The Midweek Download: July 20th Edition–Microsoft Announces the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games and Windows Phone Devs Get New App Hub Features

It’s a busy week on the developer news front at Microsoft – check out stories below about the new Windows Azure Toolkit for social games, another significant milestone for Windows Phone developers, a Microsoft Research project code-named “Daytona” and another series of in-depth profiles on the Next at Microsoft Blog focused on Microsoft designers.

Build Your Next Game with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. Today at Seattle Casual Connect, we announced the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. This toolkit includes accelerators, common libraries, and deployment tools to help developers quickly get started building social games. Additionally, the toolkit provides samples and guidance for other scenarios, such as using Facebook credits to monetize a game. Read today’s post on the Windows Azure Blog for the whole story.

Windows Phone Developers Get New App Hub Features. This week marks another significant developer milestone on the path to the release of Mango and also gives Microsoft a chance to talk about where we’re headed. Today, we are officially announcing the rollout of the new App Hub developer portal with key new functionality, multiple enhancements and support for several new markets. For those of you who are new to Windows Phone, App Hub is where you manage your account, change settings, submit applications and stay up to date on Windows Phone. The Windows Phone Developer Blog has the rest of the story.

Microsoft Research release details of “Daytona.” At the 12th annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit on Monday, Microsoft unveiled details about a new platform that will expand the tool set for scientists in need of large-scale data computation capabilities. Currently code-named “Daytona,” this tool kit is designed to run a wide class of analytics and machine-learning algorithms on Windows Azure to allow scientists to analyze their largest data collections. For more on this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

Is your business ready for the Cloud? The Solution Accelerators team announced on Monday the release of Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 6.0. Organizations planning their journey to the cloud now have a tool to help make the planning process easier and faster. The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 6.0 includes assessment capabilities to evaluate workloads for both public and private cloud platforms. Check out this Monday post on the Springboard Series Blog to get the details.

People Week, Version 2.0. This week, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton is profiling people at Microsoft, with a special focus on designers. Don’t miss these profiles of Manuel Lima, who works in New York as a senior user experience design lead for Bing, and Kiki Wolfkill, who is an executive producer at 343 Industries, the gaming unit within Microsoft Studios that’s responsible for the Halo franchise.

Defense in Depth: Locking Down Mash-Ups with HTML5 Sandbox. The Web is better when developers can build safer experiences in their sites. With each release of Internet Explorer, we’ve led the way with improvements to the browser to help ensure a safe and secure browsing experience. Now, IE10 Platform Preview 2 includes full support for HTML5 Sandbox technology that allows developers to further lockdown mash-up content on their sites. Read this July 14th post on the IEBlog to learn more. Also, check out this July 12th post on debugging Web Workers in IE10.

Announcing the Explorer Touch Mouse. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the newest member of the Microsoft Hardware touch line – the Explorer Touch Mouse. With this new mouse, we have taken touch strip technology to the next level by delivering a strip with both vertical and horizontal navigation, allowing you to swipe your mouse in any direction. In addition to easy navigation, the scroll wheel also allows for three speeds of scrolling: slow speed for precise movements, medium speed to advance a page or two, or hyperfast speed to flick quickly through a long document. For the rest of this story, read this post on the Microsoft Hardware Blog.

Thanks for reading The Midweek Download! We’ll have more Microsoft news for you in this Friday’s edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog