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

All posts tagged windows phone 8

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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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


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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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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