20 June 2012

Highlights of the Windows Phone Summit

Today, Microsoft held their first ever Windows Phone Summit.  Although the event lasted only two hours, there was quite a bit of information provided, lots of questions answered, and several questions still left to be answered.  Below are some of highlights of the event (in no particular order):

  • Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will both utilize a Shared Windows Core
  • Device drivers can be built once to support Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone 8
  • Support for multi-core chipsets
  • A total of three screen resolutions to be supported:
    • 800x400 (current resolution for Windows Phone 7.x)
    • 1280x768
    • 1280x720
  • Support for (removable) MicroSD cards (can be used for photos, music, videos, apps)
  • Internet Explorer 10 – includes SmartScreen anti-phishing filter (same as in Windows 8) as well as improvements to JavaScript and HTML5 performance
  • Native code support for game development
  • NFC support including “Tap-to-Share”
  • New Wallet Hub with support for credit and debit cards, loyalty and membership cards, and coupons.  Can utilize NFC capabilities for “Tap-to-Pay”.
  • Nokia maps – all Windows Phone 8 devices will include Nokia map technology (not just the Nokia devices)
  • Enterprise features such as:
    • Trusted Shared Windows Core
    • Encryption and Secure Boot
    • Line-of-Business app deployment
    • Device management
    • Familiar Office apps
  • New and improved Start Screen – can now resize tiles to one of three sizes (small, medium, and large).  Can have up to four (small) tiles running horizontally across the Start Screen.  The tiles still retain their “live” feature regardless of size.
  • Support for IPv6
  • Improved Bluetooth support (details not announced)
  • Native support for Voice over IP (VoIP) and Video Chat – integrated into the standard phone experience (i.e. you can receive a Skype call just as you would any other call)
  • DataSmart feature allowing to you better manage your data usage
  • Developer SDK will be released later this summer
  • Visual Studio 2012 will support development for Windows Phone 7.5, 7.8, and 8
  • Windows Phone 7.5 apps will run on Windows Phone 8.  They will be compiled “in the cloud” automatically by Microsoft as they are published to the Windows Phone Marketplace.  Existing apps will be compiled as well.
  • Windows Phone 8 will not be provided for existing (Windows Phone 7.x) devices.  However, a Windows Phone 7.8 release will be made available that provides the new Start Screen experience.
  • Audible app due in the Windows Phone Marketplace later today
  • Location apps can run in background (e.g. turn-by-turn instructions will continue to announce instructions, even if another app is running in the foreground)
  • SQLite has been ported to run on Windows 8 RT and will also run on Windows Phone 8
  • Introduced support by various game technology providers such as:

I have no doubt left out a few details covered during the summit but you can get all the details yourself by watching the recorded presentation currently available here (I’ll update this link if the video is moved).

I look forward to seeing what else has yet to be announced for Windows Phone 8.

14 June 2012

Visual Studio 2012 / TFS 2012 Links

If you’ve been following the progress of Visual Studio 2012 closely chances are you’ve already downloaded the recently released Release Candidate.  If not, then I’ve provided a handy list of links below to get you started.  I’ve also included some handy reference and guidance links as well.

Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate

.NET Framework

Team Foundation Server 2012

Team Foundation Service

This is not a download but I’m including it anyway since it’s another offering in the works by Microsoft related to TFS.  If you are not familiar with the Team Foundation Service it is essentially “TFS in the Cloud” (in simplistic terms – you can read more about it here).  To sign up for a free preview account, visit the TFS Preview site.


Getting Help - To help with any questions you might have, please refer to the following:

  • MSDN Forums - get answers to your questions from the community

Providing Feedback - To provide feedback (bugs, suggestions, etc.) for any of the Visual Studio 2012 RC products, utilize the corresponding Microsoft Connect site:

Reference & Guidance

11 June 2012

TFS Preview Updated; No Longer Requires Invite

If you’ve been wanting a chance to try out Microsoft’s Team Foundation Service (formerly known as TFS on Azure) but haven’t been able to obtain one of the coveted invitation codes then wait no longer!  Microsoft has officially removed the invitation requirement and has opened up their TFS Preview site to the masses.  You can now create your very own TFS projects in the cloud!

If you’re not familiar with Microsoft’s TFS Service, it is essentially a subset of the “TFS on Premises” features (in some cases, a superset) made available in the cloud.  Some of the features provided within the Team Foundation Service include:

  • Accessible via a web browser, various Visual Studio SKUs, and the Eclipse IDE
  • Version control
  • Continuous builds
  • Agile planning
    • PBIs
    • Tasks
    • Task board (one of my personal favorites))
    • Etc.
  • Ability to run automated tests
  • Continuous deployment to Azure
  • More…

With all these features, it’s important to note that there are some features (available in the “on premises” version) that are currently not included with the Team Foundation Service:

  • SharePoint integration – Brian Harry has commented that Office 365 integration is on the backlog but has not made available any dates (reference comments at this link)
  • Reporting services
  • Continuous build support for Windows Phone projects (note: a workaround is to utilize a local build server for Windows Phone client builds.  It is likely Windows Phone will be supported at some point in the future)

Although pricing for the Team Foundation Service (once it officially leaves the “preview” stage) has not yet been announced.  However, Microsoft has announced that they will continue to provide a free version of the Team Foundation Service at some level (not yet announced):


There is a lot of information available on the TFS Preview site under the “LEARN” tab (notice the “ALL UPPER CASING” ;-)).  It is the perfect place to familiarize yourself with the extensive features of this service.

It has been fun to see this service grow over the past months and I look forward to seeing what comes next.