Archive | October, 2012

Where is The Build App?

31 Oct

Yesterday at the excellent keynote at Build, Steve Ballmer clarified the importance of building great apps for the Windows platform. To back it, Microsoft provided all attendees with a Surface – if we promised to develop lots of apps. With the keynote in mind I searched the Windows Store for the Build App – I couldn’t find it. Instead I tried the Build website (www.buildwindows.com) on my Surface. I quickly realized that some part of the website was built with touch in mind – but certainly not most of it.

So my question to Microsoft is pretty simple: Why haven’t you build an awesome Build app that would inspire developers to build great apps?

You have a really strong support in your knights (the MVPs) that most definitely would have built it for you.

UPDATE (2012-11-02):

The Build app is now available at the Windows Store.

Build 2012 app for Windows in the Windows Store
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/0c51433d-4d6b-4e51-a274-86611f732fca
Learn more about Build 2012 by Microsoft Corporation and download it from the Windows Store

// thomas

Using the ProgressIndicator in the SystemTray in Windows Phone

30 Oct

In many cases Windows Phone developers implement and place their own progress indicators in Windows Phone apps.

When you add a new PhoneApplicationPage to the app it will by default set the IsVisible property on the SystemTray to true on the page. This is done in XAML by default in the VS template.

The system tray can also be accessed from codebehind. It is possible to set properties like IsVisible during the Loaded or OnNavigatedTo event wired up in the codebehind. It’s not possible to set the system tray as part of the pages constructor.

The system tray got a build-in progress indicator (ProgressIndicator) located in the top of the system tray. The progress indicator on the system tray can be used in the application to show progress in a uniformed way. However to be able to use the progress indicator you first need to instantiate it.

Once it’s instantiated you can set all the regular properties like Opacity and Color on it and it’s possible to reuse this “default” progress indicator in a very easy manner. It won’t take long to make this a bit more generic which you most likely would do if you’re building an app with more than one or two pages.

// thomas

Tiles and Notifications in Windows Phone 8

30 Oct

The tile is the front door to your app. A nice tile can mean the world to your app and the usage of it. Some developers/companies manage to use this opportunity and make great static and living tiles.

New Tile Sizes

With Windows Phone 8 we have a new set of sizes and templates available for our tiles. The user have the opportunity to customize the size of the tile based on three sizes: small, medium and wide. It is required to implement small and medium sizes tiles but wide is optional. The supported sizes is set using the redesigned Manifest file.


Screenshot from Visual Studio 2012

Windows Phone 8 supports multi resolutions. Tile icons (and app icons) are defined for WXGA (768×1280) and are automatically scaled to work for WVGA and 720p.

New Templates

Windows Phone 8 supports three templates: flip, iconic and cycle.

It is not possible to update the template for the default tile programmatically – it will require and update of the app. The template for secondary tiles can be updated programmatically. Furthermore it is not possible to know which tile size the user has pinned to the start screen so all properties should be set for the supported tile sizes.

Flip Template

The flip tile template flips from front to back and support all three available sizes: small, medium and wide. The properties for the flip tile template is available using the FlipTileData class.


Image is taken from the SDK help file.

The small flip tile is 159×159 pixels and only allows a small background image (SmallBackgroundImage) and a counter (Count).

The medium flip tile is 336×336 pixels and allows a background image (BackgroundImage), title (Title) and counter (Count) on one size and a backbackground image (BackBackgroundImage), back title (BackTitle) and back content (BackContent) on the other side.

The wide flip tile is 691×336 pixels and allows a background image (WideBackgroundImage), title (Title) and counter (Count) on one size and a backbackground image (WideBackBackgroundImage), back title (BackTitle) and back content (WideBackContent) on the other side.

Iconic Template

The iconic tile template displays an image in the center of the tile and support all three available sizes: small, medium and wide. The properties for the iconic tile template is available using the IconicTileData class.


Image is taken from the SDK help file.

The small iconic tile is 159×159 pixels and only allows a small icon image (SmallIconImage) and a counter (Count). The icon size is 110×110 pixels.

The medium iconic tile is 336×336 pixels and allows an icon image (IconImage), title (Title), background (BackgroundColor) and counter (Count). The icon size is 202×202 pixels.

The wide iconic tile is 691×336 pixels and allows a small icon image (SmallIconImage), title (Title), counter (Count) and three lines of content (WideContent1, WideContent2, WideContent3). The icon size is the same as the small iconic tile.

Cycle Template

The cycle tile template cycles between 1 and 9 images and support all three available sizes: small, medium and wide. The properties for the cycle tile template is available using the CycleTileData class.


Image is taken from the SDK help file.

The small cycle iconic tile is 159×159 pixels and only allows a small background image (SmallBackgroundImage) and a counter (Count).

The medium cycle tile is 336×336 pixels and allows a title (Title), counter (Count) and between 1 and 9 background images (CycleImage1, CycleImage2…).

The wide cycle tile is 691×336 pixels and allows the same properties as the medium cycle tile.

// thomas

Windows Phone 8 SDK is now available

30 Oct

Today during the Build keynote the Windows Phone 8 SDK was announced. Using the SDK you can build both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 apps in Visual Studio 2012 on Windows 8.

The SDK is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35471

Stay tuned for a series of blog posts on the new features available in the Windows Phone 8 SDK.

// thomas

Windows Phone 8 is here

29 Oct

Today Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 – and with it also the Windows Phone 8 SDK that will be available from tomorrow at Build.

The many new features in Windows Phone 8 looks really exciting and it’s great to see the many new top apps that are coming for Windows Phone. I already love the Kids Corner feature.

Can’t wait to get the hands on the SDK and try out the new development features.

// thomas

Writing blog posts from Word 2013

28 Oct

My favorite tool for writing blog posts have for the last couple of years been Live Writer (part of Windows Essentials). The reasons for the choice are several but one of them is the fact that the editor good, supports plugins and integrates well with major blog engines.

I’m writing this blog post on my new Surface RT (using the type keyboard). A bit naive I hoped I would be able to install Windows Essentials on it – Of course not. “Windows Essentials isn’t available for Windows RT, but you can you can do more with world of new apps at the Windows Store”. So I looked for an app in Windows Store but unfortunately I couldn’t find one that would suite my needs.

While I was taking a look at the new Office 2013 edition preinstalled on Surface RT I saw a template called “Blog post”. A bit skeptical I tried to click it. What meet me was a simple UI, full integration with several major blog engines (including categories), and of course the amazing word editor. In this version of Office 2013 it’s possible to set if the UI should be optimized for mouse or touch giving you more space between commands. Must say that I’m quite impressed so far.

Only thing that I seem to miss at the moments is being able to set tags on the blog post.

// thomas

PROSA taler med Bluefragments om Windows 8

26 Oct

I denne måneds udgave af PROSA har de en artikel om Windows 8 – “Windows 8 under overfladen” – skrevet af Dan Mygin. Artiklen er baseret på et interview med undertegnede og Jørgen Andersen og ser på nogle af de muligheder og udfordringer som både udviklere står overfor i forbindelse med den nu lancerede Windows 8.

Du kan se hele artiklen her på siden 18 – http://bit.ly/prosa-nov-2012.

// thomas

Jeg kan også anbefale artiklen på side 70, hvor Dan Mygin har snakket med Brian Rasmussen.

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