Windows Phone Update 7.10 8112.7 / 7.10.8773.98

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My Nokia Lumia 800 got prompted for this update earlier today.  FYI I am based in Gloucestershire in the UK and currently using 3 as my ISP.

It looks to be a precursor to the update below:

Update 7.10.8773.98

Messaging. Adds new messaging capabilities to your phone. You can now attach multiple pictures, videos, audio notes, and ringtones to text messages.

SIM card. Adds features related to SIM card contacts. You can now export phone contacts to a SIM card and selectively import SIM card contacts to your phone.

Other quality improvements. Includes many other improvements to Windows Phone.

This update is not available in all markets or for all phones.

The above update immediately followed:

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Semantic Zoom – Dual Implementation

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Semantic Zoom was initially implemented in “Live Tile Browser”  to collapse down the A-Z listing of Live Tilesto a simple alphabet (see blow)

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Semantic Zoom –  (a–z listing of available Live tiles)

This worked fine but it did present a small problem when I decided to offer a different method for sorting the live tiles – by their constituent App:

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Semantic Zoom –live tiles ordered by their ‘owning’ Apps

I struggled for a while but discovered that I needed very few changes to my XAML to come up with a ‘Zoomed in’ View that worked equally well for both scenarios. (The logical ‘Zoomed in’ view to my mind being the icons of the owning Apps themselves)

Here is the XAML I used for the Semantic Zoom element which, along with the grouped data is all that is required to implement this new control:

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NB The  <local:LiveTile /> element is a User Control encapsulating the Live Tile functionality.

Developer Opportunities.

This App is open to any independent developer of Windows Phone Apps in order to highlight their own Live Tiles at no cost
Contact the developers (rd3d@WebServices.co.uk) or comment below if you would like to know more.

Windows Phone Tile browser for Windows 8

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Live Tiles: ‘Get the important facts at a glance’

As owners of a Windows Phone we love our Live Tiles.  Apart from the convenience they can save us valuable time when its simply not an option to stop what you are doing and fire up an App.
But as an early adopter of Windows Phone myself one thing I have always struggled with is finding useful and relevant live tiles!  This App goes some way to alleviating this issue by providing examples of commonly used Live Tiles together with a means of downloading their constituent apps to your phone.

The App is designed to be very simple to use.

Here is a typical walk through:

1. Browsing the Live Tiles

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Swipe left and right to view typical examples of the Live Tiles on offer. (Additionally you might use the Filter to highlight particular categories of interest, or switch to ‘App View’ in order to see Live Tiles grouped according to their parent Phone Apps).

2. Selecting a Live Tile

QR Code Highlighted

Touching a tile will act as a toggle between the tile and a special picture code (Known as a QR code) that can be read by your Phone.

3. Downloading the Live Tile App to your phone

QR Selection

Touch your phones ‘scan’ onscreen button (an option that you get when you select the Search hardware button on the bottom right of your phone).  The link will then take you directly to an install for the Live Tiles’ parent App.

Developer Opportunities.

The App is open to any independent developer of Windows Phone Apps to highlight their own Live Tiles at no cost.  Contact the developers (rd3d@WebServices.co.uk) or comment below if you are interested!

Windows 8 Apps – Keeping it Simple

We have all been is situations where we have seen code implemented in an unnecessarily complex way or where the number of features in an app has gotten out of control.  I like to think that the use of “KISS” (“Keep it simple – stupid”) is one of the main stays of all the projects that I am involved in (!).   However, I have seen my first Windows 8 project evolve from being simple (or so I thought) to being simple (“no, but really this time”).  And I have to conclude that there is an algorithm in play that doesn’t always get the acknowledgement it deserves.  In short I am talking about the relationship between “time and complexity”.  Most people might understand that the more complex something is the more time is required for implementation.  However, in my experience often times the opposite is true and time can be the (often missing) crucial factor in harnessing and reigning in an otherwise complex application.

So my first Windows 8 App has gone through a number of stages:

1. Brainstorm Implementation

The first version was a knockabout of ideas while also being a vehicle for learning the basic of Windows 8 development.  (While I was aware of some of the principals around Metro design I was more focused on ‘getting something working’

I blogged about this version of the App back in March this year.

2. Considered Implementation

So what came out of (1) alongside further exposure to Windows Metro Design fundamentals was a complete rewrite of the App with the objective being the development of an App that would stand up to closer scrutiny around Metro design fundamentals and that took advantage of some of the awesome new language features as well as the powerful new VS2012 IDE.  I took a lot off guidance from one of the sample Apps which looked to broadly follow a lot of what I was trying to achieve from a technical perspective (The “Contoso Cookbook” app).  It was this version of the App that went through the Microsoft App Excellence labs in Reading (and for which I subsequently gained a token for pre-submission to the Windows 8 store itself)

(See here for an earlier blog post around this version of the App)

3. The “KISS” Implementation

While I was happy that the App was technically competent I wasn’t totally happy with the functionality of the App itself.  At the outset the App had 3 nested levels (the maximum recommended for a Metro App) and I had already had my doubts about the complexity of some of the functionality within this approach.  I decided to refocus the App on its initial raison detre – which was to generate more downloads of the Windows Phone Apps that it featured.  I couldn’t  help thinking that I was forcing users to spend too much time in the Windows 8 App rather than dispatching them to the Windows Phone Apps in which they showed an interest at the earliest opportunity!  To this end I decided on a radical move to refocus the App using a single UI tier

 
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Windows 8 Tile browser for WP7

This is the version of “Live Tile Browser” that was submitted to the Windows 8 store for approval earlier today!  (more information on this App here)