Build Day 1 Windows QuickStart Challenge

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Build officially started today, and instead of writing yet-another-summary-of-the-keynote analyzing Julie’s anxiety and Steve’s sweaty armpits, I think it’s more interesting to tell you about the Windows QuickStart Challenge that I stumbled upon in the expo hall. In a nutshell, you are challenged to integrate a simple Windows 8 app with a number of partner offerings for analytics, push, authentication, in-app purchasing, and other services. If you integrate with five different partner offerings, you win a Surface RT. Which is exactly what I did :-) The funny thing is that I started the challenge with...
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Windows Azure Mobile Services "Rent a Home" Sample, Part 3: Authentication

Monday, April 8, 2013

Last time around, we explored the user interface and the server script for our apartment listings application. Today we'll see how to add authentication to the mix, and limit certain operations only to authenticated users. This is particularly important in the Rent a Home application, because you don't want anonymous users deleting and updating apartment listings! In fact, you'd probably want only the user that created an apartment listing to have the right to update or delete it. NOTE: Windows Azure Mobile Services is configured by default to enable any user with the application URL and application key to perform...

Windows Azure Mobile Services "Rent a Home" Sample, Part 2: UI and Data

Sunday, March 31, 2013

In the previous installment, we saw the general UI of the application. We'll now turn to see how that UI was implemented on all four platforms. If you're looking for a quick start or documentation on Mobile Services, you should take a look at the Windows Azure Mobile Developer Center. Android The model class for apartment listings on Android is the following: public class Apartment implements Serializable { private int id; private String address; private boolean published; private int bedrooms; private double latitude; private double longitude; private String username; //Getters and setters omitted...

Windows Azure Mobile Services "Rent a Home" Sample, Part 1: Introduction

Friday, March 29, 2013

For my Visual Studio Live! talk on Windows Azure Mobile Services, I decided to go beyond the "todolist" quick start samples and implement an application that illustrates more framework-specific and platform-specific features. The application is called "Rent a Home", and helps users share apartments for rent and view apartments for rent on a map around their location. Although this is not a production quality application -- for one thing, there is no way to contact the apartment owner! -- it's a more realistic illustration of why you would want a shared backend for your mobile application on all four...

Windows AzureConf 2012: Mobile Services, a Backend for Your Mobile Apps

Monday, December 24, 2012

Windows AzureConf was last month, and it was a blast! This was a virtual conference streamed online on Channel 9 and focused exclusively on Windows Azure, with Scott Guthrie delivering the keynote and the rest of the talks given by Azure community members -- Azure Insiders and Azure MVPs. My first talk was about Windows Azure Mobile Services, which is the piece of Microsoft technology I am most excited about in the last 5 years at least. If you haven't seen this technology, Windows Azure Mobile Services provides a backend for your mobile apps on a variety of platforms, currently...

Diagnosing Memory Leaks in Managed Windows Store Apps

Monday, October 15, 2012

There is so much material on the web (and even on this blog) about memory leak diagnostics in managed code, and a considerable number of tools that make diagnostics increasingly easier. Modern memory profilers can open application dumps, attach to live processes, display live memory graphs, compare snapshots, identify problematic retention patterns, and so much more. Unfortunately, these tools presently don’t work with Windows Store apps. Moreover, the UI model of Windows Store apps poses a significant challenge in diagnosing many UI-related memory leaks, such as composite UI controls retaining objects embedded in them, or UI elements retaining...

Why App Stores Are a Necessary Evil

Monday, October 1, 2012

I’ve just read an article on International Digital Times that laments the impossibility of distributing a Windows Store app externally, without using the Windows Store. Setting aside the oxymoron for a moment (distributing a Windows Store app through something that is not the Windows Store :-)), this is not as bad as the author thinks it is. In fact, I sometimes get the feeling that people are bashing Windows 8 and the Windows Store not for its merits or disadvantages, but out of a “someone moved my cheese” feeling. The Installation Model The author...

Running The Boot Camp Control Panel Applet from Windows 8 on MacBook Pro

Thursday, August 16, 2012

As John Robbins repeatedly likes to say, Apple computers are the best hardware for running Windows. To quote, “a Mac Pro it's the best Windows machine money can buy”. After yesterday’s release of Windows 8 to MSDN subscribers, I went along and installed it on my new MacBook Pro. Everything went fine—the setup was blazingly fast, all drivers were successfully installed, except for the pesky Apple trackpad settings that were way off what a Windows user comes to expect. In case you don’t know, MacBook trackpads look like this: There’s no left or right...

Deep Dive into WinRT: MSDN Session

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thanks for coming to my session on WinRT internals today at Microsoft Raanana! Preparing for this session has been very interesting for me, especially as I was mucking around with vtable pointers for the Pro .NET Performance book anyway :-) Deep Dive into WinRT In this session we talked about the following: Refreshment of how COM objects work WinRT object layout and relationship to COM The WinRT type system and threading model Asynchronous operations in WinRT ...

SDP December 2011: Introducing Windows 8 Keynote

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The SDP started with my 40-minute keynote, Introducing Windows 8. I was working on it for more than 3 weeks, and wasn’t completely sure what I wanted in it until only a few days before the conference. That was also when I decided to ditch the slides and go for a fresh idea: a Metro-style Windows 8 application that contains both the slides and interactive code demos for the session. (The application’s tile and title page.) My personal view of Windows 8, after letting the news sink and playing with the system for a couple...
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