Dilemma in choosing technology to create App for Windows Store?

 

image

 

When one start creating Applications for Windows Store, the first question come to mind is what technology should be used to create applications. In this post, I am trying to ease that decision to some extent. If you creating application form scratch then as of me you should rely on your existing skills. However for migrating application, you may want to take decision on basis of type of application need to be migrated. Below is the flowchart I would follow while taking decision for technology path

 

image

 

Some of the points you need to keep in mind while deciding are as follows

  • Know your existing skills and decide on that. If you are good at JavaScript and have worked with patterns then you may find WinJS very similar. Whereas if you have created Windows Phone App or WPF applications before then combination of C Sharp and XAML will make more sense to you .

 

  • You need to be more cognizant when deciding for the migration of application. In this scenario rather than relying on your existing skills, you should decide on the factor of what type of application you are going to migrate. For example if you are migrating Windows Phone application then you must choose combination of C Sharp and XAML such that you may reuse codes and functionalities. Imagine if your Windows Phone application is created using patterns like MVVM then you may able to use View and Model View.

 

  • So far what I have experienced that majority of the WinJS controls are created as Metro Controls. So you do not need to write any extra code to make WinJS controls as metro a control. So it may be wise to use HTML and WinJS combination if you skill set contains both web and CSharp XAML.

 

  • If you are creating high end Gaming applications then you may want to consider combination of C++ and XAML

 

  • >If you are a .NET developer and your skill set contains HTML and JavaScript as well. In that case I would recommend C Sharp and XAML. You will find development process very familiar as of .NET development. For example you may create application adhering same patterns like MVVM etc.

 

In this way you can decide on the combinations of technology for the development of applications for Windows Store.

<I hope you find these quick points useful. Thanks for reading.

 

Share Text in between Windows 8 Metro Application using Share Contract

Two Metro applications can shared the content between them using Share Charm. Content can be as simple as text or may be image or a file. In content sharing, the application that shares content is called as Source Application and the application that receives content is called as Target Application. Source Application and Target Application need to declare the type of content; they are intent to share in a Declaration.

Declaration can be configured in the package.appmanifest file. Click on package.appmanifest file and then select Declaration tab. From the Available Declarations drop down select Share target and check SupportedAnyFile Type in Supported File Types. See the image below.

image

Source Application

After configuring the declaration we need to write the code to share relevant text. Let us put a button and click event of that button we will share the text.

image

In code behind attach click event to button and call bellow function

image

Function to share text is as following. User can share the text from the Share Charm. Note that in the code below, we have explicitly displayed the Share charm by calling function showShareUI.


function ShowandShareContract() {

Windows.ApplicationModel.DataTransfer.DataTransferManager.showShareUI();
 var dataTransferManager = Windows.ApplicationModel.DataTransfer.DataTransferManager.getForCurrentView();
 dataTransferManager.addEventListener("datarequested", function (e) {
 var request = e.request;
 request.data.properties.title = "Debugmode";
 request.data.properties.description = "Debugmode Share App";
 request.data.setText("Hello from DebugMode App");
 });
 }

The actual data sharing happens in the datarequested event handler. We are sharing the text “Hello from DebugMode App “

Target Application

Now let us create an application, which can consume the shared text. An application can be launched in multiple ways; we need to first check whether the application was launched as Share Target or not before accepting any data.

image

We also need to check whether shared operation is containing text or not. That can be check as following

image

Below is the code required to read the text shared and display in an output div.

 if (args.detail.kind === Windows.ApplicationModel.Activation.ActivationKind.shareTarget) {

 var shareOperation = args.detail.shareOperation;
 if (shareOperation.data.contains(Windows.ApplicationModel.DataTransfer.StandardDataFormats.text)) {
 var SharedText = " Title : " + shareOperation.data.properties.title;
 SharedText = SharedText + " Description : " + shareOperation.data.properties.description;
 document.getElementById("outputDiv").innerText = SharedText;

 }

}

In this way text can be shared between source application and target application using shared contracts. When you run the source application, you will get a ShareContent button. On clicking of the button Share Charm will get displayed. You will get list of all applications can act as Target Application. For example Mail application can also act as Target Application.

image

Let us choose target application we created. Click on ShareContreactTarget application. You can see two applications can run side by side and text from source application is displayed in output div of target application.

image

In this way we can share Text between two metro applications. I hope you find this post useful. Thanks for reading.

Netflix Movie Explorer a Metro Application: Creating Step by Step

Download source code of this article from here

In this article we will follow step by step approach to create Netflix Movie Explorer Metro Application. We will use HTML and WinJS to create this application. See the video to understand expected behavior of the application.

Some of the features of application are as following

  • Browse movies from Netflix
  • Rate the Movies
  • Browse movies in Semantic views
  • Share the Rating of a particular movie with social media or via mail

To get it started, launch Visual Studio and create a new project by choosing Blank App Project template from Windows Metro Style tab. You need VS12 to create this application.

image

After creating project in default.html change “content goes here “with following

clip_image001

After that follow the steps as below,

Step 1: Create Data Source

Very first we need to create data source by reading JSON data from OData feed of Netflix movie database. That can be done using WinJS.xhr function

image

In above code snippet, we are performing following tasks

  • Making a call to Netflix OData using WinJS .xhr function
  • As input parameter to xhr function, we are passing exact url of OData Endpoint.
  • We are applying projection and providing JSON format information in URL itself.
  • Once JSON data is fetched form Netflix server data is being parsed and pushed as individual items in the WinJS list.

After fetching, data is being parsed using JSON Parser and individual items are pushed to movieArray. movieArray is defined as following

image

Step 2: Create ListView

After creating data source we need put WinJS ListView control on the page.

image

A HTML div can be converted to WinJS ListView by setting data-win-control attribute to WinJS.UI.ListView. Other options can be set like layout of the ListView. In this case we have set it to GridLayout, so data will be displayed horizontally. ListView needs data source to display data. Data source can be set either in HTML or in code behind. Let us set data source of movieListView to the movieArray.

image

Make sure that you are setting data source of ListView after the WinJS.xhr function call. At this point of time if you go ahead and run the application, you should be getting following output.

image

Step 3: Create ListView Template

In above output, data is in raw form. To make data more immersive and to show the way we want, we need to create template out of data. After creating template, it needs to be set as attribute of ListView. Template can be created as following

image

Template can be created by setting data-win-control attribute of HTML div as WinJS.Binding.Template . Inside div element

  • Binding image to Picture property of WinJS List or Array
  • Binding inner text of h4 element to Title property of WinJS List or Array

Once Template is created, it needs to be attached to the ListView. After attaching Template, ListView will be as following

image

No go ahead and run the application, you should be getting following shape of the application

image

Before we move ahead, let us put some CSS on ListView to make it more immersive

image

After applying styles on List View, your application should be in following shape.

image

Step 4: Grouping of DataSource

Next we want to group the movies as per first character of their title. For that create group functions as following.

image

After creating grouped functions, we need to create grouped item list and set it as itemDataSource of List View. Modify setting of ListView data source as following

image

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following

image

Step 5: Creating Header Template

Above we can see the header data is in raw form. So to make header information more immersive, you need to create template for header and then attach that to ListView

A header template can be created in same way as of item template. Header template is created as following

image

After creating Header Template, we need to attach this to ListView. So ListView will be modified as following

image

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following

image

Step 6: Adding Semantic Zoom

Next we need to add sematic zoom to the ListView. For that very first let us create a Semantic Zoom Template. We want to display movies with first letter of title in semantic zoom view.

image

After creating Semantic Zoom View template, we need to add a SemanticZoom WinJS control. Inside the Semantic Zoom control we need to put ListView (created in previous steps) and a Semantic Zoom View. We can put that as following.

image

After adding Semantic Zoom view we need to set data source of it. This can be set as following.

image

Last work we need to do in Semantiz Zoom is to apply styles.

image

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following

image

image

Step 7: Adding Output DIV

Now we need to add code to add output div. When user will select a particular movie detail of that movie will be displayed in the output div for rating.

image

And in code behind on the touch of a particular ListView item, we need to display that information in output div. For that add the following code in code behind

image

In above code snippet

  • Iteminvoked event is attached to the ListView
  • When item is invoked then itemPromise function is being called with parameter invokedItem
  • On the invokeditem data we can fetch attributes of ListView items
  • In last set the vales of HTML elements from selected items data.

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following

image

Step 8: Adding Rating control

To allow user for Rating, let us go ahead and add a WinJS Rating control. Rating control can be added as following

image

We can create a Rating control by setting data-win-control attribute of a div as WinJS.UI.Rating. Other data options like maxRating and averageRating can be set in data-win-options attribute.

After adding Rating control, we need to write code to allow users to perform rating.

image

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following

image

Step 9: Adding Code to Share Contract

We want our user should able to share the rating of movie on other applications like Mail, Twitter, Facebook. For that we will have to use ShareContract.

image

In above code we are getting the request and setting the title and description in data property. After that creating text to share and setting it in the data request. Above is the code to simple text sharing via ShareContract feature of Windows 8. Once we have share function is ready, we need to get the current view of application using DataTransferManager.getForCurrentView () and attach and event handler datarequested on same. When datarequested event will be fired ShowandShareContract function (created above) will be called and user will able to share using Share Charm.

image

Put above code just before ProcessAll() function and do not forget to declare following variable globally

image

Let us go ahead and run the application. At this point shape of the application should be as following. This is our final application.

image

In this application user can browse the movies, rate a particular movie and then share the rating with the friends on social media or mail.

Conclusion

In this post we learnt to create a Metro Application from scratch. Even though you can download source code of this article from here , I am sharing the codes below . Feel free to use them as you required.

default.html


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
 <meta charset="utf-8" />
 <title>testdemo</title>

<!-- WinJS references -->
 <link href="//Microsoft.WinJS.1.0.RC/css/ui-dark.css" rel="stylesheet" />
 <script src="//Microsoft.WinJS.1.0.RC/js/base.js"></script>
 <script src="//Microsoft.WinJS.1.0.RC/js/ui.js"></script>

<!-- testdemo references -->
 <link href="/css/default.css" rel="stylesheet" />
 <script src="/js/default.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
 <h1>Netflix Movie Application</h1>
 <div id="moviesTemplate"
 data-win-control="WinJS.Binding.Template">
 <div style="width: 150px; height: 130px;">
 <img src="#" style="width: 100px; height: 100px;"
 data-win-bind="alt: title; src: picture" />
 <div>
 <h4 data-win-bind="innerText:title"></h4>
 </div>
 </div>
 </div>

<div id="headerTemplate"
 data-win-control="WinJS.Binding.Template"
 style="display: none">
 <div class="simpleHeaderItem">
 <h1 data-win-bind="innerText: title1"></h1>
 </div>
 </div>

<div id="semanticZoomTemplate" data-win-control="WinJS.Binding.Template"
 style="display: none">
 <div class="semanticZoomItem">
 <h1 class="semanticZoomItem-Text"
 data-win-bind="innerText: title1">
 </h1>
 </div>
 </div>
 <div id="semanticZoomDiv" data-win-control="WinJS.UI.SemanticZoom">
 <div id="movieListView"
 data-win-control="WinJS.UI.ListView"
 data-win-options="{itemTemplate:moviesTemplate,
 groupHeaderTemplate: headerTemplate
 ,layout: {type: WinJS.UI.GridLayout} }">
 </div>
 <div id="zoomedOutListView"
 data-win-control="WinJS.UI.ListView"
 data-win-options="{itemTemplate: semanticZoomTemplate,
 selectionMode: 'none',
 tapBehavior: 'invoke',
 swipeBehavior: 'none' }">

</div>
 </div>
 <table>
 <tr>
 <td>
 <img id="selectedPlayerImg"
 style="width:250px;height:250px;"/>
 </td>
 <td>
 <h3>You are rating movie</h3><br />
 <span id="selectedPlayer"></span> <br />
 <span id="ratingPlayer"></span> <br />

<div id="ratingcontrol"
 data-win-control="WinJS.UI.Rating"
 data-win-options="{maxRating:10,avrageRating:4}" />

 </td>
 </tr>
</table>

&nbsp;

</body>
</html>

default.js


// For an introduction to the Blank template, see the following documentation:
// http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=232509
(function () {
 "use strict";

 var app = WinJS.Application;
 var activation = Windows.ApplicationModel.Activation;
 WinJS.strictProcessing();
 var movieArray = new WinJS.Binding.List();
 var dataTransferManager;
 var movieName;
 var selectRating;
 app.onactivated = function (args) {

 if (args.detail.kind === activation.ActivationKind.launch) {
 if (args.detail.previousExecutionState !== activation.ApplicationExecutionState.terminated) {
 // TODO: This application has been newly launched. Initialize
 // your application here.
 } else {
 // TODO: This application has been reactivated from suspension.
 // Restore application state here.
 }

 dataTransferManager = Windows.ApplicationModel.
 DataTransfer.
 DataTransferManager.getForCurrentView();
 dataTransferManager.addEventListener("datarequested", ShowandShareContract);
 args.setPromise(WinJS.UI.processAll());

 WinJS.xhr({
 url: "http://odata.netflix.com/Catalog/Titles" +
 "?$format=json&$select=ShortName,BoxArt&$top=300"
 }).then(function (xhr) {
 var movies = JSON.parse(xhr.response).d;
 movies.forEach(function (i) {
 movieArray.push({
 title: i.ShortName,
 picture: i.BoxArt.MediumUrl
 });
 });
 });

var lstMovies = document.getElementById("movieListView").winControl;
 var groupedItemsList = movieArray.createGrouped(getGroupKey, getGroupData, compareGroups);
 lstMovies.itemDataSource = groupedItemsList.dataSource;
 lstMovies.groupDataSource = groupedItemsList.groups.dataSource;
 var lstMoviesZoom = document.getElementById("zoomedOutListView").winControl;
 lstMoviesZoom.itemDataSource = groupedItemsList.groups.dataSource;
 lstMovies.addEventListener("iteminvoked", function (eventObject) {
 eventObject.detail.itemPromise.then(function (invokedItem) {
 var selecteplayer = document.getElementById('selectedPlayer');
 selecteplayer.innerHTML = "<h2>" + invokedItem.data.title + "</h2>";
 movieName = invokedItem.data.title;

var selecteplayerImg = document.getElementById('selectedPlayerImg');
 selecteplayerImg.src = invokedItem.data.picture;

var ratingcontrolc = document.getElementById("ratingcontrol").winControl;
 ratingcontrolc.addEventListener("change", function () {
 selectRating = ratingcontrolc.userRating;
 document.getElementById('ratingPlayer').innerHTML = "<h3> as "
 + selectRating +
 " on scale of 10 <h3>";

});

});
 }, false);

&nbsp;
 }
 };

function compareGroups(left, right) {
 return left.charCodeAt(0) - right.charCodeAt(0);
 }

function getGroupKey(dataItem) {
 return dataItem.title.toUpperCase().charAt(0);
 }

function getGroupData(dataItem) {
 return {
 title1: dataItem.title.toUpperCase().charAt(0)
 };
 }

function ShowandShareContract(e) {

var request = e.request;
 request.data.properties.title = "Netflix Movie Explorer Application";
 request.data.properties.description = "Sharing from Netflix Movie Explorer Application";
 var textToShare = movieName + " has been rated " + selectRating + " out of 10 ";
 request.data.setText(textToShare);

}

app.oncheckpoint = function (args) {

 };

app.start();
})();

default.css

body {
}

@media screen and (-ms-view-state: fullscreen-landscape) {
}

@media screen and (-ms-view-state: filled) {
}

@media screen and (-ms-view-state: snapped) {
}

@media screen and (-ms-view-state: fullscreen-portrait) {
}
.win-listview
 {
 height: 500px;
 width: auto;
 border: 1px solid gray;
 }

.win-listview .win-container {
 margin: 10px;
 }
 .win-listview .win-container:hover {
 background-color: red;
 border-color: red;
 }

.semanticZoomItem
{
 width: 130px;
 height: 130px;
 background-color: rgba(38, 160, 218, 1.0);
}

.semanticZoomItem .semanticZoomItem-Text
 {
 padding: 10px;
 line-height: 150px;
 white-space: nowrap;
 color: white;
 }

&nbsp;

&nbsp;

I hope you find this post useful. Thanks for reading

Consuming WCF SOAP Service in Windows 8 Metro Application

In this post we will consume WCF SOAP Service in C#/XAML based Metro Application. This is level 100 post showing basic steps to create simple WCF Service and consume that in Metro Application.

Very first let us create a WCF Service using VS2012. Form File menu create a new project by choosing WCF Service Application project template from WCF tab.

image

Remove all the default code from IService1.cs and replace it with following code. In below service contract we are going to return a simple greeting message. From client a name as string will be input to the service and service will return a greeting message as string.

IService1.cs


using System.ServiceModel;
namespace ServiceToConsumeinMetro
{
 [ServiceContract]
 public interface IService1
 {

[OperationContract]
 string GreetingMessage(string name);

 }

}

Service is implemented as following. It is concatenating two string and returning it .

Service1.svc.cs


namespace ServiceToConsumeinMetro
{

 public class Service1 : IService1
 {
 public string GreetingMessage(string name)
 {
 return "Welcome to Metro Word " + name;
 }
 }
}

We will go with the default binding and will not configure anything in Web.Config. Leave Web.config as it is and press F5 to run and host created WCF service in local server. On successful running in your browser you should have below output.

image

Now let us create a Metro Application to consume this service. From File menu in VS 2012 choose Blank App project template from Windows Metro Style tab.

image

Next let us design the page. On the page we are going to put one TextBox, One Button and one TextBlock. User will enter Name in textbox and on the click event of the button service will be called. Returned output from service will be displayed in the textblock. Xaml is as following

MainPage.xaml


<Page
 x:Class="App1.MainPage"
 IsTabStop="false"
 xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
 xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
 xmlns:local="using:App1"
 xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008"
 xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006"
 mc:Ignorable="d">

<Grid Background="{StaticResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}">
 <Grid.RowDefinitions>
 <RowDefinition Height="200" />
 <RowDefinition Height="200" />
 <RowDefinition Height="200" />
 </Grid.RowDefinitions>
 <TextBox x:Name="txtName" Margin="286,25,583,113" />
 <Button x:Name="btnCallService" Content="Enter Name above and touch to call service" Height="100" Width="364" Grid.Row="1" Margin="367,10,0,90" Click="btnCallService_Click_1"/>
 <TextBlock x:Name="textResult" Grid.Row="2" FontSize="30" FontWeight="Bold" />
 </Grid>
</Page>

Next we need to add Service Reference in the Metro project. For that right click on Metro Application project Reference tab and select Add Service Reference

image

Add the reference as following. My metro application name is App1. If your Metro application name is XYZ then you will be adding XYZ.ServiceReference1 provided you have not changed reference name while adding it.

image

In Metro word everything is asynchronous. So we need to make async call to service. When you add reference automatically visual studio creates async function for you.

image

We can call this function from service as following

image

If you notice we have put await keyword before making a call to service. Since service is called in await manner so the function inside which we are calling service must be async. On click event of the button service can be called as following

image

Combining all discussion together code behind will look like as following

using Windows.UI.Xaml;
using Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls;
using Windows.UI.Xaml.Navigation;
using App1.ServiceReference1;

namespace App1
{

 public sealed partial class MainPage : Page
 {
 public MainPage()
 {
 this.InitializeComponent();
 }

protected override void OnNavigatedTo(NavigationEventArgs e)
 {
 }

private async void btnCallService_Click_1(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
 {
 Service1Client proxy = new Service1Client();
 string result = await proxy.GreetingMessageAsync(txtName.Text);
 textResult.Text = result;
 }
 }
}

On running you should be getting output as following

image

I am sorry for poor UI experience but any way making UI immersive was not purpose of this post. I hope now you know basic steps to consume WCF SOAP service in metro application.

Migrate HTML5 WinJS Metro Application project to VS2012

In this post we will migrate a Metro Project created in HTML5 and WinJS from VS11 to VS2012 RC.

Recently I upgraded my system to Windows 8 Release Preview. After upgrading Windows, I migrated VS to VS2012 RC. After successful installation of VS2012, I tried opening a HTML5 + WinJS project created in VS11. When I tried to build that project, I got below exception.

image

Exception was in file C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Microsoft.Common.targets

To remove this error what all you need to do is go to solution and remove old reference of Microsoft.WinJS

image

And then again try to rebuild the solution. You should not be getting any build error. Though after than if you run the project you will be getting errors like

image

This error implies that reference has been missing. To solve this we need to add new reference in the project. Add Windows Library for JavaScript 1.0 RC reference in the project. image

After adding reference you need to change the references on HTML. Currently your reference may look like as following

clip_image002

You need to change Microsoft.WinJS.0.6 to Microsoft.WinJS.1.0.RC. After changing references should look like as following

clip_image004

No go ahead and run the project. You should be not getting any error. In this way you can migrate HTML5 WinJS Metro project to VS2012.

I hope this post is useful. Thanks for reading.

How to fetch selected item of ListView in HTML based Windows 8 Metro Application

I had tough time get the value of selected item of a ListView. So in this post I am sharing the code snippet required to fetch selected item from the ListView.

Read this article for ListView Binding with Grouping and Semantic Zoom in Windows 8 JavaScript Metro Application

I strongly suggest you to read the above article for more detail on ListView. If you continue with above article and want to get the value of selected item you can do that as below,


lstMovies = document.getElementById("movieListView").winControl;  
lstMovies.addEventListener("iteminvoked", function (e) {
                e.detail.itemPromise.then(function (invokedItem) {


                    var titleOfData = invokedItem.data.title;
                    var selecteplayerImg = invokedItem.data.picture;
                });
            }, false);


In above code snippet

  • lstMovies is name of the ListView.
  • Iteminvoked is name of the event. This event gets fire when an item in the ListView is being selected.
  • There are two data bind to the List View item. They are Title and Picture. Any data can be fetched as following snippet. invokedItem is parameter of itemPromise.

image

Title and Picture are properties of the datasource bind to the ListView.

In this way you can fetch selected item from ListView in HTML based Windows 8 Metro Application. I hope this post is useful. Thanks for reading!

Difference between Application created using Metro UI guidelines and Real Windows 8 Metro Application

Windows 8 Metro Application runs in AppContainer, whereas any application (web or desktop) created with the Metro UI design guidelines does not run on AppContainer. They may be running in browser or directly as exe on System32 under the logged in user credential.

I have been seen people are bit confused in between “An Application Designed with UI Guidelines of Metro “and in “METRO APPLICATION “itself. To make my point more clear let us visit this site.

image

If you see this TechED India site is beautifully designed and adhering to Metro UI design guidelines. Although it is following all the UI guidelines of Metro, it cannot be called as METRO APP. Then next question you may ask that what is a Metro App then?

Let us create a simple Hello World Metro Application. I am creating Hello World Metro Application using HTML and JavaScript.

image

There is nothing fancy about above application but a Hello World Text in H1 tag.

New to Metro Application Development? Read here

Hit F5 to run the application. While application is running open Task Manager. To open Task Manger press Ctr+Alt+Del. In Task Manger you can see your application is listed in the Application tab.

image

Click on the Details tab and you can see a program called WMAHost.exe is running. Microsoft WMA Host is responsible to run Metro Application on Windows 8 Machine.

clip_image001

What point I am trying to make here is that when you run a website adhering to Metro UI guidelines is run through a browser on your Windows 8 machine. Whereas Windows 8 Metro Application runs by a program WMAHost.exe. This program runs in sandbox rather than user login to the Windows 8 machine. To understand it more download and install ProcessExplorer.exe.

Open Process Explorer and in the Integrity tab you can see Windows 8 Metro Application run in App Container.

clip_image003

Here you see that Windows 8 Metro Application runs in AppContainer and this is the major difference between any applications created with the UI guidelines of Metro and Windows 8 Metro Application. I hope now it is clear to you difference between Windows 8 Metro application and application adhering UI guidelines of Metro. Thanks for reading

Live Tiles in XAML based Windows 8 Metro Application

In this post we will discuss Live Tiles in XAML based Windows 8 Metro Application. We will see

  • Updating Live Tiles
  • Creating queue of information to update Live Tiles

What is Live Tile?

Tiles are the entry point for the application. You will find TILES for all applications installed on your machine at the start screen. These Tiles are termed as Live if we update the content of the Tiles on basis of some business rules. So when user sees the Tiles, She gets some vital information from the application. Below are the Tiles of some of the installed applications on my system.

 If you see weather application there is weather information about Seattle on the tiles itself. So to know weather information of Seattle, you do not need to open the application. You can get information by just seeing the Tile of the weather application. This information is live and will change as the weather of Seattle will be changed.

You can update information on Tiles in Four ways

  1. From Push Notification Service
  2. Locally
  3. Scheduled
  4. Periodic

In this post we are focusing on updating Tiles locally. To start with add below namespaces

image

You can update Tile using below line of code.

image

You can see that Update method takes TileNotification as input parameter. You need to pass content to update on Tile as XML to TileNotification. Tile XML can be created using below code.

image

There are many templates type available for TileTemplate. We are using TileWideText01 type (see 1st highlighted text).

There are 44 TileTemplateType available. You need to choose one as your requirement. In following post I will go in details of each TileTemplateType.

Each Tile Template Type is a XML document. We can update a particular element by selecting element with the tag name. We are doing this in second line of code. In last line we are setting the information we want to update on the Tile. You can set is dynamically according to your business requirement.

So putting all pieces of codes together on a click event of a Button, a Tile can be updated as following.


private void btnSendLiveTiles_Click_1(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
XmlDocument tileXml = TileUpdateManager.
GetTemplateContent
(TileTemplateType.TileWideText01);

XmlElement textElement = (XmlElement)tileXml.
GetElementsByTagName("text")[0];
textElement.AppendChild(
tileXml.CreateTextNode
("Hey This my Text Updated on Tile"));

TileUpdateManager.CreateTileUpdaterForApplication()
.Update(new TileNotification(tileXml));
}

Before you run and see that whether Tiles has been updated or not. You need to set Wide Logo of the application. Text on live Tiles appears only when you have set the Wide Logo. Wide Logo need to be 310×150 Pixels. To set Wide Logo from solution explorer click on Package.appmanifest file and the set the Wide Logo.

image

I have set green rectangle of size 310×150 as Wide Logo. Now go ahead and run the application. After clicking on the button close the application and go to start screen. On start screen you can see that Tile text has been updated with the text we provided.

image

You can update Tile multiple times. For that you need to enable notification queue and you can have five information in the queue to be updated on the Tile. If there are more than five information available then recent five would be updated.

image

On click event of a button you can update Tiles with three different information as following.


private void btnSendLiveTiles_Click_1(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{

TileUpdateManager.
CreateTileUpdaterForApplication().
EnableNotificationQueue(true);

XmlDocument tileXml = TileUpdateManager.
GetTemplateContent
(TileTemplateType.TileWideText01);
XmlElement textElement = (XmlElement)tileXml.
GetElementsByTagName("text")[0];
textElement.AppendChild(
tileXml.CreateTextNode
("Updating Tile1"));

TileUpdateManager.CreateTileUpdaterForApplication()
.Update(new TileNotification(tileXml));

XmlDocument tileXml1 = TileUpdateManager.
GetTemplateContent
(TileTemplateType.TileWideText01);

XmlElement textElement1 = (XmlElement)tileXml1.
GetElementsByTagName("text")[0];
textElement1.AppendChild(
tileXml1.CreateTextNode
("Updating Tile2"));

TileUpdateManager.CreateTileUpdaterForApplication()
.Update(new TileNotification(tileXml1));

XmlDocument tileXml2 = TileUpdateManager.
GetTemplateContent
(TileTemplateType.TileWideText01);

XmlElement textElement2 = (XmlElement)tileXml2.
GetElementsByTagName("text")[0];
textElement2.AppendChild(
tileXml2.CreateTextNode
("Updating Tile3"));

TileUpdateManager.CreateTileUpdaterForApplication()
.Update(new TileNotification(tileXml2));
}

You can have three information in queue getting updated on Tiles. In this way you can work with Live Tiles in XAML based window8 metro application. I hope this post is useful. Thanks for reading.

Setting up Visual Studio11 Beta for Metro Application Creation

Just after next day of launching I installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview and VS1 Beta. And yes exactly like you, I were excited. After installation VS11 Beta looks like below,

clip_image002

After installation I was tempted to create Metro Application. So I browsed to create new project and found below installed project templates.

clip_image004

So essentially it got all the templates from VS2010 with addition of installed templates to create Metro applications. When first time I launched VS11, I set default language as C Sharp that is why you see Visual C# as first language in above image.

I wanted to create a metro application using HTML and JavaScript so I click on Other Language and then selected a Blank Application from installed template.

clip_image006

After pressing Ok I got message that I need Developer License for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Off course I had no choice but to click on I Agree to proceed.

clip_image007

Then it asked me to authenticate.

clip_image008

After successful authentication I got message as below that I have developer license and its expiration date also.

clip_image009

In Solution explorer I noticed now WinJS reference files are inside the References folder and there is one X.509 certificate.

clip_image010

In later post I will investigate and discuss more on why this X.509 certificate is in the solution? Other files were same like default.html, default.js and package.appxmanifest file. I put a Hello World in the body.

clip_image011

Next you need to choose debugging environment. Either you can debug it on Simulator, Local Machine or Remote Machine

clip_image012

I selected Simulator and got the expected output in simulator as below,

clip_image014

Next I thought to open project in expression blend for that I right clicked on project and selected open in Expression Blend. In Expression Blend for the purpose of exploration, I dragged and dropped a DatePicker control from Asset on the Body of HTML page.

clip_image016

After adding DatePicker control, I noticed blend has added call to WinJS.UI.processAll function to process the controls.

clip_image018

On running I got DatePicker control as below in the simulator. I noticed that WinJS control has taken the default color of color I set for the Windows 8.

clip_image020

In this way we have set Visual Studio 11 to create metro apps. In further post I will get deeper into all other aspects and areas to create Metro Applications for Windows 8. I hope this post was useful. Thanks for reading.

 

Message Dialog Control in Windows 8 HTML JavaScript Metro Application

In this post, I will discuss how to work with Message Dialog in Windows 8 Metro application. I will use WinJS to create message dialog. Message dialog look like below,

image

Message Dialog is part of UI surfaces in Windows 8. There are four types of UI surfaces in Windows 8.

  1. App Bar
  2. Context Menu
  3. Message Dialog
  4. Fly Out

We are going to popup a message dialog box on click event of a button. Let us put a button and output span on default.html as below,

Default.html


<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<meta charset="utf-8" />
<title>DataBindingSample</title>
<!-- WinJS references -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/winjs/css/ui-dark.css" />
<script src="/winjs/js/base.js"></script>
<script src="/winjs/js/wwaapp.js"></script>
<!-- DataBindingSample references -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/default.css" />
<script src="/js/default.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<h2>metro message dialog  demo</h2>
<br />
<button id="btnShowMessage" > Want to Make a call </button>
<br />
<span id="resultDiv" />
</body>
</html>

We are going to display result out of user selection in message dialog box on the span resultDiv.

Message Dialog can be created by making a call to below function.

clip_image002

Windows.UI.Popups.MessageDialog function is overloaded. It either takes content or content and title both as input parameters.

Message dialog can be created with content and title as below,

clip_image004

Once we have created message dialog, we need to add commands to that. Command can be added as below,

clip_image006

We can add as many commands as we want in the same way. After adding all the commands we need to start operation as below,

clip_image008

By putting all codes together code behind will have below codes.

Default.js


(function () {
'use strict';
// Uncomment the following line to enable first chance exceptions.
// Debug.enableFirstChanceException(true);

WinJS.Application.onmainwindowactivated = function (e) {
if (e.detail.kind === Windows.ApplicationModel.Activation.ActivationKind.launch) {

// TODO: startup code here
//adding click event to button
var buttonToPopup = document.getElementById('btnShowMessage');
buttonToPopup.addEventListener('click', function()
{
ShowPopUp();
});
}
}

function ShowPopUp() {

var resultDiv = document.getElementById('resultDiv');

//Creating message dialog box
var messagedialogpopup = new Windows.UI.Popups.MessageDialog
('Allow to use your location ',
'Location Application');


// adding command to message dialog box

messagedialogpopup.commands.append(new Windows.UI.Popups.UICommand('yes', function () {
//calling callback function for Yes command
resultDiv.innerHTML = "<h2>Yes</h2>";
}));

messagedialogpopup.commands.append(new Windows.UI.Popups.UICommand('no', function () {
//calling callback function for No command

resultDiv.innerHTML = "<h2>no</h2>";
}));


messagedialogpopup.commands.append(new Windows.UI.Popups.UICommand('Yes but with limitd data', function () {
//calling callback function for Yes but with limited data command

resultDiv.innerHTML = "<h2>Yes but with limited data</h2>";
}));

messagedialogpopup.showAsync().operation.start();



}

WinJS.Application.start();
})();


On running you should be getting below message dialog on click event of the button.

clip_image002[6]

I hope this post is useful. Thanks for reading