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Wintellect Becomes Premier Xamarin Consulting Partner

Paul Ballard

3 Aug , 2015  

It seems that all roads in software development today lead inevitably to mobile apps. Building apps that span multiple mobile platforms is no easy task, but Xamarin makes bridging those environments much easier. And so it’s with great pleasure we announce that Wintellect has become a Premier Xamarin Consulting Partner.

XamarinPremiere

Wintellect employs a dedicated team of Xamarin certified mobile engineers including well known industry leaders like Jeff Prosise, Keith Rome, and Jonathan Wood to name just a few. In addition to developing several of their own mobile applications currently available in the Apple, Google, and Windows app stores, Wintellect is a valued partner to many clients helping them expand their reach and deliver first class mobile experiences to their customers. Whether looking to build a first mobile app or hoping to build new cross platform solutions, Wintellect helps customers through a variety of engagement models. One of our popular engagement models is called a Xamarin Mobile Kick-Start.

A Kick-Start is where we help a client ramp-up their team on Xamarin app development. We help them scope out and define requirements if necessary, then we get their development infrastructure in place (if it needs to differ from what they already have in place) and work alongside of their development team for a period of time until they are comfortable with taking on ongoing ownership.

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News

Microsoft Announces New Azure App Service

Paul Ballard

24 Mar , 2015  

Microsoft is announcing Azure App Service today, a consolidation of existing Website and Mobile services as well as some exciting new services for workflows and APIs.

Microsoft is making it easier to build apps for any device on their Azure cloud service by consolidating several existing services into a unified model called Azure App Services.  Azure Web Sites and Azure Mobile Services are now moved under the Azure App Services banner and they have also added two new services called Logic Apps and API Apps.  And perhaps the best part, the new services are effectively free.

All of these features can be used together at one low price.  In fact, the new Azure App Service pricing is exactly the same price as our previous Azure Websites offering.  If you are familiar with our Websites service you now get all of the features it previously supported, plus additional new mobile support, plus additional new workflow support, plus additional new connectors to dozens of SaaS and on-premises solutions at no extra charge.  — Scott Guthrie’s Blog

Web Apps

Web Apps are the Azure Websites rebranded.  All of the features previously supported via Azure Websites is still supported under Web Apps.  If you’re looking in the preview portal, you’ll find any existing Websites now under the Web Apps option.… Read more

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News

Connect with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team on November 12th and 13th

Paul Ballard

16 Oct , 2014  

Microsoft announces Connect(), an online developer event to showcase the future of software development with Visual Studio!

Microsoft announced today that Visual Studio and the next version of its developer toolset will be the centerpiece on November 12 of an event called Connect(); in New York City. Microsoft CVP of the Developer Division, S. “Soma” Somasegar, will keynote the event, which he discussed in greater detail today on his blog. This will be a relatively small, invite-only customer event intended to give Microsoft developers a clear understanding of how the company is working to address their need and opportunities with a wave of innovative new features coming in the next version of Visual Studio and .NET.

Next month at Connect(); we’ll have a chance to talk about the next wave of innovation and releases across all of these areas.  The event will include updates from Scott Guthrie, Brian Harry, Scott Hanselman and myself, as well as deep dives by product team members on a broad array of new Microsoft developer tools and services.  Somasegar’s Blog

The event will focus on Mobile, Cloud, and DevOps features that build on previous releases of Visual Studio.  If you want to hear more about the future of development with Visual Studio, save the date for Connect() now.… Read more

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News

Try Out Apache Cordova in Visual Studio

Paul Ballard

14 Oct , 2014  

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team makes learning more about Apache Cordova easier with a new fully loaded Azure VM

Interested in building hybrid mobile apps without leaving the comfort of Visual Studio?  Not sure what a hybrid mobile app is?  Now you can experiment to your heart’s content without installing a single SDK.  Microsoft’s Visual Studio team has just release a new Azure VM with all of the tools you need to get started building your own mobile apps for iOS, Android, or even Windows Phone.

Cordova2
If you want to take Apache Cordova for a purple hued test drive, check out this article on creating an Azure VM and select one of the images shown here.

 … Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Proceed with Caution – Windows Phone 8 App Lifecycle Events vs Async Methods

John Garland

7 May , 2013  

“We are on the path to Windows and Windows Phone Convergence” (//Build 2012 – How to Leverage your Code Across WP8 and Win8, Slide 6)

I often hear people saying the phrase “Windows 8 Phone” when they are talking/asking about “Windows Phone 8”.  Throughout presentations that I’ve given and other discussions I’ve had over the past several months that covered the topic of Windows Phone 8, I’ve made it a point to emphasize that Windows Phone 8 is NOT a Windows 8 Phone.  By doing so I’m not trying to be a nit-picky jerk, but rather I’m trying to underscore that there are important differences – both obvious and subtle – between the Windows Store App and Windows Phone platforms, and there are some major pitfalls that developers can stumble into if they are not aware of the way that some of the key platform technologies work.  One situation where these nuanced platform differences comes to light is in differences in the proper use of asynchronous operations within the various lifecycle events exposed by these two platforms; specifically the events pertaining to suspension/deactivation and application closing.

Huh?  To put it simply, the APIs available to Windows Store App development include tools that developers can use to safely(*) include asynchronous method calls when their application is being suspended.  The Windows Phone 8 APIs that support Deactivation and Closing do not include these tools, and it can be tricky to notice the problems that can arise.… Read more

Wintellect Blogs

The Future of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Development

Jeremy Likness

18 Dec , 2012  

Does the snapped view required for Windows 8 apps provide insights into the future of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development?

Windows 8 app developers are required to create a snapped view for their applications. This is the one option for on screen multi-tasking in the Windows 8 world. The usefulness of this view on either a tablet or a laptop form factor depends on how well it is implemented. For example, the Windows Store doesn’t offer any useful functionality when it is snapped – it simply resides on the side of the display with a static logo:

storesnapped

On the other hand, Skype provides fairly useful snap views when you are chatting, as shown below, or making phone calls. I can use the desktop to work on my “main task” while keeping an eye on the chat or having fast access to mute a call on the side.

skypesnap

This is fairly useful. In fact, I use Skype snapped all of the time – having the control on the side allows me to text (now that it integrates with Messenger) and also makes it easy to mute and unmute as needed. I couldn’t help but notice that the snapped view reminds me of the full-blown application on Windows Phone:

skypephone

So what does that have to do with the snapped view?… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

LIDNUG Webinar Presentation Materials

John Garland

24 Jul , 2012  

Many thanks to the participants, organizers, and sponsors of today’s LIDNUG webinar – “Putting the Cloud in Your Pocket Pt1 – Using Windows Azure to Build Cloud-Enabled WP7 Apps.”  I especially appreciate the patience of those who attended as we struggled to do the best we could to resolve the LiveMeeting technical issues that dogged us during the presentation.  For what it is worth, prior to the presentation, the LIDNUG folks made sure we did a technical walkthrough to do everything possible to mitigate the possibility of running into these kinds of glitches…alas, despite our best efforts, the “demo gods” decided to frown upon us today.

As I mentioned during the talk, I have gone ahead and posted the code (along with the slide that were available for download during the talk) here.  As is often the case with talks about this topic, the demo contains keys and other “private” information that is specific to my own Azure account.  With that in mind, I have sanitized/removed the private content from the posted demo code, and included a document “ACS Update Instructions” alongside the code zip file that describes the steps necessary to get yourself up and running with your own Azure subscription.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

Boston Azure Bootcamp Presentation Materials

John Garland

24 Jun , 2012  

I had a tremendous time this weekend presenting alongside Bill Wilder, Michael Collier, John Zablocki, and Jim O’Neil at the Boston Azure Bootcamp event in Cambridge, MA.  The topic once again covered the concepts of using Windows Azure to enhance mobile Windows Phone application and general mobile development considerations, and went beyond my demos to include a hands on lab that most everyone seems to have enjoyed.

As promised, the slide and code content I referred to in my talk can be found here.  I mentioned to a few who asked – there are some values in the lab that are specific to the ACS namespaces I have set up.  I am including in the code file a word doc that indicates how to set up the ACS values for the demo code in question.

Again, many thanks!  I’m looking forward to hearing about how folks are using Azure to add cloud “goodness” to their mobile applications.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

CodeStock 2012 Presentation Content

John Garland

17 Jun , 2012  

I would like to thank the attendees of my “Putting the Cloud in Your Pocket – A Guide to Using Windows Azure to Build Cloud-Enabled Windows Phone Apps” talk at the recent Codestock event – especially considering the early hour following the previous night’s fun.  The slide and code content I referred to in my talk can be found here.   Also, many thanks go out to the event organizers – I had a great time traveling down to Tennessee for this event, and hope to maybe do so again in the future.

As can be expected, I removed my custom/personal ACS information from the sample code.  This includes the acsnamespace and realm resources in the AccessControlResources.xaml file within the Phone project, and the SwtSigningKey, realm, and namespace values from the MVC project’s web.config file.  These values can be obtained from a new or existing ACS namespace as follows:

ACS Configuration Values

These values are available in the following locations (Note – this is based on the current Silverlight-based management portal.  Precise locations may shift slightly when this content moves to the newer HTML5-based portal.)

The namespace value is the namespace you indicated when creating the ACS instance.

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The Realm is specific to the relying party application that has been configured, and can be found on the Relying Party Application page:

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The symmetric key can be obtained from the Access Control Service management portal, selecting Certificates and Keys, selecting (and/or creating) a Symmetric Key specific to the namespace:

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Async CTP

Also, please remember that the code made use of the Async CTP assembly.  This was not strictly required, but was instead put in place to help improve the code flow instead of using Lambdas or complete methods for the various callback functions used when interacting with Azure Storage.  Information about the Async CTP is available here.… Read more

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Wintellect Blogs

DevBoston (Waltham) Presentation Content

John Garland

14 Dec , 2011  

Many thanks to the attendees of my presentation tonight covering Developing Cloud Enabled Windows Phone Applications with Windows Azure.  I apologize once again for the technical network-related gremlins that decided to attack us tonight…hopefully the workaround covered the necessary ground and everyone was able to see the concepts I was trying to show.

As promised, I have posted the content for the presentation here.  This includes the slide deck with the various resource links, as well as the final project.  As I mentioned, I have “sanitized” the configuration of the project to omit my specific Access Control (ACS) settings.  This involved changing the AccessControlResources.xaml file in the phone project and the Web.config file in the web role project.  Look for the text [your-xxx-here] for where to substitute your own ACS information.

Because the network issues prevented us from accessing the NuGet site or repository, I wanted to be sure to list the packages that were used in these projects:

Phone.Storage Adds support in the phone project to access Azure Storage.
WindowsAzure.Storage.Proxy.AccessControl Adds support in the server-side MVC3 based web role to field secured storage requests using ACS to generate the authentication token
Phone.Storage.AccessControl Adds support in the phone project for interacting with ACS-secured storage, including a login page with the ACS-aware login control.
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