21 December 2010

My First Published Windows Phone 7 Apps

Like many other developers out there (there’s over 18,000 registered developers so far) I decided to take a try at writing some applications for Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7.  I decided to create two simple applications (to start with) – one for free and the other to (try to) sell for $0.99 (USD).  The details for each application is included below.  But first, a few lessons learned.

Lessons Learned

“Twas the Night Before Christmas”

For my first free published application, I decided to take the near-200 year old poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, also known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and make it available for reading as an off-line Windows Phone 7 application.  With Christmas Eve fast approaching, it seemed like a simple choice :-)

This application allowed me to make use of the Windows Phone Browser Control as well as the Pivot Control.  Probably the biggest challenge with this application was getting the Browser Control to properly read the embedded HTML and image files.  As it turns out, you have to copy the files to Isolated Storage (this only needs to be performed once) before the browser control can directly access them.

Once you install and run the application, you have the option of reading the Introduction, the actual Story, and the Credits (i.e. copyright notice).  Here are a few screen shots:


Read the full application details and/or download the application here.


For my first “non-free” application, I decided to port an application I had originally written for Windows Mobile 6.0 – SafetyTip.  Although the user interface code did not directly port (not even close :-), the underlying business logic ported just fine – since it was c# code.

This application is not just another tip calculator but rather calculates what I like to call “visually verifiable” tips.  In other words, it will generate a tip that, when added to the original amount, will total up to an amount that can be visually verified by looking at it.  For example, one of the methods available for selection is “Palindrome”.  This method ensures the "cents" digits are the reverse of the first two "dollar" digits.  For example, in the screen shots below, you can see that the tip calculated for $100 using this method (at 15%) is 15.51.  Add this to the total for $115.51.  Note how the "cents" digits, ".51" is the reverse of the first two "dollars" digits, "15".  If you get your credit/debit card statement and these sets of digits are not reversed, then you know you should probably check into what's going on.

This application provided me the opportunity to work with the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit.  I utilized the ListPicker control from the toolkit to list the various tip calculation methods (there are a total of four).  Working with this toolkit is simple and there are various examples to learn from.

Here are a few screen shots of the application:


Read the full application details and/or download the application here.

What’s Next?

Like many other software alchemists out there, I have a running list of ideas that I hope to convert to Windows Phone applications in the relatively near future.  Given the simplicity of the Windows Phone 7 platform, I just might stand a chance!

16 December 2010

ALM Summit Videos Available On-line

If you were not able to attend the ALM Summit this year, the session videos are now available on-line.  You can view the session video links here as well as in the table below.  Currently, the videos are available only in streaming format for on-line viewing.  It is hoped that off-line (i.e. downloadable) versions will be made available in the near future.


Session Title


Day 1

Ken Schwaber (scrum.org)

Keynote: Scrum: The 3rd Decade

The inventor of Scrum describes his collaboration with Microsoft to create the Professional Scrum Developer training for VS 2010 customers.

Watch video

David West (Forrester)

The State of ALM: An Industry View

Dave is full of insights and data about the state of agile adoption in the industry and Microsoft’s emerging leadership.  He is hilariously entertaining.   This is a must watch.

Watch video

Jamie Cool

Heterogeneous ALM Environments

Any customer who questions whether we are serious about 1st-class Java support in TFS should watch Jamie demo Team Explorer Everywhere.  He flips between Linux and Windows and demonstrates gated check-in catching errors in Java development on a mixed technology project.

Watch video

Tony Scott

Keynote: CIO Perspectives on Innovation

Watch video

John Szurek (Clear Channel)

Using Failure to Pave the Path for Success

Watch video

Drew Fletcher

Managing Change: Scenario-Focused Engineering

Watch video

Cameron Skinner

Agile Transformation of a Microsoft Product Team

This no-demo, almost slide-free talk will remove any doubts that Microsoft is serious about applying agile practices internally.  Cameron describes his experiences running three product teams and leading them through agile transformation.  As you can see below, he got the top scores of any speaker.

Watch video

Day 2

Brian Harry

Keynote: From Individual to Team to Organization

Brian describes the evolution of Microsoft into from non-player into ALM leader and hints at our future roadmap.

Watch video

Amit Chopra

Making Continuous Delivery a Reality From Product Backlog to Virtual Environments

Watch video

Stephanie Cuthbertson

Successful Software Project Management Styles

Steph does a great talk on the top ten lessons learned in our own development and use of TFS. 

Watch video

Karel Deman (Avanade)

Increasing Revenue Opportunities With Automated Development Tools

Watch video

Mario Cardinal (Urban Turtle)

Extending the ALM Platform

Watch video

Grant Holliday

Synchronizing and Migrating ALM Environments

This talk is for customers who are looking for TFS to interoperate with their other ALM servers.  Grant is very clear about the decisions to make, their rationale and possibilities.

Watch video

Jim Newkirk

Values: Exploring the Why Behind What We Do

Watch video

Mary Czerwinski

Toward the Future of Collaborative Development

Watch video

Day 3

Sam Guckenheimer

Keynote: The Agile Consensus

I contrast the beliefs of the 20th Century with the Consensus emerging in the ‘10’s around modern engineering practices.  I jump over the transitional decade to show how far we’ve come.  This is a talk for “Hybrid Agile” customers wondering about how to make agile practices work in their contexts.

Watch video

Ido Eshed (IDF)

Requirements Management: A Smooth Transition

Watch video

Vinod Malhotra

Testing in an Agile World

Watch video

Jon Bach (Quardev)

The Marriage of Exploratory Testing and Agile Development

Watch video

David Starr (Pluralsight)

Professional Scrum Developer Practices

Watch video

David Green (TaskTop)

Connecting Developer Workflow: Mylyn and the Task-Focused Interface

Watch video

Ken Schwaber, David Starr, Sam Guckenheimer, Peter Provost, Eric Willeke

ALM Summit Panel Discussion

Watch video

08 December 2010

Visual Studio 2010/TFS 2010 SP1 Beta

The Visual Studio 2010/TFS 2010 SP1 Beta has been released to MSDN Subscribers.  The SP1 Beta will be released to the general public this Thursday.  The SP1 Beta does come with a “Go Live” license which basically means it can be installed in a production environment and an upgrade path to the final release version will be supported.

There are several new features included in this service pack beta (some of which were previously available as a separate download) as well as quite a few bug fixes.  Some of the new features include:

  • Local Help Viewer
  • Silverlight 4 Tools
  • Unit Testing on .NET 3.5 (yeah!)
  • Intellitrace for 64-bit and SharePoint
  • Performance Wizard for Silverlight
  • VB Compiler runtime switch (/vbruntime)

For the full details, including download links, see Brian Harry’s post here.