C#, WinRT

Exploring NuGet

Since 5 hours now, I ‘m on NuGet and I’d like to share my first experiences. Why did I join NuGet? I joined NuGet, because it seems to be the most comfortable way to share libraries, containing XAML controls. Share them between my own projects, as well as with you. Previously I always had to include the project containing the controls in the solution I was working on, which was really annoying.. How can you use it? Let’s assume that you want to use a package in your project. All you need is the NuGet Package Manager Visual Studio extension. You can install it via Tools/Extensions and Updates. To use/reference a package from NuGet right-click on the references in the solution explorer and select ‘Manage NuGet Packages’. Then you can search for the package you desire (for example ‘TCD.Serialization’) and add it to your project. How do I use it?…

C#, UI, Windows Phone

Async CustomMessageBox on Windows Phone

UPDATE: There’s a new Version with .NET4.5 Support, Code Samples Hey there, As you may know, there’s just a limited set of MessageBoxButtons available in Silverlight for WP. However, you can make your own MessageBox in your Silverlight app using the Microsoft.Xna.Framework.GamerServices namespace as explained in this tutorial by Den Delimarsky. This method uses the old style async, which really sucks, so I decided to go the cool and smart new async way. You need Visual Studio Async CTP and Visual Studio 2010 to do this. The trick is to wrap the old async methods together with async Tasks, resulting in a Task<int> that shows the custom message box and returns the selected button in just one line: int result = await CustomMessageBox.ShowAsync(“Dinner time!”, “What do you prefer?”, 0, CustomMessageBoxIcon.Alert, “German”, “Italian”); Asynchronously and therefore non-UI-thread-blocking, of course If you’re interested you can have a look at the source: CustomMessageBox.cs…

C#, WinRT

Save objects to the ‘LocalFolder’

IMPORTANT: You find the newest versions of TCD.Serialization on NuGet – it works with Windows Phone as well. This post will Show you how to serialize and save objects with XML to your apps LocalFolder/RoamingFolder. Metro style apps in Windows 8 have their own folders where they can store their data. These folders can be accessed by: StorageFolder localFolder = ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder; StorageFolder roamingFolder = ApplicationData.Current.RoamingFolder; The difference between these two folders is that Windows 8 will synchronise the RoamingFolder between different machines. This can be useful if you want to improve the user experience, for example by synchronising drafts of a blog post between a users tablet and PC. It’s very important, that the data you want to save is serializable. When designing the data structure and classes for your data, you got to make sure, that each class has a parameterless constructor. Properties can be marked with a set…

Metro, Root, UI

Column-Styled GridView

Today I had to figure out a way to make a single-row, column-styled GridView that looked like this: Some minor design improvements are still to be made, but the hardest part is done. Particulary tricky was, that the items didn’t want to Stretch the height. (I wanted to avoid hard-coding the height, because of different screen resolutions.) Finally I’m using a GridView – I archived almost the same results with a ListView, but the ScrollBar was gone.. Maybe this is possible with a ListBox as well, but maybe I want to integrate this with a SemanticZoom control later, which requires ListView or GridView. Here’s a screenshot of the XAML code: You can copy/paste the following: <GridView ItemsSource=”{Binding Mensen}” SelectionChanged=”GridView_SelectionChanged”>                 <GridView.ItemTemplate>                     <DataTemplate>                         <Grid Background=”Green” Width=”250″>                             <Grid.RowDefinitions>                                 <RowDefinition Height=”Auto” />                                 <RowDefinition Height=”*” />                             </Grid.RowDefinitions>                             <TextBlock Grid.Row=”0″ Text=”{Binding Titel}” Foreground=”{StaticResource ListViewItemOverlayForegroundThemeBrush}” Style=”{StaticResource TitleTextStyle}” Height=”60″ Margin=”15,0,15,0″…

C#, Software, Windows Phone

Performing long-running, timed operations on the UI thread

Recently I had to play timed sounds (morse code) in a WP7 applications. Sounds are required to be played on the UI thread, but as I had to time them, my UI thread got frozen. The reason was, that I used Thread.Sleep() to time the sound, which of course blocked the UI thread. Today I figured out a way to do this long-running operation (many seconds..) without blocking the UI thread. You may know the Visual Studio Async CTP – it’s required to do the trick. Let’s suppose we already have a method InvokeEvent() that plays the sound, changes a color or something like that. Currently we execute this method in a pattern like this, causing the UI thread to be blocked: void StartOperation()//invoke the event in a pattern { for (int i=0; i<20; i++)//20 times { InvokeEvent();//play the sound, blink with the display or something like that Thread.Sleep(500);//this will…

C#, UI, Windows Phone

Making a reverse Autocomplete-TextBox on Windows Phone

I’m sure you’re familiar with autocomplete textboxes and maybe you’ve even used them in a project yourself. They provide a fast and easy way for the user to select something, but they lack one important feature: they don’t show what could be selected. ReverseAutocompletePopup is a mixture between an autocomplete text box and the kind of popup you get when a ComboBox has more than five items. At first it displays all options in a ListBox and as you type non-matching ones are filtered out. (And brought back when you delete the text!) EDIT: In the newer version, the user can hit Enter to select, or optionally use his input as the result. When working with it there’re a few things you need to have in mind: The Popup control is no real navigation-thing, so you are in charge to handle OnBackKeyPress according to the guidelines! The Options for the…

C#, Software, WinRT

Running a synchronous method in an asynchronous context

In WinRT a significant portion of all native methods are asynchronous. Using an asynchronous method is very easy an can help you to speed up you application. The requirement to use an async method is that the calling method has an async modifier. It’s easy to use async methods from a native API, but it can be useful as well to run synchronous operations off the UI thread. This should be done to prevent the UI thread from beeing blocked by time-consuming or resource-intensive operations like calculating ϖ or the answer to the ultimate question for the life, the universe and everything. To show you how to run things like this asynchronously we take the following synchronous method: private void synchonousMethod() { do { i++; } while (i < Int32.MaxValue / 2); } This method obviously lacks the async and await keywords and it’s usual implementation would be something like…

C#, Kinect, Software, UI

Kinect over Sockets

There’s no Kinect support in Windows 8 Metro, so I had to come up with a network-based solution to use the tracked skeleton data. A byproduct of this are the TCD.Networking and TCD.Kinect namespaces. Both have a Server and a Client child namespace (with simple network communication or Kinect over network..). What I can make available today is a sample of how to send Kinect-skeleton-data from a WPF server application through the network (or to localhost..) to a WPF client application. While an advantage of network-based routing is that you can have multiple clients, a major disadvantage is that you can’t use the tracking-engines methods to render 3D-coordinates to a pixel coordinate. I had to make a CustomSkeletonData class as well, b/c the JSON deserialization is kind of fussy. You may use all code and libraries you find in the solution to power your own projects =) Most of it…

Root, Software, UI

WikiSearch – a quick and dirty Windows 8 Metro App

I’ve been playing around with Windows 8 Metro development the last months and one day I did a quick Wikipedia App that integrates into the Search. The first version took me – no joke – less than 20 minutes, cause it’s just so easy! All you have to do to integrate into the search is to add this method to your App.xaml.cs: protected override void OnSearchActivated(SearchActivatedEventArgs args) { base.OnSearchActivated(args); if (mainPage == null) mainPage = new MainPage(); Window.Current.Content = mainPage; mainPage.OpenWiki(args.QueryText); Window.Current.Activate(); } After that go into Package.appxmanifest, switch to the Declarations tab and add a ‘Search’ declaration. mainPage.OpenWiki() would be a method that composes a Wikipedia-Search-URL from the queryText and tells a WebView to navigate to it. (webView.Source = new Uri(“http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=” + “queryString”);) I won’t go into any more detail at this point, but that is all the magic you have to do. Today I added multiple-language support to…