Tag: Windows 8 Dev

The use of C# will continue to fall, along with the eventual extinction of VB.NET

The use of C# will continue to fall, along with the eventual extinction of VB.NET

C# is a modern programming language that runs on the Microsoft.NET Framework. Just a few years ago being a C# developer allowed you to use your skills across multiple technologies that were in relatively high demand. You can use C# writing a desktop application using WinForms or WPF, or write the server side code for web site using ASP.NET or ASP.NET MVC. A developer could also write a rich internet application with Silverlight technology in C#. Things have changed in the last few years as many of these technologies are becoming irrelevant.

With Windows 8 coming onto the scene Microsoft has de-emphasized the desktop experience, wanting users to do most of their work with Windows 8 applications in the tile mode. Desktop based browsers are slimming down and halting support for some third party plugins. The combination of this shift has left WinForms, WPF and Silverlight out in the cold. What’s left for developers on the PC is Windows 8 apps, which can also be written in javascript or C++. Windows 8 apps are not a priority for most companies as Windows 8 still has a very small tablet market share.

Windows 8 Phone is another potential target for C# developers, but with market share in the low single digits there isn’t much demand for developers writing a Windows 8 Phone app. Windows Phone 8 now also supports native C++ apps, and I’m guessing they won’t want to be supporting Silverlight on the phone for future versions.

Server side C# for ASP.NET MVC web applications is still very popular as many companies are still running Windows based servers. This will slowly shift as more companies move their servers from on-premise to cloud hosted. Many new web sites are written in mostly javascript with the rise of rich client side frameworks like Angular and server side technology with node.js. Which leads me to my point about the extinction of VB.NET…

Nobody writes VB.NET on the server! If they do, they probably don’t belong in our society.

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does with C# in the coming years. It’s already a very powerful and flexible language so they may well leave it alone for a while. On MSDN C++ has been getting a lot of love in their monthly tech how-to articles. It seems they are trying to steer developers to use C++ as their primary language choice.

A recent article on Dr. Dobbs has C# as a rising language, but I don’t think it can keep holding its own with the main uses being Xamarin and MVC server side code.

As a developer who is strong in .NET and relies on that technology for a career, it will be worth taking a look at where you think the market for developers is headed. I believe that if you are strong in javascript, Objective-C, Swift, C++ and Java your future looks brighter than only knowing C#. One of the challenges developers face is keeping up with technology and adapting. This is clearly a time for .NET developers to realize what they can do to still keep their skills competitive and in demand.

Side Note Version 1.3 Released!

Side Note Version 1.3 Released!

Side Note has been updated to be a much more friendly and appealing user interface. With this new update users can add a little color to their notes, which makes the experience of saving and viewing your notes a little more fun. With 165 downloads over the last 5 days, there is a demand for this kind of capability on phones. People want to keep track of random notes, and they want a simple and efficient way to do so. If you have a Windows 8 Phone, try it out. It’s free!

Side Note
Side Note
Developing a RSS Feed Display in Windows Phone 8

Developing a RSS Feed Display in Windows Phone 8

Pretty much any site that has a blog comes with a RSS feed for free use. To display a RSS feed from a web site in your Windows Phone 8 App is fairly straight forward with the help of the SyndicationItem object in the System.ServiceModel.Syndication dll. Since Windows 8 Apps do not reference this automatically, you’ll likely find it at this location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Silverlight\v4.0\Libraries\Client\System.ServiceModel.Syndication.dll

Once you have the dll referenced you will create a List of of SyndicationItem objects. You can also create a property to bind to the SelectedItem of the LongListSelector. In this property example I am using BindableBase as my ViewModel base class. BindableBase comes with SetProperty to implement INotifyPropertyChanged.

private SyndicationItem _selectedSyndicationItem; public SyndicationItem SelectedSyndicationItem { get { return _selectedSyndicationItem; } set { _selectedSyndicationItem = value; SelectionChanged(); } } private IEnumerable<SyndicationItem> _syndicationItems; public IEnumerable<SyndicationItem> SyndicationItems { get { return _syndicationItems; } set { SetProperty(ref _syndicationItems, value); } }

The rest of the code in my ViewModel handles loading the RSS feed and responding to the SelectedItem binding event. The example here uses the RSS feed from the Colorado Technology Association.

public void LoadRss() { string url = "http://www.coloradotechnology.org/members/blog_rss.asp?id=432063&rss=zGF1zZtI"; try { var request = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(new Uri(url)); request.BeginGetResponse(ResponseHandler, request); } catch (Exception exception) { ErrorHandling(exception); } } void ErrorHandling(Exception e) { ProgressVisible = false; ErrorMessage = "An error occured loading the news feed. " + e.Message; ErrorVisible = true; } private void ResponseHandler(IAsyncResult asyncResult) { try { var request = (HttpWebRequest) asyncResult.AsyncState; var response = (HttpWebResponse) request.EndGetResponse(asyncResult); if (response.StatusCode == HttpStatusCode.OK) { var reader = XmlReader.Create(response.GetResponseStream()); var feed = SyndicationFeed.Load(reader); SyndicationItems = feed.Items; ProgressVisible = false; ErrorMessage = string.Empty; ErrorVisible = false; } } catch (Exception exception) { ErrorHandling(exception); } } private void SelectionChanged() { AppSession.RSSUrl = _selectedSyndicationItem.Id; AppSession.RSSTitle = _selectedSyndicationItem.Title.Text; if (NavigationEvent != null) NavigationEvent(this, "/WebArticle.xaml"); }

The remaining implementation is in the xaml, which is shown here:

<LongListSelector ItemsSource="{Binding SyndicationItems}" SelectedItem="{Binding SelectedSyndicationItem,Mode=TwoWay}"> <LongListSelector.ItemTemplate> <DataTemplate> <StackPanel> <TextBlock Text="{Binding Title.Text}" Foreground="Chocolate" FontWeight="Bold" FontSize="20" TextWrapping="Wrap"></TextBlock> <TextBlock Text="{Binding PublishDate}" FontSize="14" Margin="0,5,0,8"></TextBlock> </StackPanel> </DataTemplate> </LongListSelector.ItemTemplate> </LongListSelector>

To see how SelectedItem is implemented as a Dependency Property, you can see my article on that here: http://www.new.surfdew.com/?p=181

Upgrading to LongListSelector

Upgrading to LongListSelector

The Windows Phone 8 SDK officially ships with the LongListSelector control.  Microsoft is encouraging developers to use this control instead of the ListBox.  ListBox is still supported, but the control is not optimized for the phone experience.  Read more about the features of the LongListSelector here: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2013/05/23/windows-phone-8-xaml-longlistselector.aspx

It’s fairly easy to upgrade your ListBox references to LongListSelector.  You can simply replace ListBox with phone:LongListSelector in your xaml.  There is one thing that Microsoft messed up on though and that is not making SelectedItem a dependency property.  If you’re using MVVM with TwoWay binding, you’re hosed with this out the box control.  Never fear though, the class can be extended to allow for TwoWay binding.  The following is the full implementation of the custom class:

publicclass LongListSelector : Microsoft.Phone.Controls.LongListSelector { public LongListSelector() { SelectionChanged += LongListSelector_SelectionChanged; } void LongListSelector_SelectionChanged(object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e) { SelectedItem =base.SelectedItem; } publicstaticreadonly DependencyProperty SelectedItemProperty = DependencyProperty.Register( SelectedItem, typeof(object), typeof(LongListSelector), new PropertyMetadata(null, OnSelectedItemChanged) ); privatestaticvoid OnSelectedItemChanged(DependencyObject d, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e) { var selector = (LongListSelector)d; selector.SetSelectedItem(e); } privatevoid SetSelectedItem(DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e) { base.SelectedItem = e.NewValue; } publicnewobject SelectedItem { get { return GetValue(SelectedItemProperty); } set { SetValue(SelectedItemProperty, value); } } }

Windows 8 Phone Databinding

Windows 8 Phone Databinding

I recently began developing an Windows 8 Phone App.  I’m developing the app with Xaml and C#, using the MVVM development pattern.  I came across a pretty cool class that implements INotifyPropertyChanged that’s built for the .NET 4.5 Framework.  The class is simply called BindableBase, and I’m really liking it so far. The class is implemented as follows:

using System; using System.ComponentModel; using System.Runtime.CompilerServices; using System.Windows; namespace MVVM { /// &<summary&> /// Implementation of &<see cref=&quot;INotifyPropertyChanged&quot;/&> to simplify models. /// &</summary&> [Windows.Foundation.Metadata.WebHostHidden] publicabstractclass BindableBase : INotifyPropertyChanged { publicevent PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged; protectedbool SetProperty<T>(ref T storage, T value, [CallerMemberName] String propertyName =null) { if (object.Equals(storage, value)) returnfalse; storage = value; this.OnPropertyChanged(propertyName); returntrue; } protectedvoid OnPropertyChanged([CallerMemberName] string propertyName =null) { var eventHandler =this.PropertyChanged; if (eventHandler !=null) { if (Deployment.Current.Dispatcher.CheckAccess()) { eventHandler(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName)); } else { Deployment.Current.Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =&gt; { eventHandler(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName)); }); } } } } }

To invoke the PropertyChanged Event, simply call the SetProperty method. It’s nice because you can do it all in one line of code in the setter.

private IEnumerable<SyndicationItem> _syndicationItems; public IEnumerable<SyndicationItem> SyndicationItems { get { return _syndicationItems; } set { SetProperty(ref _syndicationItems, value); } }