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23 Days of Devices

February is already a short month and you have got exactly only 23 days left to participate in Microsoft’s 28 Days of Devices sweepstakes. This is part of the App Builder Rewards of the Windows Store AppBuilder program.

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If you haven’t heard about the AppBuilder program, you should certainly take some time and check out the site content. You will find many useful resources and tools to kick-start, simplify or enrich your Windows application development endeavors and improve your coding skills. There is also support on how to publish and promote your applications. The AppBuilder Rewards program is a bonus feature besides the content and offers for a limited time points for completing quests, attending events and publishing apps to the Windows Store. Points can be cashed out to get Xbox games, a Windows Store developer account and much more. The following two graphics should give you a few hints on what the reward program offers to motivate app developers:

quest

rewards

On top of the existing AppBuilder Rewards, the 28 Days of Devices sweepstakes give you a chance to win one of 28 Dell Venue tablets with your qualifying app submission. You need to get your Windows app downloaded 100 times by the end of this month and you will be entered in daily drawings. A few more details about how everything comes together:

  1. Enter your Windows Store apps to the Apps Quest
  2. If your app has less than 100 downloads when you complete the Quest between January 21st and February 28th, you will get a $15 Windows Store gift card
  3. Use the App Promotion Kit, Windows Store gift card and AdDuplex advertising impressions to reach 100 downloads before the end of February and earn your chance to win one of 28 devices

It goes without saying that, the more apps with 100 or more downloads, will get you more points and sweepstake entries. The sooner your apps qualify, the more daily drawing chances for you!

You can check out the official rules for the sweepstakes here: https://build.windowsstore.com/rewards/28daysofdevicesterms

23 of 28 days are left. Hurry up. Happy building!

Do you have a hard time keeping track about all the goodies available for Windows Phone and Windows Store app developers? There are many opportunities out there to get free training or even get incentives for your Windows/ Windows Phone application development activities. You are not on your own when taking the first step to dive into Windows Phone/Windows Store app development and if you are ready to submit your app to the app store, you may even get rewarded for your hard work on your app with a little extra bonus. Let’s take a look at some of the offerings!

Keep the Cash

If you want to participate in Microsoft’s “Keep the Cash” opportunity, you have to act pretty quick! This offer ends June 30th, 2013. You get a chance to enter up to 10 apps per Store, Windows Store and/or Windows Phone Store, and get a $100 virtual Visa card for each application that qualifies.

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You can find out more about the official Keep the Cash Terms and Conditions here.

App Builder Virtual Summit

If you missed the App Builder Virtual Summit in May, the summit videos are now available for streaming on demand. You can learn the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of designing, building and marketing an app for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. It is certainly interesting to listen to first-hand experiences of developers, who have actually done it and want to share their thoughts.

summit

Connect with your local Technical Evangelist

You have the option to meet your local Microsoft technical evangelist  to get some help and guidance for your app development or idea. You can check out their office hours here.

evangelist

Windows Store App Lab

In case you need to test your awesome Windows app on Windows 8 devices, Microsoft offers an amazing test environment calles Windows Store App Labs. These are physical locations in more than 30 cities where you can access Windows 8 devices, get design help, and meet with Windows experts to make your app even more awesome! You can search for the lab locations here.

Last but not least…

If you are excited about all these developer opportunities, but just need some design inspiration, I suggest you check out the case studies of some Windows applications. There is also information out there about the Windows UX patterns to guide you through your application design and development. But before you start the actual development, you may also want to check out how to create apps that run on Windows Phone and on Windows to get an idea of how you could create reusable code for both environments.

Happy coding!

Microsoft and Seattle Storm women’s basketball team have come together and invite all-female teams worldwide to create a unique app for sports, fitness, or athletics for the ImagineCup Women Athletic App Challenge. This is the final week to submit your application; only 5 days left!

Besides being an exciting challenge, cool prizes await the winning teams. They will travel to Seattle, attend a Seattle Storm game,  have a private meet-and-greet with a Seattle Storm basketball player, visit the Microsoft campus, meet Lisa Brummel, who is Chief People Officer and also receive a $1000 prize per team member. Winners will be announced in July.

stormlogo

You can check out the Official Rules of the competition here.

You should build your Women’s Athletics Challenge Apps using Microsoft tools and technologies. The application must be developed using at least one product in the Visual Studio family and must be built for one or more of the following platforms:

  • Windows
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows Server and/or ASP.NET
  • Kinect SDK
  • Xbox Indie Games
  • .NET Framework
  • Windows Azure

As a student, you can obtain free tools and software at DreamSpark.

Applications could provide ideas for a healthier lifestyle, keep track of one’s exercise routine, challenge users to be more active, include tips and tricks to stay in shape…ideas are just endless. Since this competition is open to teams from allover the world, I am truly curious of the diverse application content each team will come up with! I also love the tagline of the competition: Play Hard. Code Harder. 

Good luck to all participating female teams!

Preoccupied

There has been a tiny reason for the complete silence on my blog.  I was sort of preoccupied with this little reason; it kept me up at night and super busy during the day.  It turned my life upside down and forced me to see the world with new eyes.

preoccupied

Occupying such a tiny space, but making your heart overflow with excitement and joy.

All of a sudden, you start to believe in miracles again.

If you have been planning to convert your Windows Phone application to a Windows 8 application; here is the ideal event, specifically tailored for your needs: Windows 8 Convert-A-Thon! During the event, you will get all the help you need, to convert your mobile app into a Windows 8 Metro app.

Once the Windows 8 Store is in full action, it will be a tremendous opportunity for developers. If you already have mobile apps, you should definitely consider a transition from your existing Windows Phone apps to Windows 8 apps.

During the beta period, the only access developers have to the Windows 8 Store is through tokens that are handed out. This is a nomination and approval process. Yet your applications do not have to be %100 complete, but if your idea is good and your execution is excellent, you can get nominated to receive a token!

Here is the event agenda:

  • Introductions and overview
  • Your Windows Phone app Reimagined (Group Walkthrough)
  • API Walkthrough – (This is how I did it in WP7.. how do I do it in Windows 8)
  • Convert-A-Thon (Everyone works on converting their application)
  • App show off and prize giveaways
Tomorrow’s event runs from 8AM until 5PM, Saturday, June 9th. You will find the location info and further details on the registration page.

Laptop Setup:

Your laptop will need to be running Windows 8 Release Preview and install Visual Studio 2012. You can find all of the links here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/apps

You may also want to run it on a VM. There are a couple of ways to do that, boot to VHD or run in a Player. You can find instructions for each here :

Scott Hanselman’s boot to VHD blog post: http://bit.ly/win8vhdboot

MJ’s VMWare Player installation instructions: http://bit.ly/win8vmware

This is a last minute event announcement! So hurry up with your registration to catch a spot for tomorrow’s exciting Windows 8 Convert-A-Thon!

Nokia Lumia 900 has finally arrived in the US and we haven’t been able to stop raving about it since last week! Our household is definitely under its spell.

Now here is your chance to be one of the first to get an in-depth hands-on trial  with the awesome Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone and even win your own Lumia 900 at one of the “Behind the Tiles with Windows Phone” events running throughout April and May.

Once you attend a “Behind the Tiles” event, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a Nokia Lumia 900 instructor-led demo lab
  • Learn about the “Metro” style user interface and the future with Windows Phone
  • Get the latest information on Windows Phone for IT and Developers
  • Play with some of the latest and greatest Windows Phones
  • Network with peers and Windows Phone experts
  • Have a chance to win great prizes

Since space is limited, you will need to register today (registration code: MVP)! The events will be held at select Best Buy stores and will run from 6:30PM-9:00PM. Here is a full list of  locations and dates, where and when the events will take place:

If you would like to learn more about the Nokia Lumia 900 before the event, check it out here + here! Take our word for it; once you experiment with the Nokia Lumia 900, you won’t be able to put it down!

This is just a last-minute reminder for developer folks in Southern California. There are three free developer camps (DevCamps) tomorrow at the University of Southern California, one event focuses on HTML5, the Phone Camp covers Windows Phone development and the Cloud Camp is about the Windows Azure developer platform. All of the three DevCamps  tomorrow are free; you learn from experts, get time for some hands-on training and network with fellow developers.

HTML 5 DevCamp:

The HTML5 Web Camp will start with demos and presentations, and will end with hands on lab sessions. The following is a list of topics:

  • Introduction to HTML5
  • CSS3 and all the cool features
  • HTML5 Graphics Canvas and SVG
  • Video, Sound, and Animations With HTML5
  • HTML5 New Features
  • Practical HTML5: Using It Today
  • HTML5 for Multiple Devices: Phones and Others
You can register here for the HTML 5 DevCamp.

Phone DevCamp

The Phone Camp will cover how to utilize the cloud to consume external API’s for Windows Phone development, how to improve user experience with a deep dive Expression Blend session, app performance tuning, globalization and location and much more. The afternoon will include labs as well as an app competition, where you can share and present your own Windows Phone app.

You can find out more about the Phone DevCamp agenda and register here.

Cloud DevCamp

The Coud Camp will introduce the Windows Azure developer platform features and outline how Windows Azure opens up a host of new application and multi-screen development opportunities. Windows Azure is an internet-scale cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers. Windows Azure provides an operating system and a set of developer services used to build cloud-based solutions.

The Cloud DevCamp sessions will include the following topics:

  • Getting Started with Windows Azure
  • Using Windows Azure Storage
  • Understanding SQL Azure
  • Securing, Connecting, and Scaling
  • Azure Application Scenarios
  • Launching your Azure App
You can follow this link to register for Cloud DevCamp.

Student Prep Night

If you are a student and are interested particularly in attending the Windows Phone Camp, there is a Student Prep Night today. You will get a chance to install the necessary developer tools to get ready for the training on Friday and snack on pizza! Don’t forget to register here for the Student Prep Night.

If you would like to stay on top of everything HTML 5, Phone app development and the Cloud, don’t miss out on the DevCamp fun tomorrow!

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