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Microsoft “Windows 8 is Enterprise-ready by Design”, Office 2013 Windows RT Demo’d; Released MBAM 2.0 Beta, AGPM 4.0 SP1 Beta, DaRT 8 RC; Announces UE-V Beta 2; Windows Server 2012 MCSE Certifications; Release Preview Product Guide for Business; Activating Windows 8 Metro Style App Contracts Explained

Day 2, at 2012 TechEd North America, Microsoft detailed the value Windows 8 brings to businesses through enhanced fundamentals, new enterprise features and strong application compatibility. “Windows 8 is enterprise-ready by design,” said Antoine Leblond, cvp for Windows Web Services at Microsoft.

“Adding features that bring new possibilities in mobility, productivity and security, Windows 8 will delight developers, IT professionals and the employees they support,” he said.

Microsoft also announced updates to several Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products, which enable organizations to virtualize, manage and restore data, applications and users’ experiences on Windows include:

  • Beta for Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0 makes it easier for enterprises to protect data with BitLocker and BitLocker To Go by using Windows 8 support to simplify the provisioning process, monitoring and enforcing compliance for improved security, and reducing the cost of managing an encrypted environment by integrating with existing managements systems, while empowering users to support themselves with a self-service recovery portal.

    You can download the MBAM beta here.

  • Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) 4.0 Service Pack 1 beta and the release candidate of Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8 are now available, providing support for Windows 8 Release Preview.

    AGPM beta is available for download here, and DaRT 8 RC is available here.

  • Finally, Second beta for User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) also announced today, will be available by the end of the month.

    “UE-V is designed to give individuals the ability to change their device and keep their experience without reconfiguring applications or settings in Windows 7 or Windows 8,” Microsoft stated.

    New features in the second beta include roaming system settings between Windows 7 and Windows 8; support for additional operating system settings, like Start menu, Taskbar and folder options; Group Policy support to ensure agent configuration consistency; and the roaming and sync of settings between Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10.

Also, during a demonstration on stage of Windows on ARM, Linda Averett, Director of Program Management, provided a quick glimpse of what upcoming version of Excel 2013 will look like on a Windows on ARM tablet.

The software was identified as a preview of “Office 2013 RT” (with the “RT” representing Windows RT, the final name of Windows on ARM). Thus, also revealing, the final branding for the Office 15 suite as “Office 2013”, and “Office 2013 RT” as the branding for Windows RT tablets Office suite apps.

Office 2013 RT: Excel 2013 RT Showcased at TechEd North America

According to report, Microsoft is “charging a staggering $80-95 U.S. dollars for licensing Windows RT. Most hardware makers need to pay $85 for loading the platform on their devices, the news site notes,” a VR-Zone article



Microsoft also announced two new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications on Windows Server 2012 include:

  • MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure certification focuses on how to deploy and manage desktops and devices, allowing flexible, consistent, and reliable access to corporate services. It llows IT professionals to be the hero in their organization by enabling a flexible work style providing access from anywhere, on any device, while maintaining security and compliance.

    This certification validates skills in desktop virtualization, remote desktop services, and application virtualization.

  • MCSE: Server Infrastructure certification focuses on how to design, build, manage, and run a highly efficient data center. With the know-how of essential services ranging from identity management, systems management, virtualization, storage, and networking, you have the tools needed to run a highly efficient and modern datacenter.

And, the new Windows 8 Release Previews Product Guide for Business released today, provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 8 that are important to our business customers.

“This guide can help businesses understand how Windows 8 enables better business tablets, provides new possibilities for mobile productivity, enhances end-to-end security, and delivers manageability and virtualization enhancements.”

The guide covers a whole host of content including

  • A better business tablet. With Windows 8 tablets, users can enjoy convenience and mobility benefits in addition to the familiarity and productivity benefits of Windows.
  • New possibilities for mobile productivity. Windows 8 provides expanded connectivity options for mobile users, allowing them to be productive practically anywhere.
  • Enhanced end-to-end security. Windows 8 provides enterprise-class security capabilities that keep clients more secure against malware intrusion, better protected with data encryption.
  • Manageability and virtualization advancements. Windows 8 includes enhancements to manageability and virtualization features to help IT administrators manage their client PCs.

You can download the Windows 8 Release Preview Product Guide for Business here.

Finally, Windows 8 contracts offer the ability to drive users to your app for completing a specific task from other parts of the system and even other apps in certain scenarios.

“When you start writing Metro style apps you’ll quickly come across contracts, a new and powerful concept in Windows 8. Metro style apps use contracts to declare interactions they support with other apps and with Windows. The example of contracts include: search, share, etc,” posted Derek Gebhard, program manager on User Experience team.

“Using contracts, apps become better by working with the system or with each other when users install more apps that implement contracts. When an app implements a contract, Windows 8 can provide glue between that app and any other apps on the system, and the system itself,” he said.

“You can see this in action when you do something simple like use the Share charm from a web page in the Metro style Internet Explorer–you can share the link via the Mail app, with someone whose contact info you’ve stored in the People app, and so on. You can search across apps that implement the Search contract. You can open and save files from or to any location that implements the File Open and Save Picker contracts. This innovative approach allows Windows 8 to work with any app/service pair rather than “hardcoding” a single level of support for a given app. And all of this is supported, if you choose, by your Microsoft account, which you can connect to different services, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and more,” explains Gebhard.

The Windows activation platform is used to launch Metro Style apps and to notify them of the reason why a user launched them.

“The reasons vary from a user starting the app using its tile on the start screen to the app being launched for a specific task such as showing a user search results for a query,” he said.

“Windows provides your app with the reason it was launched and if applicable any additional info needed to complete its task.”

“Before Windows 8 activation platform, you passed this info to apps via command-line parameters. With our new model, we also support passing live objects such as a StorageFile, ShareOperation, etc to provide the app with context. You’ll see that this makes contracts all the more powerful.”

He then showed how Search, File Picker, and other Windows 8 contract works. “The logic and principles showcased here don’t just apply to adding File Open Picker activation support. You can use the same techniques when adding support for Share Target, File Save Picker, Contact Picker, Camera Settings, and Print Task Settings as these are also hosted view activation contracts,” he said.

As you can see in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview demo, Windows 8 contracts are the glue that binds your app to other Metro style apps and to the system UI. Users initiate app interactions in one of two ways:

  1. “Through an action that requires the app’s fully immersive view to be in the foreground. This is also called main view activation. An example is the Search contract.
  2. Through an action that is hosted inline, without leaving the context of the currently running app. This is also called hosted view activation. Here are two examples, an app participating in the file picker and an app being used as a Share target,” explains Gebhard.

Activating Windows 8 Contracts in Metro Style Apps

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