Midweek Download: Get Hortonworks Data Platform For Windows & Developer News from Mobile World Congress

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on open source Apache Hadoop coming to Windows, the accelerating momentum of Yammer, plus tools and offers to make building Windows Phone apps faster and easier.

Hortonworks and Microsoft bring the Hortonworks Data Platform to Windows. On Monday, Hortonworks released the beta for the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows, the industry’s first 100% Open Source Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows. With Windows Server holding 73% market share in 2012, HDP for Windows dramatically broadens the accessible market for Hadoop. This release is the result of a deep engineering partnership between Hortonworks and Microsoft with the goal to help accelerate the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise by diversifying the number of platforms that it can run on. Get the rest of the story in Monday’s post on the SQL Server Blog.

Windows Phone developer updates & offers from Mobile World Congress. Windows Phone team member Todd Brix posts from from Barcelona where he had the honor of joining Nokia at its App Developer Conference to help kick-off Mobile World Congress. Nokia shared some great phone and app news that you can read about here. For Microsoft, today is about showing you, our Windows Phone developers, the progress you have made. Brix also announced a few more tools and programs that make it even easier for you to develop for Windows Phone. Read about these tools, including the new Dev Center App (screen shot below), in Monday’s post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Also, the Windows Phone Next App Star contest sweetens the pot – read about the US$15,000 in new prizes added to the contest.

Yammer accelerates momentum following Microsoft acquisition. Yammer, Inc., a best-in-class Enterprise Social Network and part of the Microsoft Office Division, today announced record growth in 2012 and accelerating momentum following the Microsoft acquisition.

2012 Highlights

  • Full year 2012 sales nearly tripled year-over-year (ended Jan. 31, 2013)
  • Fourth-quarter sales quadrupled year-over-year (ended Jan. 31, 2013)
  • Number of paying customers increased 165 percent in 2012
  • Surpassed 7 million registered users

“Yammer experienced banner growth in 2012 and grew particularly fast in the fourth quarter. Our momentum is definitely accelerating following the Microsoft acquisition,” said David Sacks, Yammer co-founder and corporate vice president, Microsoft Office Division. Get the rest of the story in this Feb. 20 press release on Microsoft News Center.

Microsoft unveils new Imagine Cup competitions with a focus on women. In this Feb. 20 press release, Microsoft Corp. announced two new competitions that focus on women and female technology innovators at Microsoft Imagine Cup, the company’s global student technology competition. The Women’s Empowerment Award was established in partnership with UN Women, the U.N. organization working to accelerate gender equality and the empowerment of women, and will be awarded to two student teams of any gender that create projects that best address issues impacting women globally. Registration also is now open for the Women’s Athletics App Challenge, in partnership with the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team, which inspires female developers, innovators and entrepreneurs to create software related to sports, health or fitness. For more details, head over to this Microsoft News Center press release.

Leading global humanitarian organization selects cloud to help enhance capacity and response. Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has expanded on a global Enterprise Agreement with a new Memorandum of Understanding to offer Microsoft Office 365 and other products as the standard communications and collaboration platform for its National Societies worldwide, helping provide greater licensing flexibility. The signing has the potential to serve more than 1 million volunteers and staff members in the network. Watch the video below and learn more about the partnership in Monday’s press release on Microsoft News Center and in this guest post from Edward Happ, Global CIO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, on the Official Microsoft Blog.

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Windows 8 app allows Toyota Racing Development to set the pace. TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) — a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. that serves as the North American racing arm for design, development and assembly of Toyota’s factory racing engines and chassis — worked with Microsoft Corp. to design a touch-enabled app for Windows 8 as the centerpiece of a new strategy to improve the performance of the Toyota teams competing in NASCAR. When drivers, crew chiefs and team engineers expressed the need for a more mobile computing platform to monitor real-time performance data, TRD answered with the Windows 8 Trackside app running on Surface Pro hardware. Watch it in action with TRD in the video below and learn more about the app in this Feb. 23 release on Microsoft News Center.

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‘Most Verbose’: Meet Microsoft’s Original MVP. It’s 1993, and you need technical support. Who you gonna call? Most techies at the time would plug in their modems and dial up CompuServe. In the days before Twitter, Facebook and broadband, CompuServe’s forums were a gathering place for geeks to talk shop and get answers to burning questions. Calvin Hsia, a developer who lived in Hawaii, thought it might be fun to figure out who posted the most. So he wrote a program that could download, organize and tabulate hundreds of daily forum messages. He then published a list of hundreds of the forum’s “Most Verbose People,” as he liked to call them. See where it went from there in this Feb. 20 Microsoft News Center press release.

The patent system: fix what’s broken, don’t break what’s working. Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs Brad Smith last week participated in an event on Capitol Hill about the U.S. patent system and software patents sponsored by BSA│The Software Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers. Panelists included representatives of tech companies, manufacturers, and start-ups, and Smith says it was interesting to see the extent to which all of us innovate in software and rely on the patent system to incentivize and protect those innovations. This is not surprising: we live in a digital world. Many things that used to be done mechanically or via hardware – such as throttle control systems – are now implemented in software. Read Brad Smith’s full post in the Feb. 21 edition of Microsoft on the Issues.

Alive with activity, Part 1: Working with tiles, badges, and toasts. Live tiles and the related capabilities of badges, toast notifications, and push notifications are one of the most distinguishing features of Windows 8 and Windows Store apps. They combine to create a system that is “alive with activity”: apps have a constant flow of info coming in from their services that’s visible on both the Start screen and the lock screen, even when those apps aren’t running. See the sample start screen in the image below and delve into tile experience essentials in this Feb. 21 post on the Windows App Developer Blog.

Sideloading Windows 8 Store apps. By now, you are familiar with Windows Store apps. There are some pretty cool ones available in the store, and publishers are adding more every week. A great thing about Windows Store apps is they are super simple to install (and uninstall). But what about line of business (LOB) apps? You probably do not want to publish them through the Windows Store since that would make them publically available. Instead, you can sideload LOB apps. Sideloading simply means installing a Windows Store app without publishing it in and downloading it from the store. Take a look at this Feb. 21 post in the Springboard Series Blog for a quick overview of the steps you would to take to experience sideloading Windows Store apps firsthand.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog