Categories
Modern Experience Development

Regtransfers for Windows 8 – Available Now!

Some of you may remember a post from a few months ago about an application I was developing for Windows 8 for the Cherished Number Plate Dealer Regtransfers Ltd. Since then it has been put on the back burner a bit because of other commitment, but as of today you can download it from the Windows Store.

The app has undergone a few changes since I last blogged about it, including replacing the YouTube video feed with a feed of recent celebrity interviews and removing twitter altogether, due to changes in their API. On top of this I have added a name search, which finds numberplates that might interest you based on your name.

Below you can see a gallery showcasing the features of the app:

I really hope people enjoy using the new application, I put a lot of work into making it a nice and native-feeling application. This seems to work because, as of the time of writing, the app has all 5 star reviews.

You can download the application by searching for “Regtransfers” in the Windows 8 Store or by clicking here.

I will be releasing an update on October 16th adding in support for a lot of the new exciting Windows 8.1 features, including being able to embed magazine PDFs directly within the application. Until then, if you have any feedback don’t hesitate to contact me!

Danny

Categories
Microsoft Student Partner Modern Experience Development

An ‘Appy Christmas at Modern Jago

One of the many things I love about Modern Jago is its huge TV, which has an XBOX connected, with Kinect

My apologies for a total lack of posts since Christmas. I’ve been busy with all sorts, but mainly revision for my exams. Normal service will now be resumed ūüôā

Near the end of¬†November¬†I read about ‘Appy Christmas — an event set up by Microsoft to encourage the development of Windows 8 applications over the festive period — on the Microsoft UK Students Blog.

I immediately thought it could be good fun and posted about it on the University of Hull Microsoft User Group hoping that some of my fellow Hullians would join me on the trip down to Modern Jago, Shoreditch , London. It turns out that in the end 25% of the attendees were from The University of Hull, a fantastic turn out.

The two day event started for me and the two Hullians I was travelling with, Rob and James, went to catch our train at half 10 on Monday from the Hull¬†Paragon¬†Interchange¬†station, just 2 and a half hours later we were at Kings Cross and boarding our Circle Line tube train to Liverpool Street — 10 minutes after alighting at Liverpool Street we’d finished the final walking part of the journey and were at Modern Jago.

This was the second time I’ve been to Jago and I really like it there, its a blend of Modern and Old that works really well, much like Windows 8 I guess Microsoft would say ;).

Over the course of the Weekend I ported my Solar System Simulation coursework for 2D Graphics to WinJS, improved the UI and submitted it to the store — quick work! You can read all about that application here. Rob developed a C# and XAML Modern UI app port of his Cheap Ass Gamer Windows Phone 7 application, which is absolutely beautifully designed and you should¬†definitely¬†check out by clicking here!

Other than application development  a lot of fun was had out on the town with Phil Cross, Ben Nunney and my fellow Microsoft fans and a heck of a lot of pizza was consumed. Overall we produced over 30 apps in two days, good going! No wonder the Windows Store is the fastest growing app store at the moment. Porting applications is almost effortless, bar changing the UI for the big screen.

Danny

Categories
Blogging Modern Experience Development

Introducing Hull CS Blogs for Windows 8

This week I’ve been working on porting my Hull CS Blogs app for Windows Phone 7 to Windows 8 (The PC & ¬†Tablet Operating System).

I’ve been able to use a lot of my code from the WP7 app, but making some changes. For example saving and writing files is now done through Local Storage using StorageFolder, StorageFile and Stream objects rather than through Isolated Storage on Windows Phone. It took me a while to get used to the new API’s but now I understand them I actually prefer them and think they make more sense. For example my code to load an XML file on Windows Phone 7 Looked like this:

public static void LoadXML(string Location, out XDocument XMLFile)
        {
            // Get the local storage directory for this application
            using (IsolatedStorageFile IsoFile = IsolatedStorageFile.GetUserStoreForApplication())
            {
                //Open the file and make it into a stream
                using (IsolatedStorageFileStream IsoSteam = new IsolatedStorageFileStream(Location, FileMode.Open, IsoFile))
                {
                    XMLFile = XDocument.Load(IsoSteam);
                }
            }
        }

And in Windows 8 it now looks like this:

        public async static Task LoadXMLAsync(string Location)
        {
            // Get the local storage directory for this application
            StorageFolder storageArea = Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;

            // Get the file itself
            StorageFile storageFile = await storageArea.GetFileAsync(Location);

            // Read the file in as a stream
            IRandomAccessStream randomAccessFileStream = await storageFile.OpenReadAsync();
            Stream fileStream = randomAccessFileStream.AsStreamForRead((int)randomAccessFileStream.Size);

            return XDocument.Load(fileStream);
        }

Whilst the Windows 8 code appears to be longer, to me it makes more sense, and that can be more important in projects such as ours in which the code is going to be handed over to other software developers. First you find the directory, then you find the file, then you use it. It’s the exact same way of accessing data as people do in real life, or through windows explorer.

At the moment I’m still working on the user interface. An interesting challenge of Windows 8 development, which I haven’t had to deal with before in Windows Phone development, is the large amount of different screen sizes and resolutions that devices can have. In Windows Phone 7 there was one size, ¬†800 x 480px.

The Windows 8 version of Hull CS Blogs should be available on the Windows Store before Windows 8 is available to the general public on the 26th October.

Danny

Categories
Modern Experience Development

Getting A Windows 8 Developer Account

Can you spot an issue with this web page? (Hint: Circled in Red)

For a few days now I have been working on porting Hull CS Blogs for Windows Phone 7 to Windows 8 Modern¬†Experience (formerly metro)¬†using the new WinRT API’s. In¬†preparation¬†for the final product today I registered for a Windows 8 Developer Account in order to give me access to the Windows 8 store.

This means I will be able to distribute and update my application through the Windows Store.

It’s pretty simple to do, and setting up a paying out account (to¬†receive¬†money from anything you sell) is very streamlined compared to setting up a paying out account for Windows Phone. To start the process click here, or if you’re a student and would quite enjoy getting access for free click here.

Danny