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

All posts tagged 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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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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BionicWomanHere is yet another feeble attempt to stay on the voice command/text-to-speech topic in Windows Phone 8 while injecting cartoons and superheroes as a theme.  With the fear of dating myself, how about a character that sits between cartoon and superhero?  What is that you say?  I say, “What about a character that isn’t a cartoon nor a superhero?”  Have you ever heard of The Bionic Woman?  The bionic woman was Lee Major’s, the Bionic Man, old flame who had a parachute accident and got all busted up falling through a bunch of trees, only to land on her head and damage her hearing.  Well, since they were able to use bionics to help Lee Major after an aircraft accident, they figured, “Hey, we did it once, let’s try it again.”  So, the Bionic Woman was given the gift of amplified hearing in her right ear along with other abilities.  That being said, this post is dedicated to having your Windows Phone 8 app listen to your every word.

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imageWell, I have used Felix the Cat and Captain Caveman in my last two posts, so it is time to crack out a superhero, The Fly.  In the first four issues of Adventures of the Fly,  others took on the character and made him an adult lawyer who fought crime in Capital City. He was later partnered with Fly Girl.

So, as a continuation of my previous posts, Text to Speech in Windows Phone 8 and Voice Commands in Windows Phone 8, I thought I would expand on my previous post and show you how to update your voice commands on the fly.  For example, what if we wanted to add to a command by introducing a new word to the phrase that was spoken?  Up until now, we could only issue commands that we defined in our voice definition.  Well, today, I am going to walk you through how to add this functionality programmatically.

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imageAs most of you know … over the last few years … Microsoft has taken a beating for it’s OS, Vista.  Though this operating system was an improvement from previous versions, meaning it had features and functionality that consumers requested most … it lacked quite a bit of hardware support.  Hence, setting itself up for attacks from all angles.  FYI … Microsoft still owns a huge, monopoly, percentage of the OS market.  Nobody really comes close.

Let’s move to the Windows Mobile OS arena.  What?  Windows is on a cell phone?  Yes.  Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 were the previous versions of their mobile operating system.  Needless to say, those versions, while very powerful, had many issues that again created a huge target on the back of Microsoft.  Things like, battery life, outdated user interface, etc., caused people to move to a better experience.  aka iPhone.

The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile phone market.  Well, sort of … at least from a user interface perspective.  If people were to look at the iPhone and an old WM 6.1 or WM 6.1 phone, the clear winner would be the iPhone.  Well, that is if you were just looking at a phone to play with … meaning, listen to music, make calls, text, surf the web and add on third party applications from their app store  However, if you were going to run your business from the iPhone and you had been using Windows products, servers and services … the iPhone fell short in many areas.  So, needless to say, people were very interested in the iPhone because it was cool … and disinterested in the Windows Mobile phone because it wasn’t … cool.

In hopes to move closer to a better, more attractive, or should I say, “cool” mobile OS … Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 6.5.  Is this the iPhone killer?  Absolutely not … but, what it is is a means for Microsoft to slow down the popularity of the iPhone and in essence, relay the message to Microsoft and Non-Microsoft users that they are coming … be prepared.

In hopes to help lead the charge, I thought I would include the video that I found on the site, Slash Gear.  It is reviewing one of the 30 phones that will be released at the end of this year with Windows Mobile 6.5.  Notice the great user interface that was built on the top of Windows Mobile 6.5 and all the functionality available thru the new mobile OS.  Watch the video below…

As you can see, pretty impressive.  Great step Microsoft!  I want to go out and purchase this phone … but … read below ….

Do you want to know what is even more exciting?  Microsoft is working hard to release their Windows Mobile 7.0 mobile OS early next year.  This is a complete rework of the OS which will surely be a huge blow to Apples iPhone!  Again, look for that early spring 2010.

So, has Windows Mobile 6.5 been a good step for Microsoft or a waste of time?  Well, there are two sides to every coin.  One side says, “Stop wasting time and get a product out the door that will “blow away” the competition.”  The other side of the coin says, “Hey, we have to do something or we will become too far behind to ever catch up.”  Microsoft has their hands in so many cookie jars, that it is hard to to focus in on any one thing.  So, I guess it is a flip of the coin for now, but … 2010 will be a huge year for Microsoft.  The hard work to get Windows 7 right this time around will pay off … they will be releasing a new windows mobile 7 OS … they will be releasing Microsoft Office 2010 … Microsoft Office Live Apps (the free online versons of their office suite) … a revolutionary “controller-free” based add-on to their XBox 360 called project Natal … new Windows Live services … new online application stores … new retail stores … a whole new set of developer tools … oh, and you can bet that their will be more secrets revealed as the year moves forward.

I would love to hear any feedback you might have on this topic here on my blog or via Facebook or Twitter … usernames for them are Edyg023.