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

Archive for October, 2013

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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Syncfusion

 

 

UPDATE:  Sorry, this giveaway is over.  Congratulations to Nirmit Kavaiya at @nirmitk26!  Come back soon to participate in yet another great giveaway!

As you work on Windows Phone applications you will shortly find that there a number of controls missing from the Windows Phone SDK.  For example, maybe you need a charting or a calendar control.  What about a PDF control?  Color selector control for your user to customize areas of your application?  Without these controls, your application will never fly in the Windows Store.

What do you do?  Do you just throw caution to the wind and try to develop them by yourself?  Do you decide to quite all together because you know you don’t have the time or talent to create a full blown calendar control?

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imageRunning Windows 8 and not able to figure out how to close the Windows Store application you have open?  Where are the close buttons?  Are they hidden?  Do you need to turn them on in some kind of hidden settings panel?

A new design feature in Windows 8 is the removal of the close buttons.  Applications are now suspended when you move away from them.  This allows the system to maximize your systems resources.  This is a very good thing.

The bad thing is the system will also shutdown your application without telling you when it needs more resources to do more important things.  But it never tells you.  They just magically disappear.  It does however save the context of the application so that when you run it again, it will start the application from where it was before it was shutdown.

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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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