• 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!

    clip_image002 clip_image003 clip_image004 clip_image005clip_image007

    clip_image008 clip_image009 clip_image010Moving to Visual Studio 2010Programming Windows Phone 7

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Channel 9 Windows 8 Application

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Gadgeteer stimulates the kids.. at Hack to the Future

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    hacktothefuturegadgetGadgeteer 

    Last weekend I went along to Hack to the Future, the idea of Alan O’Donohoe, Teknoteacher on Twitter. Alan is a Secondary School  ITC teacher in Preston. However Alan really wants to make a difference for the next generation. Alan decided to setup up a unconference to support the development of Computer Science to young people in the form of a day of informal learning entitled – Hack to the Future or #h2df.

    A direct quote from Alan

    It is an un-conference that aims to provide young digital creators aged 11 – 18 with positive experiences of computing science and other closely related fields, ensuring that the digital creators of today engage with the digital creators of tomorrow.

    We plan to offer a day that will inspire, engage and encourage young digital creator

    I’m proud to say that Microsoft fully supports events such as so we involved Microsoft Research, MS Press and a number of other key partners to help support the event. Myself and Steven Johnston from Southampton University, who is also working with Microsoft Research as a Gadgeteer outreach manager developed a plan and we set off for Preston.
     
    The event was all about the young people and it was amazing to see over 350+ young people plus around 100 teachers and parents attending the various talks, workshops and sessions at H2df. I have to stress the workshops and sessions at H2df were all hands on, and code based and Steven and myself spent the day at Hack to the future #h2df getting attendees hands on with the Microsoft .NET Gadgeter and had a great day.

    We ran 7 sessions each with 10 laptops/kits and were packed out each session. (each kit with 3/4 students, we had to turn some students away due to the demand so apologies if you did not attend). Below is a copy of the sessions which we completed.

    I have to state on the day we far more hands on with Visual Studio 2010 and C# and astounded by the skills of some of the younger developer (Hacklings, as Alan calls them)

     

    During the session the attendees built the camera and those that completed early - built a cardboard case and mounted the components to create a a digital camera. Thanks to @coletteweston for these great pic of her daughter at the event who as you can see was very successful.

     coletteweston1coletteweston2

    Overall the event was inspiring with children using Visual Studio 2010, some without any prior experience and writing C# and getting to play with the GHI Fez Spider Gadgeteer kits to build a fully working digital camera in around 30 mins – 45 mins. Hack to the Future was  an amazing day and really well done to Alan and the team of Our Ladies High School.

    To end the day, Alan put on some indoor fireworks and did his his famous #h2df rap. Well done to Alan and all the other volunteers at Hack to the Future and a great start to inspiring computer scientist of the future.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why start learning to build for Windows 8

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    If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.

    Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experience with Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.

    Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever!

    So lets look at some of the reasons for developers to consider writing applications for the Windows Store.

    1. The Size of the Windows Opportunity

    image
    There is more than 1.25 billion Windows users globally. The market potential for your selling your application is enormous. Clearly, the market for Windows-based applications far outnumbers anything else. Thinking about academia specifically, potential employers will be wanting to recruit students with the skills, experience and portfolio of existing Windows 8 apps to build their latest software releases.

    2. The Scale of the Windows Opportunity

    Simply put the Windows Store offers a marketplace for your application with a global reach of 200+ markets, 100+ languages, even distribution to enterprise customers. A generous revenue sharing model is in place. Imagine that you keep 70-80% of the revenue share from your application.

    3. So what are we doing to help

     

    1. Some amazing help is available from Microsoft
    2. I am talking about the Windows 8 Camps
    3. Sign up HERE for the App Excellence Lab Process
    4. You will get a 2 hour, 1-1 session with a technical person to help review your app, pass it (to submit to the store submission process) or give you feedback you can go away and work on.
    5. The sessions can be virtual or physical so you can do it from your location.
    6. The AEL process is about quality so please make sure your app is in good shape so you have the best possible chance of getting the app through the process.
    7. AELs run from now to GA October 26th so there are lots of dates and times so you will be able to find a time that suits you.
    8. Get to grips with Windows 8 have one-on-one sessions with Microsoft staff
    9. They will help review your application for:
      • Performance
      • Adherence to the Windows 8 Design Principles
    10. This process could result in a your app getting early into the Windows Store

     

    4. So What type of App should I be building?

    What is the Best App Type? - Entertainment apps are the most popular, followed by Books and References, and Games.
    What languages can I develop in? Windows 8, Windows Store apps can leverage a variety of skills you already know (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, XAML, C#, VB, or C++ ).

    5. The Windows Store Ensures Visibility

    Strong support for search, category browsing, ranking lists, editorial content. The Windows Store features latest, most popular, and fast rising apps.

    6. Enterprise Support
    Don’t limit yourself to consumer apps. Perhaps you have an idea for an Enterprise application. Luckily, the Windows Store will have rich support for deployment and management scenarios.  Compliance and security is built in. There is support for direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps.

    7. How you make money
    Your applications can be time-based and feature-based trials, paid apps, including in-app purchases.  In-app purchases can help you customize the transaction flow with the customer. Sales analytics can also help you increase your reach.

    8. Free Apps - Many choose to offer free applications + an ad model

    I personally think it makes the most sense to get your application out there as a trial. We have learned from the Windows Phone marketplace that trial versions get 70 times more downloads than paid versions. 10% of those convert to the paid version, typically within a few hours.

    Resources

    1. The Windows Dev Center

    • Developer downloads – This single page gives access to all of the downloads you need to build apps, including Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Express 2012, design assets, code samples, and additional SDKs and tools.
    • Design resources – All Windows 8 design resources are located at design.windows.com. See case studies, category guidance, and get a new downloadable version of the UX guidelines for Windows 8 apps.
    • Developer content – The ‘Docs’ section of the Windows Dev Center is updated for RTM including more detailed API docs, new How-to articles, a new section for developing apps with C++ and DirectX, and many more samples.
    • Selling content – Find the Windows Store markets, how to price apps, and the latest versions of the Windows Store Agreements including the App Certification Requirements.
    • Community content – Access to developer forums, blogs, Dev Camps, and local event listings

    2. The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites

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