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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Download the PDF, the Mobi, the ePub, as well as the companion content.
Kraig began updating the first edition exactly a year ago, and when you examine the new ebook’s Table of Contents you’ll quickly see how much work he has done to share his deep understanding of Windows Store app building. Even in the simplest sense—new pages added to this edition: 478—Kraig’s effort and generosity are impressive. Thank you, Kraig, and enjoy, app builders! The following excerpt from Kraig’s introduction to the ebook shares our goals for the title:
Introduction from the Author
Work on this second edition began almost as soon as the first edition was released. (I’d make a quip about the ink not being dry, but that analogy doesn’t work for an ebook!) When Windows 8 became generally available in the fall of 2012, work on Windows 8.1 was already well underway: the engineering team had a long list of improvements they wanted to make along with features that they weren’t able to complete for Windows 8. And in the very short span of one year, Windows 8.1 was itself ready to ship.
At first I thought writing this second edition would be primarily a matter of making small updates to each chapter and perhaps adding some pages here and there on a handful of new features. But as I got deeper into the updated platform, I was amazed at just how much the API surface area had expanded! Windows 8.1 introduces a number of additional controls, an HTML webview element, a stronger HTTP API, content indexing, deeper OneDrive support, better media capabilities, more tiles sizes (small and large), more flexible secondary tile, access to many kinds of peripheral devices, and more options for working with the Windows Store, like consumable in-app purchases. And clearly, this is a very short list of distinct Windows 8.1 features that doesn’t include the many smaller changes to the API. (A fuller list can be found on Windows 8.1: New APIs and features for developers.)
Who should read this book?
I'm also assuming that your interest in Windows has at least two basic motivations. One, you probably want to come up to speed as quickly as you can, perhaps to carve out a foothold in the Windows Store sooner rather than later. Toward that end, Chapter 2, “Quickstart,” gives you an immediate experience with the tools, APIs, and some core aspects of app development and the platform. On the other hand, you probably also want to make the best app you can, one that performs really well and that takes advantage of the full extent of the platform. Toward this end, I've also endeavoured to make this book comprehensive, helping you at least be aware of what's possible and where optimizations can be made.
Let me make it clear, though, that my focus in this book is the Windows platform. I won’t talk much about third-party libraries, architectural considerations for app design, and development strategies and best practices. Some of these will come up from time to time, but mostly in passing. Nevertheless, many insights have come from working directly with real-world developers on their real-world apps. As part of the Windows Ecosystem team, myself and my teammates have been on the front lines bringing those first apps to the Windows Store. This has involved writing bits of code for those apps and investigating bugs, along with conducting design, code, and performance reviews with members of the Windows engineering team. As such, one of my goals with this book is to make that deep understanding available to many more developers, including you!
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Recently our device maker partners held events where they showcased their amazing Windows Phone 8 hardware for the first time. In case you missed the events, check them out below, or see the full line-up on windowsphone.com.
Registration for the October incarnation of Three Thing Game are now open at the University of Hull. The week long event It starts on Monday 22nd of October with the "Amazing Thing Auction" with real fake money. Then on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th The students face the infamous 24 hour overnighter, this time with added Mono Game and Windows 8 fun.
The team from Mono Games and Microsoft will be on hand to help you port your game to Windows 8. The University of Hull we will have some Windows 8 systems set up for testing. There are some great prizes up for grabs and win even bigger, by getting your game into the Windows 8 Store before anyone else via a FREE Windows 8 store accounts via Microsoft DreamSpark.
Today MonoGame announced 3.0 BETA available for download.
MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal of Monogame is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux and Windows 8 Store apps.
We have over a 100 first, second and third year students attending and University of Hull, lecture Rob Miles will be running a special XNA sampler in the week before the competition where students will get to grips with "skeleton code and get a understanding of Microsoft XNA”
Hull Students can find the registration form here. Simply compete it and return it to Rob Miles, with your registration fee.
Watch out for an update during the weekend of the 27th/28th and announcement of the winners and their games on the 28th.
Today is a important day for Windows Phone, Come see what’s new in Windows Phone 8. Join the webcast at 10 a.m. PT on Oct. 29, live from San Francisco.
Resources for Windows Phone 8
Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/windowsphone
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/windowsphone
Windows Phone Blog - http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/
Pininterest - http://pinterest.com/windowsphone/
Webcast - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/windowsphone/liveevent.aspx
Windows 8 Game Apps - World Record attempt for the Largest GameJam in a single location
Friday, Sept 14th to Sunday, Sept 16th
University of Bedfordshire, Luton
For the past few weeks we have been working closely with a specialised gaming institution called Train2Game to ensure that their students are firstly aware and secondly up to speed on developing beautiful stunning and awesome games on Windows 8.
So this weekend Microsoft will be supporting Train2Game. Guinness World Record Attempt GameJam.
Yes… we have taken over the University of Bedfordshire in Luton for the weekend. The University IT Team have successfully upgraded to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 via DreamSpark premium.
The IT team have built a custom image and have successfully deployed this to the current PC estate for use throughout the event.
All the PC’s located in the computer labs and study spaces are now Windows 8 and the event images compromises of Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Ultimate RTM and various design and graphics packages and tools necessary to build amazing games.
The event will start on Friday and last for the next 48 hours we have over 330 game development students, these students will work in teams developing Windows 8 Game Apps using only C++ and DirectX. A unknown theme will be announced at the keynote by Scott Henson of MS Studios and officials from Guinness World Records will be present throughout the event adjudicating the proceedings. The existing World Record is held by Singapore at 301 game developers so we will all hopefully be successful record breakers on Sunday.
In preparing for the Game Jam the 330+ students have, for the past six weeks, been developing Windows 8 games to practise their skills. These 330+ students can also now take advantage of these skills and build and deploy games for FREE to the Windows Store using their DreamSpark subscriptions which provide them free developer accounts for the Windows Store and Windows Phone MarketPlace.
The experience and our involvement will help encourage them continue developing games in C++ and DirectX for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Give the students some real practical example of working within teams and provide them with evidence and portfolios of real apps, with user ratings and feedbacks which they can then use to demonstrate skills to potential employers.
We are also working with Train2Game in building a Windows 8/Phone 8 Game Development module for their 9,000 students to take as an option on their Degree/Masters courses.
Happy coding! Oh yes, I will be playing some of the games developed on Sunday. So expect more details after I have recovered from sleep deprivation.
Science@Microsoft, an e-book that commemorates our many years of Microsoft Research activities with the academic research community.
This celebration of collaboration, demonstrates the breadth of our collaborative research and the potential of computer science to address some of the world’s problems. These stories demonstrate the amazing power of technology to impact areas far afield from traditional computer science.
Science@Microsoft is available as a PDF at microsoft.com/scienceatmicrosoft. It is also available for the Kindle at Amazon.
· Download the PDF
· Get the Kindle version
· Read the blog
· Read more
The Microsoft robotics group have announced the release of the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 Beta.
You can download RDS 4 beta at Microsoft.com/robotics. What is exciting about this release is that it has extensive support for the Kinect sensor hardware through the Kinect for Windows SDK.
This simply allows developers to create Kinect-enabled robots in the Visual Simulation Environment and in real life. Along with this release comes a standardized reference spec for building a Kinect-based robot. .
We need to know that you value DreamSpark help us, help the next generation of students
We are inviting students to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting your skills development, learning outcomes and career potential. We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your coursework and test results. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.
We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous. Just to give you a little more of an incentive to help us gather this data we are offering one lucky student an Xbox360. Just click here
The student questionnaire is at http://nerp241b1.questionpro.com
Go download the Windows 8 Release Preview now!
DreamSpark Premium subscribers can go to the subscriptions page for additional downloads and BUILD 2011 attendees can go to the BUILD attendee Connect site for additional downloads.
For more details see http://www.buildwindows.com/
As Andrew states in his original blog Agility is essential to cope with the new influx of students every year as well as is the need to deploy every more applications to keep up with the latest standards for the curriculum and the way each subject is taught.
Some of these examples below are relevant to my previous discussions in regards to System Center 2012, curricula enhancements and training so I am sure you find them of interest in preparation for this years refresh plans.
The following blog is by Microsoft UK IT Pro Evangelists Andrew Fryer. Originally posted on the UK Technet Blog Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer IT Pro Evangelist
Teaching the next generation of IT Professionals.
There was a lot of coverage in the press last week about teaching coding and development as part of ICT, however I had two separate requests from ICT educators about teaching how to maintain and fix problems on PCs, because that’s what their students had asked for. We discussed setting up virtual machines on Hyper-V and using snapshots to allow a damaged desktop to be fixed and then being reset with the problem for the next lesson. I also think some of the information on clustering and virtual machines on the Microsoft Virtual Academy could be reused in class rooms or certified training via Microsoft IT Academy in the form of MTA.
Remote Desktop Services & App-V.
One way to deal with the problem of matching up students and teachers to the applications they need , irrespective of where they are working is to use App-V (application virtualisation) as this deploys a virtual copy of an application to a desktop based on the groups a user belongs to i.e. it won’t show up in programs in control panel and can run side by side alongside earlier versions of the same application which it would normally conflict with.
Another approach is to use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and it was no surprise at BETT to see all the hardware vendors sporting their latest thin client devices, and personally I like the LG and Samsung offerings where the thin client was just part of the LCD panel. However not every application likes running as a remote desktop and you can end up creating a lot remote desktops for each type of user. The trick here is to use App-V with RDS so that the applications run virtually inside the remote desktop session and a given user only gets the applications they need even though you only have one or two standard desktops in RDS (the guidance on how to do this is here).
Another good thing about RDS is that it reduces heat in the classroom if thin client devices are used and also reduces the background noise, although the noise from pupils will still be the same! It is possible to implement RDS without also deploying Citrix or Quest technologies on top, however both of these partners’ offerings add ease of use and manageability to what the raw RDS experience delivers.
RDS can be setup so that these personalised remote desktops are available to staff & students working at home or other locations and this means they can use their own devices to interact with a school. Of course laptops are expensive and can be difficult to justify on a limited budget, so to level the playing field there is Get On Line @ Home, which provides affordable reconditioned hardware with Windows 7 + Office 2010 with telephone technical support included.
Thanks to Andrew for producing this post. For a list of upcoming events which the UK TechNet team are delivering see http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/home.aspx and for details of your education account managers to discuss this further see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/