All posts in Apps

Side-loading is a mechanism which can be used to install apps in Windows 8 without using the Windows Store. This is mainly used for Line-Of-Business scenarios. You can install an app with a developer license, but that license expires every 30 days. When side-loading is enabled, you can install an app with a license that doesn’t expire. Side-loading works on Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. For this to work you need a side-loading key. The steps below are based on the article on Technet. Below a summary of the main steps to enable side-loading on Windows 8 that helped me set it up. Read more

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I’ve created a new app for Windows 8.1 to see a great collection of (mostly moving) webcams in wintersport areas. The app offers an overview per country, search and a way to mark webcams as favorite so they show up on the hub page of the app. The app was build using the Windows Starting Template provided by my colleague Rajen Kishna. And Michael Teeuw (Xonay Media) helped out with the design. The logo was designed by me 🙂

 

Download the app from the Windows Store

One of the design principles of Microsoft Design Style is Pride in Craftsmanship, or “sweat the details”. One of the important ways to do this is to align to the grid. I found this hard to illustrate when explaining this to others. Best I could come up with is showing the use of the grid in apps like Nick and Cocktail Flow.

Nick-grid  Cocktail-Grid

I just watched the presentation of Steven Abrahams at //build 2013 “Lessons Learned from Building Alarms and Calculator for Windows 8.1“. This is a very interesting talk with a very good example what it means to really sweat the details. Read more

Maybe you want to build your own Windows 8 app … but you’re not a developer. But you have an interesting hobby you want to share information on. Or you know interesting websites containing useful information. De App-in-a-snap template can help you out!

App-in-a-snap is a template that helps you in a few easy steps to create your own news reader app. The templates uses RSS feeds to do this. Here is an example of an RSS feed (for this blog): http://mtirionblog.azurewebsites.net/?feed=rss2. A link to an RSS feed is often indicated on websites with this icon: rss_41E042C4. It is very easy to add one or more feeds to the template.

Interested? Do you want to try it? Go to http://aka.ms/appinasnap. It contains the template and the documentation (in Dutch) to help you build your own Windows 8 app.

Sometimes people ask me where they can find specific apps, as they don’t see the apps they expect to see. This can be caused by the selected UI language(s) and/or Location in Windows.

Set your location

The location determines the part of the store you are looking at. You’ll always see that part of the store that belongs to your location, with apps published for “Rest of the world” added to it. To set the location: Read more

Let’s say you have a website and a Windows Store app. If a user on Windows 8 navigates to the website and never installed the app, you can provide an easy way to point out the existence of the app in the Windows Store. Or if the user already installed the app, direct the user to the app, even in a specific section of the app.

Internet Explorer in Windows supports this scenario in the bottom app bar. It looks something like this:

IC591657 IC591658
If the app is NOT installed.                                             If the app is installed.

To accomplish this, some meta tags must be added to one or more webpages on your website. By using these meta tags you can direct to the app, and even add parameters that the app can use to show specific content. This is not an automated process, the app has to process the parameters and navigate to the appropriate page and content.

More information on this can be found in an article on MSDN describing the meta tags.

The app bar or the menu as shown above are not opened automatically by IE. So it might be a good idea to also add visual clues on the page to direct users to the app.

 

You can’t think of the web without video these days it seems. And even on the phone we see more and more video as networks get more speed. If you want to build an application or website that shows video, how can you do that easily? The Microsoft Media Platform Player Framework, formerly known as Silverlight Media Framework, is a very useful and powerful toolkit for using a video player. There is support for various types of video/audio, use of advertisement (VAST/MAST/VPAID), markers, captions and more. And even better, you can customize that player to your needs. That means that you can determine what the framework does for you, you can extend it with your functionality, and you can customize the UI of the player. Read more