Tag Archives: Windows Phone 8

WP8 Development 17-23

Overview and persisting

Having built the SoundBoard app with lesson 1 through 23, I have been writing code, along with each video, while adequately commenting. I now have an unambiguous overview of Windows Phone 8 development and to challenge myself, I have volunteered for the opportunity to build the Windows Phone 8 interpretation of an app that is already available for iOS and Android, of which the SoundBoard app will be a great resource. I am going to repeat lesson 1 through 23, but not through video, rather, the text and screenshot version of each lesson and my source code commenting. It won’t be the app that I’ll build and of which I will publish the source code of (as communicated in C#: Day 2), but I will write a blog post of the trial and tribulation, methodology and result of my first attempt at an app. Most of what the app will be is accounted for with the SoundBoard app, but not everything, including the part that Bob Tabor challenges you to in the beginning of lesson 14. I’ll attempt to trounce that challenge with this app before continuing the series and I’ll elaborate on that separately. I’ll essentially attempt a few of his challenges at the end of lesson 23 as well, albeit with the app I am building. Naturally, I could begin smaller, i.e. building a variant of the “PetSounds” app, and persist from there. Although, I visualize that I would be able to do that easily enough.

Learning is half the fun

Packages, like the Coding4Fun Toolkit package and the Json.NET package are an invaluable resource along with the NuGet application-level package manager extension for Visual Studio. As for Json.NET, JSON and Json Data – all of which there was a referral to by Bob in lesson 21 – I didn’t get a palpable grasp of what either of them was and the use for them (other than the application of them in the SoundBoard app) as well as what Serialization and Deserialization implied. A few Bing queries afterward was enlightening (hint: underlined text == link). MSDN has a helpful article – albeit from 2002 – on Object Serialization in .NET and Windows Phone Dev Center has a topic on Serialization as well. Part 11 of Windows Store apps for Absolute Beginners with C# will probably clarify Json Data even further when I eventually get to that series. Thus, these packages, or Open Source libraries, with their preprogrammed Classes and Methods, have you building apps with littlest effort and with outright haste.

Lastly, Kudos to Clint Rutkas.

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WP8 Development 6-16

Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners goes on to the development of the SoundBoard app.

“Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” — Jean Cocteau

The benefit to previous knowledge of CSS is increasingly apparent after the Part 6 lesson and going forward. The similarities to CSS when you style using Static Resources of which you give a key to be able to reference using Markup extensions, are obvious. The App.xaml being the equivalent to an external style sheet and the MainPage.xaml to the internal style sheet, while converting styles, or rather Theme resources, to a local value, corresponds to inline styles.

Who’s a pretty app?

Concocting a mockup from a sketch template as well as familiarizing with the Design Process and the different Tile templates is a desirable discipline. Live Tiles are preferable to the static icons of alternative mobile operating systems, and I’ll elaborate on that in a forthcoming blog post on iOS and Windows Phone, and later, on Android and Windows Phone as well.

Using Brain.ToComprehend();

Assimilating a fundamental grasp on the C# code and XAML markup, their syntax and how they operate individually and interact jointly, as well as the correlation of Runtime and Design-time, the IDE and the Windows Phone Emulator, is predominant thus far. I would not be able to write the SoundBoard app code by heart as of yet, but I have a newfound realization when contemplating the code. A Method stub, anyone?

Keep Calm and Develop On

Along somewhere, I did overlook a namespace: using SoundBoard.ViewModels; in MainPage.xaml.cs that had to be there for the Part 15 lesson. A mouseover the red squiggly line under SoundData revealed that “The type or namespace name ‘SoundData’ could not be found […]”, which had me identify where the SoundData Class, or rather, Object type, was established and how it was implemented, to solve the issue. Although, it is easier to mouseover the little blue rectangle under ‘SoundData’ (set the cursor anywhere within the red squiggly line), click the icon and select using SoundBoard.ViewModels; to have the IDE identify and solve the problem. When I went to comment on it, I saw someone have had that issue too and had already commented on it. Repeating a segment of the Part 15 lesson from the day before, gave me a better grasp on the LongListSelector_SelectionChanged Event handler and its related XAML Elements and Properties. Concluding that repetition is clarifying, solving a problem yourself is good practice, but should you run into an issue, see the comments.

As I download the video of each lesson, I play it with VLC media player set to Always on Top, writing the code in Visual Studio myself as it is playing. Amid C#, setting the Solution Explorer window to Auto Hide, and the Device window amid XAML too, the UI and video are both accessible on the 2560 pixel wide screen. Although, while doing Part 16, I lapsed when Bob Tabor uncommented line 26, BuildLocalizedApplicationBar(); of the MainPage.xaml.cs, and thus the Application Bar didn’t appear when I started debugging, although without a single error. Solving the issue was straightforward, the Application Bar had its invocation expression commented out and was therefor never invoked.

Furthermore, you don’t want to create two MainPage.xaml and MainPage.xaml.cs in the same project, like I tried when changing the Grid element into a StackPanel element in Part 5 – as I desired to have both for the purpose of repeating and with separate commenting in the same project – even if you rename Classes, et cetera. Create a copy of the project folder.

WP8 Development 1-5

I have gleefully finished part 1 through 5 of Channel 9, Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners.

Windows Phone Emulator

A virtual Windows Phone device.

Installation and requirements

As you install the Windows Phone SDK (SDK 8.0), Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone goes with it, both of which are free. It has a different layout to Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop, intelligibly. Thence, I now have both. There are system requirements for the former, which are Windows 8.1 Pro (or 8.0 Pro) 64-bit OS and an x86-64 CPU with either AMD or Intel Virtualization (AMD-V and VT-x respectively) and to have the BIOS or UEFI setting of that technology set to enabled) as the Windows Phone Emulator will use Hyper-V hardware virtualization. If you have any Intel Core i3/i5/i7 (nearly all Core 2) or AMD Athlon II, Phenom, Phenom II or FX processor, you are O.K.

Screenshots of the installation.

Windows Phone 8.0 SDK and Visual Studio Update 4 installation.

XHTML, HTML, XAML, SGML, XML … WTH.

My previous knowledge of HTML and CSS, specifically XHTML have been an asset as to grasping XAML. You have Elements and Attributes in XAML too (although termed Objects and Properties), recognizable from XHTML and HTML as well as the familiar syntax and structure. There are subtle differences as well of course, for instance, the lowercase tags of XHTML as opposed to case-sensitive CamelCase of XAML. While HTML is a derivative of SGML and XHTML is a derivative of XML – which is also a derivative of SGML – XAML too is a derivative of XML and the sum of fundamental knowledge of each, does coalesce into a revelation with a newfound grasp on – and an awareness of – markup language, namespaces, procedural programmingdeclarative programming and well-formedness that I didn’t have prior. Bob Tabor suggested to learn either of HTML vs. XHTML and CSS in the concluding thoughts to the C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners series and it is already apparent as to why. XML itself has become increasingly compelling too. Eventually, I’ll do the HTML5 & CSS3 Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners series as well. I am enthralled by C#, XAML and Visual Studio.

A Screenshot of the IDE.

The Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

C#: Day 4

Yesterday, I finished the 24 episode, 7+ hour, Channel 9, C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners. While I could have been done by Day 3, or having done an extra episode or two each day, I chose to do it in a total of four. That allowed me to blog about it since Day 1, write the actual code myself, do the adequate note taking and commenting, go back and review what I had written, and do a little programming of my own. I think that was a good pace. Next is the 35 episode, 11+ hour, Channel 9, Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners. Having completed this series, I should be prepared enough (I certainly am excited enough).

Finally, lesson 18 through 24, were especially rewarding and captivating (not that the previous seventeen weren’t). My admiration of the IDE has certainly increased as it is very helpful having automatic indentation when writing code around previous code and then with Enumerations and what Bob Tabor refers to as IDE magic: It truly is magical having an entire code block inserted for you that you otherwise would have typed yourself. Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 is an exceptional Integrated Development Environment.

Although I don’t go into detail of what is covered in the series from lesson to lesson, Exceptions was a heartfelt topic as I have been thorough with it ever since programming the ARexx language and through the Assembly language as well as ActionScript. Really, I think it should be Etiquette (deviquette?). Events were very familiar too of course, being what Bob refers to as the drive of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) application, which is close to what a few Doors were, with their Text-based User Interface (TUI), and also what ActionScript often is for, interactivity.

Concluding, below is the source code I wrote off the top of my head, summarizing C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners.

I initially thought of Collections, Objects, ClassesMethods and LINQ, although, to obviate the beginner syndrome, chose the straightforward approach of the Framework Class Library (FCL), specifically the Base Class Library (BCL) and fundamental Statements, Expressions, Operators, Operands, StringsArrays, EventsStatic Classes and Static Class Members, Methods and Properties. Undoubtedly, there is a preferable approach to the logic I did and possibility to refactor the code I wrote, nonetheless, it does what it is intended to do.

I had an encounter with the “Index was outside the bounds of the array” error of which I set a breakpoint for debugging. It was satisfying to step over each statement, through each iteration and the branching, observing the Locals and Error List window and to pin variables and their value to the source (Debugging was something I used to like while programming the Assembly language too). A subsequent Bing of the error message and I knew what to look for.

This is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application (Native Windows Application), with a window of which you have a textbox to type in, a button to click and a textbox of which will output how long it took to type and the character total. The intent is to type a text without an ensuing space after a punctuation and a lowercase subsequent initial letter. When you click the button, it will insert a space after each punctuation and uppercase the subsequent initial letter into a capital letter. I contemplated whether to decipher acronyms and abbreviations too.

Screenshots of the WPF Application.

The C# and XAML WPF Application before and after a click of the Fix button.

The auto generated XAML in the IDE from dragging Controls from the Toolbox as well as from the use of the Properties Window was remarkable.

XAML

<Window x:Name="QuickNote" x:Class="QuickNote.MainWindow"
        xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
        xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
        Title="QuickNote © Spiritus et Technologiae" Height="350" Width="525">
    <Grid>
        <TextBox x:Name="Notes" Height="255" Margin="10,10,10,0" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="start typing here.click fix afterwards." VerticalAlignment="Top" ToolTip="Don't think of a space after punctuation or a subsequent capital letter. You do have to separate each word with a space and a sentance with punctuation though."/>
        <Button x:Name="Fix" Content="Fix" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="220,280,0,0" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="75" Click="Button_Click" ToolTip="Add a space at the end of each sentance and capitalize each initial letter."/>
        <TextBox x:Name="ElapsedTime" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Height="23" Margin="348,279,0,0" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="151"/>
    </Grid>
</Window>

C#

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Data;
using System.Windows.Documents;
using System.Windows.Input;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Imaging;
using System.Windows.Navigation;
using System.Windows.Shapes;

namespace QuickNote     // © Spiritus et Technologiae
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Interaction logic for MainWindow.xaml
    /// </summary>
    public partial class MainWindow : Window
    {
        DateTime startTime = DateTime.Now;                          // Start the timer when the application launches

        public MainWindow()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
        }

        private void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
        {
            //string textInput = Notes.Text;                        // Get the note into variable "textInput" of data type "string"

            char[] charArray = Notes.Text.ToCharArray();            // An array with the characters of the input
            string arrayChar = "";                                  // Declaration statement
            string nextChar = "";
            Notes.Text = "";
            int i = 0;                                              // A pointer for the next character in the array
            bool y = true;                                          // A flag, if true then uppercase character

            foreach (char Char in charArray)                        // Iteration statement
            {
                if (i == charArray.Length - 1)                      // If there aren't any characters after the current character
                {                                                   // then break, preventing "Index was outside the bounds of the array"
                    break;
                }
                else
                {
                    i++;                                            // Increment the pointer each loop through
                    nextChar = charArray[i].ToString();             // Get next character into variable "nextChar", explicitly convert to
                                                                    // string, increment pointer to point to next character consecutively
                    arrayChar = Char.ToString();                    // Get the current character into the variable "arrayChar"

                    if (arrayChar == ".")                           // Following code is self-explanatory:
                    {
                        if (nextChar == " " || nextChar == ".")     // Decision statement
                        {
                            Notes.Text = Notes.Text + ".";
                            y = false;
                        }
                        else
                        {
                            Notes.Text = Notes.Text + ". ";         // Concatination
                            y = true;
                        }
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        if (y == true)
                        {
                            Notes.Text = Notes.Text + arrayChar.ToUpper();
                            y = false;
                        }
                        else
                        {
                            Notes.Text = Notes.Text + arrayChar;    // Expression statement
                        }
                    }
                }
            }

            Notes.Text = Notes.Text + nextChar;                     // The last character

            //string addSpaces = textInput.Replace(".", ". ");      // Replace punctuation with a punctuation and a space in the string
                                                                    // "textInput" to a new string "addSpaces"
            //Notes.Text = addSpaces;                               // Output the note with added spaces to the "Notes" textbox

            TimeSpan totalTime = DateTime.Now.Subtract(startTime);  // Get total time since "Fix" was last clicked or application launched

            ElapsedTime.Text = String.Format(
                "{0} s. and {1} char(s).",                          // Format and explicitly convert timer and counter and output it
                                                                    // to the textbox "ElapsedTime"
                Math.Round(totalTime.TotalSeconds).ToString(),      // Chaining
                Notes.Text.Length.ToString());

            startTime = DateTime.Now;                               // Reset the timer when "Fix" is clicked
        }
    }
}

Get the executable program in a zip archive here. In addition, get the Channel 9 Windows 8 app here, like the Microsoft Visual Studio Facebook page here and get Visual Studio Update 1 here.

C#: Day 1

Cultural relic Commodore 64 home computer.

LOAD “$”,8,1

64 kB of RAM. Commodore 1530, SID, Commodore 1541, TAC-2, Floppy, Decrunchinget cetera. Introduction When we got our Commodore 64 I was so intrigued by the command-line interpreter, Commodore DOS, and fascinated by what my brother later did with BASIC, I had to try it for myself but only got a little further than Hello World. Later, I and my brother were introduced to the Demoscene as well, which sparked an interest for pixel art and coding that grew with subsequent computer platforms. I didn’t get far on the C64 and it wasn’t until after we got our Amiga 500 and then the Amiga 1200 that I really took to programming and pixel art (I love you Photoshop but you will never be my Deluxe Paint). During the A500 I developed an interest in the Amiga Workbench operating system. On the A1200 I developed further interest in hardware and software. I upgraded the A1200 from 14 MHz to 28 MHz, from 2 MB to an additional 4 MB RAM and a 40 MB HDD, next was a Motorola 68040 central processing unit at 33 Megahertz, 8 Megabyte of RAM, 540 MB Hard Disk Drive and had a 28.8k V.FAST Modem. Later, my brother talked me into breaking the bank on the Blizzard 1260 Accelerator with the Motorola 68060 CPU clocked at 50 MHz and with 16 MB Fast Memory. Sigh, the 39 MIPS in Workbench 3.0 (and Tornado) made it worthwhile. By then I had 1.1 GB HDD, more bauds and bits with a 57.6k Modem and a 6x CD-ROM. On it, I ran a Bulletin Board System, The Lock-Up BBS. Doors were the Apps of the time, for Bulletin Board Systems, which were the Internet equivalent of the time, sort of. As a Sysop, I was not satisfied with the available Doors so I quickly learned the ARexx language. I had a series of Doors when I jumped to the Assembly programming language and continued programming Doors. Optimizing the code became a passion. I even did CPU specific executables. I preferred customization and as a result my Doors were highly configurable. A few of my aliases were BigBang, Fusion and Dave. I had just begun coding a Workbench application at the time of the Commodore Amiga demise. When I got my first PC, with an AMD K6, I was turned off to programming on it at the time and quit (it wasn’t that easy breaking up with my Amiga and her Motorola 68000 family). Although, it was a good high-end PC at the time. Later though, I learned HTML and CSS. A while ago I was on and off ActionScript too but wasn’t convinced.

The Commodore Amiga 1200 personal computer.

Cultural relic A1200.

AGA, DOpus, X-COPY, D-COPYCloser by CNCD, ProTracker, OctaMED, Imagine, LightWave 3D, Joystick, Datic (Alfa Data) Chrystal Trackballet cetera. C Sharp Long overdue, I am finally going to be programming again. I chose C# (Visual C#) to go with the development of Windows 8 and in particular Windows Phone 8 apps and I will document the process here on my blog. Today I got around to begin the Channel 9, C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners. I have no knowledge of any C programming language prior. I have finished lesson 1 through 5 and so far almost everything is very familiar due to my previous knowledge. I like the free Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 too (I’ll always miss you ASM-One). The low level Assembly programming language put me off to high level programming languages up until recently (I prefer the Close to Metal approach) but now I have a newfound interest. I’ll summarize and go into detail for my second day. Clearly, I got lost in nostalgia for this first post. My Initial experience is positive though!

Screenshots of various BBS Doors and the Amiga Workbench.

The Lock-Up BBS

Screenshot collage of a few of my Doors, my BBS, a glimpse of my Workbench, and ANSI.