Windows Dev Center for Windows 8 Launched; Download Preview Release Now

Earlier today at the keynote of   BUILD conference, Steven Sinofsky, President, Windows & Windows Live Division at Microsoft announced that developers will be able to download the Windows Developer Preview via the new Windows Dev Center. Microsoft showcased a detailed preview of the next major release of Windows, code-named Windows 8.’ The Windows Developer Preview is a pre-beta version of Windows 8 for developers. Windows Dev Center

The new Windows Dev Center dev.windows.com – has just gone live and promises to make guides, tools, samples, forums, docs and other resources to build on Windows available soon. You can download the Windows Developer Preview right away.

Download Windows 8 Developer Preview

Windows Developer Preview with developer tools English, 64-bit (x64) – DOWNLOAD (4.8 GB)

All of the following come on a disk image file (.iso).

  • 64-bit Windows Developer Preview
  • Windows SDK for Metro style apps
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
  • 28 Metro style apps including the BUILD Conference app

Windows Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64) – DOWNLOAD (3.6 GB)
Includes a disk image file (.iso) to install the Windows Developer Preview and Metro style apps on a 64-bit PC.

Windows Developer Preview English, 32-bit (x86) – DOWNLOAD (2.8 GB)
Includes a disk image file (.iso) to install the Windows Developer Preview and Metro style apps on a 32-bit PC.

System Requirements

Windows Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch

Note that you can’t uninstall the Windows Developer Preview. Also, the preview is available as-is, and is unsupported by Microsoft. The Windows Developer Preview is delivered as an .iso image that must be converted into installation media stored on a DVD or a USB flash drive.

Sinofsky mentioned that this developer preview will be followed by one beta version, and a release candidate before the final release. With Windows 7, a similar process took about a year to go from developer preview to final release. Microsoft hasn’t specified if and when a preview version of ARM-based version of Windows 8 will be made available.

Prior to this, all the developer information, downloads, and documentation was hosted at Microsoft’s developer portal MSDN. This included development for Windows client, and other Microsoft’s web and server technologies. With the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft created App Hub, a developer portal for Windows Phone 7 app and games developers and Xbox LIVE game developers. Unless some integration or merger happens in the future around the release of Windows 8, this could create factions between developers on same technologies but on different portals.

Windows Phone Mango Beta Refreshed; Twitter Integration Debuts

Yesterday, Microsoft announced Windows Phone Mango RTM. The RTM implies that the code is finished, and handed over to carriers and device manufacturers for testing and distribution to the customers. Today, Microsoft surprised developers by releasing Beta 2 Refresh of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

Also, Microsoft is pushing an OS update for developer-unlocked phones allowing developers to refresh the Mango update to Build 7712 corresponding to the SDK release. The RTM build is 7720. The Beta 2 of Windows Phone SDK 7.1 was released last month and developer-unlocked phones were updated to Mango (Build 7661). Although, the update has a RC moniker in the name when the tools are installed, this is an early version. The final Release Candidate would be released next month. The final Mango update would not be available to developers early, and would be pushed through the usual official channels.

Today’s update is available through the Mango Connect site. You would need to download and install the updated Zune software (4.8.2134.0) and an UpdateWP.exe file. Also download the Windows Phone SDK tools. Before you install any of these, first uninstall the previous versions of all three from your computer.

The latest update showcases Twitter integration in Windows Phone for the first time. Although the Twitter integration was announced and demoed earlier, the feature wasn’t included in the last update. I did a post on all points of Windows Phone experience where Twitter integrates.

The comprehensive integration touches all bases in Windows Phone. The integration is present in the Me tile, People Hub, Pictures hub, and Internet Explorer 9. The Twitter integration is very solid, and for infrequent Twitter users, this might just do away with the need for a Twitter client.

The tools update also adds a nifty screenshot capability built-in into Windows Phone Emulator allowing you to quickly take screenshots of your apps without using a separate app.

Social Gaming Powered By Windows Azure

Microsoft has figured out an interesting way to get into the social games business. The social gaming market continues to grow in terms of number of users and profits. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and therefore, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform.

According to the Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Move report by eMarketer,  the social gaming market will increase to $1.32 billion in revenues by 2012, up from $856 million in 2010. Today, Amazon hosts many online games, including big Facebook games, developed by Zynga and others. Companies like Playdom, the makers of Bola Social Soccer – a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users, are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.

Microsoft is focusing on building tools to help other game developers ramp up quickly, while they host their games on Windows Azure. Windows Azure is built on the principles of on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery. These principles mirror the needs of social games. With that premise, the Windows Azure team has launched a preview of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure whether you want to build social games as a hobby or you want to reach millions of gamers.

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games allows you to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure. The toolkit includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples that you can use in your own .NET or HTML5 game. It enables unique capabilities that are prerequisites for an average social game, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing and so forth.

As a proof-of-concept, the toolkit also includes source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner, a popular game developer. The game is also available online to play for free. The game is built with HTML5 and supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.

The toolkit is available for free, and game developers can use the same to build social games and applications in a short period of time.

Small Basic Allows Kids to Learn Programming

After more than two years of pre-release versions of Small Basic, Microsoft has finally released Small Basic 1.0. Microsoft Small Basic attempts to put fun into computer programming. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases students of all ages into the world of programming.

Small Basic

Small Basic is a project that is focused  on making programming accessible and easy for beginners. It consists of three distinct pieces: the language, the programming environment, and the libraries. The Language is inspired by an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .NET Framework. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Just like the early variants of BASIC, Small Basic is imperative and doesn’t use or expose beginners to concepts like scopes, types, object orientation, and more. It consists of just 14 keywords and there isn’t a type system.

Small Basic is quite different from Visual Basic. It is much smaller than VB and supports just a subset of what VB.NET supports. Also, Small basic is a tool for learning programming while VB.NET is a professional development tool. Small Basic is different from QBASIC as well since it is based on .NET Framework.

Small Basic

Small Basic is a programming language that is designed to make programming extremely easy, approachable and fun for beginners. Although developed for kids, even adults that have an inclination to programming will find Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. To get started, all you need to do is download and install the Small Basic software. You can then use the Introducing Small Basic (PDF) document to help you get started with Small Basic.

Win Free Tickets To Google I/O 2011

Google I/O is a developer conference hosted by Google where they have developers from all over the world come together for 2 days to discuss technical content and building the next generation of web, mobile and enterprise applications.

Google I/O 2011

Google I/O is usually in high demand and this year’s tickets for the event were sold quickly enough causing server crashes and more. If you are a developer who wanted to go to the event but could not get a ticket, here is your chance to win free tickets for the Google I/O event to be held on May 10-11, 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The free tickets will be given away as part of a contest Google is holding for developers. The contest will be held for 10 days in March. Each day Google will ask developers to solve questions and challenges before picking a final winner for the day. The schedule for the contests is as follows (all times in PST):

  • March 16 – Android, 9:00 am
  • March 17 – Chrome, 9:00 am
  • March 18 – App Engine, 9:00 am
  • March 21 – YouTube APIs, 9:00 am
  • March 22 – Game Developers, 9:00 am
  • March 23 – Google Maps / Geo, 4:00 pm
  • March 24 – Commerce, 9:00 am
  • March 25 – Developer Tools / GWT, 9:00 am
  • March 28 – Accessibility, 4:00 pm
  • March 29 – Google Apps / Enterprise, 4:00 pm

All the challenges will have 2 rounds with the first round being a rapid-fire question/answer round which will qualify developers to move onto the round 2; which is a coding challenge.

The contest is open to residents of 50 United States and Columbia. Winners of the contest will be announced on April 4. For more information about the winning free Google I/O Developer tickets, visit the contest site.

Vision Gaming Engine of Trinigy to Support the NGP

A geek’s wet dreams are made of these. Trinigy’s Vision Game Engine will be supporting the Next Generation Portable (NGP) console of Sony. The second in the PlayStation Portable series from Sony will have the hardware specifications that are at par with the home console from Sony, the PlayStation 3. This is great news for gamers as the Vision Game Engine is quite the pretty-looking thing and is well built for different kinds of games.

trinigy

The NGP will be all about graphics and new era games with its rear touch screen. Implemented well, the games would be brilliant to watch and extremely intuitive to play. Said Dag Frommhold, managing director at Trinigy:-

SCE is known for producing powerful computer entertainment systems and handheld entertainment systems capable of delivering rich gaming experiences and eye-popping graphics. With support for NGP, the Vision Game Engine gives developers a flexible, full-featured solution for speeding the creation of graphically superior, high-performance casual and hard-core gamesfor portable entertainment systems.

NGP

The main features of the engine for the NGP are [from the press release]:-

  • Optimized character skinning system for NGP allows for efficient rendering of detailed characters with very high polygon and bone counts.
  • Full support for cross-platform and platform-specific texture formats offers a straight forward workflow and easy porting of existing content, while providing high-loading performance and platform-specific content optimizations, where required.
  • Multithreading system takes full advantage of NGP’s CPU cores for animations, mesh deformation, particle simulation, physics, visibility determination, and more.
  • Highly efficient rendering Efficient rendering system minimizes CPU load.
  • Optimized shader/shader constant handling includes full cross-platform compatibility.
  • Comprehensive support for NGP’s user interfaceincludes multi-touch as well as support for dual analog sticks.
  • Fully featured graphics technology includes normal/parallax maps, specular maps, dynamic lighting, post-processing effects and more.

Let’s hope we get to see a lot of Arcania on the PSP2!

Medal of Honor Developer Working on Sequel

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…is how the most recent Medal of Honor blog post starts. At that point of time I was wondering about a great many things. I was wondering if there would be a cow level in a Medal of Honor expansion, whether we would get to implement nether portals in the game (and get transported to a Minecraft world) or, very typically, whether pigs have wings.

moh

But, oh no, I was never wondering whether Medal of Honor will have a sequel. I swear!

Nevertheless, yes, it seems that Danger Close is closing in on the sequel for Medal of Honor. The reboot of the original war shooter (before most of the original developers quit and became Infinity Ward, developer of the hugely popular Call of Duty series) in a modern garb saw much takers. 5 million takers, to be exact:-

Just recently, EA announced that the reboot of Medal of Honor was a big success with over 5 million copies sold. We wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for supporting us, our new studio and our storied franchise. We would especially like to thank all of the long time Medal of Honor fans out there who have stuck with us over the years.

Since our launch last October, we’ve studied, listened and absorbed much of your feedback and are very excited to be marching forward on the next title.

The last line rings out a bell for all Medal of Honor lovers. The next titlehere is the sequel, and EA is so happy with the sales figures that they are actually commissioning it. Considering that EA’s other shooter Battlefield 3 has also been seen in the developer forest, grazing and getting developed it will be fun to see exactly what the direction of Medal of Honor 2 will be.

Microsoft Qt Framework Pokes Fun At MSFT-Nokia Partnership

MSQtThis had to be coming. After Nokia CEO said that the popular developer framework Qt will not be part of their Microsoft deal for Windows Phone 7, someone definitely had to get pissed off.

After all Nokia has been trumpeting about Qt to all their developers for a long time and even did a huge show about it at the 2010 where they awarded money to the best apps.

So what does Nokia do with Qt now? NO one can say, but a smart guy definitely came up with a site which could possibly be mistaken for an actual QT port for Windows Phone 7. Don’t get fooled though, it is just a satire and is poking fun at Nokia. I bet there will be several other developers who will be saying "What a waste of time it has been"

MSQt Guide

The website in question is http://www.msqt.org/ and was registered on Feb 12 2011, after the Nokia-MSFT decision. I must say that the person who created the website devoted a lot of time to it since anyone will be fooled thinking that it is an actual Qt port for Windows Phone.

Don’t forget to read the footer though, which I will divulge here:

© 2008-2011 Nokia Corporation and/or its subsidiaries. Nokia, Qt and their respective logos are trademarks of Nokia Corporation in Finland and/or other countries worldwide.

All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Licensees holding valid Qt Commercial licenses may use this document in accordance with the Qt Commercial License Agreement provided with the Software or, alternatively, in accordance with the terms contained in a written agreement between you and Nokia.

Alternatively, this document may be used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 as published by the Free Software Foundation.

This is a satire, for the real Qt website go to qt.nokia.com

(h/t @unitechy)

Apple Pushing Out iOS 4.3 Beta 2 To Developers

Just as you would expect with any modern smartphone sold nowadays, continued support is in very high demand, namely software support and updates. Unlike Android, iOS has very controlled hardware that it runs on and only devices sanctioned (read: designed and built) by Apple get the thumbs up for iOS. This gives Apple the great ability to control the user experience and control what features a user has access to and what they don’t.

With the update of iOS 4.3b2, developers should expect a slew of new features including the ability to create a personal hotspot on the device (for WiFi tethering) and some new API for gesture control. Apple has indicated that end-users may not be getting gesture support once 4.3 goes live and it is mainly for developers to test their applications, implement gesture support or ensure that their code does not conflict with any changes.

You can register as a developer (you’ll need to fork over $99 while doing that) to get access to this beta directly from Apple and you’ll receive access to the firmware images that support the Apple TV, iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS as well as the 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch. As always, the XCode and Apple SDK are available to download as well.

Most users will want to stay on the carrier supported release, since this is technically beta firmware and is aimed at developers who want to get a jump on gesture controls and any other API calls that Apple has added in.

It’s rumoured that the 3rd beta will be released within a few weeks and should be the final seed before iOS 4.3 is release sometime in February.

HP Holding Second Event Aimed At Developers

If there’s anything that HP needs for webOS, it’s developers and apps. Well fear not because following their WebOS event on February 9th, HP will be holding a “developer oriented” event featuring Jon Rubinstein (pre-CEO of Palm) and the HP webOS Engineering and Developer Relations teams. In addition to a special presentation, there will be a reception for the developer community to allow developers to get to know each other and presumably discuss the future plans on applications and development for the platform.

You must be a registered developer in order to attend the event and there’s a fairly decent chance that HP/Palm will take this opportunity to hand out some new hardware so developers can get an early start.