Software solutions for a mobile world

As I have said many times in the past, I use VM's for development on VS2008 to keep just the latest version of Visual Studio on my 'main' machine.

I decided to update my VM to the 'Creators Edition' of Windows 10 using the insiders edition, just to check everything was OK.


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I have had a Microsoft Band since they were released - Father Christmas brought me one last year, and I was lucky enough to pick up a new Band 2 whilst at the MVP summit earlier this month.

The Band 2 is a massive improvement over the original band.


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I have posted in the past about travelling in Europe, about comms and about mobile routers. Last year I opened an account with the Spanish provider Yoigo, who were charging €10 a month for 1gb data. Due to my misunderstanding of top-ups, I finished up paying €20 per month for 2gb. I cancelled my contract last September. 

So, I was looking around for options.


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Xamarin Forms is a great development tool for developers doing cross platform development. Windows Phone devs can use the C# the know and love, and xaml to design their forms - so they can feel completely at home. 

But, as devs using Xamarin Forms will be well aware, there is no designer for Xamarin Forms.


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If you have read my blogs in the past, you will know I am a big fan of virtual machines for different development environments. I have several VM's with different development environments for Windows Mobile, VB6 (honest), and several other configurations.

Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 development threw all this into confusion.


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I recently was lucky enough to win a design consultation courtesy of Nokia DVLUP 

The consultation was with Arturo Toledo, ex Senior UX designer from Microsoft, and how head of Toledo Design. I was really looking forward to the session, as I attended a webinar with Arturo earlier this year, and was very impressed.


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I recently had a SSD fail on me, and it was sent back for replacement. When I installed the SSD originally I did a Windows install, and then all the installs needed, VS2012, Phone developer SDK, SQL Server, etc. etc. - not a quick job.

It therefore goes without saying, that when the SSD failed, I wasn't best pleased, especially as this was the 2nd one to fail.


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I have just written a new application for Windows Phone 8, called APPA Photo Navigator. The app allows you to browse your photo albums, select a photograph and get EXIF info about the photograph, and position one, many or all of your photographs on the map. There are a couple of similar apps out there (surprise, surprise), but none appeared to be tailored for Windows Phone 8.


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I have been lucky enough get a SIM-free unlocked Nokia Lumia 920, so I set everything up as best I could, and then put the SIM card in the phone. It picked up my O2 signal, and then I got a text message saying they couldn't set up my phone automatically, and to ring O2 for assistance.


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I recently submitted my first app to the Windows 8 store. I had done all the right things, or so I thought, so from VS2012 I did Project>Store>Create App Packages...

This churned away, and then told me the app had failed. I looked at the report, and saw the helpful message "The contrast ratio of the background color and foreground text color is 1.


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Hi APPA Market Developers

Microsoft has expanded availability of App Hub, and renamed it Dev Center. You can check if your country is supported here.

If your country is listed you can now register your own developer account with Microsoft. If you follow the migration instructions below, Microsoft will reimburse your first year membership to Dev Center.


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Just a brief word of thanks to everyone who attended the Windows Phone Camp on Saturday the 30th June at the Radisson Blu in Edinburgh.

Thanks to John Cooper from Nokia, Dave Crawford from Microsoft for their help, and presentations. Dave's excellent presentation on Metro design really seemed to wow the audience.

Below is a reprise of the links we highlighted on Saturday.


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Just been updating one of my VM's to ensure I have all the lastes stuff I need. I installed Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 and then came to install the latest version of Nuget. I immediately got a failure message, the log file telling me 'VSIXInstaller.SignatureMismatchException: The signature on the update version of 'NuGet Package Manager' does not match the signature on the installed version.


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Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who came to the Windows Phone camp at LBi last Saturday - we had a great time and hope you did too.

Many thanks to John Cooper from Nokia for all his help, Riaz for his usual excellent help, and Lizzie and her team for all the great organisation.


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After the success, and over-subscription to the London Windows Phone 7 camps organised by Microsoft, Nokia have come to the aid of developers, and added more camps in conjunction with Microsoft, again taking place in London at LBi.

The first of these will be held on the 31st of March 2012, with myself and Andy Wigley in attendance from APPA Mundi.


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On Tuesday the 13th of September, we finally held the first meeting (hopefully of many) of the WPUG in Manchester. Matt Lacey has been running the WPUG in London for over a year, and a northern meeting has been mooted for a while.

This finally came about due to the efforts of Rick Garner, Chris Hardy and a bit of input from myself.


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I have increasingly been seeing the message 'Property editing not available' when on the xaml design page of a VS2010 Windows Phone 7 application.

Some judicious searching threw up various suggestions, including several opinions that the problem was fixed. Possibly, but not for me, using VS2010 with the latest service packs, and the current phone development beta.


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We were getting reports of this occurring in one of our apps, but it was proving difficult to track down, despite our app emailing a stack trace and other details when we got an error.

Peter did some judicious searching, and found that other people had seen this if the page you were navigating away from was using DispatcherTimer.

This did indeed appear to be the case.


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APPA Mundi are running 4 developer workshop days

26th March 2011 - The Studio - Birmingham REGISTER
2nd  April 2011 - Hallam Conference Centre, London REGISTER
9th   April 2011 - Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester REGISTER
16th April 2011 - LBi Centre, London REGISTER

If you are creating apps for Windows Phone 7, as a professional, independent or student developer please join us at one – or all – of these free events, which


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Validating text box fields in any application has always been a pain, and I have always tried to use short-cuts to validate input. Windows Phone 7 is no exception, so hopefully this will help you ease through field validation.

My ideal method has always been to loop through the controls, and validate any text boxes I come across.


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I have been developing a new WP7 application recently, using XML to store the data. We have used XML extensively in the past to store data and settings, but this is the first 'heavy' use of adding/updating/deleting records using XML files in isolated storage.


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Microsoft have released a great utility for Windows Phone 7 - CapabilityDetection.exe. This was released with the Windows Phone Tools Update as reported in Peters' blog, and will scan your Windows Phone 7 project and determine what capabilities it actually uses.

It is a command line utility, and is documented here, and it will scan your project and report on the capabilities your WP7 program needs.


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As anyone who has read my blog may know, I am a great fan of using Virtual Machines for development, but keeping my source code on my 'main' drive for security and backup purposes. Up until recently, I couldn't do this, as I had problems running VS2010 and the Windows Phone 7 emulator.


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I do a reasonable amount of travelling, and spend quite a bit of time in Menorca. I have a Vodafone ES dongle for this, which gives me unlimited 3G access for €20 for 7 days, and have been using this for over a year without a problem.


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Our esteemed colleague Andy Wigley, along with Rob Miles will be doing FREE on-line training for Windows Phone 7 next week. You can register for the event here - it is sure to be popular, so book early!

Originally published 13/Jul/2013

We have recently been doing a .Net CF project, where the device doesn't connect to the development PC using Activesync, but is connected via WiFi or even Infra Red.

Peter had a problem trying to deploy the project, and kept getting the message 'An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket.' This was despite the fact that nothing in the infrastructure had changed.


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I am a big fan of Resco tools for developers, and have blogged about them in the past. Resco have become the first of the Windows Mobile tools developers to announce they will be releasing their tools for Windows Phone 7. Read more about it here.

This is great news for developers of new Windows Phone 7 applications.


Originally published 19/May/2010

If like me, you are the proud owner of the HTC HD2 on O2, you will be pleased to know that O2 have finally pulled their finger out and released a new ROM upgrade. I used the excellent SPB Backup to backup my device, and then used their 'ROM Upgrade' mode to restore everything after the upgrade.


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For everyone taking the leap from .Net CF development, Channel 9 are offering a new Silverlight course to aid you in developing your new Windows Phone 7 applications. Head over to Channel 9 to take a look

Originally posted 7/Apr/2010

Just in case you missed it, and don't read my colleagues' blogs Microsoft anounced the new Windows Phone 7 Series at MWC in Barcelona.

You can see lots of videos with full details and demos here

No announcement about development environments, but as Peter Foot points out in his blog entry, the full story should unfold at MIX10

Exciting times!

Originally posted 16/Feb/2010

Error handling and tracing has always been a challenge, and many attempts have been made to automate error handling. I have tried various methods in the past, including writing my own error handler, that bolted in after the application had been written.

Being an MVP, we tend to get offers to try products. A couple of months ago, I got just such and invitation from EurekaLog.


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I am a great fan of Redgate tools for both SQL Server and .Net development.

They write superb tools for developers - I find SQL Toolbelt invaluable for working with SQL Server.

The have just produced a new FREE tool call SQL Search which does exactly what it does on the tin.


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I installed Windows 7 64bit on my laptop and it runs really well, with one exception. I do a nightly incremental backup to an external drive, which includes an option to power off my system when it has finished. Sometimes, when re-starting the system, it gets so far and then hangs.


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Modern communications have totally transformed our lives. To illustrate this, we at APPAMundi had a company meeting last Friday. Nothing unusual in that you may say, but in this case, Andy was in Manchester, Andrej at home in Croatia, I was away in  Menorca, and Peter was in Christchurch, New Zealand. 3 time zones and thousands of miles.


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I have been writing some user controls recently, to save importing code around projects. I wanted to use a custom icon in the toolbox, so as usual, I searched and found loads of solutions - generally for the desktop as opposed to the Compact Framework.

After refining my search, I came across this easy solution from fellow MVP Mark Arteaga - thanks Mark.


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There are several fairly new UI controls for Windows Mobile that are now available, to enhance the looks of your application.

Resco have been around for a while, and have some great visually appealing tools. Their 'Tab' control looks superb, and is finger friendly. Their tools allow you to give a more modern look to your apps after the challenge thrown down by some of the iPhone apps.


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My latest article on 'Optimizing Query and DML Performance with SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 and SqlCeResultSet' has just been published at the Windows Mobile Developer Center

The article contains some good tips on optimising SQL Server Compact Edition and illustrates the performance benefits that can be gained by using the SqlCeResultSet

Originally posted 6/Jun/2009

I recently had an application whereby a user had to enter their name on a mobile device, and sign for a delivery.

I wanted to use Transcriber for the entry of the name in a TextBox. This was no problem, as I could select it as the input method, and do an inputpanel.enabled when the text box gets the focus.


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There is a great new free keyboard called FingerKeyboard2 over at xda-developers. It is skinnable, and supports multiple languages. It also supports multiple screen sizes, VGA amd QVGA and both portrait and landscape. It is also highly 'customisable' having one 'text' layout, that can be edited.  

Definitely worth checking out

Originally posted 22/Apr/2009

My laptop's hard drive developed some bad sectors a couple of months ago, and stopped booting every time, and was very unreliable. I had backups, but the lastest was a few days old, so I bit the bullet, and put a new 320gb drive in my laptop.

After talking to my colleagues, I decided to install Vista, and then use virtual machines within Vista.


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M: +44 (0)7860 907493
B:  +44 (0)1204 657497

pete@gui-innovations.com

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