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Posts Tagged ‘mango’

Lesson learned

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I was pretty excited about the last update I shipped for WP7applist’s app, as it fixes a few annoying bugs and it adds interesting features (like Mango / fast app switching support). Shortly after it went live I started getting reports of the app being unresponsive, bulky, and slower then before. I was very surprised as it was actually a lot smoother in my eyes, and I couldn’t quite get what users were talking about. Then I realized.

Last month I blogged about my new Windows Phone device (Samsung Omnia W, or Focus Flash overseas), and when I say it’s fast.. well, I really mean it! I installed the updated app on my old LG E900 and I could finally see what users were talking about. For the record, the main issue was the huge background image, rendered at 32bpp, so to make the gradient look super cool.

Long story short, I submitted a new update just a few minutes ago: it includes a new graphic restyling (also a dark and a light theme), better ad positioning, and some more UI improvements. Most of it was based on users feedback, so hopefully this will make some users happy.

Sorry for the issues you may be experiencing with the app and thanks for your patience, the new update should be just a few days away. :)

WP7applist app update, Mango edition (sneak preview)

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Sometimes real life gets in the way and keeps you from getting fun stuff done. We all know the feeling, but it seems to happen more often than not to me lately.

I was finally able to find some time for a LONG due update, which involves the Windows Phone 7 app related to my fansite WP7applist. Can you believe that you can’t take advantage of any Mango feature yet from the app? Well fear not, and read on!



Disclaimer: this is just a preview, things are going to change etc.. but yes, this is where we stand at the moment.

First of all, as you can see the app got some brand new graphics and a huge makeover. Not many people complained about the old orange background, but I figured that many more would if everyone would care to leave some feedback, so I just went ahead and cleaned up the UI. Feel free to comment on the design before the update is shipped to the Marketplace!

Second of all, I moved some things around according to the feedback I got: for example, the app now greets you with the “discovery links list” instead of “spotlight”, and a few things (info, settings, feedback) were taken off the main Panorama view and presented on a separate page.

Third of all.. yes, the app finally supports fast app switching – this alone is worth the update. Trust me, I know this would have come sooner.

Last of all (but this is far from being the full list of improvements) this update will also include infinite-scrolling lists, which I have running on my beta builds from quite a while, and I can definitely say that they are a big plus.

Keep an eye open for the update in the next couple weeks if you’re a fan of the app, and feel free to leave any last minute feedback (here in the comments, on twitter, or via email) – I’ll try to squeeze in as many features as I can before shipping the update for certification. :)

Samsung OMNIA W: first impressions

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Samsung OMNIA W I8350

I’ve been going back and forth from the stores in the last few days, looking for a new device to replaceĀ  my 1 year old LG Optimus 7. I was tempted to grab a Nokia Lumia (it’s no secret that they build SUPERIOR hardware), but went with the OMNIA W in the end, mostly because of the front-facing camera, the display which I heard good things about, and the price factor (349 EUROS vs 499 for the Lumia 800, in Italy).

First thing you notice (expecially coming from the LG) is that this device is F-A-S-T! Navigation is extremely smooth, and so are transitions. Even the animated Xbox Live avatar seems to move at twice the speed around the screen, no kidding.

Secondly, the display is gorgeous: one of the best I’ve seen in a mobile device. It renders even slightly better (in my eyes) than Samsung’s previous model (OMNIA 7): contrast and brightness seem a little more balanced, or perharps just more appealing to my eyes.

This device is very compact, its weight is surprisingly low, but it may not be your kind of thing if you like huge, cinematic screens. For me there’s no in between: I equally love extremely huge screens, and super compact devices that fit best in your pocket.

The memory is limited to the internal 8GB, I honestly would have prefered 16, but that is something I can live with.
If you interested in the full device specs head on here: the most notable ones are the probably the 1.4GHz processor, the HSDPA up to 14.4 Mbps, and the weight of only 115.3 g.

New XBL Gamercard generator + new designs

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

As I said earlier, I’m at work to improve my XBL Gamercard generation service lately.

One thing I never put much effort on (shame on me!) is the actual “generator“, where you can choose a design and create your own gamercard. Well I’m trying to fix that, and if you want a sneak preview head on to gamercard.zaamit.com for the first draft.
Feel free to tell your friends & family about it and do provide some feedback, as I’ll be working on it a lot in the near future. :)

While we’re on the subject, don’t miss the 2 new designs I just added: one replicates the new (it would have been ‘new’ if I did it a few months ago actually) look of gamercards on the xbox.com forums, and for the other one I have to credit Genio del Male, who gave the idea in a tweet.

WP7 developers get early access to Mango

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Yes, the time has come. And yes, it is for real.
Microsoft just announced the immediate availability of Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2, as well as confirmation of early access to the Mango OS update (build 7661).

If you’re registered for Windows Phone Marketplace, you’ll receive an invitation from Microsoft Connect that will provide access to a firmware update for your retail Windows Phone device.

So now we wait. Connect invites are being sent already and every developer should get one (for one device only) in the next few hours. Go hit that ‘F5′ key!

Add a Live Tile to your app in 3 minutes

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

As a follow up to my latest blog post, I want to show how easy it is to have a working Live Tile for your app. Here it is in brief:

  1. 1- create a static image or a webservice returning one (optimal size is 173×173 px), have it available on the web
  2. 2- include the following code snippet in your Application_Launching method
    new ShellTileSchedule
    {
    RemoteImageUri = new Uri(@"http://yourwebsite.com/pathtoimageorwebservice"),
    Recurrence = UpdateRecurrence.Interval,
    Interval = UpdateInterval.EveryHour,
    MaxUpdateCount = 0,
    StartTime = DateTime.Now
    }.Start();
    
  3. 3- there’s no 3. Now how hard was that?

ShellTileSchedule is the easiest way to have your Live Tile up and running in no time. So where’s the catch you may ask? Well, I’d love to say there aren’t but that wouldn’t be true: here are a few points to pay attention to.

#1 the first tile update won’t happen until the specified time interval has passed, and ’1 hour’ is the shortest interval you can use. This doesn’t help with testing / fine tuning your Tile.

#2 the Windows Phone dev team itself suggests to put the code above in Application_launching, and this makes perfect sense on the first run of your app. One issue is that subsequent calls to the same method will re-schedule the update for 1 hour later. In this scenario, if your app is opened twice in 1 hour, the Tile update won’t happen.

#3 there’s no way to tell if the scheduler is active or if it has been deactivated (it happens without notice if it fails to download the pic 3 times). If there was, #2 wouldn’t be an issue.

What to do? Personally I’d just live with it, as the ‘Mango‘ update is supposed to give better and more stable tools to handle Live Tiles from a developer point of view.

One way to make #2 a smaller problem would be – for example – to run the initialization code just once every day, so that launching the app won’t re-schedule the update. In the event that it gets deactivated it would be fixed the next day.
But if you’re a perfectionist and got a lot of time in your hands, check out this blog post by Silverlight MVP Mark Monster, who provides a better (but more time consuming) solution to most of these issues.

WP7 – the best of MWC11

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

The Mobile World Congress held in Barcellona just a few days ago brought lots of interesting news for Windows Phone 7 users and developers. According to Microsoft, 9 customers out of 10 would recommend WP7 to their friends: I’m definitely one of those 9, and I’m glad that Windows Phone is having the success it deserves.

Microsoft discussed the first two major updates coming for the WP7 platform: you may have heard about them as “Nodo” and “Mango“. “Nodo” is almost here (expected in March 2011), and it will bring copy-and-paste functionality to the device (hurray!), as well as some bug fixes. “Mango” will bring the most interesting (and NEW) features on board and it will come “in the second half of 2011″.

Included in Mango, there will most likely be Twitter integration in the phone’s People Hub, support for Office documents in the cloud (free SkyDrive storage), multitasking (or fast app switching?), and my personal favorite: Internet Explorer 9 Mobile.

I love programming and I put my hands on a lot of programming languages and environments, but Web Development will always be my favorite. The current version of IE Mobile works pretty good, it’s quick enough, and pretty friendly from a developer point of view, but IE9 will really bring a revolution on the device, as well as a whole new concept of web design. Really, I can’t wait for it and – trust me – non-developers should do the same.

The IE Mobile team recently said that they

…worked closely with the IE9 team to ensure that mobile Web developers can take advantage of the same benefits that IE9 brings to the desktop…

This means that it will all be there: hardware acceleration for graphics and video, CSS3, Geolocation, DOM Storage, SVG etc etc.. If the list doesn’t tell you anything, just let me say – as a Web Developer – that this will open up LOTS of new possibilities, and will let us users experience the Web on mobile devices like never before. M’kay? Just wait and see. ;)