Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7 Weekend - Feedback, slides etc...

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 09/20/2011 - 17:06

wp7logo_webThis past Saturday myself & Rudi Grobler presented a full day workshop on Windows Phone 7 development and we were BLOWN away with the event!

We had a great turn out, easily over hundred people were there and they  were one of the most amazing audiences I’ve ever had the honour to present to – they were insanely engaged in the discussion and really brought up all the tough issues that we love to discuss Smile

In addition to that Microsoft, Nokia & BBD were awesome sponsors, but I have to single out Nokia who put up the most amazing prizes:

  • 3 x Microsoft Xbox 360 for the first people to get 100 downloads for their WP7 app!
  • 10 x Nokia Windows Phone 7 (when available) for the first people to get 1 000 downloads for their WP7 app!

JUST WOW!

As we stated on the day you need to email both Dave Russell (drussell@microsoft.com) & Derrick Kotze (

(derrick.kotze@nokia.com) now to register and let them know when you reach your 100 or 1 000!

My big disappointment was the lab room, which never really got any traction, but with awesome presentations all day can you blame it Winking smile

If you are looking for the slides, we have shared them using BitBucket so you can grab them at: https://bitbucket.org/rudigrobler/windows-phone-weekend-workshop-v2

Windows 8: How to get it working

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 09/15/2011 - 14:09

(Update 1) Note: This relates to the Windows 8 Developer Preview, your mileage may vary and this may change.

This post is here to help you, and me, by sharing solutions that I am finding while trying to get Windows 8 running for a professional developer. I am using a HP 8510w laptop so some things maybe specific. This will be updated randomly and will be more like a live blog than a polished post.

(Update 1) As I update this I will prefix new content with (Update #) where # is the update number. The latest ones will be in bold.

Problems & Solutions

Graphics

I have a NVidia Quatro graphics card and to get it working correctly with Win8 (rather than the basic graphic driver) I needed to use the BETA driver from: Beta and Older Driver Versions – I used the Verde 285.27 Driver and that worked just fine, everything else was broken in one way or another.

(Update 5) This just worked with the Windows 8 Community Preview

.NET 3.5

imageA bunch of apps use .NET 3.5 or earlier so I needed that. To install it you must install it via the Turn Windows Features On/Off  option in the control panel (it’s under Programs). I had a BUNCH of issues (error 0x800F0906) getting it to work as it needs to download it which I think are proxy related. Once I downloaded via 3g it finally came down (took an hour Sad smile).

(UPDATE 2) Tried this via a transparent proxy and it worked too. Seems it is related to proxy servers that require basic authentication.

(UPDATE 4) Finally found a solution Smile Thanks to Zayd Kara for helping me with this:

Copy the SXS folder from the Windows 8 ISO to the C:\Temp folder.

Then run: dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /All /Source:c:\temp\sxs /LimitAccess

pic

Metro Style Apps Don’t Run

Details: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/cd6df64d-737d-40e0-b999-03e654204448

(Update 1) Found the error message in the Event Log (Application and Services Logs –> Microsoft –> Windows –> WwaHost –> Admin)

Windows Web Application Host has encountered an unexpected exception. The error is number 0x8007000E.

image

(UPDATE 2) One of the best new features in Windows 8 is the ability to reset your machine without affecting your files. I did this and this solved all my issues image

(UPDATE 4) The cause of this is the DLink modem software for my 3G modem. It is screwing up com. No idea why, and no way around it. That’ll teach me to use a 3g modem that doesn’t work with the natively Windows 7/8 mobile internet support.

Windows Phone Developer Tools

The 7.0 RTM release will NOT install at all. The 7.1 RC will install so you may need to get that one.

YOU MUST install .NET 3.5 first (see above). Once installed I didn’t have any emulator options and trying to run it would cause: HRESULT: 0x89721800

I resolved this by deleting “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Phone Tools\CoreCon\10.0” (source for that App Hub Forums)

The emulator option appeared but now when I try to run it, it crashes Windows 8 with a BSOD related to vmm.sys – no solution yet.

(UPDATE 2) I have tried everything and nothing seems to help. Resorted to using a Windows 7 boot from VHD to be able to run these tools Sad smile

(Update 5) Solved: http://sadev.co.za/content/installing-windows-phone-developer-tools-windows-8

Microsoft Security Essentials

It would not install because of a compatibility issue Sad smile Downloaded it again from the website, which doesn’t tell you version numbers and the file size looked the same, but this newer one did work fine.

(UPDATE 2) Paul Adare pointed out on the forums that this is included now out of the box, so not needed Smile 

Switch to Live ID

Not working, error 0xD00000072 – suspecting proxy again.

Install of Visual Studio 2010 Offline Documentation

Completely failed, no idea why.

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D-Link 3G Modem

It could not find the drivers, so I had to go to device manager, select the unknown devices –> Right click –>  Update Driver –> Browse my computer –> C:\Program Files (x86)\D-Link Connection Manager\drivers\64bit\WIN7

Then it found and installed the drivers for the 3G modem

(Update 1) Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview

Cannot build or run Metro Style apps.

Designer is failing with Server execution failed (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80080005 (CO_E_SERVER_EXEC_FAILURE))

And running them fails with Unable to activate Windows Tailored application

I suspect this is related to the Metro app issue above.

Capture5Capture6

(Update 1) Internet Explorer 10

Two interesting issues, one browsing our intranet which runs on HTTPS any content from HTTP fails to load and there is NO option to allow it.

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Second issue is in the IE desktop mode there is no tooltips Confused smile 

ie-desktop

However the solution is to run the Metro Style Internet Explorer, and it shows tooltips… and they are LOVELY:

ie-metro

(Update 3) SharePoint

I am referring to connecting to SharePoint server using IE 10, in short – it is horrid for anything other than basic browsing. I have installed Chrome to get around this.

(Update 3) Windows Server AppFabric

imageI needed Windows Server AppFabric installed so I could do development, however AppFabric does not install on Windows 8 Sad smile

To work around this I waited for the error to appear, then browsed to the extracted files (the moment you click ok on the error it cleans itself up) and used the expand command to extract the msu file which you can find in the packages folder.

That gets me a cab file which I extract again and that produces another 1 996 files. In there I used the file search to find the assemblies I needed to get the code to build, won’t run but at least I can code Smile

(Update 4) HP LaserJet 4250 Printer

I have this printer on the network but it was horrid trying to get Windows to see and work with it. The trick was to download the actual PCL6 drivers from the HP website. This has all the options to set it up and it works fine now Smile

(Update 5) This just worked with the Windows 8 Community Preview

Things that just worked

For balance here are application that have been installed with no issue.

  • Visual Studio 2010 + SP1
  • Firefox 6
  • Chrome (what ever the latest is)
  • Windows Live Writer
  • TweetDeck
  • Office 2010 + SP 1
  • (Update 1) VLC
  • (Update 3) Pull

There is also some more info in the comments!

Windows Phone 7 Weekend Workshop

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 16:00

I have mentioned an awesome event that is being run by Microsoft before, the Windows Phone 7 Weekend Workshop and I just want to highlight it again (it is about 70% full already so you need to hurry up).

It is a FREE full day event with TWO tracks available. There is a lecture/presentation style track where you learn about the phone and a developer room track where you can build your phone apps with expert guidance or do some hands on labs. 

I am most excited about the developer room, because if you want to get an up out to the market place THIS IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE. Expert help, focused time and who knows, maybe some prizes for those who get them up!

The event is being run in conjunction with a number of groups

  • Microsoft – Being just after //BUILD may be a GREAT time to get some extra insight or clarity.
  • Nokia – You know the phone guys, they are sponsoring this event and will have someone there to answer questions.
  • BBD & MVP – Both myself & Rudi Grobler are speaking and we both work at BBD & are both Microsoft MVP’s.

Details:

Windows Phone 7: Professional Tips - Always show the SystemTray

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 11:47

imageIn Windows Phone 7 there is an option to show a little strip at the top of your application which shows time, battery and signal strength. This is called the SystemTray.

My suggestion for a professional applications, is that you should be showing that SystemTray. Full screen games & media viewing excluded, but most tool like applications should be showing it.

My reasoning is two fold:

  1. If you user is spending any time in your application they may need to check their battery or  they will need to check the time. Having it available keeps them in your application and keeps them from being frustrated by the toggling backwards and forwards (glance and go!).
  2. If you application connects to the internet, and you fail to connect you are required to tell the user that it failed. For me internet connection failures are often due to signal or due to being connected to a hotspot. If it fails and I do not have a SystemTray, then I need to leave the application to check those details. Once again, the glance and go principal!

It takes up a few pixel’s but your users will be happier for it being there!

Windows Phone 7 Submission: Where are my stats!?!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 08:16

imageAs I have been submitting a number of Windows Phone 7 apps and in the market place is a nice dashboard which shows downloads, crashes etc…

The problem is that I have been very frustrated that my stats for my applications aren’t there!

In the screenshot my cricket run rate tool is missing!

So I contacted the marketplace support, who are BRILLIANT, to see if they could help and they told me it is BY DESIGN Sad smile Here is what they sent me:

The details you are trying to view in App Hub reflect a delay, by design. Newly published apps will not appear on the download report for 10 days, and of that data there will be a 6 day lag.

I don’t understand the reason for this but at least there is a cause and I just need to be patient and eventually my states will appear Smile

Thankfully I can augment these stats with Rudi Grobler’s excellent Keep An Eye app which lets me from my Windows Phone see the status of my apps!

Windows Phone 7: Professional Tips - Drop the splash screen

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 11:33

The guidelines for WP7 state your application must start within 3 seconds – so many applications include a splash screen to show the user while the rest of the application loads. The splash screen is included by default so you may think you MUST to include it (I did think this too), but the truth is you don’t need to.

If you can (i.e. your application loads under 3 seconds) then you should drop it as it will allow your application to start quicker (about 2 seconds faster in fact), this means your users can get into your application quicker and that will make them happier!

Important Windows Phone News

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 11:19

Coming Soon, an awesome WP7 event!

Update: Details of the event are up at now & Registration is open - GO!

Microsoft is planning in the next few weeks a series of WP7 training events kicking off with a one day event! This event will have a presentation track where you will see a number of topics (see proposed list below) and a lab track where you can build your apps with expert guidance! This is the perfect chance to take that idea to reality and it is possible (I challenged myself to build two apps in 6 hours a few weeks back, and succeeded!).

Keep an eye on my blog or Microsoft South Africa DPE team blog!

PROPOSED Topics:

  •  Introduction to Windows Phone
  •  Building a Silverlight Application
  •  Silverlight Controls for the Phone
  •  Advanced Silverlight topics
  •  Windows Phone Hardware
  •  Services
  •  Performance
  •  Getting your app onto the Marketplace
  •  Building Windows Phone XNA Applications
  •  Advanced XNA Topics

Following that event will be a series evening classes where there will be a presentation, a real WP7 dev talking about their app and a Q&A session! So lots of good things coming!

Welcome to Mzanzi!

(for non-South Africans Mzanzi is a townshup slang word for ‘South’ or ‘South Africa’)

With the upcoming Mango release, South Africa will be supported with the Marketplace (finally!). Microsoft have summarised this very nicely below. Before you get to that, take a look at a recent post from Rudi Grobler, where he talks about South African relevant apps that exist today!

Johannesburg, South Africa – 24 August 2011 – Microsoft has announced a series of brand-new enhancements to its App Hub developer portal as part of the highly anticipated ‘Mango’ release. Windows Phone 7 developers can now publish their apps to consumers in 19 new countries, including South Africa. In addition to the 16 countries where Marketplace is already supported, developers can now broaden their opportunity for global distribution and competitive app prices.

Clifford de Wit, developer platform lead at Microsoft South Africa, is calling on all Windows Phone developers to submit Mango apps in August, ahead of the Mango release to market. The new App Hub developer portal allows developers to manage their account, change settings, submit applications and stay up-to-date on Windows Phone.

“The updated App Hub features enhancements such as greater geographic markets for developers, consumers and advertising coverage; new private distribution options; and enhanced application and account management capabilities. We’re making great strides in expanding overall demand for Windows Phone applications.”

Microsoft is offering developers two new private distribution options: beta and targeted distribution. Apps distributed through these private distribution methods can only be downloaded by users using a deep-link and the apps cannot be discovered via browsing or searching in Windows Phone Marketplace. Beta distribution enables developers to distribute pre-certified apps to a group of up to 100 access-controlled beta testers for up to 90 days. The targeted distribution enables developers to distribute applications through Marketplace in a hidden state, where they are not discoverable via browsing or searching Marketplace.

De Wit says he has no doubt that local developers are in a position to create compelling mobile content for the Windows Phone platform. “We want to attract a new wave of Windows Phone developers ahead of the ‘Mango’ release.”

Other enhancements to the Mango App Hub include better application management, an enhanced developer dashboard, more detailed reporting, a new “Crash Count” report, a streamlined application submission process and new application categories – education, kids & family, and government and politics.

For more information, visit the official Windows Phone Blog and the App Hub.

Windows Phone 7: Professional Tips - Storing your settings

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:00

In Windows Phone 7 there are two ways to store values State & IsolatedStorageSettings which have their various pro’s and con’s. I prefer to use the IsolatedStorageSettings for most scenarios but this tip will apply to both, so when you see the code referring to one it will work on both.

Very simply the first setting you should store is one called version (or similar) and should have a version indicator. In short it tells you what version of the settings you are working with!

IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings["version"] = "1";

Having this field has two advantages for you, first it gives you a very simple way to check if you have settings available & if it is not, then your app is running for the first time.:

if (IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings.Contains("version"))
{
    // do something with settings
}

The other advantage is that when you update your application you can upgrade settings easily. 

if (IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings.Contains("version"))
{
    switch ((int)IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings["version"])
    {
        case 1:
        {
            // upgrade version setting and add missing settings or change existing settings
            break;
        }
        case 2:
        {
            // normal reading of settings
            break;
        }
    }
}
Even if you never use it for upgrades, at least it is there for a simple check and if one day you need it - you are ready to go!

Cricket Run Rate Tools for Windows Phone 7

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 11:17

icon-200In my ever growing list of Windows Phone 7 apps I introduce you to the latest one, a cricket run rate toolset!

This is another calculator type that allows you to work out cricket run rates, projected scores at the current run rate and also projected scores if the run rate changes to 4, 5 or 6 runs per over!

The second screen is the compete screen which allows you to put in the score of the first batting side and then see if the chasing team is at, above or below the run rate needed to catch them and what run rate is needed!

It’s a very nice and simple tool to have in your toolbox for cricket fans!

screenshot-1.1_8-12-2011_14.26.54.596screenshot-1.1_8-12-2011_14.27.27.990screenshot-1.1_8-12-2011_14.27.31.23screenshot-1.1_8-12-2011_14.27.34.977screenshot-1.1_8-12-2011_14.27.42.477

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Game development in South Africa and dealing with the Film and Publications Board

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 16:03

imageIf you walk into any store to buy a game or movie you will find a little blue triangle sticker which contains the age restriction from the Film and Publications Board who review and rate content.

Since I created a game recently I decided to see what the process is for classification of a game is and learnt some very interesting things for developers.

Put simply only games/films that are sold or hired require to be classified – so if you are developing a game/films that will be available for FREE then you do not require classification! Below is the email from the head of the classification unit confirming that!

image

GREAT NEWS for hobbyist developers!

If you do plan to sell your game then you need to complete the forms on the website (game submission form), provide a disc with screenshots and videos of your game, a game synopsis and pay the registration fee (currently R1 508.64) and then wait for the classification.

Microsoft have confirmed & I have tested that the forced requirement for the FPB certification in the marketplace no longer exists. You can submit a certification but you are not forced to. Only downside at the moment is Window Phone 7 – when you submit a game for the South African market regardless of price they require the certification which is incorrect. I have submitted a request to Microsoft for details on this and will update you as soon as I have any information.