Windows 8 Apps and Personalised Advertising


Any developer deciding to Add the Microsoft Advertising SDK as a part of their App stack will now automatically offer users the option to personalise their adds (the setting is off by default.)


An interesting addition to 8.1 and another sign that the onward march of ‘targeted advertising’ continues.


NB Image Still from ‘Vantage Point’, which will be available soon in the App store.

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:

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’)


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


Windows 8 – FlipView – Programatically adding Next and Previous



So when using a flipview control there is no need for ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons as they are built into the UI already:


But … the Windows 8 UI is new and unless you are using a mouse those buttons above will stay hidden.  So these programmatic buttons serve as clues that you can indeed go backwards and forwards through the apps detail screens (I have witnessed many people repeatedly using the back button to go back to the summary screen before touching the next item to go back to the details view – at least until the penny drops!

And the code is straightforward! Here is the XAML I used:


and here is the code behind:


NB You can download Surface News for free here:

Standard AppBarButton Styles Revealed.

As much for my own benefit as anyone else’s here are the icons that all exist within the “Segio UI Symbol” Font referenced in the Standard Styles XAML fragment of every new project.  (They should form the basis for any icon appearing in the Application Bar)


NB Click on the images to enlarge.

Fragment showing button styles in the default Common->StandardStyles.xaml file.


NB Al the available font symbols can be viewed in the Character Map under Control Panel->Fonts (Above shows a small selection of those available)

With thanks to Long Zheng for providing source code for easily  rendering the icons:

Semantic Zoom – Dual Implementation


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

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:


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:

image(Click to Enlarge)

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 ( or comment below if you would like to know more.