Category Archives: Windows Phone Applications

CalcBase for Windows Phone 7/8 App Released

CalcBase for Windows Phone 7/8 has just been approved into the Windows Phone Store. You can download it here.

CalcBase is a simple base converter that converts any base-2 to base-16 number to all other bases from base-2 to base-16. Simply select the base you are converting from, enter your number, and then show the results to see the conversions. It’s that simple.

Here is a screen shot of the input screen:

If you have any suggestions for this app, send me some feedback.

Setting a Windows Phone Button Background in C#

There might be a case where you need to set the background color of a button in code rather than in XAML. Or you might define a style in XAML with a particular button background color, but would like to change the background color in an event handler. For example, let’s say you created the following button in XAML:

<Button Content=”My Button”
Background=”{StaticResource PhoneAccentBrush}”
Click=”RegisterSelection_Click”/>

Now let’s say that when the user clicks the button you want to change the button’s background color to give another way of indicating the button has been selected. You can do the following in C#:

private void RegisterSelection_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
Button btn = (Button)sender;
btn.Background = App.Current.Resources[“PhoneChromeBrush”] as SolidColorBrush;
}

I am using this in an app I am currently working on and it works well. Give it a try.

Overriding the Default Windows Phone Back Button Action

Here is a great blog post showing how to override the default action of the back button.

This can be very handy when interacting with pop-ups and dialogs within your app. For example, you may have a pop-up menu that you want the user to be able to back out of using the back button. Depending on your app’s design, the standard back button action might go so far as to exit the app. By overriding the standard action, the user could close the dialog instead.

Code samples are included in the post.

More Good Tips on Developing Windows Phone Apps

Here’s another good blog post from the Windows Phone Developer Blog, with 8 on designing Windows Phone apps. Check out the post for all of the details, but here are the highlights to whet your appetite:

  1. Focus: what makes your app unique and what is your mission statement for your app.
  2. Plan: do some upfront leg work on your app’s layout and flow to make sure it makes sense and to save time later.
  3. Love the grid: the Windows Phone emulator grid is your friend when it comes to design, use it in Visual Studio and in Blend (Expression Blend). It’ll save you tons of time putting together your layouts.
  4. Theme it: take advantage of the built in themes of Windows Phone to style your apps.
  5. It’s alive: use Live Tiles to kept your app in focus even when it’s not open.
  6. Let content breathe, never fear the scroll: don’t cram, this isn’t a final exam, give your content room.
  7. Be inspired: embrace Windows Phone’s simple and clear design language.
  8. Sell it: designing and coding are one thing, getting people to use your app is another. Present yourself well in the Windows Phone Store.

 

A Beginner’s Adventures in Programming (ABAP)

If you don’t already know, I’m very, very new to programming and application development; and as of this writing I’m 41 years old. Compared to many programmers I’m probably 30+ years behind the curve. But who cares?

I didn’t always feel that way. For years, I’ve dabbled in programming, ranging from Excel macros to web development to most recently taking introductory college courses in Assembly, C, C++, and Java. But I’ve always walked away because it just seemed too daunting. There are so many languages out there and the technology moves so quickly that it just didn’t seem to make sense to start so late in life to learn something new, something that I never felt I could get good at quickly enough to keep up. Well, that was the old me.

Something happened a month or two ago, a switch flipped in my head. Perhaps my brain finally figured out how to catch the exception and handle it properly. Honestly, I don’t know what happened, and I really don’t care, because I finally found direction. Now I’m learning C#, XAML, JavaScript, and HTML/CSS. I published my first Windows Phone app a few weeks ago. As of today, it’s been downloaded 921 times. That’s 921 random people that felt compelled enough to at least check out something I created. Whether or not they continue to use it is another matter, but at this point I don’t care. To me, it’s all about the experience.

Having listened to various podcasts for the last few months, I hear lots of comments from the podcasters that many people have dipped their toes in programming, but for various reasons gave up — life got in the way, it seemed too hard, they didn’t know where to go with it, etc. If you’re one of those people (I was definitely one of those people), I’d like to share my journey with you so that you can see that no matter what your age, what your current occupation (I’ve been in finance my entire professional career), you can learn to program, you can do something useful with it, you can stretch your mental abilities and be on a never ending path of learning, and, most importantly, you can have fun doing it.

Let’s get started…