04 Jan 2012

Presentation Dump - End 2011: Azure, Windows 8, Lightswitch, Visual Studio Tools, TFS & Roslyn

With 2011 finally done and dusted it is time for the bi-annual presentation dump, where I upload most of the slides I have done in the last six months to share with you! I say most, as some presentations are NDA and those, unfortunately, I can’t share out – but where I can upload slides I do!

In this presentation dump we have:

  • Windows Azure Platform Overview: This is a talk I gave at the ImagineCup to faculty members about what Microsoft Azure can offer!
  • Windows 8: A brief introduction shortly after the //Build conference to help share what information we had on Windows 8
  • Lightswitch: The latest iteration of my Lightswitch talk contains a structure overview before the demo and then goes into detail on the themes and extension model in the product.
  • Developer Productivity Tools: A session that looks at FIVE FREE tools for Visual Studio that will assist in the productivity of any Microsoft .NET developer in Visual Studio. Tools covered are fxCop, StyleCop, Pro Power Tools, CodeRush Xpress & Nuget.
  • An Introduction to TFS: The target audience for this is someone or company who is using another source control (like VSS) and is thinking about moving to TFS but isn’t sure where to start. This BRIEF introduction tries to provide a high level view that TFS is not just source control it is a LOT of more and thus has a lot more power. It also mentions migration from VSS and provides guidance for success.
  • Roslyn: This is an early look at Roslyn

It is definitely a quieter period than most, in terms of number of unique slide shows and I think a lot of that comes out of the information black out from Microsoft prior to //Build, but it was still a very period with me presenting Lightswitch NUMEROUS times and also Tech·Ed Africa where I did four presentations!

You can get all the slides and details by clicking “read more” below!

Windows Azure Platform Overview

Windows 8

Lightswitch

Developer Productivity Tools

An Introduction To TFS

Roslyn

21 Dec 2011

Portal 2: Lab Rat

If you do not know what Portal is, then you are dead to me! DEAD! But since I know everyone knows of Portal that won’t be an issue. What you may not have known is that Valve created a comic book that chronicles the gap between the end of Portal 1 and the beginning of Portal 2, and your character (Chell) ends up back inside the facility.

This comic is called Lab Rat and you can view it in super great details at http://www.thinkwithportals.com/comic/

But what about when you are travelling this festive season and want to read it quickly, or show your family so they can be caught up before you take them through Portal 2 on Christmas day? Well, for my seventh WP7 app (yes, I have build 7 Windows Phone apps this year!) let me introduce Lab Rat.

In addition to offering the comic in your pocket you can save any page, with or without text, to your phone for use as a login screen or any such thing! AWESOME!

In no way should you think this is an alternative to going online though, the detail of this comic should be seen at the BEST resolution possible – but this makes a good companion experience.

screenshot-v1.0_12-9-2011_14.18.5.10screenshot-v1.0_12-9-2011_14.18.8.170screenshot-v1.0_12-9-2011_14.18.27.813screenshot-v1.0_12-9-2011_14.18.29.695

22 Nov 2011

Firefly for Windows Phone 7

serentity logo square 173x173I am a brown coat – if you know what that means then you will be excited to see my new application for Windows Phone 7: a Firefly hub app which contains news, images, sounds & ringtones from the show and from the movie, Serenity.

This started as me wanting a sound board for the show, but grew larger Smile

This is the first app I have done since my UX training and I hope a lot of the tools and skills I learnt in that training comes through in the application.

screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.5.219screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.7.933screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.10.995screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.12.887screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.17.267screenshot-v1.0_11-14-2011_15.49.40.667

16 Nov 2011

Windows Phone 7 Apps: SA ID Number Tools & AA Rates Calculator Updates

I have a few Windows Phone 7 apps, and two of those are the SA ID Number Tools and the AA Rates Calculator ones. You may be familiar with the AA Rates one from my friend, Rudi Grobler, who used it in his TechEd talks to show a UI that did not follow the model correctly Disappointed smile

I took this and the Windows Phone UX training I attended to heart and put a lot of work into updating them and making them a lot more in line with the WP7 UI guidelines.

AA Rates Calculator

The first think is this application has dropped the yellow background, which made sense for an AA tool (being their colour is yellow), and now is black or white depending on your theme. All controls have been updated to reflect that too. I have also fixed the alignment things Rudi was so quick to point out.

I use the highlight colour now and larger typography to really make the key information stand out from the rest – this is something I learnt at the UX camp.

In addition I have some other new features:

  • About to share your rate via email or social networks (twitter, facebook etc…)
  • The yellow branding is used in a position bar to give you an idea of how much is in the app.
  • I also added a fuel price page so you can always have the latest fuel price information!
  • The information pickers have also had an update and the selection is much larger now, so easier for people with big hands like me.
  • Fuel price can be displayed on a live tile too!

aa-1.3_10-27-2011_11.37.29.695aa-1.3_10-27-2011_11.37.33.281aa-1.3_10-27-2011_11.37.37.515

SA ID Number Tools

Once again I dropped the background green (which was a photo of my ID book cover) and that also meant being able to move to a pivot control rather than a (heavy) panorama control. The green/gold theme has been mostly lost, with gold being used in selective places in the application. Also a careful use of font sizes and colours in the application to make the information stand out more.

aa-1.3_10-27-2011_18.26.34.627aa-1.3_10-27-2011_18.26.39.767aa-1.3_10-27-2011_18.26.45.727

Hopefully these changes make these apps feel faster, easier to use and more part of your phone than before!

26 Oct 2011

The Arturo Grid for Windows Phone 7 in PNG & GIMP

layoutArturo Toledo works at Microsoft on the Windows Phone Design Studio team, and last week I had the chance to attend phone training with him. In that training he showed a grid he used for layout so that his apps match the layout of Windows Phone 7 apps – I call this the Arturo Grid.

Yesterday he posted about it and released an Expression Design version of it, which is great if you have Expression Design… but if you don’t it can be a problem. So I recreated it using the free graphics tool, The GIMP, and produced a transparent PNG version so that it can work in just about anything!

Downloads

How I did it?

GIMP is a fantastic tool and I thought I would share how I created this layout. First I started with a new image, with the resolution of 480 x 800 and a transparent background.

image

Next run FiltersRenderPatternGrid and set the parameters as in the screen shot below. Note the offset horizontal & vertical lines are not linked. What we are doing here are creating grids of 37x37 (25 + 12 based off the Arturo Grid) with line width of 12 (so the space that is left is 25x25). The offset is +6 so that it pushes out, because the line widths are based on the middle of the line and not the edge.

image

Now add two layers, another transparent one and a white backed layer.

image

Place the new transparent at the bottom and the white in second place.

image

and now merge down the grid layer onto the white layer.

image

Now drag on guides:

  • Vertical: 24px
  • Vertical: 456px
  • Horizontal: 56px
  • Horizontal: 784px

and select that region.

image

Create a new

Then use Select ► Invert and press delete. This removes the area around the grid for the bleed (padding) area that your app shouldn’t use.

image

Now use the Fuzzy Select Tool (aka the magic wand selector tool) and click on the black.

image

Now hit delete to remove those black lines leaving just the white squares.

image

You can tweak the colours using the colour exchange tool (Colors ► Map Color ► Exchange) and you can tweak the transparency using the Opacity option on the layer tool to make it more transparent.

image

There you go, now you are done Smile

image

AttachmentSize
Image icon layout.png2.62 KB
File wp7grid.xcf465.82 KB
19 Oct 2011

Tech·Ed Africa: Slides, Scripts & Thoughts

WP_000405WOW! I am sitting here under s a fake tree in a fake city that is Micropolis (also known as the Tech·Ed Africa 2011 expo, and it is AMAZING!). I have just finished my third and final presentation at Tech·Ed Africa 2011 and I just wanted to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the people who attended my talks!

This year not only has an amazing expo, but the audiences have been by far the BEST EVER! A special thanks to those who braved 8am to see my .NET 4 talk – 2min before I started I thought “I need sleep”, 2min after the energy from the audience was flowing and I never looked back at what I felt was a great talk, so thank you! Smile

what it looks like from the presenter at #techedafricaA special work of thanks to Suliman and DPE (it is their fake tree I am sitting under) for arranging this and the opportunity to present! I also want to say thanks to the technical team at the event, without who you would not see or hear me, and they were fantastic this year!

For those who attended my talks, or those who couldn’t below are the slides, scripts and misc files used in the talks!

(for those in an RSS reader or on the home page, click read more)



Power features in .NET 4: Investigating the features of .NET 4 which you don’t know about

File downloads

Extend Visual Studio 2010

File downloads

Building Business Applications with Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch

File downloads

30 Sep 2011

Tech·Ed Africa 2011 for Windows Phone 7

Update: Check out the info on the 1.1 version
Update: This application has been retired - it was for TechEd 2011 and used the website a lot, the moment the site changes the app will break. It's goal & use are done, so I am happy to retire it.

iconI am passionate about Microsoft Tech·Ed Africa, not because I’m a speaker there (and have been many times in the past) but because it is an awesome event. Now in this mobile world every awesome event needs an equally awesome mobile app. Since Microsoft isn’t releasing one for Tech·Ed, I decided to put my skills to use and build a Windows Phone 7 app for the event Smile

This app is a little different from my other apps as I didn’t have the data, and it is a constantly moving target so I am doing some very smart (and maybe a little sneaky) things to get the content from the www.teched.co.za website!

Version 1 allows you to browse sessions, speakers, get pro tips, see who the awesome MVP’s are, and get official news!

I am working on version 1.1 which include community tweets, proper speaker & session pages and will update with more info as it is released so keep an eye on those updates!

teched-1.0_9-26-2011_15.3.42.322teched-1.0_9-26-2011_15.3.46.594teched-1.0_9-26-2011_15.3.56.67teched-1.0_9-26-2011_15.4.8.664teched-1.0_9-26-2011_15.4.11.309

26 Aug 2011

App.Config Transformations: The community shines where Microsoft drops the ball

Last year May, I spoke at DevDays Durban about what is new in ASP.NET 4? One of the highlights of that talk is a feature called Web.Config transforms. In short you have a base web.config and then a file per compiler target (i.e. RELEASE, DEBUG). These extra files contain rules on how to transform your web.config when it is published.

In a way of an example you have might your web.config to use your local SQL Server when in Visual Studio, but when you publish a DEBUG build to testing it changes the config to use the test SQL Server. Or when you publish to production it turns off a bunch of logging and shows friendly error messages.

image

There is TWO caveats in this process:

  1. ONLY works for ASP.NET* projects as this is something the ASP.NET team built into their publishing tool support.
  2. ONLY works for publish, if you have an ASP.NET* project and hit F5, nothing happens Sad smile

*ASP.NET = ASP.NET Core, and thus systems that build on top of it (WebForms, MVC & WebPages) all get it.

This is something we need in EVERY project type and we need with F5. Thankfully some bright people did just that for us, with the VS add-in Slow Cheetah.

So now you get the full experience on any project type, PLUS you get a brilliant feature missing in the ASP.NET one – PREVIEW. You can see what the resulting config will look like!

Pages