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

All posts tagged mobile

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/
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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/
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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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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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FelixTo play off of my last post on Text to Speech in Windows Phone, I thought I would continue the theme of cartoon characters.  So, anyone out there heard of Felix the Cat?  Felix the Cat was a funny cartoon character in the silent film era.  He always found himself in a fix and needed to resort to his bag of tricks.  Well, let’s jump into the Windows Phone SDK bag of tricks and see how we can send voice commands to our Windows Phone 8 application.

Windows Phone 7.x introduced simple voice commands such as “Open Ebay”, “Call Ed Glogowski”, “Find food in Apple Valley”, “Text John Cannon” or even “Note It is my wife’s birthday on Friday”.

Windows Phone 8 has given developers the option to extend the voice commands to call directly into their application.

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imageDoes anyone out there recall the old cartoon, “Captain Caveman”?  Well, if you don’t recall it is probably because there is a great chance that you haven’t ever even heard of it.  He was basically a really hairy caveman, with a club, who could pull anything out of this hair and eat about anything you can imagine.  His club would also open up with miniature dinosaurs that would perform various tasks.  Here is a quick video in case you are interested.

So, you are probably wondering about now where I am going with this, huh?  Well, just as Captain Caveman could reach into his hair for goodies, so can we with the Windows Phone SDK.  One very powerful feature we can pull out is the Text to Speech API.  Windows Phone developers are given a SpeechSynthesizer object that you can use to add some very powerful functionality to your app.  It can provide subtle user feedback as well as very elaborate speech feedback.

At the time of this writing, SpeechSynthesizer supports 15 languages and each supports both a female and male voice.  You can view these languages in your phones settings under Speech.  In the Speech settings you will see the a number of settings, but the important ones to note are the Text to Speech voice and the Speech Language.  These settings will be what the SpeechSynthesizer uses as its default.  Your app will have the ability to change it programmatically as well.

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If you want to learn anything about the new “awesomeness” of Windows Phone 7 … click on the image below and find an event near you!  Did I mention it is FREE?

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