Archives / 2013
  • Moving to Windows Phone 8

    NOTE: This is part of a series covering Windows Client development. Our sample application is RMV Awesome, an awesomely named Modern UI application for keeping tabs on the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles wait times. In this article we'll bring our sample application to Windows Phone 8.

    Although both Windows and Windows Phone share a large number of concepts and components, they are still distinct platforms. There are a number of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) differences in how each platform implements...
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  • Leveraging Portable Class Libraries

    NOTE: This is part of a series covering Windows Client development. Our sample application is RMV Awesome, an ironically named Modern UI application for keeping tabs on the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. In this article we'll take a step towards Windows Phone by introducing Portable Class Libraries.

    On the path towards Windows Phone we must first stop off in the land of Portable Class Libraries or PCLs. In many was a PCL is just like any other Library, it holds...
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  • Renaming a Windows 8.1 App

    One of the often overlooked improvements for the Windows Store in Windows 8.1 answers one of the more common questions I'm asked by developers.

    Previously the name you reserved for your app was someone permanent. Sure, you could rename your app but it required republishing your app under the new name and delisting your old one. The downside of this was that your existing users had no idea and therefore ended up orphaned from future upgrades.

    With 8.1 you can now rename...
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  • Image Importer

    I recently published an app for Windows 8.1 for importing photos. Image Importer provides an enhanced photo importation over the default Photos app. Specifically it adds two features previously available in Windows Essentials Live Gallery - the ability to import files into folders by Date Taken and remove files from the source media when completed. I developed this utility for my personal use but decided to publish it after hearing other's in the community looking for these features.

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  • Seting Up Settings

    Last fall I wrote about the Settings Charm and how to leverage it for Privacy Policy. That post is still completely relevant today but I want to update the examples to leverage the new Settings Flyout control in Windows 8.1.


    Windows 8.1 introduces a new control for XAML, the SettingsFlyout. Previously this control had only been available for JavaScript apps or as a 3rd party component. It provides a convenient way for creating app settings flyouts in your app that comply with...
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  • RMV Awesome!

    A few years ago I found myself in a legendary convergence, a kismet of epic proportion, a "big bang" that shook me to the core. This wasn't something trivial like singularity. This was bigger, much bigger.

    I needed to build app for Windows 8 that demonstrated some fundamental principles of WinRT and Modern UI development. It also so happened that I needed to renew my vehicle registration and I was dreading the idea of waiting in line for hours. Out of...
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  • August M. LaFleur

    CAPE COD, July 15 2013 – August Manross LaFleur was born late Thursday evening weighing 7lbs and laying 19 inches long. His first words upon entering this world were unintelligible and awaiting audio analysis. Several witnesses reported that the words were something to the effect of “What did I do to deserve these guys for a family?”. Other witnesses stated that he was reminding his parents that he wasn't in fact born in August and irony is highly overrated and...
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  • Hubtastic

    There are two universal truths about the Bing News app on Windows 8. The first is that it represents the best of Windows 8 app design with dynamic content, gorgeous images and intuitive navigation. The second is that it is nearly impossible for the average developer (maybe even many above average developers) to reproduce. The fact is, it isn't just one of the best Windows 8 apps, it was written by some of the best Windows 8 developers. Thankfully Windows...
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  • WebAuthenticationBroker & Facebook

    I needed to use Facebook authentication in a Windows Store app the other day. The Windows Runtime makes this trivially easy with it's WebAuthenticationBroker class. The web authentication broker allows apps to use Internet authentication and authorization protocols like OAuth and OpenID with minimal effort. Unfortunately the samples I found on the interwebs for Facebook were buggy/incomplete or assumed the I had a deep understanding of Facebook authentication. After a bit of work I was able to get it working and...
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  • Style In The Round

    As part of my job I get to talk with a lot of developers, designers and product managers. When the subject of User Experience comes up (and it always does), I always emphasize the importance of thinking "outside the box".

    Yes, I know. It is a horrible cliché, a vestigial remnant of bad management consulting that should have gone the way of sock puppets. But stick with me for a second, it isn't what you assume it is.

    When I say this,...
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  • A Better Sample Data

    Scott Hanselman recently wrote about some placeholder images sites for web development. As is typical for one of his posts, it pointed me towards something I was completely unaware of. It also inspired me to solve a personally annoyance of mine.

    As a Technical Evangelist I spend a good deal of presenting Windows 8 development techniques. In most cases these presentations consist of my coding up an application in front of the audience. I almost always start with one of the...
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  • Do It With Style

    Along with the introduction of Windows 8 came the induction of formalized user experience design guidelines. This was a pretty revolutionary step in Windows development. The historic lack of any formal UX guidelines for previous versions of Windows had been bemoaned by for years. Developers were left to their own devices with predictable results; including entire web sites devoted to shaming some of the more horrendous examples.

    While some members of the community did an excellent job of attempting to educate...
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  • Word as Blog Editor

    Did you know that Microsoft Word also makes an excellent blog editor? In fact, this post made using Word 2013. So how do you set up Word for blog editing? It is rather simple, albeit a little round about.

    The process starts by opening Microsoft Word and selecting "Blog Post" as the template. This is the convoluted part, even if you are looking to edit and existing post you start by opening a new Blog Post template. Like I said, it is a...
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  • Custom Headers with HttpClient

    I while back I talked about Basic Authentication with HttpClient. Kaysha posted an excellent question about custom headers for things like User-Agent and Content-Type. Here is how you handle those headers.

    HttpClient is extremely simple to use out of the box. Most of the plumbing is automatically handled for you. In some cases however you need to change some of that plumbing. As with most abstractions however, you often need to take a few steps back when you need to change the assumptions...
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  • Too Clever By Half

    So I'm a bit of a stickler for fool-proof configuration, sometimes to my own detriment.  In response to my earlier Bing Maps SDK issue with x64 I thought I would be really clever and just remove x64 as a target platform from the solution configuration. I thought it was clever. Heck, It was clever....too clever it seems.

    It turns out that removing a Solution Platform from your solution will result in a rather unceremonious Visual Studio crash when you attempt to Create App Package for...
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  • Bing Maps SDK

    I've been playing around with the Bing Maps SDK over the holidays. The documentation includes a step-by-step guide for adding Bing Maps to my app that got me up and running. I had to make some small changes like targeting specific CPU and not the default 'Any CPU' target and (since this app is written in C#) I had to add a reference to the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Package in addition to the Bing Maps SDK.

    Once I had the project...
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