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!
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/
Just over a month we released the Azure toolkit for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has now released the Azure tookit for iOS, and Android is next in line.
The toolkit contains a “compiled Objective-C library for working with services running in Windows Azure (e.g. push notification, authN/authZ, and storage),” along with Objective-C source code and Xcode project files. It also includes a sample iOS application and its source code, designed to show developers how Azure can be used inside of the platform.
The toolkit has been posted to github and can be found at the following three links:
Details on how to get started can be found here.
Here is some useful guidance from the Windows UX team on the correct way to refer to various features in the Windows 8 UI.
These approved terms & phrases are used in the latest materials on http://design.windows.com so please familiarise yourself with these definitions and use them consistently in your teaching and learning.
Metro design style
· Styles that can be applied to enable apps to have a Windows look/feel, be touch targetable, etc.
· The surface that appears along the top or bottom edges of the screen and includes app commands.
· Swipe in from the top or bottom of the screen to see the app commands.
· Developer: To access the commands for an app, swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen to open the app bar.
· The charms connect your app to other apps, the web, your friends, and your devices. Charms provide access to the key Windows features: Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings.
· Tap the Search charm to find what you’re looking for in the app you’re using, on the web, or in other apps on your PC.
· Tap the Share charm to share files and info with other apps on your PC.
· Tap the Devices charm to print and connect to other external devices like media players.
· Tap the Settings charm to change common system settings or the settings of the app you’re using.
· Do NOT use “charms bar”
· Don't use in UI text.
· The area that's the outermost part or the part farthest away from the center of something.
· Swipe in from the right edge to access Search, Share, Devices, Start, and Settings.
· Do not use “edgy”
· To quickly slide a finger a short distance
· Swipe in from the right edge to show the charms.
· Swipe in from the top or bottom edge to show the app commands.
· Swipe in from the left edge to return to an app you were just using.
· Swipe across an email in your inbox to select it.
· Swipe down on a tile to select it.
· Shortcuts to places within an app or to other content.
· You can personalize your Start screen by creating tiles that act as shortcuts to your favourite content.
· Secondary tiles let users personalize their Start screen by creating deep links to specific places within your app.
· Do not use “pinned tile”
Today we are announcing the following changes to www.dreamspark.com
1. An new site design which is the result of improvements to the user experience based on internal and external feedback. Notably creating more clarity around the fact that the DreamSpark program is both a direct to student program and a subscription based program for academic institutions. As a result we have created two hubs with distinctive colour branding through the site to direct users to the right information and software access depending on their role:
a. DreamSpark for Students – direct access to the individual students experience (www.dreamspark.com/Student/default.aspx )
b. DreamSpark for Academic Institutions – information about the DreamSpark subscription such as program benefits, EULAs, usage guidelines, and the steps to purchase a subscription etc. (www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Subscription.aspx )
The site today is going live in English only. Customers selecting other languages will fall back to English UI. The DreamSpark team are working as fast as we can to launch the localized versions. They should become available in the week of 24th of Sept.
As part of this site redesign we are rebranding the DreamSpark subscription to DreamSpark Standard in response to the feedback received by customers and to avoid confusion with DreamSpark for students.
2. The new site has shifted from focusing purely on software downloads to bringing tools and resources related to development on our platforms (Windows 8, Windows Phone and Games) and most importantly a new section under Student dedicated to App Development) also accessible from the Student sub-navigation .
3. A page dedicated to Windows 8 App Development where students can find the resources and tools they need to start developing Windows 8 apps, including a pointer to downloading the getting started guide. .
4. Free access for students to the Windows Store: From the Windows 8 App Development page, users will be direct to the Windows Store Access Page on DreamSpark where they can verify their user status and then get a Registration code to use in the Windows Store to register for FREE.
a. Overview of the DreamSpark program explaining what it is? www.dreamspark.com/what-is-dreamspark.aspx
b. New Software Deployment guide for institutions, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Software-Deployment-Guide-en-us.pdf , detailing step by step how administrators can provide software access to students, faculty and labs via a DreamSpark MSDN Subscriber Portal and ELMS Webstores
c. ELMS overview: www.dreamspark.com/Institution/ELMS-Overview.aspx
d. DreamSpark Standard usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
e. DreamSpark Premium usage guidelines page added to academic institution overview section, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-Usage-Guidelines.aspx
f. STEM definition page, www.dreamspark.com/Institution/STEM.aspx
g. New DreamSpark Standard EULA:www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DS-EULA.aspx
h. DreamSpark Premium EULA page to www.dreamspark.com/Institution/DSP-EULA.aspx
i. Revised FAQ’s; more information, more relevant to each audience (student, educator, and institution) accessible from top nav bar.
j. Separation of Student support from Subscription support with two dedicated pages: www.dreamspark.com/student/support.aspx and www.dreamspark.com/Institution/Support.aspx
k. DreamSpark for Academic Institution, and the Academic Institution Hub nav bar explaining how access an existing subscription:
Last week at the Microsoft Windows BUILD event, a number of announcements in relation to Windows Azure were made.These announcements included the following, the release of the Azure toolkit for Windows 8, availability for Bing service APIs (including translation) internationally, a new Azure SDK , updates to Azure management capability and much more.
Here is a list of some of the key announcements:
For more details see Windows Azure Marketplace technical details and at the Windows Azure blog here.
Today we made some exciting changes and improvements to DreamSpark, with the launch of a new site and rebranding of MSDNAA to Microsoft DreamSpark premium.
DreamSpark is the first step for educators to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today’s students by providing no cost access to professional-level development, design, and gaming software.
A unique opportunity for both students and educators to use the latest professional development, design and gaming software at no charge
A chance to learn new technologies to excite students in classrooms
Access to software and curriculum resources to help develop courses that will enable students to achieve their career goals after graduation
A way to help educators expand their personal and professional portfolios and enhance classroom objectives
DreamSpark is simple; it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on your career. DreamSpark gives Students the chance to develop world class software, web applications, cool and creative designs as well as amazing games. Microsoft believes that students can do amazing things if they only have the right tools.
DreamSpark is about giving educators no cost access to Microsoft professional-level developer, designer and gaming software so they can reach, motivate, and ensure their students achieve their greatest potential. DreamSpark gives you the software and resources to ensure your classroom always has the latest technologies to challenge, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.
Learning must be relevant, exciting, and engaging. DreamSpark is aligned with universities, associations, and employers to ensure that educators are able to discover, create, and deliver courses to students that lead to increased technical proficiency, employability and of course creates the next generation of technical leaders.
· DreamSpark Pricing Model and usage
Free for all students – simply self-subscribe to DreamSpark via http://www.dreamspark.com
Free for all Schools being in the system and setup to provide their students verification solution This was is through domain, shibboleth, or Live@Edu validation Schools DreamSpark Administrators can request codes and give to their students
For more details regarding Microsoft Dreamspark offering contact the DreamSpark support team
NB. Licensing does not allow for the products to be used in class, and FREE licensing does not cover educators
Changes to licensing and costs
DreamSpark for Schools, College and Unis subscription is now available and priced at $99 FREE for EES customers – This change allows all DreamSpark software to be installed for teaching and learning on Institutional Lab machines and it’s a campus license as per EES so you only need to purchase 1 license and not 1 per school or faculty and if your a EES subscriber its included for FREE. (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and is available for all taught discipline, previously this only covered students usage and not licensed for intuitional equipment)
DreamSpark Premium – Previously MSDNAA so includes more products including Visio, OneNote and Project and is aimed at STEM FE and HE institutions and all IT Academy Subscribers. The cost has been reduced to $499 from £1000+ (also it now covers educators and students for personal non-commercial usage and all lab installations)
Microsoft was started when many of the founders were still students so we know that anything is possible. To make this happen, we are aligning with universities, associations, and other communities around the world to make sure that DreamSpark reaches everyone as fast as possible.
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.
Over the past few weeks, I have had a few questions around the ability of Windows Azure http://www.windowsazure.com/education to run non Windows operating systems. In this post I will explain the process of installing Linux on Windows Azure.
Firstly some key facts about Windows Azure support for Linux
Creating a virtual machine that is running the Linux operating system is easy when you use the image gallery in the Windows Azure Preview Management Portal. With no prior experience with Windows Azure, you can create a virtual machine running the Linux operating system in the cloud that you can access and customize.
Images are provided by these trusted members of the Linux community:
Here is a step by step walkthrough adapted from Bruno Terkaly Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brunoterkaly
Select a flavour of Linux
Selecting a flavour of Linux
Specifying Linux VM Details
Your Virtual Machine Running (Portal)
Understanding the Dashboard, Endpoints, and Configuration
How to open endpoints to your Linux VM
Opening a TCP port
Working with Putty
Your terminal screen to your Linux VM
What if you already have a Linux Sever you simply want to move to the cloud?
Here is a quick step by step guide for creating and Uploading a Virtual Hard Disk that Contains the Linux Operating System
You create a virtual machine in Windows Azure by using a virtual hard disk (VHD) file. You can choose to create a virtual machine by using a VHD file that is supplied for you in the Image Gallery, or you can choose to create your own image and upload it to Windows Azure in a VHD file.
Choose one of the partners below for help creating Linux virtual machines in Windows Azure:
Learn how to create your own virtual hard drive (VHD) with a Linux operating system on it, and then upload it and use it to create a Linux virtual machine in Windows Azure.
1 – Writing the core logic for camera, mesh & device object 2 – Drawing lines and triangles to obtain a wireframe rendering 3 – Loading meshes exported from Blender in a JSON format 4 – Filling the triangle with rasterization and using a Z-Buffer 4b – Bonus: using tips & parallelism to boost the performance 5 – Handling light with Flat Shading & Gouraud Shading
The idea behind this series is to ensure you are ready to use IE 11 WebGL 3D engine.
Microsoft Technical Evangelist , David Catuhe has published recently Babylon.JS and you can test it here: http://www.babylonjs.com in IE11 or in Chrome.
David has also started a tutorial series on his 3D engine:
- Babylon.js: How to load a .babylon file produced with Blender
- Babylon.js: Unleash the StandardMaterial for your babylon.js game
GameSalad Creator is a 2D object oriented tool that allows you to create completely original games using a drag and drop interface, enabling you (the user) to create applications for Windows 8, iOS, Android, HTML5, and even for the Mac Platform without typing a single line of code so perfect for those developing there first app. This is possible by using Creator's unique design and powerful features to turn logic and assets into finished high-quality products. For our purposes, ‘logic’ refers to the combination of Rules, behaviours, and Attributes that jointly define how a project operates, and ‘assets’ are the images and sounds imported into your project.
To download Creator for Windows, head over to http://gamesalad.com/creator to get the most recent version.
GameSalad Windows Creator supports Windows 8, Android, and HTML5 publishing while Mac Creator supports iOS, Windows 8, Android, HTML5, and Mac Platform. An active Professional GameSalad Membership subscription is required for Android and Windows 8 publishing. As Pro memberships are account based, you'll only need one even if you plan on using both Windows Creator and Mac Creator. Simply log in to the Creator with your Pro account and you're good to go.
What Screen Size/Canvas should I use?
This is common question the setting should be 720p HD as the native resolution for Windows 8 is 1366 x 768
Publishing your GameSalad Apps and Games to Windows 8 To publish for Windows 8, you'll need a Windows 8 Developer License (available at http://dev.windows.com) or if your a student or educator via DreamSpark.com (available at https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx) and an active GameSalad Pro membership subscription (available at http://gamesalad.com/creator/pricing)
It's important to note that while it’s possible to publish for Windows 8 using any supported Windows operating system, you'll need a Windows 8 environment to adhoc test your game. Another key detail is that unlike iOS publishing, the code signing process isn't divided into developer signing versus distribution signing. Instead, you'll simply upload the resulting APPX file using the Windows 8 developer portal (available at http://dev.windows.com) when you're ready for submission via .
Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but this time using the newly added 'Windows 8' platform tab. This page has the following fields and configuration options:
Its vital that these field are completed I will explain each of these settings individually in regards to what they do and how they affect your game. Keep in mind that many of the terms I'll be using are Windows 8 user-interface specific.
This is One of the most common reasons Windows 8 apps fail certification is lack of a privacy statement.
Windows 8 Certification requirement 4.1.1 states
Now most of us building apps read that and think, I’m not collecting anyone’s email address or phone numbers with my app so I don’t need a privacy statement. Then you submit your app for certification and it fails! Why?
Personal information includes: Webcam snaps, Audio/Video recordings, Photos, Documents, Contacts, and so on. So if you are using the webcam to take pictures or creating a document that access contact information or users files you need a privacy statement.
Personal information also includes: IP Addresses. That means if your app has the ‘internet client’ capability enabled in your app you are going to need a privacy statement. By the way, the default templates in Visual Studio include the ‘internet client’ capability, so unless you change the default manifest, you will need a privacy statement.
According to Windows 8 certification requirement 4.1.1
• Informs users of the information collected by your app
• Informs users how that information is used, stored, secured and disclosed
• Describes the controls that users have over the use and sharing of their information
• Describes how they may access their information
• Complies with applicable laws and regulations
Where can I find some examples?
A good example is
This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.
This application does not collect or share any personal information. Your IP address (and related data provided by the operating system when making a web request) may be logged by the Internet-based servers (controlled by the vendors ) that provide the data used by the application.
Is there a code sample for adding it to settings?
Windows 8 UI Features
Tile Settings (Including 'Tile Background Colour', 'Foreground Text', 'Show App Name', 'Logo', and 'Small Logo') - These are all fairly self explanatory, but each includes a tool tip with additional details for further clarity. Note both the Logo and and Small Logo must either be a .png or a .jpg and their required dimensions must be pixel perfect. Splash Screen (Including 'Splash Screen Background Colour') - again must be pixel perfect in size and .png or .jpg. Snap View Image (Including 'Background Colour' and 'Vertical Alignment') -- Must be pixel perfect .png or .jpg
Windows 8 Store Package Settings (Including 'Package Name', 'Publisher ID', 'Publisher Display Name', 'Version Number', and 'Store Logo') - With the exception of the Store Logo, these fields contents are provided to you by Microsoft, through the developer portal. You'll be able to provide placeholder text in this field, these will need to be a perfect match to the information provided in the developer portal. The logo must be pixel perfect and .png or .jpg. Ensure that the following fields must be character-for- character exact to what's on your Windows 8 developer portal http://dev.windows.com, otherwise your app submission will be unsuccessful:
Display Name, Package Name, Publisher ID (minus "CN="), Publisher Display Name.
Once you've filled out the Web Publish form and have generated/downloaded your game, you're ready to submit to the Windows Store. After registering a Developer Profile via www.DreamSpark.com or directly at http://dev.windows.com you will be given a Publisher ID and Publisher Display Name. To find these values you will need to login to your Developer Account via dev.windows.com From your Developer Dashboard under Profile click on Account You will under Display Info your publisher Display Name and Publisher ID. It is critical that these values are input exactly as they appear on the page (Again, no need to include the CN= when entering your ID, GameSalad take care of this in the publishing system) Before publishing the final product for submission to the Windows 8 Store you will need to have reserved the App Name via your developer portal on Microsoft's Website.
To Reserve App Name: Go to your Dashboard Click on Submit an App Click App Name Add the Desired Name to the App Name field and submit. Reserving the App Name will then provide you with the Package Name. To get the package Name: Go to Your Dashboard Click Edit on the App in Question Click on Advanced Features Click on Push Notifications and Live Connect Services Click on Identifying your app The Identity Name at the bottom of the page is your Package Name.
Steps for ad-hoc testing your Windows 8 game: Prerequisites
If your a student simply head over to
Getting Started Building Windows 8 apps https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Windows-8-App-Development.aspx
If your a Non Student developer you will need
• Windows 8 SDK (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/hh852363.aspx)
• Visual Studio 2012 Express or Professional installed (http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/products/visual-studio-express-products)
• GameSalad App-Signer available at http://gs.downloadables.s3.amazonaws.com/AppSigner0.10.0.zip (this is required to sideload and test your app/game before publishing to the windows store)
Getting Started testing your app/game
• Install Visual Studio and Windows 8 SDK Download and Extract the GameSalad App Signer to the directory of your choice (we recommend your Documents folder)
• Go to Directory that the App Signer was extracted into
• Right Click AppSigner.exe and select Send to > Desktop Create Shortcut
• Right Click Shortcut and select Properties
• Go to Compatibility Tab and select the Run as Administrator (bottom of window)
• Apply > OK
• Build your app or Game with Gamesalad and publish the app
How to Use the GameSalad AppSigner after you have created your app/game
• Double Click to Run Program
• App Path - Browse to the published APPX file that you desire to sign • Publisher ID - This is the Publisher ID that was used during publishing
• Key Name - This can be anything that you desire. Ideal use case is to enter in the name of the Application without spaces.
• Click Sign App • You are now ready to Side Load your game for ad-hoc testing
To Side Load for Testing
• Browse to directory that has the signed APPX
• Right Click the Add-AppDevPackage.ps1 and choose Run in Power Shell
• Follow the prompts in Power Shell ◦ NOTE: If this is the first time that you are side loading an application for testing, you will be prompted to Acquire a Developer License. The account that you use to sign in must be a Microsoft Live account. Once you are signed in, continue following the prompts. ◦ NOTE: If the version Number of the app/game was not increased during publishing, and you have previously installed a version of the app/game onto the Windows 8 device, you will need to uninstall the existing version prior to installing.
• Once the app has been installed, proceed to the Windows Start Screen and click the icon for your test application.
Publishing your app to the Windows 8 Store
Once you're ready to publish your game, you'll go through the same Web Publishing process you've already been using, but complete all the fields in the 'Windows 8' platform tab as instructed above.