Getting Started With WiX
Up until this week I had not even heard of WiX (Windows Installer XML Tools). As with most open source projects I found myself spending a large amount of time trying to find resources to explain how to use this tool. I figured if I was struggling there might be a few others that could use some help. In this post I will cover a number of topics to get you started with WiX. First thing you need is the toolset itself. You can get it here. Once you run the install be sure to restart your machine so that ......
Posted On Friday, August 1, 2014 3:09 PM | Comments (0)
Enhancing Your Model In MVC 5
Simple views in ASP.NET MVC 5 are simple, but once you start getting a lot of conditional content formatting in the view things can get very messy. Once you get to the point where your Razor code has way to many if/else blocks and they start repeating you have to come up with a way to abstract and simplify your code. I looked at functions and partial views as possible solutions. Both of these have their place but an alternative that you may want to entertain is implementing your model as more than ......
Posted On Thursday, May 8, 2014 3:57 PM | Comments (0)
Project Spark Maze Making Technique
When I first started creating Project Spark worlds I would try to build a mountain and then tunnel through it to create halls and rooms. This really became a test of patients. Once you have created a narrow space with ceilings it is hard to get your camera in the right place to know which direction your tunnels are heading, how close you are to the outside of your terrain and good luck placing props. The solution is actually pretty simple. Use the Add tool with the cube brush and make your corridors ......
Posted On Monday, March 24, 2014 9:04 AM | Comments (0)
Project Spark Development On Windows 8 With A XBox Controller
As you may have noticed, I really enjoy building Project Spark games. Until recently you have only been able to create them on Windows 8.1. Now you have the option of playing Project Spark on XBox One with XBox 360 coming in the future. While I don’t have an XBox I have realized that there are just some things that you can’t do without a controller. The biggest one for me is manipulating the size of trigger zones around props. In order to gain this capability I picked up a second hand controller ......
Posted On Friday, March 21, 2014 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Presenting Project Spark At Chicago Code Camp
It is conference time again and this year I am speaking at the Chicago Code Camp on my latest addiction: Project Spark. This is the game that is currently in beta on Windows 8 and XBox One which doubles as a game development environment. Come and see how you can enjoy this and even spend more time with your kids and subliminally teach them how to code. Register at the link below. http://www.chicagocodecamp.... ......
Posted On Monday, March 17, 2014 4:28 PM | Comments (0)
Project Spark Beta Impressions
Many kids are addicted to Minecraft. It is a game that allows you to build the environment you play in and even create new content if you are willing to learn how to make mods. Project Spark is an offering from Microsoft which allows you to create and play top quality games. For the last couple of weeks I have been addicted to the beta of Project Spark and working with my boys to make some games. Even though it is still in beta there are some great features. It would take a tome to cover them all, ......
Posted On Sunday, January 19, 2014 12:40 PM | Comments (0)
Windows Phone App Studio: The Social Developer Tool
Creating mobile applications is challenging, but Microsoft just made it easy for most people to create their own Windows Phone apps. People talk about Indie gaming. The Windows Phone App Studio allows people to create apps to share with their family and friends (as long as they have an App Studio account) using a WYSWYG style web site. Whether you want an app for your kid’s team, an app that introduces your company or an app for an upcoming event the App Studio can allow you to build them on your ......
Posted On Thursday, September 5, 2013 7:11 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 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)
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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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