Tag Archives: App Studio

Announcing Nokia DVLUP Day New York City: March 22

NYC

Learn to make amazing Windows Phone apps at Nokia DVLUP Day in New York City on Saturday March 22, 2014 and win big prizes just for participating. Join Nokia Developer Ambassadors Nick Landry & Lance McCarthy, as well as several Microsoft Technical Evangelists, as they provide hands-on Windows Phone development training in a dynamic and fun event. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or barely know how to code, you will walk away with the ability to write a mobile app.

With full sample source code and step-by-step instructions, you will learn how to make an app or game from scratch, or learn new techniques to enhance your current apps & games. No matter what you want to build – an app or a game – or what your programming skill level is, four individual tracks to choose from means there is something for everyone.

DVLUP Day is a unique community event that combines presentations by Windows Phone experts along with a hands-on workshop to help attendees get started on their apps. BRING YOUR LAPTOP! Work with our experts, get started on your app or game, publish it within 3 weeks after the event and get a free Windows Phone 8 device!

Register for free on Eventbrite here

Location

DVLUP Day New York City will be held on March 22, 2014 at the new Microsoft Office in Manhattan at:

11 Times Square, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Click here for a map and directions

What You Will Receive

As an attendee of DVLUP Day NYC you will be eligible for the following:

  • A Windows Phone 8 device. Every attendee who publishes a new app or game within 3 weeks of the event will get a new Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 device. Developers who update an app or game older than 6 months with significant changes are also eligible.
  • A heavy-duty DVLUP backpack. The first 150 registered attendees to sign-in the morning of the event will receive a swag bag full of goodies, even the backpack itself is worth $89 (it’s a Wenger, Swiss Gear TSA friendly laptop bag). We’ll have swag, t-shirts and other goodies for everyone too.
  • A Nokia Developer Offers token. This is worth hundreds of dollars and contains the following:
    • Microsoft Windows Phone DevCenter account (this is your portal to publish apps to the Windows Phone Store and also unlocks physical devices for building apps)
    • Telerik UI for Windows Phone license
    • Infragistics NetAdvantage for Windows Phone license
    • BugSense Performance Monitoring solution for Windows Phone (3 months)
  • $50 AdDuplex credit (approx. 20,000 ad impressions). AdDuplex is an ideal network to cross-promote your app with others. You’ll learn about AdDuplex in the App Marketing & Advertising lightning talk.

There will be multiple random drawings for all attendees to win a Nokia Lumia “Hero” device of their choice (Lumia 1020, 928, 925, 920) and other prizes. In addition to the phones, we’ll be giving away other prizes from Nokia & Microsoft, including JBL PowerUp Bluetooth Speakers, Xbox ONE and Xbox 360 games, software licenses, gadgets and more. The first drawing will be during the Lightning Talks after the day of training for all attendees. Another drawing will be held near the end of the event in the evening for the attendees who stayed to code and get help during the hands-on workshop.

Breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner will be served. Come see the latest Windows Phone & Windows 8 devices in our device bar, and connect with other developers in the community

Register for free today! This is a unique event you just can’t miss!

DVLUP Day NYC Agenda – March 22, 2014

8:00am – Registration Opens: Continental breakfast & coffee will be served.

9:00am – Opening Session: Introduction from Nokia, meet the experts, housekeeping.

*** 15 min break ***

10:00am – Windows Phone Breakout Sessions: 4 tracks

  • Track 1: App Development – Getting Started & App Studio
  • Track 2: App Development – Maps, Imaging & Cloud Services
  • Track 3: Game Development – Getting Started with Unity
  • Track 4: Game Development – Porting Unity Games to Windows Phone

12:30pm – Lunch Break

1:30pm – Breakout Sessions Continue (same tracks)

*** 15 min break ***

3:00pm –Lightning Talks with Q&A

  • App Design & User Experience
  • Windows Phone Packaging & App Store Submission
  • App Marketing & Advertising

4:00pm – Hands-on workshop begins – All staff on hand to help you get started

6:30pm – Dinner Break

9:30pm – Event Ends

Register for free on Eventbrite here

Track 1: App Development – Getting Started & App Studio

Learn how to write Windows Phone apps with XAML/C# and explore the amazing APIs available to you. See first-hand how to use the powerful tools, Visual Studio and Blend, to produce great apps with amazing UIs. You will also learn how to generate a store-ready Windows Phone app in under an hour using Microsoft App Studio. Learn how to get started with App Studio and have a store ready app without having to write a single line of code. Then take a dive into the downloadable source code to discover how to customize your app further.

Track 2: App Development – Maps, Imaging & Cloud Development

So you’re already experienced with Windows Phone app development and you want to take your apps to the next level. Join us for a deeper dive into some specific SDKs for Windows Phone developers. You’ll learn about location services, maps and how to call Geospatial Information Services (GIS) from your apps. We’ll also explore the Nokia Imaging SDK, letting you easily add advanced imaging effects and filters when dealing with photos in your apps. Finally, we’ll see how your apps can reach leverage Windows Azure to create a custom back-end to store structured and unstructured data in the cloud and deliver a compelling user experiences. We’ll discuss how you can use Windows Azure to extend the on-line presence of your app by building additional channels to showcase your application and interact with your end-users.

Track 3: Game Development – Getting Started with Unity

Learn how to make fun games for Windows Phone using Unity. In this track you will learn how to code casual 2D games for Windows Phone using one of the best game engines and toolset – used by Indies and Pros alike. And the best part is it’s free! Game development is one of the most fun and rewarding forms of software development. If you’ve ever considered writing games, this is your chance to get started.

Track 4: Game Development – Porting Unity Games to Windows Phone

If you’re already an experienced Unity developer and have published games on other platforms like iOS =, Android, PC or others, come join this session to learn how you can reach a whole new audience of gamers on the Windows Phone platform. Learn about adapting your game for touch controls, how to deal with Windows Phone specific considerations, and we’ll even help you to bring your game to the Windows Store too.

Developer Environment Needed

Windows Phone 8 development requires Windows 8.x Pro to install the SDK and emulator. If you’re running Windows 7, you can still build Windows Phone 7.8 apps using the 7.1 SDK. If you’re using a Mac, you can create a Windows 8.x Pro virtualized environment using Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion.

All attendees can build Windows Phone applications using a web browser and Microsoft App Studio, as covered in Track 1.

For more information on getting started, visit http://www.ageofmobility.com/?page_id=961.

See You There!

DVLUP Day was a huge hit with developers in 2013, with stops in Boston, Tampa, Sunnyvale and Vancouver. This is going to be an awesome day in New York City and I look forward to seeing you all there. Just for showing up and learning, you get hooked up. Just for publishing an app, you get hooked up. Mark off that Saturday March 22, register now and come join us.

Windows Phone App Studio Now Supports Windows 8.1 too!

App Studio is a really cool online application that Microsoft launched last August to make it easy for developers – or anyone, really – to create data-driven Windows Phone apps without writing any code. The whole experience is driven from within a web browser and anyone can build an app – no programming skills required. Of course, if you’re a developer you can download the source code generated by App Studio and use that codebase as a starting point for your own custom apps. FYI, the code generation is a one-way street, i.e. you cannot customize the code in Visual Studio and then do a round-trip back to App Studio for more customizations.

I actually published my own Windows Phone app based on App Studio called Watch Corner Gas last October, but I had to take it down since the third-party YouTube channel I was using was closed (you can see a live video I recorded here). App Studio has been a very popular tool. Microsoft reports that over 300,000 App Studio projects have been created to date, and more than 20,000 apps have been published in the Windows Phone Store. I can always feel the excitement of attendees every time I demonstrate it at events. My youngest attendee to date was even featured in a recent Nokia Conversations blog post where this really sharp 8-year-old kid attended my App Studio session at Dvlup Day Boston. He created his first app while attending my talk, and was a published developer within a week. What’s your excuse?

New Version

Today Microsoft announced a new major version of App Studio. First, we have a new url to access App Studio: http://appstudio.windowsphone.com.

The first thing you’ll notice is a major UI redesign (see below). Quite nice if you ask me, and now it’s touch-friendly to boot. You can easily create Windows Phone apps on your Microsoft Surface, Nokia Lumia 2520 or Dell Venue 8 Pro (to name just a few). Your projects built with the prior version of App Studio will all show-up nicely under “My Projects”. Nothing was lost. Microsoft will also send you an email to confirm that all your projects were successfully migrated.

The Content section is where you configure your screens and respective data sources. The workflow has really been streamlined here and the UI is much more intuitive.

AppStudioContent

Load up one of your existing projects (or create a new one), and start digging around. There is also a How To section you can read to get a better idea of the capabilities and configuration options. The data sources supported are still the same, nothing new was added for now. They are:

  • RSS – A list of sets of information based on an RSS feed that you enter when creating the data source.
  • Youtube – A list of videos with titles and descriptions based on a YouTube channel or search that you enter when creating the data source.
  • Flickr – A list of images and their corresponding data based on a Flickr UserId or search that you enter when creating the data source.
  • Bing – A list of news search results based on a Bing search that you enter when creating the data source.
  • Html – A single page of static text that you enter.
  • Collection – A list of items with columns of characteristics. This is your personal data that does not depend on a website.

I was hoping to see new data sources in the list, hopefully we’ll get to see more added over time. My wish list includes:

  • Multiple RSS sources aggregated into a single feed.
  • Twitter
  • More image sources like Bing Images, Instagram, Twitpic, Google Images, etc.
  • JSON-based collections coming from a REST service

I’ll save the full tutorial for another day. To be honest the tool is so easy to use that a tutorial is not really required. I do intend to write more blog posts about various tips & tricks you can use with App Studio.

Code Generation

Now jump to the final section and hit that big “Generate” button. You’ll be greeted by a nice surprise:

AppStudioGeneration

Yes! App Studio now supports code generation for Windows 8.1 apps that you can publish to the Windows Store. This is huge! The feature is still in beta (aka “Preview”) and has the ability to generate a full Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 solution containing both a Windows Phone and a Windows 8.1 version of your app, making it easy to publish to both stores. The Windows Phone solution can be edited in Visual Studio 2012 or 2013, but the Windows 8.1 solution requires Visual Studio 2013. See my Getting Started page for a list of reference links to the various developer tools you can download.

Some of the new features in this version of App Studio also include:

  • New web-based emulator: The on-screen emulator in the web designer now supports dynamic text updates, so you can see your changes on the fly. This is working MUCH better than the previous one which was mainly for show. Now you can actually play with your app in the browser.
  • New templates for business: Building mobile apps quickly that showcase company and product info. I have not tried those yet. I’ll revisit them in a future blog post.
  • New code generation: The source code produced by App Studio now benefits from a better structure, readability, and performance.

AppStudioGenerate

The generated source code was one of the main criticisms of the previous version of App Studio. The source was generated by a tool from a company called Radarc. While App Studio appealed to neophytes, the generated source code required quite advanced developer skills since it made full use of code decoupling patterns such as Inversion of Control (IoC) and Dependency Injection (DI). The source code structure in App Studio is now more aligned with MVVM and I cannot find any references to the Radarc comments, which leads me to believe this is  a completely new code generation engine. I have not done a full comparison or analysis of the code yet and I’ll be sure to dig deeper in future blog posts.

Once the Windows Phone 8.0 version is generated, you’ll get several downloads available to you :

  • Install package you can deploy to your own phone for testing (unlocked phone not required)
  • XAP package ready to be published in the App Store
  • Source code package ready to be edited in Visual Studio

For the dual-platform option, you get the same downloads for Windows Phone, but you only get the source code for Windows 8.1. No binaries are produced (yet!) Go ahead and download the source code, make sure to “Unblock” the zip file in the File Explorer properties before extracting it (or you might bet Build errors), and open the solution in Visual Studio 2013. This is what the full dual-platform solution looks like:

AppStudioSolution

While it looks like there are duplicate projects in there – e.g. there are two data projects, one for Windows Phone, one for Windows 8.1 – the solution is structured in a way that each of those Data projects actually uses linked files to the Shared folders above. This is how code sharing is achieved without duplication. I’m not sure why PCLs (Portable Class Libraries) were not used instead, I’ll have to investigate further. So far I like the code structure much better than the previous version. MVVM fans will like it too and this is a good way to promote best practices to developers.

Windows 8.1 App Support

Of course, I couldn’t wait to see what my project would look as a Windows 8.1 app for Windows Store. I’m using a modified version of a demo app I built for my Dvlup Day presentations last Fall in Boston and Vancouver. It pulls the Dvlup blog RSS feed, the Nokia YouTube channel and Lumia 1020 41 megapixel photos from Flickr.

First, here are some screens from the 3 panorama panes in the Windows Phone 8.0 version:

WP8Screens

Now this is what the same project looks like as a Windows 8.1 app. As you can expect, the full panorama is now a single screen on a larger display, and each of the 3 “columns” scroll independently. I imagine that if I had 6 sections instead of 3, the whole screen would scroll horizontally. I’ll have to try that later. This generated app is a great starting point and you can tweak the UI further in XAML if you want. All the code is pre-wired to get the data, so nothing stops you from making the Windows 8.1 experience more unique. Then of course, this is still in beta and I’m sure we’ll see cool new features in the coming months.

Win81Screen

I’ll be covering App Studio projects in future blog posts. In the meantime, head-on over to the App Studio How To page to learn more about the capabilities and get started on your own projects here. If you build something cool with App Studio and get your app in the store, be sure to come back here and let me know in the comments below. I do a lot of presentations at conferences, user groups, code camps and other events and I’m always looking for great examples of successful apps built with App Studio. I would love to showcase your apps to my audiences.

Will you build apps with App Studio? What kind of features or data sources would you like to see supported in App Studio? Tell me in the comments below or on Twitter at @ActiveNick.