When I was in uni/college one of the things I really liked about the Microsoft development environment (it was Visual Studio 6 back then), was how cheap it was for students to get hold of the software for cheap. Growing a bit weary of both the Google and Apple way of doing things I’ve recently started to get back to grips with Microsoft development and I’ve noticed that the deal is still pretty good for students.

If you have a student email address the whole thing is pretty much painless, you need to sign up as a student at: https://www.dreamspark.com/student. If you don’t have a institutional email address you will need an ISIC card, or failing that you can supply documentation to them (when I did it a similar thing in college I emailed them a scan of college acceptance letter, took about a week to verify – but this was about 12 years ago..). Once you have signed up and verified your email you can browse the rather extensive catalog of student freebies and discounts.

Because there are so many freebies it is a little hard to work out what you can get to develop Windows phone apps. This is the route I am currently taking, I can’t tell you how well it works at the moment in time:

That should be everything you need to get developing for the Windows Phone Store for free. There are other useful bits you can get through Dreamspark. You might be interested in the github education pack for somewhere to put your code. I was also interested in the Microsoft Virtual Academy which Dreamspark gives you full access to, its full of really good tutorials and the such.

The one thing I can’t seem to get access to is the Windows 8 GameMaker Studio exporter, while GameMaker studio seems to be the tool for making Windows Phone games, the module that exports it for Windows Phone is $299, if students could get a discount or trial on this it would really make the whole Windows Phone development experience very cheap for students.


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