Developer, do your Windows 8 Metro style tiles look like this?

Have all the Metro style apps and samples that you’ve created all gotten a disease of little X’s in the lower right corner of every tile, like an outbreak of the chicken pox?

What the …?

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And if you try to launch one of the apps you created, do you see this screen?

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“Store     Your developer license has expired. To continue to use this app, please renew your license.”

So how do you renew your license?

All you need to do is open Visual Studio 11 Beta and run a Windows Metro style project. Any Windows Metro style project will do, including a Blank Application. Just open it (or create it) and run it.

Visual Studio will then prompt you to update your developer license

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Then you’ll need to click “Yes” on the next screen that pops up, and you’ll be prompted for your Microsoft ID credentials. Then voila! Your developer license will be reset and you’ll be able to run your apps you created.  (Note that you don’t have to recompile all your apps.)

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Happy Windows 8 Metro style app developing!

[Update: If this action didn’t work for you, take a look at this forum post and this Dev Center article. If none of this works for you, reply to the forum post and let them know you’re having issues renewing the license.]

— bliz (@snowstormlife)

World-class Windows 8 Metro style apps wanted

Do you have what it takes to create a world-class Metro style app? Would you like to have your app available in the Windows store on “Day 0”?

If you do and you live in Florida, shoot an email to me (jim.blizzard@microsoft.com) or Joe Healy (jhealy@microsoft.com). If you don’t live in Florida and don’t know your local evangelist, send an e-mail to win8aefb@microsoft.com to find out who it is.

Currently you have to have a “token” to register your app in the store. So how do you get a token? You’ll need to attend an App Excellence lab.

Here are some of the details from Jamie Rodriguez’s blog post (click this link to read the full post)

Follow these steps to get invited to an App Excellence lab:

  1. Create a really great Windows 8 Metro style app (or game) immediately. Get it as ready as if you were submitting to the store.
  2. If you know your local DPE evangelists (maybe because you attended a Windows camp training), get in touch with them and ask them to nominate your app for a lab. [In Florida, that would be me, I’m a Windows 8 Champ (jim.blizzard@microsoft.com), or Joe Healy (jhealy@microsoft.com) your Developer Evangelist here in Florida.]
  3. If you don’t know your local evangelist, then email the following information to win8aefb@microsoft.com:
    1. Your name
    2. City & country where you are located
    3. Brief description for your app (no binary, screenshot is optional, but only send if the screenshot is public, non-confidential stuff )
    4. Your pledge that you’ve spent at least 8 hours devouring all the great UX guidelines we have at the design section in the Windows Dev Center1
    5. Wait for our response letting you know where the closest app excellence lab will be and how to get in touch with the right evangelist to nominate you.

Of course, coming to the lab is not all you have to do. Read Jamie’s full post for more info.

How do you get started writing Windows 8 Metro style apps? First stop is http://dev.windows.com. Second stop is dfwiki.devfish.net.

So there you go. Build those apps! Happy Windows 8 Metro style coding!

–bliz (@snowstormlife)

Simple camera capture in Window 8 Metro style application

During one of my sessions from the Windows 8 Developer Camp I talked about how easy it is for current .NET developers to write Windows 8 Metro style apps. One slide in particular showed how easy it is to interact with devices, etc., through the Windows Runtime in Windows 8 as compared to how difficult it can be when talking to the Win32 API in a traditional desktop application.

Here’s the code from the slide:

using Windows.Media.Capture;


var ui = new CameraCaptureUI();
ui.PhotoSettings.CroppedAspectRatio = new Size(4, 3);
var file = await ui.CaptureFileAsync(CameraCaptureUIMode.Photo);

 

if (file != null)
{
var bitmap = new BitmapImage();

bitmap.SetSource(await file.OpenAsync(FileAccessMode.Read));

Photo.Source = bitmap;
}

As you can see, it’s very simple code. And you’ll only need to do a couple things to get it to run properly.

  1. First, create a new Blank Metro style C# application. It’s the simplest way to try out stuff like this. Paste the code into the BlankPage.xaml.cs file, in the OnNavigatedTo() method. Move the using statement to the top of the file.
  2. Since we’re using the await keyword, we have to indicate that the OnNavigatedTo() method is an async method by changing its signature to “protected async override void OnNavigatedTo(NavigationEventArgs e)
  3. Add a couple more using statements to take care of the BitmapImage and FileAccessMode, as follows:
    using Windows.UI.Xaml.Media.Imaging;  // for BitmapImage
    using Windows.Storage;                // for FileAccessMode
  4. In Solution Explorer, open the Package.appxmanifest file and in the designer click on the Capabilities tab. Check the Webcam checkbox to indicate that your app needs to capture snapshots and movies from the connected webcams.
    image
  5. There’s one more thing to do: Open the BlankPage.xaml file and add an <image> tag. This is where we put the captured image. Notice we give the image the x:Name of “Photo”. We set its source in the C# code with the Photo.Source =  statement (shown above).

<Grid Background="{StaticResource ApplicationPageBackgroundBrush}">
    <Image x:Name="Photo" Width="700" Height="700" />
</Grid>

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to run your app. And here’s what that looks like.

The first time you run it, the user will be prompted – do you want to allow the program to use your webcam? image

Using the webcam to take the picture
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Cropping the image (notice it keeps the 4×3 aspect ratio that we specified in the code)image

And once you click OK, you’re returned back to the main page of the appimage

That’s it. Pretty simple, eh?

To keep up with all the stuff that’s going on with Windows 8, one of your best resources is http://dev.windows.com.

-bliz (@snowstormlife)

A must-read blog post on deploying Metro style Windows 8 apps to businesses

The Windows Store blog has an important post on deploying Metro style Windows 8 apps to businesses. Very much worth reading – twice.

From the blog post:

When it comes to building a Metro style app for business users, the first thing you should consider—whether you are a developer or an IT admin—is how you’ll deploy the app. You have two options available:

  • Make the app available through the Windows Store, which means the app must adhere to the same certification policies and process required for all apps in the Store
  • Build the app internally or sell it directly to the enterprise, which means IT admins must distribute the app directly to end-users within the enterprise, without involving the Store.

The post goes on to discuss two types of business apps

  1. Business-targeted apps in the Windows Store and
  2. Direct distribution of a Metro style app (as in a custom and proprietary line-of-business app or enterprise software purchased directly from an ISV).

Head on over and give it a read. And Happy Windows 8-ing !

bliz (@SnowstormLife)

Windows 8–Sharing and Searching

At the Windows 8 Developer Camp last week in Ft. Lauderdale, a couple of people asked me if there’s a way to control which apps are searchable (which ones show up in the app search list), and which apps are allowed to be share targets.

The answer to both is, “Yep.”

In Windows 8, Searching and Sharing can be controlled through the Settings charm > More PC Settings. Once you’re on the PC Settings screen, in the list on the left-hand side you’ll see both Search and Share.

Search

Search has the following options:
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Click image to enlarge.

From here you can . . .

  • Delete history
  • Let Windows save my searches as future search suggestions
  • Show the apps I search most often at the top
  • And Use these apps to search  (Lets you control which apps show up in the search list)

Share

Share has the following self-explanatory options:
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Click image to enlarge.

From here you can . . .

  • Show a list of how I share most often
  • Set the number of items in the list
  • Show apps I use most often at the top of the list
  • And Use these apps to share (allows you to control the apps that are allowed to be share targets)

Nice, eh? Enjoy Windows 8! For you developers, here’s an excellent first-stop page for you: the Windows Dev Center. And here’s the site of the official Building Windows 8 blog.

— bliz (@snowstormlife)