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WPDEV reaches 400+ members

9 Jan

Today the Danish usergroup for Windows Phone developers (WPDEV) reached 400+ developers. During the 1½ years of existing we have held several code camps around Denmark with several hundreds of developers participating.

It’s been an pleasure to be part of the inner circle – I look forward to the next year with a lot of new stuff coming up.

//xamlgeek

Numeric keyboard on Windows Phone 7

15 Nov

Typing on a smartphone can be somewhat of a challenge. Therefore as much help as possible is often preferred. When the user selects a TextBox in a Windows Phone 7 app it will show the normal alphanumeric keyboard by default.

If the user should input a numeric value it would be a help for the user that the numeric keyboard was show as default instead. The trick is to set the InputScope property. Setting InputScope="CurrencyAmount" on a TextBox will force the numeric keyboard to be show.

//xamlgeek

Windows Phone brugergruppen runder 300 medlemmer

12 Nov

Den danske Windows Phone brugergruppe (wpdev) er ikke mere end godt ét år gammel. Alligevel kunne gruppen i dag fejre medlem nummer 300 (tak til Keld, udviklingschef hos EG Neoprocess).

I løbet af det seneste år har brugergruppen ikke være fantastisk aktiv, men afholdte sidste år codecamps for 100+ udviklere. I løbet af november 2011 afholder gruppen igen en række codecamps i København, Århus, Odense og Aalborg – det tyder allerede på en deltagerrekord med næsten 70 tilmeldte i København alene.

//xamlgeek

Can a WP7 app expire?

8 Nov

During one of my Windows Phone talks I got a question about the expiration of a Windows Phone app. Can it expire and will it at some point be removed from the marketplace if it is rated to low during a period.

The answer is no!

An app will never expire no matter the number of downloads or what the ratings are. The only scenario where an app will be removed from the marketplace is if the app hub account expires.

//xamlgeek

TV 2 NEWS for Windows Phone

5 Oct

Yesterday TV 2 released their news app for Windows Phone 7. The app shows the latest news in a feed and streams the TV 2 NEWS channel using SmoothStreaming. The app is in Danish and requires a Sputnik subscription to see the live news stream.

The app is developed in a working relationship between TV/2 Danmark, Microsoft Danmark (Martin Esmann) and Bluefragments (Thomas Martinsen).

You can download the app for free at the Marketplace or here.

//xamlgeek

Slides and demos from WP7 talk

25 Aug

Earlier today I did a one hour talk about Windows Phone 7 and Mango. Most of the talk was about the platform but luckily I managed to show a demo based on a OData feed from Netflix.

The slides are available here and the demo is available here.

by xamlgeek

How happy are you with your mobile OS?

21 Jul

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my experience with iPhone 4. I was not very satisfied with the device.

From a survey of 4000+ mobile users, 57 percent of Windows Phone 7 users are “very satisfied” with the devices. That compares to 50 percent who are “very satisfied” with their Android device. Seventy percent of iOS users report being “very satisfied”.

Guess I’m alone in the World…

Read the full article at GeekWire.

by xamlgeek

Status on Windows Phone 7

11 Jul

Yesterday I did a post about iPhone and iPad. To sum it up I was not very pleased about iPhone but I can see some quality in iPad. Since I was not very please about the iPhone I decided to write this post about Windows Phone 7 and my thoughts on the Windows Phone platform based on the public Mango beta.

Penetration
Microsoft was late in the game about the next generation smartphones. Some will say they are 2 years late – some will say they are too late get in the game at all. According to Gartner Microsoft will gain about 20 percent market penetration in 2015 (Google 50 percent and Apple 18 percent). The growth in Microsofts market penetration is apparently caused by the coorporation with Nokia. We still haven’t seen any Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 but rumours say they will send least one on the market before EOY 2011.

Developer experience
There is no doubt that one of the forces of Windows Phone 7 is its developer experience. Developing an app for WP7 is easy. Visual Studio is the primary development tool for lots of developers but more and more developers have taken Expression Blend into their toolbox (this is based on my own experience). Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4 is strong tools helping developers to create apps easy and in a known environment.

Hardware
Apple have had great success designing good looking phones and only make their OS run on their own hardware. On the other hand Google have had great success in designing an OS that can run on almost any mobile platform making it the fastest growing OS at the moment. The Windows Phone platform is designed to run on different hardware (with some pretty high minimum hardware requirements). At the moment we have only seen a limited number of devices running Windows Phone 7 but after the coorporation with Nokia we must expect to see a large number of Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7 in the future.

I have had some severe issues with my Windows Phone 7 based hardware (Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart). I really hope that these issues are unique and will never be witnessed by a “normal” user.

Buttons
One of the major downsides of the Windows Phone platform is the buttons on the phone. The hardware producers are forced to place 3 buttons in front of the phone – a back button, a search button and the Windows button. So the back button and the Windows button makes sence but I really do not see any use of the search button – only that Microsoft wish to force Bing into our lives in a really annoying way. In the beta version of Mango the only purpose of the search button is a shortcut to search Bing. Any actual search functionality on the phone is activated using software buttons.

The real problems begin if you get a phone with touch buttons – you will stroke the buttons all the time interrupting the actual purpose you got on the phone. Microsoft have indicated some improvements in this area but nothing have been published yet. Microsoft, please please remove the search button – I promise to visit bing.com at least once every day if you do.

Performance
The performance on the Windows Phone platform is amazing. It runs really smooth and provide a really good user experience. On the same time the tiles makes the phone come alive and ready to make a distance to other more static platforms.

Marketplace
To publish an app to the marketplace it needs to be approved by Microsoft. Despite a few problems getting apps through the certification process it is in general a smooth process that should be completed in 4-5 days. In the first version of Windows Phone 7 there were some issues searching the marketplace. Often games, apps and music got mixed in the search result. This should be better in the final version of Mango.

Did I forget anything? Let me know at @xamlgeek.

by xamlgeek
@xamlgeek

Apple is in the House

9 Jul

Apple have been innovators on the next generation of smartphones and on the next generation of tablets. To be honest I appriciate the introduction of iPhone – the smartphone market was almost not evolving at the time. As a Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 developer I’m not sure that I understand the fixation Apple have received after introducing iPhone and iPad; the IOS platform is very limited and not very developer-friendly – but damn they (Apple) produce some nice hardware!

For a long time I have been listening more or less passive to the hype about iPhone and iPad. Yesterday I decided that enough is enought! I decided to buy an iPhone and iPad to try them out and see if the fixation is genuie. I bought an iPhone 4 (16GB) and an iPad 2 (64GB); both with a 32MBit data connection from 3 (http://3.dk). The iPad is with a docking station from Apple.

Prior to buying the stuff above I have been using a Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC Mozart (both with Windows Phone 7.1 beta) as my primary phones and an Acer Iconia W500 slate running Windows 7. Becides that I have a Lenovo T410S I use for development. I have been pleased with the Windows Phone platform so far – there are some issues I find critical if Microsoft is going to be able to get a leading position in the smartphone market but it is a really good starting point.

First let me comment on the iPhone. What Apples always have been good at is the wrapping. I received it in a very small box and it looked like a million (Nokia, Samsung and HTC pay attention – you could learn a lot here from Apple!). I put in the micro sim card and turned it on. “Please connect to iTunes”. What? What the fuck! A few years ago I had an iPod – being forced to use iTunes to choose to give it away. In my opinion iTunes is by far the most non-userfriendly music application ever created. With no way around it I choose to install iTunes again. Running through a quick wizard in iTunes to register the iPhone it was ready to use.

My expections for the iPhone was high. With all the hype I almost expected it to be ready to make coffee for me :) I tuned some settings and tried to download a few apps – constantly I was told that I wasn’t able to use the data connection. Laying the blame on the location (Ordrup, Denmark) I accepted this eventhough I had an average speed when using my laptop. As the hours went by and I was getting more and more annoid about the lack of performance of the data connection I recalled the media storm about the antenna problem. Almost for fun I tried to hold the iPhone in the bottom between my fingertips the data connection instantly doubled the performance. WHAT?! Why is such a simple problem not fixed?!

Next step was to get my 3 e-mail accounts up and running: a hosted Exchange account, a Hotmail account and a GMail account. I was fairly simple to add all the accounts. Not sure why but a lot of my contacts from my Exchange account was added 3 or 4 times (this could be something done wrong from my side). Looking at my e-mail accounts from the startscreen I only get notified about new mails; not on which account and I have to got through a few steps to open to correct mailbox. No big issue but in the long run it could be. Finding something in the AppStore is easy! and I can find almost anything I want. However the AppStore is REALLY slow (could be a side effect of the data connection issue mentioned above).

I have used the iPhone as my primary phone for a few days now and I have to switch back my Windows Phone 7. The iPhone is too slow and it is static and borring in its userability. On the upside the hardware looks so much better then any other phone on the market and it is obvious that Apple have learned some lessons during the first 3 versions. However with the developer experience in mind iPhone (4) could never be my primary phone.

With that in mind I turned on the iPad. It looks cool and weights about half of my Acer tablet. After completing the wizard in iTunes I tried to install a few apps. This time I did not experience any problems the data connection and the apps was quickly installed. Tried to introduce Angry Birds to my 2 1/2 years old son with great succes. This was not possible on the Samsung Omnia 7 due to the touch search-button. Anybody with the a Windows Phone 7 and with touch buttons knows about the issue.

I expected to use Windows Live Apps to edit my Office documents. Fast I realised that IOS is just a mobile OS. Dough! Windows Live Apps is not supported in mobile browsers leaving me without any possibility of editing my documents. Dammit! Why haven’t Apple upgraded their OS on iPad to run some more features then the extremly limited version running on iPhone?

Since you’re reading this blogpost you know that I use WordPress as my blogging engine. I found a WordPress app for the iPad enabling me to write posts on the iPad. And it actually works pretty good. There is already lots of iPad specific apps and some of them looks really nice.

So the iPad is good for two things: children (of any age) playing and blogging :) (not fair to say, I know!). I have only been using the iPad for about 5 hours but I must that I see some great potential in the format and Apple’s infrastructure on this platform. I hope to see OSX vNext running on iPad some day. That would really turn this platform into something really great.

Having tried iPhone and iPad I there is not doubt iPhone is not the best smartphone on the market but the iPad got some great potential. Dear iPhone users (and developers), please give Windows Phone 7 a try – you will be REALLY positive surprised!

UPDATE: As a follow up on this post I did a post on the status of Windows Phone 7. You can read it here. One thing that keep amazing me is the hardware that Apple produces – it is in an entire different league then most other hardware manufactores. I have received a few comments about my judgement of the iPhone – I stand by my comments by admit that I had really high expections which might have had influence on my judgement. I will give it another go soon and I all-in-all do believe that it is a good phone.

This post is written on my iPad.

by xamlgeek
@xamlgeek

(anybody want’s to buy an almost new iPhone 4?)

Limitations in number of items in the ApplicationBar

29 Jun

During a Windows Phone 7 course a few weeks ago I was asked about limitations in the ApplicationBar for Windows Phone 7 applications. I mentioned my thoughts on the overall design of the ApplicationBar – e.g. the missing possibilities of sharing an ApplicationBar between pages (there are some workarounds!).

The student asked about any limitations in the number of items – to be honest I did not know the precise answer. I quickly discovered that the limitation is 4 items. If you try to add more items then 4 items you will get a warning in design time and XamlParseException at runtime (inner exceptions is “Too many items in list”).

by xamlgeek 
@xamlgeek