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SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone

(3 votes)
Samidip Basu
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Samidip Basu
Joined Aug 22, 2011
Articles:   16
Comments:   24
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27 comments   /   posted on Dec 19, 2011
Categories:   Data Access , Windows Phone
This article is also available in print (Word, PDF) and e-reader formats (MOBI, EPUB).
Guess how many people use Live Services? 500 million plus! And when our applications connect to the same services, they start feeling right at home with what our users are already used to. Microsoft recently opened the Live Connect APIs, along with some SDKs for 3rd party applications on desktop/web/mobile platforms to leverage the cloud offerings from Live Services.  

In this short article, we take a look at how we could get started using the Live Connect API from our Windows Phone applications and interact with SkyDrive storage through the new Live SDK.

Download Source Code

[Please note that unlike other Demo solutions, you simply cannot hit F5 to run it. For obvious reasons, I have had to strip out references to my personal SkyDrive; so you would have to get yourself a client ID & make a one-word change before running the solution. Steps explained below.]

Introduction

The new Live APIs expose information around the following .. more information @ Live Connect Developer Guide:

  • SkyDrive -- This is for working with files & media; we can read/write against the user's SkyDrive files/folders/albums. SkyDrive offers the perfect cloud storage for Windows Phone applications to push persistence to the user's SkyDrive or to act as back-up storage.
  • Hotmail -- These sets of APIs expose the users contacts & calendars for read/writes.
  • Messenger -- These APIs are for use in instant messaging. We can read user's current status & communicate with user's buddies.
  • Windows Live ID -- This acts as a sort of Access Control Service that we could use to authenticate users & access their Live profile information.

The Live Connect APIs use standard protocols such as HTTP, OAuth 2.0, JSON and XMPP to make it easy working with them across multiple platforms. To leverage the APIs, we primarily use Representational State Transfer (REST) requests which return information in JSON.

While any of the above classes of APIs may be useful from a Windows Phone application, in this article we shall focus on the SkyDrive APIs, which arguably would be the most commonly used. No longer would developers need to spin up storage in cloud to augment their solutions; we can simply leverage the user's SkyDrive which has the additional benefit of user's accessibility & familiarity.

Getting Started

So, let's start integrating the Live Connect SDK into our Windows Phone application:

  • While the standard technologies of HTTP/REST/JSon make it easy to work with in any platform, there is some additional help in the form of wrapper SDKs for Windows Phone & Windows 8. Let's grab the Windows Phone Live SDK first.
  • Next, to have Live Connect recognize requests from our Windows Phone App, we need an unique identifier, called the Client ID. So, let's head over to the Live Connect App Management site & create a new application to interact with Live Services.
  • The new application will be registered with a Client ID, along with a Client Secret & Redirect Domain (that you type in). The two latter ones are not strictly needed for Windows Phone integration. The end result should be something like this:

App Config

  • Live Connect is a combination of several services allowing access to different categories of information. These are organized into what's called Scopes, and explicit declaration & user permission is required for our App to access the categorized information; as a good practice, we should never ask for more than what our App actually needs. For more information, please see Scopes & Permissions.
  • Users need to signed in with their Live Credentials & provide consent to utilize their SkyDrive, before we can leverage Live Connect APIs to manipulate files/folders in SkyDrive. While there are several ways to achieve this, in the XAML/C# world of Windows Phone, the easiest is to utilize the built-in Sign-in control in the SDK. Before you use it, make sure to Add Reference to these two libraries:

Add References

  • Next,, if you're in the XAML Designer view & you don't see the Sign-in control in your Toolbox, here's how to add it. The obvious benefit of using the Sign-In control is that we do not need to write the low-level HTTP RESTful GET calls to authenticate & authorize our user; the log-on UI comes up automatically & the client classes hang on to the access tokens passed back from the sign-in control for utilization in future requests.

Live Sign-In Control

The Demo App

So, let's write a simple Windows Phone application that allows the user to sign in & see/insert files in one's SkyDrive storage. Here's some XAML on our MainPage.xaml to show the sign-in control. Watch the use of scopes to declare what we want access to:

   1: <Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">
   2:      <StackPanel Orientation="Vertical" >
   3:          <TextBlock Text="Please sign-in and allow access to your SkyDrive!" Margin="20" TextWrapping="Wrap" Width="450" FontSize="30"/>
   4:          <live:SignInButton Name="btnSignin" ClientId="Your_Client_ID" Scopes="wl.signin wl.basic wl.skydrive wl.skydrive_update" 
   5:                         RedirectUri="Your_Redirect_URI" Branding="Windows" TextType="SignIn" SessionChanged="btnSignin_SessionChanged" 
   6:                         HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Top" />
   7:          <TextBlock x:Name="txtLoginResult" HorizontalAlignment="Center" Margin="0,20,0,0" FontSize="30" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextAccentStyle}"/>
   8:          <TextBlock x:Name="txtWelcome" HorizontalAlignment="Center" Margin="0,20,0,0" FontSize="30" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextAccentStyle}"/>
   9:          <Button x:Name="btnShowContent" Content="Show File Content" Width="300" Margin="30" Visibility="Collapsed"
  10:                  Click="btnShowContent_Click"/>
  11:          <Button x:Name="btnAddFile" Content="Add File" Width="300" Margin="30, -20,30,30" Visibility="Collapsed"
  12:                  Click="btnAddFile_Click"/>
  13:      </StackPanel>
  14:  </Grid>


The resultant UI before the user signs in as as follows. Also, on first usage of the sign-in button, the user will be prompted to sign-on to Windows Live and provide one-time OAuth access to our application, as demonstrated below:

Sign-In Control    User Log-on   OAuth Access

And here's some C# code to handle sign-on attempts. We use the wl.signin to log the user in & wl.basic to greet the user after reading some basic identifying information:

   1: private void btnSignin_SessionChanged(object sender, LiveConnectSessionChangedEventArgs e)
   2: {           
   3:     if (e.Status == LiveConnectSessionStatus.Connected)
   4:     {
   5:         client = new LiveConnectClient(e.Session);
   6:         App.Current.LiveSession = e.Session;
   7:         this.txtLoginResult.Text = "Signed in.";
   8:         this.txtWelcome.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Visible;
   9:         this.btnShowContent.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Visible;
  10:         this.btnAddFile.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Visible;
  11:  
  12:         client.GetCompleted += new EventHandler<LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs>(OnGetCompleted);
  13:         client.GetAsync("me", null);
  14:     }
  15:     else
  16:     {
  17:         this.txtLoginResult.Text = "Not signed in.";
  18:         this.txtWelcome.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Collapsed;
  19:         client = null;
  20:     }           
  21: }
  22:  
  23: void OnGetCompleted(object sender, LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs e)
  24: {
  25:     if (e.Error == null)
  26:     {
  27:         if (e.Result.ContainsKey("first_name") &&
  28:             e.Result.ContainsKey("last_name"))
  29:         {
  30:             if (e.Result["first_name"] != null &&
  31:                 e.Result["last_name"] != null)
  32:             {
  33:                 this.txtWelcome.Text =
  34:                     "Hello, " +
  35:                     e.Result["first_name"].ToString() + " " +
  36:                     e.Result["last_name"].ToString() + "!";
  37:             }
  38:         }
  39:         else
  40:         {
  41:             txtWelcome.Text = "Hello, signed-in user!";
  42:         }
  43:     }
  44:     else
  45:     {
  46:         txtWelcome.Text = "Error calling API: " +
  47:             e.Error.ToString();
  48:     }
  49: }

Did you notice a couple of fun things? Once connected, we store the instance of the LiveConnectClient as a property on our App object; this allows for reuse throughout the application. Also, the RESTful Live APIs support several shortcuts that include “me” to indicate the current user. And here's the UI we are shooting for, after sign-on:

Signed In

SkyDrive Files

Now that we have permission to user’s Live Services, let’s dig into SkyDrive. Most of us are used to storing documents & media on SkyDrive, and have the content show up in our Windows Phone, or folders kept in sync between multiple PCs/Macs through Live Mesh. With programmatic access to SkyDrive, we have access to a lot of operations, such as:

  • Create/Read/Update/Delete Folders
  • Do the same with Albums, a special folder to handle media efficiently
  • Traversing Directories
  • Upload/Download Files
  • Read/Update file/folder properties
  • Move/copy files/folders etc.

For much more information & details, please see SkyDrive Developer Center. For our Demo application, let us do the simple operations of reading files/folders from user’s SkyDrive root & adding files to it. Here’s how we fetch & list all content from the root directory on user’s SkyDrive:

   1: public class SkyDriveContent
   2: {
   3:  public string Name { get; set; }
   4:  public string Description { get; set; }
   5: }
   6:  
   7: // Code in Phone Page.
   8: List<SkyDriveContent> ContentList = new List<SkyDriveContent>();
   9:  
  10: private void PhoneApplicationPage_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  11: {
  12:     LiveConnectClient client = new LiveConnectClient(App.Current.LiveSession);
  13:     client.GetCompleted += new EventHandler<LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs>(clientDataFetch_GetCompleted);
  14:     client.GetAsync("/me/skydrive/files");
  15: }
  16:  
  17: void clientDataFetch_GetCompleted(object sender, LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs e)
  18: {
  19:     if (e.Error == null)
  20:     {
  21:         List<object> data = (List<object>)e.Result["data"];
  22:         foreach (IDictionary<string, object> content in data)
  23:         {                   
  24:             SkyDriveContent skyContent = new SkyDriveContent();
  25:             skyContent.Name = (string)content["name"];
  26:             ContentList.Add(skyContent);                   
  27:         }
  28:  
  29:         this.contentList.ItemsSource = ContentList;
  30:     }
  31: }

And, here’s the resulting UI that we bind the results to, simply showing the content names from SkyDrive root:

Skydrive Content

Did you notice how we used “me/skydrive/files” to fetch all content from user’s SkyDrive root? Every folder/album in SkyDrive has a unique ID, visible when we inspect the folder properties. From this point on, we can easily dive into any folder & traverse the user’s SkyDrive by making requests with Folder_ID/files or Album_ID/files. Having fun?

Now, how about putting files in user’s SkyDrive? Sure, we can .. here’s some simple UI & code to add a file to the root of the user’s SkyDrive directory:

Add File

   1: private void btnSave_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
   2: {
   3:     string fileName = this.fileName.Text.Trim();
   4:     byte[] byteArray = Encoding.Unicode.GetBytes(this.fileContent.Text.Trim());
   5:     MemoryStream fileStream = new MemoryStream(byteArray);
   6:     
   7:     LiveConnectClient uploadClient = new LiveConnectClient(App.Current.LiveSession);
   8:     uploadClient.UploadCompleted += new EventHandler<LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs>(uploadClient_UploadCompleted);
   9:     uploadClient.UploadAsync("me/skydrive", fileName, fileStream );
  10: }
  11:  
  12: void uploadClient_UploadCompleted(object sender, LiveOperationCompletedEventArgs e)
  13: {
  14:     if (e.Error == null)
  15:     {
  16:         Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
  17:         {
  18:             MessageBox.Show("Voila, Saved to the SkyDrive :)", "All Done!", MessageBoxButton.OK);                    
  19:         });
  20:     }
  21:  
  22:     this.NavigationService.GoBack();
  23: }

So, what did we see? A simple upload location indicator of “me/skydrive” puts the file at the root directory. You can certainly put it in any folder of your choice, as long as you know the ID of the folder. For confirmation, surely authenticate yourself & check if the file addition did work on your SkyDrive. Did for our case Smile:

SkyDrive File Upload

Conclusion & Caveats

  • With great power, comes great responsibility! Let us not undermine the end-user’s faith in SkyDrive.
  • More specific details about SkyDrive File/Folder APIs can be found HERE.
  • Watch the BUILD session recording on Live Connect HERE.
  • SkyDrive is a fantastic reliable alternative to augment storage for our Windows Phone applications, and user’s immediately see the file/folders we add in their SkyDrive. More importantly, Office sync on Windows Phone, and the dedicated SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone, iPhone & iPad immediately make the files available to the user. The story gets even better with built-in support in Windows 8, but I digress Smile
  • Needless to say, SkyDrive access requires network connectivity. So, this should not possibly be our primary means of storage on Windows Phones.

 

Summary

In this article, we talked about how to leverage the new Live Connect APIs, in particular, the Live SDK in our Windows Phone applications. We saw the usage of the Sign-in control to ask for user’s authentication & seeking permission to use specific resources through the Live API. SkyDrive access is now handy, with full support to traverse, read & manipulate content in user’s SkyDrive directories. So, what are you waiting for? Look up some documentation & enable SkyDrive access from your Windows Phone application, resulting in happy users & happier you!

I would appreciate any comments or concerns or how things could be done better. Thanks for reading & happy coding.

Cheers SilverlightShow!

 

About the Author

ActualPicSamidip Basu (@samidip) is a technologist & gadget-lover working as a Manager & Solutions Lead for Sogeti USA out of the Columbus Unit. With a strong developer background in Microsoft technology stack, he now spends much of his time in spreading the word to discover the full potential of the Windows Phone platform & cloud-backed mobile solutions in general. He passionately runs the Central Ohio Windows Phone User Group (http://cowpug.org), labors in M3 Conf (http://m3conf.com/) organization and can be found with at-least a couple of hobbyist projects at any time. His spare times call for travel and culinary adventures with the wife. Find out more at http://samidipbasu.com.


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Comments

  • GaryDavis

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by GaryDavis on Dec 19, 2011 23:45

    I must be missing something. I know what ClientId is since I got an ID from the Live site but what is the RedirectUri supposed to be?

    <live:SignInButton Name="btnSignin" ClientId="Your_Client_ID"
    Scopes="wl.signin wl.basic wl.skydrive wl.skydrive_update"
    RedirectUri="Your_Redirect_URI" ...

    Thanks,
    Gary Davis
    Webguild.com

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Dec 20, 2011 06:00

    Hi Gary,

    The RedirectUri is a domain that the APIs use to exchange tokens, data, and messages with your app. I used my personal website as the URI .. does not seem to be pinged from Live services.

    More details @ http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowslive/hh278360

    Hope this help!

  • GaryDavis

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by GaryDavis on Dec 20, 2011 22:53

    Aha, thanks.

    My initial attempt to run the project thru the emulator failed but I think that is because I am within a company environment. I will try again from home.

    Gary

  • GaryDavis

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by GaryDavis on Jan 03, 2012 20:32

    Well, this demo app did work from home but I did have to specify the RedirectUri parameter. Without the parameter, the SessionChanged event never fired. With an invalid but supplied RedirectUri, it fired and failed with an error. Once the RedirectUri was set up on SkyDrive and correctly specified in the parameter, it worked.

    Gary

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Jan 03, 2012 20:36

    Gary,

    Yes, the RedirectUri is not optional and has to be registered with Live Connect API before use. Glad it worked for you!

    Thanks for the comments & actually trying out the code!

    Sam

  • randomdude

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by randomdude on Mar 22, 2012 17:29

    Hi,

    I tried out the exact code, but when I try to open the document I created using this code, I get an error like this - 

    http://i39.tinypic.com/zjhs9t.png

    Could you please tell me what I might be doing wrong? Thanks a lot!

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Mar 22, 2012 20:50

    randomdude,

    That's because it's not a Word Web App. You need the Windows Phone SDK to run the sample.

    Thanks!

  • slr

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by slr on Mar 29, 2012 12:58

    Thanks for the demo app.

    I've been playing with this and have a quick question regarding the "one-time OAuth access" prompt.  It appears every time I log out and back in, I get this prompt.  Is this expected behavior.  If its a one-time query, I would expect it to prompt for approval once and then never again unless the user revokes permission by editing their live.com profile.

    I realize it doesn't prompt again if the user checks "keep me signed in", then quits and restarts the app.  But I'm curious about the expected behavior when the user logs out and then later logs back in.  Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Steve

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Mar 29, 2012 19:53

    Steve,

    Thanks for the comment & good question. I believe what's happening is that the Sign-In control caches the OAuth Access Token from the Live Service API. This, however, is not meant to last forever unless you ask for a Refresh token and is invalidated if user explicitly logs out.

    The section on User Permission @ http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh243641.aspx might help.

    Thanks!

  • randomdude

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by randomdude on Apr 10, 2012 17:12

    Hi,

     With regards to my previous comment, I thought I would make myself more clear. I am using the Windows Phone SDK. I inserted my Client ID and Redirect URI. I then deployed the application to my phone. I successfully created a document using the application.

    Now, I am unable to open the document from my browser using the Word Web App. I am also unable to open the document after downloading and opening it with normal Microsoft Word.

     

    I am getting the error mentioned earlier. Could you please tell me if you have any idea on what I'm doing wrong here? Thanks!

  • randomdude

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by randomdude on Apr 10, 2012 17:17

    Fixed it by using .doc instead of .docx.

     

    Thanks a lot! Really helpful guide!

  • AnkitJain

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by AnkitJain on Apr 17, 2012 09:58

    Great work...

     Can u share the same example to share .pdf file.

  • JitendraVerma

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by JitendraVerma on May 31, 2012 18:16

    Hi Samidip,

    Very nice article, however I am facing one issue related with "App.Current.LiveSession" property. In App.Current it is showing only - ApplicationLifetimeObjects, Host, Resources, RootVisual properties only, not the "Live Session".

    Please let me know what could be the issue.

    Thanks a lot.

    Jitendra

     

     

  • JitendraVerma

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by JitendraVerma on May 31, 2012 21:00

    Ok. I think I got it. I have defined  "public LiveConnectSession LiveSession { get; set; }" in App.xaml.cs.

    Well now on clicking "SignIn" button, it shows me a BLANK screen on Emulator.

    Please let me know what could be the issue.

    Thanks a lot.

    Jitendra

     

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Jun 01, 2012 06:40

    Jitendra,

    Thanks for the comments!

    Now, did you download the source code & see the sample solution? There are several things that need to be wired up (scope, redirectUri, sessionchanged event handler etc.) before the Sign-In button will function. Please let me know if you have done all of that & still seeing issues.

    Thanks!

  • tarun123

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by tarun123 on Aug 24, 2012 16:45

    hi,

     i tried the same code but i am getting  the exception redirect url

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Aug 26, 2012 06:59

    tarun123,

    Did you set up your application with Live Services by registering a Redirect URI @ http://manage.dev.live.com? 

    Thanks!

  • tarun123

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by tarun123 on Aug 27, 2012 12:59

    hello ,

              i am not unable to get my client id for the above code.. how to configure the client id and what client id i have to use 

    ..

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Aug 28, 2012 17:20

    tarun123,

    Please use http://manage.dev.live.com to register your application for a client id.

    Thanks!

  • jano85

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by jano85 on Sep 04, 2012 10:56

    Hi,

    If user clicsk sign out and after that sign in again. The user is not taken to screen to input username and password. Just "Allow" page is shown.

    Anyone know how to logout the user?

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Sep 04, 2012 15:19

    jano85,

    When you hit the credentials page for the first time, was the "Remember Me" checkbox checked? This may have to do with cookies.

    Thanks!

  • rtshmittl

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by rtshmittl on Dec 02, 2012 14:32

    Hey samidip,

    I don't have a personal website or anything for redirect URI, can you please tell me from where would i get it and what exactly it is?

    Thanks

  • samidip

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by samidip on Dec 02, 2012 16:28

    @rtshmittl,

    If you are using the Live SDK purely for Windows Phone, you don't technically need the RedirectURI. Try without it. Details on configuring the redirect domain can be found @ http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh826541.aspx.

    Thanks!

  • laakkti

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by laakkti on Jan 05, 2013 09:04
    How to download source code, the link doesn't work...
  • goofys_friend

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by goofys_friend on Jan 27, 2013 18:03
    I want to buy the ebook and donwload the source code but the link doesn't work.
  • SilverlightShow

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by SilverlightShow on Feb 04, 2013 18:36

    Hi goofys_friend,

    You can download the print version of this article from here.

    Hope you'll enjoy it!

    Greetings,

    Ralitsa from SilverlightShow Team

  • mstr9952

    Re: SkyDrive usage through Live SDK on Windows Phone


    posted by mstr9952 on Mar 25, 2013 01:40

    Hi samidip!

    Your app is very nice and great, I use it too. It works well. But I have a little problem. I made a picture upload function in it and I dont know why but when I upload a picture (taken by the phone), after it the program cannot show me the skydrive files. If I go to my skydrive account on my computer and I remove that picture from files it works fine again, but when I make a pic and upload it, the app can't show me the files. I dont have problem with other pictures, only with taken pictures. Do you have any idea?

    Thank you! :)

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