Submit it! November – Our London hackathon produced 25 app submissions

Submit It! November 2015
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Having had a successful outing in April, once again my team at UI Centric partnered with Windows Apps London to host a day long hackathon event for the Indie Windows developer community in and around London. These guys are some of the most enthusiastic and dedicated developers you will meet, it is always an absolute pleasure hosting these events and seeing everyone get something out of the day.

For those who submitted an app we had 6 prizes to give away (at random), including 3 phones, 2 tablets, and one copy of the brand new Halo 5 for Xbox One.
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How to fix: Windows 10 Mobile error during bootstrapping stage

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Quick blog post for you all today. As you may know if you’re on the fast ring Insider build of Windows 10 Mobile there is an issue when trying to deploy UWP apps out to a device from within Visual Studio. Developers are met with the error: DEP6100 and DEP6200 both relating to a failure while Bootstrapping to the device.

Our Windows team at UI Centric has hit this issue with multiple devices against several different dev machines so we know it is probably hitting many other Windows 10 developers. With build 10581 of Windows 10 mobile it appears Microsoft have fixed the underlying issue, however if your tools are in a bad state – or if you try to deploy to a phone that still has this issue and hit it once – you made need to take steps to get back to a working setup.

We’ve used the following steps on several PCs and Laptops so at this point I’m expecting they will work if followed exactly, that said, your mileage may vary.
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Submit it! NYC – a Hackathon hosted by Microsoft and UI Centric

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On September 24th Microsoft and UI Centric co-hosted a hackathon event in New York City aimed at indie Windows developers looking to complete personal projects. Like our previous event in London we encouraged every attendee to try and submit something to the store that day, those who did were entered into a prize draw for a Surface 3 with Keyboard, or an Xbox One with Xbox Live subscription.
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With around 50 developers registered to attend, t-shirts and stickers set to give away to every attendee, and of course plenty of food and drinks available to keep every developer going the event kicked off at 9am, enthusiastic and ready to get down to work we spent the first part of the day helping some developers work on new user journeys. Others were looking to create their first hosted web app in the store, and some developers worked very hard to bring projects they had spent hours on to the store for the first time.

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How to: Fixing Windows 10 UWP Closed Captions client side

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If you’ve ever dealt with serving video content through your Windows apps, you may have also seen the vast world of closed caption (or subtitles for my British countrymen) formats and methods to display them with the video content. I may be slightly exaggerating there but between the WebVTT, TTML, CC608 standards, and the option for in-stream closed captions or side-car caption files things can get quite complicated.

Microsoft’s new Media Element in Windows 10 has taken some big strides to improve compatibility with these different standards, previously Windows developers relied on the excellent Player Framework as a baseline against which to develop closed caption supporting media experiences, but with UWP we have a viable alternative out of the box.

However, closed caption standards are a tricky thing, and frequently media providers do not follow the standard specifications exactly to the letter, which can be a technical nightmare when it comes to using out of the box scenarios. I recently faced one such dilemma with one of our customer’s TTML implementations, so I’d like to share with you a trick to use when your captions will not display in the correct place on screen.

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Useful State Triggers for Universal Windows Platform apps

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I’ve previously blogged about how we expected Responsive design to be a prominent consideration in Windows 10 development (or Universal Windows Platform development as is now the term), and Microsoft echoed that sentiment at BUILD this year whilst providing us with a new toolset for XAML to build better responsive apps.

Today I’d like to share with you a couple of State Triggers which my colleagues at UI Centric have found useful whilst developing for Windows 10, Microsoft have made it very simple for developers to write custom triggers, once a class is extending StateTriggerBase and implementing ITriggerValue you can handle a wealth of scenarios which I’m quite sure I could never list out if I tried, so let’s start small.
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Using and configuring the Microsoft sync framework 2.1 for a real O.C.A

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Editors note: Today’s article comes from one of my colleagues, Nic Cogotti, describing his experience in deploying the Microsoft Sync framework to synchronise a large customer database enabling an enterprise mobility scenario for one of UI Centric’s customers.

In the following article I will illustrate a real application of Microsoft Sync Framework to implement the Synchronization of an OCA based on a large database.

During development, one of my biggest problems was that all the documentation and examples I found on the internet regarding the Sync Framework were actually too simple and could not be applied to the scenario I was facing.

In particular the main challenges in front of me were:

  • Synchronize up to 120 users at the same time
  • Each user had an average database to be initially synched of 250 MB
  • The online database was very big (around 4GB) with some tables containing around 27 million rows
  • Ideally each user should be able to synchronize in around 20 minutes

With these requirements I could not find any similar situation on internet and many problems I encountered were difficult to solve because of this.
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Submit It! a hackathon co-hosted by UI Centric and Windows Apps London

Submit it! April 2015
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The community developing apps for the Windows and Windows Phone platforms is one of the more friendly, helpful and welcoming that I have had the pleasure of being involved with. So on Saturday 18th April here at UI Centric we partnered with Windows Apps London to host a hackathon event for indie developers aimed at encouraging those who attended to finish projects with help and collaboration from other attendees, as well as professional app developers and designers.

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Hacking the Microsoft Band: Home automation and virtual games

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This week, Microsoft invited UI Centric to join them at a 24 hour hackathon to get our hands on their new wearable: the Microsoft Band. As with most hackathons the purpose was to see what our team, as well as the others in attendance of course, could do with the preview SDK which has been made available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

So, on a sunny Monday afternoon in Whitechapel we got to work on creating a couple of simple projects that would show off what can be achieved with the SDK, and also highlight what is currently missing.

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The various options for scaling in Azure

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I’ve been spending some time looking through Microsoft’s Azure offerings as of late. With the company championing services and products that can be used across any hardware running any operating system, developers are being recommended to move business logic of their apps into the cloud. Whilst server-side logic has been a staple of cross platform development for decades, the often trumpeted feature of moving to the cloud is scalability.

In this piece I’ll be taking a look at the different options available in the Azure cloud for scaling services and infrastructure, and where they are most beneficial.

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The end of the app bar?

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It is increasingly looking like the folks at Microsoft have torn up the UX metaphor cookbook that was in place in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Windows 10 already appears to have moved away from landscape scrolling to the traditional portrait. We also know that the charms bar is already dead in the latest builds requiring search and share prompts to be brought into an app’s UI. The other potentially polarising change to acknowledge, discuss, and start getting ready for is the apparent end of the app bar as we know it.

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