Windows Phone 7

Flashlight 7 Update: Constant LED Light Around the World

The latest version of Flashlight 7, v4.4 has added two exciting features: it now supports continuous LED light without flickering and has been fully translated to all 19 languages supported by Mango.

This makes Flashlight 7 the only app on the market to support constant LED light under the lock screen as well as probably the most feature rich and handy app available.

So grab the update now, what ever language you may have set your phone to:

And here’s a screenshot of the LED:

Enjoy!

Flashlight 7 Updated to Mango, Adds LED Support

I’m happy to announce that Flashlight 7, the – currently – most popular flashlight app has been updated for Mango and now has LED support. According to tests the LED works on all phones, except for HTC HD7, MTC Mozart and Dell Venue Pro – these models don’t seem to properly implement the API used to trigger the light on and off. The other features – such as police light, hypnosis, kaledioscope mode – have not been touched in this release, but expect some more fun modes in future releases.

And finally some pictures: the app running on a Samsung Omnia 7 and some screenshots of the application. Hope you enjoy the app, grab it from the Marketplace here, it’s free!

Bus Tracker Edinburgh for Windows Phone 7

I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally finished and published the Edinburgh Bus Tracker application, Bus Tracker Edinburgh. It’s completely free, get it from the Marketplace now:

Main features of the application are:

  • Find bus stops based on your location, by service number or by bus stop codes
  • Mark stops as favorites and access them with a simple swipe on the main screen
  • Acess the most recently viewed stops from the main screen
  • Get automatic Lothian bus service alerts
  • … all designed to blend perfectly with your Windows Phone with beautiful Metro design

(A note as to why I chose this name versus Edinburgh Bus Tracker or EdinBus: should you not pin the app to the start page it’s somewhat a drag to scroll all the way down to “E” to start the app. Changing the name to start with “B” seemed to put it at my fingertips in the long list app selector as well).

For more information and screenshots, visit the Bus Tracker Edinburgh home page.

If you’re an Edinburgh resident I hope you’ll find it useful on your everyday commute. (And if the lack of this application was stopping you getting a WP7 you can now reconsider it ;) ) Enjoy!

Ad Rotator Control for Windows Phone 7

I’ve finished creating an ad rotator control for Windows Phone 7 and have published it along with the source code here: Windows Phone 7 Ad Rotator on CodePlex.

I originally created the control so that I could dynamically configure ads appearing on Flashlight 7 based on ad culture. In the US I normally prefer using PubCenter as it usually has the highest eCPM, outside of the US I would switch between other providers (AdMob, InnerActive and AdDuplex for promoting of the app). The main reason for changing the ratios of ad providers was that I wanted to experiment how showing more AdDuplex ads impacts downloads of the app – with this little tool I can do so when eCPM has gone somewhat down (Note: I’ve actually found AdDuplex have a positive effect on app downloads and use it despite higher eCPMs as well).

The control allows setting up of ad probabilites based on culture, so its possible to configure (and update) such a configuration as this:

  • US: 80% PubCenter, 10% InnerActive, 5% AdMob, 5% AdDuplex ads
  • Germany: 80% AdMob, 10% PubCenter, 10% AdDuplex
  • France: 100% AdMob
  • Other: 25% PubCenter, 25% InnerActive, 25% AdMob, 25% AdDuplex

Read the project description and the WP7 ad rotator documentation on more details on how to integrate the control into projects.

Hope you find this tool useful!

Cocktail Flow – Valentine’s Day Update

Cocktail Flow (on Twitter: @CocktailFlow) development hasn’t slowed since the Holiday update and I’m happy to announce that we’ve released another update for Valentine’s day. This update comes with a new, Valentine’s package as well as several small, but useful features added.

The most important things we’ve added this update are the following:

  • Valentine’s day cocktails – nearly 30 delicious, themed drinks are added to the application in the Valentine’s package
  • Packages can be deactivated and activated. This means if you’ve downloaded one of the holiday packages, but aren’t interested in those cocktails during the summer, simply deactivate the package to hide its contents.
  • Extended cabinet – we’ve added a few drinks to the cabinet and from now on the cabinet is dynamically growing based on ingredients in packages.
  • Search by ingredients – simply start typing the name of an ingredient in the search field and cocktails containing ingredients with that name are also returned.
  • Smarter cabinet – if you select dark rum, lime juice and coke in the cabinet, you’ll see that Cuba Libre is suggested as a cocktail that can be mixed, even though the official recipe suggests using white rum, not dark. However, we’ve introduced substitute ingredients, and in the case of Cuba Libre, both white rum and dark rum can be used to mix this drink.

And finally, here are a few screenshots of some of the new cocktails and new features:

Valentine’s Day package and the ability to deactivate (and activate) packages

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Slides, Code and Additional Resources for the Talk Developing for Windows Phone 7

Last night I’ve talked about developing for Windows Phone 7 in Edinburgh on a Scot Alt.Net meeting. Thanks for everyone who showed up, as well as Mike Ormond for coming up from London and showing off some developer devices.

As promised, here’s a list of resources that I think serve as great starting point on cracking on with WP7 development:

Also, here is the slideshow I’ve presented at the event:

Good luck on getting started!

Getting Started With WP7 Development: Learning the WP7 Ecosystem

In my previous post I’ve listed resources to help getting started with Silverlight for WP7 developers.

This article aims to collect the most important resources developers should go through in order to learn the WP7 ecosystem and build decent Windows Phone 7 applications using Silverlight.

Tools To Get Started Developing

  • Download the free developer tools (installs Visual Studio Expression or project templates, Expression Blend for WP7 or project templates for Expression Blend 4) (you can get them from the Windows Phone 7 developer site developer home page as well). You’ll need this to get started with development.
  • Download the Windows Phone 7 Silverlight training kit – it features some very useful examples with explained source code. I suggest going through it, or at least the parts you feel are relevant to what you want to develop.
  • Download the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit. This component contains some essential classes for development such as GestureService (simplifying detection of gestures), DatePicker, TimePicker, WrapPanel and ToggleSwitch.

Get a Feel for Metro, the WP7 UI

To develop good WP7 applications it’s important to get the feel of the WP7 user interface, Metro. I suggest going through the following resources to get familiar with it:
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Getting Started with WP7 Development: Learning Siverlight

This post aims to present a structured collection of resources for developers wanting to get started developing for Windows Phone 7 in Silverlight, but don’t have any Silverlight or WPF experience. I’m also aiming this post at people  who’ve started developing for WP7 without too much WPF/Silverlight experience and would like to learn more about the framework to move on.

Why Silverlight?

Developing for Windows Phone 7 can be done using two frameworks: Silverlight and XNA. XNA is a framework targeting game development. Those who are looking to develop either games or graphically intensive applications are advised to use that framework.

Silverlight, on the other hand started off as a web application framework, a “web” light version of Windows Presentation Framework (WPF), the successor of Windows Forms. Microsoft decided to support Silverlight as the other application development framework on Windows Phone 7 next to XNA, specifically version 3.0 with some extra libraries. It’s safe to say that if one’s goal isn’t game development, the obvious (and easier) choice is to develop applications in Silverlight for WP7.

What is Silverlight?

Silverlight is a similar framework to Adobe Flash, allowing the developer to create applications that manipulate media, are interactive all built on the .NET platform. .NET developers will be familiar with lots of the libraries used, however Silverlight introduces several new concepts and libraries. With Out Of Browser support and Windows Phone 7 development announced, Silverlight is no longer just a web framework, but more an application development platform.

Some useful resources on understanding what Silverlight is:

Developer tools

Silverlight development can be done with Visual Studio 2008 and upwards, I’d recommend using Visual Studio 2010 – a free, express version is available for use. Expression Blend is an additional tool that makes creating the UI much easier.

If you’re planning on doing WP7 development, download the developer tools for WP7 which will either install the expression version of Visual Studio 2010 and a phone version of Expression Blend or if VS and Expression Blend are already installed, it will just add the new supported project types and the emulator.

Understanding how Silverlight Works

There are some key areas anyone from an OO background needs to understand to be able to develop with Silverlight.
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Disappearing Style Setters in Silverlight 3 and WP7 – fixed in Silverlight 4

I’ve come across a really annoying bug in Silverlight 3 that seems to be fixed in Silverlight 4, but still present in WP7. When creating a Style object in runtime, then setting that as the Style of an element in the visual tree, the Value properties in the Setters of the original Style are set to null!

The problem

I’ve come across this issue because I was trying to clone styles with the following extension method:

public static Style Clone(this Style style)
{
    if (style == null)
        return null;
    Style clonedStyle = new Style(style.TargetType);
    clonedStyle.BasedOn = style.BasedOn;
    foreach (Setter setterToCopy in style.Setters)
    {
        clonedStyle.Setters.Add(new Setter()
        {
            Property = setterToCopy.Property,
            Value = setterToCopy.Value
        });
    }
    return clonedStyle;
}

As you can see, this clone method is not doing anything complicated: it is simply iterating through the Setters of the Style and creating new Setter instances with the Property and Value of the original Setters – basically deep cloning the Style itself.

The issue in Silverlight 3

When I did clone a Style that had been created on the fly and had been assigned a the Style of an element, the values of Setters magically were set to null in Silverlight 3. The problem is visualized using the following simple code:
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