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Education Microsoft Programming Windows

How Microsoft Is Wooing College Kids To Write Apps For Windows 8 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-take-candy-from-strangers dept.
SquarePixel writes "Bloomberg has an interesting story about Microsoft's efforts to simultaneously woo younger workers and to get more apps into its Windows Store. Quoting: 'Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, designed Windows 8 for touch-screen technology included in the company's first tablet, Surface, and other devices coming this year. To gain share in tablets, a market expected by DisplaySearch to reach $66.4 billion in 2012, Microsoft needs enough apps to challenge the more than 200,000 available for iPad. Using student recruits is one way Microsoft can woo app developers who are used to building programs for mobile phones and tablets, where the company has little and no share, respectively. Luring programmers before graduation is particularly critical for recruitment in the U.S., which lags behind countries such as India and China in its ability to crank out qualified engineers.'"
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How Microsoft Is Wooing College Kids To Write Apps For Windows 8

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @01:43PM (#41413165)

    I loved losing apps I paid for on Windows Mobile Marketplace.

    NEVER AGAIN.

    • by morgauxo (974071) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:40PM (#41413859)
      Liar! You must be an anti-microsoft shill. I know because nobody ever bought anything from the Windows Marketplace!
  • Strange how an article about Microsoft wooing college kids fails to mention technet and dreamspark. VS 2012 and Windows 8 are now on dreamspark for students. Making this stuff available for free is a big boost over Apple, where I have to purchase at least a $500 mac mini to gain access to iOS development tools.
    • Right because no college kids have macbooks.

      That'd be unheard of.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sbditto85 (879153)
        +1 to above

        I'm the college kid, with the macbook pro, in the computer science class.

        Surprisingly macbooks are becoming more popular yet our teachers still insist on using MS products and languages. I know in the *real* world there are a lot of MS jobs etc, but there are also a lot of cross platform jobs too (i'm a php developer, dont judge). Drives me nuts when I have to spin up a VM just to use a program thats Windows specific because the requirements for the project/program/lesson are for a windo
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by PieLala (2736201)

          I'm the college kid, with the macbook pro, in the computer science class.

          So you're him!

        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          What school do was that? I ran Linux the entire time through college (Penn State -- comp sci as well) and never needed a Windows tool. We did have a couple classes that required you to do your work on Unix though (Well, you could do the work anywhere, but it would be tested and graded on a Unix system -- and it's kinda hard to test a shell script on Windows...) but of course Linux worked just fine too. Most of the higher level classes used some GNU tools (gdb was pretty much essential for the security class

      • by xclr8r (658786)
        At my university we keep stats on what students are connecting to our network. As far as wireless connections go trend is now 60% macs to windows laptops. Disclaimer (It's a private institution so that could explain some of the higher apple product numbers)
      • In a class of 30, it's generally more of less:
        20 windows notebooks.
        2 or 3 linux notebooks.
        1 or 2 macbooks.
        The rest have no notebook (or dont' bring them along).

        Macbook users are the most irrelevant in this particular scope.

    • Er, Windows PCs don't come much cheaper than that. Is the complaint here "I need to buy a computer in order to develop software"?

      • Sorry, I didn't realize Mac Minis start at $599, not $500. Desktop PCs start at about $300, with some respectable specs these days (dual core 2.7 Ghz, 4GB RAM is enough for an entry level development machine), and I can build one myself for even cheaper. Can't build a Mac... I guess I could build a hackintosh though, although from my experience with those a couple years ago I wouldn't do it again: many incompatibility issues and eventually completely unusable for iOS development after about a year due to re
    • Welcome to programming? Lets you see develop windows applications without buying a 400$+ windows PC, or even Linux applications without a machine that runs Linux. If you buy a mac, all the programming tools are free, all the documentation is free, and you don't even need to show student ID.
      • 96% of incoming students have their own computer (at least at my past unis). Yes, disproportionately many have a Mac compared to the general population, but they are usually in the arts and humanities. In computer science (again at the 4 unis I've attended) the vast majority have PCs (as opposed to Macs), and the software the university requires for technical majors (engineering, comp sci) is only provided for Windows. The students most likely to develop for these platforms are those in comp sci and technic
        • by dark12222000 (1076451) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:22PM (#41413639)
          What University do you go to? CS at my Uni is 80% Macs, 10% Linux machines (disproportionately Ubuntu, for better or for worse), 5% Windows machines, and the rest never bring laptops (and borrow a mac from the Uni to do work on).

          Again, all of our software is either on a central server that can be SSH'd to with X access (and thus any machine can be used to get to it), it's cross platform, or it's OS/X or Linux. I can only think of maybe one specific class that you *must* have a windows machine for (and it's like a C# class or something) and even then, I think they meet in a computer lab of Windows machines.

          Any mac can be setup for development trivially quickly and easily. I'm not at all a mac fanboy (quite the opposite) but Apple did figure out how to treat their developers well. It wouldn't surprise me if a great amount of Universities are pretty Windows leaning, but it's not the de facto standard by any shot. OS X has a good hold on the Universities (and most programmers) and I strongly suspect it will continue grow. (Personally, they can have my Arch laptop when they can pry it out of my cold dead hands).
        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          the software the university requires for technical majors (engineering, comp sci) is only provided for Windows.

          What university was that? Just graduated from Penn State's comp sci program, and we were _never_ required to use Windows software. There were a few classes where we were required to write everything for Unix though. My laptop ran Linux at the time and that never caused an issue. All of the courses that did anything operating system specific would be focused on Unix, and maybe compare to Mac or Windows as a side note.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Lets you see develop windows applications without buying a 400$+ windows PC, or even Linux applications without a machine that runs Linux.

        You can get machines that run Linux out of a dumpster. Take an old P4 and throw Mandrake or Debian on it and you're good to go.

    • by mrjimorg (557309)
      So, instead you have to spend $500 for a cheap PC to build windows apps on? Windows doesn't offer Visual Studio on the Mac just like Apple doesn't offer XCode on Windows. XCode is a free download btw.
      Having said that, I've programmed on both environments and this is what I've found:
      1. Programming for C# has been a joy. It's easy to go from C,C++ or Java and pick up on what's different. The additional features make sense and are simple to use and well documented. Programming for ObjC has been really ugly-
    • by Karlt1 (231423)

      Xcode is free and I would also have to purchase a PC to run Visual Studio unless MS has released VS for Mac.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Xcode is free and I would also have to purchase a PC to run Visual Studio unless MS has released VS for Mac.

        This fallacy has been repeated several times and so far everyone has not noticed...

        The difference is that Windows runs on Macintosh computers, therefore Visual Studio runs on Macintosh computers. OSX does not run on PC's, unless someone has developed a VM recently that tricks OSX... which is doubtful, would still be a crappy VM unlike vise-versa, and such a VM would be quickly blocked by Apple perhaps even with the FBI knocking down the VM developers door because Apple pulls that shit.

        • by Karlt1 (231423)

          And then I have to buy a copy of Windows and potentially VMWare or Parallels.....

      • by narcc (412956)

        You don't need visual studio to develop software for Windows. Unlike Apple, Microsoft is very developer friendly, and has been for as long they've been around.

        Apple, in contrast to Microsoft, RIM, basically everyone else, is actively hostile to developers. You know this. Everyone else knows this. Why bother defending Apple when they're actively making your life more difficult?

        Stockholm syndrome?

        • by Karlt1 (231423)

          "You don't need visual studio to develop software for Windows. Unlike Apple, Microsoft is very developer friendly, and has been for as long they've been around."

          So how are you going to develop for Windows 8 without Visual Studio? How is MS's policies with Windows 8 "more friendly"?

          If you want the best of the best Visual Studio it costs $9500.

  • by Roobles (1880882) on Friday September 21, 2012 @01:49PM (#41413253)
    When I look back at the code I created in college, compared to what I was capable of after a few years of real world development experience... The difference is pretty stark. I understand the get-em-while-they're-young approach, to influence development decisions later in life. But if they're betting the success of their platform on the output of students with limited-to-no real world experience, I fear for the quality of the apps in their store.
    • In college maybe 80% of the time was spent writing code and 20% in design, testing, fixing bugs, archiving, documentation and sales. In the real world this ratio is reversed. Especially when you count team members whose main duties are non-coding.
    • When I look back at the code I created in college, compared to what I was capable of after a few years of real world development experience... The difference is pretty stark. I understand the get-em-while-they're-young approach, to influence development decisions later in life. But if they're betting the success of their platform on the output of students with limited-to-no real world experience, I fear for the quality of the apps in their store.

      Good point. Apple's AppStore generally has very good quality apps. The Google's PlayStore/Android MarketPlace has not; thus if you want to stand out on Android you really have to make a quality app - especially if you want to be paid for it. The same will be true for Microsoft's App Store (whatever they call it). Just stuffing it with apps won't make any difference.

  • by pointyhat (2649443) on Friday September 21, 2012 @01:51PM (#41413293)
    Literally all of the apps in the windows 8 store suck terribly. I've tried a good portion of them. I don't see how wooing 200k apps out of people who've never built something significant is going to change this fact. I think this is a way of desensitizing future developers with respect to a walled garden app store and closed platform with proprietary tools. nothing good can come of this. For ref i sit in front of visual studio for 5 hours a day at the moment so I'm not some crazy zealot. Crazy perhaps.
    • by fermion (181285)
      But now, like the Apple store, the MS Windows store will have 50,000 fart apps, 50,000 track your drinking app, 50,000 rate-your-hooks-up and 50,000 top-pick-up-lines-for-geeks. Right there MS will match the number of apps in the Apple store.

      What I notice about the Apps in the store over the past year is the barrier to entry is much greater, not because there are more apps, but because the quality has increased substantially. This is no longer a numbers game. Apple has never been about numbers. Apple n

  • by stevenfuzz (2510476) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:00PM (#41413393)
    You know, 12 years ago. Not exactly new news. They gave us tons of free development software and tools. It was amazing. Most of it got re-sold on ebay to pay for beer.
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:02PM (#41413431) Journal

    And by turning machine, I mean wheel.

    I saw Microsoft do it in 2001 with .NET, now they attempt to do it again. It's not a shortage of languages or toolkits. This is about platform lock-in as always. I can understand if PC programming (native apps) and Web apps don't get unified to the vastly different architectures (monolithic PC vs Client/server) , but in this day and age, what is going on?

    Why can't I just import the Win8 libraries into Python? Or Java, or .NET (C#)? Or Qt's QML? HTML5 is not a save-all, and I'm ok with that, but why won't we make it easier on each other and admit the emperor is just wearing different clothes. Why for that matter won't WP7 apps run on WP8?

    There was a time when MS has tweaks for every program and backwards compatibly was preserved, but those days are long gone. To keep their market share, they have to keep everyone upgrading into the Microsoft corner, fracturing the market place, which sets us back.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:22PM (#41413645) Journal

      Why can't I just import the Win8 libraries into Python? Or Java, or .NET (C#)? HTML5 is not a save-all

      Technically, since Win8 libraries - if you mean Windows Runtime (WinRT) - have a well-defined ABI, it's certainly possible to project them to Java or Python. They are already projected to C# and C++, you're not restricted to HTML5/JS (for some reason it seems to be an oft-recurring misunderstanding that you can only write Win8 apps in that - it's completely wrong).

      As for Qt, it's a library that does its own widgets down to drawing and input handling. If they want to port it to Win8, they can.

      Why for that matter won't WP7 apps run on WP8?

      They will. What made you believe otherwise?

      • by Valtor (34080)

        ...

        Why for that matter won't WP7 apps run on WP8?

        They will. What made you believe otherwise?

        Win7 apps won't run on Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM CPUs). But yeah they run just fine on Win8 with x86/x64 CPUs.

      • by scorp1us (235526)

        Ok, I was a bit incorrect on that statement. It seems that the issue is the nascent WP7 base who can't run WP8 apps, meaning that just a few months after Nokia brought he phones to market developers don't have much incentive to make WP7 apps. Which is just horrible timing.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#41413469) Homepage

    How much of Apple's App Store success is brought about by the development tools and niceness of Object-oriented programming / interface design?

    I'm biased, since for a long while a NeXT Cube was my primary machine (and for a while, I had access to machines running Windows, Mac OS and NeXTstep all w/ similar processor and memory specs), but some of the nicest applications I've ever used began on NeXTstep, and pretty much all the apps I have a real fondness for were heavily influenced by OO-environments (FutureWave Smartsketch which became Flash, but started on Go Corp.'s PenPoint):

      - Altsys Virtusoso (which became FreeHand v4)
      - TeXview.app (TeXshop.app was inspired by it)
      - Lotus Improv
      - Mail.app
      - TouchType.app
      - a bunch of other apps / utilities which no longer exist / are remembered
      - Doom (okay, I'm reaching, but it was initially developed on NeXTstep)

    Would there be as many IOS apps if XCode didn't benefit from decades of NeXT/OPENSTEP development and user-interface design work?

    William

    • by 6031769 (829845)

      Like you, the NeXTs introduced me to OOP and OOD. It was a whole new way of coding and allowed me to produce finished and polished apps in record time back then. The resultant code may only have run on NeXTs but that wasn't really the point at the time. I've not used a dev system since which had the ease of use or rapid development cycle.

      These days the code I write is generally more portable, more efficient and the source is more maintainable. But it takes a lot longer to produce (even with all the framewor

  • by Vince6791 (2639183) on Friday September 21, 2012 @02:33PM (#41413767)

    If you read the Microsoft metro app store policy you will start laughing, especially at "3.2 Your app must not stop responding, end unexpectedly, or contain programming errors", I mean look who's freaking talking here. Windows 1 to Windows 7, office 1 to office 2010, all had and have freaking issues(freezing, crashes, bugs, glitches) xbox 360 hardware failure, and yet they got the balls to tell you not to fuck it up. Shit, how many freaking times my windows 7 kept freezing because i did not set the storage(both winodws & amd SB drivers sucked) configuration from ide compatibility to ahci in the bios while the linux distros had no issues with this.

    Microsoft also has the right to cancel your account and wipe all your apps off from the store any time if they think you are not conforming to their policy. For students, learning c & c++ would make it easier for them to adapt other languages much quicker. Writing efficient and inventive Algorithm's is the most important aspect of any programming language.

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Friday September 21, 2012 @06:40PM (#41416395)

    When I saw that in US universities, students are actually taught to use Windows, Visual Studio, and to program in C#, I was shocked at how influential Microsoft was in the US, and how bad the situation was.
    Doing this is a terrible idea, reliance on a IDE means they don't understand how the compilation tool chain works, and they get stuck using this sub-par software, which, to top things off, is also proprietary and restricted to Microsoft platforms.

    No wonder Inda and China are better, American students are not taught software engineering, they're taught how to be code monkeys.

  • semi serious question here. how is MS judged to be the largest? Company value? range of products? manufacturing ability? I don't wish to troll I'm just curious as to how they get the title of largest.

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