3. March 2012 22:35
Using a bootable VHD has proven to be a simple way to install and experience Windows 8 Developer Preview with its full features, without deleting your current operating system from your computer. If you are interested in using a similar technique for the just released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, then I can confirm that my previously published guide for the Developer Preview is fully compatible with this new release too:
How to install Windows 8 as bootable VHD
Have fun playing with Windows 8 :)
27. February 2012 05:32
In the previous part of this mini-series, we have learned about some limitations of agents regarding memory and execution time. Although these restrictions are severe in their details, they are nothing new to developers on the phone. Memory usage caps also exist for normal applications, and we do have quite some time-based requirements there too. When you work with background agents, you're however also facing a new class of problems that is completely irrelevant and non-existing to normal app developers. More...
24. February 2012 00:21
In the first part of this series, I mainly talked about issues with software design when you work with background agents. We saw that the partly really strict API limitations can have a pretty severe effect on how you need to structure your code to follow all requirements of the validation and certification process. This time, I want to get a bit more technical, when we learn about some other limitations of agents. More...
19. February 2012 20:24
There's a ton of resources available on the web that talks about the new features of Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" for developers, and about background agents in particular. Unfortunately, a lot of these resources use over-simplified samples that have little in common with complex real-world setups, and often the articles you can find don't even mention the several restrictions in place for background agents at all. In this open-ended mini series I am going to talk about the various problems you will potentially run into with anything but the most trivial applications, what effects and consequences this has for your application development, and how you can avoid pitfalls and plan ahead for background agents. This is not a general introduction on the topic; I assume that you are familiar with the concept and have a basic understanding on how agents work. More...
12. February 2012 23:24
Almost two years ago, Firefox started to isolate plug-ins like Silverlight in a separate operating system process. One of the consequences was that debugging Silverlight applications with Visual Studio became somewhat more tedious, because the Silverlight debug engine was not able to automatically attach to the correct processes anymore. At that time, I started developing a small and simple Visual Studio Add-In named "Firefox Debug Helper". Later on, when I discovered that Visual Studio also had problems with other browsers like Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome, I extended support for this Add-In to these browsers, and renamed the tool to "Silverlight Debug Helper".
Today, the topic is still relevant for Silverlight developers, and this small tool continues to serve me and others well. Every now and then, someone asks for the source code of the Debug Helper Add-In, either to learn about how to extend Visual Studio by a practical example, to extend the existing features, or because they want to track down issues when they use the Add-In. I'm pleased to announce that starting today, the source code of the "Silverlight Debug Helper" is available for free to everyone (the tool itself always was available for free from the first day) on CodePlex. It's not very sophisticated and probably could be improved in some areas, but I still hope those of you interested in it can make good use from this release. The new project page also is the place where new releases will be made available at, if applicable:
This also means that the existing project page here on this blog will be suspended and link to the new home on CodePlex from now on.
Today, I've also released a new version of "Your Last About Dialog" for Windows Phone. This new release adds support for trial mode, which means that a "buy" button is automatically added to the about page if you are using this feature of Windows Phone. As always, I've tried to make the default behavior suitable for most scenarios, so you usually don't have to worry about it – it simply will work "out of the box". But if you want to override the default behavior and either force the buy button feature both on or off for your particular scenario, YLAD offers the flexibility to do so. The new version is already available on CodePlex and (recommended) NuGet, and in addition improves the default configuration template as well as fixes a potential bug with multiple successive taps on the "review" button of the about page. Learn more about the release and the new features on the project page and its documentation section:
Have fun ;)
30. January 2012 15:40
Sometimes seemingly simple things are the most expensive to achieve. One such thing involves the Windows Phone WebBrowser control that allows you to show arbitrary web content embedded in your application.
The problem I ran into is that the control does not show any scrollbars when the content is larger than the visible area. This is a bit of a surprise, because the built-in browser of the phone does this nicely:
This means that your user has no indication of the total content length or the current scroll position when you show HTML content in your application, which is a bit unfortunate. In the following I talk about the various attempts and ideas I tried to fix this; if you're only interested in a possible work around, you can skip to the end of the post. More...
26. January 2012 19:15
I am proud to announce that I have joined the team at Applied Information Technologies in Stuttgart, Germany. Founded in 1991, AIT has gained outstanding achievements over the years. In 2011 it became the first Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Lifecycle Management in Middle Europe, and was awarded as Microsoft DevTools Service Partner of the Year. AIT also is a Microsoft Gold Partner as Independent Software Vendor and has won the BQI Agile Leadership Award last year.
Every single member of the team is a deeply committed, skilled professional in their respective fields. You may know some of these people from conference talks, MSDN webcasts, print publications, from their leading role in the community as Microsoft MVPs, or simply from one of the countless projects they have completed successfully. Needless to say that I am thrilled to be a part of this company, and to contribute to the success and spirit of the team. Starting February 1st, my involvement will cover the full .NET stack as well as Silverlight, as a consultant, software architect and more.
What will this mean for my blog?
Short answer: nothing will change. I receive full support from AIT for what I do, and to continue my investments in the community and Windows Phone, so please expect the same quality and amount of blog posts, articles, webcasts and open source work for the community in 2012 as in the years before.
17. January 2012 08:06
I'm happy to announce that starting today, my complete "Turn Out" Windows Phone training is available for free to anyone. In the past, individual parts were available to the public already, but now you can watch this whole series of development training, with over 20 hours of screencast material, at no cost.
The training walks you through the development of a small game for Windows Phone (that is also available in the Marketplace for free) and shows various aspects of programming for the platform, including:
- Working with MVVM
- Unit testing
- Creating user controls
- Visual States, Triggers, Actions
- The application bar
- Sharing code between platforms (the project includes a WPF level editor)
- Working with the Toolkit (in particular, the LongListSelector)
- Advertising (both Microsoft's SDK and AdDuplex)
- Creating an about page
- Profiling your app to identify and resolve performance problems
- Details of the submission process
The training is targeted at "Mango" and makes use of its new features, and of course the full source code for every session, including the final product, is available too. You can find the training here:
I hope you all will enjoy this; have fun developing for Windows Phone!
11. January 2012 01:30
Over the last weeks, some users of my project "YLAD" brought some additional localization scenarios to my attention. This resulted in both some improvements to the project itself (which I've just released as a new version on CodePlex and NuGet), and the need to talk about some obstacles you might come across. More...
3. January 2012 01:01
This is not one of my usual posts, it's more of a random complaint. A rant that has been sitting in my draft folder for half a year and finally deserves to see the light. Of course it will contain some technical details too (after all, this is a technical blog), but to be honest, I like complaining, so that's what I'm going to do today. In fact, I am known as the "complain" guy among my friends, because I probably spend more time complaining than doing actual work, sleeping, eating and shutting up during movies put together. The reason you've never heard me complain in this blog simply is that I complain so much during the day that there's hardly anything left to complain about in the evening when I write these posts (yes, I adhere to DRY even when I'm whining). So again, if you expect some fancy technical article, stop reading until it is too late, or skip all the way down to the – serious – conclusion. Unless of course it happens that you accidentally are a member of the team at Microsoft that maintains the Zune PC software. Then please, read on, no matter what. :) More...