For Microsoft Kool-Aid Drinkers, Non-paid MS Evangelists written by a Senior Consultant, Passionate about Tech

All posts in Tools

Mobile Applications?

As mobile applications continue to gain in popularity, businesses are presented with a very serious question.  Do we need a mobile application?  Per ComScore, Digital Media usage has increased 26% for tablets (small form factors), 99% on Smartphones and decreased 8% on Desktops in the past 3 years.

I know what you are thinking.  “We have a responsive website that people can use, so we are covered for mobile already, right?”  Not exactly.  Here are some interesting statistics that I have come across while scouring the internet to find answers to this question…

Read more: https://www.intertech.com/Blog/mobile-applications-xamarin-forms-why/
Follow us: @IntertechInc on Twitter | Intertech on Facebook


I just rolled off a client recently that needed to build a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application as part of their hardware and software solution.  For those who aren’t yet familiar with UWP, you can check out this article by Tyler Whitney.

As many of you developers out there are aware, sometimes you have to build or bring with you a number of application infrastructure items before you can even get started with the core application logic.  For example, you might need some helpers, services and base classes that make your job easier or allow you to start with your base patterns, such as, MVC, MVVM, etc.

So, I have decided to create a series of posts that build up a bunch of common, important parts of an application that you might want to have in place before you even start developing your core functionality.  I have discussed a number of topics in my previous posts:

Building a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Application, Part 1 – Using Template10

Building a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Application, Part 2 – T4 and Strings

Building a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Application, Part 3 – Multilingual Support

Building a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Application, Part 4 – Logging w/ MetroLog

If you haven’t already read the previous posts, I recommend you do since they all build on each other.

In part 5 of this series, I thought that maybe before we start writing any application code, we might want to add a service that allows us to analyze and get insight into how our application gets used.  There are several analytics packages out there, but I thought I would take a brief look at Visual Studio Application Insights.

My goal is to create a service that allows us to use this service, along with the ability to add others.  I won’t only show you how to gather the data with the service, but briefly show you how you can view the data to help you make decision about your software.  For example, “What screens do people visit most frequently?”

How does that sound?  Excited?  Well, let’s get started…

Read more: https://www.intertech.com/Blog/building-a-universal-windows-platform-uwp-application-part-5-analytics-with-visual-studio-application-insights/
Follow us: @IntertechInc on Twitter | Intertech on Facebook


ApplicationBar

Okay, we have finally made it to our final post on using the awesome tool, Metro Studio, by Syncfusion to create great assets for your Windows Phone Application.  Hopefully you got something out of the last three posts:

Metro Studio, Part 1 – Splash Screen

Metro Studio, Part 2 – Icons and Tiles

Metro Studio, Part 3 – Background

Todays focus is going to be on creating a quick application bar using the plethora of icons available in Metro Studio.  It is amazing how quickly we can create a great looking application bar for our application.  So, let’s get to it.

Before we get started, I have a little bad news.  My system crashed the other day and I lost the Metro Studio project that we were using for the previous posts.  I did, however,  have the Visual Studio project backed up, so we are good there.  I won’t be going back to create everything the way it was before, so, hopefully you are smarter than me and back up your work.  Okay, what do we do next?

Read more


PanoramExampleOne of the coolest design elements of a Windows Phone application is the parallax effect that uses the background image to make the content pop out at the user.  You probably won’t believe this, but yes, Microsoft had one of the coolest design concepts in their mobile platform before even Apple.  Apple is just getting this effect in iOS 7.  Over 2 years after Microsoft introduced it in Windows Phone 7.

Okay, so we have gone over how to use Metro Studio, by SyncFusion,  to create splash screens, Metro Studio, Part 1 – Splash Screen, and icons/tiles, Metro Studio, Part 2 – Icons and Tiles.  Now, let’s use the parallax effect in our application.  The best part is that it is already built into the controls that come with the Windows Phone SDK.  It is called the Panorama control and allows us to easily set a property defining the background image that it uses.

Read more


IconsWell, hopefully you are back because you enjoyed Metro Studio, Part 1 – Splash Screen of my series on Metro Studio, by Syncfusion, a wonderful tool that I use to create great looking splash screens, toolbars, application icons and more.  In my last post in the series, we discussed how to use Metro Studio to create a simple splash screen for a Windows Phone 8 application.

In Part 2 of the series, I will show you how to use Metro Studio to create an application icon, store icon and tile images for our application.  I will also introduce you to a great little tool that will take an icon we create in Metro Studio to produce a splash screen, application icon, store icon, tile images and more for your Windows Phone 8 application.

Windows Phone 8 Icons

Just a little primer on Windows Phone 8 icons/tiles might be necessary here.  If you already know everything there is to know about them, you could skip this section.  However, if you don’t, let me first give you a quick definition of a tile and it’s goal.  Here is an excerpt from the Windows 8 developer site reference that would also apply to Windows Phone 8:

A tile is the front door into an app. Sitting on the Start screen, it is an extension of the app and can provide much more personal and engaging information than a traditional icon. Invest in designing a great tile to draw people into your app.

Provide fresh content through live tiles and notifications to let people feel connected to your app. Make sure you help your users connect with the people and devices that they care about.

Though we aren’t going to talk about live tiles and notifications in depth, you will want to consider the design of your icons/tiles to accommodate them in the future.  Here is a great reference for all your Windows Phone 8 tile needs.  It can give you a lot of great information that will enable to you to plan ahead and create great solutions for your application.  I will, however, take you step by step through creating an application icon, a set of tiles and a store icon for your sample application.  Read more