Porting the ‘Learn Guitar’ from Windows Phone to Windows 8 – Azure Mobile Services


Spurred on by the current App Builder Reward program in the UK I recently ported ‘the Windows Phone App ‘Learn Guitar’ to Windows 8:






Having got to grips with the basics of Windows Phone 8 for the Phone App I was curious to know how easy it would be to port similar functionality (outlined in this post) to Windows 8.

I am happy to report that although the functionality I used to implement favourites in Windows 8 is significantly different to that of the Windows Phone App the Azure (Mobile Services) element was almost (if not exactly) the same.  This bodes well for the future as these two platforms continue to come together.

Once the plumbing code is copy and pasted from the Mobile Services site the implementation (in this case to record which videos are being marked as  favourite) is almost laughingly simple and consists of a couple of lines of code:


and before anyone says anything, yes, that could quite easily be a single line of code but it I believe it is more readable in the above format.

NB I have promised to report back on the progress of the Azure data – I have not forgotten but am waiting to gather 4 weeks worth of useful information!

Incidentally, it was the process of porting that suggested some new and rather useful functionality for this app  (the ability to slow down the video to half and quarter speed – very useful when you are just starting out the learning process). 


I look forward to porting this functionality back to the Windows Phone version in the next release!


Windows 8 (Imminent)

Windows Phone

Adding a TimeStamp in Azure Mobile Services


Buoyed on by the new App Builder reward program in the UK, combined with my attempts to loose weight (some little success with the 5:2 so far) I have developed a new App using the YouTube API to show a selection of feedback from users of popular diet programs. 

One of the things encouraged by this new program is the use of Azure Mobile Services.  Great! thought I, I have been keen to have another look at Azure for some time so this looks like the perfect opportunity.

I was surprised and encouraged by how easy it was to make use of  Mobile Services and managed to incorporate some logging into the App that I felt would be useful further down the line.

With a view to adding a future feature to the app I wanted to log favourites that were highlighted by users within the App (I may add an extra panorama item that shows the 10 most popular favourites for the App at some time in the future).

I was surprised how easily I was able to achieve my aim. I simply had to add the following script to the insert statement for the logging table:



This simultaneously created the new column and inserted a new date time value.  The operation->insert option offers similar functionality to a standard SQL server insert trigger (although the syntax is c# rather than T-SQL)


imageI should add that at this stage the ‘Dynamic Schema’ flag is still set to true (the default) which enables the above column to be added the first time an insert operation is attempted.

(Ordinarily this flag should be set to false when the App is submitted.  In reality I still have this flag set to true as the App has not yet been published in the store).




Now when I add a video to my favourites within my client App (as shown on the left, above).  A record is created in my back end table within Azure:



How easy was that?

You can download ‘Which Diet’ for free here once it passes certification (trial version is ad-enabled with nag screen)