The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
There are three great plugin and Unity3d Asset available today
Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.
Microsoft Store Plugin
The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products. Includes Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 support. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Metro Essentials Plugin
There is something here for everyone. The Metro Essentials Plugin exposes RoamingSettings (similar to Apples iCloud), live tiles, toasts, the settings charm, the share charm and snap events. All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Social Networking Plugin (Twitter and Facebook) $75
Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into the Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Buy Now
Microsoft Ads Plugin
Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. With over 15 banner variants to choose from you are guaranteed to find one that fits your game without ruining the experience for your users. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.Download Now
Microsoft Azure Plugin
The Azure web services are a powerful way to store data. Accessing them from a Unity game has never been easier. One line of code is all it takes to store any object remotely and securely on Azure. Retriving and deleting objects is just as easy.Download Now
Flurry Analytics Plugin
Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+.
Check the release notes page for up to the minute information about each release.
The Microsoft Store Plugin lets you offer your app as a free trial and sell in app purchases. Get full access to the available license information for your app and all of your products.Download Now
Let word of mouth sell your game for you with this plugin! Post high score updates and achievements to the biggest social networking sites out there with just a couple lines of code. It's all here. For those who want to dig deeper into Facebook's Graph API with it's wealth of information, we support that too. Twitter integration includes all the usual suspects including posting updates, getting a users followers and full access to the entire Twitter API! Buy Now
AdMob Plugin $40
AdMob has finally made its way to Windows Phone 8! Create and display a banner with one line of code. Full interstitial support is also included for ultra high CPM adverts. This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Buy Now
Access the Microsoft Advertising SDK to display ad banners and monetize your app. Monetize your free apps with Microsofts high CPM ad banner solution today! This plugin requires Unity 4.5+. Download Now
Windows Phone Essentials Plugin
There is something here for everyone. The Windows Phone Essentials Plugin exposes live tiles and push notifications to Unity. A host of Windows Phone sharing tasks are also exposed including the SMS composer, email composer, web browser, link sharing, status update sharing, rate this app, photo chooser and more! All the goodies you need to metro-ize your game are here! Download Now
Flurry Analytics Plugin $45
Use Flurry to learn the habits of your users! Collect valuable data like which devices they're using, if your game levels have appropriate difficulty and if anyone's bothering to read your tutorial. Sprinkle calls to log events throughout your code and watch the statistics roll in! Buy Now
Bit Rave have extensive experience working with the Windows 8 platform capabilities, and as part of that we decided to build a library for Unity to make Windows 8 integration easier for everyone.
Azure plugins are now separate. Information can be found here: http://www.bitrave.com/azure-mobile-services-for-unity-3d/
Azure plugins are now separate. Information can be found here: http://www.bitrave.com/azure-mobile-services-for-unity-3d/
Find out just how easy it is for each of the Windows 8 capabilities.
The Azure Mobile Services plugin for Unity 3D is available open source at github. That’s the place to go if you want to contribute or look at the source. It’s on github here: https://github.com/bitrave/azure-mobile-services-for-unity3d . However, if you don’t care about the source, and just use it, head to github as there is an example project with built binaries in it so you can just grab it and use it.
The WinBridge is a plugin for Unity that enables easier command of native controls and features of WinRT (the underlying library behind Windows Store, Windows Phone and Xbox One apps). Currently implemented are: - Windows store (In-app-purchases, trial upgrade, receipt management, Windows store debugging) - Native message dialogs - Native and hardware-accelerated video playback This plugin is an open-source project by Microsoft developer evangelists, aiming to make porting to and development for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms easier. This plugin ships with compiled DLLs, but the full source is available at https://github.com/ProtossEngineering/WinBridge.
DVD + On-line
Windows Phone Programming in C# by Prof Rob Miles;
WP7.5 update + extra modules This material contains a ten chapter textbook with labs, demos and step by step instructions on how to create Windows Phone 7 applications.
1st & 2nd Year Programming courses
Introduction to Game Programming with XNA and Windows Phone 7 by Prof Kelvin Sung (UW)
WP7.5 update + new material
This material is a 16-hour course designed to teach students how to build a 2D interactive video game.
3rd & 4th Year (require background in data structure)
Introduction to Mobile Application Development Using Silverlight by Michael Iantosca.
Students learn the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop a mobile application on the Windows Phone 7.5 platform using Microsoft Silverlight. 2nd & 3rd Year: background in programming needed (preferably C#, but C, C++, Java helps
Designing for Windows Phone by Microsoft
This material contains the following 7 lessons on how to design for the Windows Phone: METRO Design, Building WP7 Assets, Layout Controls in Expression Blend, Creating Animation and Basic Interactivity, Working with the Visual State Manager, Adding Data to your Application and Creating the Flickr4Fun app. [ HCI and Software Dev-t classes 1nd - 3rd Year: ]
Azure Mobile Curriculum by Rob Miles
Find out how Cloud computing works and what it brings to the Windows Phone user. The content will show you how to use the cloud for data storage and databases, farm out heavyweight tasks for cloud data processing and use the cloud to perform identity validation. [addition to above courses]
If you would like to receive a FREE copy of the CD please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your University contact details and full UK postal address.
PLEASE NOTE THE DVD WILL ONLY BE POSTED TO UK INSTITUTION ADDRESS
Don't forget students can get great resources and developer tools for free from http://www.dreamspark.com and check up on all the latest offers and prizes via the Microsoft UK Student Blog and Facebook Group
Techila is a middleware solution for High Performance Computing that enables existing applications to utilize more computing capacity. I believe that the key problem in business and operational computing is the lack of application performance. There are enormous amounts of computing capacity available using Windows Azure cloud service.
Techila allows applications to utilise all available computing capacity. To try demonstrate this a great example of the benefits of Techila and the Windows Azure with Techila integration is a case study, which Techila did with a leading cancer researcher. The researchers in question had a project, which would have taken 15 years. He had developed his research application in MATLAB. He used the Windows Azure with Techila integration to boost the performance of his application with the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. This allowed him to complete the project in 4,5 days! Being able to do something in 4,5 days, which usually takes 15 years gives a real competitive advantage.
Techila develop the solution in close co-operation with end-users and system administrators from the very beginning.
Techila has selected Pharma, Economics/ Financial, and Universities/ Academia as the key markets because of the fact that they are strong on Techila's home market, Finland. But I want to emphasize that unlike many other distributed computing solutions, Techila is a fully horizontal middleware, which can be used in any segment and which can increase the performance of any application: The code can be a MATLAB application, or it can be R (or C/C++, Java, Perl, Python, Fortran,...) They also offer an open API, which can be used to connect any ISV application (3DSMax, SAS, COMSOL, Sungard,...) to the Windows Azure capacity.
Also please find below a demo of run a 2-day long computation in a couple of minutes using 500 Azure instances using MATLAB:
Techila with R language can be found here:
This week I had a really interesting discussion/debate with a University lecturer on teaching user interface design and it took me back just to how things have changed since the mid-nineties.
When I was a student a lot of CS courses which looked at interface design had materials which referenced the following statement “The Evil’s of Rapid Prototyping,” and many slide decks contained reasons why rapid prototyping was a bad idea. Most of the reasoning centred around prototyping tools being so complex back then, they needed to be operated by developers; subsequently, the design process tended to be influenced by all design work needing to be interpreted through the lens of what a prototyper could actually achieve with the software available.
Fast forward to today and there’s been a rethinking on prototyping. Is this good or bad?
I recently blogged about how professional organisations are using tools such as OneNote for UI/UX design. Additionally there a lots of new prototyping tools have appeared over the past few years and they’re rapidly being adopted by interaction designers.
So we concluded that the creators of these tools never attended one of these courses!
So the question I now want to pose is.. how do go about teaching modern user interface design and application workflows on your courses and what tools and resources do you use?
As we know prototypes can be as simple or as complex as necessary for the project on which you are working.
What tools do you use?
Microsoft SketchFlow includes several tools to make your prototype interactive in order to more closely mimic the flow of a production application. For example, with SketchFlow, you can do the following:
Begin a prototype with just a site map and a few notes jotted on the application screens, and then continue to refine your prototype as you go along.
Either draw user interface (UI) elements, or import them from common drawing programs.
Animate your prototype, creating a visual representation of the interaction between the user and the application.
Use the full library of standard UI elements and custom controls.
Create sample data on the fly, easily build data-driven UI, and add styles to your data.
Create interactivity without writing code by using built-in behaviours. Behaviours are extensible, making it easy to add custom behaviours to your prototyping toolbox.
Either write code to create custom elements, or use pre-built elements from your development team
For more details on Sketchflow see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/expression/ee215229.aspx
Tutorials on Sketchflow see www.microsoft.com/.../creating-navigation.aspx
But what about considering Modern design principles..
With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 we have the following key principles which need to be adhered
So the key things you need to consider when designing your apps for modern applications are..
Ensure that you weave platform features into your core scenarios and prototype design to leverage the power of the underlying platfom..
So lets think about the platform features available..
To help develop these scenarios here are list of the key resources.
Microsoft Design Guidelines for Windows Phone http://design.windowsphone.com
Microsoft Design Guidelines for Windows 8 http://design.windows.com
Microsoft User Experience Fundamentals and online training http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Windows-8-UX-Fundamentals-Training-Workshop-2012
So where to start?
To help you get started on your app development here are some templates and guidance from http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Camp/Windows-8-UX-Fundamentals-Training-Workshop-2012
Example of a completed template for a new app design/concept.
In summary, using any form of prototype technique makes it easy to sketch out a conceptual application and ensure the following are achieved.
So what are you waiting for? You can just create a series of screens and use the templates above and then begin to draw. As your idea progresses, you can add interactive elements that make your prototype as close to the finished product as you need it to be to communicate the design idea you want to convey.
Reviewers can use the tools such as SketchFlow, One Note to view the application flow, and then leave feedback directly in the project as annotations. Once the feedback has been incorporated and the prototype is complete, the prototype project can be handed off to a developer for conversion into a final application,
One of the most popular questions from Unity Porting Camps http://www.unityportinguk.com has been how can I add ads to my app
Well we have a number of supported Advertising SDK which are listed at our partner services portal for Windows 8 and Windows Phone development at http://services.windowsstore.com/.
The Partner portal has links to partners providing the following services for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Here are the available Advertising SDK which support Windows 8 and Windows Phone
Scoreoid is a real-time marketing platform that powers engagement and monetization. Scoreoid enables brands, studios, publishers and app developers to interact and engage with their users in real-time. "We help you touch your users".
AdRotator is a multi-platform Ad Rotating solution that integrates multiple AdProviders in to a single control and can manage rotation of those ads based on the developers configuration. It also features fallback capabilities to always ensure the app/game always has ads to show. We also support remote configuration so the developer can alter their Ad Configuration on the fly without re-deploying their app/game or show their own ad to pass in formation to clients.
Get the New Unity Plug-in!
MediaBrix powers the industry's leading advertising and services platform for social and mobile games.
PreApps.com is the leading platform introducing new mobile apps to user and the marketplace prior to release. Our vision is to build an ecosystem, which connects app developers with app users prior to release to in turn create better quality, more successful apps. Our collaborative process has demonstrated to increase app downloads, enhance app ranking, and overall app quality
Get the PreApps Featured Feedback app for free!
FREE CASH TO ADVERTISE YOUR APP! Click Learn More. LeadBolt is an award winning mobile app discovery, advertising and monetization network focused on delivering innovative solutions for Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android app developers and now for Windows Store apps. Through the largest range of traditional and high-performance ad formats, LeadBolt delivers industry leading results to developers wanting to have their app discovered by users and increase their downloads.
Get a code for extra $! Click here for more info.
InMobi is the largest independent global mobile ad network and monetization platform with a global reach of over 691 million consumers across 165 countries on our network, we can help you reach your mobile audience anywhere in the world. Our highly skilled mobile experts plus local account managers will be on hand to help you book and optimize your campaign.
Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Store apps
Whether you're developing in HTML or XAML, the Microsoft Advertising SDK has made it easy to insert ads into your Windows 8 apps. With a few lines of code, you can quickly get ads being served in your app by following the simple steps outlined in our SDK documentation.
AdDuplex is a cross-promotion network for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps empowering developers to advertise their apps for free by helping each other.
Ads Plug-in for Unity3d
At the Unity camps lots of people are interested in Ad services which provided by a dedicated Unity3d plugin.
One of the best I have seen in use is the Unity3D plug-in for AdRotator.
The AdRotator plug-in enables you to use our Windows and Windows Phone AdRotator solution in Unity3D projects for those platforms and configure how AdRotator works directly from the Unity editor.
Using this is simple and goes like this:
Are you are a mobile developer and want to extend your reach and your customer base?
Do you want to make your mobile app available on more stores?
Are using open source technologies?
Well lets look at the opportunity of using open source technologies to build apps for Windows Phone and the Windows Store (Windows 8)
Windows has always been a great playground for developers and many open source technologies already support Windows devices. MS Open Tech is working closely with the open source communities interested in cross platform development including engagement with Web and C++ open source communities to enable a wide range of popular open source frameworks on Windows devices.
Open source and the Windows Stores and Windows Phone 8
To learn details on the use of open source licenses for Windows Store apps, you can read the App Developer Agreement. For Windows Phone store, read the App Provider Agreement.
Both the Windows dev center and Windows Phone dev center provide extensive details and instructions on what is required to build apps for Windows devices. In a nutshell, you need to have Visual Studio, which runs on Windows. You can build and publish apps to both stores using the free version of Visual Studio.
If you are developing on a Mac, here are some interesting pointers for you in order to set things up to build apps for Windows devices on your Mac:
If you are familiar with Android or iOS development, and not with Windows or Windows Phone dev, then we recommend looking into the following documentation that has extensive information adapted to your background:
For Windows Phone apps
Solutions exist to help developers build apps across mobile devices running various operating systems. There are different approaches addressing different specific needs. Lots of these solutions are open source like Rhodes from RhoMobile, Appcelerator Titanium, Xamarin or Apache Cordova (a.k.a. PhoneGap), and happen to support Windows devices.
With Xamarin for example, C# developers can build apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices with a single code base.
MS Open Tech has worked closely with these communities to enable these frameworks on Windows Phone and Windows Store apps which both provide native support for C++ development.
jQuery now fully supports WinRT (the Windows Runtime, powering Windows Store apps), allowing web developers to build Windows 8 apps reusing their existing code and skills. As a direct result from this work, web developers can also use other frameworks that are based on jQuery to build Windows Store apps. You can learn more about what it took to make jQuery support WinRT on this Nettuts tutorial
These other frameworks include
Debugging is another area that is pretty critical for developers and while native development tools (Visual Studio for both Windows and Windows Phone apps) offer extensive tooling, there are some gaps. One of the few example is the missing support for remote DOM inspection of HTML5 code running on an actual Windows Phone 8 device. MS Open Tech filled this gap, contributing to the project weinre, enabling it on Internet Explorer 10 and allowing remote debugging of HTML5 pages.
Most and foremost, MS Open Tech have all the info on the latest open source technologies simply visit http://msopentech.com/
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/
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.
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
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.
The Surface SDK contains the following resources:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ElementMenu control implements a collection of items in a tree hierarchy that users can select.
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.
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.
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.
The SurfaceInkCanvas control provides a drawing canvas that you can use with touch input to create, modify, and delete drawing strokes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Samples that use the Core layer and XNA Framework
Draws small images for every contact at every frame. This sample emphasizes multiple touches and shows how to use the Microsoft XNA APIs.
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.
An XNA-based application that demonstrates how to use the Core Interaction Framework
Shows how to use the RawImage APIs for XNA applications. This sample displays captured normalized (8 bit per pixel) images that are flipped vertically.
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)
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
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.
Demonstrates how to integrate sound into Surface applications based on the Presentation layer.
Represents a simple tool that lets a user compare and contrast the properties of two "items" (tagged objects).
Uses the SurfaceInkCanvas control to implement drawing and painting over pictures and video
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.
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.
One of the most popular question I am getting at present is how to get started or improve my knowledge of Unity the easy answer is simply keep building and playing?
However here some quick guides and links to get you started no matter what level of experience you have.
This list has been a collation of resources from the community and tips and tricks so thanks to Simon Jackson and the Windows Games Ambassadors who have been helping me with www.unityportinguk.com and collating and sharing these great resources with the attendees.
Tools for Visual Programming:
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.
Since its introduction in 2001, students and educators around the world have utilized DreamSpark to support and advance their learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities. This software equips them with the tools they need to succeed during their academic experience and the skills they will need after graduation.
· Microsoft works with educators, institutions and the academic community worldwide to expand opportunities for students and to encourage the development of a skilled workforce.
· Microsoft is committed to providing students with access to programs and software – the tools they need to help them succeed in technology and design fields.
· Microsoft believes in the power of technology to transform education, foster local innovation and enable jobs and economic growth for everyone. Microsoft DreamSpark is just another way of helping this next generation of young leaders seize the opportunity to harness the transformative magic of software.
Examples of how DreamSpark might be used by educators:
Educators have access to the top technical development and design products on the market just like their students. Teachers can teach classes on web development using Expression Studio.
Students today get excited about seeing technology in action, and not just simply learning the fundamentals. With access to products like XNA and Visual Studio, educators can build exciting applications that demonstrate the power of technology.
Q. What is Microsoft DreamSpark™?
A. Microsoft DreamSpark ™ is a program that provides no-cost access to Microsoft designer and development tools for verified students around the world, to support and advance their learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities. This program equips tomorrow’s developers with the professional tools to inspire and create today.
The program has two primary goals:
Q. What is DreamSpark Premium?
A. Advanced software applications can take years to develop, a costly investment that is often reflected in the purchase price. Microsoft makes these highly desired, advanced programs available to students far below the retail cost of any one program in the list. With this subscription, students can access a free online portal through e-academy that provides them with instant and easy access to all DreamSpark titles while also ensuring that institutions will not need to add internal resources or overhead to manage the DreamSpark software program.
Q: What are the benefits of the DreamSpark program?
A: Much more than a software subscription, membership includes:
Q: What happened to Developer AA?
A: Developer AA isn’t gone—it’s simply been renamed to DreamSpark Premium. All of the titles that were previously available to you are still available. If your school had a Developer AA subscription through MSDNAA, you’ll continue to access software titles as you did before.
Q: What happened to Designer AA?
A: Helping students who want to be designers is critical, but we wanted to find a way to make this easier for institutions, so we have changed up the program. Instead of Designer AA membership, institutions can purchase a new DreamSpark membership that gives them access to all of Microsoft’s development and designer tools. If you currently have a Designer AA membership, don’t worry. You can continue to enjoy those benefits until your membership expires. When it’s time for you to renew, we’ll work with you to get you set up with a new DreamSpark membership.
Q: What software will be included in the DreamSpark program?
Software for Production Use
Developer & Design Tools
Visual Studio Professional
Visual Studio Premium
Visual Studio Ultimate
Q: What is the benefit of the DreamSpark program for educators?
A: DreamSpark will give educators a chance to learn new technologies and develop courses that will excite students in the classroom. It will also help educators expand their personal and professional portfolios and enhance classroom objectives.
Q: Why do educators need free developer and design tools?
A: By providing the latest professional developer, design, and gaming software to educators at no charge, educators will have a unique opportunity to motivate and engage students and support those that wish to pursue a career in programming or design after graduation
Q: What will students be able to do with this software?
A: Students using these tools will be limited only by their own imaginations and time. Use of developer tools in engineering, math, science and technology activities allow students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content and make their dream game a reality by porting their creations to their Xbox 360 console. Design tools allow students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography. And platform offerings deliver a security-enhanced and reliable environment, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality.
Q. When and where will Microsoft DreamSpark be available? A. Today, Microsoft DreamSpark is available to university students in 137 countries.
Q: How do students download software?
A: Visit www.dreamspark.com and follow the three steps to get verified located on the home page.
Q. Is this program available to ALL students? What are the limitations?
A. Yes. The focus of the program is technical students, but it is open to anyone looking to explore the possibilities of Microsoft’s development and design tools. The only limitation is students are only licensed for learning and research.
A: Providing software by download does not involve the production costs of creating physical copies, so it works well with software being provided at no charge.
Q. How many students total will this offer be available to eventually and how did you come up with this number?
A. According to UNESCO, there are more than one billion university and high school students in the world today.
A: Providing software by download does not involve the production costs of creating physical copies, so it works well with software being provided at no charge. Microsoft is not trying to prevent non-broadband students from receiving the software. On the contrary, we hope to eventually provide this no-charge software benefit to all students, in all countries. It will take a concerted, cooperative effort on the part of both Microsoft and academic institutions to connect to areas without existing infrastructure of student databases and server technologies.
Q: Why are you giving software away?
A: In giving tech tools away without charge to students around the world, Microsoft is providing future developers and designers with professional-grade tools to create and expand their skills. We believe that it is very important to equip students with tools that will help to foster their education in technology. Such tools would typically be beyond the reach of these students even at very low prices.
Q. What is the commercial value of this software?
A. This software is being provided to students for non-commercial use in particular academic activities. Pricing for commercial uses varies by channel and the associated rights, but products for non-academic use by non-students would typically be hundreds of dollars or more.
Student Identity Verification
A: Microsoft verifies students by using various reputable student databases to confirm student identities. Students will choose the identity provider that maintains the database (i.e. their school, organization, or other academic-based group) that will confirm their student status. The Microsoft system will connect with the identity provider, and the student will supply his or her credentials to the identity provider for verification. Microsoft will then receive confirmation from the identity provider as to whether the student is a current student.
Q: If students are receiving the full professional software versions, then can’t professionals just find a college student to obtain the software license from?
A: All students receiving free software through this program will need to accept an end user license agreement (EULA) that specifies that the software will only be used by the student for non-commercial use to support and advance their STEM-D learning and skills. Students will only have rights to one single-user license per verified identity. If a student were to obtain a valid single-user license and give that license to a non-student that would be in violation of the EULA and the student would no longer be eligible to continue to use the software or to obtain other software under the program.
A: The sign-in process allows students to get verified initially once and bypass the verification step for future visits to DreamSpark. Once verification is completed and if they are signed in, students will be brought directly to the download page. All students will keep their eligibility for 12 months and will have the option to renew after 12 months.
A: Microsoft is not collecting any student information from third-party identity provider databases, other than binary notification of whether the person is a student or not. When students seek to download the software, they will be asked to verify their student status with a verification source of their choice, and the verification source will request the student’s credentials in order to verify their student status. The credentials students provide to the verification source are not viewed or tracked by Microsoft – that is, the student is verified externally by their chosen verification method and not by Microsoft, and any exchange of sensitive credentials with the verification source will be between the student and the verification source. Microsoft will store the general location of students, which assists with download bandwidth efficiencies.
Q: Is there an approved list of universities? Are only students enrolled in brick and mortar universities included or are online students as well? (i.e. what about 2-year or community colleges)
A: As this is a cooperative effort with local communities, we are working with local entities within each country to determine who the universities are.
Q: Are only undergraduates qualified or can graduate students download DreamSpark?
A: Graduate students are welcome to participate.
A: This program is designed to give students Microsoft technology tools at no charge as long as their student status can be verified. University administrators hold the keys to enable verification. If administrators are willing to cooperate and enable their students to verify themselves against the university database, universities will be able to equip them with free professional-level tools.
A: This benefit is available to all students around the world. However, this program requires all students to have their status verified by an authorized verification source. Academic institutions or governments may already have all the requirements necessary to verify their students. Microsoft can help prepare student databases to use the program. Once institutions determine they have a reliable database of student information, we can help them become an identity provider (IDP).
A: Microsoft is pleased to be able to use Shibboleth, an open source authentication and authorization infrastructure product, as one solution for verifying students so they can receive Microsoft DreamSpark program benefits. Shibboleth is an existing middleware solution that is widely used by universities, and federations using Shibboleth software exist in many countries. Its use provides access to a network of institutions and students, enabling immediate connection to over 10 million students, with a path for other academic institutions to sign up. Shibboleth also enables sites to manage the authorization decisions permitting the sharing of specific information between an identity provider database and an external party (such as Microsoft) – such as binary notification of whether the site user is a student or not, without releasing other student information.
A: Microsoft is putting developer and design software in the hands of verified students to support and advance their learning and skills through technical design, technology, math, science and engineering activities. The student developer population has been growing recently, with many developers coming from fields of study other than computer science. Even non-technical majors can benefit from using these products. We want students to grow their capabilities by providing them with developer and designer tools that expand the limits of their imagination. We’re putting tools in the hands of students that they would typically not be able to afford.
A: This program targets students and eduators, who represent a fraction of all software developers and designers. Software under this program is only available for non-commercial use to support and advance students’ academic work involving science, technology, engineering, math and technical design activities.
Q: Are you embracing the “free software” model by offering development and design tools to students at no cost? Will you make it free for all?
A: Our design, development and platform tools offer significant benefits for developers, customers and partners alike. Our goal with Microsoft DreamSpark is to ensure that today’s students have even greater access to the tools they need to succeed in their studies and prepare themselves for today’s increasingly competitive business world.
Q: Is this just a ploy to keep up/compete with open source proliferation in education?
A: No, Microsoft is not offering students free access to developer and design tools to compete against open source software. This program is targeted specifically at students to provide them with access to the software tools used in business today and help extend the skills of the next generation of developers and designers. The company has and will continue to make strategic bets on the Windows platform while continuing to support interop and other open source initiatives and partnerships.
Microsoft products offer tremendous value that is perceived by the marketplace and by our customers.
Microsoft is a platform company committed to building technologies that empower communities of developers and partners to deliver compelling software solutions to customers. This approach is reflected in the size and health of the technology ecosystem in which Microsoft participates, including millions of developers around the world who have created a vast array of applications using Microsoft platform technologies such as Microsoft Windows, Windows Live, Microsoft Office, .NET platform, Microsoft Windows Server, and Microsoft Xbox. Microsoft’s open source strategy is focused on helping customers and partners be successful in today's heterogeneous technology world. This includes increasing opportunities for developers to learn and create across both community-oriented open source and traditional commercial approaches to software development.
Q: Is this the first step in Microsoft lowering its prices (possibly even free) to compete against open source? What are the next products that might be included in this program?
A: Microsoft products offer tremendous value that is recognized by the marketplace and by our customers. This program is targeted specifically at students in connection with their academic studies to help prepare them as the next generation of developers and designers. DreamSpark is the latest in a series of offerings for students just as MSDNAA (Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance), Imagine Cup, and other offerings Microsoft provides to academia. Additional developer tools may be made available to students in the future under this same program, but we do not foresee that other major customer groups or products will be significantly impacted by this program.
Q: Do any other companies offer a free software package like this? A: Yes, other software vendors like Adobe and IBM have offers in market to make software available to students at low costs or no charge. However, we believe that Microsoft is leading the way in providing such a comprehensive offering available to the student market at no charge.