Tag Archives: Windows 8

The five minute gauge control for WinRT/XAML

Wow, gauge controls are pretty easy to implement. Why would anyone pay for one? πŸ™‚

This one took me literally 5 minutes. True, it is just a UserControl and it only shows 0-360 values I needed to debug some compass code, but it’s easy to build on it so I thought I’d share it since all my other blog post ideas need quite a bit more time than 5 minutes… πŸ™‚

gauges

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My Short Opinion About Windows Store Apps

I really like Windows 8. I like the improvements on the desktop side. I like the new start screen better than the old start menu. I like the WinRT technology, design and interactivity of the Windows Store apps. I love the cloud integration of the OS and apps. I believe this is the most user friendly OS for tablets on the WinStore apps side and the most user friendly and powerful OS on the desktop side.

I don’t really use any Windows Store apps though, since I don’t own a Windows 8 tablet and mostly use Windows on a (touch screen) laptop. I think this will be a great platform for games and I believe the AAA titles should and will come out in Windows Store and I will play some of them – perhaps even on my desktop machine since it has better GPU and cooling than my ThinkPad. For the apps on a laptop or desktop machine though – I think the desktop platform is still better. I like my apps in windows, system tray (or as Windows people like to call it – notification area) and I like having all of them on my screen and a consistent taskbar where I see all of them. On the desktop – I like seeing all my 100 open tabs in Chrome, 5 instances of Visual Studio, Outlook, etc. I like that I can play a video in a window and then continue listening to the video (or a webcast) while I move its window behind my Visual Studio window and continue working.

I think things might change – I would love if Microsoft added all the more line of business controls and WPF features to the WinRT platform – such as grid splitters, data grids, tree views etc. I would like to be able to develop windowed applications in WinRT, though I am afraid Microsoft is much more likely to insist on making the full-screen experience more powerful rather than supporting the good old lowercase windows.

I am excited for the future.

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Layout and Formatting with Windows 8 XAML Development

When designing a user experience, one of the first things you need to figure out is where to position things on the screen, how they should flow when the content changes, and what shape or color they should be. This article is about the tools you have at your disposal with Windows 8 XAML to control layout and formatting on this exciting new platform.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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Windows 8 Development with XAML and C# – New and Missing Controls

Although the Windows 8 XAML platform brings back a lot of the controls that exist in WPF and Silverlight, and adds some completely new ones, there are some controls that you might find missing and wonder what to do. In this article we cover a list of some of these controls, along with some suggested ways to cope with their loss.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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Windows 8 Development with XAML and C# – Controls

User interfaces are usually composed of reusable controls that encapsulate the logic for rendering the view, taking input and manipulating data. Windows 8 XAML has a wide range of such controls and this is a terse overview of these controls that you can use to check if you know them all.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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Windows 8 Development with XAML and C# – Introduction

Why develop for Windows 8?

Windows 8 is a platform with high potential. Based on the trends, Windows 8 is expected to run on half a billion devices within a year or two. Since previous versions of Windows are already running on over a billion machines today, and upgrading from any existing version will cost a mere $15 to $40 – this is just a deal that is hard to miss. Windows 8 is every bit as stable and incrementally improved in its desktop flavor, but it also has a new and exciting part in its touch-centric start screen and app store support.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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WPF/Silverlight vs. Jupiter Quirks – Opacity

Have you noticed the difference in how the Opacity property is handled by child elements the Windows 8 XAML vs. Silverlight or WPF?

Silverlight/WPF:

Windows 8 XAML (Jupiter):

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Creating a Zoomable ScrollViewer with ZoomSnapPoints in WinRT XAML

The Metro/WinRT XAML ScrollViewer by default allows to zoom in on its contents. That is because its ZoomMode property defaults to “Enabled”. I think in most cases it is actually not the desired behavior and you might want to set ZoomMode to ZoomMode.Disabled. I do understand though that this makes the feature more discoverable and does not hurt much while potentially getting users familiar with the new paradigm of quickly scrolling by zooming that is also displayed in the SemanticZoom control.

For my application I needed to enable users to zoom in on a horizontal StackPanel with a list of buttons so that all the buttons fit on screen. At first I thought I would use the SemanticZoom control, but then I realized I need an actual zoom not a semantic one, so the improved (over WPF/Silverlight) ScrollViewer is an obvious choice.

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In Search of a Better Name Than Windows Runtime “XAML” Framework

XAML is a very non-descriptive name for one of the UI technologies used in Windows 8 Metro style apps. Nothing at the level of WPF/Avalon or Silverlight/WPF/E. “Jupiter” could be its name, but no one at Microsoft ever officially confirmed what “Jupiter” really is or if it really is the father of “Apollo“. I noticed a blog post of a Microsoft Developer Evangelist mentioning XAML being Jupiter, but it might still just be a mistake, since developer evangelists are not usually members of the product engineering teams at Microsoft, so it might still just be based on rumors taken as fact. Looking for any confirmation I found there was not even a Wikipedia article for the latest XAML UI framework so here it is:

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Debug Layer in Direct3D 11.1 Metro Style Applications

DirectX developers might (should) be familiar with the Debug Layer. This is a piece of code that you can inject into Direct3D for debugging instrumentation. When you create a D3D device, by default – Direct3D is a very thin layer that allows you to achieve maximum performance from your API calls through the drivers to the hardware. In fact it is so thin, that when an error occurs – you only get one of few error codes. This might make you wonder why that API call you are making is failing. Did you forget to pad that constant buffer struct to a multiple of 16 bytes size? Or perhaps you passed an invalid combination of flags to that other method. Well, for years now – you could get all that information by enabling the Debug Layer, but how do you do that in the WinRT world?

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