Tuesday, June 21, 2011

yet more examples?

It's been suggested that I make more of this blog. One common suggestion is that I post some examples of how to do common tasks on Windows Phone 7.
There are already quite a few sites/blogs which do this. I'm a bit reluctant to be another "me too" and contribute more content which is little more than a rehash of content already on MSDN.
Sorry if that's a bit critical of some others.

What do you think?
What would you like me to write about?

Friday, June 17, 2011

XNAUK + WPUG = #DevChatUK (July 21st)


Come join both XNA-UK and WPUG for a mad bash twitter evening in a DevChat style Mashup on:

Thursday 21st July
7 – 9 PM UK time

We’re going to hijack the twitter hashtag #DevChatUK and do a wide scale Q&A / Chat session on all things Phone, XNA, Silverlight and Mobile development in general (including multi-platform questions)

So come join in, publicise your current projects, lets us know who you are or just come and get info on what all this noise is about with online help from the experts in the field.

We recommend using a web service like http://tweetchat.com/ and enter the HashTag #DevChatUK to join in the fun.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Book Review: 101 Windows Phone 7 apps - Volume 1: Developing apps 1-50

The prospect of a book with over 1100 pages long can seem a bit daunting. Considering this book is only volume 1 and only the first 50 apps it could seem even more so. The good news though is that this book is easy to read, thorough and full of up to date information.

The "unconventional" structure of the book where each chapter shows how to create a separate app is interesting and different but a lot of the apps created seem quite contrived and unuseful. Hopefully anyone reading this book will not end up creating their own versions of the apps that are in this book but will use the lessons it teaches to create their own apps which go beyond what's here and make something special.

A large reason for the size of the book is that all the code mentioned is printed in the book. Much of this seems unnecessary, especially as all the code is available for download.

Even though each chapter is focused on creating an individual app chapters build on each other so it really requires reading cover to cover. It then provides a useful reference for each feature which you can return to later but it does really require a full read first. This can be a bit much if you have some familiarity with Windows Phone 7 as a development platform.

Beyond the basic technical facts, this book provides numerous design and usability recommendations which are equally important for anyone getting started with developing apps for Windows Phone 7. These recommendations show a breadth and depth of experience and insider knowledge with WP7 and provide valuable pointers to anyone who is or wants to develop apps.

So what about the up to date information? The people I know who have written books say how long it takes. With that in mind I was impressed by the way that the book included information and details about the February update to the Silverlight Toolkit. (The book was published in April.)

I'm looking forward to volume 2 and the inevitable follow up with details about the new features and functionality coming in the mango update.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book but had been planning to buy it anyway. I'm still planning to buy the second volume.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

TombstoneHelper V2.0 released #wp7dev

Great news - Version 2.0 of TombstoneHelper is now available from http://tombstonehelper.codeplex.com/

Actually it's been there for a fortnight, I've just been very slow to finish this post.

According to the change history it includes the following:
  • A bunch of fixes
  • Added the ability to limit the number of objects that should be saved. (This helps aid performance by not searching for other controls once it's found the ones you want to save.)
  • Added support for ToggleSwitch
  • Added horizontal scrollviewer offset support
  • Added the ability to remember text entered in TextBoxes & Password boxes
  • Added the ability to remember the control with focus
  • Added the ability to remember the text selected within a TextBox (if appropriate)
  • Added support for the Pivot control. (Be sure to name it!)
  • Added the ability to specify the Types to tombstone through a generic interface. (Only up to 3 tyeps currently.)
  • Added some basic extensibility support.
  • Added support for the Panorama control via extensibility. (This was to demonstrate an extensibility implementation and to not add Panorama support by default as use of this isn't always desirable.)
If you look at the source for the demo app you'll see examples of everything being used. When I get the time I'll update the documentation and maybe blog about it some more.

If you have any questions or comments please add them in the comments here or in the discussions tab on codeplex.

For reference, the need to support Tombstoning doesn't go away with Mango but becomes less likely to be needed. One of the knock on effects is that it becomes harder to test tombstoning support in mango. I'm talking to the WP7 team about this and will duly report back.

I plan to continue to update and extend this library to make tombstoning easier through Mango. And beyond...

If you use and like it, please rate it on the NuGet site: http://nuget.org/List/Packages/WP7TombstoneHelper