Friday, 31 August 2012

How I Built an “Awesome Chat” application for Windows 8 with Windows Azure Mobile Service

How I Built an “Awesome Chat” application for Windows 8 with Windows Azure Mobile Service

In this blog post, I’m going to talk about how I built a Windows 8 application using Windows Azure Mobile Service. Windows Azure Mobile Service is the newest Windows Azure Services that you can use to provide backend services for your mobile applications (currently Windows 8, more coming soon). You can learn more and sign up for a preview of this service here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/home/scenarios/mobile-services/. More information about this service can be found on Scott Guthrie’s blog post here: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2012/08/28/announcing-windows-azure-mobile-services.aspx. The service looked really promising and I thought I should give it a try and trust me, you’re not going to be disappointed. All-in-all it took me about 4 hours to build the application (and that included installing Windows 8, VS 2012, signing up for a marketplace account etc.). Since I’m quite excited about this service and the work I was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, I’m going to dramatize this blog post a bit! I am big fan of TV series 24 so I will use that for dramatization  . Without further ado, let me start!

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Getting rid of advertisements in your Windows 8 app in 5 minutes


As I posted before, app assemblies, non-compiled XAML and html pages are easily accessible for users. Windows 8 RTM doesn’t bring anything new for apps protection. Neither special knowledge nor tools are required to open app’s package in WindowsApps folder, find .xaml page with advertisements and remove AdControl elements. Your grandma can do it between baking a cake and knitting socks given good instruction.

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Snap to Your Tiles In HTML5/JS Windows 8 App


Snap to Your Tiles In HTML5/JS Windows 8 AppLet’s say you have a bunch of tiles in your Windows 8 app and the user grabs this list with their finger and pans some distance to the right. There’s a chance the list will end up landing in a position like this… Notice that the tiles at left are cutoff. The list has panned some arbitrary distance and stopped where fate stopped it. I know it’s all scientific, but it’s fun to say that fate landed it here.

But what if you don’t want to put your app in fate’s fickle hands and would rather stop every time at a tile’s edge. That flick from my last example, then, should find you here……with the edge of tiles 9, 10, and 11 neatly lined up on your left margin.

Is that possible? Of course it is.

Is it easy? Yep. That too.

Once again, the custom CSS properties in Windows 8 come to the rescue. I’m going to talk about a couple of properties in the -ms-scroll* area. If you want a good list of the available properties, just type -ms-scroll in a CSS sheet and let IntelliSense be your guide.

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Creating a Simple Windows 8 Game with JavaScript: Part 1 – Windows 8 App Basics


Creating a Simple Windows 8 Game with JavaScript: Part 1 – Windows 8 App Basics
This is the first in a series of posts that will show you to create a (very) simple Windows 8 game. We’ll be using HTML5, JavaScript, WinJS, and some helpful libraries from CreateJS along the way.

The game is based on the XNA sample game "Catapult Wars Lab". We’ll reuse the assets from that game as we develop a new version for Windows 8 that’s based on web technologies. This game focuses on simplicity, so there are a number of intermediate techniques that aren’t used in this sample.

Read More On CodeProject

Windows 8 AppFest In India (Bengaluru)


Microsoft India proudly presents, Windows 8 AppFest, the world’s largest coding marathon for building great apps. Bring your vision, laptop, and your favorite coding pajamas to AppFest for a chance to transform your dream into a download. Starting on September 21st and continuing for 18 hours, thousands of talented programmers and designers will gather in Bengaluru to bring their dreams to life. Onsite staff will be available to assist AppFest participants with preparing their apps for eventual submission to the Windows Store. You will have the opportunity to have our staff run your app through a series of quality checks in addition to discussing techniques to make your app even better.

Register now


  •     This is a limited seat, invite-only event.
  •     AppFest is FREE.
  •     Registration for AppFest is just a confirmation of your interest in attending the event.
  •     To qualify to attend AppFest, you must submit a description of your app. You may choose from any of the 20 existing Windows Store categories. An invitation will be sent to you as a confirmation.


Here is the venue details:
Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation,
121, EPIP Industrial Area, 5, Whitefield,
Bengaluru - 560066, Karnataka

Windows 8 AppFest Official Site

Getting Started: Authoring HTML For Windows 8 Apps Using Blend For VS 2012




Almost two years ago, we set out on a path towards building a flavor of Blend that allowed you to seamlessly craft HTML, CSS, and JavaScript into Metro style applications. We are thrilled to announce that the final, released version of Blend is available for you to try out. As in previous releases, there is no more need to download Blend separately. It is now part of every VS download that targets any of the supported platforms. You can learn more from our launch blog post.

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Getting Started: XAML Authoring With Blend For VS 2012


Getting Started: XAML Authoring With Blend For VS 2012

Now that you have your copy of Visual Studio 2012 including Blend, you must be raring to go and explore the world of Windows 8 development. We hope this post helps all the C#/VB & C++ junkies out there get started pronto on creating amazing apps for the Windows Store.

Who doesn’t like food? Trying to find the perfect recipe to cook for dinner is a decision we battle every day, so one of our sister teams in Microsoft had created this awesome Contoso Cookbook sample app. For the purposes of this post we will take this much loved sample application already oozing with design goodness and add a bit more styling and flair to it.

Download the Contoso sample app uploaded to accompany this tutorial.

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Customize the color of an indeterminate progress bar

To keep your users aware of the fact that there's asynchronous actions in progress, the indeterminate progress bar is a common practice. One thing I've noticed is that when you add a ProgressBar element to a page in your Windows 8 page, the color of the indeterminate state is static meaning that there's no public property that you can use to set a specific color. One approach might be to retemplate the entire control, but it's a bit drastic when there's actually an easier approach.

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A Communication System for XAML Applications


In any application, you want to keep the coupling between any two or more objects as loose as possible. Coupling happens when one class contains a property that is used in another class, or uses another class in one of its methods. If you have this situation, then this is called strong or tight coupling. One popular design pattern to help with keeping objects loosely coupled is called the Mediator design pattern. The basics of this pattern are very simple; avoid one object directly talking to another object, and instead use another class to mediate between the two. As with most of my blog posts, the purpose is to introduce you to a simple approach to using a message broker, not all of the fine details.

NOTE: You can download the sample code for this article by visiting at http://www.pdsa.com/downloads. Select “Tips & Tricks”, then select “A Communication System for XAML Applications” from the drop down list.

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Popularity of C# vs. JS vs. C++ for Windows 8 apps


Popularity of C# vs. JS vs. C++ for Windows 8 apps A few months ago I was speaking with a reporter and was asked which development model the industry was gravitating toward for Windows 8 apps. My impression was that Xaml + C# appeared to be strongest out of the gate but only time would tell if JavaScript+HTML would slowly close the gap.

So far, this hasn’t happened. C# (and VB) + Xaml development has held its ground as by far the most popular development model for Windows 8 Metro Store apps. In fact, preference is almost 3 to 1 over JavaScript + HTML.

Since early April, I’ve been taking random snapshots of the number of posts on the MSDN Windows 8 development forums and here are the results

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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Using xUnit to test Windows 8 Metro Style Applications (WinRT)


Using xUnit to test Windows 8 Metro Style Applications (WinRT)Many people would like to use xUnit to test their Metro-style applications. While this isn’t yet currently possible with the main xUnit binaries, I have updated the code to get it working on WinRT. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, I’ve created a Project Template that’ll make it a snap to get started.

You’ll need two things

  1. The xUnit.net runner for Visual Studio 2012. This lets the Unit Test Explorer recognize and run xUnit tests.
  2. The xUnit Test Library Template for Metro style apps. With this, you can easily create a unit test project to test your metro style applications and libraries.


I haven’t yet created a template installer VSIX for the Code Gallery, but that’s coming soon – need to resolve a few issues with it first.

Read full article here

My Favorite Visual Studio 2012 Features


I've grown fond of the following features in Visual Studio 2012.

Round Tripping Projects
Because Visual Studio 2012 doesn't convert solution and project files, you can use 2012 even when the rest of the team uses VS2010.

My Favorite Visual Studio 2012 Features
Finally!

Quick Launch
Even when you know where the option or menu item lives, it's often quicker to hit Ctrl+Q and type a few letters to find a command or option.

Found more from here

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Building a project skeleton, using CSS3 layout and styling WinJS controls


This past week was spent turning wireframes and workflows into a moving prototype using static data. Not only does this action of sketching out the project inform architecture, but it also allows us to create the placeholders once we get the visual design.
Building a project skeleton, using CSS3 layout and styling WinJS controls

As a bonus, a short screen cap of the prototype can be a valuable asset while the app concept is still forming in our heads.

Here’s the process I’ve been using to build the project skeleton.

Read full article here

RadControls for Metro (XAML)–Date and Time Pickers


RadControls for Metro (XAML)–Date and Time PickersSurprisingly, Visual Studio for Windows 8 does not come with either a date or a time picker. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

The RadControls For Metro suite of controls includes a very flexible DatePicker and TimePicker control that I’ll illustrate in this posting.

To get started, be sure to add a reference to the RadControls for Metro to your application.

As usual, we’ll begin with the data. This time the data is very simple. We start by creating a class representing a hotel or conference reservation.

Read full article here

First Look at RadComboBox and RadAutoComplete for Windows 8 - HTML


First Look at RadComboBox and RadAutoComplete for Windows 8 - HTMLHello and welcome to our “First Look” of Telerik’s Windows 8 UI Controls. In this post, we are going to specifically target Windows 8 Applications built using HTM5/JS/CSS3 and our new Windows 8 control suite.

Have you ever wanted to create a Metro Application that had a more powerful ComboBox with functionality such as auto-complete or placeholder text? What about an AutoCompleteBox with the same functionality, but found that control completely missing? Maybe you are writing an application that needs the user to select from a list of World Countries, but don’t know where to start. In this blog post, we are going to show you how to implement these features using RadComboBox & RadAutoComplete found in Telerik’s Windows 8 UI Control Suite.

Read full article here
Download Trial from here

Building a Windows 8 app? Pick your favorite flavour!


When building an app for Windows 8, you have three programming models to choose from: .NET, HTML/CSS JavaScript, or C++

When I started coding, I quickly discovered that a big part of development was making choices. I also discovered myself frustrated when working with tools and platforms that did not give me choices and forced me down a specific path.

Read full article here

Lessons learned porting Wordfeud (an iOS, Android and Windows Phone Game) to Windows 8


Lessons learned porting Wordfeud (an iOS, Android and Windows Phone Game) to Windows 8
Wordfeud is a word game with more than 15 million players on iOS, Adroid and Windows Phone. In this article we will discuss how we ported the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) version of Wordfeud to Windows 8 (Win8), what we did to make the game conform to the Win8 Metro design language, and techniques used to achieve maximum code reuse across WP7 and Win8.


Read full article here

Creating a WinRT component using C++/CX Part 2: Adding a custom Direct2D effect to DeForm


Creating a WinRT component using C++/CX Part 2: Adding a custom Direct2D effect to DeForm
The previous article introduced the DeForm Library: A WinRT component that used Direct2D to apply filters on a picture.

You can download DeForm from CodePlex

This article will show you how to use the Direct2D effect pipeline to create a custom Direct2D effect. This effect will try to apply some kind of Polaroïd effect by applying many filters in a row:

  • Black&White
  • Sepia tone
  • Saturation
  • Brightness

To do so, you have to create a COM component for Direct2D (handling reference counting and interfaces querying):

Read full article here

ObjectStorageHelper : Generic Object Storage Helper for Windows RTM Now Available


Project Description
ObjectStorageHelper<T> is a Generic class that simplifies storage of data in WinRT applications while still maintaining the Async principles of Windows 8 apps

Overview
While exploring WinRT I came up with this, ObjectStorageHelper<T>, a Generic class that wraps (and greatly simplifies) use of the RoamingFolder, TemporaryFolder & LocalFolder storage folders within the ApplicationData class.

With ObjectStorageHelper<T> saving and loading an object to/from disk is now just a simple method call.

I blog about ObjectStorageHelper<T> at ObjectStorageHelper

Restrictions
Under the covers ObjectStorageHelper<T> uses XML Serialization hence T needs to be an object that can be serialized as XML. There is a useful thread on Stack Overflow Using .Net what limitations (if any) are there in using the XmlSerializer? that talks about those restrictions better than I ever could.

Check it out on CodePlex

Lessons Learned Designing a Windows 8 App


Lessons Learned Designing a Windows 8 App
Windows 8, expected to be released in October 2012, is the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. Its release also marks the first time that Microsoft has significantly evolved its design since 1995. Microsoft’s new, touch-oriented design language opens the door to designers, giving them a chance to reconsider their existing applications.

Christina and I are graduate students in Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. In April we were hired as interns by Blink Interactive, a UX research and design agency in Seattle, to become their resident Windows 8 experts. We scoured the Internet for articles and videos, attended Windows 8 developer events, spoke with Microsoft evangelists, and spent a good, long time using Windows 8 on both tablet and desktop computers.

Read full article here

Minimalistic MVVM for Windows Runtime XAML Platform Development with C#


I have been using MVVM for a few years now and always felt it needed a summary of the state of things as well as my own opinion about it. This is it today. My approach to MVVM has been changing from the time when I was an eager student, through a devoted disciple, till today when I see it as a small tool in the toolbox of a XAML developer.

MVVM

The Model View View Model (MVVM) pattern is an architectural pattern used for separation of concerns in applications. It is popular in Microsoft’s XAML-based UI frameworks such as WPF, Silverlight or WinRT/XAML.

Read full article here

Stimulsoft Reports.WinRT : Generate Reports & Export To HTML & Excel


Stimulsoft Reports.WinRT : Generate Reports & Export To HTML & Excel
Stimulsoft Reports.WinRT. Design Great Reports in Windows 8 Today! Creating reports usually consists of two parts – creating reports in the report designer and delivering reports to end-users. For the first part we provide a good reports designer with the great set of tools to increase quality of finished reports, decrease time of reports creation and providing easy way to design reports for non-developer users. For the second part we are happy to propose the pure Metro reports viewer to display all possibilities of created reports to customers. Both parts are important and both parts must be perfect! This is why we recommend using Stimulsoft Reports.WinRT in your Metro apps, to make the both parts of the report rendering perfect! Designed for Touch Stimulsoft Reports for Metro is specially designed to be touched! We provide great touchable interface of the reports viewer. We make work with reports more comfortable and ergonomic

Check out Stimulsoft Navigator in Windows Store
App Website

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Physics Helper XAML For WinRT


Physics Helper XAML For WinRT
Project Description

Physics Helper XAML allows you to easily create 2D physics based games and simulations for Windows 8, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight 5 using C# or VB. It is a port of the Physics Helper and uses the Farseer Physics Engine.

Why a Separate Version?

When I began porting the Physics Helper project to Windows 8, I realized that there were many breaking changes in WinRT and missing functionality such as Behaviors. It was much simpler to create a new version for Metro/WinRT and then port that new version to Windows Phone and other platforms. I think that the end result is much simpler and cleaner, as an added bonus!

For more details and how to get started, see the Documentation page.
Download Physics Helper XAML 1.1.0.0

Metro Elements for Windows 8 Beta Offer


What is Metro Elements?
Metro Elements for Windows 8 Beta Offer

Metro Elements is the control suite for Windows 8 applications being developed by Mindscape.
The current beta consists of 17 high performance charts along with a date picker control. We're busy adding many more controls with a final release consisting of more than 20 UI controls designed from the ground up for Windows 8 development. The final suite will include color pickers, sliders, coverflow, virtualzed lists and much more!

Currently Metro Elements focuses on XAML based controls.

Mindscape have a history of building great controls with thousands of customers in more than 80 countries.

NOTE : Price increases with each purchase

Visit herehttp://www.mindscapehq.com/metro-offer

Caliburn.Micro MVVM Framework

Caliburn.Micro MVVM FrameworkCaliburn.Micro is a small, yet powerful framework, designed for building applications across all Xaml Platforms. With strong support for MVVM and other proven UI patterns, Caliburn.Micro will enable you to build your solution quickly, without the need to sacrifice code quality or testability.

Download from here and it's also available at NuGet


.NET 3.5 Installation Problems in Windows 8


.NET 3.5 Installation Problems in Windows 8Windows 8 installs with .NET 4.5. A default installation of Windows 8 doesn't seem to include .NET 3.0 or 3.5, although .NET 2.0 does seem to be available by default (presumably because Windows has app dependencies on that). I ran into some pretty nasty compatibility issues regarding .NET 3.5 which I'll describe in this post.

I'll preface this by saying that depending on how you install Windows 8 you may not run into these issues. In fact, it's probably a special case, but one that might be common with developer folks reading my blog. Specifically it's the install order that screwed things up for me -  installing Visual Studio before explicitly installing .NET 3.5 from Windows Features - in particular. If you install Visual Studio 2010 I highly recommend you install .NET 3.5 from Windows features BEFORE you install Visual Studio 2010 and save yourself the trouble I went through.

So when I installed Windows 8, and then looked at the Windows Features to install after the fact in the Windows Feature dialog, I thought - .NET 3.5 - who needs it. I'd be happy to not have to install .NET 3.5, but unfortunately I found out quite a while after initial installation that one of my applications/tools (DevExpress's awesome CodeRush) depends on it and won't install without it.

Read full article here

JulMar MVVM Helpers + Behaviors For Windows 8 RTM

The MVVM Helper + Behavior library is a set of classes for developers to help them build Model-View-ViewModel oriented applications. It includes some useful classes, a base framework for MVVM and a bunch of Blend behaviors, triggers and actions.

There are several examples available at http://www.julmar.com/blog/mark where I've been blogging on how to use this library. I'll push some of that information up here as well.

You can install MVVMHelpers through NuGet http://www.nuget.org - just search for MVVMHelpers, it will add the latest version into your project automatically from within Visual Studio if you install the NuGet plug-in.

Alternatively, you can type the following into the Package Manager console to add it to your project:

PM> Install-Package Install-Package MVVMHelpers.Metro

Download DLL from here
Source code for MVVMHelpers for Windows 8 Metro

Using OData in Windows 8 Apps for Windows 8 RTM


Using OData in Windows 8 Apps for Windows 8 RTM The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of my book, Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML.

The Open Data Procotol (OData) is a web protocol used for querying and updating data. It is a REST-based API built on top of Atom that uses JSON or XML for transporting information. Windows 8 applications have native support for OData clients once you download and install the client from here

To access OData services, you simply add a service reference the same way you would for a SOAP-based web service. A popular OData service to use for demonstrations is the Netflix movie catalog. You can browse the service directly by typing http://odata.netflix.com/catalog/ into your browser. In most browsers you should see an XML document that contains various tags for collections you may browse. For example, the collection referred to as Titles indicates you can browse all titles using the URL, http://odata.netflix.com/catalog/Titles.

Read full article here

Monday, 27 August 2012

Getting Started with Windows 8, MVVM Light and EventToCommand


Getting Started with Windows 8, MVVM Light and EventToCommand
Now that Windows 8 and Visual Studio are in RTM I wanted to put together a quick entry for those Windows Phone developers making the transition to Windows 8 development with their MVVM Light skills.

Laurent Bugnion, is the creator of the MVVM Light toolkit and I, as well as many others, have been using this for Windows Phone development for a while now.  I am porting on of my applications to Windows 8 and wanted to take the knowledge of this toolkit to the new platform hoping that there were either some new enhancements and/or not many changes so that I could just go.  Well that was the deal.


The latest installer for the toolkit, "MVVM Light Toolkit V4 RTM", is available from CodePlex
Read full article here

Why start learning to build for Windows 8


Why start learning to build for Windows 8
If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.

Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experiencewith Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.
Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever!

Read full article here

Telerik Loves Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 RTMs!

Yesterday’s release of Visual Studio 2012 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012 marks the beginning of a new era. In some ways, VS2012 and Blend are incremental releases, adding even better support for building enterprise and consumer apps and services for the desktop and the web. However, in one very important way, the release of VS2012 and Blend, together with the release of Windows 8 earlier this month, signals a whole new focus for the platform - that of touch-centric tablets - and with it, a whole new way to package and distribute apps for the Windows operating system - the Windows Store.

Read full article here

How To Change Windows 8 RTM Product Key After Install


After I've installed Windows 8 RTM, I tried to activate it as good folks at Microsoft are telling you too. When I clicked on Activate button, Windows activation failed, which of course made sense because I have not entered a product key yet. But, for some reason, there was no place to enter a product key under System properties. Or, at least I did not see it. Luckily, the good old Command Prompt and slmgr.vbs tools came to rescue. Just follow these steps to add/change product key using Command Prompt and slmgr.vbs:

  • Launch Command Prompt as an Administrator.
  • At the command prompt, type in "slmgr.vbs -ipk <insert your product key here>" and click Enter
  • To activate windows, type in "slmgr.vbs -ato" and click Enter.


That's all

Source

Discovering data formats supported by Windows 8 share contract target apps


Discovering data formats supported by Windows 8 share contract target apps

Windows 8 apps run in sandboxed environment where all direct communications between apps are prohibited. Instead, Windows 8 provides several mechanisms to facilitate indirect communications – protocols, file type associations and share contracts.
All these mechanisms allow transferring data between independent apps – in most of the cases developers don’t care about data source or destination. However, occasionally there is a need to support communications with a particular app. In this case all protocols, associations and contracts supported by target app need to be identified.

Read full article here
You can download compiled executable or build it by yourself from source code (.NET 4.5/WPF).

Free ‘book’ : User Experience Guidelines for Metro/Windows 8 style apps (WinRT apps)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Windows 8 Beauty Tip: Using a VariableSizedWrapGrid in a GridView makes Grids Prettier


Windows 8 Beauty Tip: Using a VariableSizedWrapGrid in a GridView makes Grids PrettierUsing a GridView in XAML is the primary way to show lists of data. The GridView inherits ItemsControl and behaves like the ListView which behaves like a classic ListBox. The GridView scrolls horizontally, handles selection, rearrangement, and (as we see in this article) also allows for variable sited items.

The GridView’s ItemsPanel is a WrapGrid by default. Unlike a VariableSizedWrapGrid, the WrapGrid creates a strictly uniform grid of items. It’s beautiful, actually. The VariableSizedWrapGrid, on the other hand, lets developers create custom and create UI.

Read full article here

Q42.WinRT - Useful library for data driven Windows 8 C# / XAML WinRT projects


Q42.WinRT is an open source library for Windows 8 C#/XAML applications. This library is focused on web connected and data driven applications. It includes helpers to easily cache data from API calls and cache web images to the local storage. There`s also a DataLoader included which functions as a wrapper around a Task method. You can bind a ProgressBar or ProgressRing to the DataLoader and show it as long as the task is running. With this library comes a fully functional sample application that shows off most of the functionality. There`s also a unit test project included. It include controls, converters & helpers.

Please checkout the included sample application at GitHub or download directly from NuGet 

Remote machine debugging with Windows 8

Remote machine debugging with Windows 8
A nice feature we had in the Windows phone days was the ability to plug in your device and test your code running on it, if you had more than one device (about 7 in my case) then you just had to swap the device over and you were off again, however this did have some drawbacks, namely:
  • The device had to be tethered to the PC to deploy / debug
  • You couldn’t do disconnected debugging using the device’s Wi-Fi/3G connections with it tethered

Now enter Win 8 and they have taken the debug options up a notch building on the remote debugging features of VS pro and above by allowing you to install a client on the target machine and push your apps to it and debug them, all without a single wire (unless you count the power cord).  Even better is this facility is also available in the express editions.
Download remote testing and debugging tools from here
Read full article here

Media Playback: What you need to know about playing media to make your app shine in Windows 8


For Windows 8, we made some changes in our audio system designed to improve the app experience. In this blog, I discuss these changes, and how you can take advantage of them in your media apps. Hopefully this info helps you better understand how audio works in Windows Store apps, especially when it comes to audio playback in the background. Let me begin by describing a common user scenario.

You’re listening to your favorite band in a Windows music app, and a friend sends you an mp3 of a sweet live version of a song by his favorite band. When you open the mp3, Windows Media Player opens and starts playing the song. Now both your favorite band and his favorite band are playing at the same time. Then your alarm goes off reminding you to pick up your sister from school and it’s a cacophonous mess. You panic, and shut the lid to your laptop. Well, if you’re like me, you’re probably looking for a better way to manage the sounds coming out of your machine.

Read full article here

Actipro WinRT XAML Controls for Windows 8 Released


Actipro WinRT XAML Controls for Windows 8 Released Yesterday we officially released our first WinRT XAML user interface controls!  These controls are designed to be used in any .NET-based Windows 8 app and are fully compatible with both the Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 RTM versions.

This first 2012.2 version includes all of the Micro Charts functionality found in the WPF and Silverlight versions, along with several new micro chart controls that we'll get into soon in upcoming blog posts.

These controls are full production-quality and are not a beta product.  We are excited to be one of the very first control vendors to release Windows 8 XAML UI controls for C# and VB developers.

Download free 30 days trial from here
Read full article here

5 Unforgivable Windows 8 RTM Problems


I work with a couple of committees at Microsoft for developing the future “story” of some of their key technologies. So I’ve been able to participate in some fun closed focus groups for things like ASP.NET, WCF, Windows and Visual Studio 2012. The gist of it is that the guts of Windows 8 are superb. It is extremely optimized, and the OS has a much lower memory footprint. This was the core of their focus when developing Windows 8, because they need it to run on tablets. That means battery life is paramount. In fact, Windows 8 will run better than Windows 7 on the exact same computer. That’s a first for MS, and it’s pretty incredible.

Sadly, that’s where the incredible ends. I’ve been using the final RTM bits for a bit now, and there are a few problems really need to be addressed SOON. Some you’ve heard, some you probably haven’t. Here’s my current gripe list:

Read full article here

Thursday, 23 August 2012

LINQ to Twitter

LINQ to TwitterLINQ to Twitter is an open source 3rd party LINQ Provider for the Twitter micro-blogging service. It uses standard LINQ syntax for queries and includes method calls for changes via the Twitter API.

Supports .NET 3.5, .NET 4.0, Silverlight 4.0, Windows Phone 7.1, Client Profile, and Windows 8.

100% Twitter API coverage.

LINQ to Twitter Samples contains example code for using LINQ to Twitter with various .NET technologies. Downloadable source code also has C# samples in the LinqToTwitterDemo project and VB samples in the LinqToTwitterDemoVB project.


Downalod from here 

Getting started with SQLite in Windows Store / WinRT apps


Getting started with SQLite in Windows Store / WinRT apps
In this blog post I will expand the blog post by Tim Heuer  to include information on how to include and access a pre-populated SQLite database file, maybe even a file created by migrating from a SQL Server Compact database file.

First, download the "SQLite for Windows Runtime" Extension via Tools/Extensions and Updates/Online. Restart Visual Studio.

Then add references to the SQLite and C++ extensions as described by Tim Heuer. Remember to change the Build Configuration to either x64 or x86 in Configuration Manager.

Now add the sqlite-net nuget package to the project, from the References node, select "Manage NuGet Packages" and search online for "sqlite-net"

Read full article here

First Look at RadNumericBox for Windows 8–HTML


First Look at RadNumericBox for Windows 8–HTMLHello and welcome to the second part of our “Getting Started” with Telerik’s Windows 8 UI Controls. In this post, we are going to specifically target Windows 8 Applications built using HTM5/JS/CSS3 and our new control suite. We are going to look at RadNumericBox and the various ways of adding it to a page, binding the control declarative and even wiring up event handlers. Let’s get started.

Let’s begin by launching Visual Studio 2012 from the Start Screen and selecting “Templates” -> “Other Languages” -> “JavaScript” then “Windows Store”. If you are using the RC, then it located under "Windows Metro Style”. Select “Blank App” then give it a name and select the OK button.

Read full article here
Download the beta from here

The Unofficial Windows 8 Developer FAQ

Early this week I’ve been talking to a few current and former Microsoft staffers about all things Windows 8. In my discussions I’ve started to gather some gossip in around what happened to Silverlight and lastly the specifics around the DevDiv fall out between Steve Sinofsky and Soma.

It’s an entertaining read should I share the chat logs but what did struck me throughout the conversations was how much positivity Microsoft has been squandering due to petty internal squabbles or “dare not speak of that, for the overlord Sinofsky shall smite thee down for saying the nameless one outloud”.

Today, I’m going to attempt to dos something Microsoft staff should have done long ago or didn’t do correctly or simply were held back from doing so. I’m going to release the Unofficial FAQ on “What Just happened” in Microsoft for developer(s) worldwide.

Read full article here

Updating a Windows 8 JavaScript app from RC to RTM


Now that the Windows 8 RTM version is available to MSDN Subscribers (and a 90-day trial version is available for non-subscribers), it's a good time to update your app to the RTM version of Visual Studio 2012. Updating to RTM is required to submit an app for the Windows Store, and it's a pretty painless process.

Updating WinJS

One significant change between apps built with the Visual Studio 2012 release candidate and those built with RTM is the version of the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) used. WinJS has been updated for RTM, so if you're migrating an app from RC to RTM, you'll need to update WinJS. There are two parts to this process:.
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Develop Windows 8 Apps without Windows 8? Yes, you can!


Develop Windows 8 Apps without Windows 8? Yes, you can!Windows is the premiere development platform in the world. With Windows 8, developers can leverage their existing skills and code assets to create applications. Step into these virtual labs and learn how to build, share and sell interesting and easy-to-use applications that will make your customers happy. Virtual labs are simple – no complex setup or installation required.

What is a HOLO event? It’s an online event where you listen to a live presentation and work on lab exercises. As you work on your labs, Microsoft experts can assist and provide guidance by chatting with you one-on-one or by virtually taking control of your lab.

BEFORE THE EVENT – Check to make sure the virtual lab works on your computer here


Here’s a link to the self-led labs: http://aka.ms/w8vlabs

Here’s a link to the expert-led labs: http://aka.ms/w8holo


Source : Jerry Nixon

WinJS: Unpacking Promises


Promises are an abstraction for asynchronous programming. If you don’t know anything about them, I recommend that you first read asynchronous programming in JavaScript before you continue.
A promise is an object. It is not a function and it is not the value returned from the async operation. To get to the value, you need to call the then method on the promise object. You pass a callback function as an argument to then. The promise invokes the callback and passes the value you’re interested in into the callback. Clear as mud, right?

Here’s a fictitious example that pretends like calculating a random number requires an async operation:


getRandomNumberAsync().then(function(someNumber) { 
    // do stuff with `someNumber`
});

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Creating a Bar Chart with RadCartesianChart, part of Telerik Windows 8 UI Controls


In an earlier blog post I reviewed how to create a line chart using RadChart for Creating a Bar Chart with RadCartesianChart, part of Telerik Windows 8 UI ControlsMetro. In this blog post I will review how to create a bar chart, and no doubt you will notice some striking similarities.
All of this is done with the Telerik Windows 8 UI Controls.
We’ll begin with the data.  Our bar chart will compare revenues for five stores.
Read full article here

DataStateBehavior for Windows 8 XAML Applications


At Xamling we work very hard to maintain strict standards and practices during development – one reason we do this is to maintain the best parallel workflows between design and development as we can.

Something that we’ve used extensively in the past with Silverlight is the ability to create DataStateBehaviors, which allow us to bind values from our view model to our visual states. When those values change a VisualState is automatically selected, meaning that we can separate our XAML and code very nicely.

Read full article here
Download source from here

Connecting Windows 8 applications with services: Part 2: Working with REST, oData and RSS from Windows 8 applications

Connecting Windows 8 applications with services: Part 1: Using services to get data in our Windows 8 applications

A REST (REpresentational State Transfer) service is based on some basic concepts of the web such as the HTTP protocol and the HTTP verbs (GET, POST…). When using a REST service, we need to send a request to a particular URL and a response will be returned. This response is unique, based on the URL: never should a specific URL return a different schema of the response. The best example of a REST implementation is the web itself: when we send a request to a particular URL, we’ll get back a response. Such a response is generally known as a resource in the REST terminology. The response is plain text, XML or JSON. The schema for this response can be seen as a contract: the service promises that the response will always be of the specified format. This way, we can write parsing code for the schema.

Read full article here
Download source code form here

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

WinRT/Xaml/AKA Metro DataTemplate selection based on Data Types


You may have noticed that WinRT does not have automatic resolution of a DataTemplate based on the data type of object added to an ItemsControl. While unfortunate as this behavior is quite handy, it’s not too difficult to replicate the functionality using a DataTemplateSelector.

WPF for example, could do something like this:

<DataTemplate DataType="{x:Type local:Task}">
  <StackPanel>
    <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=TaskName}" />
    <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=Description}"/>
    <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=Priority}"/>
  </StackPanel>
</DataTemplate>

When the Task type as shown above was found in a list, it would have been rendered as a StackPanel with three TextBlocks automatically. That rocked.

Read full article here

Testing Windows 8 apps using Visual Studio 2012


Testing Windows 8 apps using Visual Studio 2012

As we continue to innovate on the operating system platform with Windows 8, we also enhanced the toolset available in Visual Studio to increase your productivity in testing your Windows 8 apps. Ensuring a top notch quality of your app in this new modern OS environment through thoughtful design and testing will help increase the success of your app. In a previous blog post on Testing Metro style apps in Windows 8, we highlighted some of the key areas you need to take into account for building a high quality Windows 8 app. In this post, we explore a few capabilities in Visual Studio 2012 that will make the testing and verification of your app easier.

Read full article here

Windows Store-apps: WinRT XAML vs. Silverlight XAML


Last weekend I’ve finished the XAML-chapter of my upcoming book about developing Windows Store-apps with XAML and C#. I want to share the things that you should know about the WinRT XAML – the way I call it here – if you’re familiar with Silverlight or WPF.
The WinRT XAML is much like the XAML we know from Silverlight. But there are some differences in WinRT XAML:
  • the way you use your custom namespaces is different
  • there are some missing things (TypeConverters, Custom MarkupExtensions)
Let’s look at the two parts

Read full article here

Using SVG with Windows 8 HTML/JavaScript apps


Using SVG with Windows 8 HTML/JavaScript apps A common scenario when building a touch interface is having a particular UI element that you want to scale seamlessly between different screen sizes.  This is different than having the layout scale.  When scaling a layout, you make sure that content appears in roughly the same place, or in an optimized layout for a given screen real estate.  What I am talking about here is you have a particular interactive element that needs to scale according to screen size.   If you have a simple need, like scaling a logo, you can find examples of how to do that here.

An example would help illustrate what I am talking about.  Imagine I am making a basketball application and I want to allow users to tap an on-screen basketball court to track where shots are taken.  An example of what I am talking about is shown to the right.  My screen layout will be dependent on the court.  The bigger the screen, the bigger the court.  Using SVG is a great way to solve this problem.

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Windows 8 and HTML Part 6: Displaying Data with WinJS ListView

Windows 8 and HTML Part 5: Fetch Data with WinJS

Windows 8 and HTML Part 1: Simple Example

Finally, we will start to get some data and begin building our application.  Based on Part 4, the logical place to start will be in home.js.  In the ready function for the page, we will use WinJS.xhr() to make an Http request to Twitter, and parse the results.  Making a call using WinJS.xhr() is straightforward in this case. 

WinJS.xhr({ url: "http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=%23windows8&rpp=100" })

As you can see, we pass on object with the url property set to the Twitter search service.  We will search on the #Windows8 hash tag and request 100 tweets.  If we left this code as shown, our app would make a request to Twitter, but we would never get the results returned.  Why?  WinJS.xhr() is an async operation and will execute on a different thread than the UI thread that called it.  This is accomplished by using a Promise.  If you look at the xhr() return value, you will see that it actually returns a Promise.

To get the results when the Promise completes is async op, we need to call it’s then() or done() function.  You can chain multiple then() functions, because then() returns a promise. You cannot chain more than one done() method, because it returns undefined.  Since we want to parse the results of our search, we would write

WinJS.xhr({ url: "http://search.twitter.com/search.json?q=%23windows8&rpp=100" }).then(
   function(response) {},
   function (error) {},
   function (progress) {}
);

Read full article here

Windows 8 and HTML Part 4: First Taste of WinJS

Windows 8 and HTML Part 1: Simple Example

Let’s switch back to a WinJS application and take a look at what happens when a page is loaded.  Open package.appxmanifest and switch the Start Page back to default.html.

If you remember from Part 1, we created this application as a single-page style application.  This means that default.html gets loaded once, and different pieces of HTML content are then loaded “into” default.html for rendering and execution.  If we look at default.html, we see two important things.

Windows 8 and HTML Part 4: First Taste of WinJS First, we see that default.html loads the core script files for the WinJS framework and then the default.js script file (where we put our code), and also navigator.js, which helps navigate from page to page (with page really being HTML content being loaded into default.html).  The second thing to notice is that default.html contains a single div that is marked as aPageControlNavigator control.  It is this div that serves as the content host for the rest of the content.

Read full article here

Creating A RadCartesianChart – Line Graph


Creating A RadCartesianChart – Line Graph In this post, I will explore creating a line chart using the RadCartesianChart from the Telerik Windows 8 UI Controls.  You can Download Telerik Widows 8 Controls here.

Figure 1 shows the chart we wish to build. This is a linear chart built with a RadCartesianChart. It represents revenue for the last six months of 2012.

Read full article here

Friday, 17 August 2012

RadControls for Metro Ready to Rock & Roll With Windows 8 RTM and Visual Studio RTM


RadControls for Metro Ready to Rock & Roll With Windows 8 RTM and Visual Studio RTM
We are very proud to announce that once again Telerik is first to market, this time with a suite of controls for Windows 8 Metro programming that are 100% compatible with the release of Visual Studio 2012 and the release of Windows 8 RTM.

What’s In RadControls For Metro?


RadControls For Metro is a new suite of controls targeted directly at Windows 8 development, whether your language of choice is C#/XAML or Javascript/HTML5.  The suite includes a number of controls that are not in the Windows 8 Toolbox, along with a few controls that offer more powerful versions of standard controls. Each of these controls is completely consistent with the Windows 8-style look and feel.


Download Telerik Windows 8 UI Controls.
Read full article here


How to uniquely identify a device in WinRT?


How to uniquely identify a device in WinRT?  This is a nice trick that has been introduced in RTM. Why do you want to identify a device? Because you might be syndicating content or data from your services to a device or devices and you want to partition based on what is already present (sort of like TFS workspaces) or you want to save bandwidth or some other clever thing you think of.

Here’s how you do it:

var _Token = Windows.System.Profile.HardwareIdentification.GetPackageSpecificToken(null);

Here is full article here

Skype for Metro leaks, we go hands on


Skype for Metro leaks, we go hands onNeowin has gotten a chance to play with the new Metro Modern UI app for Skype and put it through our initial gauntlet of test for usability and general stability. The app is still in preview state but is relatively solid for performance. We conducted several calls with one and multi-person chats with little issue.

The UI is fluid and dare we say fast too. The Skype team has done a good job at making the application finger friendly and so far, we have not had any crashes with the platform.

Read full article here
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