Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

Windows Phone

No Excuse For Not Developing For Windows Phone

Ok, I’m biased. Let’s get that out of the way up front. I am a fan of the Windows Phone and it’s user interface. I think the live tiles, informative lock screen and application contracts offer a far superior experience to Android and iOS. Regardless of my preference I believe that at this point it is inexcusable for all but the smallest companies to ignore Windows Phone. There has been one big reason for the lack of adoption Windows Phone: Apps! About 75% (not a scientific number) of the people that ......

Carriers Holding Your OS Updates Hostage

Just a small rant here. Today the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update finally became available for Nokia handset users. Now I’m not sure that it is AT&T fault entirely that Samsung and HTC users got their updates two months ago and we are just finally seeing it. It may have something to do with the Nokia Amber update. But every Windows Phone update on AT&T from 7.1 on seems to have been delayed. How is it that the premiere Windows Phone carrier is always the last one to release updates? Smart phone ......

Windows Phone App Studio: The Social Developer Tool

Creating mobile applications is challenging, but Microsoft just made it easy for most people to create their own Windows Phone apps. People talk about Indie gaming. The Windows Phone App Studio allows people to create apps to share with their family and friends (as long as they have an App Studio account) using a WYSWYG style web site. Whether you want an app for your kid’s team, an app that introduces your company or an app for an upcoming event the App Studio can allow you to build them on your ......

BUILD 2013 - Build for Both: Windows and Windows Phone

This review is more person to me since I have known Matt Hidinger for a couple of years now and the fact that he just announced that he is leaving Chicago to join the Windows Phone team at Microsoft in Redmond. So let me first say congratulations to him again. Now I can’t say that I always agree with Matt, but I do respect him. One area that we disagree on (at least from his statement during this presentation) is that the official Twitter app is a good platform example. His point was more that they ......

BUILD 2013 Sessions–Building Great Windows Phone UI in XAML

Even the simplest of smart phone apps can be a challenge to give a compelling UI regardless of the platform. Windows Phone and XAML are no exception. That is what got my interest in this session by Shawn Oster. He took a checklist type approach to the subject is good considering that is about the only way that many us get things done. Shawn started out giving us a set of bad design/good design examples. They very effectively showed how good design gives a sense of professionalism to your app that ......

Leveraging Generation App

Generation App is the place for developers to get started building solutions on the latest Microsoft technologies. I originally understood it to be for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development, but you can sign up for a 30 day adventure to build web apps and framework based apps as well. When you sign up you get a list of subject areas to study in order to create the best application possible. You also get daily emails with links to content to help you progress and helpful YouTube videos. The real ......

Handling Sometimes-On Connectivity In Windows Phone Apps

There are a lot of conditions that you have to deal with when creating mobile applications that do not present themselves in other types of development. The largest elephant in the room is the unpredictable nature of network connectivity. This doesn’t just affect if you can send a message across the internet but also your location services. And strangely enough there are times where you may have one and not the other because of the type of network you are currently accessing. The first connection ......

Feed Reader For Windows Phone 8 Has Me Reading Blogs Again

While I post on a regular basis, Twitter has become my pointer to any blogs that I read. I haven’t logged into a RSS app or Google Reader in a long time. When Feed Reader was featured on a web site recently (sorry but I can’t remember which one) I decided to give it a try. It logged directly to my old Google Reader account which made getting started a breeze. That app easily shares links via Twitter or saves them to Instapaper. The wildest feature is that it will audibly read each post. I can’t say ......

Passing Certification For Enterprise Windows Phone 7.5 Apps

Your Enterprise Windows Phone 7.5 application has different requirements and restrictions than the majority of apps in the store. While we now have Windows Phone 8 with different distribution methods, your client may still have 7.X devices that require using targeted distribution via the store. You need to consider how to allow the certification team to test your app without exposing sensitive data or affecting production systems. There are a few choices you have: Supply the testing team with test ......

Microsoft Changes Developer Account Registration Requirements

Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed that Microsoft seems to have changed the requirements for Corporate accounts. These requirements were not in effect when I originally setup the account for the company that I work for. We also recently had our corporate account canceled without explanation and are in the process of working to get it reinstated. This all seems to revolve around rules to increase confidence that in the producers of content. They are now having Symantec validate a company ......

Is The Ease Of Windows Phone Development Ruining Its Image

I was reading an article on Mashable recently by a long time iPhone user who is living solely on a Lumia 920 at the moment and giving her assessment. One thing that struck a nerve with me was her describing the Windows Phone ecosystem as immature. She wasn’t saying this because of the number of apps or the big names like most people do. She means the quality of the apps in the store. This hit a nerve with me. I find it hard to believe that the majority of app on iOS are of any higher quality than ......

Key Windows Phone Development Concepts

As I am doing more development in and out of the enterprise arena for Windows Phone I decide I would study for the 70-599 test. I generally take certification tests as a way to force me to dig deeper into a technology. Between the development and studying I decided it would be good to put a post together of key development features in Windows Phone 7 environment. Contrary to popular belief the launch of Windows Phone 8 will not obsolete Windows Phone 7 development. With the launch of 7.8 coming shortly ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 4: Application Development Considerations

This is the final part in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Application Development Considerations Now we get to the actual building of your solutions. What are the skills and resources that will be needed in order to develop a smartphone application in the enterprise? Language Knowledge One of the first things you need to consider when you are deciding which platform language do you either have the ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 3: Key Concerns

This is part 3 in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Keys Concerns Of Smartphones In The Enterprise These are the factors that you need to be aware of and address in order to build successful enterprise smartphone applications. Most of them have nothing to do with the application itself as you will see here. Managing Devices Managing devices is a factor that is going to effect how much your company ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 1: Why Build Smart Phone Apps

This is part 1 in a series of post based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. Intro Most of us already carry smartphones. We play games on them. We keep up with what is going on with our friends and our favorite teams. We take pictures of our kids at their events. But the question is if that is all they are good for. Many companies have aspects of their business that lend themselves to being performed by mobile devices. Some ......

Building Enterprise Smartphone App – Part 2: Platforms and Features

This is part 2 in a series of posts based on a talk I gave recently at the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group. Feel free to leave feedback. In the previous post I discussed what reasons a company might have for creating a smartphone application. In this installment I will cover some of history and state of the different platforms as well as features that can be leveraged for building enterprise smartphone applications. Platforms Before you start choosing a platform to develop your solutions ......

Microsoft Build 2012 Day 1 Keynote Summary

So I have finally dried the tears after watching the Keynote for Build 2012. This wasn’t because it was an emotional presentation, but because for the second year I missed the goodies. Each on site attendee got a Surface RT, a Lumia 920 and a voucher for 100GB of SkyDrive storage. The event was opened with the announcement that in the three days since the launch of Windows 8 over 4 million upgrades have been sold. I don’t care who you are that is an impressive stat. Ballmer then spent a fair amount ......

Windows Phone 8 Launch Event Summary

Today was the official coming out party for Windows Phone 8. Below is a summary of the launch event. There is a lot here to stay with me. They started with a commercial staring Joe Belfiore show how his Windows Phone 8 was personal too him which highlights something I think Microsoft has done well over the last couple of event: spotlight how Windows Phone is a different experience from other smartphones. Joe actually called iPhone and Android “tired old metaphors" and explained that the idea around ......

Local LINQtoSQL Database For Your Windows Phone 7 Application

There aren’t many applications that are of value without having some for of data store. In Windows Phone development we have a few options. You can store text directly to isolated storage. You can also use a number of third party libraries to create or mimic databases in isolated storage. With Mango we gained the ability to have a native .NET database approach which uses LINQ to SQL. In this article I will try to bring together the components needed to implement this last type of data store and fill ......

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 Announcement

Today Nokia and Microsoft had an event to officially introduce the Lumia 920. Below is a rundown of some of the things I found interesting. As a person who likes photography there was a lot to drool over. The main feature that caught my attention was PureView with its optical stabilization. This alone should improve the majority of you pictures. Add to that the SmartShoot Object remover that uses multiple images to remove unwanted people or objects that move through your picture and you never have ......

My Favorite Free Windows Phone Twitter App

Windows Phone 7 has been out for about two years now. In that time I have switched back and forth with different free Twitter apps. Mostly the has been because someone has mentioned one or another that they like. I figured I would give a quick run down of what I felt were the pros and cons of each. These are only the ones that I have used and your mileage may vary. So here we go. WP7 Built-In Twitter Functionality While it is great that Microsoft put this functionality in, it is extremely limited ......

Using BingMapsDirectionsTask In Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone has a number of great capabilities built into it for developers. The Bing APIs allows you to easily give your application mapping functionality. You may just want to give users directions to a fixed location. What happens though when you want to give a user directions from their current location to an address that they are picking from application data? This article will cover just that scenario. Since almost everything in Windows Phone development is asynchronous this can get a little ......

Reading QR Codes In Your Windows Phone App

I have recently been working on an application for a client that needs to read QR codes. This has lead to some interesting findings. There are a couple of approaches you can use. One is to take a picture and evaluate it for a code and the other is more like the Bing Vision feature. Both of them can be accomplished by leveraging theSilverlight ZXing library from Codeplex. In order to have QR code images to test I would suggest going to QRStuff.com. It is a site where you can freely generate QR images ......

Features I’d Like To See In Windows Phone 8

With Windows Phone 8 around the corner I figured I would get the wish list out. I am encouraged by what we have seen so far. This is a short list of the things that have bugged me over the last two years of using and developing for the platform. I realize that some of them are pure fantasy and will never happen, but we can dream. So here we go. Separate volume controls for phone and alerts Videos can be taken in portrait and will be saved that way Tweets created in the People Hub should be able to ......