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!
One of the questions I have had this week, is from Mobile development course leaders, how they can teach, Windows Phone, iOS and Android in the same lab?
For the first time ever, you can write native iOS apps in Visual Studio using C#.
So I know a number of academics love Resharper, Team Foundation Server, and the entire Visual Studio ecosystem, so hopefully the following information will make your life is now complete.
Another key aspect of mobile development is code portability simply put the Sharing code between iOS, Android and Windows and with the Xamarin iOS plug this has just got a whole lot easier.
Xamarin iOS for Visual Studio allows iOS applications to be written and tested on Windows computers, with a networked Mac providing the build and deployment service.
This article covers the steps to install and configure the Xamarin iOS tools on each computer, in order to build iOS applications using Visual Studio.
Developing for iOS inside Visual Studio provides a number of benefits:
Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio supports configurations where Visual Studio is running inside a Windows virtual machine on a Mac (eg. using Parallels or VMWare).
Watch the following video for more information
Visual Studio 2013, .NET 4.5.1, and Team Foundation Server 2013 are now available for download! DreamSpark subscribers can download Visual Studio FREE of Charge from either their Institutional DreamSpark ELMS store or direct from DreamSpark.com.
Visual Studio 2013 is the best tool for developers and teams to build and deliver modern, connected applications on all of Microsoft’s platforms. From Windows Azure and SQL Server to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, Visual Studio 2013 supports the breadth of Microsoft’s developer platforms.
As part of the Cloud OS vision, Visual Studio 2013 enables developers to build modern business applications that take advantage of the cloud and target a variety of devices and end-user experiences, all delivered within today’s rapid and dynamic application lifecycles.
Accessing Visual Studio 2013 via DreamSpark.com
When student download and install Visual Studio 2013 from DreamSpark.com, they will receive a static key to complete the installation. The key simply means the students do not have register or reregister the product every 90 days are per the RTM version..
For administrators and IT technicians the DreamSpark institutional ELMS Store contains a copy of Visual Studio 2013 with a Pre-Keyed serial number this version can be used to install on institution teaching and learning lab machines either manually or via a managed desktop image.
Visual Studio and Cloud services
When the student/institutions have installed Visual Studio 2013 on premise, they will get prompted to go an connect online to use online features of Visual Studio a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Account is required. If a student signs in with their WLID this will save there solutions to the cloud.
What are the new features
There are great new features and capabilities in Visual Studio 2013 for every developer, including innovative editor enhancements such as Peek and CodeLens, diagnostics tools for UI responsiveness and energy consumption, major updates for ASP.NET web development, expanded ALM capabilities with Git support and agile portfolio management, and much, much more. Check out what’s new with Visual Studio 2013 for details.
Want to know more about Visual Studio 2013
Visual Studio 2013 launch on November 13th. at the launch event the Visual Studio team will be highlighting the array of new features and capabilities in the Visual Studio 2013 release.
Visual Studio 2013 supports development of great Windows Store applications for Windows 8.1, which is also available for download today FREE of charge for all DreamSpark Premium subscribers.
There has never been a better time to learn how to program. Modern programming languages, coupled with powerful and widely available development environments, provide an excellent place to work.
A wide range of operating environments, including mobile devices, cloud computing, robotics, embedded devices, and games, means that you can apply your programming-acquired skills in a huge range of different areas.
Programming lets you bring your ideas to life, and with the launch of Xbox for Education, Microsoft is trying to making programming more exciting and interesting for students of all ages. With Xbox for Education and Microsoft DreamSpark we’re getting students coding in C# and XNA and we hope to aspire tomorrow’s games developer and help students learn a lot about how games work and even create totally new ones of their own.
As part of its effort to further increase computational thinking and games development in young people, Microsoft is also introducing a discounted Xbox 360 programme to schools which includes a 3-Year DreamSpark subscription.
DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com provides the tools to help student’s designs and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at school. It also equips and supports teachers through the provision of software and lessons plans.
The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk
Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.
These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.
C# is a popular programming language used by many software developers all over the world. The C# skills that you pick up from the Xbox in Education can also be used as the basis of a career in programming should you find that you really enjoy writing programs. Additionally the design of the C# language is very similar to C, C++, and Java you will find that your skills can be used with them too.
XNA is a framework which allows games to be written in C#. It provides all the “heavy lifting” concerned with creating a game framework. It drives the display, manages content, and provides an easy to use way of interacting with gamepads and other controllers. It also provides a common platform so that XNA games can run on a variety of different devices, games can also be distributed to Xbox users around the world using the Xbox Live service.
At Microsoft we have an amazing set of tools to inspire future developers
Here a list of developer tools to help inspire tomorrow developers (Figures in bracket are guidelines for ages that it is appropriate) For FREE additional curricula materials see http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
· Kodu (5-11)
Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously. The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behaviour. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner. See http://www.kodugamelab.com/about
· The Kodu Cup (7-14)
The Kodu Kup is a game creation competition for UK school-children aged between 7 and 14. The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled as attending a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher as a team of three. For more information the flyer can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/KoduKupFlyer
· Small Basic (5-11)
Small Basic is a project that is focused at making programming accessible and easy for beginners. The Language draws its inspiration from an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .Net Framework Platform. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect of a worthy IDE. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Small Basic is intended for beginners that want to learn programming. In our internal trials we've had success with kids between the ages of 10 and 16. However, it's not limited to just kids; even adults that had an inclination to programming have found Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. See http://www.smallbasic.com
· .NET Gadgeteer (6-24)
Are you ready to create something awesome? Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Build all manner of electronic gadgets quickly and easily with .NET Gadgeteer! LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED
· TouchDevlop (8-24)
TouchDevelop makes learning programming exciting! You can write code directly on any device and you can directly use sensors and media via high-level APIs. It's easy to create games and apps, publish them or tweak those published by others. You write code in our touch-friendly editor where you compose programs by tapping on your screen, yet concepts you learn transfer to traditional languages such as Java or C#. TouchDevelop embraces the "Bring Your Own Device" revolution by providing a unified programming environment everywhere. http://www.touchdevelop.com
· Project Spark (8-24)
Project Spark is a digital canvas which can be used to make games, movies and other experiences. A player can download other user-generated content, remix that content or create content of their own. A player can use the Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, touch-devices and Kinect to build experiences. Kinect can be used to animate models and record audio. The created environments can contain mountains, rivers, and towns. http://www.projectspark.com
· Web Application Template (11+)
The Web Application Template is an Open Source Visual Studio 2013 template that lets developers create Windows 8.1 apps based on existing web content. Used in the right way, Web Application Template can facilitate the creation of compelling extensions to your web content for Windows users.
· Windows Phone AppStudio (8-24)
Windows Phone App Studio lets you swiftly build apps for immediate publishing, testing, and sharing with clients, co-workers, and focus groups. Windows Phone App Studio generates your source code - a feature no other app-builder tool provides so you can learn the basic and make enhancements with Visual Studio. http://apps.windowsstore.com/
· Project Siena (8-24)
Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for those interested in building an app without any programming experience, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.
Here are some examples of what people have already been building:
Apps for auditing and inspecting a manufacturing facility through photos, videos, and pen and voice notes, all tied to an asset database see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/projectsiena/default.aspx
· DreamSpark (6+)
DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.
DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.
DreamSpark helps educators teach the latest technologies and experiment in research. Microsoft knows that to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today's students requires a diverse set of resources. DreamSpark gives educators the resources to ensure their classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenges, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.
DreamSpark is also a subscription for Academic Institutions: it provides a cost-effective way to put Microsoft developer tools, platforms and servers in labs and classrooms, and on their students’ and faculty’s computers for learning and research purposes. It reduces lab costs and teaching budgets.
How do I get DreamSpark Software?
As a Student: simply create an account, verify your student status and download software through this website at no cost. If your school/university has a subscription, you can also get access to more software titles.
As an Educator: you can get access through your institution’s subscription. Talk to your school administration to get a DreamSpark subscription and order today!
As an Academic Institution: order the subscription type that is right for you. DreamSpark Standard is for all types of institutions from primary to tertiary educations. DreamSpark Premium has a wider software catalog of over 500 products and is for qualifying technical departments only.
· DreamSpark FREE Store Developer Account for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (16+)
Develop applications for Microsoft software that showcase your talent, your skill and your development creativity. If you can imagine it, you can create it, and you may even just change the world with it. https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/App-Development.aspx
· Xbox For Education (6+)
These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.
Or simply use packages such as Kinect Sports and Adventures, Mind Craft, Kodu and Project Spark in the classroom.
· The Imagine Cup (16+) There are lots of ways to participate in Imagine Cup. Find the competition that's right for you and your team. Fans of gaming? Check out the Games Competition. Want to change the world? Take a look at the World Citizenship Competition. Click on any competition's name to learn more about it, read up on the rules, and learn how to sign your team up. http://www.imaginecup.com
New Updates - What’s new
AppHub Integration: Linking your DreamSpark Account with a Microsoft Live ID
I’m very excited to inform you that we’ve completed our “AppHub Integration: Linking DreamSpark Account with Live ID”
This will now dramatically improve the experience of those students that were having difficulties with App Hub registration.
With the update to DreamSpark students and educators create a new DreamSpark account that is not a Windows Live ID. However for students who wish to produce application for Xbox or Windows Phone require a Windows Live ID, to create apphub accounts via http://create.msdn.com. We have now enabled the system, to enable educators or students to map their DreamSpark account to new or existing Windows Live ID.
Here is the workflow:
- Student/Educator visits the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 and sees [Map your Live ID] button enabled and [Register on AppHub] button disabled.
- Student/Educator Clicks on [Map your Live ID] button.
- Student/Educator Sign in on DreamSpark site with their Verified account (or get the account verified).
- Student/Educator then logs in using Windows Live ID account.
- Student/Educator is shown the message “Are you sure you want your map your DreamSpark login (email@example.com) with your Windows Live ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) with [Ok] and [Cancel] buttons.
- Student/Educator clicks on [Ok] button a Accounts will be mapped a User automatically signed out from Live ID account à User will be redirected to the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 with [Map your Live ID] button disabled and [Register on AppHub] button enabled.
Windows 8 will feature a new UI similar to the tile-based interface of Windows Phone 7 and this will all be touch enabled (see the video below).
Windows 8 will focus on two types of apps:
· Classic Windows desktop apps- they will run and look similar to Win 7 today. They will open from the Start screen into familiar Win 7.
The concept of HTML 5 application is these be like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows applications additionally HTML 5 applications will have access to a number of new features in Windows 8 and both type native windows and HTML 5 applications can run side by side.
Windows 8 start screen will appear with a a lock screen similar to Windows Phone 7 and be displayed with s a clock, upcoming calendar item and notification and customisation of this screen will be possible.
Windows 8 will not require any specific enhancement to hardware in terms of memory, disk space, CPU than Windows 7 and exciting for the UK Academic space is Windows 8 will run on Intel, AMD and ARM based chips.
Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This OCR service is the next step in the evolution of Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones. With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone's camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and in return receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus.
Download the SDK and start building Windows Phone 7 apps today. For more details, read the Aloha: Text from the Cloud blog.
Pre Order your Surface with Windows RT
Who says that pretty can’t be practical?
It’s time for a tablet that’s more than meets the eye. Powerful processing and beautiful design unite on Surface. Whether you’re working hard or hardly working, Surface’s integrated Kickstand and revolutionary Touch Cover let you work, play, and connect with others like never before. Plug into external displays like projectors and HDTV, and share your world1. Pre-loaded with Windows RT, Microsoft Office 2013 RT2, Xbox apps, and other essentials.
64 GB with Black Touch Cover £559.00 incl. VAT
32 GB with Black Touch Cover £479.00 incl. VAT
32 GB without Black Touch Cover £399.00 incl. VAT
Your order will ship by October 26 and arrive by October 30.
For more details and to order see http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.257929400?WT.mc_id=FY13WinHH
Check out the Surface Your tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/surface
Follow Surface on Twitter @surface
Next week I will be at the Develop Conference, attending some of the 103 sessions, 5 keynotes, and on the Microsoft stand at the Expo. I’m looking forward to networking with the 1500 developers and 450 companies during the event and discussing the opportunity of developing Windows 8 Metro Style games.
On http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452780.aspx we list options for developing Windows 8 games.
At present there are over 50 games available in the store using the above technologies, here are some good links to get started
· Metro style app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic and XAML. You can use managed code languages like C# and Visual Basic to develop 2D (and lightweight 3D) games. If you have developed in Silverlight for Internet Explorer or Windows Phone 7, this model will feel very familiar.
· Metro style C++ with DirectX. You can develop both 2D and 3D games that effectively use the graphics processing horsepower on a range of Windows desktops and 3D-enabled Windows devices, from high powered gaming rigs to low power slates. It requires a strong working knowledge of Windows programming and native C/C++.
There are a number of online tutorial around Marble Maze which is a DirectX game written in C++. This leads you to the more basic “Hello World” example over here although while the results of that example are “Hello World” in nature.
There’s another, more realistic sample over here with a walk-through to build up a Metro style shooting game. It takes the form of a completed code sample and a walk through of what’s going on in that sample.
It runs to around 40 source files.
The key learning outcome for starting to build games for Metro are as follows as these would make excellent starting points for curricula development for Developing Metro Style Games.
1) Understanding how a Metro style app gets on the screen – i.e. the infrastructure around IFrameworkViewSource and IFrameworkView.
2) Understanding C++/CX which is a bunch of C++ extensions relatively familiar to people like me who’ve come from the C++/CLI world but a bit odd to a regular C++ developer.
3) Understanding some of the technologies used like the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) which our default templates throw at you.
4) Understanding some of the C++ 11 techniques like lambdas which our default templates also throw at you.
5) Understanding how a Metro style app is meant to work from the point of view of lifecycle management (i.e. suspend/resume/terminate).
6) Understanding the WinRT APIs available and their main usage and purpose.
Steps 5 & 6 are common to any Windows 8 Metro style app developer.
As we are all aware, there are many game engines /frameworks (middleware) available. Some of these are already supporting development for Win 8 metro games whilst others are planning to support it within the coming months. I have listed the ones which are or have short terms plans to support W8 metro apps. I am sure that there will be more to come…
A full games development tool/suite – physics, rendering, scripting, AI etc.
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (for GA)
An Open Source, OpenGL implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (‘later this year’)
Dev languages: C#/XNA
SharpDX is an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API under the .Net platform, allowing the development of high performance game, 2D and 3D graphics rendering as well as realtime sound application.
Windows 8 Metro support: Now
Dev languages: C#
Well this week marked another important milestone for Microsoft with the release of Windows Server 2012, on Tuesday 4th of September, Microsoft made the official announcement of Windows Server 2012 you watch all the content at http://www.windows-server-launch.com
What’s new in Server 2012
Microsoft has positioned this as a very cloud-friendly OS. So its more important then ever to start ensuring your teaching cloud fundamentals to your students to help with this we have dedicated curriculum at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
Here are some of the new features.
So, what are the press and analyst saying about Windows Server 2012?
Windows Server 2012 offers a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry.
The team at Forrester posted a blog titled, “Microsoft Announces Windows Server 2012,” Here are just a few quotes.
On the release of Windows Server 2012 as a whole:
“Make no mistake, this is a really major restructuring of the OS, and a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry. While Microsoft’s high level message is centered on the cloud, and on the Windows Server 2012 features that make it a productive platform upon which both enterprises and service providers can build a cost-effective cloud, its features will be immensely valuable to a wide range of businesses.”
“There is no doubt that this is the most significant jump in OS capabilities since Microsoft first introduced Windows as a server OS.”
Forrester Says Evaluate Windows Server 2012 NOW:
“But, and this is critical, you must begin to evaluate and pilot it even if you are still completing your rollout of Windows Server 2008, as many Forrester clients still are. My guess is that WS2012 is the future of Windows OS, and will probably serve as the core of Microsoft’s strategy for the next decade. I doubt their ability to produce a radical upgrade to this in the next four or five years, and even the next version of the OS is likely to look like WS2012. This implies that you need to understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic IT road map, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, if properly exploited by you (or by your competitors), could generate real competitive differentiation such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently, etc.”
What does this mean For IT Students and curricula?
Firstly if your teaching infrastructure, administration, storage, cloud or virtualisation its critical, that you begin to evaluate and become familiar with Windows Server 2012. As academics you have a number of ways of doing this.
1. Download a trial version from http://www.windows-server-launch.com
2. Download and install a full version for FREE for teaching, learning and research in your labs and computer clusters from DreamSpark Premium – http://www.dreamspark.com
3. Point your students at www.dreamspark.com and get them to install windows server 2012 and get familiar. For further details and FAQ click here
The key thing is that understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic curricula roadmap, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, could generate real competitive differentiation for your student employability giving them experience of skills such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently have experience of the Windows Azure IaaS, PaaS and SaaS options and virtualisation using HyperV.
1. You should evaluate this new release.
2. Make use of FREE training resources for your IT Services and support teams at https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/
3. Attend one of our FREE IT Camps to get deeper understanding of Windows Server 2012 http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/it-camps.aspx
4. Make use of the curricula and teaching resources at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty
5. Consider running older OS and software stacks within a VM, particularly given the improvements to the overall Hyper-V environment.
6. If your contemplating a major new cloud or virtualization project or initiative, Windows Server 2012 should be the platform of choice, simply because of the FREE licensing options for teaching, learning and research as part of DreamSpark premium.