Today I was looking at the newly revamped developer dashboard on www.dev.windows.com where you can see a lot of stats about the applications you have uploaded to the Windows 8 Store. Whilst I was having a look round I noticed that you could see which web pages linked to your application in the store. One of the websites which had given my app the most “hits” was one called Fractus Learning.
I thought I would head over to their website and have a look at what they had to say about my application and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had written a list about the Top 10 application for Students and Teachers, and my app featured at number 8 — how apt.
In particular Fractus said the app is:
Ideal for older students, The Solar System Simulation allows users to explore the affects of gravity on land masses in space.
I was especially pleased with this after reading what Fractus are all about:
Fractus Learning is a growing team based in Dublin, Ireland working with educators around the globe to promote cutting edge technology skills and tools. We strive to build amazing learning environments where students are engaged and inspired and classrooms that are a joy to teach, work and learn in.
Our goal is to motivate, excite and enhance the teaching skill set with the use of technology, making sure educators are always on the cutting edge.
So you could say they know what they’re on about!
Thanks Fractus, look out for some excting updates to the simulation soon!
I was looking at the statistics for my Windows 8 Application, Solar System Simulation, the other day when I stumbled upon a review by someone who goes by the name of “vikram” from the United States:
Review Title: I found it so useful
Helped me teach solar system concepts to my 5yr old
I must admit it made me smile thinking that I may have helped a father or mother teach their child about the vast expanses of space 🙂 Even if the “simulation” isn’t incredibly accurate it’s nice to see its useful on some level.
6 days after the hand in date my friends Rob, James and I went to ‘Appy Christmas, an event set up by Microsoft to encourage the development of Windows 8 app in the holiday period. Whilst there I ported my application from a browser based webpage to a fully featured WinJS Windows 8 application. When I told my lecturer, Dr. David Parker about it he seemed interested in the ease of the porting experience, so I shall outline it here.
- I added all my “Business Code” and classes by just adding the .js files to the solution
- I edited the HTML page to make it fit better, as scrolling pages don’t look great in apps — all of the Windows 8 style came for free with no work
And that was it! At this point the application worked, however it wasn’t very touch friendly and the Koch Snowflake fractal algorithm would lag on some lower powered arm devices, including the Microsoft Surface RT, so I made the following enhancements
- Lowered the amount of iterations my fractal function went through, lowering the computational power required
- Added an “App Bar” to hold buttons which controlled all of the functions — the coursework spec asked that all functions were called using keyboard input, so this made it much more usable on a touch screen
- Added support for the share charm. When you press it a bitmap image is created from the canvas and sent to whatever application you chose.
If you want to play with the application now, you can do so by downloading it from the Windows store here.
Below you can see some screenshots of the application in action.
I hope you enjoy using the solar system.
Microsoft is really heating up its drive to get more applications in the Windows Store, as part of this push they have a few competitions on — which, if you’re a developer you should definitely check out!
One of these is the Creative Bloq App Generator competition, which is described below:
Whether you’re an experienced Windows developer or a newcomer to the platform, there’s an incredible range of prizes to be won – and EVERYONE who enters has a chance to win. As well as prizes for the Ten Best Apps and the overall Grand Prize winner, there are also 28 daily draws, where winners will be randomly chosen to receive some fantastic prizes. All you need to do is register here, either with a live app in the Windows Store or with an app you are building – or even just thinking about building. And as soon as your app is available for download in the Windows Store, you’ll be entered into the draws and competition.
I signed up to the competition with my Hull Computer Science Blogs application for Windows 8, and much to my surprise received an email a few days ago which read:
Good morning Daniel,
Congratulations you are a winner!
Your app Hull Computer Science Blogshas been chosen at random as one of the Creative Bloq and Windows 8 App Generator competition daily prize winners.
You have won a 32GB Windows tablet (make and model TBC), this will be despatched to you no later than the end of January 2013.
I can’t wait to receive my tablet in January and find out what make and model it is 😛 You can be sure to find a receive of it here at some point in February,
Last week I got an email from Microsoft saying
Congratulations! Hull Computer Science Blogs, release 1 is now in the Windows Store. Use this link to your app’s listing in the Windows Store to let others know about your app.
Because we just added your app to the Windows Store, it might take some time before your customers will see it in their search results.
To track the performance of Hull Computer Science Blogs, open your Dashboard.
Keep up the good work!
The Windows Store team
So you can now click here to go to the Windows Store and download the Hull Computer Science blogs app for Windows 8.
The app features
- A Windows 8 Modern Experiance User Interface
- A list of the latest blogs list with a built in blog reader
- A list of all contributors and the ability to view their social networking feeds and latest blogs
I’d love any feedback you have, either posted on this blog post or emailed to me at Danny@Dantonybrown.com, get downloading!
I posted not too long ago about how, by submitting my Hull CS Blogs for Windows 8 App, I had joined the Windows 8 | Elite Program. On Saturday I had a parcel delivered and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a Windows 8 | Elite welcome pack!
Contained within were:
- A Windows 8 Branded Pen
- A Windows 8 Branded Pencil
- A Windows 8 Branded 4GB Memory Stick
- An Invitation to the Windows 8 Release party at Modern Jago in London on the 26th October
- A Welcome Letter
- And most interestingly a Windows 8 app design sketch pad, which I’ve used to plan UI enhancements to my app 🙂
Its a nice pack, especially considering the Windows 8 | Elite is totally free to join, as is the Windows Dev Centre if you’re a student, so my advice is to click here and get involved!
I’m very happy to be able to tell you all that on Monday morning I submitted Hull CS Blogs for Windows 8 to the Windows 8 Store. The app supports most of the features that the Windows Phone and Android apps do, including caching of blog posts and tweets. The information source used for all the contributors will also be updated this evening, adding a plethora of new contributors that we picked up in our recent marketing drive. This will add people to all 3 apps.
Below you can see some screenshots of the app, and above you can see a screenshot of the main page.
Rather than throw you out to internet explorer every time you want to view a blog you can actually read blogs embedded within the application. This is also supported in Windows 8 Split view – which allows you to use two apps at once by making one smaller and pinned to the side – as you can see in the image below.
Each contributor also has their own page within the application which shows their twitter stream as well as all of their latest blog posts.
Overall developing for Windows 8 has been a positive experience , especially porting from windows phone. I was able to retain a lot of the structure of the program as well as many of the objects from that project.
Another big bonus for making the app was the ability to join the Windows 8 | Elite program which, according to the website allows you to:
Elevate your app with the Windows 8 | Elite Programme. As an Elite member, you will be invited to exclusive networking and training events as well as opportunities to enhance the discoverability, quality and business value of your Windows 8 app.
To get into the Elite program you have to have written and submitted a Windows 8 Modern Experience app by October 26th 2012 — the day windows 8 becomes generally available. Due to the fact that I have already done that I’m now in and apparently a Welcome Pack full of goodies is on its way to me. I shall update this blog when I find out what it contains! I’ve also been invited to a Windows 8 Launch party in London on the 26th, which is also quite exciting.
As the program progresses I’ll also receive access to extra training, help and resources from Microsoft including things not dissimilar from the Windows 8 camp I went to a few months ago.