Review: Windows 8.1 Preview First Impressions
I have been using Windows 8 since just before the release candidate came out. While don’t see it as a perfect operating system I really enjoy it in both Metro mode and desktop mode. So what does the 8.1 Preview bring to us? Start Button The public screamed and Microsoft responded. They put a start button on the task bar in the desktop. I never use the button because there are already three other ways to accomplish the same thing (the keyboard Windows button, the hardware button on the Surface Pro ......
Posted On Friday, July 12, 2013 9:15 PM | Comments (1)
BUILD 2013 - Build for Both: Windows and Windows Phone
This review is more person to me since I have known Matt Hidinger for a couple of years now and the fact that he just announced that he is leaving Chicago to join the Windows Phone team at Microsoft in Redmond. So let me first say congratulations to him again. Now I can’t say that I always agree with Matt, but I do respect him. One area that we disagree on (at least from his statement during this presentation) is that the official Twitter app is a good platform example. His point was more that they ......
Posted On Thursday, July 4, 2013 8:34 AM | Comments (0)
How Can Project Spark Inspire Young Developers
At the BUILD conference last week there was a demonstration of Project Spark at the end of the first day’s keynote. I was amazed and inspired by the possibilities presented by this game/development environment. The inspiration came from the fact that it could teach a new generation of Minecraft hooked kids to program. It could grab their attention and hold it with amazing graphics and at the same time teach them the basics of writing code. From everything I have heard there is a drop in enrollment ......
Posted On Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:16 PM | Comments (0)
Building apps that work Together
Writing apps that stand alone will only get yon so far. If your app can allow the user to leverage other applications and share data you Can have a real winner on your hands. Jake Sabulsky started off by explaining that you should be concentrating on the core functionality of your app and letting the framework take care of the features that users require these days. This is implemented be leveraging contracts. When Windows 8 was released it included the File, Share and Pickers contracts. With the ......
Posted On Wednesday, July 3, 2013 9:37 AM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013 – Summary
BUILD was a wonderful experience. It was great to see old friends, make new friends, learn about the latest Microsoft technology and party with a bunch of geeks. It didn't hurt getting some awesome swag. While I Know that some people were disappointed that Microsoft didn't Say more about the XBox One, I was pleased with the information we got for developing Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone applications. Add to that the ability to pick the brains of MVPs and product team members was really worth the ......
Posted On Friday, June 28, 2013 11:53 PM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013–Day 2 Summary
Day 1 rocked. So how could they top that? By having more goodies to give away! During the keynote they announced that attendees would get one year of Office 365, 100 GB of SkyDrive and one year of Adobe Cloud Service. Overall they key note was long with more information shot at you than you could possibly absorb. They went about 20 minutes over time which made me think that they could have split it to a 3rd keynote and given us a better idea on some of these topics and perhaps addressed the one open ......
Posted On Friday, June 28, 2013 10:59 AM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013 Session–Alive With Activity
Live tiles are what really add a ton of value to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. As a developer it is important that you leverage this capability in order to make your apps more informative and give your users a reason to keep opening the app to find out details hinted at by tile updates. In this session Kraig Brockschmidt cover a wide array of dos and don’ts for implementing live tiles. I was actually worried whether I would get much out of this session when Kraig started it off with the fact ......
Posted On Thursday, June 27, 2013 7:40 AM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013 Session–What’s New In XAML
If ever there was a session that you felt like your head was going to explode, this one would do it. Tim Heuer proceeded to try to fit as many of the changes and additions to XAML as he could in one hour. There were a number of improvements that struck me. The first was the fact that we no longer need to put stack panels in the AppBar in order to add buttons. This has been changed to a CommandBar which at the very least makes the markup read more cleanly. Now if they would just bring this same improvement ......
Posted On Thursday, June 27, 2013 7:23 AM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013 Session–Testing Your C# Base Windows Store Apps
Testing an application is not what most people consider fun and the number of situation that need to be tested seems to grow exponentially when building mobile apps. That is why I found the topic of this session interesting. When I found out that the speaker, Francis Cheung, was from the Patterns and Practices group I knew I was in the right place. I have admired that team since I first met Ron Jacobs around 2001. So what did Francis have to offer? He started off in a rather confusing who’s on first ......
Posted On Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:13 AM | Comments (0)
BUILD 2013 Sessions–Building Great Windows Phone UI in XAML
Even the simplest of smart phone apps can be a challenge to give a compelling UI regardless of the platform. Windows Phone and XAML are no exception. That is what got my interest in this session by Shawn Oster. He took a checklist type approach to the subject is good considering that is about the only way that many us get things done. Shawn started out giving us a set of bad design/good design examples. They very effectively showed how good design gives a sense of professionalism to your app that ......
Posted On Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:54 AM | Comments (0)
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Tim Murphy

Tim is a Solutions Architect for PSC Group, LLC. He has been an IT consultant since 1999 specializing in Microsoft technologies. Along with running the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group and speaking on Microsoft and architecture topics he was also contributing author on "The Definitive Guide to the Microsoft Enterprise Library".

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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