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.

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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
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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.

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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
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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:

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