MS in 90s made a move that cost it quite a few users on the OS front when it offered MS Office to Mac users. People said back then that it was the stupidest move a company can make. But MS capitalized on this and made far more than it had lost.

In a similar move, it is offering it’s Windows Live services to Android and iOS.

The Windows Team Blog post states

With the recent release of our developer platform we’ve made it easy for developers on modern mobile platforms such as Windows Phone, Android, and iOS to easily integrate the ability for users to access their information such as contacts and photos from Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive in their favorite mobile apps and devices.

We’ve streamlined the process for doing this in the following ways:

  • Lightweight application setup process which requires no server-side code.
  • Mobile optimized sign-in and user consent experiences
  • Providing code samples which illustrate the key steps in building a mobile application that access a user’s cloud data

Although the port is not a complete package, but code. How this affects the Android and iOS users? It does not affect the Little green robot man and the eaten fruit users at present. It will just broaden the user base. People who were previously on WMS or  are currently on WP7 and want to switch over to Android or Apple will welcome this with open hands.

And MS has done a good thing by not giving the gift in a package. This means that developers can deploy their creativity and make really wonderful things using the code.

What do you think?

Source

MS revealed at the VIP conference that it will be providing the new tools (aka SDK) for developers to play with. Keeping it’s promise, MS has released the, though beta, Windows Phone Mango developer tools.

WP7 dev tools 300x152 Windows Phone Mango developer tools beta released

The SDK consists of more than 1500 new APIs and a brand new emulator to test the apps. It contains the following items:

  • Application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching
  • Deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
  • Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
  • Microsoft Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 (Beta)
  • Windows Phone Emulator (Beta)
  • Silverlight 4 SDK and DRT
  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0 Referesh Windows Phone Extensions
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK Preview for Windows Phone 7.1
  • WCF Data Services Client for Window Phone 7.1

It can be downloaded from Here.

via

Microsoft has delayed the latest version of Visual Studio quite a bit – but Visual Studio 2010 has just been released according to Microsoft Austria.

Developers reading this blog will most probably be interested in but one thing: while Windows Phone 7 development is supported, “free add-ons” are needed to actually get up and running. Other than that, the product has a new UI designer better suited to Windows 7 and multi-touch interfaces, and improved multi-screen support.

Furthermore. version 4 of the .NET Framework has seen the light of day. It adds various features for web developers, and has not yet been made available in “compact” form.

Developers who want to benefit from Samsung-specific features probably already know about Samsung’s SDK. In case you currently use it, better prepare for an update – one is on the way…

The full announcement reads as follows:

The Samsung Windows Mobile SDK offers APIs to use advanced features unique to Samsung phones. You might already have experience in using advanced capabilities featured in the Windows Mobile APIs, like GPS, Bluetooth, or multimedia support. In addition to the Microsoft Windows Mobile APIs, you can use Samsung APIs to access phone features such as the accelerometer, notification LEDs, and haptics feedback.

New SDK 1.3.0 will be released at the end of this month to support the following phones running Windows Mobile 6.1:

SCH-M720 Omnia Pop
SPH-M7200 Omnia Pop
SPH-M8400 Show Omnia

Windows Mobile icons have always been an eeker of some sort: while not as batshitly difficult as S60 application icons, they have nevertheless given me quite some thought due to the lack of specification on Microsoft’s behalf.

Fortunately, Microsoft has now tackled the problem – the Windows Mobile blog team has just added a post which starts like this:

This post provides a step-by-step tutorial for creating professional iconography for your Windows Mobile application. With these guidelines and Adobe Photoshop, developers will learn to apply the appropriate styling and sizing to their image assets for use within their applications as well as in the Windows® Marketplace for Mobile. In addition to the tutorial, a Photoshop action file is provided for assisting with the creation of the required files. Developers who are planning to distribute applications on the Windows® Marketplace for Mobile are encouraged to utilize these guidelines to ensure their applications adhere to the application submission criteria.

Even though the tutorial is very well-written, it seems to require that wannabe icon makers own a recent copy of PhotoShop. This means that GIMP heads are likely to be left in the rain when it comes to sample images – but they can now get their hands onto the sizes there, too.

Further information can be had here:
http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windowsphone/archive/2009/07/24/creating-custom-icons-for-windows-mobile-6-5.aspx

Microsoft has just unleashed the Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK upon the masses:
 Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK released

Surprisingly, the SDK is based on the Windows Mobile 6 SDK and even goes as far as to require it installed. This gives us system requirements of at least Windows XP SP3 (no Windows 2000) and Visual Studio 2005…

Hit the link below for further info (and be pprepared for a 300MB download if you wish to develop for Standard and Professional)!

Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK

ScreenShot 1 NS Basic/CE updatedNS Basic/CE has just been updated to version 8.0 – the latest version of George Henne’s ultra-easy (and very affordable) Visual Basic lookalike adds the following new features:

1. Gradient Buttons (picture on the left)
2. Creation of installers
3. Vastly simplified installation and distribution of apps
4. No separate runtime required
5. Embedded resources
6. Lots of other stuff as well. Read on below for more…

Upgrade prices begin at 50$:

Upgrades are available to existing users starting at $49.95. Customers who purchased NS Basic/CE after April 1, 2009 will receive the upgrade for no charge.

All those of you seeking further information should hit the URL below:
http://www.nsbasic.com/ce/info/Readme.htm

redfive Red Five Labs updates Net60The .NET CF was originally intended to be highly portable: unfortunately no implementations were made available except for the various breeds of Windows Mobile.

Developers who want to extend the reach of their .NET CF apps to the millions of Nokia devices in the market have thus looked to a South African company called Red Five Labs – their Net60 runtime allows .NET developers to target S60-based devices.

Net60 has just received a major update, adding touchscreen support under S60v5 among other changes. The full press release is below:

We’re proud to bring you another improved release of our acclaimed Net60 .NET framework for Symbian.

Our 4th release in as many quarters contains many significant improvements.

Version 2.1 now has a great looking WinForms UI which is much more stable than previously. The look and feel of the controls is more polished, much faster and all known issues related to the UI have been fixed.

The Net60 Version 2.1 UI also supports touch, meaning S60 5th edition devices are now supported!

Cross-platform Mobility Framework
Net60 is compatible with Microsoft’s .NET Compact Framework 2.0 and our 30 day trial now ships with an evaluation version of the Red Five Labs Mobility Framework. The Mobility Framework incorporates a host of managed APIs in a collection of DLLs which make it possible to develop cross platform solutions for both Windows Mobile and S60 using one framework. We’re shipping a great sample application which demonstrates the concept using the messaging layer provided in RedFiveLabs.Mobile.Messaging.DLL.

We’ve also made major advances on our runtime: performance has improved overall with significant improvements in many sub-components of the class libraries. Its a much more stable build.

The development tool chain also contains many improvements. Our debug build of Net60 containing the Net60 Launcher now supports folder navigation and loads wait cursors and icon resource files too.

The Genesis wizard now generates your application’s .pkg file and also allows developers to edit and therefore customise their .SIS file.

The topic of VB against C# is as old as the two languages themselves: I am firmly in the VB camp and consider C# a rather useless language which will have a fate similar to Ada. Others feel that VB is a language for idiots and should not be used by anyone (in extreme cases, these boys insist on offering C# to students even though 80% preferred Java when having to pick their subject).

It looks like all of the squabbling is just about syntax, as Microsoft’s team is actively committed to keeping the two languages feature-equal. The chart below comes from the official VB blog and outlines the “new” features found in C# 4.0 and Visual Basic 10.0 (released in VS 2010):
image thumb Visual Basic 10.0 vs C# 4.0

This quote accompanies the post:

One thing you may notice is that the lists look very much the same! That is part of our efforts to ensure that whichever language you are using, you will have the same functionality available to tackle your development tasks.

So: what do you think? C# of VB?

.NET developers are blessed by not having to care about the joys of character representation on Win32-based platforms – while most other OSses (e.g. Palm OS) are limited to single-byte chars, our friends at M$’s have cooked up a variety of different types including Unicode.

One resource I personally found extremely useful was Michael Dunn’s two-part tutorial. It starts by looking at the memory representation of “advanced” strings, and ends at string conversions – find it at CodeProject’s:
The Complete Guide to C++ Strings, Part I – Win32 Character Encodings
The Complete Guide to C++ Strings, Part II – String Wrapper Classes

Microsoft’s MSDN unfortunately is very confusing when it comes to strings. Nevertheless, the Win32′s String Chapter contains a few useful articles (hidden under UI…as if anyone would look there) – hit the URL below for the full scoop:
Unicode in the Windows API

 Carbide.c++   now free
Just in case anyone of you currently evaluates S60 development: Carbide.c++, the official IDE from Nokia, is now completely free according to Lucian Tomuta:

The new Carbide.c++ 2.0 has been released today and there’s a bit of extra surprise coming with this news: all the Carbide.c++ editions are now free of charge.

In fact the Express version as such no longer exists, and while the installer still prompts you to select one of the three remaining editions they are all available to you for free so you may as well pick the OEM edition and have all the product features enabled.

Find out more at our sister site TamsS60:
TamsS60 – Carbide.c++ – now free

CNet News managed to get their hands onto two Microsoft executives willing to talk about the upcoming changes in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0.

In general, the changes will be rather irrelevant to individual developers, and will be felt only in bigger teams. For example, Microsoft has beefed up the logging features for a “testers edition” of Visual Studio – it now makes tracing bugs easier.

Desktop developers will also be happy about a new bunch of libraries enabling the creation of “parallel” programs: as industry insiders told me that the first dual-core devices should be due around 2011, the timing turn out to be right after all…

What would you like to see in VS 2010?

Breakout 280 GapiDraw 4.0 released GapiDraw, a high-performance graphics framework used for developing Windows Mobile games, has just received a significant update. Version 4.0 of the product adds the following features:

New features in GapiDraw 4.0

DirectDraw support. GapiDraw will now use DirectDraw instead of GAPI or GETRAWFRAMEBUFFER to access the display on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices and later. Switching to DirectDraw means that GapiDraw applications can take advantage of hardware accelerated graphics and run in windowed mode, at the cost of slightly lower performance on devices without hardware acceleration.

Hardware-accelerated graphics. GapiDraw will now detect and use DirectDraw hardware acceleration on Windows Mobile devices if available. Functions supporting hardware accelerated graphics are marked in the documentation.

Windowed mode support. You can now run GapiDraw applications at high performance in windowed mode using DirectDraw on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices and later. In windowed mode you can take advantage of the SIP input panel to allow the user to enter text data.

Fullscreen toggle. You can now seamlessly switch between windowed mode and fullscreen mode on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices and later.

QuarterSize display. If you use the new display flag GDDISPLAY_QUARTERSIZE, GapiDraw will use a backbuffer that is half the width and half the height of the display, if either the width or the height of the display is greater than 320 pixels. This is a great option for developing and running mobile games on newer mobile devices with display resolutions of 800×480 pixels and more (in this particular example the backbuffer would be sized to 400×240 or 240×400 depending on display orientation).

GradientRect. GapiDraw 4.0 introduces an optimized gradient fill operation with support for opacity. GradientRect can draw top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, and right-to-left, and prerenders the entire gradient in two directions for very fast performance.

Performance improvements. GapiDraw 4.0 adds StrongARM and XScale precaching (pre-reading four cache lines simultaneously) to BltFast and AlphaBltFast for important performance improvements. GapiDraw 4.0 also has improved performance on stationary PCs in windowed mode and much faster GDI surface locking.

Documentation improvements. All documentation was reviewed and much of it was rewritten. A new and easy to follow “Getting Started with GapiDraw” tutorial was added. Click here for the new and updated documentation.

New advanced tutorial: Breakout. Learn how to use GapiDraw to create a complete mobile game using the easy to follow tutorial “Breakout”. You will find Breakout in the samples folder.

Improved Visual Studio 2008 support. All samples now include ready to run projects for Visual Studio 2008 mobile and stationary environments.

The basic license for the program costs rather steep 1000$, but allows you unlimited usage inside your company. The source code can be obtained for 3500$. Developers wishing to find out more can visit the GapiDraw web site and/or look at the above-mentioned tutorial.

Developers wanting to create panels that plug into Sony Ericsson’s “Sliding Panel homescreen” can now do so – the SDK has just been released. The requirements for the SDK are pretty humane – you need Visual Studio 2005, the WM6 SDK and the latest version of ActiveSync 4.5.

Unfortunately, Sony Ericsson does not specify which programming language(s) can/must be used to create these panels – I am pretty sure that .NET CF developers will be left out due to the way-too-long startup time of the CLR interpreter (up to three seconds on my rx4240).

Amusingly, the SDK ships with a full XPERIA simulator – should anyone of you feel like taking the box for a spin: this is your opportunity…

Further information can be found at Sony Ericsson’s developer network!

I have used a dual-screen workstation for literally years, and don’t feel comfortable working on a device that has just one screen (laptops included). However, development tools have traditionally ignored multi-screen setups, leading to awkward setup procedures in order to get the most out of your two screens.

The UK-based tech news service TheRegister has claimed that Microsoft’s VS product manager has confirmed that the next version of Visual Studio will include changed that make VS work better on multi-monitor systems.

As of now, no information is available on what the folks at Microsoft’s will come up with – but its definitely a good thing to see the biggest developer of development tools focus on multi-monitor issues…

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