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Posts Tagged ‘wp7’

Based on my latest Wikipedia wisdom, mango is the the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. With a little ambitious creativity, the phrase “cultivated” can be interpreted in two ways: The fruit is grown and produced or mangos are sophisticated, refined and well-educated. Yet to support the latter, we need a few facts.

Mango, as a fruit, has long been a symbol of  summer, but this fall it embraced a new role to embody sophistication as the latest Windows Phone Update! Custom ringtones, new speech commands, visual voicemails, linked inboxes, groups, enhanced social network integration, multitasking, even better live tiles, improved search + maps features and the list goes on and on. If you check out the videos on the update feature list page, you will soon discover, that there is sufficient evidence to state, that this fall the term “cultivated” simply translates to “sophisticated/refined” for the mango we are talking about!

Certainly this attempt of literary explanation may sound like a far reach for some of you. So let’s shift our focus to the excitement Mango has in store for Windows Phone developers. As I shared in my previous blog entry, there are numerous Windows Phone Camps taking place allover the country.  Participants get a full day of free training plus a chance to win a Windows Phone 7. But this is just the beginning; the surprises don’t stop here!


Windows Phone – Go Mango App Contest

Just recently, a new US-based contest has been announced: Go Mango! The contest will run from October 15th and December 31st. The APPortunities for Windows Phone developers are two-fold:

  • Every new Mango app you publish within the contest timeline will be entered to win 1 of 5 Samsung Series 7 slates.
  • When you publish 5 new apps, you will earn 1 entry to win free advertising for one app of your choice.

The free advertising will run on the Windows Phone Application Network for about 60 days and include 25K impressions.


The more Windows Phone Mango apps you get into the marketplace until the end of 2011, the more chances you will get to win. You can find the detailed contest rules here.


Windows Phone Ad Campaign

Another great offering for Windows Phone developers is the Windows Phone Advertising Campaign“Your app here” . The campaigns run from December 2011 to February 2012. The application submission deadline for the December campaign ended yesterday, October 25th; however there are still two more months, if you plan to submit your Windows Phone application.



Each month from December through February, up to seven apps will be selected and promoted in campaigns created and funded by Windows Phone. Selected apps will get an online banner and their ads will run across the MSN Network of sites. This campaign will deliver one million ad impressions for each app selected. To participate, your Windows Phone App

Besides these participation terms, your app should certainly be user-friendly and engaging, stick to Metro design principles and provide integration of App Connect if relevant.

You can explore great Metro tutorials on the .toolbox site. You may also want to check out the User Experience Design Guidelines for Windows Phone on MSDN. The Mango Jump Start Series on Channel 9 by Rob Miles and Andy Wigley are also quite informative, if you need a fast-paced deep-dive into Windows Phone Mango.


Fast Track to the Mobile App – Design Contest

This is a Windows Phone Design Contest organized by Core77 and Microsoft. The contest challenges participants to rethink “work everywhere” capabilities of smartphones. Participants are expected to create designs with maximized usability, productivity and integration features by utilizing the benefits and features of the Windows Phone Platform. The contest does not require any coding; a contest entry can consist of a Sketchflow mockup, images of the sketches and an optional video and/or presentation. The contest ends November 18th.



One of the contest taglines summarizes the constantly connected, mobilized life-style of today: “We’re looking for design that understands, your computer is no longer on your desk, it’s in your pocket.


Telerik Special Prize for Windows Phone Unleashed Apps

Though this may not be directly Mango news; it is still a great Windows Phone related activity. It may also motivate you to attend one of the Windows Phone Camps; there could always be new surprises for these latest round of developer events. Telerik has announced a Grand Prize for applications submitted by participants of the Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events. These events were organized by Microsoft and local developer communities. The Grand Prize winner will be announced Friday, October 28th. 



There will also be a special prize for a WP7  community app and you too can support fellow Windows Phone developers. Just click the tweet button placed under your favorite app until Thursday, October 27th; the tweet must include #telerikwp7prize in order to qualify.


Idea of the Week – Student Contest

Microsoft kicked off a new contest called “Idea of Week” for students on October 17th. The goal is to inspire students to come up with unique and original app ideas. You can find out more about the contest on the Windows Phone Developer blog; official rules are listed here. Submitted ideas can be tracked on twitter with the hashtag #wpappitup.


I Unlock Joy – Student Contest

A few months ago, Microsoft India launched the “I Unlock Joy” developer contest for students in India. The contest runs until December 18th.



Students, who get four of their submitted applications certified in AppHub, are eligibile to apply for a Windows Phone Developer Device. Detailed terms and conditions can be found here.


Icing on the Cake

What could top all these developer opportunities such as the free training at Windows Phone Camps, various contests to win cool prizes and free ad campaigns just for building Windows Phone apps, a Windows Phone design contest etc.? Probably a sign, that would provide further assurance, that developing for Windows Phone has a bright future?


Wait no longer; the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone has arrived. Just today, Nokia introduced Lumia, its first device build on the Windows Phone platform, at Nokia World 2011. They are launching an impressive marketing campaign, with the catchy tagline “The Amazing Everyday“.



My first phone was a Nokia, easy to use and sturdy as a brick. Over the years, I used various mobile phones, most of them Nokia devices. Aside my nostalgic bond, I believe, Lumia brings Nokia’s outstanding industrial design and Windows Phone’s elegant UI together. This is truly a stunning collaboration, which I wish to become highly successful. The attractive pricing strategy, prices ranging from 270 to 420 Euros, will also  play a key role in the adoption of Nokia’s first Windows Phone in the consumer market.


Nokia does not shy away from futuristic research, fast forward and your Windows Phone experience  may get you the flexible and twisted interface of the prototype Nokia Kinetic device:



This “fast forward” may have been too fast; but you get the idea. The future is exciting and bright. You can contribute to shape and enrich this future by building Windows Phone applications, which delight and fascinate the user.


Last minute bonus link: There is a contest to win a Nokia Lumia 800 on “the Amazing Everyday” Facebook page. Good luck!


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While rushing from one XAML session to another at BUILD, I also tried to attend a few HTML5/Javascript/CSS sessions. Today I also made it into the super-crowded “Progressively enable the mobile web with ASP.NET MVC 4, HTML5, and jQuery Mobile” session presented by Phil Haack. The presentation was very informative and I decided to share some of the links and details about the discussed topics.



The session mainly focused on the following topics in ASP.NET MVC 4:

  • How to use the HTML5 viewport attribute and adaptive rendering to improve display on mobile devices
  • How to create mobile-specific views
  • How to create a view switcher that lets users toggle between a mobile view and a desktop view of the application



Useful Terms

ViewPort Meta Tag:

Mobile browsers define a virtual browser window width (the viewport), which can be larger than the actual width of the mobile device. The viewport <meta> tag in the ASP.NET MVC 4 layout file sets the viewport to the device width. This tag can be used in any web application and is not ASP.NET MVC 4 specific.

The following line shows the viewport <meta> tag in the ASP.NET MVC 4 layout file: <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width”>

Mobile-specific views

ASP.NET MVC 4 provides a new feature with which you can override layout and partial views for mobile browsers as well as specific browsers. If you need a different view for the mobile browser, you simply copy a view file and add .Mobile to the file name. Then you need to create a mobile-specific view. I provided a link to a sample on ASP.NET/MVC , which outlines the entire process in detail.

MvcHaack.ViewMobilizer: 

This is a package for easily converting views to mobile, when creating mobile-specific views. This package should be available through the new Recipes feature for ASP.NET MVC 4, which can be installed using NuGet.

Jquery Mobile

This library provides a user interface framework that works on all the major mobile browsers; it applies progressive enhancement to mobile browsers that support CSS and JavaScript. With progressive enhancement, all browsers may display the basic content of a web page, however more powerful browsers and devices may display an enhanced version of the page with its actual rich feature-set. The jQuery Mobile’s Javascript and CSS files can style many elements especially for mobile browsers and without any further markup changes.

You can install JQuery.Mobile.MVC  for ASP.NET MVC 4 as a NuGet package.

View-Switcher:

This is a partial view, which provides a link at the top of each page to switch from desktop view to mobile view and vice versa. The desktop layout does not include a view switcher by default, so there is no link to browse to the mobile version of a view from the desktop layout.


Useful Links

Download link for ASP.NET MVC 4 Developer Preview:

http://www.asp.net/mvc/mvc4

Release Notes for ASP.NET MVC 4:

http://www.asp.net/learn/whitepapers/mvc4-release-notes

Link to ASP.NET MVC RoadMap:

http://aspnet.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=ASP.NET%20MVC%204%20RoadMap

Sample to follow along (sample files available for download):

http://www.asp.net/mvc/tutorials/aspnet-mvc-4-mobile-features

Download link for Windows Phone SDK 7.1 (for the emulator):

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=27153

Install NuGet for ASP.NET MVC4 recipes:

http://docs.nuget.org/docs/start-here/installing-nuget


On a side note:

I started off web development with HTML and in-house Javascript libraries, then moved to Java/JSP and even did some development with Grails. Grails delivers developer productivity by applying principles like Convention over Configuration and it is built based on the MVC paradigm. It provides view templates, scaffolding, dynamic tag libraries etc. I am not quite certain about the underlying factors, it may be Java and Grails, which make me feel so sympathetic towards ASP.NET MVC. It is surely different from my relation with ASP.NET Web forms; which ever so often gets the cold shoulder from me.

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The SilverlightShow Windows Phone 7 (WP7) quiz has officially started this Monday. Two winners have already been selected and we posted details of the questions, answers and article resources:

SilverlightShow WP7 Quiz: Winner for Monday is @keyboardP

SilverlightShow WP7 Quiz: Winner for Tuesday is @danielrmay



You still got 3 days until Friday to win a MSDN subscription and WP7 T-Shirt by participating in the SilverlightShow WP7 quiz on Twitter. You can browse through the WP7 articles on SilverlightShow to get ready and check out the guidelines on how to post your anwers.


Let’s join the #wp7quiz fun tomorrow at 10 AM PST!

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Today started off with cool surprises for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) developers! As announced earlier in August, the final WP7 tools have been made available for download today. But besides the tools there have been several major announcements and you will find all the corresponding links in this blog post.






Windows Phone 7 RTM Developer Tools

The final WP7 tools have been released today, you can find the announcement on the Windows Phone Developer Blog and download the tools from here.  The final tools offer the following Silverlight controls, which will make your development experience for Windows Phone 7 even better: Pivot, Panorama and Bing Maps. You will find additional details about new WP7 apps and games, the WP7 Marketplace and much more in the announcement article of the WP7 team.




WP7 Toolkit on Codeplex

The Silverlight for WP7 Toolkit has also been released today. Currently the toolkit includes the following controls:
  • GestureService/GestureListener
  • ContextMenu
  • DatePicker
  • TimePicker
  • ToggleSwitch
  • WrapPanel

The GestureListener control makes it easier for developers to handle the full range of gesture events, including Tap, DoubleTap, Hold, Drag, Flick and Pinch. In addition to the new controls, the toolkit provides sample applications on how to leverage them in your WP7 apps.


WP7 Documentation

The documentation for the WP7 RTM tools is available now on MSDN.


Advertising SDK for WP7

Another interest announcement of today, was the release of the Microsoft Advertising SDK for WP7. The SDK targets developers who want to monetize their WP7 applications via advertising. The detailed description on the functionalities offered by the SDK:


The SDK allow easy integration of text and banner ads into your application, and consumes ads served by Microsoft’s mobile Ad Exchange, the first bidded ad exchange for mobile. The exchange includes multiple advertiser sales channels competing in real-time to purchase your ad inventory, including Microsoft’s national sales force and adCenter’s significant market footprint. Microsoft’s best-in-class ad targeting solution means better click through rates and better monetization, and the new SDK is integrated with Microsoft pubCenter to give you actionable reporting of how ads are performing in your applications.

You can read more about the Ads SDK for WP7 on the Microsoft Advertising site.



XNA Game Studio 4.0

The final surprise is the release of the XNA Game Studio 4.0; which you can download from the XNA Creators Club site. The XNA Game Studio 4.0 is part of the Windows Phone Developer Tools. The educational developer content has been updated too in order to support this final release; so you will have WP7 samples and tutorials ready once you start checking out the XNA Framework.


Last but not least; Scott Guthrie has published a detailed article about the release of the final WP7 tools, including screenshots of  the WP7 tools in action. There are tons of exciting news and content to keep WP7 developers busy + happy for now and [Drum-Roll] the WP7 Marketplace is set to open on September 29th, 2010 according to the information found on this WP7 Advanced Training event. There is no time to lose!




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This upcoming week SilverlightShow is starting a 5-day Windows Phone 7 (WP7) quiz. Each day SilverlightShow is going to post a WP7 related question on Twitter at 10 AM PDT between September 20th – 24th. The first to tweet the correct answer that day will win a 12 month MSDN Ultimate subscription! The answer to each question can be found in the WP7 articles on SilverlightShow.


Here are the steps to get ready for next week’s SilverlightShow WP7 quiz:

Once the question is up and you happen to find the answer in the corresponding article; these are the steps to post your answer on Twitter:

  • Send your anwer in a tweet to @silverlightshow
  • Include the link to the SilverlightShow article, in which you discovered the answer
  • Add the hashtag #wp7quiz to your tweet


The MSDN subscription includes Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, which is valid for 12 months after activation. It is not limited to the US, so you can enter the quiz even if you live outside the US. This MSDN subscription does not include tech support benefits and MSDN Magazine. In addition, all software benefits, including Microsoft Office 2010 products, are for development and test purposes only; the license is non transferable. But the retail value for this MSDN subscription is over $11K! You can check out further details about MSDN Ultimate here.




Don’t miss out this great opportunity to win MSDN Ultimate for free! Along the way, you can discover great WP7 related tech-content or test your own knowledge, if you are already psyched about working on WP7 apps. The WP7 release date in Europe is just less than a month away!


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XNA Creators Club Online has announced brand-new developer content for “Creating Games for Windows Phone 7”. All samples are playable on the Windows Phone 7 Emulator, which is included in the XNA Game Studio 4.0 Beta.





The series includes articles and source code downloads; it is made up of the following sections:

Based on the educational roadmap, there will be tons more developer content in the coming months. Here are a few pointers on the upcoming excitement:

September – October: Acceleration techniques

  • Performance-heavy game lab
  • Hardware benchmarking
  • GPU-CPU Optimization Articles
  • Best Practices

October-November:

  • Social Game Lab
  • Best Practices State Management
  • Location and Photo Integration
  • Augmented Reality Sample

A complete list on upcoming content and links to samples, such as creating your first game, accelerometer basics, game state management etc. can be found here.

I am not a game developer, but I am pretty excited about these resources. These days I am hooked on some games on my IPhone, as I can even play them on the go. I may not come up with the “next big thing”, but to be able to do some experimenting with game development in a familiar development environment truly sounds tempting!


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In the first post of my “Windows Phone 7 Design Notes” series, I tried to provide a general introduction to the Metro design language and share links of text and media resources, which you may find useful if you wish to dive deeper into the design concepts behind Windows Phone 7.

This article is going to be a bit lengthy, as it includes my personal impressions on Metro and its type-centric design features plus a recent typography project, which actually sparked the idea to write this series.


Metro + Adrian Frutiger

While checking out the recordings and presentations about Windows Phone 7 design, some distinctive facts about Metro, which rely upon beautiful typography and simplicity in design, brought Adrian Frutiger to my mind, who once said:



If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page… When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.


First of all, a few informative details about Adrian Frutiger.

Adrian Frutiger is one of the most prominent typeface designers of the 20th century. Although being best known for creating the typefaces Univers and Frutiger, he has also created logos, signage, corporate typefaces and corporate identities for various publishers and industrial enterprises. I am only going to highlight Univers and Frutiger due to the context of the post, yet a few other of his famous typefaces are OCR-B, Versailles, Linotype Centennial, Avenir, Vectora, Linotype Didot and Rusticana. What is most stunning about his career is that it spans the hot metal, phototypesetting, and digital typesetting eras.

When Adrian Frutiger created the Univers typeface, it was accompanied by a unique classification system to eliminate naming and specifying confusion. He eliminated everything except the essential forms of letters. He was concerned with legibility and the shapes of the letterform. Originally his design included 21 variations of the Univers. Type design may sometimes simply be presented as art. But if you just take the time to check out the Univers numbering system, which is used to create variety in letter weight, width and position, you would discover, that the entire design process is done with such mathematical precision that type design suddenly resembles a well calculated engineering project or a software project with thousands of unit tests.

The Univers typeface has been extensively used for the Montreal Metro, the San Francisco BARTFrankfurt Airport , the Walt Disney World road system and some London boroughs streets. Akzidenz Happen and Univers is easily confused with sans-serif typefaces Helvetica and Akzidenz Grotesk. If you want to get some historical facts on sans-serifs, check out the “The History of Linear, Sans Serif Typefaces” article by Adrian Frutiger.

In the early 1970’s, Adrian Frutiger created a Univers font variation for the Paris metro. He also worked on a “way finding” signage alphabet for the Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The result was a distinctive and modern typeface with a legibility at various angles and sizes. This particular typeface was later renamed and released by Linotype in 1977 as Frutiger.

I was planning to share a short video with Adrian Frutiger here, however most media content is in French or German (or rather Schweizerdeutsch). You may check out photographs and highlights of his life in an online photo gallery provided by Linotype. But I have also discovered an original presentation by Mark Simonson, who gave a talk about Adrian Frutiger at TypeCon in 2006. The presentation includes various snapshots from Adrian Frutiger’s rarely found book “Type Sign Symbol“, outlining the analytical side of making letters. The latest book on Adrian Frutiger’s work is Adrian Frutiger Typefaces, which is a pricey yet complete guide with good reviews.



Let’s bring some of Adrian Frutiger’s ideas and Metro together:

Metro and airport system signage may be one of the inspirational sources in Metro’s thought process, but it surely is not the only characteristic, which Metro design principles share with Adrian Frutiger ideas on design.

In case, you are interested in further info on signage typefaces, you can find out more about public signage typefaces here and check out a list of typeface used for Metro signage here.

List of Metro Principles:

  • Clean, Light, Open, Fast
  • Celebrate Typography
  • Alive in Motion
  • Content, Not Chrome
  • Authentically Digital

The list plus colors can be found in the MIX10 session “Windows Phone UI and Design Language“. My notes focus on principles 1-4.


Metro Principle: Clean, Light, Open, Fast

  • Feels Fast and Responsive
  • Focus on Primary Tasks
  • Do a Lot with Very Little
  • Fierce Reduction of Unnecessary Elements
  • Delightful Use of Whitespace
  • Full Bleed Canvas

Adrian Frutiger always emphasized the duality of black and white (whitespace). He took his teacher Alfred Williman’s “Do not apply black but cover up white, so as to make the light of the white sheet active” as a mantra. For example, Univers is a sans-serif designed to create comfortable white space between letters, so it is calm and easy to read. (Adrian Frutiger’s Methodology, LinoType)

Adrian Frutiger: “The black-white contrast soon came to play an important part in my professional life. I remember the fascination which I experienced on first seeing the sign of wisdom of the Tao Te Ching, the perfect representation of duality with its black and white fish bladder signs united within a circle. I owe another realization to an engineer in Paris, who explained to me the binary calculating method of computers: one and zero, black and white. For me, the black-and-white contrast conveys the absolute construction of an image. Taking black away means adding white. ” (Adrian Frutiger Traces, LinoType)



Metro Principle: Celebrate Typography

  • Type is Beautiful Not Just Legible.
  • Clear, Straightforward Information Design
  • Uncompromising Sensitivity to Weight, Balance and Scale.

Adrian Frutiger has a lot to say about legible and beautiful typefaces, as his work is a perfect reflection of these typographic elements:

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.” (Adrian Frutiger on Legibility, Linotype)

“Typography must be as beautiful as a forest, not like the concrete jungle of the tenements … It gives distance between the trees, the room to breathe and allow for life. The same holds true for type. If it is set too narrowly, it can no longer be recognized as type. You need to leave space for the reader to breathe.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

This quote does also relate with the “reduction of unnecessary elements” in the first Metro Principle.



Metro Principle: Alive in Motion

  • Feels Responsive and Alive
  • Creates a System
  • Gives Context to Improve Usability
  • Transition Between UI is as Important as the Design of the UI
  • Adds Dimension and Depth

Unlike any other type designer, Adrian Frutiger has created typefaces with a diverse set of functionality such as typefaces for books, typefaces for departure schedules or typefaces for signs in public spaces. He took various factors into consideration, so that his letterforms remained legible and his designs could be easily recognized even in difficult conditions such as poor lighting or when the reader is moving quickly past a sign.

The same is true about any kind of UI, if directives are not clear at first glance, they will only confuse the user, instead of clarifying and providing orientation.

Adrian Frutiger: “Type must be recognizable within fractions of a second.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)



Metro Principle: Content, Not Chrome

  • Delight through Content Instead of Decoration
  • Reduce Visuals that are Not Content
  • Contents is the UI
  • Direct interaction with the Content

Adrian Frutiger’s take on the significance of content is very clear:

“Type and design which is too overbearing is not fulfilling its purpose, because it is distracting us from the contents.” (Type – Adapted to Everyday Life, LinoType)

“Type must be open and clear! It must be adapted to our lives. Type is the clothing a word wears, so it must be subordinate to the content.”



My Interactive Typography Book

I have a deep appreciation for visual arts and talent in digital design, yet a few years back I would not have known this much about design concepts and typography. I started reading books and took design classes throughout 2009. Still I strongly believe, that beyond theory + training you have to constantly feed your soul with diverse inspirational sources to reach a genuine and authentic level of style and creativity.

After sharing this much information about Adrian Frutiger and linking it to Metro, or vice versa, it may come as no surprise, that I worked on a typography project focusing on Adrian Frutiger. A few months ago, I put together a typography book for the typeface “Univers“.

My book show-off definitely deserves some interactive features; posting some static images will not do the the hard work justice! That’s why I decided to display the book with a Silverlight Page Flip application to make browsing through the pages a much more fun and unique experience.  Note2Self: It might also be a good idea to start some work on porting it to a WP7 app.



The book size, front/back cover images, vertical numeric borders, text content, page order etc. are all output of my creative thinking and design aspirations. As a developer, I enjoyed every minute of this design project, I hope the end result reflects my joy and excitement about typography, design and  Silverlight as well.

I have also an accompanying presentation for this typography book project, if you would like to read the details about the project objective, demographics and design features.



With all the information presented in this 2.post, I am not trying to draw a conclusion or make a ground-breaking discovery. I just wanted to share my personal reflection on Metro and Adrian Frutiger, which I hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know, what you think about the post and book design.


SideNote for the developer audience: As this post was mainly focused on design and typography, I did not include any information about the Silverlight application. I am planning to share very soon some of my notes on the numerous Page Flip techniques/apps as well as Silverlight Controls I came across, while working on this application. If you would like to add a pointer to your app, send me the info and link, so that I can check it out, if I haven’t already!


(*The SlideShare plugin does raise a Javascript error in IE8, however the slides are displayed without any problems.)

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