Thesis Ideas : August 18, 2010

If I was not a Microsoft Innovation Center intern, I wouldn’t enhance my communication skills, technical skills and presentation skills. I’ve learned a lot of Microsoft technology and was interested and curious in developing applications with the use of a certain technology. Browsing MVP blog’s, community websites, and of course MSDN documentation helped me a lot in achieving and implementing the technology. Most of them are straightforward tutorial and clear explanation. I’ve been fascinated with Multipoint, Silverlight 4.0, Windows Phone 7, and XNA 4.0.

Before the start of second term in my school (FEU -East Asia College), I already planned on sharing these technologies to our junior students who will take up their thesis for the next term. I gave them ideas on what they can develop without having to develop common applications that are already developed in the previous thesis class. With the use of their technology, not only they produced a marketable application but they also produced an up to date technology that maximize the experience of the users when using technology in their daily lives.

Since I have been speaking in schools with these technologies, I already thought of bringing all of these technology in one package in our school and disseminate the current technologies that can be used for their thesis.

Multipoint technology

I myself wasn’t aware with this technology not until I was introduced with this technology. I was fascinated with it’s use and capability of handling one or more mice at the same time without having to problem how will I handle the properties of each mouse.

“Windows MultiPoint Mouse Software Development Kit (SDK) gives education publishers the ability to build interactive applications that allow up to 25 students, each with their own mouse, to simultaneously engage on a single PC.”

All they have to do is study the documentation of the SDK without having to write their own class on how will they handle multiple mice at the same time. Customizing mouse cursors, limiting mouse movement, freeze mice, etc are all included in the SDK package. After giving them a brief overview of the technology, I shared my ideas on what they could develop with this kind of technology that they could propose in their proposal defense.

  • Group ordering menu – Whenever we go out to eat in group in a fast food restaurant normally we would queue and discuss what is their order and how much would they have to pay for. We Filipinos tend to assign one person to buy all the food meal and the rest waits. It takes up time since you are discussing about your order and how much will you pay. Others who are behind our line will have to wait longer than the other line that doesn’t have a group order. So why not use a technology that automate the group ordering in fast food chains? Use multipoint to automatically compute how much per person will it cost and how much change will he/she receives. After displaying the payable/receivable of a group order. Single receipt should be print out for the whole group without printing each receipts for each person. Cost efficient, and time is optimized.
  • Educational Application for Learning Centers – Since the main focus of multipoint technology is for students, teachers and schools. Why not use maximize the given technology and develop more applications using Multipoint? A lot of learning centers are not aware of this technology, yet they can maximize the use of technology. Educational applications can help the teachers express the lesson in a fun and exciting way. Multipoint gives teachers a new pedagogy for their students. Students can learn the lesson in a fun and interactive way. Since most of the students can easily understand the lesson as long as the user interface of their application is designed properly.

Silverlight Technology

I asked first my audience on what are course are taking. Most of them answered they are I.T (Information Technology) students. I told them that this next technology is perfect for them! I asked them if are they interested in web developing or client apps. They answered they are more interested in web developing. I told them that Silverlight can help them implement a beautiful user interface and add more features with Silverlight. I explained to them what are the new features they could develop with the newest release of Silverlight 4.0.

  • Adaptive streaming – this has been available since Silverlight 3.0, they could develop applications that have live broadcast. With the use of Silverlight technology, the video that is being streamed is automatically chunked into the users screen resolution without having to receive the whole packet so it will not buffer that long. Let’s say we have a live streaming of Manny Pacquiao fighting his opponent and your current resolution is 800×600 but the video that is being streamed is for 1280×800. Normally, we need to download the whole video for screen resolution for 1280×800 but our resolution is only 800×600! With silverlight technology they could use adaptive streaming so the client will not have to buffer long to watch live streaming videos.
  • Deep zoom capability – Ever wonder on how you could maximize your web page space? Let’s say, a gallery of pictures where it only occupies a 500×500 (width and height) in your web page? Now it’s possible without having to create your own gallery and display it in a normal transition of pictures! When using deep zoom, you do not even need to code to build this kind of silverlight application. You could display your pictures in a beautiful and interactive way. A sample application of this Deep zoom capability is by checking the website of Hardrock
  • Out of browser capability – What if you have developed an application in Silverlight that has a database access and requires internet connection or let’s say you’re in a coffee shop but not all coffee shops have free wifi access? Silverlight does not need internet when developers would like to! Just right click your silverlight application and right click and click install and it will automatically install a desktop silverlight application that does not need a web browser to run! New feature called Out of browser makes Silverlight applications run on your own desktop machines without the use of internet.
  • Webcam feature – Ever wonder how to implement a webcam that reads a bar code? Silverlight provides a Barcode library that can help you implement that feature! With just a simple line of codes a you could access the library and implement what bar code reader would you like to use. Easy to develop, lots fo support!
  • RichTextArea – What if your a web developer and you are assigned to develop a community website forum for your boss? Of course normally it will require you to code a text box, text properties, text color, etc. With silverlight 4.0 you could do this with just a simple line of codes too! Just call the RichTextArea class and you can automatically implement the Text Area without having to code all of them.
  • Drag and Drop – Do you have a website that requires your users to upload their files from their local machines and upload it on the web? Normally the users would have to click Browser -> Find items to upload -> Click upload! It’s tedious for the users! Drag and drop is the new silverlight 4.0 feature that lets the user drag their files instantly without having to click lots of buttons just to upload their file. They could easily drag their files in their desktop and drop it in the web page and automatically your silverlight application can read your files.
  • Notification API – What about in house applications? Outlook? Mail system? Of course we do not always open the window for our mail just to check mails. Why not use Notification API of Silverlight so that the user can no longer open the window for its silverlight app and just minimize it so whenever there’s new message, a notification window should show that there’s a new message for the user. Easy right? BUT, it only supports Out of Browser applications.

These are just some of the few features I have shared with them, gave them motivation on how to implement a certain kind of feature in their web page.

Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7, the newest mobile OS of Microsoft to compete back in the mobile platform. Since they are interested in Silverlight I told them, it’s easy to develop for Windows Phone 7. Since the target developers of Windows Phone 7 is Silverlight and XNA. Why? Because Microsoft would like to target all the existing developers and developers who developed their applications to migrate easily to Windows phone 7. Let’s say you have an existing XNA game or Silverlight application, you just have to adjust the screen and input events of your application and you’re ready to migrate it easily to Windows Phone 7!

I told them everything is free, including the Windows Phone 7 emulator and it’s SDK. All of this can be learned just by reading the documentation and watching Channel 9. Imagine a world that almost all of our daily routine are in our smart phones? Live would be easy, right? So I told them why not try to explore and develop applications for the newest OS for mobile of Microsoft since they too could avail the $99 price for deploying their application in the marketplace because we have a cut for that because of Dreamspark! They did not just developed application for their thesis but they also did not waste their time developing an application that is not marketable.

XNA 4.0

I asked my audience if are they familiar with game consoles like Nintendo Wii, Play Station 3 and XBOX 360? I told them that as a student we love games! When we get bored we would like to entertain ourselves by playing games. I asked them are they interested in developing their own games? They said yes, and asked them are they familiar with XNA framework? Unfortunately, their answer was no.

So this was my time to shine and shared the framework for them to develop their own games. XNA framework provides everything they no longer need to develop e.g, the game engine and game loop. Since our thesis duration only last for three months, thats a small time for students who are taking their thesis and would like to develop their own game. I shared to them that they could develop 2D games with XNA framework in just less than two weeks! Time is maximized and the rest of the remaining time can be for duration and their own leisure. Not only they could develop and submit it for their thesis, they could deploy their XNA games in the XBOX 360 or Windows Phone market place because as an MSDNAA subscriber the students can avail of the XNA Game Creator Club where the developers could deploy their applications in the market! Not only their target clients are for Philippines but its a broad client, a worldwide users that are hungry and wants to play something new!

After sharing these technologies to them, I asked them my last question. What technology would they like to have a tutorial first?

The results

Silverlight 4.0

Multipoint

Windows Phone 7

XNA

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All of these will be having a series of school event sessions, hands on demo on the month of November. Windows Phone 7 will have a series tutorial from Basic to Advance to using the Web Services, Push notifications, etc. until next year. Thanks for my audience for their eagerness to learn these new technologies. The tutorials should begin by next month! See you guys.

Reference:

Multipoint

Silverlight

Windows Phone7

XNA Framework

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