer control. SurfaceScrollViewer adds support for panning, the ability to move the content by direct contact with the content itself, instead of using a scroll bar.

    SurfaceSlider

    The SurfaceSlider control is a specialized version of the WPF Slider control. SurfaceSlider provides a different default look-and-feel, and adds support for Touch Visualizations.

    SurfaceWindow

    The SurfaceWindow control is a specialized version of the WPF Window control. SurfaceWindow provides and activates the necessary event handlers to make sure that it receives touch events.

    Sample Application Projects

    The sample applications that come with the Surface SDK show several different programming techniques in a complete application. You can use these applications as a starting point for more complete applications or just as examples of best practices in Surface programming. For information about obtaining the sample files, see Extracting and Installing the Surface Samples.

    Samples that use the Core layer and XNA Framework

    Sample

    Description

    Finger Fountain

    Draws small images for every contact at every frame. This sample emphasizes multiple touches and shows how to use the Microsoft XNA APIs.

    Framework

    Provides an extensive sample framework that helps you create controls by using the Core layer. The code in this sample eliminates inconsistent behavior among Core-based applications by using the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern.

    Cloth

    An XNA-based application that demonstrates how to use the Core Interaction Framework

    RawImage Visualizer

    Shows how to use the RawImage APIs for XNA applications. This sample displays captured normalized (8 bit per pixel) images that are flipped vertically.

    XNA Scatter

    Demonstrates how to use the manipulations and inertia APIs to move graphical user interface (GUI) components around in a Surface application in a natural and intuitive way.

    Samples that use the Presentation Layer (WPF)

    Sample

    Description

    Controls Box

    Shows how to build simple application behaviors from touch-enabled controls that the Presentation layer provides, such as updating a text box when a user touches a button

    Data Visualizer

    Shows contact properties that are exposed in the Presentation layer (such as x, y, height, width, major axis, minor axis, and orientation) and how you can read and use these properties in a Surface application.

    Grand Piano

    Demonstrates how to integrate sound into Surface applications based on the Presentation layer.

    Item Compare

    Represents a simple tool that lets a user compare and contrast the properties of two "items" (tagged objects).

    Photo Paint

    Uses the SurfaceInkCanvas control to implement drawing and painting over pictures and video

    ScatterPuzzle

    Shows an implementation of the ScatterView and SurfaceListBox controls to create a simple puzzle game. The ScatterView and SurfaceListBox controls automatically provide some powerful features related to Surface.

    Shopping Cart

    Shows how to implement drag-and-drop functionality in a retail application.

    Tag Visualizer Events

    Shows how to incorporate hit-testing in the TagVisualizer control to let user interface (UI) elements react when tagged objects move over them.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Gadgeteer stimulates the kids.. at Hack to the Future

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    hacktothefuturegadgetGadgeteer 

    Last weekend I went along to Hack to the Future, the idea of Alan O’Donohoe, Teknoteacher on Twitter. Alan is a Secondary School  ITC teacher in Preston. However Alan really wants to make a difference for the next generation. Alan decided to setup up a unconference to support the development of Computer Science to young people in the form of a day of informal learning entitled – Hack to the Future or #h2df.

    A direct quote from Alan

    It is an un-conference that aims to provide young digital creators aged 11 – 18 with positive experiences of computing science and other closely related fields, ensuring that the digital creators of today engage with the digital creators of tomorrow.

    We plan to offer a day that will inspire, engage and encourage young digital creator

    I’m proud to say that Microsoft fully supports events such as so we involved Microsoft Research, MS Press and a number of other key partners to help support the event. Myself and Steven Johnston from Southampton University, who is also working with Microsoft Research as a Gadgeteer outreach manager developed a plan and we set off for Preston.
     
    The event was all about the young people and it was amazing to see over 350+ young people plus around 100 teachers and parents attending the various talks, workshops and sessions at H2df. I have to stress the workshops and sessions at H2df were all hands on, and code based and Steven and myself spent the day at Hack to the future #h2df getting attendees hands on with the Microsoft .NET Gadgeter and had a great day.

    We ran 7 sessions each with 10 laptops/kits and were packed out each session. (each kit with 3/4 students, we had to turn some students away due to the demand so apologies if you did not attend). Below is a copy of the sessions which we completed.

    I have to state on the day we far more hands on with Visual Studio 2010 and C# and astounded by the skills of some of the younger developer (Hacklings, as Alan calls them)

     

    During the session the attendees built the camera and those that completed early - built a cardboard case and mounted the components to create a a digital camera. Thanks to @coletteweston for these great pic of her daughter at the event who as you can see was very successful.

     coletteweston1coletteweston2

    Overall the event was inspiring with children using Visual Studio 2010, some without any prior experience and writing C# and getting to play with the GHI Fez Spider Gadgeteer kits to build a fully working digital camera in around 30 mins – 45 mins. Hack to the Future was  an amazing day and really well done to Alan and the team of Our Ladies High School.

    To end the day, Alan put on some indoor fireworks and did his his famous #h2df rap. Well done to Alan and all the other volunteers at Hack to the Future and a great start to inspiring computer scientist of the future.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Microsoft Windows Phone Camps – Powered by UK Tech.Days Fun, Free & Open to all!

    • 8 Comments

    1012_1a_Mango_Start_Phone_English_Red_061011_jpg

    Want to start developing for Windows Phone, but not yet taken the plunge?

    Then this free day of training is the quickest way to find out all you need to know.

    The Windows Phone Camps will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps from scratch. You'll be guided through the development process with a series of hands-on workshops and short tutorials, with some seasoned experts to give you one on one help when you need it. There'll be topics like; Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. Also, there will be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets. There's even an introductory design session to help you make your app look its best. Just pick the workshops that are most useful for you and work at your own pace.

    Once you've got the basics, you’ll be off and running and ready to develop your own apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, and of course there's the all-important opportunity to meet up with likeminded devs.

    The camp kicks off at 9am and finish at 6pm. By registering and attending, you will receive (fanfare please) an exclusive Windows Phone Design Guide Sketch Pad as well as your own customized Hit & Run Windows Phone Camp T-shirt.

    Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!

    Got a question? You might find the answer below...

    How much do I need to know about Windows Phone to attend this camp?

    You don't need any prior experience or knowledge about Windows Phone or app development to attend. The purpose of the camp is to provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to get started with learning about Windows Phone app development.

    Who can attend these camps?

    Academics, Students, developers, hobbyist, technology enthusiasts. Everyone is welcome! All we ask is that you are ready and keen to learn about developing apps for Windows Phone.

    How much does it cost to attend this camp?

    Your luck's in - it's FREE.

    What do I need to prepare in advance to make the most of this camp?

    There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the camp. This includes bringing your own suitable laptop with the Windows Phone Developer tools installed (these are free), preferably the latest version of the tools.

    It would also be useful if you could read the following documentation:

    If you have a Windows Phone please bring it with you.

    Are you holding these camps elsewhere in the country?

    Yes, this is a series of Windows Phone Camps kicking off around the country. Follow us on Twitter (@ukmsdn) to see where we’re visiting next.

    What if I've registered already and can't make it on the day?

    Please let us know as soon as you can if you can't make the camp as there will be plenty of people who are keen to take your spot. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you've registered and committed. Thanks!

    Who are Hit & Run?

    They're do cool live on-site event screen-printing. You'll get the chance to create your very own t-shirt with your unique design at the end of the camp.

    What’s the Windows Phone Design Sketch Pad?

    In the spirit of highlighting good design, we intend to provide each attendee with an exclusive Windows Phone design sketch pad with Windows Phone design guidelines as well as open spaces and templates to sketch your next big Windows Phone app idea. Great stuff!

    Register at the event of your choice below. Go on. You know you want to.

    London - Saturday 17 September

    Manchester - Saturday 24 September

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Download Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide

    • 2 Comments
    WP_1-line_red_rgb_pdf

    DevWp7

    I’m pleased to announce that the 1st edition of “Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide” is available to download.

    This e-book is a community effort to capture useful information and learning about building apps on the Windows Phone platform.

    Download Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer’s Guide

    For more details on this publication and its authors see Mike Ormond's Blog, please feel free to use this book with students and your courses also if you have any comments suggestions or ideas for additional chapters or content please post your feedback on Mike’s Blog.

    Happy reading!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Versions Announced

    • 0 Comments

    win8logo

    As your aware from the Building Windows 8 blog a key driver for Microsoft is that All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience.

    One of the key announcements by the Windows team is that, Windows 8 will be the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows. PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), we will have two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

    NOTE: As with previous versions of Windows, we will also have an edition of Windows 8 specifically for those enterprise customers with Software Assurance agreements. Windows 8 Enterprise includes all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more. 

    Windows RT will be the official product name for Windows on ARM or WOA. This single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors and will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life. Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

    The below chart breaks down key features by edition (this list should not be considered an exhaustive list of features):

    Feature name

    Windows 8

    Windows 8 Pro

    Windows RT

    Upgrades from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium

    x

    x

     

    Upgrades from Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate

     

    x

     

    Start screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles

    x

    x

    x

    Windows Store

    x

    x

    x

    Apps (Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Reader, Music, Video)

    x

    x

    x

    Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)

       

    x

    Internet Explorer 10

    x

    x

    x

    Device encryption

       

    x

    Connected standby

    x

    x

    x

    Microsoft account

    x

    x

    x

    Desktop

    x

    x

    x

    Installation of x86/64 and desktop software

    x

    x

     

    Updated Windows Explorer

    x

    x

    x

    Windows Defender

    x

    x

    x

    SmartScreen

    x

    x

    x

    Windows Update

    x

    x

    x

    Enhanced Task Manager

    x

    x

    x

    Switch languages on the fly (Language Packs)

    x

    x

    x

    Better multiple monitor support

    x

    x

    x

    Storage Spaces

    x

    x

     

    Windows Media Player

    x

    x

     

    Exchange ActiveSync

    x

    x

    x

    File history

    x

    x

    x

    ISO / VHD mount

    x

    x

    x

    Mobile broadband features

    x

    x

    x

    Picture password

    x

    x

    x

    Play To

    x

    x

    x

    Remote Desktop (client)

    x

    x

    x

    Reset and refresh your PC

    x

    x

    x

    Snap

    x

    x

    x

    Touch and Thumb keyboard

    x

    x

    x

    Trusted boot

    x

    x

    x

    VPN client

    x

    x

    x

    BitLocker and BitLocker To Go

     

    x

     

    Boot from VHD

     

    x

     

    Client Hyper-V

     

    x

     

    Domain Join

     

    x

     

    Encrypting File System

     

    x

     

    Group Policy

     

    x

     

    Remote Desktop (host)

     

    x

     

    Over the coming months,the Windows Team will share more information about Windows 8, including details on pricing.

    Check out the preview of Windows 8 for yourself.

    If your interested in developing for Windows 8 check out the following example from my colleague Mike Taulty, from the UK MSDN team. Mike has produced a number of walkthroughs in screencast form these include a simple music 'app' in HTML and a app for searching flickR in both XAML and HTML.

  • 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.

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