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

, , , ,

How To,Tutorial,Wintellect Blogs

Multi-Stage Builds with Docker

Blaize Stewart

19 May , 2017  


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.

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
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "/myapp/myapp.dll"]

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

, , ,

Resources,Video,Wintellect Blogs

Survey of the Azure Data Storage Landscape


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

, , ,

Wintellect Blogs

NG-CONF 2017 Day One Highlights

Dave Baskin

7 Apr , 2017  

ng conf 2017

I’m glad to be back again at ng-conf in Salt Lake City. I’ve used Angular since the very beginning and it continues to get better. Here are some of the highlights that stood out to me from the first day of the conference.


During the keynote, there was discussion about gauging the success of Angular. They estimated that the community is around 1.3 million users of AngularJS (version 1 of the framework) and 810 thousand users of Angular (versions 2 and 4 of the framework, they skipped version 3). Of all the applications out there, about 90% of them are internal applications (ones we can’t see because they are behind the corporate firewall). 17% of the public Angular applications are already on version 4 of the framework.

There are over 200 applications internal to Google that are using the framework. These applications serve as an initial test bed for all updates of the framework, helping to ensure smooth updates to new versions.

Impressive statistics.

Version 4, released a short time ago, has some great improvements in performance and the size of payloads. The team worked hard to ensure that upgrades went smoothly and there were no breaking changes in the framework APIs.… Read more

, , ,


Microsoft: Windows Phone Not Dead, Still Evolving

Paul Ballard

26 May , 2016  

The latest round of layoffs in Microsoft’s Windows Phone business—1,850 jobs will be cut, according to an announcement earlier this week—seems to signal the final death gasp of a segment of the company’s business that has long struggled. Windows phones currently make up less than one percent of smartphones sold worldwide.

Microsoft, however, continues to insist that it’s simply refining its mobile hardware strategy. In an email to partners obtained by Windows Central, the company reiterates that it’s now focusing on business customers. That’s one of three market niches Microsoft said last year it would prioritize.

The other two, value customers and diehard Windows Phone enthusiasts, seem to have been largely abandoned. The company recently sold its feature phone business to FoxConn for $350 million. And this week’s email indicates that Microsoft will be pulling back from selling phones in emerging markets like India and Brazil, where budget Windows Phones had found a following.

Microsoft hopes business customers will be drawn to its phones’ security features and the ability to use Continuum to connect to larger displays.

“We will continue to support and update the Lumia devices that are currently in the market, and the development of Windows 10 phones by OEMs, such as HP, Acer, Alcatel, VAIO, and Trinity; as well as develop great new devices,” Microsoft says in the email, according to Windows Central.… Read more

, ,

Wintellect Blogs

Container and Presentation Components in Angular2

Dave Baskin

18 Apr , 2016  

Angular2 has a strong emphasis on components. An application is made up of a tree of components, starting from the root component and working down to child components. This helps to organize your application into logical and manageable pieces. Complex user interface can be broken down into smaller components, assembling them together, to better organize your application’s functionality and how it is presented to the user.

Components can be further categorized. Some components are just simple user interface components, for example like a date-picker widget or a simple user information card. These components are used throughout your application, but they don’t exercise your application logic. That work is delegated to other parts of the application. These components might be called “Presentation” (or “Dumb”) components.

Other components serve to organize and orchestrate the activities of child components and application services. These components know about the application logic. They might push application data down to child components and respond to events emitted by them. They might transform an event into a transition to a new application state. These components might be called “Container” (or “Smart”) components.

Example Application Components

Let’s look at how some of the components in the example application are organized.… Read more

, , ,


What’s New in Android Studio 2.0

Paul Ballard

11 Apr , 2016  

Google has released a new version of its Android Studio aimed at helping developers build apps more quickly and efficiently for the wide variety of Android devices on the market.

Android Studio 2.0 previewed last November, with product manager Stephanie Cuthbertson saying at the time that the new version would respond to developers’ requests for a faster Integrated Development Environment.

That focus on speed is apparent in the version released Thursday, starting with the new Instant Run feature, which allows you to quickly see the effect of changes you make to code on a device or emulator, without necessarily having to reinstall the APK. Simply click the Instant Run button, and it analyzes how to most quickly deploy your changes. It works with any Android Device or emulator running API 14 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher.

Speaking of emulators, Google is providing a new, speedier one. “The new emulator runs ~3x faster than Android’s previous emulator, and with ADB enhancements you can now push apps and data 10x faster to the emulator than to a physical device,” product manager Jamal Eason wrote in a post on the Android Developer Blog. That’s good news, considering how much developers complained about emulator speed in the past.… Read more

, , , ,


Games, HoloLens, Cloud Services Highlight Build 2016 Schedule

Paul Ballard

28 Mar , 2016  

It wouldn’t be a developer conference without some surprises, and Microsoft is already getting us in the mood for Build 2016 with a mysterious description in the event schedule of a session on ‘Something Awesome.’

We’ll have to wait until Build kicks off this Wednesday for details, but the rest of the schedule promises a conference packed with information on game development, the Internet of Things, cloud services and augmented reality.

Attendees can learn about app design approaches for HoloLens, or build a Universal Windows App for Raspberry Pi in a hands-on lab. There are a number of sessions on cross-platform development, including using Xamarin to build mobile apps, Project Centennial to bring desktop apps to the Universal Windows Platform, and Microsoft’s iOS-to-Windows Bridge.

There’ll also be plenty on using Azure to enhance apps, whether that means working with data or engaging players in a game. A session will focus on using Windows 10 to power smart homes. And there’ll be sessions on how Visual Studio is evolving and the integration of Windows 10 games with Xbox Live.

As for news, Microsoft will likely use its keynote to give details on the ‘Redstone’ update to Windows 10, expected later this year.… Read more

, , , , , , ,


Microsoft Buys Xamarin, Bets on a Cross-Platform Future

Paul Ballard

25 Feb , 2016  

The past year has seen Microsoft take a number of strides towards realizing CEO Satya Nadella’s “cloud-first, mobile-first” vision. Once laser-focused on its own devices and operating systems, the company is increasingly platform-agnostic: It wants business customers and developers to use its cloud-based software, no matter what OS they prefer.

On Wednesday, Microsoft took those efforts one step further by acquiring Xamarin, a company that allows developers to easily create and test native apps for multiple platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android and OS X, using the C# language.

This is bigger than Microsoft’s previous attempts at building a bridge to port over iOS and Android apps to Windows 10. Xamarin’s technology could potentially allow Microsoft developers to build truly universal apps that work seamlessly across a number of platforms. It’s a smart move for Microsoft at a time when Windows Phones are floundering in the market and most mobile devices are running iOS or Android.

Microsoft has already incorporated Xamarin tools into Visual Studio, Azure and Office 365. But the acquisition promises a deeper integration that should benefit developers in ways both large and small. Being able to build on .NET using a single code base should streamline app development.… Read more

, , ,


Make Seamless Office App Interfaces with Office UI Fabric

Paul Ballard

31 Aug , 2015  

Whether you want to build apps that run in the Office ecosystem or just look like they do, Microsoft has released a new framework to help called Office UI Fabric.  This framework consists of JavaScript and CSS that allows you to style your applications using the same styles used by Microsoft for, OneDrive, and Delve.



With Office UI Fabric you can apply simple CSS styles to make your web applications look and feel like the rest of Office. The styling takes into account typography, color, icons, animations, responsive grid layouts and localization.  — Office Blog

Setting up the framework is fairly straightforward and requires a minimal amount of JavaScript along with references to the required CSS files.  The framework is currently designed to work across Office clients where Office Add-Ins are supported including Windows desktop, web browser, Mac desktop, and iOS on iPad.  The framework also includes custom controls such as a People Picker or a Detailed Persona card pictured below.


For more information on the Office UI Fabric framework, read the Office Blog or go to Github for code and documentation.… Read more

, , ,