21. April 2013 12:24
After a short period of testing and use in a project, I released version 1.2 of YLOD (on NuGet) today. It adds support for passwords, a feature requested by Brecht over on CodePlex. I was a bit amazed that I didn't ran into this earlier, as having passwords in your app's options seems like an obvious use case. It once again shows the value of feedback from others – thanks for that.
How it works
Passwords integrate in the same way as all other available options by using attributes for configuration. There are two typcial scenarios that are supported:
- You want the user to enter credentials for some own or external service. This would be achieved by displaying a single password box.
- You want to enable your users to change some existing credentials, for example for your own service and/or app. This typically requires a second password box to confirm a password change and avoid typos.
The following snippet shows a fully configured password property on your options data container type with the second scenario used. You don't need to configure the confirmation related properties if you're only interested in the first scenario, of course.
[OptionPassword(Description = "This is a password with confirmation, e.g. to change an existing password.",
GroupName = "passwords",
ShowConfirmation = true,
ConfirmationDescription = "Confirm the password:",
PasswordsDoNotMatchErrorMessage = "Password and password confirmation do not match.",
MinLength = 3,
ValidationErrorMessage = "A password must be at least 3 characters long.")]
public string MyPassword
As you can see, the "OptionPassword" attribute inherits some base properties, in particular of the string option attribute, to let you add simple validation checks (through the "MinLength" or "RegularExpression" properties) without requiring custom validators.
Of course the new option supports all the features of other options, including localization and support for both Windows Phone 7 and 8 (more here: https://ylod.codeplex.com/documentation).
How it looks like
The above example results in an options page like this:
If you want to play around with this or any other features of YLOD, I recommend taking look at the source code, which contains sample applications for both Windows Phone 7 and 8 that make it easier to get started with the project.
I hope you enjoy this new feature and find some use for it. Have fun!
2. April 2013 07:30
I used the time over the Easter holidays to update some of my open source projects. It was mostly fixing small issues and also improving support for Windows Phone 8. In particular:
Your Last About Dialog (also on NuGet)
Your Last Options Dialog (NuGet)
Liphofra (NuGet) – first public release
I also introduced some changes to PAARC lately, and worked a bit on the Phone Net Tools – however not to a point that would justify a new release (see the repository if you're interested).
28. March 2013 07:00
In the current issue of German print magazine "dotnetpro" (04/2013) I write about the features and chances of Windows Azure Mobile Service, using a practical sample as introduction on the topic. The online description (also in German) can be found here:
25. February 2013 14:13
Part of the last article was a detailed look at the possibility of speech recognition from within your app. A logical continuation of this technology and feature is to seek deeper integration with the operating system by using voice commands. Voice commands are a way for you to register certain phrases with the Windows Phone OS that are recognized when the user invokes the built-in voice recognition, without your app being active or even launched. In this article I will explain what it takes to use this feature, and what you can achieve with it.
Read the full article on SilverlightShow:
19. February 2013 13:03
Windows Phone 7 already has some speech features built into the system, for example voice commands that can be invoked by holding down the start button. As with many other features of this first generation of the platform, accessibility to these was extremely limited for app developers. Once again Windows Phone 8 not only heavily improves this situation, but it also adds a variety of completely new features that both developers and users will benefit from. In this article, I'll take a closer look at text to speech and its counterpart, speech to text (speech recognition).
18. February 2013 19:57
No matter how much touch and gestures talk is around, the keyboard likely will continue to stay developer's best friend for a long time. My personal companion for serveral years has been the Logitech UltraX keyboard . It sure isn't a high-end or premium model, but it suited my style of typing extremely well. It's not particularly durable either, at least not for someone who's using it several hours a day and likes to write both texts and code – in the last years I have worn out approximately one every year. They start to turn ugly quickly, because the silver color is rubbed off in only few months if not weeks, but technically they're robust enough to see all four seasons. At a price of less than 20€ this is something I was willing to accept. More...
12. February 2013 14:56
In this third part about communication feature improvements in Windows Phone 8, I will focus on Near Field Communication, or NFC for short, which lately has found its way into many modern smart phones across different platforms like Android, Bada or BlackBerry. On Windows Phone, NFC support has only been added in version 8; there wasn't any support for it in Windows Phone 7 neither built-in nor available to third-party developers. The most prominent use case is for payment services like the "Wallet Hub" in Windows Phone , however the range of uses is not limited to that, and with the available API developers can adapt the technology easily for their particular needs.
Read the full article on SilverlightShow.net:
6. February 2013 07:00
When we talk about Bluetooth support in Windows Phone, we really have to look at two different sides of the same medal: user experience and features as well as developer opportunities. Windows Phone 7 had basic support for Bluetooth from the beginning, however more advanced options were not available to the user. For developers, the situation was even worse, as there was no public available API to support Bluetooth features in your apps at all. Both situations have changed and improved dramatically in Windows Phone 8, however, as we will see in this article, the situation is still not perfect.
Read the full article for free on SilverlightShow:
31. January 2013 07:45
In Windows Phone 7 we had several options to communicate with the outside world, for example using Web Services, HTTP or low-level communication using sockets. This already enabled a large field of possibilities for interesting apps. For example, I built a remote controlling component named PAARC  on top of this to virtually communicate with and control any .NET application from your phone. However, despite these options support for a lot of alternate technologies was missing: app developers could not use well-established things like Bluetooth, support for new technologies like NFC was missing completely on the phones, and direct app-to-app communication on a single device was impossible. Windows Phone 8 improves all of these situations, and over the next three articles I'll take a deeper look at some of the new possibilities that have been added. This time, I'll concentrate on what options we have to enable a greater interaction between apps on the local device.
Read the full article on SilverlightShow for free here:
25. January 2013 10:30
The most prominent change in Windows Phone 8 (and 7.8 for that matter), because it's immediately visible to everyone at first glance, is the redesigned start screen with the new sizes for live tiles. In Windows Phone 7, the only option we had were square-sized tiles. Yes, phones had large landscape tiles too (for example for the pictures app), however these were not accessible to third-party developers. With Windows Phone 8, we now have three available sizes for tiles at hand, and we also can choose between multiple templates to get different looks more easily. Best of all, as we will see in this article you can even make use of a lot of the new tile features even if your app does not target Windows Phone 8 or 7.8, but only 7.1. Another feature that is tightly related to tiles (even though it may not seem like that at first) is the new lock screen notification options that we will look at in the second half of this article. Read the full article on SilverlightShow: