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

All posts in Development

imageThis is probably going to date me, but does anyone out there remember the old green screens that developers had to work on back in the day?  Well, I do.  They were really black screens with green text (or black on green in some cases), but as you know, we have come a long way.

Fast forward to today and we have super high resolution monitors with millions of colors.  The development environments now have icons, text, controls, animations, etc.  Enter, Visual Studio 2013.  Okay, for those who have been using previous Visual Studio versions, know very well, that this isn’t something new, but it supports a bunch of ways to customize your development environment, such as overall themes, fonts and colors.  Let’s take a look…

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imageAs a coder, you probably have a number of personal formatting conventions that you wish everyone would conform to while coding, right?  Take for example, tab spacing, or indenting of braces.  Some people have tabs embedded, others use spacing, etc.  However, maybe you like your indentation to be the same across your entire application.

Let’s take a look at some settings for Visual Studio 2013 that will allow you to setup your tabs and indentation.

 

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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?

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WinPhoAppLifecycleWindows Phone 8 allows users to open an application in various ways.  Obviously, you can open an application from a tile on your Start Screen or by selecting the icon from your application list. However, Windows Phone 8 will also put your application into a suspended state when you navigate away from it.  If you want to go back to your application you can either hit the back button or use the Task Switcher.  Since Windows Phone 8 will suspend your application into memory, when it loads back up, you get right back to the state you were in when you left.  Nice right?

Well, there is a gotcha.  When you navigate away from your application, and then go to open it back up using the Start Screen or application list, it will terminate the suspended application and start a new instance of your application, hence, loosing the state the application was in when you navigated away.  Not really what the user is expecting.  Bummer huh?

Guess, what?  There is a solution.  In Windows Phone 8, there is a new feature called Fast Resume.  This feature will tell the OS to resume the application if it is suspended, otherwise, open a new one.  The best part is that this feature is really easy to turn on, and very little effort is necessary to support it in your code.

Let’s take a look.

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So, you are anxious to get rolling on some Windows Phone 8 Update 3 coding huh?  Well, how do you know if the device you are installed on has the update?  It is actually pretty simple.

With this small snippet of code, you can check to see if the update is installed on the device your application is running on …

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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.

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StopwatchAmerica is addicted to fast.  Quick access to there phone numbers, quick access to food (think fast food restaurants), quick access to files, TV…the list is endless.  Well, today’s Windows 8 tip will give you two quick ways to pull up the quick access menu built into Windows.  It gives you quick access to the Device Manager, Power Options, File Explorer, Disk Management, Run, Task Manager, etc.  So, to satisfy all you quick access junkies, here are a couple of ways using both a Mouse and a Keyboard.

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