• Go DevMENTAL

    Join the Microsoft Team, become a Microsoft Student Partner!

    • 23 Comments

    Become an MSP and bring technology and awesome opportunities to your campus! In this blog post I’ll explain what you need to do as an MSP and some of the great perks you get in return. So join now!

    MSP1

    The Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) program can be summarized in the following 4 words: “We believe in you!”

    For us, it is not about track records, it is all about passion. We want to see where your love for technology can take you. Of course we prefer people passionate about Microsoft technologies, but simply having the urge to find out more about them, regardless of whether you own an IPhone or an Android phone, is enough to get you in our MSP position.

    We have great MSPs all over Canada, some are working with their faculties student society, others directly with teachers, some even have their own start ups. You could be one of them! We want to know how you can help! What are your strengths and how we can empower you so you can shine!

    What is an MSP?

    A MSP is the point of contact between students and Microsoft. They help other students find out about the initiatives we put in place such as Developer movement and Imagine Cup. If you like free stuff or helping the world make sure to check those two links out. This last semester we had March App Madness Hack-a-thons which were coordinated events across Canada to teach and then let students develop their own Windows Phone 7 Apps! All thanks to our MSPs. They organized the events, gave tutorials and helped guide the rest of the students in the development of their app.

    We are always on the lookout for those highly energetic students that want to get involved with our technology! If you are one of them, apply now!

    Wait there’s more!

    The MSP position is not all about work. We have a line up of great rewards as a thank you for all the effort you put into it. For starters, MSP  get a full MSDN account. More than 5000$ value! (This convinced me when i joined. Nothing like Legal free software)

    If that is not enough, read the title of this section again!

     533772_402105863150622_142504739110737_1469311_1867172679_n

    We want to help you Improve your career prospects. As a MSP, you are invited and engaged in most of our own and 3rd party conferences in your region. You will get to network with some of the top technology professionals and sometimes even with part of our leadership team. Recently, for instance, our MSPs in the Toronto region had the chance to sit down and chat in a round table with Microsoft Canada’s President Eric Gales. Every year brings new opportunities for you’ll get to take advantage of!

    Furthermore, this September, we will be having an international MSP virtual Summit. Where MSPs will get training and knowledge on how to present effectively, how to develop for different platform, how to take advantage of the technologies we have and much more!

    Remember that you will be directly engaging with Microsoft. Doing a great job as an MSP helps your chances of finding great opportunities!
    Being in the front lines lets you touch all the latest technology as early as possible.

    There are many other perks and goodies that you constantly receive from us. Join the team, get involved and get ready to shine!

    Apply now!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    How does a student get a DreamSpark account for free software and store accounts?

    • 20 Comments

    DreamSparkDreamSpark gives students access to free software and free accounts for the Windows Store but how do you sign up?

    DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) is a program that provides students with free Microsoft software. Chances are your school is already signed up for DreamSpark and all you need to do is create your own account.

    To create your DreamSpark account go here

    Enter your name, date of birth, password, and whatever email address you wish to have associated with your DreamSpark account. After you have completed all the required fields select continue to verify.

    clip_image002[7]

    Now, DreamSpark wants to verify that you are in fact a student. There are three ways to do this

    1. Get verified through my school – if you pick this option you will be presented with a text box, type in the name of your university or school. Then select your school name from the dropdown list

    When you select a school, you are asked to enter your university email address. This is how DreamSpark confirms that you are in fact a student at that school. Your school’s email domain name (e.g. @CarletonUniversity.com) is stored in DreamSpark for every school that is registered for the program. If you do not have a valid school email address, or your school is not listed you will have to select another method of verification.

    clip_image006[4]

    2. I have an ISIC card – if you pick this option you can type in your ISIC serial number or the ISIC/CIP number or your ISIC/NUS card number to prove you are a student.

    3. I have a verification code – this option requires you to enter a verification code. But where do you get a verification code? You need to reach out to a Microsoft representative or possibly a school administrator. You can also try reaching out to DreamSpark support to ask about manual verification but scanning and emailing proof of your student status to receive a verification code.

     

    Once you have created and verified your account, you can now download software and get codes to provide you with free Windows Store account and free Windows Phone store accounts so you can develop and publish your apps for free!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Visual Studio Tips: Selection shortcuts for lazy coders

    • 19 Comments

    VisualStudioLogoHere are a couple of tricks you may not know for selecting and editing text with as few keystrokes as possible.

    Don’t forget students can get Visual Studio Professional for free through DreamSpark!

    Find more Visual Studio tips and tricks here

    Cut, Copy, Paste: Three commands programmers use every day. Let’s face it, all coders are basically lazy: The less keystrokes the better. That’s why it’s nice to know the fastest way to select the text you want to cut, copy & paste. In this post I’ll share a few different techniques for selecting code. You probably know a couple of the tricks listed below, but did you know all of them? If you have any tricks of your own, please share!

    • How do I select one word at a time?
    • How do I select to end of line?
    • How do I select an entire line of code as quickly as possible?
    • How do I select multiple lines of code starting from a particular column?
    • Two Bonus tips (You have to scroll down to find them)

    How do I select one word at a time?

    You can select text using the keyboard as well as the mouse. If you put the cursor anywhere in the code and hold down the <SHIFT> key and then use the right or left arrow key, you can make a selection one letter at a time.

    image

    If you hold down the <SHIFT> and <CTRL> keys then using the arrow keys will select one word at a time.

    selecting one word at a time

    How do I select to end of line?

    If you hold down the <SHIFT> key and then press the <END> key you select from the cursor location to the end of the line

    select to end of line

    How do I select an entire line of code as quickly as possible?

    I discovered this trick by accident, and fell in love with it. If you want to select an entire line of code, all you need to do is put the cursor anywhere on the line, do not make any selection at all and then do the desired command (Cut, copy, or paste). When there is no text selected, cut, copy and paste default to selecting the entire line. Try it!

    How do I select multiple lines of code starting from a particular column?

    Have you ever tried to select code on multiple lines? If you just start in the middle of a line of code and select multiple lines of code you end up with a selection like this:

    select multiple lines of code

    Now try holding down the <ALT> key as you make a multiple line selection. This works if you are selecting with the keyboard or the mouse.

    box select

    When you use the <ALT> key you get something called a box select. This can be useful if you are trying to copy a list of variable names, comments, or namespaces without the entire line of code.

    BONUS TIPS!

    Okay if you actually scrolled down this far, here are the two bonus tips I promised.

    Not only can you select code over multiple lines with the <ALT> key, you can actually edit code on multiple lines as well. Let’s say you have a list of variables declared as private and you decide they need to be public. Use the <ALT> key to do a multiple line selection of the keyword private across all the declarations.

    box edit

    Now start typing the word public, as you type it will replace the selected text on each line with the new text you type

    box editing

     

    Last but not least, you can actually insert text on multiple lines of code using the box select technique as well. Let’s say I wanted to add some similar comment text after each variable declaration above. Use the <ALT> key to do a multiple line selection, but make your selection at the position in the line where you want to add the comments.

    box insert

    Now start typing the text you want to insert, as you type it will be added to all the lines.

    box insert

    If you like that multi-edit feature, you may also want to check out this neat little add-on for Visual Studio called MultiEdit Extension for Visual Studio. After you install the extension, if you hold down <ALT> while mouseclicking in the editor it will add multiple selection points wherever you clicked. Then you just type and your text is added to all the selected positions. Scott Hanselman wrote a blog post about it here. Thanks Andrew for pointing out this neat little extension.

    Happy coding!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Step by Step Apps for non coders – Windows Phone App Studio

    • 12 Comments

    clip_image001Windows Phone App Studio allows you to build elegant apps with nothing more than a web browser. In this post we take a detailed look at how to build an app using one of the provided templates

    Many people want to try building an app but don’t have the coding skills or don’t have the time to sit down and code an application from scratch. Windows Phone App Studio lets you build an app for Windows Phone (the preview actually includes Windows 8 apps as well) and all you need is a browser.

    In this post you will find step by step instructions to create an app using the My City template. This template is suitable for showcasing something like a city, attraction, region, university or college. You can find more how to posts and resources on our Windows Phone App Studio resources page.

    Don’t forget apps published in Canada could earn you rewards through the Developer Movement!

    In this post we will cover

    • Getting Started with Windows Phone App Studio
    • Starting a new project
    • Setting up your app sections
    • Adding data
    • Adding images
    • Checking data binding
    • Customizing detail pages
    • Adding extra functionality to detail pages
    • Adding additional sections (Collection, RSS Feed, Youtube Feed, Flickr Feed, Bing search, HTML5)
    • Customizing the Application Theme
    • Customizing the Tile for your application
    • Customizing the Splash screen and lock screen

    Getting Started with Windows Phone App Studio

    1. Go to Windows Phone App Studio and Sign in

    NOTE: You will need to sign in with a Microsoft account (you can easily create one at www.outlook.com if you don’t have one)

    clip_image003

     

    2. If you are signing into Windows Phone App Studio for the first time you will be asked if the application can access your email addresses in your profile (because when you finish your project it will send you the files for your project by email.) Select Yes to continue.

    clip_image005

    3. Indicate you accept the Windows Phone App Studio Agreement by clicking on the checkbox and selecting Register.

    clip_image007

    Once you have successfully logged in to Windows Phone App Studio you will arrive on the My Projects page and you can start creating your first application!

    Starting a new project

    1. Select Start new project to start creating your first app.

    clip_image009

    In this post we will explore the My City template and see how we can use it to create an app to show off a town, university, tourist attraction, or region.

    2. Select My City from the list of templates.

    clip_image011

    A screen will appear confirming providing more detail about the template you selected. This is a great way to learn more about each of the templates. However we have selected the template we want so

    3. Select Create to create a new project based on the My City template.

    clip_image012

    Setting up your app sections

    Now the fun starts! We get to start adding content to our application.

    You can see that there are a number of sections we can add: monuments, special places, history, photo album (you don’t have to use all these sections and you can rename sections as well).
    First things first, let’s give our application a new name, I am going to create an app for a quaint little town in the Ottawa area called Manotick. So I’ll change the App title to Manotick.

    1. Change the title to the name of your town, university, or the attraction you want to highlight in your app.

    clip_image014

    Manotick is a pretty small village, so rather than having a section on monuments and one on special places, I am going to delete the section called monuments and then Edit the section called special places. Instead of deleting a section, you can Edit and rename the section.

    2. If there are more sections than you will need, delete the unnecessary sections. Then select Save.

    3. Choose the first section you want to modify and select Edit

    clip_image016

    After I delete the monuments section, when I try to Edit special places I get a warning saying I have unsaved changes. One of the things you want to get in the habit of doing in this tool, is saving your changes. You should save your changes before you go to the next screen. If you forget, no big deal, you will get this warning. All you do is choose Stay on this page, and then choose Save to save your changes. Then you can go ahead and navigate to another page, in this case I have to save before I can Edit the special places section.

    clip_image018Now I can customize the Special places for Manotick.

    5. Rename the section if you wish by changing the Section title.

    I am going to change the section name to Hidden secrets.

    Now I have to choose the layout of how I want to display the list of Manotick’s hidden secrets. This will not be the layout page with all the details. This will be the page which lists Manotick’s hidden secrets so the user can choose an item of interest to get more information. If you click on different layouts you can see a preview of how the page would appear on the left. I plan to include images but I want a slightly different layout from the default.

    6. Click on different layouts to see how they appear in the preview, then select your preferred layout.

    clip_image020Adding Data

    Now of course I need to provide some data about the special places in my town to display in the application.

    1. Select the Data tab to start specifying the data for your app.

    You will be presented with two ways to store your data

    • Static resources (data is in the app) – select this option if you want your user to be able to use the application without an internet application. BUT! Storing the data in the app also means if you ever want to update the data, you will have to update the app in the store. So if you expect to be adding and updating data regularly you might want to go with dynamic resources
    • Dynamic resources (data is in the cloud) – select this option if you expect to be updating data or adding new data to the app over time. This option stores your app data in the cloud. That means when a user launches the app, the app will connect to the internet and download the data from the cloud. This does mean that the app cannot be used offline and will require downloading data to use.

    Since I am targeting people in North America who generally have decent data plans (I don’t think anyone in rural Malawi will be looking up restaurants and things to do in Manotick), I am going to choose Dynamic resources so that I can easily fix typos and add new data.

    2. Choose your preferred data storage option and then select Edit data to start adding your data (you will have to save before you edit the data).

    clip_image022

    Now you can add data to your application. This template assumes that you want to provide a Title Subtitle, Image and Description for each item in the section.

    3. Type in the values you want for your application. Don’t forget to delete any rows you don’t want. You can import data from a spreadsheet as well, but for this example we will keep it simple and just type in our data.

    NOTE: I recommend saving your data after you add each row, sometimes you will get an error uploading an image and then the Save button gives you an error, and you have to leave the page and come back again. A little annoying, but nothing serious, just a good idea to save frequently, just in case.

    clip_image024

    Adding Images

    When you click on the Image text box you will see a pop up windows that allows you to select an image from one of three locations:

    • My computer – choose this option to pick a picture you have stored on your PC or on a SD card in your computer.
    • My OneDrive account - OneDrive is free cloud storage provided by Microsoft so you can save and share documents and photos and then access those photos from other devices. If you have a Windows Phone, you can save pictures to OneDrive automaticall.
    • App Studio resources – this is a limited collection of stock photography you can use in your application.

    clip_image025

    Any images you add must be between 100 and 1000 pixels in height and width. If you have an image that is too large, you can resize it using Microsoft Paint. Open the image in Paint. Choose Resize from the Toolbar. Select pixels and then specify a size between 100 and 1000 pixels for your resized image. Make sure the Maintain aspect ratio checkbox is selected so your image is not stretched or skewed when you resize it.

    clip_image027

    Checking data binding

    1. After you have entered the data for your rows, use the back arrow beside the title Edit collection data to return to the section editor

    clip_image028

    Now that we have added data to our app, take a glance down at the bottom of the section editor. Notice the Bindings. That is what determines the text displayed in the list of entries for this section. When a user runs the app and taps on a particular entry they will see more details about that entry.

    clip_image030

    If I ran my app right now, the screens would look like this:

    clip_image032

    clip_image034

    clip_image036

    I don’t have that much information so I would like to have the image and the text appear on the same page when someone clicks on an entry in the list. Let’s go back to the section editor and see how you can customize the way details are displayed.

    Customizing detail pages

    Up until now we have only looked at the first page in the layouts which provides a list of the data in our app, the remaining pages determine how the rest of the data will be displayed when a user selects an entry

    clip_image037

    So if I want to show the image and the description on a single page, I need to select the second page, and then pick a layout that allows an image and a description. I’ve found a layout that will allow me to display all the details on a single page. For my application, I think that layout will work perfectly! Once again I can see a preview on the left and I can control the data that is displayed on the page using the Bindings at the bottom of the page.

     

    clip_image039

    You can have as one or more detail pages, do whatever makes sense for your application. For each detail page, you control the layout and use the bindings to control the data you want displayed. When you have multiple detail pages the user will scroll horizontally to move between detail pages.

    1. Select a detail page layout

    2. Set the bindings to control what values are displayed on each detail page

    3. If necessary add additional detail pages so a user will be able to scroll through the details pages and see all the data for the selected entry

    4. Delete any unused detail pages

    After I finish my changes my pages look like this

    clip_image040

    clip_image042

    Adding extra functionality to your detail pages

    You might have noticed a few extra sliders in the bottom right corner of the detail page editor.

    These features are all enabled by default, all the user has to do to use the features is bring up the app bar on their phone

    clip_image044

    These features are all enabled by default, all the user has to do to use the features is bring up the app bar on their phone.

    clip_image046

    TextToSpeech

    This feature gives the user the ability to have text on the screen read aloud by the phone. You choose which field is read aloud by selecting the binding field as you build the app. The default is the Description field.

    To use this feature the user just selects the read icon on the app bar.

    clip_image048

    ShareText

    This feature will allow the user to Share the text on the screen with someone by email, by text message or by tap and send.

    To use this feature, the user just selects share on the app bar and then they select the method they want to use to share the information on the page.

    clip_image050

    clip_image052

    PinToStart

    This feature allows the user to create a tile on their phone that will take them directly to this detail page.

    To use this feature, the user just selects pin to start on the app bar and then a tile is added to their start screen.

    clip_image054

    clip_image056

     

    1. For each of your detail pages, use the sliders to determine which features you want to enable for your users.

    Adding more sections (if needed)

    1. For each section in your app, Edit the section and repeat the process you just completed specifying a name, data, layouts an dfeatures for the main page and detail pages.

    You can have up to 6 sections in your app, you can add new sections as well from the main content page. If you want another section like the ones we were working on already, add a Collection.

    Adding a collection section

    clip_image058

    If you want the same basic columns (Title, Subtitle, Description and Image) choose Add Default columns when you add the collection.

    clip_image060

    When you edit your new section, you will have to specify the bindings yourself to tell the application what data to display on the summary page.

    clip_image062

    Adding an RSS feed section

    If there is an RSS Feed you wish to include in your app, you can easily add a section for that to your app (but remember you are only allowed a maximum of 6 sections)

    Click on the RSS section type to add the new section to your app

    clip_image064

    Specify a name for your new section and the URL, the URL of the RSS feed and select Confirm

    clip_image066

    Don’t forget to edit your new section and pick a suitable layout for the listing page and the detail pages.

    If you can’t see any data in the preview on the left you probably have a mistake in your URL.

    If you need to change the RSS URL, go to the DATA tab of the section.

    Adding a Youtube section

    If there is an Youtube channel you wish to include in your app, you can easily add a section for that to your app (but remember you are only allowed a maximum of 6 sections)

    Click on the Youtube section type to add the new section to your app

    clip_image068

    Give your new section a name.

    Specify the videos to include by Youtube user name or by Youtube search criteria.

    Select Confirm to create the new section.

    clip_image070

    Don’t forget to edit your new section and pick a suitable layout for the listing page and the detail pages. If you can’t see any data in the preview on the left you probably have a mistake in your username or search criteria

    If you need to change the search criteria, go to the DATA tab of the section.

    Adding a Flickr section

    If there is a Flickr account with photos you wish to include in your app, you can easily add a section for that to your app (but remember you are only allowed a maximum of 6 sections)

    Click on the Flickr section type to add the new section to your app

    clip_image072

    Specify a section name

    A Flickr user name or search criteria to determine which Flickr photos are displayed.

    clip_image074

    Don’t forget to edit your new section and pick a suitable layout for the listing page and the detail pages.

    If you can’t see any data in the preview on the left you probably have a mistake in your username or search criteria

    If you need to change the search criteria, go to the DATA tab of the section.

    Adding a Bing section

    You can include Bing search results right inside your app with a Bing section. Users will be able to tap a search result and be brought to the web page selected in the search results.

    To add a Bing section to your app select the Bing section.

    clip_image076

    Specify the section name, country to use for the search context, and search phrase. You may want to try a few different phrases in Bing search to find the phrase that provides the most helpful results for your application.

    clip_image078

    Don’t forget to edit your new section and pick a suitable layout for the listing page. There won’t be detail pages for a Bing page, because if someone selects a search result the app will launch the browser and take them to the selected web site.

    If you can’t see any data in the preview on the left you probably have a mistake in your search criteria

    If you need to change the search criteria, go to the DATA tab of the section.

    Adding an HTML5 section

    If none of the above section types will do you what you need, you can also add an HTML5 section which basically allows you to write your own HTML5 code to control the data and appearance of the section. Explaining how to write your own HTML data is more than we will get into in this document, but it’s nice to know you have that option when you need it!

    Finish adding your app sections and data

    1. Add the remaining sections to your application based on the type of data you want to include. Delete any sections you are not using.

    I now have a beautiful functional phone application that lets my user explore hidden secrets of Manotick, local restaurants, photos, videos, and news about the village.

    clip_image079

    clip_image080

    clip_image081

    clip_image082

    clip_image083

    clip_image084

    Customizing the application theme

    In addition to being able to modify the data, layout and functionality of your application. You can also change the look and feel.

    1. Select the Themes Tab for your application.

    There are three pre-built themes you can choose as a starting point. Simply select the theme whose look and feel you prefer and customize the color to suit your needs.

    2. Choose the foreground color, background color, application bar color and even a background image to display.

    I like the idea of a background image showing the beauty of Manotick in the background so I am going to go with the Custom style and change the colors and image to something better suited to the content.

    clip_image086

    Customizing the tile for your application

    You can customize the tile that appears on the Start screen for your user. There are three tile styles to choose from

    • Flip template – The flip template is eye catching because when on the start screen it will occasionally flip from front to back. You can provide an image and title for the front and an image and title for the back of the tile that appears when it flips.
    • Cycle template – This is another eye catching template because it will cycle through up to nine images you provide grabbing the user’s attention.
    • Iconic template – This is the classic template which displays an icon and title for your app. You will have to specify different icon sizes since the user could choose to display the tile in different sizes on their start screen.

    1. Select the tile template you want for your application

    For an app that is trying to show off a quaint village, I think the Cycle Template will work well because it will allow me to show the users different aspects of Manotick and should be fairly eye catching.

    Each template will require slightly different content, but basically each will require some sort of title, some sort of icon (possibly different sizes of the icon for different size tiles) and either images which you upload to display on the tile, or for the cycle template a section which contains image the app can cycle through.

    You will always have to provide some sort of image or icon for a basic tile because for the app listing page. This icon has to be 160x160 pixels. Remember you can use Microsoft Paint to crop and resize images.

    I have selected the Cycle template so I have to specify

    • A title to display on the tile
    • Image to use for the icon

    A section that contains image data to use as the image source. Flickr and RSS feeds won’t work, it will need to be a section where you have provided specific image content.

    clip_image088

    2. Specify a title, images and icon for your selected tile template

    Customizing the Splash screen and lock screen background

    If you go the Tiles tab you can also edit the Splash screen and lock screen for your application.

    1. Select the SPLASH & LOCK tab in the Tiles section

    clip_image090

    When you select Edit you are asked to select an image to use as the background. I am going to select images of the Mill since that is the best known landmark in Manotick. I will use that image for both the splash and lock screens.

    2. Select Edit for the Splash Screen background and specify an image to display in the background

    3. Select Edit for the Lock Screen background and specify an image to display in the background

    The finished app!

    You have now customized the data, layout and appearance of my app. The finished result of the app I was building looks like this:

    clip_image091

    clip_image092

    clip_image093

    Now I see that the text is a little hard to read with my selected colors and background image, so I might want to make the background image more faded (you can’t do that in Microsoft Paint, so I actually used Microsoft PowerPoint which has some features for editing images. I added my image to a slide in PowerPoint than used the image editing tool, then I moved the image back to Microsoft Paint and saved it for use in my application)

    I have created a faded version of my image and decided to make the text and app bar the same color and now I get something more like this. I should warn you I am infamous for making really ugly screens, so for me this is actually a pretty nice looking app! Usually I ask someone else to fix up my color and layout, but I might just publish this as is!

    clip_image095

    Phew! Okay give yourself a pat on the back! You have now created an app. Next up we will learn how you can take that app from Windows Phone Studio and either run it in Visual Studio (that’s how I got all my screenshots, the preview is great, but I ran it in the emulator to check the look and feel) or publish it to the store!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Turn your WordPress site into a Windows 8 app without any coding. Really?

    • 11 Comments

    IdeaPress claims you can create a Windows 8 app from your WordPress.com or WordPress.org site without any coding! They are right!

    As Windows 8 matures, more tools and templates are appearing to help developers and non-developers create Windows 8 apps. Today I decided to test one of those tools: IdeaPress. I’ll be testing it by creating an app from my personal WordPress.com site. If I get a chance I’ll try to do another blog with a self hosted WordPress.org site to see how that works.

    The tool: IdeaPress

    • The promise: “Transform your WordPress site into a Windows 8 App in minutes.”
    • The reality: gotta say, pretty impressed, it’s not 5 minutes, but I was submitting to the store within two hours from when I started.

    Note: For a limited time in Canada one of Microsoft’s partners, IdeaNotion, is offering 200 people a $50 Visa Gift card as a reimbursement for your Windows Store Developer Account when you publish an app using the IdeaPress tool. Email mwnwcan@microsoft.com with your blog URL to secure your Visa gift card.

    What you will need to use this tool

    • A WordPress.com site and your WordPress login information
    • A collection of images to personalize your app
    • A name and description for your app
    • A page on your WordPress blog where you can post a privacy policy (sample text for a privacy policy is provided by the tool)
    • A Windows 8 developer account (so you can publish the app)
    • A WordPress.com Account whose username and password you are willing to share with the Store Certification testing team (you can give them your account information if you want, or create a test account on WordPress if you prefer)

    How does it work?

    1. Go to Ideapress and select Login to create an account. I used my Live account, but you can use other accounts such as Facebook as well. After you create the account you will receive an email with a link to activate your account and reset your password.IdeaPress Login
    2. After you have logged in, select Start New AppStart New App
    3. Next you will go through a series of pages to enter the details for your app. The first page is Settings where you enter the URL of your WordPress site.Enter URL
    4. WordPress.com won’t allow the app to post comments to your site without permission. So when you enter a URL for a WordPress.com site IdeaPress gives you instructions to log in to the Developer WordPress site with your WordPress account and follow the instructions provided to generate a Client ID and Client Secret which you use to complete the fields on the Settings Page. The instructions are pretty clear, I didn’t have any trouble following the steps. NOTE: Make a note of the app name you enter in WordPress you will need it again shortly.Create WordPress App
    5. Once you have specified the Client ID and Client Secret from your WordPress account you can go to the General Info tab and enter an App Name and App description. The app name should be the same app name you entered when you just entered in WordPress. The description should describe the content of your blog so that someone who is browsing your app in the Windows Store understands the type of content you provide and can decide if they want to download it.App name and description
    6. Now continue to the Content Configuration Tab. On this tab choose which pages from your WordPress blog you want included in the app. Note: My WordPress site is made up of a blog page where you can view my posts and a variety of HTML pages. IdeaPress was unable to incorporate a couple of my HTML pages into the app. When I tried to select those pages I either received an error message at the bottom of the screen, or the application would spin for a while and then return with some of the pages deselected (the ones it could not include).Select Pages to include
    7. After you select the pages without receiving any error messages, continue to the Theme Configuration tab. Now, you can have some fun playing around with the look and feel of your app. Note: You even get a live preview as you make changes so you can see how the finished app will appear to the user.

    You can choose

    • Layout of your content
    • Images to display: Background image, title image (if you prefer an image such as a logo instead of text for a title on the main page), a default image to display for content read from your blog that is not already associated with an image.
    • Colors for headers, titles, background
    • Logos for your tiles
    • Images and color to display on the Splash screen that appears to the user when your app launches

    Note: IdeaPress tells you what image sizes are required for each logo or page. I used Paint to resize my images, you can also use free tools such as Paint.NET to resize images.

    Note: Even though I uploaded the images for my tile and splash screen I got an error saying I hadn’t uploaded any images. As soon as I uploaded a Default Article Image (under Layout and Theme) the error message went away, so I think Default Article image is mandatory and you just get a misleading error message when you don’t provide all the mandatory images.Theme Configuration

    8. When you have a look and feel that you like, go to the App Generation tab.

    On the App Generation tab you get to choose whether to Generate a Visual Studio Solution or an App Package.

    • Generate Visual Studio Solution – if you choose this option, you will get a package which contains a .jsproj file you can open in Visual Studio (install Visual Studio Express on your PC by downloading and installing the Windows 8 SDK). The advantage to this option is you can see the code, make changes to the code if you want to, get screenshots from the simulator, and build the app package to submit to the store yourself.
    • Generate App Package  - if you select this option, you will have to provide your Windows Store account information. IdeaPress will used this information to create and send you an app package. The advantage to getting the app package from IdeaPress is you can submit that package to the store directly without Visual Studio. NOTE: You will need a snap shot of your app when you publish it to the store, so you might want to go to the theme configuration tab and take a screen shot.

    Regardless which option you choose you will require a Privacy link.

    Your app will connect to the internet to access your blog content. The Windows Store requires any app that connects to the internet to have a privacy policy. The easies way to handle this is to add an extra page to your WordPress blog, the IdeaPress team provides an example privacy policy so you can get an idea of what information to include on the privacy policy page. Enter the URL of your privacy policy page here, and make a note of it, because when you submit your app to the store you will again be asked for the URL of the privacy policy.

    Submit app

    Finally you can check the box that says you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions and choose Submit. IdeaPress will email you a link to your solution or package and you can start the process of submitting it to the store! No coding required!

    So there you have it, if you have a WordPress.com blog site you can build and publish a Windows 8 app without writing any code!

    NOTE: My first two attempts to publish to the store failed certification, thought I would share with you why I failed certification and how I fixed it. The first time it was rejected because they did not feel I had selected a suitable category. So i changed the category to Lifestyle since my personal blog covers a fairly broad range of topics. The second time I failed because to post a comment on a post you need to log in with a WordPress account. I did not mention that in my app description, and I failed to provide an account the store certification team could use to test that feature in the Notes to testers section. Once I made those corrections my app passed certification and is now published to the store.

Page 1 of 82 (409 items) 12345»