As some of you may be aware I was involved in a project last year to enable developers to quickly build reading style applications. This started off as a simple template allowing users to pull in RSS data but exploded to be much more versatile. The template was made available at http://socialviewer.codeplex.com and is freely available for any Windows Phone developer to download and use.
Since the initial version we’ve made a number of enhancements to both functionality and the default look and feel. Over the festive season I started transitioning (and upgrading) the template to take advantage of the new Mango features. The configuration file (where you could previously only configure the feeds and lists for the application) now allows you to control layout, Ads and integration with various social networks.
I’m going to be doing a series of posts over the coming weeks on some of the new features of the Social Viewer template. We’ll start today with a recap of getting started with the template.
Step 1: Download the template
Go to http://socialviewer.codeplex.com and download the latest build from the Source Code tab. IMPORTANT: At this stage the latest version is still an Alpha release, which means that it’s probably not suitable for publishing apps. We’re hoping to get an official release out this month and would love any feedback you have.
Step 2: Unblock the Download
Gotta love Windows security – make sure you right-click the downloaded file, select Properties and then click the Unblock button.
Step 3: Extract the Download
Extract all the files from the changeset. There should be two files: a Zip file which is the template (don’t extract this file), and an OUT OF DATE word document that talks about the template (which for the time being you can ignore).
Step 4: Installing the Template
Copy the Zip file that was extracted out of the changeset (should be called BuiltToRoam.SocialViewer.Template.Zip) and place this file into your Visual Studio Templates folder. For example my templates folder is the following. Note that I added the “Silverlight for Windows Phone” sub-folder so that the template appears with all the other Windows Phone project templates.
C:\Users\Nick\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual C#\Silverlight for Windows Phone
Step 5: Run Visual Studio
Visual Studio should automatically pick up the new template even if it is already running. However, if you’re updating from a previous version of the SocialViewer template, you may need to restart Visual Studio for it to pick up the new version.
Step 6: Create a New SocialViewer Project
File –> New –> Project
Select the SocialViewer template and give the project a new name. The is currently a bug that means if you put a space in your project name you’re going to enter a word of pain. DO NOT PUT SPACES IN PROJECT NAME
Step 7: Run
That’s it…. out of the box you should literally be able to just run the newly created project. Please do not simply create a new project and publish it via Marketplace. That’s not the intent!
Here are some screen shots of the latest build:
Main panorama: What’s new - vertical list of new feed items; Recent – hubtiles with images from Flickr; link list to pivot page, website (ie built to roam) and the about page.
On demand pivot (sources are only downloaded when the pivot is accessed). Reading page illustrating two different layouts: The default; WebBrowser for RSS feed items
The Settings and About pages. Note the long list of social providers that can be used within your applications (See the configuration file) and the variety of data sources that you can consume (again, see configuration file).