# Monday, 27 April 2015
Monday, 27 April 2015 13:40:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Often, it is better to show us how to do something than to tell us. Samidip Basu’s Real World Windows 8 Development does both.

Basu begins the book by describing the basics of a Windows 8 application – controls, navigation, data binding, etc. Next, he covers more advanced features, such as remote debugging and accessing the hardware features on your PC or tablet.

Along the way, he demonstrates each concept by adding features to his sample – a book catalog application.

I found this book educational – in large part because both the code and the writing are straightforward and free of clutter. I learned more from downloading and exploring the sample code than I did from the text.

This book serves as a solid introduction to Windows 8 development and as a reference for intermediate developers to use.

17137894

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:20:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 31 July 2014

Recently, I recorded an interview with Greg Levenhagen about the Beerology Windows 8 app he helped build. This interview is available on the DevRadio podcasat and below.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 13:43:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 15 April 2014

This Windows 8 app made me smile. Open the app and touch an icon and your PC plays a recording that sounds like you have an emergency in your house, giving you the opportunity to politely hang up on a telemarketer or other annoying-but-difficult-to-get-rid-of caller.

Sounds include Doorbell, Crying Baby, Gunshot, and CSI, which plays a voice saying "Get off the phone. We need to clean the blood out of the carpet." That last one is my favourite.

Download Anti-telemarketer Soundboard at
http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/anti-telemarketer-soundboard/595568f0-bb7c-4530-adb2-3751abae5c90

Screenshot.319636.100000[1]

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 18:56:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 31 March 2014
Monday, 31 March 2014 16:02:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hidden Garden is a series of children games apps in which the user is presented with a picture and must find a number of objects hidden in that picture. Examples include butterflies, teacups, and birds. Find all the hidden objects in a picture to advance to the next level which shows a different picture with even more objects hidden. Most of the pictures focus on a fantasy scene, such as fairies in an idyllic garden. The artwork is very well done and so is the music that plays during each game. The game is addictive and looks like a fun puzzle for children.

Pig Out Productions - the makers of these games - typically charge for them, but they are free for a limited time. Most games are available for Windows 8 and other platforms.

You can see a complete list at http://pigoutproductions.com/hidden-garden-series.html 

 3cdea5cece21f976037fb396dd89d3df[1]

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:02:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 12 March 2014

I was invited to host the DevRadio show on Channel 9, so I scheduled an interview with Paul DeCarlo, author of the Cross-Platform Cloud Kit. I’m a big fan of this framework and I’ve used it to author 14 apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8 (which you can find here), so I was excited to talk with him about his framework. Paul shows the kit’s code and explains how it works and how to use it. Click the link below to watch and listen.

Link to the Show

8eb921fc8a0ad5b91482f83028345630[1]

Paul DeCarlo
Apps | Video | Windows8
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 17:12:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 09 March 2014

"Windows Store App Development" by Pete Brown takes the reader through all aspects of building a Windows 8 application using C# and XAML.

The first two chapters describe the UI principles that make a successful Windows 8 application - an app that works for both touch and keyboard input; and an app that provides a good experience for the user.

The book is broken into 23 chapters - most of which cover some specific development concept or how to use a set of controls. For example, there is an entire chapter on various available text controls and how to use them to render great-looking text in your application.

My favourite chapter is "Controls, binding, and MVVM", which breaks down the Model-View-View Model pattern into easy-to-understand terms and shows how to apply this pattern in an Windows 8 application.

Overall, the book does an excellent job covering the key concepts of XAML development and diving deep into the use of the tools. It serves as both a reference book and as a manual to get started on this platform. I have used it as each of these.

The only drawback is that this book is specific to Windows 8 and does not cover any of the updates introduced in Windows 8.1. I don't know if Brown is planning an update to cover these. However, the vast majority of the book is still relevant, even if you are developing for Windows 8.1.

Review-Windows Store App Development by Pete BrownShortly after I acquired this book, Pete was kind enough to sign it for me. He preceded his autograph with the challenge: "Get off your ass and write some apps!" And I did. Thanks in part to Brown's inspiration, I now have 14 apps in the Windows Store.

If you are new to Windows 8 development, Brown's book is a good one to get started with.

Sunday, 09 March 2014 15:48:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 04 March 2014

This week, I'm breaking form. I am going to feature multiple apps (which I’ve done before) and I’m going to feature apps written by me (which I have not done before).

For the past few months, I’ve been creating Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps that feature videos of a sports team. The apps are all branded with the prefix “SportsTube”, such as “SportsTube – Michigan Sate Football” or “SportsTube – Michigan State Basketball”.  So far, I’ve created apps for 7 teams and I have a few more in the works.

I’ve been using Paul DeCarlo’s excellent Cross-Platform Cloud Kit, which makes it easy to create an app for each platform simultaneously.

I’ve created a page to make it easy for users to find all my SportsTube apps: http://sportstube.azurewebsites.net

MSUFootball[1] IUBasketball[1]

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 15:30:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 03 March 2014
Monday, 03 March 2014 22:19:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 25 February 2014

I've never found a Windows 8 Twitter client that I like (I've been using the default web site or the in-browser Tweetdeck), but I've been giving Tweetium a try and I like it. It allows you to view your timeline; "Connect" tweets - directed about or to you; "News" tweets - tweets on popular topics; Direct Messages; and each of your Lists. The interface is intuitive and I displays many tweets at once, including attached twitpics.

Today's "News" section features tweets about comedian Harold Ramis, who passed away yesterday, including many by his friends.

My favourite feature is when you click an embedded hyperlink, it launches Internet explorer in two-thirds-screen docked mode, but keeps Tweetium on left third of the screen, so you can still see your tweet and maintain your current position in the Twitter list.

I'm testing the free trial version, but you can upgrade to the full version for $2.99.

Links

TweetiumOnSurface[1]

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 07:28:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 08 January 2014

With the help of others in the developer community, Rob Gibbens hosted a Windows 8 / Windows Phone development hackathon. Despite the winter storm, over 2 dozen developers showed up and submitted 17 apps. Here are a few of the apps created that day:

Windows 8 Store apps

Text Adventure RT

http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/text-adventure-rt/0a74afaa-6524-47d8-b439-275d19f7d99a 
Tells a bit of an adventure story; then, asks the reader what to do next. The next bit of the story depends on the reader's choice.

CHRISTmas Music Videos

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/83c829cc-a4b7-4942-9186-e8e8435db948
A collection of music videos featuring Christmas music played by Christian artists.

Khabree

http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/khabree/2e0d3a38-b2c1-442b-a748-5839a00b1ce4
An RSS reader that allows you to categorize your feeds
Screenshot.292259.100000[1]

JIMNA
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/c843e38f-36f3-4cf3-9f88-6c897084ee2f
This app allows the customers ofJenptik Industrial Metrology North America designs (JIMNA) to view items in their system. One needs a username and password to use this app.

JIMNA

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/c843e38f-36f3-4cf3-9f88-6c897084ee2f
This app allows the customers ofJenptik Industrial Metrology North America designs (JIMNA) to view items in their system. One needs a username and password to use this app.

SportsTube – Michigan State Football

http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/sportstube-michigan-state/c2f3b93b-d1c2-42d4-b857-c5e4e80a385b

A collection of videos of the storied MSU football team.

WINDOWS PHONE

Remember When

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/remember-when/0f72ad9c-9b35-44ed-b580-d895296ff66e

This app allows you to keep track of the last time you did something, such as changing your oil or getting a hair cut. It costs $.99 but there is a free trial.

Apps | Phone | Windows8
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 04:09:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 07 January 2014
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 11:25:31 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 06 January 2014
Monday, 06 January 2014 18:25:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 31 December 2013
This week's app is actually a set of apps.

In honor of all the college football bowl games this week and of conference basketball starting, I am featuring a set of college fight song apps created by Wireless Developer, Inc. of East Lansing, MI.

Normally, these apps sell for about $10 each; However, Wireless Developer is working with Microsoft to offer the first 100 downloads of each app for free. Act quickly because each app will return to its original price as soon as 100 people download it.

The links for each app are below. Surprisingly, the company’s hometown team and Big Ten Champions (and my alma mater) Michigan State is not included. Hopefully, this will be corrected soon.

College Fight Songs - Penn State Nittany Lions Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Tech Hokies Album App

College Fight Songs - Oklahoma Sooners Album App

 College Fight Songs - Wisconsin Badgers Album App

College Fight Songs - Nebraska Cornhuskers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Longhorns Album App

College Fight Songs - North Carolina Tar Heels Album App

College Fight Songs - Iowa State Cyclones Album App

College Fight Songs - USC Trojans Album App

College Fight Songs - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Album App

College Fight Songs - South Carolina Gamecocks Album App

College Fight Songs - Dayton Flyers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arkansas Razorbacks® Album App

College Fight Songs - Tennessee VOLS Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas Tech Red Raiders™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Syracuse Album App

College Fight Songs - Boston College Eagles® Album App

College Fight Songs - Clark Atlanta Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Colorado Buffaloes® Album App

College Fight Songs - East Carolina Pirates Album App

College Fight Songs - Fresno State Album App

College Fight Songs - Illinois Fighting Illini Album App

College Fight Songs - Indiana Hoosiers Album App

College Fight Songs - Maryland Terps® Album App

College Fight Songs - Memphis Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Hurricanes Album App

College Fight Songs - Miami Red Hawks Album App

College Fight Songs - Ole Miss Rebels Album App

College Fight Songs - Pitt Panthers Album App

College Fight Songs - Purdue Boilermakers Album App

College Fight Songs - Toledo Rockets™ Album App

College Fight Songs - University of Massachusetts Minuteman Album App

College Fight Songs - Vanderbilt Commodores Album App

College Fight Songs - Villanova Wildcats™ Album App

College Fight Songs - Virginia Cavaliers® Album App

College Fight Songs - Wake Forest Demon Deacons Album App

College Fight Songs - Washington Huskies® Album App

College Fight Songs - Western Michigan Broncos Album App

Update: The following apps are still available but are no longer free:

College Fight Songs - Alabama Crimson Tide Album App

College Fight Songs - Ohio State Buckeyes Album App

College Fight Songs - LSU Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Texas A&M Aggies Album App

College Fight Songs - Clemson Tigers Album App

College Fight Songs - Arizona Wildcats® Album App

College Fight Songs - Kentucky Wildcats Album App

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 14:37:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 03 December 2013

If you have written an app for Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 or if you are about to write an app, you have a chance to win a lot of money.

Modev is sponsoring a contest with $10,000 in prizes!

Some prizes are determined by a panel of judges and some by public voting. Prizes are broken out as follows:

  Judges’ Vote Public Vote
1st Place $2,500 $2,500
2nd Place $1,500 $1,500
3rd Place $1,000 $1,000

In order to qualify, you must complete and submit a new app by December 20, 2013 (I know! I just heard about this myself) and have it approved and in the store by December 31.

Not only is this a chance to win some extra cash, it is also a good way to promote your app.

You can read about the contest here and you can submit your app here!

If you are looking for a reason to finish that app, a chance at free money is a pretty good one.

10KAppContest

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 21:20:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

This week's app is actually 3 apps. And they are more than apps - they 3 short stories and novels with a reader included. Each story was written by Stephen Donald Huff, PhD and each was published by Capital Ideations LLC. 

The apps/books are all free and each is a science fiction story. I read only the sort story "A Paradox of Distance" but I liked Dr. Huff's style and I plan to read the other two. You can download the apps at the links below:

If you have written or know of a Windows 8 app you would like to see featured here, please contact me at dgiard@microsoft.com.

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:21:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 27 November 2013

On Saturday December 14, the Detroit Mobile .NET Users’ Group will host a Windows 8 Hackathon. Bring your laptop and build an application. Jennifer Marsman and I will be on hand to get people started with Windows 8 development, show some tools to quickly create an app, and help people along. Other experienced developers will also be attending and should be able to answer questions.

Developers at all skill levels should get something out of this event and should have the opportunity to create an app and submit it to the app store.

This event takes place December 14 starting from 9AM to 5:30PM at the Southfield, MI Microsoft office (1000 Town Center, Suite 1930).

You can find details and register at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/devunleashed-se-michigan-windows-8-hackathon-tickets-9449308135.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 20:23:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 26 November 2013

If you know me, you know I am a big fan of my slow cooker. My slow cooker pot roast recipe was a finalist for DevIntersections top recipe contest in .NET Gurus Can Cook 2nd Edition.

So I was immediately drawn to a Windows 8 app called "A Taste For Slow Cooker".

This app brings together slow cooker recipes, restaurant reviews, and links to purchase crock pots and other slow cookers.

It doesn't appear the app contains any original content but it does pull articles and videos from various sources on the web, such as YouTube and Yelp.

If you aspire to be a better cook, you spend quite a bit of time finding good recipes inside this free app. You can download it at http://aka.ms/slowcookerfoodsTEC.

ATasteForSlowCookerScreenShot 

 

If you have written or know of a Windows 8 app you would like to see featured here, please contact me at dgiard@microsoft.com.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 21:37:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Road Runner Jump is a simple game in which the classic Looney Tunes speedster runs to his right and jumps from platform to platform. The player gets points by advancing further to the right without falling into the gaps between the platform.

The game could be improved by adding animations or by adding some obstacles or more complex achievements. Still, it is a fun little time-waster that takes almost no time to learn (pressing any key causes Road Runner to jump).

On the plus side, this app is free and contains no ads.

You can download this Road Runner Jump at http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/007B8B3B-68F8-4C63-A0F6-0D548CDBF469.

RoadRunnerJumpScreenshopt

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:55:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Knave Blackjack was created by my friend Jason Follas. It realistically mimics the experience of playing blackjack in a casino, down to the texture on the table and the sound of the cards flipping out as they are dealt.

In its simplest form, the player receives 2 cards and elects to hit (accept another card) or stand (keep and play the cards dealt). The player competes against the dealer for the highest score without exceeding 21. 

However, there are multiple options that allow you to add more players; change dealer defaults; and even select the dealer's next card by clicking a spinning deck. The game also includes information to help you learn blackjack, such as a "Hint" button; a "Strategy" diagram, indicating recommended moves based on the player's cards and the dealer's visible card; and a "How to Play" button that explains the rules of blackjack and this video simulation.

The free version shows an ad on the left, but you can pay $1.49 to remove all ads.

I found Knave Blackjack fun and educational, particularly for those of us who don't play blackjack very often. You can download this game at http://www.knave21.com/index.html.

KnaveBlackjack

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 20:31:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 08 November 2013

Earlier this year, I wrote a Windows Phone app. I had to register for the Windows Phone store (and pay $19) so that others could download my app. Later in the year I wrote a Windows 8 app and registered for the Windows 8 store (for an extra $49).

Registering for these stores was not a huge chore and the cost was still cheaper than the iOS store. But this process just became much simpler and much cheaper. Microsoft announced this week that developers can register for both the Windows store and the Windows Phone store for a single annual fee of $19.

If you are already registered for one of these stores, you will automatically have access to the other; and, if you've registered for both (like me), you receive an additional year for free.

Full details of these changes can be found at http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/appbuilder/archive/2013/11/06/unifying-developer-registration-windows-and-windows-phone.aspx

This is good news for people like me who like processes to be simple and fees to be low. It removes much of the friction of publishing an app.

Friday, 08 November 2013 06:01:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 17 September 2013
I recently completed and published my first Windows 8 application. The app is simple: Click a button and the app selects 1 or more random numbers in a given range; the user can select the range of numbers and whether or not to re-use numbers. I wrote it because my user group needed such an app and because I wanted to learn how to write a Windows 8 application. I chose XAML/C# for this app pretty much by a coin flip. I still plan to write a Windows 8 app using HTML5/JavaScript. For me, the biggest challenge was were getting the correct layout using a combination of StackPanels and tables. I solicited the help of Jeff Yates, who explained the syntax to me and help me to fix the layout. The app was rejected the first time because I had checked a box on the property page stating that it was network-aware and I had not included a privacy statement page. My solution was to uncheck this box because it requires no network access. If you would like to see this app in action, you can download it at http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/raffle-picker/24508bc8-4e8e-4ba5-a77f-934df4a0018c

Screenshot.230704.100000[1]

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 05:03:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 06 August 2013
# Monday, 01 July 2013
Monday, 01 July 2013 19:52:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)