Tuesday, 17 July 2012

OneNote “MX”, the new Windows 8 app, is now available in the Windows Store

We’ve been checking on and off all day, and just now we were able to find, and install, OneNote “MX Preview”, what might be officially the first “Windows 8 style app”, available from the Windows Store. The app lists as being available in English (United States), Japanese (Japan), and Spanish (Spain), but we’re not sure if it’s available anywhere but right here, at least for now.

Search on OneNote in the Windows Store on your Windows 8 device, log in with your Microsoft account, and download the app, and you’ll be connected with any OneNote notebooks you have stored in SkyDrive for that account, and find yourself in a very Metro-ish version of OneNote, complete with a surprise or two.

OneNote “MX”, the new Windows 8 app, is now available in the Windows Store


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ReSharper 7 Adds Windows 8 Support, New Languages

JetBrains has announced the availability of ReSharper 7 Beta. In addition to support for Visual Studio 2012, this release includes tools for Windows 8 and WinRT development, additions to the Type Hierarchy, new refactorings, and improved support for several languages.

ReSharper 7 adds support for Visual Studio 2012 and the new Windows runtime for developers working with Metro-style applications in Windows 8. According to the JetBrains blog:

...The new version provides code inspections and quick-fixes that ease transition to the new environment, such as those highlighting WinRT types that should be sealed or those that can’t be generic; support for projected types and new types of resources in XAML, as well as type, naming, and method projection support for JavaScript.

In addition to the WinRT-related additions, ReSharper has improved support for JavaScript and jQuery, ASP.NET 4.5 and MVC 4, and SharePoint and LightSwitch projects. The SDK includes the ability to add other languages as well.

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Learn how to develop Windows 8 apps in the UK

Last week I mentioned the free eBook Programming Windows 8 Apps, from Microsoft Press. Now if you are in the UK and are interested in learning how to develop for Windows 8 we have a number of Windows 8 devcamps  coming up in London:

The Windows 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows 8 related topics. 
The Windows 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the basics of the OS and interaction with the OS, Metro style UX with examples in Store apps, The Store and the developer opportunity, the high level view of the platform – i.e. WinRT and the choice around implementation technology, and the tooling – the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend


See details of how to book, agenda, prerequisites and other details at the links below…

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Windows 8 Metro: Win as one with search and share contracts

As I said in the very first article of this series, one of the pillars of metro guidelines says :"win as one". When you write an application, you know that it has a specific domain where it is focused and works in the best way.

Windows 8 Metro: Win as one with search and share contracts


There are other things that are not specific to the domain and, also if they collaborate to the success, are better achieved by others. It is not a totally new concept, given that the operating system itself is an example of this way of thinking. As an example, when you need to open a file on the filesystem, you use an operating system's api to ask for a dialog that is completely managed by the operating system and it returns to you the choosed file.

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Launching Windows Store from your Metro style app

Launching Windows Store from your Metro style app


Suppose you wanted to include a page in your new shiny Windows 8 Metro app listing your other apps and when a user taps on an app in the list he/she will be immediately transferred into Windows Store to give you more money (or at least boost your rankings). How do you do that?
In Windows Phone that was really easy. There was a MarketplaceDetailTask class just for that. So you would do something like this:

MarketplaceDetailTask mpTask = new MarketplaceDetailTask();
mpTask.ContentIdentifier = marketplaceAppId;
mpTask.Show();


Done!

But there’s nothing like that in WinRT. As it usually happens with advanced APIs simplicity was sacrificed in the name of flexibility. In Windows 8 any app can register (with user’s permission) as a default app to handle some protocol. So Windows Store is no different. It’s a default app to handle “ms-windows-store” protocol.

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How to open Internet Explorer by C# code in a Metro style application

Recently I’ve worked on a Windows 8 application to promote my blog: people can use it to read my posts within the application and to be notified (using both toast and tile notifications) every time a new post is published. The application uses a web view to display the detail of a post: the problem came when I had to manage the snapped view, since there isn’t enough space on screen to display a web view.

During the pre certification lab that I’ve attended in Microsoft Italy the trainer gave me a good tip: in case the application is snapped, the post detail should be opened using Internet Explorer and not inside the application. In fact, in this scenario, Internet Explorer will open in filled mode and the user will be able to read the post without any difficulty.

In a Windows Phone application this behavior is easy to implement, thanks to the WebBrowserTask launcher. How to do the same in a Windows 8 application?

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Microsoft Office 2013 - Screenshot Tour

Microsoft Office 2013 - Screenshot Tour

Microsoft has released the first public preview of the latest Office suite, the Office 2013. Office 2013 comes with lots of new changes and features including the UI which now has a metro look along with icons. The ribbon feature available in Office 2010 has been retained but comes with more features. One of the major new feature is the support for in-built PDF editing in Word 2013. You can start download the Office 2013 preview from here.

Here is a screenshot tour of all the apps bundled in Office 2013.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Screenshot Tour


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Playing a embedded media file (mp3) in WinRT (not via Xaml but with C#)

When building WinRT applications it is going to be pretty common to want to play some sort of embedded audio file.  It may also be common to want to play this file but via a ViewModel (or simply not in a view).  In this post we are going to take a quick look at how to play an MP3 file by using the MediaElement control, but we will NOT be doing this via XAML, we will be doing via straight up code.  The reason I am not using XAML here is because i don’t want to limit the places or times I can play audio, also I want to trigger the playing of the file via my ViewModel.

Before we get coding lets assume we have an audio file embedded in our application under the /Assests/SoundFiles folder and the file name is ding.mp3

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Windows 8 – Overriding Metro app resources

Once you’ve installed Visual Studio and explored the default templates one of the first things you’ll want to do from a design point of view is changing the application brush resources. Usually this will be to alter the teal or purple selection colour (depending if you’re using a Dark or Light theme) on most of the controls. The most common answer to this problem is re-template your control referring to your custom colours.

The simpler approach we’ve used at Marker Metro is the following, we’ll create a Colours.xaml resource dictionary, this’ll contain the Colour and Brush resources specific to the app we’re developing.  We typically reference this resource dictionary from the App.xaml.

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Positioning Popup Menus in Windows 8 Metro

Often when building Windows 8 apps you'll want to provide a menu of options from the app bar, this may be a list of different ways to sort or filter the data. For these simple menus WinRT provides the PopupMenu control (for more complicated popup user interfaces I recommend the Flyout control from the Callisto library), these menus are very easy to create by creating UI Commands and appending them to the menus Commands collection.


Positioning Popup Menus in Windows 8 Metro


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How to use Telerik Metro RadPieChart control in Windows 8 Metro App

When I first started developing for Windows 8 platform (XAML+C#) more than 2 months ago, I noticed that some of the controls that one would expect to see on a serious platform were missing. Mainly, I was missing charting controls and DatePicker control. I never expected the SDK to include charting controls, because I’ve never encountered those as a part of the official Microsoft SDKs, but controls such as a DatePicker should’ve been included for XAML developers, too (apparently, one is available for HTML devs). Luckily, I discovered Telerik Metro controls. Let’s see how to use the RadPieChart control and bind it to a ViewModel.

As I said, I first discovered Telerik controls while they were in the preview mode. Back then it was only available if you requested it via e-mail and waited a few days to be allowed in the program. Now they released the public beta with a much much better demo app and forum support. In the preview version, I had some trouble using the RadPieChart control to bind it to my ViewModel. The lack of documentation and initially support made it impossible to figure it out. Luckily, their forum is great so I got support after all, and now I’d like to share the solution with you.

Download the Telerik beta controls from their website:

http://www.telerik.com/products/windows-metro/overview.aspx

How to use Telerik Metro RadPieChart control


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Getting your Metro game on with the MetroGameKit

Today's Metro Monday project is a little help getting you going in writing a HTML5/JavaScript Metro game. This kit provides a number of game writing examples without being overwhelming or over the top in complexity.

Space Cadet is a Windows 8 Metro Style App developed using HTML5 and JavaScript. The intent of this code is to help HTML5/JavaScript developers with writing their first Metro Style App in a fun, immersive way. The code for the game is intended for demo purposes only and should be considered a starting kit for future apps you may write.
The game includes a functional game loop as well as the following technologies:
  • HTML5 Canvas
  • HTML5 Audio
  • CSS3 Styling and Web Fonts
  • Implementing a Game Loop with JavaScript
  • Third Party Frameworks
  • Touch
  • Camera Access
  • Accelerometer
  • WinJS Controls

Getting your Metro game on with the MetroGameKit


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