In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got Windows Phone Developer news and how-to’s, new tools and tips for a secure and stable cloud environment, plus how we’re delivering the most up-to-date Windows 8 on day one.

Windows Phone developer registration opens in 13 new markets. In Todd Brix’s last post, he talked about how we’re planning to roll out periodic updates to the Windows Phone Dev Center and Store infrastructure that address issues you report and occasionally include small feature enhancements. Well, it’s that time once again, and in addition to another 100 or so fixes, Microsoft is enabling developer registration in 13 new markets via Dev Center with this release: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Timor-Leste. For the rest of the story, head over to The Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Updating Windows 8 for general availability. In an Oct. 9 post, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, announced the release of a set of improvements to Windows 8 in broad areas of performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback and compatibility. These improvements are available via Windows Update. Steven talks briefly about our improvements to the engineering system and, in particular, the speed at which we were able to deliver these updates to you. Read more about the new pace of delivering updates over on Building Windows 8.

RSA Europe: Risks and rewards in cloud adoption. Last week at RSA Europe in London, Microsoft’s General Manager of Trustworthy Computing, Adrienne Hall, announced the release of our bi-annual Security Intelligence Report (SIRv13) and a new free Cloud Security Readiness Tool. Get a more detailed summary of the report and new Cloud Security Readiness Tool in Adrienne’s post on the Trustworthy Computing blog.

Tips for using ads in your Windows Phone apps. Windows Phone developers have three basic ways to make money from their apps: paid app sales, mobile advertising and in-app purchases (coming in Windows Phone 8). Last month, Bernardo Zamora wrote about his approach to paid apps, and how to take advantage of the Windows Phone Dev Center’s new country-by-country pricing and analysis features. Last week, he shared lessons he’s learned about increasing mobile ad revenue—ones he picked up from publishing more than 20 games in the Windows Phone Store, half of them ad-based. Pick up Advertising 101 tips in The Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Inside the Kinect for Windows SDK Update with Peter Zatloukal and Bob Heddle. Now that the updated Kinect for Windows SDK is available for download, Engineering Manager Peter Zatloukal and Group Program Manager Bob Heddle sat down to discuss what this significant update means to developers. Find out their top three favorite features in the updated SDK release in this post on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

Best practices for designing large-scale services on Windows Azure. In a Windows Azure blog post on Monday, Jason Roth, principal programming writer in our Customer Advisory Team, provided an overview of a new whitepaper we published: Best Practices for the Design of Large-Scale Services on Windows Azure Cloud Services. This paper is a compilation of design patterns and guidelines that are based on actual customer engagements and pulls together the best strategies and design patterns that have consistently proven successful for real-world Windows Azure applications.

Building a custom control using XAML and C#. You may already know that one of the most powerful features of the Windows 8 XAML platform is the flexibility the platform provides to create custom controls. XAML provides features like Dependency Properties and Control Templates that make it easy to create feature-rich and customizable controls. In the last post, “Building a custom control using the Windows Library for JavaScript,” Jordan Matthiesen walked you through creating a custom HelloWorld control. This Windows 8 app developer blog post will introduce techniques and concepts that allow you to create reusable custom controls and show you how to create template to style these controls.

In case you missed it…

Windows Server 2012 Essentials released to manufacturing and generally available on Nov. 1. Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2012 Essentials was released to manufacturing, and is now available for download and evaluation. The product will be generally available for purchase on Nov. 1 and we expect hardware partners to be shipping systems by the end of the year. The product has already generated strong customer response with over 23,000 downloads of the public beta in just two months. Check out the full story on the STB News Bytes Blog and visit the Microsoft download center to experience the exciting new features and functionalities offered by Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog