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Windows Phone 7–Network Connectivity

Recently I've been working on a project and we discovered something that have some impact on the performance of a Windows Phone application. This is probably a mistake that we did when implementing the code, but it may be the kind of mistake that many developer will do.

Quickly, each time we were calling the web service we were validating the network connectivity by validating the property “ NetworkInterface.NetworkInterfaceType ”. Behind that property, there is a process that validate the connectivity. This process is calling a page “http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt” to see if there is any connectivity and which type of connectivity. But the problem is that is done synchronously. So in our case we were calling multiple times this process, which result to execute the process of validating the Url mention before synchronously multiple times.  So each web service call must wait for the network validation before executing the call. And because it’s on the web the response can be fast and can also be very long before we get the response.

In our case we did implement a wrapper that make sure that the call is not done to often. This help us improve the performance of the application start-up. Also this help to improve activation process after the application Tombstone.

So make sure to validate our Windows Phone 7 application by using a tool like fiddler. This will help you improve the performance and stability of your application.

Regards,
LP

Windows Phone Controls

Almost 4 month have passed since the release on the market of the Windows Phone devices. With now over 8,000 apps, a lot of code have been written. So many controls manufacturer have release controls for Windows Phone 7. Some are free and some not. But in the end the is  now a good set of controls available on the market to help the developer to build nice and appealing application.

Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone (Free)

Recently, the Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone was update. This release provided some new controls and some improvement on the existing controls.

New feature:

  • TiltEffect
  • PerformanceProgressBar

Download: http://silverlight.codeplex.com/releases/view/60291

More information: http://www.jeff.wilcox.name/2011/02/feb2011-sl4wptk/

 

Telerik RadControls for Windows Phone (Paid)

Telerik is also providing some nice controls. Telerik provide nice transition and animation controls. We used some of those controls some of our recent project. They are currently in beta but they are working like RTM product. I had the chance to be in contact with the dev team to help us solving some issue in the beta and i can tell you that the team is really dedicated to provide the best controls.

  • Application Frame
  • Transition Controls
  • many more

Download: http://www.telerik.com/products/windows-phone.aspx
Sample App: zune://navigate/?phoneAppID=fd55f526-d6f7-df11-9264-00237de2db9e

telerik_radcontrols_0telerik_radcontrols_4

 

Component Art (Paid)

Last week ComponentArt released a version of their Data Vizualisation for Windows phone. This set of controls looks very nice (i didn’t time to test the control, but i will review the controls in a couple of days). If you plan to create a dashboard with some Charts, Gauges, Maps, Gridviews, etc i suggest you to give a look at this set of controls.

Sample App: zune://navigate/?phoneAppID=e13ba532-242b-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

Download: http://www.componentart.com/products/dv/wp7.aspx

componentart_demo_1componentart_demo_4componentart_demo_3

 

Coding4Fun Tookit (Free)

This open source project provide some nice feature that are not available in any other project. This project is a good complement and a good base for any Windows Phone project.

Controls:

  • About Prompt
  • Input Prompt
  • Progress Overlay
  • Round Button
  • Round Toggle Button
  • Memory Counter
  • TimeSpan Picker

Data Helper:

  • PhoneHelper for getting data out of the WMAppManifest file

Converter:

  • Boolean to Visibility
  • String To Visibility
  • Themed Image Converter
  • Inversed Theme Image Converter
  • Visibility to Boolean

Download: http://coding4fun.codeplex.com/

aboutPrompt_2_thumbbuttons_2_thumboverlay_2_thumb

 

WP7Contrib (Free)

This set of controls provide feature that help to work with MVVM Light. The feature are mostly behind the hood, like Cachine, Messaging, Service and some ui controls.

Download : http://wp7contrib.codeplex.com/

 

Developing application for Windows Phone 7 can now be done using some controls (without having to create them manually). Those controls provides rich visual and are easy to implement. So creating a portable dashboard for a sale department or a social network application is now an easy task with all those controls. So give it a try, like we did in our projects.

Regards,
LP

Windows Phone 7 Updates (more details)

This week it’s the Mobile World Congress. It’s the same event that Microsoft official announced the new Windows Phone 7 to the world. One year later Microsoft use the same event to publish more informations about the upcoming updates.

Currently there is an update scheduled to be release very soon (was supposed to be release at the end of January but was postponed). We should see the update at the beginning of March. This update will provide some updates like:

  • Copy & paste (which is now available in latest release of the developer tools)
  • Support for CDMA
  • some performance improvement

Later this year (maybe in the next 6 month) Microsoft is scheduling a major update. This update is called “Mango” and will provide a lot of nice improvement:

  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Skydrive Integration
  • Multi-Tasking (some information about that feature will be available at MIX11)
  • and more

So now that Nokia is now an official partner for the Windows Phone, i can only imagine that this will help the platform to progress. What we see from the Windows Phone is only the top of the iceberg, the future is very interesting. Microsoft is already talking about an integration with the Kinect (see the video).

If you want more information about the latest news on Windows Phone I suggest the following sites:
http://www.wpcentral.com/
http://windowsphonesecrets.com/

Regards,
LP

Windows Phone 7 Developers Briefing in Montreal

Join us at the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Briefing for Developers!

windows phone developer briefingsWant to learn how to create awesome applications and games for Windows Phone 7?

Want to extend your existing apps onto a new platform?

Want recognition, exposure, and reach in an untapped marketplace?

RunAtServer will be presenting this Windows Phone 7 Briefing on behalf of Microsoft, you will learn more about developing on it’s latest mobile platform.  The briefing will cover three sessions exploring the two application frameworks available for Windows Phone 7, where to find developer resources, how to submit apps into Marketplace, and much more!
Session 1
6:00pm - 7:00pm - Apps with Silverlight
Session 2
7:15pm - 8:15pm - Games with XNA
Session 3
8:30pm - 9:00pm - Next Steps

When:
December 7

Where:
Intercontinental Hotel
St-Jacques
360 Rue St Antoine W
Montréal (Québec) H2Y 3X4
Canada

Registration link
https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032470418&Culture=en-CA

 

Other cities:

Register Today:

Ottawa, On – November 30, 2010
Calgary, AB – December 01 2010
Mississauga, On – December 2010
Montreal, QC – December 7 2010
Toronto, On – December 9 2010

See you there!

LP

Presenting at .NET Montreal Community on Windows Phone 7 on Monday November 15th

windows_phone_introTomorrow, it'll give a full session at the .NET Montreal Community about Windows Phone 7. In that session I'll give a full end to end overview of my experience building applications for Windows Phone 7. So I'll start with the idea through the development process and finally publishing the application to the marketplace.

If your interested, I’ll be also available to answers your question. I’ll also have a device so you can test and feel the new OS which is now available since November 8th.

For more information : http://www.dotnetmontreal.com/.../Default.aspx?selecteddate=15/11/2010

 

 

See you there!
LP

Windows Phone 7 – Suspend mode

Recently i was publishing an updated version of an application on the Marketplace for Windows Phone 7, and my update failed the testing process.

Why?

Comments: The user isuse  presented with an error message when the location services are disabled on the device. The error
message that is displayed is not a user friendly message.
Steps to reproduce:
1. Turn on location service on device.
2. Launch the application and select a location
on the venues page.
3. Swipe to the map page and select view map.
4. When map is loaded press the Start button on the device. 5. Go to the settings of the device and turn off location service.
6. Press the Back button from the Start screen of the device to reactivate the application.
7. Notice a non-user friendly error notification appears.

Real reason
In reality the problem is not related with the location services. Because i don’t use the location service (i only use the Bing Map for display only).  In fact, the real problem it’s that i forgot to handle the Deactivated event and the Activated event.

Why do we have to handle the Activated and Deactivated event?
Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support multiple application running at the same time (except for some application approve by Microsoft). But when your application is running, for different reason (incoming phone call, the user click the start button, …) the application can be suspended. To eliminate some issues you should handle those event and make sure you persist important information.

gg266441_788be805-086f-49cf-9911-fc638a953c92_png(en-us)

One of the best place to handle these events is in the App.xaml. To do so you need to declare the events in the xaml code.

<Application.ApplicationLifetimeObjects>
        <!--Required object that handles lifetime events for the application-->
        <shell:PhoneApplicationService
            Launching="PhoneApplicationService_Launching"    
            Closing="PhoneApplicationService_Closing"
            Activated="PhoneApplicationService_Activated"    
            Deactivated="PhoneApplicationService_Deactivated" />
    </Application.ApplicationLifetimeObjects>

In the Activated event, you can store some data in the the Microsoft.Phone.Shell.PhoneApplicationService.Current.State dictionary. And in the Deactivated event, we can retrieve that information.

Conclusion
Make sure to test any scenario that a user may face. Currently, the testing process that Microsoft implemented is pretty exhaustive (which is good because it help ensure that the application in the Marketplace won’t crash).

Reference
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/wp7trainingcourse_applicationlifetimewp7lab_topic2.aspx
http://bolingconsulting.com/blog/?p=46

Regards,

LP

Zune Software – Windows Phone Marketplace

The latest version (4.7) of the Zune software have been made available very quietly. The software now support the new Windows Phone 7. Zune is the software which will handle the connectivity with the computer.  You’ll be able to manage your phone, buy some software or games, sync your music and video.

Now there is a Marketplace we can see the available software and games for the Windows Phone. You can download using this link: http://www.zune.net/en-CA/products/software/download/default.htm
or you can download the full package here:  www.microsoft.com/download/…

Here is some screenshot:

The main page of the marketplace

image

An application page

image

A game page

image

 

Regards,
LP

Windows Phone 7 confirmed in Canada

Today Microsoft hold a press conference to launch Windows Phone 7. At launch, 9 device will be available (Samsung, HTC, LG, DELL, ..). Here in Canada,

  • Telus have confirmed that they will have 2 device available for November 8th , HTC 7 Surround & LG Optimus 7.
  • Rogers have publish a news indicating they will also have a device available: Samsung Focus.
  • Bell will have the LG Optimus Quantum, with slider keyboard, 3.5 inch touchscreen, Augmented Reality, and speech-to-text.

Windows Phone 7 Annoucement

HTC_Surround_sm Samsung_Focus_sm

HTC Surround

Samsung Focus

LG_Optimus7_sm LG_Optimus7Q_sm

LG Optimus 7

LG Optimus Quantum

Also, there was some interesting announcement during the press conference.

  • Electronic Art (EA) will be a partner for the game platform.
  • Early 2011, Microsoft will publish updates that will add the Copy & Paste feature that was one of the highly requested feature.

Links related to the launch:

So less than 1 month to wait until we get the devices.

Regards,
LP

I’ve been awarded MVP Device Application Development!

Today it’s a really great day for me. I’ve been awarded MVP Device Application Development. This mean that all the hard work have been recognized by my peer and Microsoft. So i want thanks everyone who help me achieve this goal. I mean all my colleagues who answers my so many questions, all the people who are following my course at Technologia and i forgot many. So one of the big thing i learned in life is sharing your knowledge with others allow you to progress because everyone is different and everyone have different idea. So the sharing is always in both ways.

Thank you. And i’ll continue the hard work.

 

 

 

Regards,

LP

Windows Phone 7 did an appearance in the morning show Salut Bonjour

This morning i was surprise to see that Windows Phone 7 was part of the morning show Salut Bonjour.

To view the video use the following link : http://tva.canoe.ca/cgi-bin/player/...

Thanks Guy Barrette for the hint on your blog.

LP