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Register to try the community preview of Azure Services Platform and build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. Watch Ray Ozzie's keynote or read the transcript of Ozzie's address.

This guide describes features and includes vivid screenshots from the pre-Beta version released at PDC. Build applications on a solid foundation, enable richer application experiences, and integrate the best of Windows and Web services.

News for Students

Imagine Cup Game Development Competition  
The Game Development Competition challenges you to create a game with a solution that changes the world. The United Nations' Millennium Goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, are our guide to inspire you to make your project. This is a great opportunity to learn and strengthen your technical and interpersonal skills, connect with thousands of students from all over the world, get access to over 100 hours of technical e-learning and virtual labs, and be the potential winner of up to US$25,000 in the WW Finals, plus an all-expenses-paid trip to the Imagine Cup World Wide Finals in Cairo, Egypt, in July 2009.

Round 1 - Qualifying (August 29, 2008 - March 1, 2009)
Required deliverables: Game demo; short, playable video game application; short description of the game including its premise, unique gameplay features, and how it addresses the 2009 Imagine Cup theme; and gameplay instructions.

Round 2 - Semi-Finals (March 2, 2009 - May 20, 2009) 
If you are invited to advance to compete in round 2, your team must create and submit the following material: A 100% playable video game application, based on the game demo submitted in round 1; game summary; three (3) game screenshots; gameplay instructions; and game video.

Fun links:

Silverlight 2 Launches  
Silverlight 2 is now available, and students can develop applications for free! Springboard blog covers the release for students, from free developer tools for Silverlight to free e-learning. Just getting started with Silverlight? Check out the quick video How Do I Add Silverlight to an Existing Web Site? 

Free e-Books
Microsoft Press has a set of free e-books to launch your learning with Visual Studio 2008. The free e-book offer includes:

Programming Microsoft LINQ by Paolo Pialorsi and Marco Russo

Introducing Microsoft Silverlight 2, Second Edition by Laurence Moroney

Programming Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 by Dino Esposito

Microsoft Offers Free Retake on Certification Exams - and an Academic Discount! 
Students and faculty are eligible for the Academic Second Shot program. You get two shots at passing the Microsoft 072 Certification exam, and your first exam is offered at an academic discount! For students on a budget, Microsoft's free Second Shot offer is a great opportunity to validate your skill set and upgrade your resume. Register here.

Featured Content

Through March 27, 2009, customers who purchase at least 10 licenses of Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007 or Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 through a new or true-up Enterprise Agreement or Select License Agreement with Microsoft Software Assurance can earn up to 15% back on ERP in Microsoft partner subsidy funds.

Virtualization can make your life much easier when it comes to modeling and creating a test environment with a specific OS and set of applications. But how do you get started? Download the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit to see if your existing servers can be virtualized into a consolidated virtual environment for your development and test.

Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) 2.0 enables your customers to extend your product, leveraging their existing knowledge of Microsoft's Visual Studio environment. The Microsoft VSTA 2.0 SDK is now available for download from the Summit Software Web site.

As part of its commitment to make the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) available to every developer, Microsoft is delivering three new SDL programs and tools this month: the SDL Pro Network, the SDL Optimization Model, and the Microsoft SDL Threat Modeling Tool. These offerings will enable the industry to create more secure and privacy-enhanced technology for an online world. Learn more about these programs or watch a demo about the SDL Threat Modeling Tool.

Create a Word 2007 add-in that includes a custom task pane which is launched by a ribbon button. The task pane connects to the Microsoft TerraService mapping Web service and allows you to insert the map into a Word document.

Use an InfoPath 2007 sample template as the basis for a Groove InfoPath Forms tool, adding your own customization, or without design or layout changes.

Learn to create a Business Data Catalog application definition file in SharePoint Server 2007 that supports incremental crawling.

Whether you are looking to build, upgrade, or migrate your packaged application on Microsoft SQL Server 2008, you should consider joining the Front Runner for Innovate On program. By joining the initiative, you will receive technical and marketing support to help you be one of the first to go to market with an application built on SQL Server 2008.

Begin training now and become a master of Microsoft SQL Server 2008. You'll learn to control powerful new features, taking your skills to the next level. Your efforts will be rewarded. Prove your heroic new abilities in our game, and you could win an incredible prize.

Evaluation Center

A wide range of software vendors, in various verticals, have been designing their applications to work seamlessly with Windows HPC Server 2008 so that users can submit and monitor jobs from within familiar applications without having to learn new or complex user interfaces. Download the 180-day trial software and receive valuable resources delivered at convenient intervals throughout the software evaluation period.

.NET KB Articles

Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2005, and Visual Studio .NET KB Articles

SQL Server and Data Access KB Articles

Web Resources

If you weren't able to make PDC2008 in person, fear not, code warrior; with PDC2008 sessions available online, you can code on while experiencing the future of the Microsoft technology platform. Watch the keynotes and more than 160 sessions available online. This is where you'll learn about Windows 7, Cloud Services, and the future of a bevy of other products.

Startup 101 is a set of four Microsoft sponsored on-demand webinars for developers creating software companies. In each session, Bob Walsh, noted Micro ISV/startup expert, addresses the burning questions you have for authorities on legal considerations, accounting, selling software to businesses and resources to help you build your company.

In this webcast, we show you the basics of P/Invoke. In the second part of this webcast, we show how you can use existing COM objects inside your managed applications. Of course, both P/Invoking into native code and using COM objects inside managed applications are illustrated by a number of code samples.

In this sample-filled webcast, we show you how to retrieve, use, and store PIM data inside your own managed applications through the Windows Mobile Managed APIs that ship as part of the Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6 software development kits (SDKs).

Attend this webcast to learn how you can take advantage of the full power of the Windows XP Professional operating system.

After completing this lab, you will be better able to build a simple workflow that sends an e-mail when a user adds a document to a document library, build a workflow that creates a task when a user adds a meeting request to a calendar, and modify a workflow to send the administrator a reminder e-mail if a period of time has passed without a resolution to the meeting request.

This lab will serve as an introduction to creating Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. It will also illustrate how a WCF service can easily be adopted to meet the ever-changing needs of service-based software by adapting the service we create to use REST.

After completing this lab you will be more familiar with the installation and configuration options available in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, such as installing a new farm, configuring global workflow settings, configuring incoming e-mail, administrative tasks, farm topology, provisioning new web applications and configuring alternate forms-based authentication.

geekSpeak Podcast: SharePoint Wikis with David Mann
WMA (17 MB) | MP3 (15 MB) 
For this geekSpeak, David Mann, who was recently on geekSpeak in August 2008, returns for some more engaging discussion on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. This time, David enlightens us on best practices for implementing wiki sites using SharePoint Server.

Security for Developers

This article is the first in the "SDL series" - a set of 8 articles investigating the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle. In this series, through extensive interviews and research, the authors pull back the covers on Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle e- a development practice upon which millions of users (and billions of dollars) depend.


Get free e-book chapters about Silverlight 2, LINQ, and ASP.NET 3.5. Preview a chapter and sign up for the free download offer to get additional content.

40% off select SQL Server 2008 books

40% off the Microsoft Press E-Reference Libraries subscription fee

20% off E-Learning Collection 2778: Writing Queries Using SQL Server 2008

Free E-Learning Course 4331BE: Modifying Data in Tables in Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Written by Industry experts Peter DeBetta, Greg Low, and Mark Whitehorn, Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 will lead you through major new features in SQL Server 2008, including security, administration, performance, high availability, and business intelligence.

Get a second chance to pass your Windows Server 2008 certification exam with Second Shot. When you register for Second Shot, you will receive a free retake if you don't pass on your first attempt. Through December 31 you'll also get 25% off a future exam if you pass on the first try.

Learn the basics involved in building Windows applications using Visual Studio 2008 with award-winning training from AppDev. Each download includes more than 1 hour of media runtime along with courseware, labs, and sample code.

Case Studies

Pitney Bowes expects to gain flexibility, cut costs, and expand its business with the Azure Services Platform from Microsoft.

To create its hub-in-the-cloud solution it needed a cloud-based database, which it found in Microsoft SQL Data Services, part of the Microsoft Services Platform.

Microsoft upgraded to the beta edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 to take advantage of new features, including data compression, backup compression, and some enhancements to existing features like database mirroring.

Partner News

Download a free 60-day evaluation with tech support.

There is a better way to manage software projects. Try VersionOne's Agile Project Management Software, rated #1 by users, and get a free T-shirt.

Design dashboards, reports, charts, calculations and business rules in Excel 2003 or Excel 2007 and deploy them with SpreadsheetGear 2008.

DevPartner Studio Professional Edition 9.0 enhances code quality with automatic detection and diagnosis of software defects, performance problems, and security vulnerabilities.

The free SDK available for download now features compatibility with the free Express Edition of Visual Studio. Download Visual WebGui and start developing advanced Web applications.

Teamprise Remote Accelerator is a single-user download proxy that provides remote developers with fast access to TFS. Get the free 30-day trial.

Available in multiple configurations, the Altova MissionKit offers an integrated suite of XML, database, and UML tools.

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