Monthly Archives: April 2014

XAML Intellisense just got better

.NET, Blend, Build, Design, MVVM, Phone, Silverlight, Technical stuff, Visual Studio, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Work, WPF, XAML
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With the latest Visual Studio Update 2 release candidate came a pretty wonderful surprise from the XAML tools team: Improved Intellisense when you use MVVM Light.

Short story

After you install the latest update to Visual Studio, you will notice the following effect:

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Deprecating the DialogMessage

.NET, MVVM, Phone, Silverlight, Technical stuff, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Work, WPF
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One change you will notice when you install MVVM Light V4.3.31 is that I marked the DialogMessage class as Obsolete.

The DialogMessage class is one of the built in message classes in the MVVM Light Messaging namespace. When sent by the Messenger to a view element (Window, Page, etc), it carries information that can be used by the recipient to display a message to the user. It also has a callback to pass the result (OK, Cancel, etc) back to the caller for handling.

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Building a Universal Application for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 with MVVM Light

.NET, Blend, Build, MVVM, Phone, Silverlight, Technical stuff, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Work
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In the previous article, we talked about the new Universal apps which can be created for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1. This offers a nice way to structure your app in order to share as much code and other files (artwork, etc) as possible. It makes it easier than ever to create apps which target both the Windows Phone and the Windows RT devices like Surface.

The new concepts can be a little confusing and overwhelming at first, but practice will help a lot. In this article, we will see how a new Universal app can be created with MVVM Light support. That should be fun!

Creating the app and adding MVVM Light support

Let’s start by creating a new universal application:

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About Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps

.NET, Build, MVVM, Phone, Silverlight, Technical stuff, UX, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Work
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At the Build conference, Microsoft just released the new Windows Phone 8.1 “blue” SDK. Looking back in time, I think that it is one of the most significant changes to the Windows Phone framework since it was first released back then in 2010. First there is a wealth of new features and APIs, and there will be plenty of articles about that! Then there is a new architectural direction which will allow even more code sharing between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 than in the past! And soon for Xbox too.

Windows Phone 8.1 apps

When you install Visual Studio Update 2 which was just released as a release candidate (RC), you will see that there are now two ways to build Windows Phone applications. In 8.1, you can select a “Windows Phone 8.1″ application and a “Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1″ application. This post will explain some of the differences. There is also a “Universal Application” template, and we will also talk about that.

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Build keynote notes 6

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Stephen Elop (Nokia)

Every Lumia devices will run 8.1, even low end devices such as 520.
New colors coming, such as bright green.
Next generation of Lumia devices.
Lumia 930. 5” hd display. Wireless charging integrated in the device. 20MP pureview camera. Special focus on pictures and videos. Surround sound recording or focused sound recording for videos. Start in June in Europe then Asia.
Creative studio new version.
Living images: mixing images with videos in Storyteller. Add music too.
Nokia Lumia 630 and 635. Lower price point, slick design, 4.5”, changeable shells. 630 Single SIM variant or double SIM variant (3G). 635 4G.
Double sim can be used for example for business/personal. Call/SMS Live tiles are specific for each sim, or can be merged.
Can specify for each contact which sim card should be used by default.
Critically important for Asian markets.
Introduce sensor core. Tracks motion and location to keep track of steps and movement. Built into the device.

Introducing Satya Nadella

Q&A

Build keynote notes 5

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Apps built with Windows Phone 8.0 of course contine to run on 8.1.
Can also upgrade apps in Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 to take advantage of new features.
Or can port app to Windows Phone RT such as universal apps.
No need to define grammar files for voice recognition anymore. Cortana does the work for us.

Harry Pierson

Talks about Windows tablets in enterprise.
Easy leveraging super old line of business code to new Windows 8.1
Show how to use Task.Run to convert a synch operation to async.

Windows 8.1 update available on MSDN today.
VS 2013 update 2 RC available today
Windows Phone 8.1 update through the developer preview program.

Looking further forward

Talking about Xbox
Will enable universal apps to run on Xbox.
Demoes Khan academy app on phone, win8 and Xbox one.
Announce new Kinect V2 for Windows
DirectX12
Intel has X86 board running in chip of the size of a small eraser. Internet of things.
Shows a piano running windows.
Can attach debugger to process, it’s all windows.
Connected to the internet.

Windows Desktop

Windows Store apps will run windowed on the desktop.
And YES start menu is now available on the desktop, including live tiles and search.

Pricing

On phones and tablets < 9”, Windows will be free. Free Xbox one to everyone in the audience. 500 $ voucher to Microsoft store to choose a new device

Build keynote notes 4

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David Treadwell

OS and Platform news.
Introduces Universal windows apps.
Windows runtime on phone.
Talks about ways to have one app running on multiple form factors. Uses adaptive gridview layout.
Or can decide to create optimized view for each device, with bulk of the code being shared.
Different from google approach, since you can customize look and feel to adapt to form factors.
Can use C#, C++, vb.net, html/js, etc.

Kevin Gallo

Shows update to VS2013 to build universal apps.
Shows universal app template.
Shows new debugging capabilities.
Can run most diagnostics in parallel
Shows context switcher to make it easier to know which context a shared file has (for linked files belonging to multiple projects)
Easy to convert a win8 app and do some tuning for form factor and perf, etc.

Streamlining the store experience.
Buy one app on the phone and run it on the PC, and vice versa. Sharing app identity. This also shares the notification channel and cloud storage.
Can offer common app and shared purchase experience foe both platforms, or choose to have a specific experience (and buy the app twice). It’s up to developers.
Submission times have been sped up to 50 times.

Build keynote notes 3

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Windows 8.1

Cortana communicates with Bing so Bing services are updated.
Shows Windows 8.1 update.
Improvement in IE for legacy sites. Sites that were warning that IE11 is “too old” will now work fine.
Much better compatibility with “old” enterprise sites etc.
Task bar enhancements. Works with WinStore apps now. Can pin to taskbar.
WinStore apps with mouse and keyboard show title bar with minimize button. Also access to taskbar in WinStore apps with mouse.
Standard touch gestures are still available.
Start screen: power button. Search button on start screen. Setting tile. Right click context menu for mouse on tiles. CTRL key and select multiple tiles, move them, change size, etc.
Helping users to find our apps: prepin the Windows Store on task bar to make it easier to discover. Store is now mouse/keyboard friendly. Will publish API and samples to teach devs to make apps more mouse/keyboard friendly.
Also shows apps results in global search dialog.
Make it easier to see where newly installed apps are put. Hints to user, highlighting.
Windows 8.1 update available to consumers on April 8th

Build keynote notes 2

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Business on winPhone 8.1

VPN is supported now
Quick settings in control center, easily accessible from everywhere on the phone
Encrypted emails
Can prevent from saving documents on the phone
Can block access to applications

Range of new features

Nice demo of Cortana reminding him to ask his sister about her new puppy as her sister calls him on stage.
WiFi sense, shows public WiFi in the area, facilitates sharing WiFi at home with friends.
Enhancements to Wordflow keyboard. Shape typing (swype). Much faster typing even with sweaty hands on stage :)
Guiness book record of fast typing. Beats Galaxy S4.
Settings: wifi password saved in cloud.
IE11 on the phone. In private browsing, etc.
Rolling out to consumers in next few months. Pre installed on new phones as soon as April-May

Build 14 keynote notes 1

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Joe Belfiore to speak about Win Phone 8.1.
Introducing the new lock screen API
Gives access to extended graphic features
Introduce the new lock screen, with background pictures.
Introduce Cortana. Personal assistant. People cheer at the name. Nice demo by Joe Belfiore. Access to calendar, email (local on the phone only), and many other apps. Can define inner circle of people we track, interests, etc.
Small bugs when demoing. Cortana is launched as beta first. Want feedback about voice recognition. Launch in US first then rest of the world.
Cortana can interact with apps, for example to add content to them.
It can also be extended by 3rd party apps.
Cortana works with voice and typing too.
Natural language extends to other apps too. Example “Skype, get David” to start a call.
Can also pass instruction to apps, for example “add deadbeat to my queue in Hulu”, starts Hulu and add it.
“first truly digital personal assistant”