News

Microsoft to Host Windows 10 Creators Update Webcast for Developers

Paul Ballard

27 Jan , 2017  

Want to learn a bit more about what’s coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update? Microsoft is hosting a free, live web event for developers February 8.

The four-event will include several substantive sessions on new developer tools and APIs, followed by a Q&A with Microsoft VP of Windows Developer Platform Kevin Gallo and others from the Windows 10 engineering team.

Here’s what to expect, from the event announcement:

  • See what’s new with Windows developer tooling: UWP tooling, Bash, Developer mode, and more.

  • Learn about the latest XAML advancements and how UWP helps you build Windows apps that are more personal and productive.

  • Hear the developer story behind the recent announcements of Cortana skills and the new Windows mixed-reality headsets.

There’s also a session on everyone’s favorite topic: how to make your app successful in the Windows Store.

RSVP here to register for the event and receive updates as the day draws near.… Read more

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News

Google Starts Testing Android Instant Apps

Paul Ballard

26 Jan , 2017  

Android Instant Apps, the lightweight versions of Android apps that can be run without downloading, are now available in a limited run.

Google first shared the idea for Instant Apps at its I/O developer conference last year. The concept is that users can quickly and easily experience an app by simply clicking on a url associated with the app, without going through the hassle of downloading it.

“Instant Apps is an important part of our effort to help users discover and run apps with minimal friction,” reads a post on the Android developer blog.

Instant Apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki are available to Android users as of this week, and Google says it will be expanding the experiment to more apps going forward. An SDK for building Instant Apps will be available “in the coming months.”

In the meantime, Google has outlined some steps Android developers can take to prepare their apps for Instant App adaptation, including removing unnecessary bulk and adding support for url-based navigation.

So are Instant Apps just a gimmick or do they provide value for users and developers? What are the lessons for other platforms? Sound off in the comments.… Read more

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News

SUSE Linux Can Now Run on Windows 10

Paul Ballard

19 Jan , 2017  

Last year, Microsoft gave a boon to Linux fans everywhere when it announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux. The system allows developers to run Linux command lines natively on Windows 10, accessing all their Windows files, and was originally offered in partnership with Ubuntu.

Now, the range of available Linux versions is increasing, with SUSE modifying the system to work with SUSE Linux as well.

“Running Linux binaries natively on Windows … that sounds awesome indeed. However, it’s quite unfortunate that Microsoft enabled the wrong Linux (that’s my personal opinion) by default within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and it is time to change it to the real stuff,” SUSE’s Hannes Kühnemund wrote in a blog post January 12. He provided instructions for the setup, which can be done using either openSUSE Leap 42.2 or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2.

While Microsoft is not officially supporting this version of Linux, it’s not likely to complain, as developers like choice, and making Windows 10 more developer-friendly was the whole point of adding the Linux option.

In other Linux news, Microsoft is officially supporting Clear Linux OS for Intel Architecture on Azure. It joins other Linux distributions already available including Red Hat, Ubuntu and SUSE.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

New WintellectPowerShell Version with Visual Studio 2017 Support

John Robbins

18 Jan , 2017  

We have a new version of Visual Studio coming soon so I did the work to update my WintellectPowerShell module to support it. And, what a huge adventure that turned out to be! I will discuss why its support for Visual Studio 2017 was hard a bit later in this blog entry. For those of you who are new to WintellectPowerShell, it is a module that brings a number of useful cmdlets for setting up symbol and source servers for Visual Studio 2013-2017 as well as WinDBG. Other cmdlets automatically download and extract all the lovely goodness of the SysInternal tools, automate the analysis of lots of minidump files, and so on. The module has been helpful to me over the years. You can look at all the source code on GitHub: https://github.com/Wintellect/WintellectPowerShell. To install WintellectPowerShell directly, execute the following command in PowerShell:

  1. Install-Module -Name WintellectPowerShell -Scope CurrentUser

If you have a previous version of WintellectPowerShell installed, you will see an ‘Authenticode issuer’ error when you try to update. The error is because since I last released a WintellectPowerShell build, my code signing certificate needed to be renewed. When PowerShellGet does checks a signed module, it checks all the certificate fields.… Read more

News

New Webinar: An Introduction to Azure DocumentDB

Josh Lane

16 Jan , 2017   Video

In the last several years NoSQL database stores have emerged as viable and useful alternatives to traditional relational databases. While relational technologies like SQL Server will likely always have a place in the enterprise, the means to store data as documents or connected graphs vs. classic “rows and columns” is powerful and should occupy a first-class position in any modern enterprise developer’s toolbox.

Azure DocumentDB is true NoSQL-as-a-service; it provides a fast document-oriented data store that scales globally on the Azure cloud and provides familiar JavaScript and SQL-style query syntax. It has SDK integration with .NET, Node.js, and other developer platforms, and even offers protocol compatibility with MongoDB. Attend this one hour, demo-filled webinar to see DocDB in action and learn how you can start using it today!

Click on the video above to view, and post your feedback in the comments.… Read more

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News

‘Game Mode’ Coming to Windows 10 Creators Update

Paul Ballard

13 Jan , 2017  

The Windows 10 Creators Update set to release in April will have a ‘game mode’ that optimizes performance for gaming. While details are slim so far, the new mode will support both Universal Windows Platform and Win32 games.

“Windows Insiders will start seeing some of the visual elements for Game Mode this week, with the feature being fully operational in builds shortly thereafter,” Microsoft’s Xbox lead Mike Ybarra wrote in a blog post Friday.

Some have speculated that Game Mode is really part of Microsoft’s effort to integrate Windows 10 and XBox One, essentially taking standards like 4K resolution that are part of the latest Xbox dev kits, and applying them to Windows 10. You can read more about this theory on WindowsCentral.

Users will also soon be able to stream games with Beam on both Windows 10 and Xbox One, Ybarra wrote.

He also detailed some new features that were previously announced, such as new tournaments for Xbox Live.… Read more

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News

Microsoft Launches Platform for Connected Cars

Paul Ballard

9 Jan , 2017  

Microsoft has created a new platform for building connected cars, and Nissan is its first partner.

Announced at CES on Thursday, the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will draw on the Microsoft Azure cloud and will bring services like Office 365, Cortana and Skype into the car.

In Nissan’s keynote address, company execs demonstrated how Cortana could help a driver reroute when a meeting location is changed, make breakfast plans and schedule oil changes, all while en route. Car owners could even use remote car monitoring to track where family members are in their journey.

While Microsoft and the Nissan/Renault Alliance already announced their plans to collaborate on connected vehicles last year, the presentation more clearly illustrated what such a partnership could look like.

It’s one of a number of car-tech partnerships visible at CES this past week, as companies vie to see who will lead development of the smart vehicles of the future. Ford and Toyota are launching a new consortium to help developers build apps for connected cars. The SmartDeviceLink consortium will open-source its code on GitHub, allowing developers to potentially build one app that could work on all SDL-enabled cars.

Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant will start showing up in Ford vehicles this summer, and the automaker is already rolling out the ability for owners of hybrid and electric cars to track them from home.… Read more

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News

Webinar: Using TypeScript with React

Eric Greene

6 Jan , 2017   Video

Want to learn how to combine TypeScript with React for top-notch enterprise JavaScript coding?

TypeScript makes available critical programming features from C# and Java such as strong-typing, interfaces, and generics. React has become a very popular library for building multi-platform UI components. Combine the two, and you get a powerhouse of rich functionality to code even the most complicated applications. TypeScript even supports the popular JSX language commonly used by React developers.

A new one-hour webinar from Wintellect instructor Eric Greene explores how easy it is to build React components with TypeScript. Click on the video above to view, and share your feedback in the comments.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Running Spectron Tests in Visual Studio Team Services Build

Jonathan Wood

5 Jan , 2017  

Having end-to-end tests and running them locally can definitely be beneficial, but one of the main reasons to have them is to run them automatically during a nightly build. Getting these tests to run in Visual Studio Team Services isn’t trivial. Here’s some tips on how to get them going.

Setting up build definitions

When first setting up a build for your Spectron tests all the build definitions need to be manually entered. However, the first step is to actually specify what repository you want to use. This gets set when you start your first build definition.

New Build Definition

Select the “Empty” template when the dialog pops up.

Empty Template

From there you can then choose what repository you want to from VSTS or even choose a repository from GitHub.

Choose Repository

Here we can set up our steps to have our tests run. If you recall from our [first post on Spectron with our demo project I set up an npm run script to run our tests. In this case, we only have two tasks to create for our build definition:

  • npm install
  • npm run

NPM Install

NPM Run

Setting up the build agent

So the easy part is done. I only say that, though, because this next part was a bit tricky and wasn’t very well documented on what to do to get these types of tests to run.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Unexpected Benefits of End-to-end Testing

Jonathan Wood

3 Jan , 2017  

End-to-end Testing

Testing where the entire application is tested in a real-world scenario such as communicating with the database, network, hardware and other applications.

The above is the general definition of what an end-to-end test is. Most of these tests are written to make sure general flows of the application that a user may take are working correctly and as expected. However, there are other benefits to running and writing these tests that may not be as well known.

Find bugs when writing tests

True, end-to-end tests are supposed to find bugs, but that’s mainly when you run tests that have already been written to make sure no bugs were introduced as the project is being developed on. However, there are a lot of bugs you can find when you’re writing end-to-end tests. In my experience, I’ve usually found an issue while writing an end-to-end test on a specific functionality that I’m testing.

Unit tests will do this, too, but end-to-end tests can find issues that aren’t always logical, such as UI issues and components not interacting as expected. This, to me, is probably the most useful thing about having end-to-end tests.

Find hard to detect issues

Applications depend on all components of the application interacting and working correctly.… Read more

News

Free Xamarin Training for Your New Year’s Weekend

Paul Ballard

30 Dec , 2016  

New Year’s Eve weekend is a time to party, but for the geeks among us, it may also be a good opportunity to curl up with some dev training videos.

Enter Microsoft/Xamarin with their on-demand recordings of Xamarin Dev Days sessions. The mobile development training event takes place periodically in cities around the world, and as of this month, you can also participate virtually via Xamarin Dev Days Live on Microsoft’s Channel 9. (Hat tip to Petri’s Paul Thurrott for first pointing this out.)

The five-episode track, which first aired Dec. 14, kicks off with Introduction to Xamarin,  Cross-Platform UI with Xamarin.Forms and Cloud First Apps with Azure. The “afternoon” sessions are more hands-on; you can follow along as the instructors walk through building an app.

Log on and get to brainstorming about what you’ll build in 2017.

 … Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Get Function Keys By Default with Parallels and a MacBook Pro Touch Bar

John Robbins

27 Dec , 2016  

Having purchased a 15 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar recently, I’ve been having a good time seeing how that Touch Bar can be used. With applications that know about the Touch Bar, it is an interesting UI approach. But with many macOS applications not having full Touch Bar support, I’ll reserve full judgment until most apps support it. I will say that the Photos app shows a tremendously useful way to use the Touch Bar.

One app I use all the time, the virtual machine program Parallels, does not currently support the Touch Bar, so whenever you are in it, you see the default Touch Bar view:

image

The only problem is that for Windows development, you really, really need those function keys. Sure you can press the FN key to have them come back, but I wanted the function keys to be the default. A little poking around in System Preferences, Keyboard settings, Shortcuts, showed the Function Keys section. I added Parallels Desktop to the list and, voila, now Parallels defaults to showing the function keys whenever Parallels has focus. Not the most earth shattering of tips, but one that certainly made my life better.

image

Now if only Apple would sell a Touch Bar external keyboard…… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Top NPM Packages for Spectron Testing

Jonathan Wood

27 Dec , 2016  

Spectron is a great tool for testing your Electron applications. However, some help is needed to get the full use out of it. This post will go through all of the npm packages I’ve found useful in my Spectron testing.

Jasmine Reporters

The default reporter for Spectron is to just log out to the terminal. That’s great, but I like pretty colors in my terminal, especially when they’re green for success and red for error. That’s where the jasmine reporters package comes in. Actually, there are a few reporters in this package. Not just one for the terminal. In fact, I use two reporters from this package – the terminal reporter and the JUnit XML Result reporter.

Why do I use the second reporter? Well, that reporter plays very well with the jasmine-xml2html-converter package. This package converts the XML results from the JUnit XML Result reporter into an HTML file with graphs and a much easier way to view the tests.

Gulp

Yep, the package to have build tasks in your JavaScript projects has been useful for running Spectron tests. Whether you’re using Jasmine, Mocha, or Karma for your tests, there are gulp versions.

Something I’ve used that seemed to help is to break up your gulp tasks to run tests by scenario.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Introducing the Spectron Command Line Tool

Jonathan Wood

21 Dec , 2016  

After some Spectron experience there tends to be some things that can get repetitive when creating Spectron tests. I figured creating a tool to do just that would be handy to have. So I created the spectron-cli npm package.

Granted, this command line tool doesn’t do all that much. Currently, it only has two commands to it.

The “init” command will create an e2e directory, if it doesn’t already exist in the current directory it’s run in. It will also create two files in that directory for you – a test.spec.js file and a test.page.js file. These files will include templates to help you get started writing your Spectron tests.

The “add” command will just create a spec file and a page file with the name of your choosing inside the e2e directory.

The way the templates are laid out, however, you would have to include chai and chai-as-promised packages if you don’t already have them. These tests can be run with mocha or jasmine test runners.

So feel free to install the tool with npm install spectron-cli and see how it works for you (or just find ways to break it). It is open source so feel free to submit and enhancements or fixes or just create an issue.… Read more

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