New Mobile Features – Day 7 – VS 2015 Series

By | .NET, Cordova, Mobile, Visual Studio | One Comment

This is post #8 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Today, we are going to take a look at the new mobile features in Visual Studio 2015 for both Cordova based applications and Xamarin. Cordova Applications Configuration Experience Tools for Cordova Applications now ships out of the box in Visual Studio 2015. When you are installing Visual Studio 2015, under selecting features, you can now select HTML / JavaScript (Apache Cordova) Update 2 applications. As soon as you select Cordova Applications to be installed, Visual Studio Installer smartly auto selects other SDKs that mobile…

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Microsoft Azure SDK – Day 6 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Azure, Microsoft, Visual Studio | 2 Comments

This is post #7 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” For this release of Visual Studio 2015 there are also some updates for the Microsoft Azure SDK and the integration with the Visual Studio IDE. WE will walk through getting this setup and getting signed in so you can take advantage of this integration. The first thing we need to do is update the Azure SDK if you have not done so already. Visual Studio 2015 was shipped with version 2.7 and there are some updates you will want to have if you have…

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Visual Studio Online – Day 5 – Visual Studio 2015

By | Microsoft, News, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Online | One Comment

This is post #6 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” As part of the Visual Studio 2015 release there have been enhancements to the integration of Visual Studio Online (VSO) inside of the IDE as well as some new features to VSO itself. To start out with, I imagine that many believe that Visual Studio Online is an online version of the Visual Studio IDE. Sorry to disappoint you but it is not a fully fledged IDE. There are however, many great things in VSO including some code editing features. This post isn’t about the detail…

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Auto Property Initializers – Day 4 – Visual Studio 2015

By | C#, C# 6, News, Visual Studio | 2 Comments

This is post #5 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” C# 3 introduced support for Auto-Implemented Properties, which can be used to succinctly declare properties that have no additional logic. Without Auto-Implemented Properties, if you wanted simple properties on a C# class you would need to write code like this:

This is fairly verbose, and the introduction of Auto-Implemented Properties meant that this kind of repetitive code could be greatly simplified:

However, in both of the above examples, there are some problems. Namely, this class doesn’t initialize any of its properties, nor…

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nameof – Day 3 – VS 2015 Series

By | .NET, C#, C# 6, News, Visual Studio | 3 Comments

This is post #4 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” When magic isn’t Discernng why certain code is considered good and other code -well- isn’t is often readily apparent by examing a handful of the code’s characteristics. One important characteristic which is always considered is the code’s level of coupling. Various parts of a system are “coupled” if they interact therefore depend on each other. If the interdependencies are limited to what is strictly -and practically- necessary the system is considered loosely coupled, this is good practice. The opposite extreme is considered tightly coupled,…

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Particle Photon Oscilloscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows | One Comment

I previously turned my Windows IoT Core-based Raspberry Pi 2 into an oscilloscope, but I didn’t stop there. The next gadget in my target is the Particle Photon. This is an amazing little device. However ,unlike the Raspberry Pi 2, it doesn’t have an HDMI output (it’s only about the size of an HDMI connector). I wasn’t sure how best to display the signal data. I took inspiration from a post from Hackster.io – Sending sound over the Internet. They used the TCP capabilities of the Photon to stream audio data to a client. That’s all I needed to bring…

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Null-Conditional Operators – Day 2 – Visual Studio 2015

By | .NET, C# 6, Visual Studio | 6 Comments

This is post #3 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” One of my favorite new features of C# 6 is the null-conditional operator. While it is certainly possible to go without this feature, it will greatly simplify the code you write to avoid NullReferenceExceptions. To give you an idea of what this will do for you, imagine getting rid of most of the “if (x != null)” statements in your code!  There are three uses of the null-conditional operator: member access, index access, and delegate invocation. Member Access Member Access will probably be one of…

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Windows 10 Development: Custom StateTriggers

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #14 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” We’ve seen how the Windows 10 AdaptiveTrigger can help you create a dynamic responsive UI based on the height or width of the device or screen. However, this trigger is limited to a specific value for each dimension, and offers no way to respond to changes in the relationship between them, such as to determine the orientation or aspect ratio of the app. Fortunately, you are not limited to only the AdaptiveTrigger in Windows 10; you can create your own custom statetriggers based on virtually any property, even…

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Index Initializers – Day 1 – VS 2015 Series

By | .NET, C#, C# 6, News, Visual Studio | 5 Comments

This is post #2 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Syntactical Sugar   Many of the new features in C# 6 come under the heading of Syntactical Sugar. Syntactical sugar refers to a simplification of existing syntax making it easier to read and write. In practice it’s mostly about lowering the noise level. An unsweetened and contrived example:

Applying some Syntactical Sugar by using the var keyword, LINQ, and method chaining AKA fluent syntax our example becomes:

Our “sweetening” results in less overall code, in other words less code to manually compose. And while there’s…

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31 Days of Visual Studio 2015 Tricks and Treats

By | News, Visual Studio | 4 Comments

This is post #1 of 8 in the series “31 Days of VS2015 Tricks and Treats” Microsoft recently released Visual Studio 2015, which includes a bunch of great new features, along with new releases of related frameworks and languages. Over the next 31 days of October 2015, we’re going to be featuring one new trick or treat per day. Some of these will be specifically related to Visual Studio 2015 itself, and others will relate to new features shipping in .NET languages or SDKs for Windows Azure or Mobile. Below you’ll find the list of upcoming articles. Check back here…

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Windows 10 Development: Responsive Design with AdaptiveTriggers

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #13 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” In the previous post we looked at the basics of UI automation in Windows 10 apps using Blend to declare the XAML for Visual States. However, while last time we used event handlers in the code-behind of a page to trigger different states, this time we’ll see how to use the new AdaptiveTriggers in Windows 10 to let the application handle state transitions automatically. StateTriggers Each VisualState exposes a StateTriggers property, which is a collection of triggers that it uses to determine whether or not the state should be…

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Azure Mobile Apps, Tables with Integer Keys, and You

By | Azure, C#, SQL Server | 2 Comments

This is post #5 of 5 in the series “Azure for Developers” Microsoft Azure Mobile Apps  (MAMA) is one of the four prongs of the Microsoft Azure App Service platform, bringing Mobile, Web, Logic, and API apps all together in a single container. While it doesn’t offer anything that you couldn’t create on your own, it does offer value by providing boilerplate plumbing that simplifies common tasks such as database CRUD, offline data sync, and universal push notifications. In this post, I’m going to discuss some of the behavioral details of database CRUD out of the box. If you create a brand-new Azure Mobile App today,…

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FTP Files to Windows IoT Core

Windows IoT Core: Running a PowerShell Script on Startup

By | Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, News, Windows | 2 Comments

Sometimes it is useful to be able to run various configuration scripts on your IoT device at start up. This article will outline a way to run a PowerShell script on startup of the Windows IoT Core operating system. The first thing you will need to do is build the script you would like to run. In this example, we’ll keep it simple. We’ll create a log file at startup that will log the current date. Create a new file, name it StartupScript.ps1 and add the following lines of PowerShell code:

Next we will create a simple batch (*.bat) file…

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Windows 10 Development: UI Automation with Blend and VisualStateManager

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #12 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” In our previous post we built a UniformGrid container for the ListView, resulting in an evenly-spaced, grid-like view for the main screen of Falafel2Go: This screen is actually made up of two such ListViews in a RelativePanel, allowing it to reposition the lists to support a landscape view, while still keeping the larger size for the featured Blog and Training activities. This layout switch happens automatically as the screen size changes (or, on a phone, if you rotate the screen to its side). Today we’ll see how we…

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Windows 10 Development: Creating a UniformGrid Container

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #11 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” This post describes the need for and implementation of a UniformGrid layout control that, when used with a ListView, allows the repeated elements to appropriately stretch to a consistent size to achieve a grid-like layout. Grid Layouts: Simple but Static In our last post we looked at the new RelativePanel control, which we used in the Falafel2Go app for Windows 10 to create a dynamic, responsive layout for the home screen:   You’ll notice that in most of the orientations, the Blog and Training elements are featured and…

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Windows IoT Core Remote Wifi Scanner

By | .NET, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | 2 Comments

Windows IoT Core has a nice web-based device management interface. This app can configure many aspects of the device, such as connecting the device to a WiFi network. Because the web-based device management was just a web app, I thought it shouldn’t be difficult to write a remote app to do the same. I ended up with a remote app that could query WiFi networks visible to a Windows IoT Core device and connect or disconnect that device to those networks. To get started, I connected my browser to the web-based device management app for one of my Windows IoT Core…

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Windows 10 Development: RelativePanel

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #10 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” Another new control in the Windows 10 Developer toolbox is the RelativePanel, a layout container which enables flexible positioning between the elements it contains. Today we’ll take a closer look at this control and how we used it to build the UI of the Falafel2Go app for Windows 10. RelativePanel Positioning Using the RelativePanel, each element it contains can specify its position in relation to either another element, or docking to the container itself. By leveraging these position properties, you can easily create dynamic layouts in a…

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Windows 10 Development: SplitView

By | Windows | No Comments

This is post #9 of 14 in the series “Developing for Windows 10” Now that we have a simple but solid foundation for a complete Windows 10 app, let’s take a tour through some of the brand new controls available on the platform. Today we’ll look at the SplitView control, which enables you to quickly create a consistent, intuitive navigation UI that can automatically adjust to different screen sizes and device platforms. SplitView The most common function of the SplitView control is to provide a familiar, responsive navigation structure to an application. As the controls name suggests, it consists of…

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Using Application Insights with Cordova Apps in Visual Studio

By | Azure, Cordova, CSS, Fun, HTML5, iOS, JavaScript, Mobile, News, Tools, Visual Studio | 2 Comments

Abstract When developing a mobile application, native or hybrid, we require a certain way to monitor and track different activities and events in the application. Developers need to detect issues, solve problems and continuously improve the application code. Marketers, on the other hand, want different kind of metrics. For instance, they want to know how many people are using the application on a daily basis, what features they are using and how they are interacting with the application. Background Application Insights is a set of services that provide actionable insight into a production application. It monitors your application to detect issues,…

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Orico Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle

Making a Smart Bracelet using Custom BTLE GATT Services, Arduino, and Windows IoT Core

By | Arduino, C#, Hardware, IoT, Multi-Device, News, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | One Comment

In this article, we are going to cover how to setup your own custom GATT service on the Arduino platform and then interact with it using an application running on Windows IoT Core. The project we will create is a BTLE bracelet that has an LED light (NeoPixel) that changes colors based on the communications received over the custom GATT service. What is a GATT Service? GATT stands for Generic ATTribute Profile. Essentially, it is what defines the services and their associated characteristics that are available on a particular BTLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) device (it is also available on regular Bluetooth…

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Nuts and Bolts

Sitefinity 8 – Business Users Edition

By | Sitefinity, Telerik | No Comments

Do you want to create a web site that helps build customer relationships and drive sales, but have less than zero interest in fiddling with technical details? Then this is the book for you. Sitefinity 8 – Business Users Edition focuses on creating your pages and getting your content out there, with a minimum of administration. Here are some highlights: Create and edit web pages. There are plenty of screenshots to show how widgets are dragged-and-dropped to present news, blogs, images and more. Build a library of content that can be reused all over your website including news, blogs, events,…

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Get your Xamarin Android eBook here!

By | Android, Mobile, News, Visual Studio, Xamarin | One Comment

Recently Falafel published a series of blogs to help Android developers build awesome apps leveraging Xamarin Android as a technology to build and deploy Android apps. This series takes you all the way from getting everything installed to publishing to the store. To make it easy for you, we followed that up with an eBook that you can download and take with you to get started with Android development on the Xamarin platform. Whether you are just getting started or a pro Android developer, there is something in this eBook for you. Some of the highlights for this eBook are:…

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Office Lens_20150902_104950_processed

Windows IoT Core Oscilloscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Telerik, Tools, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | 2 Comments

In my continuing quest to see what the Windows IoT Core is capable of and my desire to push my gadgets to their limits, I came up with an interesting oscilloscope project using a Windows IoT Core-based Raspberry Pi 2 and a simple ADC. Now, I’m not claiming that you can just quickly build an oscilloscope using a Raspberry Pi 2 and an ADC and never need to spend the money on an oscilloscope ever again. The one shown in this project is limited in its temporal resolution to the millisecond range. For an oscilloscope, that’s slow, but it may…

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FalafelCON app now available, built with Xamarin

By | Xamarin | No Comments

I am super excited to announce the availability of the FalafelCON conference mobile app on all 4 mobile platforms  – iOS, Android, WP, and W8.1.  The FalafelCON app is a whitelisted app that is born as a result of us rewriting the larger parent app,  EventBoard mobile,  using the Xamarin Platform which will be available this fall. These two apps are built from the ground up using Xamarin.Forms technology. By using Xamarin.Forms we are able to achieve > 95% code reuse on iOS and Android. We also built native apps for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 using the Universal Windows Apps model…

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