Of course … everyone wants a Hololens, me as well. But … what to do with it? The power of such devices is not in the device itself, it’s in the use of it. That sounds like an open door, but it’s harder than you think to come up with good ideas. Hololens is part of the More Personal Computing idea – bring computers closer to humans and make the interaction more natural and powerful.

You’ve probably seen the demo’s of Hololens. It’s mind-blowing if you think about that. And as the actual Hololens is still very limited in production (only as a developer kit in the US and Canada today), it’s almost a bit silly to think far ahead. But today we released another video with an envisioning of how interaction can get more personal. Read more

I’ve been talking to a great number of partners the past years on the topic of the Windows Store functionalities. The store isn’t just about publishing apps, but also about maintaining apps. Beta-testing is also an important part of delivering software these days, especially with the agile approach to development. Apps published in multiple languages can be cumbersome to publish – you have to enter descriptions and pictures for all those languages … by hand. Then there are partners working on multiple apps for customers. And some even produce lots of apps for others where the process up ’till now required to publish them all by hand.

During the recent //build a number of developments in the Windows Store were presented that solve a lot of these problems. Let’s have a look at a few of them. Read more

Designing UWP apps

When the Microsoft design language was introduced with Windows 8, we tried to help out with an extensive set of guidelines around design and User Experience. These guidelines were in the beginning very restrictive, which resulted in lots of apps with squares. With Windows 8.1 we explained that guidelines means guidelines, not “the law”. And although the app certification team looks at the usefulness of an app, they never disqualify an app because “it’s ugly”.

Read more

When you run a PHP website on Azure Web Apps performance can be a concern. When you use PHP frameworks like Symphony or Laravel, the complete solutions is made up from lots of PHP files that are read from the local disc all the time. But in Azure storage is build for scale and works a bit differently. Data is stored on Azure blob storage. Getting a lot of (small) files from blob storage is expensive (in time). To make this work faster to speed up the website, local cache needs to be enabled. There were some ways to configure some caching possibilities, but they were not extensive.

Luckily this gotten a lot easier with a new feature in Azure Web Apps. By using specific Application Settings variables in the configuration, it’s now very easy to setup local cache. But, you still need to know what it means to fully understand the consequences of those settings.

For more information, there is a very good instructional video on Channel, Episode 201: Azure App Service Local Cache with Cory Fowler. The documentation of using the local cache can be found on MSDN.

There are lots of samples and answers to be found around creating WebAPI’s with ASP.NET, MVC etcetera. But I kept missing out on a simple walkthrough of (what I think is) a common scenario from start to finish. I have a database, and I want to give access to that data through a WebAPI with security enabled. Then I want to use that WebAPI from a Windows client. So I’m publishing a few posts now to write down the path I took using the latest, greatest.

The new development around websites on the server side is with ASP.NET 5 on .NET Core. The beauty of these new implementations is that they are open-source and cross-platform (Windows, MacOS and Linux). So you can use this technologie in the environment you like. As this is currently [March 2016] still in development, the documentation is still in development too. But it helped me to get started quickly. The documentation can be found on docs.asp.net.

Read more

To countdown to the release of Windows 10 on July 29th 2015, I’ve created a simple countdown clock. When I was asked to do this, I first thought of a simple clock with counters, but I wanted something different. So I came up with the idea of using fridge magnets to make up the clock.

The clock is (now) always in Dutch, maybe I’ll upgrade it to also do English. You can find the app in the Windows 8 Store.

A minute is counted down visualy by the blue background that slides in or out vertically. The rest is counted down by the dynamic removal, addition and movement of magnets. All moves are done by a hand. Every now and then (at random) a random magnet almost falls off, but the hand corrects that again.

The entire screen links the the Windows 10 landing page where you can register for upgrade now or get the upgrade once it’s made available.

Read more

In one of the press talks at the E3 game show, Richard Irving from the Xbox Engineering Team revealed a major update to the Xbox One UI end of this year.

The new UI has a vertical orientation (which is a change from the previous horizontal one) and makes use of a quick navigation panel on the left hand side. Even from a game this navigation panel is quickly accessible by pressing the Xbox button twice on the controller. Another cool addition to the platform is Cortana. Cortana can be accessed throughout the interface and can help you out connecting to your friends and more.

For the complete listing of features, read the article on Xbox Wire.

In january 2015 we showed a new development from Microsoft that was something completely new and mind-blowing: Microsoft Hololens. Hololens makes it possible to combine the real world around us with virtual 3D models. Wikipedia defines a hologram as a photographic recording of a light field. Hololens also adds “3D sound”, so it can be positioned in the space around us as well to complete the experience.

During the //build keynote of april 2015 we already showed some very interesting applications of the technology, like the one used within a construction firm. During the Microsoft Press Conference at the E3 this week, we showed more what’s possible with Hololens. A special version of Minecraft for Hololens was demonstrated. Mind-blowing again.

If you’re looking for information on Microsoft Hololens, check out the Frequently Asked Question pagina of the Hololens website. If you would like to develop for Hololens, start now by building Windows 10 apps, as Hololens is running on Windows 10 (un-tethered). The game engine Unity is also supporting Hololens, as you can read on their blog.