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…

Reflection Shader for Silverlight 3

I’ve become enamored with Silverlight behaviors lately because they provide a clean and easy-to-use mechanism for encapsulating complex behavioral logic and applying it to XAML elements. And I’m equally enamored with Silverlight pixel shaders, which allow similar encapsulation of complex visual effects implemented using Microsoft’s High-Level Shader Language, better known as HLSL. Last spring, I blogged about a technique…

Silverlight 4 is Here!

Silverlight 4 shipped this week, and you can download it along with all the tools you need to develop for it from the Silverlight Web site. Silverlight 4 represents a milestone of sorts in that it adds the features you need to build line-of-business (LOB) apps that run inside or outside the browser. Among the…

Silverlight for Windows Phone Programming Tip #1

I’m spending the bulk of my time these days writing applications for Windows phones using Silverlight for Windows Phone (and having a blast doing it, I might add). As I write, I think of lots of little tips that can save time, reduce aggravation, and help all of us build better applications. So I thought…

Silverlight for Windows Phone Programming Tip #4

Here’s a quick one that’ll save you a lot of time and trouble if you’re not already aware of it. One of the coolest features of Visual Studio is that you can launch a debug run of a phone application on a phone rather than in the emulator. Since the emulator can’t emulate everything, sometimes…

Silverlight 3’s New Element Data Binding

One of the improvements you can look forward to in Silverlight 3 is element data binding, also known as element-to-element data binding. Silverlight 2’s {Binding} expression allowed you to specify the name of the property you were binding to, but not the element that owned the property. This typically meant you had to write a…

Building Windows Store Apps in HTML5 for Your Surface RT

My, what an interesting autumn it has been. Windows 8 has shipped, the Windows Phone 8 SDK has been made available to the public, Windows Phone 8 devices are just a few days away, and Surface RT – the new tablet from Microsoft – has landed in the hands of users world-wide. There has never…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Building Location-Aware Apps for Your Surface RT

Microsoft’s Surface RT lacks a GPS receiver (bummer!), but you can still use WinRT’s location API to build location-aware apps for it. As long as you have a WiFi connection, the location API can determine where you are with a reasonable degree of accuracy – sometimes with astonishing accuracy – using WiFi positioning. Furthermore, you…