Emoji fonts became so popular after it was included in Apple’s iOS few year back. Apple implemented it using a proprietary, unpublished extension of the TrueType/OpenType specification to add PNG images to a font. These PNG images are then displayed within running text. Google also implemented similar thing, but it is not compatible with Apple’s solution. I recently came to know via Ralf Herrmann from OpenType.info about the interesting approach Microsoft has taken to implement Emojis in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. Earlier, Microsoft supported unicode emoji characters with its Segoe UI with no colors. But with the latest OS, Microsoft is also supporting colored emojis. Instead of using PNGs like Apple and Google, Microsoft is using layered vector glyphs. Ralf explains how it works, By default, the new Segoe UI Emoji font behaves like a regular TrueType/OpenType font. It has Unicode-encoded, uncolored “base glyphs”. But there are two additional tables in the font: ...

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Last year, Microsoft announced that all Xbox One retail units can be used as dev kits in the future so that anyone can become a Xbox developer. During ID@Xbox program launch, Microsoft said, “As part of our vision for enabling everyone with an Xbox One to be a creator, we absolutely intend to enable people to develop games using their retail kits. Right now, though, you still need a development kit! We provide two kits to everyone in the registered developer program. Additional kits, if needed, can be purchased.” Again during the console launch, then Xbox VP Marc Whitten explained to Engadget as the following, “It’s more of a timeframe thing. The vision of how the service and the console work together, how your console can be a dev kit, is a core part of the vision. It’s how we built a ton of the architecture. But moving from a ...

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Microsoft today announced the release of CTP 2 of Visual Studio “14”, the upcoming version of Visual Studio. In addition to the new features that were included in CTP 1, this CTP 2 includes the following new features and improvements, Save and Apply Custom IDE Layouts. You can now save and apply custom layouts for tool windows in the IDE. The Save Window Layout and Apply Window Layout commands are under the Window Menu and you can also rename, reorder, and delete layouts from Manage Window Layouts. Light Bulb Editor Adornment. Light Bulbs are an extensible editor adornment to identify and help you fix issues in your code. To use them, place the caret on a line with an issue or hover over an issue and you’ll see a light bulb that lists actions you can take to resolve the problem and even a preview of proposed solutions. Editor Touch Support. The ...

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Microsoft announced few of the upcoming features in Xbox Music API at Build conference earlier this year. Those features are now available to all the developers. The new Xbox Music APIs make it easy for any app publisher to connect an app or website to be powered by music.  The Xbox Music API provides access to RESTful web services for building beautiful experiences using rich artist and album metadata across Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, iOS, and Android. Developers will be able to do the following, - Get the details of an album, an artist or a track if you know its ID. - Search for any album, artist or track details based on a string of keywords, e.g. “Madonna hang out”. - Get the top and newest albums of an artist. - Get a deep link that redirects nicely to the Xbox Music applications, whether on the Web, Windows Phone, ...

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Microsoft today announced the release of Visual Studio Update 3 RC, which you can now download. Update 3 brings in new features as well as reliability fixes and bug fixes. It has added support for multi-device development with Apache Cordova, improvements to our diagnostics experience, and general improvements to the user experience including a new setting that enables you to turn off the ALL CAPS menus. You can read the full detailed release notes here. CodeLens support for Git – In Update 3, we’ve added CodeLens support for projects using Git, in addition to those using Team Foundation Version Control.  CodeLens for Git works against the local Git repo and, as such, works whether you are using an onprem TFS server, VS Online, another Git service (like GitHub) or are offline completely.  Next up on the CodeLens slate (not in Update 3 though), is support for CodeLens with TFVC on VS Online.  Read more ...

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Microsoft today announced that they have acquired SyntaxTree, the developers of the UnityVS plugin for Visual Studio. UnityVS enables Unity developers to take advantage of the productivity of Visual Studio to author, browse and debug the code for their Unity applications. Already today, dozens of the biggest names in game development rely on Visual Studio and the UnityVS plugin. With the acquisition, Microsoft will integrate Unity development inside Visual Studio and also making the plug-in available for free to developers from today. In today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world, Visual Studio provides a great development environment for game developers targeting the breadth of mobile devices, and connecting to the rich services platforms in Azure. I am excited about our opportunity to continue to push game development with Visual Studio forward with the help of the SyntaxTree team. Source: VS blog ...

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Microsoft Windows Store platform team has now started new user voice site named ‘Missing Platform APIs’. As the name suggests, Windows Store developers can post their ideas on APIs or vote of ideas by other developers. For example, Windows Phone platform does not provide any API to make a great voice call recorder app and similar. You can post any APIs that are missing on both Windows and Windows Phone platforms. As we continue to evolve and grow Windows, we want your feedback on the APIs you need to be successful. The most useful feedback will be in the form of requests for specific APIs or specific 3rd-party libraries, along with a general description of the scenario they help solve. These could be existing Windows APIs not currently permitted in Store Apps (Win32, COM, or .NET) or they could be APIs from other operating systems with no equivalents on Windows. In addition ...

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Microsoft today announced that they have partnered with prime[31],  a popular Unity plug-in provider to bring all their Windows and Windows Phone Unity plug-ins for free for a year. prime[31] plug-ins makes it easier for developers to implement in app-purchases, use Live Tiles, monetize via ads, and connect to Azure storage. Download them from the link below. Functionality provided Windows Store 8.0 and 8.1     Windows Phone 8.0 * Handling trial and in-app purchases Store plug-in Store plug-in To get Live tiles, toast notifications Metro Essentials plug-in Metro Essentials plug-in To give you access to the Microsoft Ad SDK Microsoft ads plug-in Microsoft ads plug-in For easy access to Azure storage Microsoft Azure plug-in Microsoft Azure plug-in *Note that Windows Phone 8.1 support and corresponding free plug-ins will be coming soon. To take advantage of this offer and get your free plug-ins, visit the prime[31] website; free plug-ins will be marked ...

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Microsoft is releasing an updated Xbox One SDK for developers this month which will give developers access to more GPU bandwidth, so more performance for their games. Also there are new tools and flexibility to make games better. Xbox chief Phil Spencer tweeted this information yesterday. During the launch of Xbox One, Microsoft said that they are reserving about 10% of the GPU for Kinect and other system process. But this update for SDK is making it possible for developers to access additional GPU resources previously reserved for Kinect and system functions. Microsoft commented the following regarding the new SDK release, The additional resources allow access to up to 10 percent additional GPU performance. We’re committed to giving developers new tools and flexibility to make their Xbox One games even better by giving them the option to use the GPU reserve in whatever way is best for them and their ...

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Microsoft yesterday released the first community technology preview of the next version of Visual Studio, codenamed Visual Studio “14”.  Microsoft has released this build to collect feedback from customers, so they have advised users to install in a test environment with no earlier versions of Visual Studio installed. It includes Roslyn” .NET compiler platform, ASP.NET vNext and Apache Cordova tooling and many other improvements. In Visual Studio “14″, the C# and VB compilers and IDE support are fully built on the .NET Compiler Platform (“Roslyn”). In the Visual Studio “14″ preview C# refactoring support has been completely revamped including two new core refactorings: Inline Temporary Variable and Introduce Explaining Variable. Additionally, refactoring support for Visual Basic has been added for the first time. Visual Studio “14″ also supports APIs that come from NuGet with their own analyzers, squiggling issues in your code as you type and offering you automatic fixes, ...

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Microsoft earlier announced that Xbox One console will be available in Japan starting this September. Sony made PS4 available in Japan in February earlier this year. Microsoft today announced that the Xbox One game console will be available in Japan with the Kinect sensor for 49,980 Yen and without Kinect for 39,980 Yen which is same as the same prices as Sony’s PS4. Phil Spencer commented the following regarding Xbox One launch in Japan, “The Japanese development community remains incredibly important to us, and we’re continuing to invest there,”-“We’re having great conversations with people. We’re not announcing anything, but I can say both RPGs and specifically the Japanese developers are really important to our ecosystem.” Since Microsoft has now price matched Sony, we should see more fight in the console war soon. ...

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Last week, Microsoft shared the details about recent trends in the Windows Store across categories, markets, and more. This report will help app developers in understanding the general trends that can help help determine what types of apps to build or optimize your existing apps. In April, Games continued to be the most popular category for all devices, followed by other categories with significant download share including Entertainment, Social, Music & Videos, and Tools On Windows, like our previous trends updates, Social is the #1 category with nearly 2x average downloads per app than the second category. Photos, Productivity, and Games are the next categories with the highest opportunity. The market with the highest number of downloads is United States, though the distribution shows there are many markets that generate significant downloads, including China, India, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t consider ...

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Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 Community Technology Preview 1 (CTP 1). Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 CTP 1 includes the latest software updates, feature additions, and bug fixes. VisualStudio Magazine reported the following updates/improvements in this preview, Profiler, with an expanded Performance and Diagnostics hub. IntelliTrace, which is now more tightly integrated with Application Insights. Testing tools, which now allows custom fields and custom work flows for test plans and test suites. The Visual Studio IDE, with numerous enhancements to CodeLens, Code Map, Debugger Map and binary functionality. The Debugger has one interesting upgrade: debugging is now supported for x86 applications built in .NET Native. .NET Native, released as a developer preview in April, is a compiler that strikes a compromise between the performance of C++ native code and the efficiency of C# managed code. The first release of .NET Native only supported x64 architecture. Read more ...

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SweetLabs, the company which created Pokki Android platform apps for Windows devices has now created a new App Install Platform for Windows OEMs to monetize their devices after the sale. The SweetLabs App Install Platform enables OEMs to optimize the delivery of apps on any device and capture their fair share of the multi-billion dollar app install market. From first boot, through the lifetime of the device, OEMs can increase revenues and improve the user experience by delivering the most relevant apps to your customers. Differentiate and increase device sales by offering new app install offers and incentives in real-time. Increase per-unit margins by driving relevant app installs to your customers. Replace manual app bundling with dynamic provisioning and ongoing app recommendations to create new revenue streams. Provide personalized and differentiated app offerings to your customers. Deliver unique and relevant apps to specific devices in specific channels, and optimize based ...

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Microsoft today started roll out of an update to Windows Store that will provide an enhanced user experience for users in navigation and browsing of apps. It also allows developers to do price promotions on their apps, and more to further improve app discoverability and minimize customer confusion. Today’s update focuses on enhancements that address customer feedback and makes it easier for users to find your apps including: Persistent Store navigation bar – enables users to discover and filter apps by Category, Top charts and Collections Collections – expanded set of Collections, accessible from the Store landing page. Some collections will also show the ability to “Install All” the apps in that collection, which will make it easier for consumers to start using apps in collections Featured apps and new ‘top’ lists – new sections help promote great new apps. The ‘Top grossing’ list includes apps that generate revenue through download ...

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  At TechEd North America, Microsoft made no.of announcements that are part of the next generation of .NET. Microsoft also revealed that there are currently 1.8 billion active installs of .NET. This large number is the reason enterprise still rely on .NET for their critical apps. Microsoft announced  .NET Compiler Platform (“Roslyn”) at Build conference last week, today they announced ASP.NET vNext, which is an updated version of ASP.NET that been optimized for cloud Web development. They have designed ASP.NET with a key set of design principles in mind: Cloud-ready out of the box A single programming model for Web sites and services Low-latency developer experience Make high-performance and high-productivity APIs and patterns available – enable them both to be used and compose together within a single app Fine-grained control available via command-line tools and standard file formats Delivered via NuGet Release as open source via the .NET Foundation Can run ...

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