BizSpark Enrollment Tutorial

This tutorial walks you through the process of enrolling for BizSpark, and then using your BizSpark benefits to access Windows Azure, as well as to register as a developer in the Windows and Windows.

To qualify for BizSpark you need:

  • To be a business who is developing software or apps
  • To be a business that is less then 5 yearsr old and privately held
  • To be a business that making less than US$1M annually
  • A website (perhaps a free Azure Website, or a Facebook page) for your business
  • A company email (like a free Microsoft Account or other email address) for your business

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Xamarin.iOS v1.10 fixes issues Windows Phone and Windows Store app development in VS 2013

If you have Xamarin.iOS 1.8.365 installed along side your Visual Studio 2013 installation, you may have noticed problems with Windows Phone and Windows Store projects not displaying correctly in the designer.  They would build ok, but you can’t set the debug target device, and the designer is broken and shows an “Invalid Markup” message, and there are a ton of Errors about the XAML.  Errors like ‘The Name “PhoneApplicationPage” does not exist in the namespace…’, etc. Here’s a screenshot of what the errors look like:

Xamarin.iOS v1.8.365 Causes Windows Phone App Errors in Visual Studio 2013
Click picture to view larger version….

To fix the problem, update to Xamarin.iOS 1.10 (info) or later. I can’t find a direct download link to the beta versions, but you can get it by telling your existing install to update via the “Beta” rather than “Stable” channel.  To do that:

  1. Open Visual Studio 2013, and open the “Tools” | “Options” menu. 
  2. On the “Xamarin” | “Android Settings” page, turn on the “Notify me about” checkbox.
  3. In the update channel drop-down box (reads “Stable by default) choose “Beta” updates.
  4. Click the “Check Now” link to check for updates now. 

Xamarin.Android Beta Channel

Repeat the process above, but on the “Xamarin” | “iOS Settings” page:

Xamarin.iOS Beta Channel

Allow the updates to be installed. 

When the updates have completed, you can verify their versions in the Visual Studio “Help” | “About Microsoft Visual Studio” window.

Xamarin Versions in Visual Studio

Once updated, you should now be able to open an existing Windows Phone or Windows Store app in Visual Studio 2013 and no longer receive errors. 

How to Use a Windows Azure VM for Windows 8.1 Development

04/11/2014 – Update – There have been a few changes to the portal since I recorded the video below, but the basic process is the same.  I also have a step-by-step walkthrough that you can use. To get the walkthrough, download the AzureDevVMWalkthrough.zip file from http://1drv.ms/1kBzFFr

I go to a lot of hackathons, live events, user groups, etc. where people want to do Windows 8.1 development, but need a Windows 8.1 machine to do so.  While there are a ton of different ways that you can get Windows 8.1, one way is to use Virtual Machines.  Windows Azure let’s you create and host virtual machines in the cloud.  The rub is that you can’t create a Windows 8.1 VM.  You can however create a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM in Azure, and configure it to allow you to do Windows 8.1 development!  Cool! 

The following video walks you step by step through the process.  Overall, plan on taking about 2 hours to get your VM setup (installing Visual Studio 2013 alone takes about 30 minutes).  That means that if you are thinking of using this in a hackathon, you want to do this a day or two ahead of time.  However, when you are done you’ll have a great VM you can use to build apps for Windows 8.1.

The basic steps are:

  1. Sign into the Windows Azure Management Portal
  2. Create a new Virtual Machine using the Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter gallery image
  3. Connect to the new VM using RDP and login using the admin credentials you provided during its creation
  4. Create a new user account that also has administrative privileges (because the built-in admin account can’t deploy Windows Store apps on Server 2012).  Disconnect an reconnect as the new user.
  5. Turn OFF the IE Enhanced Security Configuration
  6. Turn ON the User Desktop Experience Feature (Requires a restart)
  7. Install Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate using the Web Installer either from the free trial or from MSDN (Requires a restart)
  8. Apply Visual Studio 2013 Updates
  9. Install the Windows Azure SDK
  10. Connect up to your TFS project on visualstudio.com, or use some other source control repo to share code

HACKTECH Prep Session

If you will be attending HACKTECH this weekend, there are some special challenges and prizes for developers who develop for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure.  We’ll have a couple of prep sessions

1) Monday, January 20th from 8pm to 9pm: http://aka.ms/htms1
2) Tuesday, January 21st from 3pm to 4pm: http://aka.ms/htms2

You can grab a copy of my slides here.

You can watch a video recording of the session here, or below:

Resources:

Prepare for the hackathon: Windows8AppFactor.com/Prepare

Some training resources:

Windows Developer Center (dev.windows.com)

Windows Phone Developer Center (dev.windowsphone.com)

Windows Azure (windowsazure.com)

DreamSpark (dreamspark.com)

BizSpark (bizspark.com)

Microsoft Developer Network (msdn.com)