Highlighting PlayTo / DLNA functionality in your Windows 8 Apps

 

Using the PlayTo functionality within a media application is a great way to enhance your media related app – but the methodology for the user to invoke the PlayTo feature in Windows 8 relies on a full working knowledge of the Charms bar (The user needs to select a device from the devices charm as he is about to play a video).

So in order to highlight this great feature I have added a new button on my Apps’ application bar that also invokes the PlayTo device menu:

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PlayTo App Bar button in the ‘Easy Origami’ App

imageThe button is based on the one currently available in StandardStyles.XAML called “PlayAppBarButtonStyle”.  I simply copied the XAML and made a few changes as in the example below. 

NB If you don’t want to modify your StandardStyles.XAML – which is generally regarded as bad practice then you can add this mark-up to the XAML of your App.XAML file where it will also be automagically ‘found’!

 

The mark-up matches the mark-up for the existing “Play” button with only the text changing (to ‘Play To’)

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And the button in your media page then calls the following method which invokes the ‘PlayTo’ Devices menu:

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Windows 8 Store–Live Tile News

 

Talk about ‘hard work, persistence & passion’ I now have an App in the Windows 8 store (RTM).   Without going in to details this has been an up hill struggle but I am very pleased to say that it should be available from the store ‘very soon’.

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the URL I have been given for anyone wanting to try it out is

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/live-tile-news/67ec5617-beed-4d2a-9157-3ee8e447eece 

(Note that at the time of writing 8am 9/8/2012 I get a 404 ‘Page not found’ on this address!)

I note that there are presently zero downloads so I guess it must take some time to replicate through servers or progress through a hidden/unknown process prior to actually appearing live in the store.

Please try it and let me know what you think.  I value feedback and will use it in improving this app going forward.

 

App Aid

As previously announced any income I derive from this app in the form of advertising revenue or future in app donations will go 100% to charity.

Windows App Certification Kit Walk Through

While it isn’t yet possible to submit apps to the store you can ensure that your App will pass the ingestion process.  this is a walkthrough of one of the sample apps (Weather).

Noting that it fails the test tells us that things are very much still at an early stage with the preview build and the apps that ship alongside it.

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I have selected the Metro Style App option (above) which presents a list of Metro Apps from which to make a choice:

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I chose Microsoft Weather App and hit next and the kit goes to work:

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The process takes a few minutes and creates an XML data file of results that you are invited to save:

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Clicking on the results opens the report:

Results

Tip: in Jason Olson’s talk from BUILD he briefly touches on the following tool – which is the same that MS runs on your submitted Apps before they make it into the store:

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I haven’t tried this myself yet but will either update this post or write another one once I get the chance to do so.