Orlando Windows Phone User Group - Coming Soon

by Kevin April 20, 2012 20:22

Orlando Windows Phone User Group LogoI'm really excited that the Orlando Windows Phone User Group is finally coming together. The first group meeting should be in May. Thanks Shayne for getting the ball rolling.

If you would like to join or get more information, you can sign up here.

You can also follow the group on Twitter at @OrlandoWPUG or Shayne at @spboyer.


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Windows Phone

Bill Reminder Featured in the Windows Phone Marketplace in February

by Kevin February 21, 2012 16:16

The paid version of Bill Reminder was featured during February as one of the winners of the [Your App Here] Advertising Campaign from Windows Phone & Nokia that features innovative Windows Phone 7.5 apps that use the Metro interface design and Live Tiles.

After being featured in the Marketplace for 1 full day on the 18th, Bill Reminder jumped to the #1 spot in the Personal Finance category.

Bill Reminder #1

My Appy New Year Prize - A Nokia Lumia 800 in Black

by Kevin February 8, 2012 21:08

The paid version of WinPhone Info got me a free Nokia Lumia 800 from Microsoft by being one of the first 500 apps released in the U.S. marketplace in the New Year.

Nokia Lumia 800

I received the phone last night, and I am really impressed. The build quality is excellent, and the curved 3.7" ClearBlack AMOLED screen is beautiful. Another cool feature is Nokia's custom blue theme. It's a small touch, but looks much nicer than the default pale blue theme from Microsoft. I wish more manufacturers would use the custom theme slot - HTC's green would look really cool.

The model I received is the European version, but it does work on AT&T and supports HSPA. I'm tempted to use it as my primary phone, but I just can't switch to a 3.7" screen after getting used to my HTC Titan's 4.7" screen. It does however make me consider picking up the Lumia 900 when it comes out later this year on AT&T with a 4.3" screen and LTE.

Click here to see the details on Nokia's web site.


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Windows Phone

Metro - Icons or Buttons

by Kevin January 12, 2012 20:33

I decided to put a quick update out for WinPhone Info to correct the pin and favorite buttons, because I didn't include the circle in the image. It may seem like a small detail that could easily be ignored, but I feel that strictly adhering to the Metro design guidelines helps to make my apps more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use.


If you are interested in learning more about the difference between icons and buttons in Metro, see this article - Why do we have circles around icons in the Windows Phone app bar?


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WinPhone Info Redesign

by Kevin December 23, 2011 09:30

After my big Bill Reminder update, instead of taking a much-needed break, I decided to turn WinPhone Info into a full-featured app with an all new interface... 3 weeks and about 200 hours of coding and debugging later, it is almost ready.

Besides all of the new features, I really wanted to switch the main page from Pivot to Panorama style, because the Panorama style provides a more professional look and feel, and it really showcases the simple beauty of the Metro UI. However, it does present a lot of challenges for a design-challenged developer like me - splash screens, background images, hub tile images, UI responsiveness, etc.

Here is a link to an excellent article on the proper use of the Metro UI - When Metro design falls off the tracks.

Click here to learn more about the current version of WinPhone Info and for a link to download it in the Marketplace.

Here is a preview of the new interface:

WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 1 WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 2 WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 3


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Windows Phone

Is It 12/23/2011 or 23/12/2011?

by Kevin December 23, 2011 08:39

In my rush to get the Live Tile and pop-up reminder update out for Bill Reminder, I overlooked testing different date/time formats for the pop-up reminder scheduler. Result? DateTime.Parse error, and no way to get to the main page.

Maybe jumping to an error page to report an exception wasn't such a great idea. I'll be rewriting the error handling in a future update.

As for the bug at hand, I just needed to specify the culture that the date/time was originally stored in and let the DateTime.Parse function handle the conversion. The code looks like this and should be available for download in a few days:

reminder.BeginTime = DateTime.Parse(popUpReminderTime, new CultureInfo("en-US");

Apologies to my international users, and thanks to Mathieu for reporting it and helping to find a fix.


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Analytics Are Fun

by Kevin November 15, 2011 01:25

I recently started adding analytics to my apps to get an idea of how many of the people that downloaded my apps were actually still using them. Well, the data is finally coming in and I was shocked to see how widespread the user base is for Windows Phone 7 now.

You may be able to get a sense of the number of countries involved by looking at download counts in the App Hub, but it doesn't really hit you until you see it on a map. Here is the map for my apps showing some of the early app run data.

App Run Map

If you are interested in adding analytics to your Windows Phone 7 app, check out the Runtime Intelligence Service available from PreEmptive Solutions. Here is a good walk-through video to get you started. It also talks about dotfuscation, which can help you to protect your source code.


Windows Phone - Handling Light and Dark Theme Changes

by Kevin November 14, 2011 21:29

I love how the icons in the AppBar magically know how to switch from light to dark to match the currently selected OS theme, but I hate how they don't seem as "smart" when I use them elsewhere in my app.

Well, after doing it the hard way in UCF News (switching between header templates in the code behind), I stumbled across a really simple way in someone's response to a question on the subject. I couldn't believe it was that easy. I like to tell myself that this method only became available with the OS 7.5 (Mango) release, so it isn't entirely my fault that I missed it. Smile

Here is a code snippet to demonstrate. Just put both versions of the graphic, light and dark, in the same block, set the Visibilty attribute as shown, and let the OS do the rest.

    <!-- LightTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/light/appbar.new.rest.png"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneLightThemeVisibility}" />
    <!-- DarkTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/dark/appbar.new.rest.png"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneDarkThemeVisibility}" />

That's all it takes. I'm sure the same trick can be applied for other resources, but I haven't had to try it yet. Hopefully this post will save you a little time on your next app.


Ask Me About My Apps...

by Kevin November 14, 2011 18:31

I started developing Windows Phone apps at the beginning of February 2011 in anticipation of the HTC Arrive's release on Sprint's network in March (Yes, I had all of one phone to choose from). I wasn't new to .NET development, but I had never worked on phone apps or with Silverlight, so I didn't know what to expect from the learning curve. I was surprised by how many excellent examples and tools Microsoft had made available to developers, free of charge, and the move from ASP.NET to XAML was easier than I thought it would be. I quickly had my first test app up and running and consuming Web services.

That first app was something that I could only use to talk to my database server at work, so I turned to the emulator to create my first "real" app. WinPhone Info was a way for me to work through a number of the sample apps that let you tap into the hardware and OS on the phone. While working on each of the samples, I thought it would be nice to have them all combined into a single metro-styled app, so it became my first app in the Marketplace on 5/24/11. It now has over 15000 downloads, which I think is quite good for the small user-base that Windows Phone has gained in it's first year.

November brought the OS 7.5 (Mango) update, new developer tools and APIs, the first Nokia Windows Phones, and some excellent new hardware from HTC and Samsung. It also saw the start of some real advertising coming from Microsoft and the phone manufacturers, especially Nokia in Europe and Asia. The next year should be an excellent one for Windows Phone, as it gains even more ground on iOS and Android. I'm excited to be a Windows Phone developer, because as millions more people make the switch, they will be downloading and using my apps.

My current apps as of November are listed below. Click on the icons for more info and links to download the apps from the Marketplace.

Bill Reminder

Bill Reminder

If you are like me, you already use a full-featured money management program on your computer, and you don't want to re-enter all of your financial information into a separate application on your phone or rely on email reminders to know when your bills are due. Bill Reminder was written with those problems in mind. It gives you convenient, color-coded, reminders to quickly see when your bills are due; red for past due, yellow for due today, and green for not due yet. No account numbers or amounts are required. Just enter a name, frequency, and next occurrence date, and Bill Reminder color codes and sorts your bills into the correct lists. Mark a bill as paid, and Bill Reminder automatically updates the next occurrence date, color code, and reminder lists.

UCF News

UCF News

If you want to keep up with sports, campus, and college news at the University of Central Florida, then UCF News is the app for you. It brings the news from 30 separate RSS feeds into a single, easy to navigate, panorama application, so you can quickly get the news you need on the go. Additional feeds and feed filtering will be included in future updates.


WinGPS Info

WinGPS Info

WinGPS Info displays your location information and provides a Bing map to view the data updates in real-time and to send a map link to your current location via email or SMS.


WinPhone Info

WinPhone Info

WinPhone Info displays information about your Windows Phone device. It combines multiple sample applications into a single, Metro-styled interface.



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Windows Phone

About the author


I work on .NET development by day; Windows PC & Windows Phone development by night.

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