Categories
Blogging Mobile Application Development University

Hull CS Blogs App for Windows Phone 7 Submitted

Last night I finally submitted Hull CS Blogs for Windows Phone 7 to the Windows Phone Marketplace. The concept started out because I wanted to make a few applications for the Windows Phone Rewards program, which rewards you with a point for each application you successfully get on the Marketplace. These points can in turn be exchanged for prizes such ranging from XBox controllers to Helicopter Lessons and Surround sound systems to track days.

Original versions of the application just showed the blog RSS stream from Hull Comp Sci Blogs, and required the user to download the entire steam each time, which saved some data compared to going to the full desktop-orientated website but not much. Building on that core feature I incrementally added more and more features, making sure each one worked correctly before moving the next. In order I added:

  1. Contributor blog feeds
  2. Contributor twitter feeds
  3. Image backgrounds for the pages
  4. Caching of the contributor blog and twitter feeds, as well as the latest blogs feed
  5. Featured application hub tiles
  6. An about page
  7. An “Email support” task
  8. Enhancements to the twitter experience
  9. Progress bars for everything.

After point 7 I issued a beta of the software to some of my fellow computer scientists through the Windows Phone Marketplace Beta feature. Everything worked as expect and I got lots of good feedback from little things such as “You’ve mis-spelt download in the about page” to “Sometimes the main feed doesn’t update unless you press the back button and reenter the application”, which is obviously a more serious glitch.

Some people even offered suggestions for what they’d like to see added to the app, James Czerwik-Hampshire asked for the ability to click a twitter name and go to the persons twitter profile which is implemented in this version and James Croft asked for the ability to pin a contributor to the start screen, which I’ve started work on but jumped back to version 1.1.

Issuing a beta was definitely a good experience, and made the product a much better experience for its target audience. I had particularly good experiences because I know my target audience very well, they’re my fellow students, and so could tailor it to their exact needs and get them to test it for me.

Over the last few days, since my last post, I’ve been fixing bugs and adding in features that have been requested. Last night I submitted the app for certification and hopefully it should be on the store by Monday 18th June, if everything goes to plan and the reviewers don’t find any bugs.

I shall be writing about the many, many things I’ve learnt about Windows Presentation Foundation and C# throughout the course of making this application over the next few days. So keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Danny.

Categories
Mobile Application Development University

Sweepy Cleaner is now Available on the Windows Phone Marketplace

Today Sweepy Cleaner passed certification and was added to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. You can download it here.

Some of you may notice that the version number is v0.1, this is because there are still a few features I want to add in before I consider it a complete version of the game, these include the full implementation of Photo Highscores, more realistic cleaner movement, an online highscore system and 12 more levels. All of these are already being worked on, so you can expect version 1.0 soon.

Why release the game now? Well, I wanted people to enjoy the basic fundamentals of the game ASAP, and according to my reviews on the marketplace so far they have done!

Draxfear gave the game 5 stars and said:

Fantastic game, especially menus & music!

ZeldaLegend92 gave the game 5 stars and said:

Brilliant game. Shame the cleaner doesn’t point the way it’s moving but still it’s fun to play! Good job

Not1Got1Xbox gave the geme 5 stars and said:

Fun little game, nice graphics, music and user interface! : – )

Fellow Hull Computer Scientist and blogger James Croft has also beaten me to the punch and wrote a review of Sweepy Cleaner which you can read here, thanks James!

As you can see from the image above lots of people have also been posting their scores to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cleverly I included a link to download my game when a user posts their score, increasing awareness of the game. 🙂

Below you can see an image of what the game looks like on the Web Marketplace for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Marketplace - Sweepy Cleaner
Windows Phone Marketplace – Sweepy Cleaner

So get over there and download it now, and please be sure to submit feedback and provide a rating 🙂

Hopefully you’ll have a good experiance with the game, if you have any niggles please don’t hesitate to contact me about it providing as much detail as possible using the following email address: support@dantonybrown.com

Thanks,

Danny.

Categories
Life University

Choosing Modules for Year 2

The Lovely peice of code I just spent an hour “debugging” because my phones accelerometer had stopped working and it hadn’t told me and was actually fine all along

It’s hard to believe but we’re almost at the end of the first year of Computer Science at the University of Hull. That doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about university, our education and the future in general though — quite the opposite in fact. In about 2 weeks time we have to have finalized our module choices for next year.

Choosing what we want to specialize in is quite difficult, especially as so much is left down to us, we have one core module and have to choose 5 ourselves. Some of the modules we cannot take together because they clash and we have to choose a certain amount of semester 1, semester 2 and year long courses.

I’m making choices based on what I want to be doing in the future, as well as what I feel will give me a more rounded education and will ultimately teach me the most — we’re here to learn right? ;).

Today I read this excellent blog post by James Croft which describes the Electronics and Interfacing Module in which you program little robots. It looks like great fun, and because so few people do it its a great skill to have, oh and its taught by Rob Miles, who is one of the best lecturers at the University in my opinion. James describes it as “one of the most interesting modules I’ve done so far at uni.” What more could you ask for? If something interests me I tend to do well at it.

Its interesting that I’m so interested by this unit now, as I previously hadn’t even considered it. Below is a list of what I think I’ll be doing next year:

  1. Semester 1 only – 08220 Systems Analysis Design and Process (Core – We have to do this)
  2. Semester 1 only – 08240 2D Computer Graphics and User Interface Design
  3. Semester 1 and 2 – 08227 Advanced Programming
  4. Semester 1 and 2 – 08249 Electronics and Interfacing OR 08226 Artificial Intelligence (Undecided so far :()
  5. Semester 2 only – 08246 Networking and Web Technologies
  6. Semester 2 only – 08214 Simulation and 3D Computer Graphics

Interestingly the only module I’ve chosen which people on the far more popular Computer Science with Games Development BSC course don’t take is Networking and Web Technologies. and Electronics and Interfacing if I eventually choose that over AI (I’m on the Masters of Engineering Computer Science course, and I can choose their modules)

Anyway, I have coursework for the current year to get on with now so thats all for now,

Danny