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.

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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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