• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Improvements to DreamSpark and FREE store access for Windows 8 student developers

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    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.

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    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 .

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    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. .

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    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.

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    Additional Resources

     

    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:

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft ‘IoT’ Internet of Things Developer Program

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    image

    About the Windows Developer Program for IoT

    Designed for developers

    This is the first in a series of Internet of Things (IoT) programs for the creation of connected devices.  This program is tailor-made for both makers and Windows developers entering into the IoT space.

    Rapid hardware development

    The accessibility of Arduino combined with the connectivity of Windows.  Quickly iterate and expand on hardware and software designs using existing shields and sketches.

    Windows platform with Visual Studio

    Leverage the Windows platform and its diverse hardware ecosystem. Utilize familiar Win32 programming using best in-class development and debugging tools.

    Open community

    Connect with your fellow developers and share code contributions through GIT. Participate and influence subsequent releases of the SDK.

    Start building

    LearnMakeExploreConnect

    Learn

    Learn how you can make great connected things and contribute back to the community.

    Make

    Set up your Galileo board and get your project rolling.

    Explore

    Find a sensor, look at samples, or check out the project the community is building.

    Connect

    If you're not already a part of the program, sign up here.

    Community resources

    Wiring for Windows

    Visit the Github repository for our open source implementation of the Arduino API set on Windows.

    Stack Overflow: Q&A

    Post questions and see responses about this Developer Program on Stack Overflow.

    Wiring API

    Visit Wiring.org to find a description of the elements that constitute the Wiring framework.

    Follow us on Twitter

    Follow the #winbuilder hashtag on Twitter.

    MSDN: forum

    Post questions and see responses about the Developer Program on the MSDN forums.

    IRC channel

    Listen in or contribute to the live community chat.

    Report bugs

    Review or submit bugs for Microsoft and the community at our Microsoft Connect site.

    YouTube channel

    Watch videos of maker events and community projects.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    SketchFlow – Sketching and Prototyping in Expression Blend

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    I had a interesting discussion this morning with a business school looking at introducing Mobile App development one of the key things within their assessment is the proof of prototypes and wireframes we got onto discussing the opportunity and advantages of using Microsoft Expression, SketchFlow.

    SketchFlow addresses three pain points in software sketching and prototyping:

    It makes it easier to experiment with ideas for dynamic user interaction.
    It facilitates communication of design ideas and intent between designers and other stakeholders.
    It makes it easier to gather, evaluate and use stakeholder feedback on design ideas.

    Sketchflow is a fun, informal, flexible, quick and powerful way to sketch and prototype rich, dynamic interactivity with Expression Blend.

     sketchflow

    SketchFlow

    The mission of the Expression team is to help designers to create great user experiences. We believe that this mission needs to begin with the early exploration phases of design. SketchFlow,

    SketchFlow is a set of tools for Expression Blend to create sketches and prototypes of interactive content and applications, giving Blend a new role in pre-production and design phases of the development process.

    SketchFlow is informal and quick, enabling you to sketch out plentiful ideas for dynamic interactions in a cost effective manner. SketchFlow also supports the evolution of your rough sketches into living and breathing prototypes that can be as real as you need them to be.

    SketchFlow is part of Expression Blend so FREE from www.dreamspark.com

    Throughout the software industry, we historically have not spent much effort on the earlier stages of design. This lack of upfront investment in design often leads to increased cost due to a need for expensive rework at a later stage and to products that may not satisfy our customers.

    Great design for software needs a great design process, and ways to make the exploration, communication and evaluation of interaction and design fast and effective are an important part of great process.

    sketchflow1

    Sketching, and, at a slightly later stage of the design process, prototyping, are wonderful techniques to explore a multitude of ideas quickly, without excessive investment and emotional attachment. Software interaction is highly dynamic, and over the last years we have consistently have pushed more in the direction of rich, dynamic visuals and interaction methods. Expectations have risen greatly. However, it is far from easy to create meaningful design studies and sketches of dynamic interactivity entirely with traditional tools. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that most design tools have been created as production tools, focused on the creation of final production assets, where precision, quality and finish matter. Another reason is that most tools still treat UI as something that is just a small derivation from an otherwise static comp.

     

    Gathering feedback

    SketchFlow provides a way to showcase your prototype to others using the SketchFlow Player. The SketchFlow Player allows you to explore the prototype from the first moment on, even while it consists of nothing but a few rough sketches. The player lets you navigate your prototype, run animations that illustrate how your prototype might work, or switch into different states of your UI, all without wiring up actual UI elements. This lowers the cost of evaluating ideas in early stages before much expense has been incurred.

    But showing a prototype to others is only part of the review process, so the SketchFlow Player provides tools to collect feedback from reviewers. Reviewers can provide feedback either as text, like the comments in the Feedback tab in the screenshot below, or as ink, like the red arrow in the screenshot below. Then you can incorporate this feedback into the prototype using the Feedback panel in Expression Blend, allowing you to iterate on your design using suggestions from your team.

    Resources

    Tutorials on Sketchflow http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/tutorials.aspx

    For more information, watch a video on Sketchflow

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    FREE Ebooks from Microsoft Press

    • 1 Comments

    Microsoft Press have a number of FREE Ebooks now available covering topics from SQL Server 2012, Office 2010 and Windows Phone, there is something here for everyone. 

    Many of our free ebooks are offered in three formats - PDF, Mobi (Kindle) and epub. Hope you find them useful!

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    clip_image008 clip_image009 clip_image010Moving to Visual Studio 2010Programming Windows Phone 7

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Channel 9 Windows 8 Application

    • 6 Comments

    Channel 9 is home base online for technical know how, how to’s and tips and tricks.

    Channel 9 is used by millions of Developers worldwide each month through videos, how to articles and events.

    We are excited to announce that the team has just released a Channel 9 application in the Windows 8 App Store. 

    So Install the application today on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and easily browse the latest content on Channel 9, share content with your friends and view content on any of your Play To Enabled devices. 

    To find the app, Search the Windows 8 App store for Channel 9.

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Training camp in a box

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    Win8CampInABox

    The Windows 8 Camp in a Box is now available for download.  It includes all of the presentations, code samples, and hands on labs ideal for you getting your curricula up to date with Windows8. The content is available in both XAML/C# and HTML/JavaScript versions.  

    If you have been looking for an opportunity to develop curricula, work books, assessments or simply a walkthrough of a XAML/C# or HTML5/JS application step by step this it!  Full source code and instructions are provided in both html and docx formats. 

    Labs

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Student Access to Microsoft Azure 90 day pass

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    Azure_thumbnail

    Students

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

    Here is what you get (monthly allocations):

    • Compute: 750 hours of a Small Compute Instance
    • Storage: 20GB with 50k Storage transactions
    • Data Transfers: 20GB out / Unlimited inbound data transfer
    • Relational Database: 1GB Web Edition SQL Azure database
    • Access Control: 100,000 transactions
    • Service Bus: 2 connections
    • Caching: 128MB cache

    Get the free trial

    *A Windows Live ID and credit card are required for proof of identity. There is no obligation to purchase at the end of the free trial.

    Learning Resources:

    Short and interactive learning presentations that provide foundational learning
    Windows Azure - Step by Step Book

    Ideal for those with fundamental programming skills, this tutorial provides practical, learn-by-doing exercises for mastering the entire Windows Azure platform.

    Order Now

    For more details see http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/overview/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Debugging Crashes of your apps and games on Windows Phone 8

    • 7 Comments

     

    One of the questions I get from game developers  is around debugging of a App/Game after they see reported crashes

    Here is a quick guide to how to debug the crash logs from the WP8 dev center

    Firstly you need to download and analysis the crash logs

    Login to https://dev.windowsphone.com
    Click Dashboard
    Click Reports
    Select Crash Count
    Click Export Strack Traces
    This will download a .cab

    If you then look up specific error numbers at https://dev.windowsphone.com/ and http://msdn.microsoft.com a specific link to Debugging on Windows Phone http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-US/OEM/docs/Debugging/Debugging_Windows_Phone

    To Analyse the log

    You need to save the .cab then right click and extract it.

    Then double click on the mini dump file and open into VS.

    They will see something similar to below.

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    This gives limited info because the debug symbols are missing.

    Getting symbols

    The symbols are located in two places. To install all available symbols, do the following two steps:

    1. Run the provided symbols installers from the WDK download on the Windows Connect site http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff557573(v=vs.85).aspx.

    2. Run setup.exe from the Windows Phone download on the Connect site. Check the desired boxes for Debugger Symbols, and click the Next button.

      Add the paths of the symbols to the symbol path. For example, you can use .sympath inside the debugger to add folder locations. For more information, see Symbol path.

      For a large workgroup, consider creating a symbol server. For more information, see Symbol stores and symbol servers.

    You can then load them in using the links on the right.

    If you don't install the symbols “Debugging with native only “ gives the limited call stack:

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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft announces Windows Azure Toolkits for Mobile Devices including iPhone and Android

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    Today, Microsoft announced Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows Phone, iOS and a preview of tools for Android.

    Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms.

    Today announcement and the release of the API is a key goal to allowing developers to quickly develop and build apps that work with unique devices across a dozen platforms.

    The toolkits leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud resources to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices. As a common back-end, developers can use cloud services to share common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage and even higher-level services like leaderboards.

    Developers can maximize the performance of each mobile device by writing client code that exploits each platform. As more and more mobile applications rely on back-end services, the Microsoft Azure cloud can become increasingly useful and strategic for developers.

    A huge opportunity of the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices to create applications on the major mobile platforms, specifically:

    Windows Azure Toolkit for iPhone (v1.0). Developers can download the package and quickly get started writing iPhone apps on the Windows Azure platform without having to have intimate knowledge of Microsoft tools, such as Visual Studio. Compiled iPhone code libraries to interact with Windows Azure, a sample iOS application, documentation, and a “Cloud Ready” Windows Azure deployment package are included.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:

    iOS:

    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-lib
    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-samples
    https://github.com/microsoft-dpe/watoolkitios-doc

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone (v1.2). Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:  

    Windows Phone 7:

    http://watoolkitwp7.codeplex.com

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Android (Prototype Preview). With the forthcoming release this summer, developers will be able to extend the functionality now available for iOS and Windows Phone to the Android platform with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android.

     

    To simplify the process of setting up services in Windows Azure, we are also releasing a “Cloud Ready” package for the toolkit. This package is designed to allow someone to quickly get started using Windows Azure without having to open and modify the services.

    Screencasts are available for developers seeking additional information: Getting Started with the iOS Toolkit and Deploying the Cloud Ready Package for Devices.  Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Wade Wegner’s blog contains a more detailed technical review of the iOS toolkit.

    By providing toolkits for Windows Phone 7, iOS, and Android, we are making it faster and easier for developers to use Windows Azure to provide services across device platforms

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    If your thinking of installing Windows 8 are your labs machine HyperV capable?

    • 2 Comments

    Whether you are a software developer, an IT administrator, many of us need to run multiple operating systems. Windows 8 uses Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server.

    In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).

    Hyper-V enables developers to easily maintain multiple test environments and provides a simple mechanism to quickly switch between these environments without incurring additional hardware costs.

    An introduction to Hyper-V

     

     

    Requirements

    Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). SLAT is a feature present in the current generation of 64-bit processors by Intel & AMD. You’ll also need a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and at least 4GB of RAM. Hyper-V does support creation of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems in the VMs.

    Hyper-V’s dynamic memory allows memory needed by the VM to be allocated and de-allocated dynamically (you specify a minimum and maximum) and share unused memory between VMs. You can run 3 or 4 VMs on a machine that has 4GB of RAM but you will need more RAM for 5 or more VMs. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also create large VMs with 32 processors and 512GB RAM.

    In conclusion, by bringing Hyper-V from Windows Server to Windows Client, allows you to provide a robust virtualization technology designed for the scalability, security, reliability, and performance needs of most data centers. With Hyper-V, developers and IT professionals can now build a more efficient and cost-effective environment for using and testing across multiple machines.

    So how do I know if my machine support SLAT (second level address translation). 

    1. Windows 8 HyperV requires support for SLAT (second level address translation). 

    2. So if your thinking of installing Windows 8 in your institutions computer labs you should check your machine BIOS as this feature can be enabled/disabled.

    3. To do this Download CoreInfo from the Windows Sysinternals website, here.

    4. Open a command window with admin rights and type coreinfo –v, if an asterix is displayed next to EPT row then your Intel processor supports SLAT.

    CoreInfo-SLAT

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