Brian Hitney

developing on the microsoft stack

Posts
  • Brian Hitney

    Win8 Apps: Check for Network Connectivity

    A lot of apps require internet connectivity to function – like my app, Dark Skies .   One thing I overlooked when first releasing Dark Skies was a graceful check for network connectivity.  If the app launches and there is no connectivity, it should fail gracefully and notify the user.  Ideally, we should also plug into the Network Status Changed event handler, so our app is notified when the internet goes up or down during the app’s session. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. ...
  • Brian Hitney

    Charlotte Windows 8 DevCamp 9/8/12

    This coming Saturday, 9/8/12, we’re putting together a 1 day Windows 8 DevCamp! Check out the details here: http://developersguild.org What we decided to do is put the best content from ou Technorati Tags: windows 8 , development , charlotte , microsoft r other Win8 DevCamps (typically 2 day), and create an essential, what-you-need-to-know day of content to help you get an app up and running quickly. In addition, we decided to build the entire content around the Contoso Cookbook sample app, allowing...
  • Brian Hitney

    Best Practice for Sending Windows 8 Tiles from Mobile Services

    Those that know me know I am not a fan of javascript, in pretty much all of its forms (including node.js), however, I’m really digging Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS).  WAMS allows you to easily provide a back end to applications for storing data, authenticating users, and supporting notifications on not just Windows and Windows Phone, but also iOS with future plans of supporting Android soon. Now, I mention javascript because WAMS provides a slick node-like powered data service that makes it really...
  • Brian Hitney

    Windows 8 DevCamp: Raleigh

    Microsoft RD Jim Duffy and I are hosting a series of events, kicking off with a Windows 8 DevCamp in Raleigh on Sept 25th!  I’m the brains, Jim is the talent, so don’t miss it.  Sign up here!  (Just kidding about Jim being the talent ) http://takenotewin8.eventbrite.com/ The DevCamp is designed to not only introduce you to developing on the platform, but also take active steps through the design, development, and submission phases to get your app into the marketplace.  Here’s the rundown...
  • Brian Hitney

    Coding for Kids #3. Bugs!

    In the first post , we introduced the problem.  We’re writing a program that solves the problem of finding 100 point words, where each letter in the word corresponds to its position in the alphabet (A=1, B=2, Z=26).  In the second post , we coded the basic solution that allows the user to enter a word, and we calculate the result. We have a bug, though, because we made the assumption that the letters passed in are lower case.  The word “automated” is a 100 point word, but “Automated” is displaying...
  • Brian Hitney

    Windows 8 Developer Camps and Hackathons – Coming July to September

    A new series of Windows 8 developer events are coming soon! These are special two-day events , with a DevCamp on day one featuring a full day of sessions plus an InstallFest, followed on day two by a Hackathon with Lightning Talks where you can bring app ideas to life with Microsoft and community experts on hand to help. Windows 8 changes everything. Combining the broad reach of Windows, best-in-class developer tools, a re‑imagined user experience, support for new chipsets, and a built-in store with industry...
  • Brian Hitney

    Taking your Apps to Market

    I’ve written a lot of apps (and have used a lot of apps) so one thing I’m always on the lookout for is what is working when it comes to top apps – getting users, feedback, and ultimately monetizing your apps.  The market is always changing and the trends are different in different app categories, and the key seems to be able to adapt quickly. Pricing and Making Money Games are completely different than productivity apps, which are entirely different than entertainment apps, just to name a few broad categories...
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: Spring Azure Update Review - IaaS, Web Sites, Licensing and more!

    Abstract: Brian Hitney and Peter Laudati review and demo some of the latest updates and features made to Windows Azure such as the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service, Azure Web Sites, the Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET and the new licensing and pricing model. After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Try Windows Azure: No cost. No obligation. 90-Day FREE trial. Step #2 – Download the Tools for Windows 8 App Development Step #3 – Start building your own Apps for Windows...
  • Brian Hitney

    Skipping SSL Connections Locally

    When developing locally, often times you don’t want to use SSL for a variety of reasons.  There’s no real point, since the request isn’t going over the wire.  Most of the time, connections are done via the loopback 127.0.0.1 address (although localhost can be used) which throws certificate errors.  This one problem is often easy to solve, but it relates to a bigger issue: dictating when (and when not) to use SSL on your site.  In the ol’ days, you wouldn’t want an entire site to be SSL for...
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 3) Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps – ASP.NET Web API

    Abstract: Back for part 3 in their series for “Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 apps”, Peter Laudati , Brian Hitney and Andrew Duthie show us how easy it is to host services built with the ASP.NET Web API using the new Windows Azure Web Sites feature. Check out the full article here. Part 1 | Part 2 After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Try Windows Azure: No cost. No obligation. 90-Day FREE trial. Step #2 – Download the Tools for Windows 8 App Development Step...
  • Brian Hitney

    Creating a Great Mashup Part 3

    This post details features used by Earthquake Explorer , a Windows 8 app that displays earthquake information on Bing maps. Earthquake Explorer was based off of the Earthquakes mashup starter kit on github . Read part 1 here . Read part 2 here . We left off Part 2 talking about creating a compelling live tile in Windows 8. This really is a must-do feature in Windows 8 – primarily because a live tile creates a more compelling app experience. It encourages the user to keep the live tile ‘pinned-left’ (that is...
  • Brian Hitney

    Building for Cost Part 2

    In the last post , we looked at ways to separate content using different pieces of Windows Azure for the benefit of creating a more cost-effective solution using Windows Azure Web Sites (WAWS) and Windows Azure Storage for storing images and other binary/static files.   Although we’re looking at this just for cost efficacy, frankly that approach just makes sense from an availability and performance aspect, too. Another fantastic service is Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS), but unsurprisingly, it...
  • Brian Hitney

    Scrubbing UserId in Windows Azure Mobile Services

    First, many thanks to Chris Risner for the assistance on this solution!   Chris is part of the corp DPE team and has does an extensive amount of work with Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS) – including this session at //build , which was a great resource for getting started. If you go through the demo of getting started with WAMS building a TodoList , the idea is that the data in the todo list is locked down to each user.   One of the nice things about WAMS is that it’s easy to enforce...
  • Brian Hitney

    Using PowerShell to Manage Windows Azure Applications

    I was recently asked to do a presentation on managing Windows Azure applications with PowerShell by the Charlotte PowerShell users group .   At first I was a bit unsure about doing the presentation – with Jim Christopher and Ed Wilson in the group as well as other PowerShell gurus, it can be tough to ramp up to a respectable level of knowledge.  But, these guys are awesome and Ed welcomed me to pen a blog post for them, so check it out on the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog . I learned a ton in the process...
  • Brian Hitney

    Getting Started with the Windows Azure Cache

    Windows Azure has a great caching service that allows applications (whether or not they are hosted in Azure) to share in-memory cache as a middle tier service.  If you’ve followed the ol’ Velocity project , then you’re likely aware this was a distributed cache service you could install on Windows Server to build out a middle tier cache.  This was ultimately rolled into the Windows Server AppFabric , and is (with a few exceptions) the same that is offered in Windows Azure. The problem with a traditional...
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 5) Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps – Adding Push Notifications

    Abstract: In Part 5 of of their “Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 apps” series Peter Laudati , Brian Hitney and Andrew Duthie   show us how to quickly add the ability to implement push notifications for his GameLeader Service using Azure Mobile Services. Check out the full article here. Watch Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Try Windows Azure: No cost. No obligation. 90-Day FREE trial. Step #2 – Download the Tools...
  • Brian Hitney

    Rock, Paper, Azure Re-launch!

    I’m a little late getting this out (pesky vacations and all) but we re-launched Rock, Paper, Azure (RPA) a few weeks back with weekly competitions! What is Rock, Paper, Azure?  In short, it’s a game, primarily for developers.  It’s also a fun way to learn programming, as the concept is simple however winning is not.  You write code that plays a modified Rock, Paper, Scissors like game and tries to beat everyone else doing the same.   The code that you download has everything ready to...
  • Brian Hitney

    Windows Azure Trust Center

    The Windows Azure team recently posted about the Windows Azure Trust Center .   One of the most frequent conversations that comes up when discussing moving applications to the cloud revolves around security and compliance, and it’s also one of the most challenging conversations to have.  What makes it particularly challenging is the fact that the responsibility of compliance is typically shared between the hardware, platform, and software. The site has a few sections that in particular drill down...
  • Brian Hitney

    Windows 8 “Elev8” App Challenge

    We’re coming up on the annual Code Camp here in Charlotte, and this year, we thought it would fun to hold a hackathon leading up to the code camp, rather than simply run an all day event at the code camp.  Here’s your chance to develop a great app for Windows 8, elev8 your skillset, and potentially win some cool stuff  Here are the details: The short version: develop a Windows 8 app, optionally attend some of our workshops, and submit it to the challenge.  At some point you need to be in person...
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: How to Integrate TFS Projects with Windows Azure Web Sites

    Never too late to post!  Here’s an episode of DevRadio Peter and I did on TFS Projects in Azure!   Abstract: Peter Laudati and Brian Hitney are back for today’s show as they show us how we can integrate TFS (Team Foundation Server) projects with Windows Azure Web Sites. They also discuss Windows Azure’s latest price reduction for Storage as well as tee up new features in Windows Azure Mobile Services. After watching this video, follow these next steps:   Step #1 – Try Windows Azure: No cost. No...
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 4) Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps – Azure Mobile Services

    Abstract: In Part 4 of of their “Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 apps” series  Peter Laudati , Brian Hitney and Andrew Duthie show us how to build the same game leaderboard service on top of Windows Azure Mobile Services. Tune in as Andrew demos for us how to get started as well as lays out what some of the +/- are for using Azure Mobile Services for this kind of service.  Check out the full article here. Watch Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 After watching this video, follow...
  • Brian Hitney

    Compressing as Individual Files in Folder

    Let’s see how long it takes Jim Christopher to jump in with a better PowerShell solution. :) I had a directory full of .avi files that contains RAW, uncompressed data at 60fps from a camera (for astroimaging). Even capturing just a few minutes of data amasses over 10GB of data: No wonder my drive filled up so quickly. For archiving the data, I wanted to zip each file into its own file, not into a folder. Because I had about 50GB of videos to do, I wanted a simple cmd to do it for each folder. This is pretty...
  • Brian Hitney

    A Windows 8 Feature You Won’t See or Talk About, but Everyone Loves

    I’m going to talk about one of my favorite Windows 8 features – it’s one that everyone will love, but no one really knows much about.  In fact, it’s one that is so good, you’d think it’s a problem.  (Like, if you hit the power button and your machine _instantly_ slept, you’d think there is a problem, wouldn’t you?) I’ve got 2 disclaimers.  Obviously I work for MSFT so I’m biased, but the second one is, to Joe’s disgust, I actually have an iPad in house.  The excuse is that I have a large...
  • Brian Hitney

    Short Post: #AmusingCode

    This put a smile on my face today: void App_UnhandledException( object sender, UnhandledExceptionEventArgs e) { throw new NotImplementedException(); }
  • Brian Hitney

    Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 6) Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 Apps – Adding Authentication

    Abstract: In Part 6 of of their “Using Windows Azure to Build Back-End Services for Windows 8 apps” series Brian Hitney and Andrew Duthie   explore the world of built-in support for authentication in Windows Azure Mobile Services. Tune in as they quickly demo for us the process of adding authentication for your mobile and Windows Store apps.  Check out the full article here. Watch Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Try Windows Azure...
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