Jeff Prosise's Blog

  • More Fun with Universal Apps: MyComix Reader

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the new universal app model that Microsoft introduced at BUILD 2014. In that post, I introduced a version of Contoso Cookbook that runs on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. That sample covered the basics of universal apps, including using a shared project to share code and resources between Windows and Windows Phone projects. Today I’d like to take it one step further by introducing a more sophisticated universal app named MyComix Reader, or simply “ …

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  • Building Universal Apps with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2

    One of the most exciting pronouncements at the 2014 BUILD conference was Microsoft’s introduction of “universal apps,” which run on PCs, tablets, and phones. According to Microsoft, universal apps will one day run on Xboxes, too. The universal app represents the first step in a convergence that Microsoft has been seeking for a long time – a convergence of platforms and APIs that allows you to write an application one time and have it run on a variety of Windows devices and form factors. From a …

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  • What’s New for Developers in Windows 8.1

    Microsoft recently released the Windows 8.1 Preview, providing developers everywhere with a first glimpse at what they need to do to prepare for the next release of the operating system. 8.1 may sound like an incremental release, but the next version of Windows is packed with features enabling developers to create better, faster, richer Windows Store apps. Microsoft has provided a great document summarizing the new features, but I wanted to offer my own take on it by making available a new …

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  • Introducing WintellectNOW

    Last week, we introduced WintellectNOW, a new on-demand learning service designed to make the same training content that we provide to Microsoft and other large customers available anywhere, any time. Jeffrey Richter and a team of talented people at Wintellect designed and wrote the software, which we’re continuing to improve on a daily basis. We’ve done some streamlining on the registration process since launch, for example, and we have a cool library-search feature tested and ready to roll …

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  • Custom Layout Controls for Windows Store Apps

    One of the things I enjoy doing most is teaching developers how to write Windows Store apps using XAML and C#. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, both for Microsoft and for other customers as well. But it has become clear to me as I teach these classes that in a typical class, half the people in the room know XAML pretty well, and half have little or no experience with it. That makes designing a course a challenge, because you either have to bore half the class by teaching them something …

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  • Proximity Networking (NFC) in WinRT

    I've spent a lot of time this spring learning about Near Field Communication (NFC) and the NFC networking API in WinRT. That part of WinRT is present both in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, which means it's relatively easy to get tablets and phones talking to each peer-to-peer. One of the things I love about NFC is that while NFC itself only works when two devices are in close proximity (3 or 4 centimeters), devices that are tapped together can use NFC to establish a network connection and …

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  • Enumerating Cameras and Camera Locations on Your Surface RT

    When I teach classes at Microsoft, I often precede a juicy tidbit of information or code sample with the statement “Here’s a good interview question for you.” Well, here’s a good interview question for you – especially if you want the interviewee out of your office as fast as humanly possible. How do you get a reference to a front-facing or back-facing camera on a Surface RT? It’s easy to enumerate camera devices in WinRT, but distinguishing between front-facing and back-facing cameras …

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  • Introducing MyComix Reader, Version 0.5

    As I wrote the Contoso Cookbook app and accompanying labs for Microsoft last winter, I found myself thinking that it would be cool to build another end-to-end Windows Store sample – one that could go beyond the basics and demonstrate fun features and programming techniques that Contoso Cookbook did not. At the same time, I’ve been wanting to carve out time to create a Windows Store app to catalog my comic book collection, which currently comprises more than 1,700 Silver Age comics, mostly DC …

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  • Manipulating Navigation State in Windows Store Apps

    I received an interesting question from a customer today. He wanted to know how to manipulate the navigation history to skip a page in the backstack in a Windows Store app. In other words, he wanted to do in Windows 8 something similar to what NavigationService.RemoveBackEntry does in Windows Phone 7.1. The scenario he presented was one in which the navigation flow includes a login page, but once the user has logged in and navigated to another page, clicking the back button should take the user …

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  • A CoverFlow Control for Windows 8 and Your Surface RT

    A few years ago, I needed a CoverFlow control for a Silverlight project I was working on. Since Silverlight didn’t include a CoverFlow control, I did a little searching and found an open-source XAML CoverFlow control on CodePlex. So I downloaded the code, tweaked it a bit, and quickly had a control with the basic functionality I needed for my project. Fast forward to this week. I needed a CoverFlow control again, this time for a Windows Store app that I’m building. (Called MyComix, it lets you …

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