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  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Feb 04, 2014 (6 months ago)

    Sending notifications from inside your application, both from code of from a push notification channel, is being a must when developing with Windows 8.1.  Sending a notification is at all a simple task, but it involves boring and repetitive things that always need to be done. Recently I’ve published a new library made to oversimplify this task and made it straightforward in both the scenarios, from the server side with a push notification or from the running app both in foreground and in background.

  • 1 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Jan 15, 2014 (6 months ago)

    Starting from Windows 8.1, the search has slightly changed in the Windows Store apps. The old Search contract is not anymore the sole way to go, but now the app is enabled to provide its own search box. To give a better search experience, it has now the ability of integrating with the Windows Search engine with some new APIs. This imply some more work for the developer that has to load in the search engine the items he wants to make searchable, but the results is much more interesting and effective.

  • 3 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Jan 06, 2014 (7 months ago)

    Portable Document Format is actually the de-facto standard for document publishing since it is widely adopted by all platforms and used by most of people. Supporting PDF is something that a platform cannot avoid and, since the very first release, Windows 8 comes with an app that can read this format. In the latest release the APIs gained a new namespace dedicated to the PDF format, so now you can easily read and operate with these files. What's the better example than create a little and simple PDF Viewer?


    The new API dedicated to the Portable Document Format are all in the Windows.Data.Pdf namespace.

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Dec 16, 2013 (7 months ago)

    In Windows 8.1, the notification system has got some new improvements that make it much more flexible. Since the very first relase you have been able to send different typer of notifications called badges, toasts and tiles. These notifications let you interact with the user from the running application and also from a background task, allowing the application to notify messages when it is not running.

    Starting from the latest relase the toast notifications have got  some new interesting features.

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Dec 02, 2013 (8 months ago)

    When developing for a traditional computer, we are use to almost completely forget the environment where we are running. Usually each application works without being aware of other software installed and of device services like an address book or a calendar. This is different in Windows 8, when you run inside the Windows Runtime, where you can share between applications using contracts and you can rely on some baseline services that provide a uniform usability to the user.  In Windows 8.1 you gain some new features in this area, that let you being much more in contact with the underlying operating system and provide a better user experience.

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Andrea Boschin  on  Nov 26, 2013 (8 months ago)

    To me, one of the most useful features in Windows 8 is the application's snapping which lets me to see up to two applications at the same time on the screen. On my tablet and in the desktop there are often reasons to snap an application on the side (e.g. skype is a good candidate for snapping) and continue to work, on the main screen, with the desktop or another application. In the first release of Windows 8 this feature is still limited by some constraints. You can snap only one application (for a total of 2 side by side) and the snapped app is always 320 pixel wide, no matter the size of your monitor.

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Gill Cleeren  on  Nov 25, 2013 (8 months ago)

    Welcome to part 6, the last part in this article series on Windows 8.1. We’ve made it to the very end! In the previous parts, we’ve spent some time looking at the new things in Windows 8.1 itself. In this last part, we’re changing gears slightly and we will spend some time looking at the tool that makes it possible to create apps for Windows 8.1: Visual Studio 2013. There are a lot of interesting aspects coming with the new versions of the IDE so let’s see how we can become more productive as a XAML developer!

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Gill Cleeren  on  Nov 20, 2013 (8 months ago)

    Hi and welcome to the fifth part of our exploration of developer updates in Windows 8. We’ve covered a lot of ground already, starting with our tour of XAML improvements (together with Andrea Boschin’s articles), going through some interesting improvements in WinRT and also taking a look at some important changes in the user experience. The latter was the topic of the 4th article in this series. In this part, we are going to continue by looking at some experience-related changes that we have in Windows 8.1.

  • 0 comments  /  posted by  Gill Cleeren  on  Nov 18, 2013 (8 months ago)

    Hi and welcome to the fourth part in this series on new features in Windows 8.1. So far, we’ve covered the new OS from the user’s point of view, some of the new XAML features, some interesting WinRT classes. In this part, we’ll cover some novelties in the user experience like the new screen sizes and the new options for working with tiles.

    New Window sizes

    In Windows 8, apps could basically run in 3 modes. By default, an application was running full-screen.

  • 1 comments  /  posted by  Gill Cleeren  on  Nov 13, 2013 (8 months ago)

    Hello and welcome to part 3 of our exploration of new developer features in Windows 8.1! In this third part, we will continue looking at some new additions and changes to the WinRT library, the base class library for Windows 8 development. Just to recap, we already covered some XAML stuff and the RenderTargetBitmap class in the previous article. There are some really interesting classes in WinRT that enable new app scenarios and that’s the focus of this article. Among others, we will cover speech synthesis, the new HTTP API and the Contact Manager API.