Students, start your development tools!

logo For those of you who are interested in developing for the new Windows Phone 7 Series, but aren’t quite sure how to do it, well have I got a resource for you.

Today Microsoft has announced a free, yes FREE, training kit for developing on Windows Phone 7 Series. This training kit will walk you through getting started with developing for Windows Phone 7, developing using Silverlight, and developing using XNA. By getting started today with learning how to develop for Windows Phone 7 series, you can get a jumpstart on your competition.

From what I can tell, it looks like this training kit will be updated over time as more is made known about Windows Phone development.

You can download the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools by clicking here.

You can access the Windows Phone 7 Series Training kit by clicking here.

Codename “Dallas” – What is it and why should you care?

dallas At PDC09, Microsoft introduced “Dallas,” and today Microsoft made some announcements as to the progress of Dallas. Dallas is a service for developers and information workers who are looking for access to premium datasets to use in a variety of ways.

Today at MIX10, Microsoft announced that Dallas has reached the CTP2 stage. As a part of their announcement, Microsoft has introduced new partnerships with Navteq (mapping data), Pitney Bowes, Weather Central, and Dallas as other partners as well such as the US Government, the United Nations, Associated Press, and others. I had the opportunity today to sit down with Moe Khosravy, Group Manager for Dallas, and he told me that by the time Dallas officially launches, there will be 1400 available datasets from the United Nations alone.

Developers, why should you care about Dallas? Dallas offers you the opportunity to access premium data in its raw form, and use that data to create new, interactive, and exciting experiences around the data. Say for example you are building a news app for Windows Phone and you want to use AP stories as your source material. You can through Dallas access AP content, and use that content in your application. Or say that you are developing a website for a nonprofit organization that is focusing on combating crime, and you want to be able to provide the organization with intelligence about crime data and connect it with a map or some other visualization, Dallas will let you do this. You can access the data via OData or Atom, and can create applications for phones, web, and the desktop.

Information Workers, why should you care about Dallas? Dallas provides you with instant access to data that can be used in a variety of ways. Microsoft has said that they will be providing a connector for Office products that will allow you to through an application like Excel, manage this data from initial subscription, to acquisition of data, to helping to create your final product. The example that Khosravy used during our meeting today was that say you were working on a briefing document about crime and you wanted to provide information about crime in your area. All you need to do is through Excel click a button and select the set of crime related data available in Dallas that want to use, and it will down the raw data for you, and you can then manipulate the data to suit your needs.

Throughout my talk with Khosravy and in reading the information on the Dallas website, there is one keyword that stands out and that is the word “marketplace.” I asked about how the marketplace will work, and what content providers can expect from Microsoft in terms of revenue sharing. The question wasn’t answered directly however what was said is that content providers will set their price and then Microsoft will markup the price from there. At least right now from what I’ve been told, Microsoft isn’t using Dallas to generate tons of revenue for themselves. Depending on the popularity of Dallas this could change in the future. At launch, Microsoft will provide three different methods for purchasing data. There will be free trial access, per transaction pricing, and subscription pricing. Free trial access with allow you to preview the data, and perform some basic manipulation of the data, all through the browser, to see if the data is right for you. Per-transaction pricing is simply that. You pay per transaction. This is good for cases where you are developing an application but you’re not sure of the popularity, so instead of paying big subscription fees, you pay per transaction and determine which pricing model works better for you. The subscription based model is setup such that you pay one fee and you get unlimited calls to that data. With subscription pricing, you can also cache the data on your own server to reduce the number of calls made to Dallas for the data.

From what I was told today, the marketplace should go live in the second half of this year. CTP2 is live now, and you can visit and access data from the AP, the United Nations,, and more.

Today at MIX2010: Internet Explorer 9 Preview


I’m sitting here in the Day Two keynote at MIX2010, and Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer,  announced the release of the Internet Explorer Platform Preview. This preview is simply the Trident rendering engine with a frame around it. The goal of the IEPP is to enable developers to begin to test websites with the IE9 rendering engine and to provide early feedback on the future of Internet Explorer.

Microsoft is incredibly excited about the future of IE, and it’s evident by  their promise to developers to provide frequent updates to the Internet Explorer Platform Preview. According to Hachomovitch, Microsoft will be updaing the IEPP approximately every eight weeks.

With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft is commited to web standards support. They are working closely with the W3C on web standards and working to ensure that web pages will look the same across any browser.

Internet Explorer 9 will be providing rich support for HTML5, GPU-accelerated graphics and text, and a much improved JavaScript engine. To see these new features in action, download the Internet Explorer Platform Preview from (Note:this is not a full browser. It lacks security and simple navigation functionality. For testing only.)

Check out the demos, check out the performance of your own website, browse to other websites that you use, and check out the coolness of the new Internet Explorer Platform.

“Phone Developers, Phone Developers, Phone Developers”

Wow, what a day. It’s the end of day one, and I’m sitting here in my room along with Joe, Jeremy, and Hilary, our Microsoft sponsor and we’re all furiously typing away on our respective blogs.

Today at MIX 2010 it was all about Windows Phone 7 Series. There were some pretty exciting annoucements made today. First off, Microsoft announced the release of a CTP of the Development Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 series, a new version of Expression Blend is coming with support for Windows Phone 7 design, and Microsoft talked up Silverlight (60% of all PCs have Silverlight installed).

With Windows Phone 7 Series on the way later this year, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, gave the first “deep dive” around development for Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is taking more ownership and control over Windows Phone 7 than they have in the past with previous versions of their mobile OS. It was mentioned that Microsoft will be allowing OEMs to create Windows Phone devices that are only made in two different screen resolutions. The first being WVGA (800×480) and the second being HVGA (480×320). All Windows Phone 7 Series devices will be required to contain the following features.

    • GPS, Accelerometer, Compass, Light and Proximity sensors
    • 5 megapixel or more camera, flash required, and a hardware button to access the camera will be required
    • 256MB or more of RAM, and 8+ GB of storage
    • DirectX 9 acceleration
    • Mandatory hardware buttons for Start, Search and Back

Microsoft is also “owning” push notifications and location awareness. Microsoft will be providing location and notification services that developers can take advantage of to enable these services within their applications.

The most exciting part of today’s keynote is the release of development tools for Windows Phone 7. The best part is that these tools are and will remain free. In today’s release they provided the following tools.

    • Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone (Note: if you have already have another version of VS installed it will install the Windows Phone portion as an add-in your existing install)
    • XNA Game Studio 4.0
    • Silverlight 4 Release Candidate
    • Expression Blend 4 Beta (Note: This is a separate download (which you can find here). According to Microsoft, the bits didn’t make it in time for inclusion into the broader tool package)

If you are interested in developing for Windows Phone 7 Series, which after seeing all the demos so far I encourage developers to do, head on over to the Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Center and download the bits.

Viva Las Vegas!

I’m sitting here at the airport waiting to board the plane for my flight to Las Vegas. I’ll be arriving in Vegas around 5pm today, and I’ll be hitting the ground running. The Student Insiders have some very cool stuff planned, and we can’t wait to share it with you all.

I promised that when I had my schedule of who I’d be interviewing, I’d share it with you.

  • Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
  • Erik Nelson, Princial Architect, MySpace
  • Moe Khosravy, Program Manager for Codename “Dallas”, Microsoft

Joe, Jeremy and I will be live blogging both keynotes this week, and we encourage you to join us for those keynotes and partcipate in the discussion.

I’ll also be trying to track down the goods on Windows Phone 7 Series, Silverlight, and IE9.

Stay tuned for more this week from Las Vegas and MIX 2010.


Technorati Tags:  MIX10, MicrosoftSI

MIX 2010: 5 Days Away

Here we are, 5 days away from MIX 2010. If you don’t know what MIX is, it is a conference where attendees can engage with Microsoft and other industry leaders in conversation about the future of the Web, and boundaries between content, media and commerce, and the relationship between design and technology.

As a Microsoft Student Insider, I have been invited to attend MIX 2010 as a guest of Microsoft. I just found out late last night, that myself along with the other Student Insiders who will be attending, that we have been approved for press passes to the conference so we will have closer access to keynote speakers and other MIX presenters.

For MIX 2010, myself along with Joe Osborne and Jeremy Bray will be liveblogging the day one and day two keynotes. For those of you who follow Tom on Tech in your RSS readers, you’ll notice that the liveblogs have already been posted. These are there as placeholders for the actual events next week. Each keynote starts at 9AM PST (GMT –8), and I encourage all my readers to attend and to join in the discussion. At the end of this post are direct links to both liveblogs.

I’m excited to announce that I along with Joe and Jeremy have been given the opportunity to interview MIX10 keynote speaker Bill Buxton. Bill is a Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research focusing on human interaction and design. He is the author of an incredible book called Sketching User Experiences, and has received many awards from many prestigous organizations. You can read his full bio at Microsoft Research.

I will be interviewing many other MIX10 presenters and as soon as my interview schedule is confirmed, I will share it with you my readers.

To attend the day one liveblog click on this link:

To attend the day two liveblog click on this link:

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @tziegmann, follow hashtag #MicrosoftSI for everything Microsoft Student Insider, and follow hashtag #MIX10 for everything MIX2010.

Technorati Tags:  MIX10, MicrosoftSI

Get excited for MIX 2010


Microsoft’s web development and design conference, MIX, is taking place March 15th through March 17th in Las Vegas. This year’s conference will be extremely exciting with the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, more detail on Internet Explorer 9, and more.

I’m so excited about what will be happening at MIX, and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be attending MIX. I also found out that I’ll have the opportunity to interview such people as Bill Buxton, Scott Guthrie, and others that I have not yet been told about.

If you have questions for either Bill or Scott or anybody else that may be at MIX, feel free to comment below or send me an email. I’m tom at (tomontech) dot com


Disclosure: I’m attending as a guest of Microsoft through my affiliation with the Microsoft Student Insider program.