Wintellect Blogs

Xamarin: From Zero to Certified

Jason Hill

26 May , 2017  

I have been interested in mobile development for several years now. I have dipped my toes into the waters of mobile development here and there. Recently, I have completed my Xamarin certification exam; so now I am legit. I would just like to highlight a bit of that journey.

In the Beginning

My interest for mobile development started after I bought my first smartphone, the Motorola DROID. Does the LG Voyager count?? Anyway, once I bought my DROID, I was in love. Besides having access to a whole app ecosystem finally, I could also create apps for my phone. So with stars in my eyes and the sky as the limit, I started digging into Android development. Android apps would require that I say hello again to my old friend Java, which I had not touched since college. Given I had been working with C# for the last few years, switching back to Java would require a bit of a mental shift especially since I would need to learn Android concepts. The end all, be all was that I read a few books, did some tutorials but honestly, I couldn’t see myself getting into doing Java development for creating Android applications.… Read more

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Multi-Stage Builds with Docker

Blaize Stewart

19 May , 2017  

Dockerfile

One of the most anticipated announcements in the Docker space when it comes to building images is Multi-Stage builds because of the huge benefits it gives to CI/CD pipelines in DevOps. Before this announcement, building software in a container usually involved creating a container with all the SDK’s and compilers in the container, uploading code into the container, compiling it, creating a drop, then building another container with just the runtime that sucks in the compiled code to run. This pattern required an external tool and storage to build the container image so it was more burdensome.

Multi-Stage builds on Docker though provide a mechanism for moving the output of a build from a builder container into another container that can be used for running. Consider the following the example. This Dockerfile builds a .NET core app in one container then packages it in another.

#Builder
FROM microsoft/dotnet:1.1.2-sdk-jessie
COPY /myapp /myapp
RUN dotnet restore ./myapp && \
    dotnet build -c release ./myapp && \
    dotnet publish -c release -o pubdir ./myapp

#Final Build
FROM microsoft/dotnet:1.1.2-runtime
COPY --from=0 /myapp/pubdir /myapp
ENV ASPNETCORE_URLS http://+:80
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "/myapp/myapp.dll"]
EXPOSE 80

This file has two FROM instructions, which in a traditional Dockerfile only one is a allowed.… Read more

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Survey of the Azure Data Storage Landscape

Wintellect

18 May , 2017   Video

Differences Between the Azure Data Storage Optionsazure data storage

In this webinar with Ike Ellis, a 5 year Microsoft Data Platform MVP, you will learn about the Azure Data storage platform and where the best places are to store each type of data. With so many available options, one can be paralyzed with choice. This webinar seeks to ease that anxiety and provide direction for application developers and DBAs. This webinar includes info on Azure CosmosDB which was announced at Build 2017 to replace DocumentDB.

You’ll learn the differences between:

  • Azure Blob Storage
  • Azure Table Storage
  • Azure CosmosDB
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure SQL in a VM
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Lots of other things supported:
    • Postgres, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis

You can download the demo source code and Survey of the Azure Data Landscape – Wintellect Slides.

See demos and review case studies so that you’ll have a complete view of how data is stored in Azure and how to choose great tools, leading your project down the path to success.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

A Late Synopsis Of The Angular NG-Conf Day 3

Jason Hill

5 May , 2017  

ng-conf 2017: Day 3

With two jam-packed days in the books, only one day remained.  The format for the final day of ng-conf was another single room, all day series of sessions.  Much like the first day, the range of topics was both broad as they were relevant and informative.  Day 3 had a few major themes expressed in the speakers’ presentations.

Tech

Brad Green and Rob Wormald presented the keynote presentation.  They talked about how Angular fits in at Google.  And by fit in, it is more like Google runs on Angular.  Google has hundreds of its major systems running on top of Angular including data center allocations, release management, product launch approvals, and bug tracking.  Google demonstrates its commitment to Angular as well as its commitment to the ecosystem around Angular.

For many, many, many web developers, Bootstrap is as essential to their workflow as the technologies Bootstrap uses; namely HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  In her talk, Giving Bootstrap the Boot, Alyssa Nicoll has a different opinion.  She has experienced several pain points using Bootstrap and fighting with the very things the framework is supposed to address.  Alyssa demonstrated for the audience issues around customizing CSS and having to battle Bootstrap’s CSS due to the high levels of specificity.  … Read more

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Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned, Part 2

Scott Peterson

4 May , 2017  

xamarin forms best practices

The Recap

This series of posts is devoted to all the things I wish I knew, as a long-time Microsoft Enterprise developer, before I provisioned my first xPlatform solution: The 60+ tips, tricks, and lessons learned I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years using Xamarin Forms (in Visual Studio for Windows.)

Many of these things are things an Android or iOS developer (i.e.; college student) probably already knows, but not a Microsoft developer. Some of these things will seem ridiculous to even share, and some so obvious that perhaps some developers will pretend I am the only one who didn’t already know about it. Some of these things will be super-extra important, and some will be meaningless to almost everyone. If you “lean native” you might even argue with me about some of them. That being said, here is the second batch of TTLL:

The Bits

If you’re not using Visual Studio Mobile Center you are totally missing out.

If you haven’t heard of Visual Studio Mobile Center it’s understandable. Have you heard of HockeyApp? If you haven’t heard of HockeyApp, have you heard of a Sony Walkman? Visual Studio Mobile Center is one of the coolest (and most under-marketed) “almost” brand new offerings, from Microsoft for managing mobile app development and development lifecycles.… Read more

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Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned, Part 1

Scott Peterson

3 May , 2017  

Xamarin Forms for Windows Developers

The Confession

Okay, right off the bat, I’m going to admit I’m a Microsoft “bigot” or in less unfriendly terms, a Microsoft “super-enthusiast” with severe “Microsoft is actually better at everything” leanings. I’ve spent most of the last 30 years writing Microsoft-based solutions with Microsoft tools and technologies for clients who are Microsoft “shops.” Still, to this day, I never install any non-Microsoft products on my workstations, except the (still phenomenal) Adobe Fireworks. Yes, Fireworks.

The Challenge

For the last four years, as a weird twist of fate, I have been creating real apps for real clients using the Xamarin platform, and more often than not, Xamarin Forms (or is it Xamarin.Forms? …I can never figure out why we need a dot although it does look cooler that way.) One thing I have noticed is that almost every blog, every post, every slice of documentation that exists for Xamarin Forms seems to be written by someone who “skews native” and not by someone in the actual Microsoft development world. I know why this is, of course, but am not going to write it out loud.

The Observation

Over the last couple of years I also started to notice (mostly) Microsoft developers struggling with the same issues, the same hiccups, and doing the same things that “seemed right at the time” based on documentation, but realized one compile too late, those examples were just “examples” and not to be taken on an empty stomach.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

A Late Synopsis Of The Angular NG-Conf Day 2

Jason Hill

2 May , 2017  

talk

Day 2 of ng-conf was a fair day.  Multiple talks and activities took place all day long.  Not being able to clone myself and see all of the discussions, I set my focus on a particular path for the day.  So let’s take a look at the path I chose.

RxJS: The Good Parts

The title of this talk caught my attention as it pays homage to JavaScript the Good Parts by Douglas Crockford.  The talk focused on some of the most frequently used RxJS operators such as filter(), map(), reduce() as well as observable methods such as .switchMap(), .mergeMap() and .zip() to name a few.  Towards the end of the talk, the speakers provided a performance comparison.  The comparison was for execution times needed to manipulate a collection of numbers using plain JavaScript vs. RxJS operators and methods.  Not a surprise RxJS had better performance as it wasn’t iterating over the data multiple times to complete the same operations.

Angular Performance Birds of a Feather

Unfortunately, the time slot for the RxJS presentation cut into this talk.  I was able to catch half of the speakers, and even then, it was very informative.  The format for this presentation was a series of lightning talks from representatives of multiple companies talking about how they squeeze the most out of their Angular apps.  … Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

A Late Synopsis of The Angular NG-Conf Day 1

Jason Hill

27 Apr , 2017  

April 5-7th 2017 marks the 4th year of the Angular conference ng-conf. This year’s ng-conf marks my first year attending, w00t w00t to that.  From the first day’s rapid-fire talks, the tone of the conference, and I think for Angular in general, is set for the year.  Some of the major takeaways from the first day I’ve highlighted below.

Community

Before the keynote took place, Aaron Frost, one of the organizers took a moment to go over the code of conduct for the conference. The organizers wanted to stress the importance of creating a conducive environment for sharing and learning over the next few days.  This point speaks to the overall message that the Angular community wants to convey, which is “Build with Us.” And, by providing an inviting and open ecosystem to current and new developers, they hope to grow the community.

With that theme in mind, a talk by Justin Searls focused on getting the creative juices flowing. He discussed his personal philosophy around what sparks his creativity.  Justin then provided some insight into what could help others be more creative, which translates into building apps.  The key takeaway from his talk was that it is okay to build software that interests individuals, reflect on one’s feelings, and finally find your outlet, whatever it may be.… Read more

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Python Jumpstart for .NET Developers

Wintellect

21 Apr , 2017   Video

python jumpstart

Learn Python in this Webinar geared to .NET/C# Developers

Today Wintellect held a live Python jumpstart coding session for C# Developers presented by Michael Kennedy, host of the TalkPython and PythonBytes podcasts.

A couple weeks ago Michael presented Wintellect’s live webinar “Write Pythonic Code Through 5 Examples.” During this session, we found that 53% of our audience had .NET/C# backgrounds. Keeping this in mind, Michael and Wintellect decided it would be advantageous to do another Python webcast but geared to those with C# backgrounds that wanted to learn the python language. This webinar will give you a Python Jumpstart as we look at the parallels of the two languages and those concepts in Python.

Every major language or platform feature that you know and love in C# there’s a analogous feature in Python and sometimes the feature in Python is even  better.

Michael started the session with a quick Python language introduction about the ecosystem. He then spent the the remaining time building a game for the audience, a version of an old pastime to many “Dungeons and Dragons”.

Following the coding session there was a live Q&A session.

We hope you find this recorded Python webinar session useful. As Michael mentions in the webcast, he will be teaching two upcoming Python workshops if you are interested in learning more.… Read more

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Building JavaScript Applications with Angular and Redux

Eric Greene

12 Apr , 2017  

Introduction

The web application world has been disrupted by the plethora of JavaScript technologies which has transformed the development of web applications from being a primarily server-side effort, to primarily a client-side one. Ever since jQuery made cross-browser web applications easy for everyone to create, a steady stream of JavaScript libraries and frameworks have been released at a frantic pace, with each one doing something better, or faster, or both. The overwhelming pace of advancements has left the JavaScript developer exhausted, and the reluctant server-side developer sometimes generations of JavaScript advancement behind. For anyone seeking to catch up, the key is to identify the latest technologies which survive the all-too-common quick obsolescence many JavaScript technologies experience. Instead, JavaScript technologies which will form the cornerstone of many applications today and far into the future need to be selected. Two technologies which fit this requirement are Angular and Redux. Angular is a framework, and Redux is a library, but when combined, they provide a powerful approach for solving many of the problems associated with the building of web applications and cross-platform user interfaces in general.

Angular is a massive user interface framework. It is a highly opinionated and comprehensive solution to many of the challenges of constructing modern user interfaces, particularly within a web browser.… Read more

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