Nominated for 3 Microsoft Partner Awards

5 Nov

Tonight is the annual Microsoft Denmark Partner Award show – and Bluefragments are nominated for 3 awards.

We submitted applications for three categories and has been honored with a nomination in all three (which of course must mean we are among the 3 best in each category in the field of more than 4000 Microsoft partners in Denmark :)):

  • App partner of the year
  • Innovation Partner Partner of the year, Product Services & Technology
  • Customer satisfaction

The award show tonight is at the brand new Microsoft Office in Lyngby – exciting times :D

MPA_nominering_2015_App MPA_nominering_2015_Bedste_Kundetilfredshed MPA_nominering_2015_Innovations_Produkt_S_T

// thomas

Guide: How to use a MacMini as your Xamarin.iOS Build Host

30 Aug

This guide describes how to setup your Windows PC and your MacMini so you can use your MacMini as Xamarin.iOS Build Host and continue to develop on your Windows PC – even if you’re traveling.

If you develop iOS apps based on Xamarin you will most likely be using a MacBook Pro (or something similar) running Windows in some form. If you’re a Windows developer working on a Windows PC and for good reasons wants to stick to this setup, you have an alternative to buying a MacBook Pro. To be able to compile your Xamarin.iOS apps you will need a Mac – but you can actually settle with a MacMini costing less than 25% of a MacBook Pro.

Xamarin

First of all you will need to have Xamarin installed on your Windows PC and on your MacMini. When you install Xamarin on your MacMini it will automatically install Xamarin.iOS Build Host. If you install Visual Studio 2015 on your Windows PC you can choose to install Xamarin during the setup process.

The network

Your Windows PC and your MacMini needs to be on the same network for Visual Studio to be able to find the Xamarin.iOS Build Host. The MacMini is designed to work as a static machine in an office or a home. If you’re working from your office this is not an issue – you will most likely be on the same network.

However if you travel or work from different locations it is not an option to bring your MacMini all the time. For the Windows PC and the MacMini to be on the same network all the time you can use a simple VPN tool. I have good experience with Hamachi from LogMeIn – it is really simple to create a network and have your Windows PC and your MacMini to join the network.

To connect Visual Studio and your Xamarion.iOS Build Host you will need the IP address of our Xamarin.iOS Build Host – it is revealed in the Hamachi client. I have experienced that in some cases you will need to restart Visual Studio have you connected for the first time to be able to maintain the connection.

Now that you’re on the same network the connection and have setup the connection between Visual Studio and your Xamarin.iOS Build Host, the connection will remain even if you’re on different locations.

Remote access

When you debug a Xamarion.iOS app from Visual Studio you will have it running either in a simulator (on the MacMini) or on a device (connected to your MacMini). If you’re working right next to your MacMini you can easily see the simulator or use a device.

However if you’re on a different location you will need to have remote access to your MacMini.

On your Windows PC you will need to have a viewer installed. I have tried TeamViewer and UltraVNC and found UltraVNC to be the best tool for me as it is the most simple tool (if you choose UltraVNC beaware of the many ads on their homepage – the viewer is ad free).

On your MacMini you just need to enable remote access as it already have a VNC server included. Graham Miln wrote a post on how to enable it.

Using the client viewer you can now easily debug and run your Xamarin.iOS app even if you’re not sitting next to your MacMini.

MacMini startup

For the above setup to work it is crucial that your MacMini is available at all times. By default the MacMini will go sleep after a few minutes if not used. I bought a small app to keep the MacMini awake called Stay Awake – I’m sure there are several app like it.

I setup Stay Awake and Xamarin.iOS to start automatically when the MacMini starts – and finally I set up the MacMini to auto login during startup to ensure that it will be availble even if it for some reason reboots.

// thomas

Notice: I have experienced that the connection between Visual Studio and Xamarin.iOS Build Host becomes unavailable on some company guest networks and on some mobile networks.

Child node exited prematurely. Shutting down.

13 Jan

As written yesterday I have spend the weekend working on a Windows 8.1 solution for a customer. For several good reasons (mostly fun) I tested the solution on my Windows 10 Preview machine running Visual Studio 2015 Preview.

When I compiled I got the following error:

Child node “2” exited prematurely. Shutting down. Diagnostic information may be found in files in the temporary files directory named MSBuild_*.failure.txt.

The error itself didn’t reveal much about the error but of course everything pointed at either Windows 10 Preview or Visual Studio 2013 Preview.

A quick search showed surprising few results. I found two leads that I tried to follow.

First lead was this one Problems with Parallel build using MSBuild at StackOverflow. It lead me into modifying the MSBuild process to run without parallel. I tested in a command prompt with the following command.

“C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\MSBuild.exe”
“C:\Source\[Customer]\[Project]\[Solution].sln” /t:Build /m
/v:q /p:Optimize=”True”;DebugSymbols=”True”;Configuration=”Release”

The issue remained and I had to follow my next lead HeatDirectory failure on TFS with MSBUILD error MSB4166: Child node “3” exited prematurely also from StackOverflow. It lead me into modifying the solution and projects to x86 instead of x64 as well as changing the MSBuild process to build on an x86 platform. The issue remained.

To be honest at this point everything seamed like a bug in Visual Studio 2015 Preview and I actually considered giving up and accepting the bug (hahaha I wouldn’t give up in a million years!). A little bit desperate I installed Visual Studio 2013 on my Windows 10 Preview machine. To my frustration the issue remained in Visual Studio 2013.

For fun I tried to begin to exclude projects and files in the solution. First the test projects (of course!), then the portable class libraries and then the nuget packages. The issue remained. Finally I began removing features and styles and suddently I could build and 5 minutes later I had identified the bug.

As part of our refactoring between the Windows Phone 8.1 project and Windows 8.1 project we had by mistake added a DataTemplate to a ResourceDictionary. Well it is actually ok but the issues was that a Button in the DataTemplate called the Tapped eventhandler (and that is definitely no-go!).

To reproduce the error all you need to do is add a ResourceDictionary to your solution (you don’t need to make a reference to it from the App.xaml file). Add the following DataTemplate to the ResourceDictionary:

<DataTemplate x:Key=”template1″>
<Grid>
<Button Content=”Hello World”
Tapped=”button_Tapped” />
  </Grid>
</DataTemplate>

With the eventhandler removed the solution compiled in both Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015 Preview on my Windows 10 Preview machine. Finally! :D

Obviously something is changed between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 in the way solutions are compiled or at least at what causes a compile error (looking into that now). And I guess a few improvements could be in place regarding the error message :)

// thomas

MakePRI : warning 0xdef00520: Invalid qualifier

10 Jan

The last couple of days I have been working on a Windows 8.1 solution for a customer. The solution is an universal app and we launched the Windows Phone part last month so this month is all about building the Windows 8.1 part.

In the Windows Phone app we used resource files for handling strings and localization. Resource files are easy to use and allows us to set x:uid on a control to apply localized strings.

Looking forward this solution doesn’t work for us. We decided to use a very simple dictionary solution that we can call to the the localized string we need. To fill the dictionaries we had three xml files with data each representing a langague. The xml files was named strings.en-us.xml, strings.da-dk.xml and strings.sv-se.xml.

When we build the solution we got the following warnings:

5>MakePRI : warning 0xdef00520: Invalid qualifier: DA-DK
5>MakePRI : warning 0xdef00520: Invalid qualifier: EN-US
5>MakePRI : warning 0xdef00520: Invalid qualifier: SV-SE

In my search for a solution I checked the <Resource Language=”x-generate” /> in the Package.AppManifest files to see if this was causing any issues – it wasn’t.

I was looking into external assemblies that might would be missing some resources – it wasn’t an issue.

After a little bit of further searching I figured it out! It was the nameing of the xml files that caused the warnings. If filenames inlcudes language codes (da-dk etc.) the solution expects the app to be supported in this language – and it wasn’t. After a quick renaming of the three files the warning was gone :)

// thomas

Xamarin for Visual Studio 2015 preview

20 Nov

As part of the Connect() event Microosft released Visual Studio 2015 preview. It is an awesome version of Visual Studio with lots of new exiting features. Building cross platform apps is now integrated deeply into Visual Studio giving even more focus on Xamarin as solid cross platform technology. For period we have begun looking at Xamarin as part of our portfolio in Bluefragments. Hence the even closer  relation between Microsoft and Xamarin is great for a company like Bluefragments.

photo-2-copy1

The installer for Xamarin for Visual Studio 2015 preview is available from within Visual Studio 2015 and you will be prompted to download it when you try to build your first Android or IOS app.

2014-11-20_203331

By default, the Xamarin Windows Installer will just update the components you have previously installed, when applying an update. Since you previously didn’t have 2015 components installed, then by default you won’t be getting them installed right now – that is a bug and the workaround is right here.

Happy cross platform development :)

// thomas

Design og brugeroplevelse til apps

5 Mar

Dansk IT afholder konferencen “Financial Tech Hub”, der sætter fokus på trends i IT-udvikling i den finansielle verden.

Til konferencen har jeg fået lov til at tale lidt om “Design og brugeroplevelse til apps”. Der ligger en en masse muligheder netop indenfor den finansielle verden, som jeg glæder mig til at tale om.

Læs mere på http://www.dit.dk/events/2014/03/25-financial-tech-hop.aspx

Bluefragments won the Microsoft App Partner 2013 award

26 Nov

A few weeks back Bluefragments was nominated in two categories for Microsoft Partner Award 2013.

Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the award show but Martin Jepsen and Deani Hansen took my place instead. I was told that it was a great evening and there was a really good atmosphere. Maybe that have something to do with the fact that we won the Microsoft App Partner Award 2013. YEAH!

This have everything to do with our awesome customers, a really great team in Bluefragments and a good relationship with Microsoft Danmark. Thank you everybody!

Post from Microsoft Partner blog
Article from ComputerWorld

// thomas

Application Insight for Windows Store and Windows Phone apps

21 Nov

In the launch keynote of Visual Studio 2013, Brian Harry announced and demoed a new service called Application Insights.

The service is available through Visual Studio Online and “collects, processes and presents a wide variety of telemetry including performance, usage, availability, exception, crash, environment, log and developer-supplied data from all components of a modern application – including clients (devices and browser), servers, databases and services.”

With Application Insights it is possible to gain full insight into your Windows Store and Windows Phone applications; how does the user actually use your app, which features are used the most or least, are there any performance issues and so on. All of this will be presented nicely in a dashboard that can easily be customized to your exact needs directly in Visual Studio Online.

Currently the service is available as limited preview and you can sign up from Visual Studio Online:
https://YOURALIAS.visualstudio.com/_appanalytics/_analyticssignup

Bluefragments have been part of the TAP program since early this year and have followed Tofino become what it is today (truly amazing work by some passionate guys!). Looking forward to integrate Application Insights into our Windows Phone and Windows Store apps.

// thomas

Bluefragments nominated for a Microsoft Partner Award

19 Nov

Last week I was informed that my company, Bluefragments, is nominated for a Microsoft Partner Award 2013. We are nominated in two different categories:

  • Innovation Partner of the Year
  • App Partner of the Year

This nomination have only been possible due to hard work from the entire team – both employees and freelancers. A big thank you to everybody in the team for your awesome effort.

We are really proud of the nomination and are looking forward to the award show on the 21st November 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

// thomas

 

mpn_partnernominering_2013_Innovation_Produkt  mpn_partnernominering_2013_APP

Bluefragments Windows 8 SWAT team

15 Oct

A few weeks back Bluefragments announced the beginning of a new Windows 8 SWAT team. We received several applications from a lot of qualified developers and designers from all over Denmark.

In the previous months, I have talked to a number of companies in Denmark, to find an event that would fit into the first Bluefragments Windows 8 SWAT event. Today I’m thrilled to announce that Bluefragments have made an agreement with a major Danish media company to do a news center for Windows 8.

There are a variety of news apps for Windows 8. However many of them are made ​​with no special focus on the Windows 8 platform. This is an unique opportunity for a news app that dares to stand out and take advantage of all the features the Windows 8 platform offers.

Look forward to an awesome news app coming to the Windows Store really soon.

// thomas