Build it Beta is now public for Windows Phone app developers

Build it Beta is now public for Windows Phone app developers

This is the first in what will be a number of posts talking about Build it Beta for Windows Phone as we bring this service online. I’ll keep this nice and short to begin with as this is really just a notice to say that the application is in store and is available for general usage.

Build it Beta

Build it Beta

Much needed updates to the Windows Store

Much needed updates to the Windows Store

Just in case you missed the announcement regarding changes to the Windows Store: More control for app developers in the Windows Store

The main updates are

*    Setting your app’s release date and time
*    Managing your app’s availability
        – Temporarily removing the app from store
        – Support for Windows 8 (ie only show a Windows 8.1 listing)
*    Simplified certification requirements

Nokia Lumia Black Update and App Folder

Nokia Lumia Black Update and App Folder

From Nokia: http://conversations.nokia.com/2014/01/09/lumia-black-update/

The one thing that I thought was “cute” was the App Folder idea. If you recall clustering apps into folders/groups has been around since almost the beginning of guis (eg you could group programs in Windows 3.11). Which is why Apple was ridiculed when it claims that introducing folders was innovative.

I’m not saying App Folderis at all innovative but it can be a useful feature to the platform. Unfortunately it does require apis that aren’t available to third party developers to build this functionality which is why it had to wait for Microsoft or Nokia to build it. I do live the fact that it doesn’t require an OS refresh in order to get this app. I also like the fact that the images on the folder tile are big enough to see what’s actually in there, particularly with the wide tile. Here’s mine for games…..

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Windows Phone Dev Fusion

Windows Phone Dev Fusion

Some of the Windows Phone MVPs are putting together some awesome online content later this month

“Along with Christmas we have a little gift from the Windows Phone development community for you: The WPDev Fusion „New Year Edition“, supported by Microsoft and Nokia. This is an evolution of the Windows Phone Week from last october, where over 1500 developers participated in. But these events also have a few downsides: You have to be at a specific time at a specific place in conjunction with travel costs. Here actually WPDev Fusion comes into the game as this event is pure virtual. Relaxed from your couch you can join this global event on January 22nd.”

More info at http://winphonedev.de/2013/12/23/ankndigung-zu-wpdev-fusion-new-year-edition-announcing-wpdev-fusion-new-year-edition/

Windows Phone Developer Workshop

Windows Phone Developer Workshop

Adelaide Windows Phone 8 Developers Workshop Fri/Sat, May 3rd and 4th

Calling all SA Adelaide based Mobile developers, Microsoft and Nokia are delighted to announce that we’ve have extended the Windows Phone 8 Developer series of workshops to now include Adelaide.

Windows Phone 8 is a huge step forward, not only maintaining compatibility with existing Windows Phone apps, but embraces a number of core Windows 8 technologies, bringing significant performance improvements, support for managed and native C++ development, in app purchase, wallet, NFC, developer access to the Bluetooth and speech APIs, and more. See Windows Phone 8 developer platform highlights.

This two day workshop is scheduled for Friday May 3rd and Saturday May 4th. The first day is a presentation day that will get you up to speed with the Windows Phone 8 developer platform. Day two (Saturday) is a hands on labs day to guide you through the experience of building Windows Phone apps.

REGISTER

Day 1 – Presentation Day

Day 2 – Hands on Labs Day

Built to Roam Offices and Staff

Built to Roam Offices and Staff

It’s been an whirlwind start to the new year for Built to Roam. We’ve just got back from the US and so I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to share some of the exciting things that are in the pipeline for Built to Roam this year:

New Office

That’s right, we’re stepping out and now have an awesome office space located in North Sydney. This will allow us to be more productive and have a suitable work space for the team as we grow.

New Staff

Yes, you read it right, we’re growing. We’re super happy to have Dave Lasike (and more apps) join us at Built to Roam.  There is so much interest in Windows Phone and Windows 8 that we’re going to need all hands on deck this year to make sure we continue to deliver amazing apps for both platforms.

New Business

In the past building amazing apps typically meant working with an external design team, whether internal to the customer we’re working with or another design studio. This has meant on a number of occasions working with the team at Automatic Studio, lead by the Metro Modern UI wizard, Shane Morris. We’re super proud to announce that we’ve worked together again, this time in the form of a new design and development agency, Pixel and Sons

New Opportunities

If you thought last year was exciting with the release of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, you’re not alone. With momentum building for both platforms, this year will see a number of big name brands appear across the whole ecosystem. Our advice is don’t get left behind, make sure you contact us so that we can assist you take advantage of these new platforms and extend the reach of your product set.

DNS Client for Windows and Windows Phone

DNS Client for Windows and Windows Phone

Don’t ask why, but I needed to be able to do a dns record lookup for a srv record from a Windows Phone application. I went looking for a library that could do this and came up with Phone Net Tools (http://phonenettools.codeplex.com/) – this seems a great library but fairly rudimentary support for DNS queries. I also came across a great post by Rob Philpott on CodeProject (http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/12072/C-NET-DNS-query-component) – it’s a bit dated and for legacy technologies (I needed to upgrade everything to even run it!). Whilst this option seemed to be more painful to update the architecture seemed to lead itself to being extended to support srv records. The net effect is there is yet another library on codeplex, this one dedicated to doing DNS lookups from a Windows 8 or Windows Phone application.

At the moment I’ve only got the Windows Phone version uploaded to the Windows and Windows Phone DNS Library. It’s relatively simple to use:

// create a DNS request
var request = new Request();

var domain = "builttoroam.com";
var type = DnsType.MX;
var dnsServer = IPAddress.Parse("203.0.178.191");

// create a question for this domain and DNS CLASS
request.AddQuestion(new Question(domain, type, DnsClass.IN));

// send it to the DNS server and get the response
//Response response =

var resp = await Resolver.Lookup(request, dnsServer);
foreach (var answer in resp.Answers)
{
    Debug.WriteLine("{0}", answer.Record);   
}

SocialViewer gets Windows Phone Mango treatment

SocialViewer gets Windows Phone Mango treatment

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.

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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:UsersNickDocumentsVisual Studio 2010TemplatesProjectTemplatesVisual 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

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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:

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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.

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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

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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).

Nokia Windows Phone Competition

Nokia Windows Phone Competition

I just realised that I haven’t posted for a while on this blog. I have however been posting across at both Visual Studio Magazine (Mobile Corner) and on BuildMobile (Windows Phone). A full list of postings and books is available here

 

image        image

The core purpose of this post is to let you know, or remind you, that we’re currently running a competition where you can win a Nokia Windows Phone by answering a question and tweeting a link. The full details and conditions for entry are outlined in the post, Win a Nokia Windows Phone. So far we’re posted four questions, with more to come. Don’t worry if you haven’t answered any so far, you can go back and answer the existing questions as entries will stay open until the competition closes.

Question 1: List a navigation API and provide a short example of how you might use it within your application?

Question 2: Other than the controls that ship with the Windows Phone SDK, what controls do you use in your application, and how do they make your application rock?

Question 3: Discuss one feature, or design, of an application you’ve worked on (doesn’t have to be published) that makes it distinctly Windows Phone?

Question 4: List an API (or a set of APIs) that allow developers to build Windows Phone applications that integrate with either device hardware or into the core platform (e.g. integration into one of the hubs)?

Windows Phone Mango Feature Update

Windows Phone Mango Feature Update

Over at BuildMobile.com I posted about all the awesomeness that is Windows Phone 7.5 (aka the Mango update). There are a couple of features that I either overlooked or were announced after that post went to air:

– Firstly, if I wasn’t clear: The final version of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 is now available and can be downloaded via the Web Platform Installer (WebPI).

– Not only is the Microsoft Advertising Ad Control included within the SDK, it’s also now available in 11 countries, including Australia.

– There is now a web version of the Marketplace allowing you to purchase and invoke the download of applications directly to your phone.

– Windows Phone 7.5 supports Internet Sharing (ie tethering). Unfortunately this won’t immediately be available on all devices across all carriers but the potential is there – complaining to your telco might affect their decision to roll it out….

– The UserVoice site for Windows Phone has reopened for continual feedback on new product features.

Build Mobile: Windows Phone Push Notifications

Build Mobile: Windows Phone Push Notifications

The fourth part of a series on Windows Phone Push Notifications has been posted on Build Mobile. If you’re interested, check out the direct links below:

Push Notifications in Windows Phone
WP7 Push Notifications Part 2

In the Mobile Corner at the Visual Studio Magazine my latest article on using some of the system styles in Windows Phone has been published:

Style Your Application with Windows Phone 7 System Resources

A full listing of articles on both Build Mobile and Visual Studio Magazine is available here

Windows Phone 7 Social Viewer Template v2 Published

Windows Phone 7 Social Viewer Template v2 Published

If you want to jump start your Windows Phone application development, why not download the Social Viewer template available at http://socialviewer.codeplex.com. You can use this to simplify the creation of apps that read data from Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and any other data feed you might have.

The template integrates directly into Visual Studio 2010 (which you’ll need to do Windows Phone 7 development – http://create.msdn.com) and appears in the New Project dialog.

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Like most Visual Studio 2010, once you’ve created a new project you can simply hit F5 to run it in the emulator or on a device. Pan left-right to see the different lists. Select an item to read the full item.

image  image  image  image

You can easily change the feeds and the lists that are displayed to the user in the configuration.xaml file. Add api keys for Facebook, Twitter and AdGACto allow the user to post to Facebook or Twitter, and to integrate Ads into your application.

Get the Social Viewer Template v2 from http://socialviewer.codeplex.com today and get building your WP7 applications.

MonoDroid v1 and MonoTouch v4 Released

MonoDroid v1 and MonoTouch v4 Released

Miguel has posted a great summary of the newly released versions of MonoTouch and MonoDroid (officially release for production now!). This is a major step forward in being able to target multiple platform with roughly the same code base. I’ve done a couple of posts covering the basics of getting started across three mobile platforms, wp7, Android and iOS. Check them out:

Mono I- Getting Started
Mono II- Basic Navigation
Mono III: Shared Libraries
Mono IV: Webservices

Feedback always appreciated

Windows Phone 7 Template for Social Reading Applications

Windows Phone 7 Template for Social Reading Applications

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working with Dave Gloveron a Visual Studio template that you can use to create simple reader style applications. You can combine RSS/Atom, Facebook Pages and Twitter feeds into a single application. Mix and match how you want the data to be combined, and customise the UI to your hearts content.

Anyhow, the full details have been posted on Dave’s post Windows Phone 7 Social Viewer Application Template Released