• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Curricula and resources now at Faculty Connection


    We are pleased to announce three university level courses are now available on Faculty Connection. 

    The courses are modular for easy integration into existing curricula; they are application development oriented; each contains instructor guides, PPTs, labs/tutorials and video files that accompany the exercise files.

    Designing for Modern UI

    · 11 modules that provide lectures and tutorials on how to design for the Windows 8 UI using Metro language.

    • 100 Level for Human Computer Interaction (HCI)  classes;   focus is on UI design using Metro style
    • Prerequisites:  none; suitable for any college student
    • Audience: any audience;  no programming skills required

    Application Development for Modern UI

    • This curriculum contains 9 modules that cover the fundamental concepts of developing Metro style app using JavaScript and HTML5/CSS3 with Microsoft's tools and resources.
    • 100/200 Level for web design classes/apps development
    • Prerequisites:   students need to have basic programming skill, i.e.  Intro to Computing (101) or AP Computing; usually required by any HE institution as part of 1st year classes.
    • Audience: any audience - science, engineering, art, etc

    App Development for Modern Devices

    • This course covers development systems for phones, tablets and desktop computers, focusing on  a) fundamentals of building network aware software, b) interfaces for touch and NUI devices such as Kinect; c) graphics programming such as writing code that displays augmented reality experiences
    • 200/300  Level for CS; Engineering; Science programs with apps development
    • Prerequisites:   students need to have basic programming skill and understanding of math and science
    • Audience: STEM disciplines

    For additional resources for Windows 8 Metro Style Design and App development see my previous blog post on Windows 8 development resources

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Metro Style Gaming


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



    · 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.


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


    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)

    Dev languages:                                                 (game scripting) C#, Javascript



    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#

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals Sydney, Australia Day 1


    The Imagine Cup 2012 worldwide finals have just got underway down under and 72 software design teams from all around the world have gathered in Sydney, Australia to celebrate and compete in the 10th Imagine Cup worldwide finals. Team EyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain are flying the flag for the UK with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.

    It all kicked off at the airport this morning with competitors, mentors, judges and Microsoft staff flying in from all over the world to be greeted by a giant koala, a little treat organised by the Australian interns and MACHs. Here’s our UK team (minus Faizan for some reason) and their mentor Alamgir being greeted at the airport after a 24 hour flight!


    So day 1 kicked off with the students and staff having a quick bite to eat at the hotel before heading to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre where the Imagine Cup worldwide finals are held this year. Here we see a multitude of bright colours, amazing outfits and enthusiasm at another level. To see some more pictures of the Imagine Cup worldwide finals so far take a look at the official Imagine Cup 2012 Facebook page. At the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre students, mentors and staff register and pick up their freebies (in this case an Imagine Cup 2012 rucksack, water bottle, t-shirt and sweatshirt – not bad for a day’s swag), programme (where we see we have an upcoming ‘cultural day’ where students have the option of a Harbour Bridge Climb, Taronga Zoo etc, Karaoke, Group photo as well as the all-exciting presentations and award ceremonies!).


    After some team time where teams have broken off to practise their presentations and do some last minute tweaking it’s time for the Opening Ceremony. At the opening ceremony we had some key figures give inspirational and exciting talks about how students are at the forefront of innovation and how these Imagine Cup projects could become the next Microsoft or Facebook, 2 companies started by students. Prominent speakers included Dan’l Lewin (CVP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft), Adrian Piccolo (Minister of Education, NSW), Julia Gillard (Australian Prime Minister), Walid Abu-Habda (CVP, DPE Lead, Microsoft), Moorthy Uppaluri (General Manager – Academic Team, Microsoft), Pip Marlow (General Manager Australia, Microsoft) and Jessica Watson (youngest person to sail solo around the world, young Australian of the year and bestselling author).



    Following from all of the building excitement of the talks and keynote speeches there were of course giveaways. Four teams were awarded full dev conference passes and ALL worldwide finalists (approximately 375) were given a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 today, courtesy of Nokia.

    Now that’s day 1 wrapped up but there’ll be plenty more action from the Imagine Cup worldwide finals over the coming 5 days and if you want to watch the live stream you can do so here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Gaming Courses and Curricula are you thinking/teaching cloud



    Social applications (games, sharing, and location-based applications and services) are very quickly becoming the most prominent types of applications. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and as such, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform on which to run to meet the growing demands of the users.

    Social Gaming

    If we take the founding principles of Windows Azure (on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery) and apply them to the needs of social games, we can quickly see how Windows Azure and Social Gaming is a perfect match. Companies like Sneaky Games (the developers of the Facebook fantasy game Fantasy Kingdoms) and Playdom (the makers of Bola Social Soccer, a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users) are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games

    To make it even easier to develop social games with Windows Azure, there is the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games.  The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure.  It includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples. It also has specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and so forth.


    As a starting point, the toolkit also includes the source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner and his team at gskinner.com. The game is built with HTML5 and comes complete with reusable service-side code and documentation.  It also supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.

    Try your skills at a round of Tankster >>

    Next Steps

    So what’s next?

    Download the toolkit >>

    Then have a look at the samples and Tankster.

    Deep dive into the architecture behind Tankster - Part 1 >> Part 2 >>

    If you’ve previously developed a game, see how you can overlay the functionality provided by the toolkit onto your game. If the toolkit doesn’t fit with your game, no worries. Think about your game’s architecture and where you can leverage Windows Azure’s on-demand compute, storage, and geographic delivery services to get your game in the Cloud. Either way, take this opportunity to see how you, too, can leverage the benefits of Windows Azure.

    Need access to the Cloud?

    Learn how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application need via Azure for Education Grants.


    Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption: More info


    Need access to Windows Azure outside the classroom? Working on a project on cloud computing? Or maybe your master thesis? As a student you can take advantage of the free Windows Azure trial offer and run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for 90 days* More info


    The Windows Azure Research Engagement project aims to boost scholarly and scientific research by extending computing to the cloud. We provide a cloud computing platform and work with researchers on projects that push the frontiers of client and cloud computing. More info

    Institution Administrators

    Microsoft IT Academy provides students with the future ready technology skills they need to be successful in college and a career.

    • Increase your students’ employability with relevant technology courses that help them secure jobs following graduation.
    • Offer educators and other staff members the opportunity to enhance their own professional development
    • Gain access to resources that will help you save time and money More info
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft UK Windows 8 App Excellence Labs



    In the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of UK academics, students and educators  who are passionate and excited about the opportunities with Windows 8. Now, we would like to share how to get early access into the Windows Store for your Windows 8 app via the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs (AEL).

    What is the App Excellence Lab?

    The App Excellence Lab is a 2-hour engagement with a trained Microsoft Services Engineer who will run your app through a series of tests based on a quality checklist to ensure your app is (or will be) in top-notch shape when you submit. You will also get a chance discuss ways to make your app even better and you will get answers to any questions you might have. Of course, the Labs are the singular path for motivated developers to gain early access to the Store, allowing you to receive an account, register your app and get a head start in publishing your app.

    Who is it for?

    The App Excellence Labs are open to developers who have almost completed their app as well as to developers who are in their early development/ideation cycle who would benefit from a consultation with Windows Engineer. Bottom line is that you will be able to work with a client expert who can rapidly help you accelerate your development.

    When and where are the App Excellence Labs held?

    The App Excellence Labs are held Monday to Friday at the Microsoft Campus in Thames Valley Park (Reading). We highly recommend you to attend in person, however, if for any reason you are unable to attend in person, we do offer a virtual option for you to join via Live Meeting. Please see the time slots listed below.

    Below is the list of current times available for App Excellence Labs sign up.

    We hope to see many of you at the App Excellence Labs and your apps in the Store.

    Please follow the 4 simple steps to sign up to the App Excellence Labs.

    Step One

    Register and log in to https://win8.msregistration.com

    Step Two

    Once you have successfully logged in, please complete the Application Profile Survey. Our Windows 8 consultant will use this information to work with you on your app during before and during the App Excellence Lab.

    Step Three

    Under the 'Notes' section of the Application Profile Survey, please enter the following information:

    Date/Time of your preferred App Excellence Lab(by choosing two preferred times/dates of the ones listed above)

    Choose your preference of In-person or virtualApp Excellence Lab (by stating In Person or Virtual).

    Step Four

    Click on 'New Application Profile' once you've completed your profile and stated your preferred date/time & in-person and virtual preference. We will then get in touch with you to confirm your Windows 8 App Excellence Lab.

    Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 3 working days, please drop an email to ukmsdn@microsoft.com with your App Excellence Lab details.  

    Help & Support for the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs Booking & Attendance

    Please either call 0845 073 7159 or email v-jat@microsoft.com

    Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 2 working days, please drop an email to v-jat@microsoft.com with your App Excellence Lab details.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Developer Camps in July


    The Windows Phone Camps are events which will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows Phone related topics. If you are new to Windows Phone, this is the ideal event for you as you will have the opportunity to understand the general approach and capabilities of Windows Phone development.

    The Windows Phone Camps will cover an introductory design session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. There will also be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets.

    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 these are the latest version of the tools.

    Lastly, please let us know as soon as you can if you cannot make the camp as there will be many developers who are keen to take your spot. Please let us know (via written email) at least 2 days in advance if you are unable to attend the camp or a £20 administration fee will be charged. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed.

    The Windows Phone Camp will kick off at 9am and finish at 9pm. Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!

    Click here to register now.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Registration open for July Windows 8 Camps



    The Windows 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows 8 related topics. 

    The Windows 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the basics of the OS and interaction with the OS, Metro style UX with examples in Store apps, The Store and the developer opportunity, the high level view of the platform – i.e. WinRT and the choice around implementation technology, and the tooling – the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend.

    In addition, you will learn how you can publish your Windows 8 app into the Windows Store in advance of general release through the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs at this camp.

    Wednesday 18th July, Windows Phone DevCamp

    Thursday 19th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Friday 20th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Saturday 21st July,Windows 8 DevCamp

    Monday 23rd July, Windows Phone DevCamp

    Tuesday 24th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Wednesday 25th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Thursday 26th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    The Windows 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm, or 9pm for the hardcore attendees.

    Requirements & Prerequisites for Attendees

    IMPORTANT: Bring a suitable laptop with the following downloaded:

    1) Windows 8 Release Preview installed and running on your machine - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download?ocid=W_MSC_W8R_DevCenter_MetroDL_EN-US

    2) Visual Studio 2012 Express RC installed - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516

    Lastly, please let us know as soon as you can if you cannot make the camp as there will be many developers who are keen to take your spot. Please let us know via email (microsoft@delegate.com) at least 2 days in advance if you are unable to attend the camp or a £20 administration fee will be charged. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed.

    Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Windows 8 Camp

    Windows 8 Camps Agenda:





    Welcome & Explanation of the Day’s Format


    Presentation Room

    Work Room


    Windows 8 Overview – UX, Store & Opportunity

    Hands On Labs

    (.NET and HJC)

    App Migrating and UX Reviews




    Windows 8 App Features 1




    Windows 8 App Features 2





    Hands On Labs

    (.NET and HJC)

    App Migrating and UX Reviews






    For the committed only to continue their labs/migrating.




    Click here to register http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/upcoming-events.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 Starting 06/07/2012




    Follow the action from Australia July 6 - 10 on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the Imagine Cup blog.

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    Microsoft Student Partners, acting as roving reporters, are covering Imagine Cup and broadcasting live! Sit back, relax, and join in the fun.

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    There’s still time to choose your favourite team and help them win the People’s Choice Award. Vote for your favourite videos by July 9 and the winning team will go home with $10,000!

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Registration


    The Imagine Cup yearbook lists the project descriptions and introduces you to the teams competing in Sydney. Read about their inspiring apps, and wish them luck! .

    We are going to live stream the following Imagine Cup events,  here http://icsocialmediateam.com/live-stream/

    Best of luck to Team EyeWork @teameyeworks from Newcastle College and Northumbria University representing the UK.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    More Cloud Services on Project Hawaii


    windows phoneproject_hawaii


    Microsoft Research’s Project Hawaii extends the Windows Phone with the power of the cloud. The smartphone provides the sensors, mobility, and data; the cloud provides powerful algorithms to enable scenarios that would otherwise not be possible. The newly released Project Hawaii Software Development Kit (SDK) 2.0, developed by the Mobility and Research Group, has added four more cloud services to Project Hawaii’s existing line-up, namely:

    · Key value pair, which enables the storage of any data in the cloud—easily and quickly

    · Translation, which, well, translates from one language to another

    · Text to speech, which does just what its name implies

    · Path prediction, which narrows location searches based on the direction of travel

    Microsoft Research continues to offer Project Hawaii to a growing list of universities worldwide (50 by spring 2012), with more than 2,000 students already using the Hawaii SDK in the last year or so.

    Take a look at some of these exciting projects developed by students.

    If your interested in the opportunities of Hawaii Learn more about Project Hawaii by reading the following blog.

    If your interested in experimenting with Hawaii you can download the SDK.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    LIVE Coverage of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, July 16–17, 2012



    LIVE Coverage of the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, July 16–17, 2012

    For the first time, we'll be broadcasting the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit live. We will stream the keynotes from the Faculty Summit plus entertaining interviews with scientific and academic visionaries who will discuss how they're tackling some of today's top research and computer science challenges.

    Join us for the live broadcast of the Faculty Summit on July 16 and 17, 9:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Pacific Time.

    · See what’s in store and view the Faculty Summit broadcast live.

    · Join the conversation through Twitter hashtag #FacSumm.


    Visit Microsoft Research website: Microsoft Research Connections

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