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Create the Ultimate Fan Universal App using Windows AppStudio

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 10:03 PM

Let’s face it. We all love music. Some of us love it so much, that we track our favourite musicians waiting for concert dates to be announced and tickets to go on sale. Wouldn’t it be easier to use an app that will do that for you? Better yet, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could purchase available concert tickets for your favourite artist right from within the app?

With Windows AppStudio and the Bandsintown combined, you can easily create your own ultimate fan app with a few clicks of the mouse, and some modifications to the code.

If you’re not familiar with Windows AppStudio, it is Microsoft’s online design tool which allows you to create Universal apps through a wizard-style interface. It also allows you to generate and download the source code for the app so that you can customize it further from within Visual Studio. AppStudio is great for displaying collections of data, whether it’s an RSS feed, live Twitter stream, Facebook page posts, photos, or static data.

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To learn more about how AppStudio works, check out my 3 part blog post series on using AppStudio to create a Windows Phone app:

Creating an App with Windows Phone App Studio – Part 1

Creating an App with Windows Phone App Studio – Part 2

Creating an App with Windows Phone App Studio – Part 3

AppStudio has changed since then to include more features and the ability to generate Universal apps, but the main concepts of the design tool are the same. You can check out how to use the latest features of Windows AppStudio by reading the online How-To guide.

Now that you know what AppStudio is, let’s explore what Bandsintown is all about and how it can help you create a custom fan-based app.

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Bandsintown is a platform that connects fans with their favourite artists. It includes information on a multitude of artists, such as band information, concert listings, and ticket availability. Bandsintown v2 API is designed for enterprise partners with websites, media players, and/or mobile applications that are part of the Facebook platform and would like to provide their users with the ability to RSVP to and share artist's real Facebook events. Response data is available either as a JSON or XML result.

In order to use the Bandsintown v2 API, you will need to, review Bandintown’s best practices for using the API, send them a note to let them know that you will be using their API, and choose a custom Id that will serve as your unique application identifier. You will use this value each time an API call is made. Since their API returns links to an artist’s Facebook page, you will also need to ensure that you follow all Facebook policies.

Before you start designing your ultimate fan app, I recommend that the following preparations are made ahead of time to ensure that the app creation process is as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Select your favourite artist, and gather information

Decide which artist your app will feature, any images you wish to use within your app. Ensure that any image you use, if it is not your own, is made available under the Creative Commons License and proper attribution is included in your app.

You will also need to design a logo for your app. You can use Syncfusion’s MetroStudio, a free tool, to create Modern style icons.

Also, decide on which data sources you will use to load information relevant to your favourite artist within your app. For example, this could be information from the artist’s Facebook page, videos from YouTube, or photos from Flickr or Instagram. Be sure to have these links handy so that you can copy/paste them into AppStudio’s design tool when configuring the sections within your app.

Step 2: Prepare your development environment

Next, ensure you have Visual Studio 2013 (with Update 2 or higher) installed on your machine. If you don’t have Visual Studio installed, you can download the Express edition which is free. To help you through this process, check out my post, Setting up Your Development Environment in 30 minutes (or less).

To be continued…

Now that you know what your app will be focused on, and have the necessary materials at hand, creating the app will be a seamless process. In my next post, we will explore how to create the ultimate fan app using Windows AppStudio and the Bandsintown v2 API!




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