Let’s say you are developing an application that needs to integrate in the Settings Hub. For most applications, this is not at all necessary – if you are not altering the behavior of the device (e.g. through global settings that go beyond the application), you do not need to do this. However, for experimentation purposes, it is, in fact, possible to integrate your app in there.
For most applications, notifications are not exactly critical. Granted, a scientific calculator will not benefit from having an in-app notification hub. On the other hand, there are cases when you want to let the user know about what’s new and what changes before an update or including information in the changelog. That’s where a custom notification hub control can come in really handy.
At this point in time, Beem Plus has established itself as the de-facto DI.FM client for Windows Phone, although unofficial. With more than 45,000 downloads all over the world, I feel like this project is filling its niche pretty well.
I’ve added several changes to the FileExplorer control, that will be included in the Coding4Fun Toolkit.
I am proud to announce today, that one of my largest Windows Phone projects – Beem, is now open-source, in an effort to improve the product and to facilitate community contributions (there were many requests to add features – now devs can easily chime in).
To continue the tradition of a weekly FileExplorer build, here is the next update, bringing you a new set of capabilities and fixes.
You can download the Coding4Fun Toolkit source code. Once downloaded, go to Experimental > FileExplorer. The sample project carries an alpha implementation of the control, and I would love to get your feedback on it - let me know what you want to see become a part of it.
As per the request of many Beem users, I am implementing Last.fm track scrobbling. The first part of this task is to implement an API client for the Last.fm web service, and step one is user authentication. Last.fm is not using OAuth, but rather its own implementation of an authentication engine that relies on a composite MD5 secret.
As I discussed the basic of authentication in my previous post, the most important Last.fm feature that is added to Beem in itself is track scrobbling, which will allow you to keep records of what you listened to from your favorite music aggregation service.
While working on Beem, I always relied on a static XML file to fetch me the list of available online radio streams. It’s a good way to keep the content dynamic, and when new stations are added, I do not have to re-submit the application for certification but rather just update the XML file.
Serialization is a process that is prone to errors, especially with a poorly structured data layer. However, that is not always the case and a seemingly normal serialization/deserialization scenario might turn out to produce unexepected results.
Multiple applications that are already in the Windows Phone Marketplace operate with a variety of content, such as pictures, text files and music. More often than not, that content is stored locally, in the application isolated storage, and although it is a good way to preserve that content, this method is bound to create some inconveniences in case the user decides to switch phones or do a complete device reset.
With the release of the new Windows Phone 8 SDK, the developers are now able to create URI associations, where their application can be launched from the context of another application.
The Windows Phone team recently announced that it will remove the Windows Phone apps section from the Zune Desktop client due to the fact that users mostly access those through the web interface or the mobile client directly on the device.
For some situations, the controls that are out there are not enough. That is why I started working on my own control toolkit. As I work on my own applications and feel the need to implement a custom control, I will add it to the Windows Phone Control Kit collection.
Paul Betts mentioned on Twitter yesterday that he was looking for a Canada-specific offer, where developers could get free Windows Phone devices. Although I was not aware of anything like that for Canada, there sure is an offer for students in the United States.
If you own a Samsung Windows Phone device, you probably noticed that there is an update available for the stock Diagnostics application. The default build is 1004 and the new one is 0210.
It’s almost 4 in the morning, and as with all great ideas, this one came to me while I was working on a completely different project. I was thinking that it is a shame that I cannot attach files to an email via EmailComposeTask – and indeed, I am not the only one thinking about this.
With the new update, Dell also updated their EM application. Which is still pretty horrible, surprisingly. It didn’t change much – some functionality is gone while other parts were unnecessarily hidden.
I wrote an article on this topic not long ago, so this video is created both to show how it’s done correctly and how it is possible to use a local Isolated Storage Explorer on a Windows Phone 7 device.
I just released a new video that shows how it is possible to access system applications inside a locked emulator image. I already described the details in one of my articles, so this video is more of a proof and a hands-on demo.
I see this question asked a lot on StackOverflow, and today I saw another example of this phenomenon. I decided to write this blog post to simply explain why this is not possible and why you should look for another media sources to build your ringtones rather than using the existing media library.
As you probably know, the Windows Phone SDK comes with an emulator that is locked down to the maximum – the developer only has access to Internet Explorer and to a limited number of settings. However, today I found out an indirect (and maybe not that optimal) way to access various applications that are blocklisted, but are still available on the device.
Dropped phones are not that uncommon of a phenomenon. My idea was to find a way when this happens while a third-party application is running on Windows Phone. No phones were destroyed or damaged during the experiment.
The Isolated Storage Explorer Tool is new with the Mango SDK (7.1). In this video I am talking about general capabilities of the application and why you should use it if Isolated Storage is a component part of your application.
The new Windows Phone Mango SDK introduced a testing tool, that is tied to the device emulator, allowing developers to simulate location data and readings from the accelerometer sensor (now it also allows taking screenshots).
Windows Phone tiles are cool – everyone knows that. So far, developers can create shell tiles outside the application itself, pinning them to the user’s home screen. Today, Clint Rutkas updated his Coding4Fun Toolkit with a component called Tile, that allows the usage of tiles directly in a third-party application.
Each Windows Phone OS – powered device has its own way of communicating with its hardware. In a non-public environment, this is done through a COM (Component Object Model) layer. A DLL providing this layer is usually shipped as a part of the OS or an official OEM application. When it is distributed the second way, it is fairly easy to intercept the XAP and extract the DLL. And that’s when the experiments begin.
For those who were developing for Windows Phone for quite a while, you probably know that the emulator itself exposes quite a few gems. The one I found today is rather useless at this point, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Have you ever wondered if the default YouTube application can be replaced? With tight system integration to the level where it has its own URI scheme registered, it seems like it’s a sealed deal and developers can’t do anything about it. What developers don’t know is that it is possible to fully replace the default YouTube application as long as you take it’s identity. Apparently Windows Phone OS recognizes applications by IDs only.
Windows Phone 7 comes with built-in support for YouTube. The system has a dedicated URI scheme registered for it, and I talked about it a while ago. It is pretty cool if the developer knows the URI scheme so that the application can be initiated from inside another application, but it is even cooler to disassemble the default YouTube application itself and attempt to integrate Microsoft-built capabilities in your own application.
By default the Windows Phone emulator is pretty limited in terms of applications that are available out-of-the-box. In fact, Internet Explorer is the only application that is available – the rest are apps that are side-loaded. I already talked about a way to invoke the default YouTube application and about some other hidden call-related features. Today I found an interesting new access point that allows me to work with the Maps application without actually having the app accessible in the main menu.
I am in Tulsa right now attending a Windows Phone 7 presentation. One of the highlights of this event is the possibility to see and experience an actual Windows Phone 7 device. Here are some pictures of the device in my hands: UPDATE: So I’ve been asked by quite a few people what I think about it. The device feels really nice – it is not heavy – I’d say it’s way more lightweight compared to the iPhone.
While working on a Windows Phone 7 application today I noticed that some web requests are skipped by the application. In fact, the callback for the receiving method was never called, so I decided to track the outbound traffic via a local proxy tool. I actually tried two of them, and here is what I got. Fiddler Fiddler was the first choice when I decided that I need to keep track of what’s being requested by the application.