Ottawa & Montreal Windows 8 Codapalooza


    Windows 8 Start ScreenFor anyone in Ottawa or Montreal trying to get those Windows 8 app ready for the excellence labs, come code with company Smile

    The app excellence labs to get your app into the Windows 8 store first are upon us!  Build an application now, go to an App Excellence Lab and you could deploy your application in the Windows 8 store before everybody else (and get two years free). There are also virtual labs available.

    In Montreal

    Frederic Harper and Ramez Debbas  have two days where they will help you build your application to give you the possibility to register for the App Excellence Lab. On the 7th, and 9th of June, we’ll be available from 09h00 to 17h00 to help you build your application, in French or English, from HTML/JavaScript/CSS, or from C#/XAML. Details on where and how to register at the bottom of this post.

    In Ottawa

    You can join me, Susan Ibach, Thursday June 7th, as I spend the day coding her app and helping you with your Windows 8 apps wherever possible from 9:00 to 9:00! My French isn’t as good as Ramez & Frederic but if you’ll put up with my Acadian accent I’ll try!  Details on where and how to register at the bottom of this post


    What is a Windows 8 Codapalooza

    We’ll be there coding our own application and games, but also we are there to help you build yours. We’ll have French, and English support in the lab, and some expertise around HTML/CSS/JavaScript, and C#/XAML. Join us when you can!  We think being able to publish your application to the Windows 8 store before everyone is an amazing opportunity, we don’t want you to miss this chance. It’s going to be an informal event, where coding and fun will be on the schedule! No presentations, just coding, as the goal is to get at least 60% of our application ready so we are set for the App Excellence Lab.

    What if I don’t have any app ideas?

    No worries, we have plenty of ideas. Stop by and we’ll brainstorm until we find something you like.

    Are you crazy, we can’t build a full application in one or two days?

    Well Fred is a bit crazy, but that’s not the point, one day can make a difference!

    1. You don’t have to finish the application to attend the Excellence lab and get the magic token so you can deploy your app to the store before everybody else. If you can get about 60% of app done, you can still register.
    2. You don’t have to build Photoshop or AutoCAD for Windows 8. This is your first Windows 8 app, Use it as a learning opportunity to build a simple yet useful app, an RSS reader for your favourite blog, or a pace calculator for runners.
    3. You can port existing HTML5 application or games you have for Windows 8. See the resources part of this FAQ to help you get started.
    4. If you have experience in HTML, DotNet, or C++ you don’t have to learn a new language, just the APIs!

    So yes, we do think you can get an app ready for the lab in one or two Codapalooza days.

    Why should I develop with you guys instead of coding in the comfort of my home?

    I know, it’s nice to develop at home with the fridge nearby, but there are reasons to come code with us:

    1. You’ll have access to a Microsoft employee to help you.
    2. It’s not always easy to concentrate at home with all those distractiacagastions (sorry my cat just walked over my keyboard, case in point)
    3. Free beers! Yes, we like coding with a beer. (Okay that was Fred in Montreal promising free beer, I can’t guarantee free beer in Ottawa, we’ll see what we can do Smile)

    Do I need to pack a lunch?

    Absolutely… not! We need to eat too! We’ll have some food. You need to be there before 11:00 to get this royal treatment, as we’ll order with people there to be sure we have everything to satisfy all tastes.  In Ottawa same deal for lunch, and please be there by 5 if you want in on dinner.

    What do I need for the event?

    A computer with Windows 8 installed (you can download it from here) on it (primary, dual-boot or in a virtual machine). You’ll also need the SDK/Visual Studio 11 installed on your Windows 8 machine (you can download it from here). Last, but not least, your coding skills to build your next amazing application..

    If I want to start now, what are resources?

    Here are some steps you can follow to help you in the building process.

    1. Read Planning Metro style apps. It’s always easier if you plan before attacking the coding part. Use this to sketch out the concepts of your app and figure out functionality.
    2. Read Design guidance for Metro style apps.
    3. Find the right scenario via the End-to-end apps and gamesdocumentation.
      1. Web Sites to Windows 8– This is not very difficult at all and is a pretty minimal effort if you use the HTML5 programming model in Windows 8.
      2. Porting web-based Games to Windows 8– Specifically games that were built with HTML5 <canvas> or those that used a library such as CreateJS or easier to port to Windows 8. An example that has been done in HTML5 and converted to a Windows 8 app is Cut the Rope and Pirates Love Daisies.
      3. Developing Reader/Content Aggregation Apps – These are simple to build and I have seen them built in a day at Hackathons and can go from design to production very quickly.

    If I already built my app, or don’t need your help, what can I do?

    Perfect, register for the App Excellence Lab to get all the benefits of having build an application now. You can read this blog post to get more information on the lab, and you can send an email to win8cdn@microsoft.com and include the following information:

    • Your Name
    • Your city
    • The date you want to do in-person or virtual lab
    • A brief application description (no binary, optional screenshot, but only send if the screenshot is not confidential)

    OK, how can I register?

    As this event is open only to people that really want to build an application during one or two days with the goal of going to the App Excellence Lab, registration needs to be done by e-mail. Here is the simple process,

    For Montreal: send me an email at fredh@microsoft.com with your full name, the day you want to join it, and the time you’ll be there. The event will be held at our Montreal office at 2000 McGill College (corner Maisonneuve, and McGill subway station). Only people that had sent me an e-mail will be able to join the event. I highly recommend you to be there as soon as possible so you’ll have plenty of time to build your application.

    For Ottawa: send me an email at Susan.ibach@microsoft.com with your full name, and the time you’ll be there. I have limited spots, if you decide to join at the last minute, email me ahead of time and give me a tentative yes. The event will be held at CTE Solutions, at 11 Holland Avenue just across from Tunney’s Pasture, Thursday June 7th. A big thanks to CTE Solutions for letting me use one of their classrooms for the day! The more time you can spare, the more of your code you can finish. I’m hoping to make some big progress on my app.

    Feel free to forward this to friends, and co-workers. I hope to see you there!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    C# Tip’s and Tricks




    Are you interested in developing apps for Windows phone and Windows 8 and you already got the skills to code in Java.

    After few years developing in Java, I have finally decided to switch to C# with .net Framework. There are several reasons for this decision which I will going to explain in this series.

    Every time I talk to students on creating  apps, I kept hearing the same thing which they don’t know how to code in C#.

    This is why I'm going to show some tips and trick’s to code in C# from a Java projective .

    Take in mind that you can actually develop an app for Windows 8  in either C# , C++ or even JavaScript and HTML5. Learn more here

    Check out this useful book that I read by Rob Miles called C Sharp from Java Orange Book.that shows you how to code C# from a Java projective.

    Keep tuned as I will be posting Tip’s biweekly every Thursday.

    Tip #1

    Simple Class


     1: class Student{
     2: private string name;
     4: public Student (String Name)
     5: {
     6:     name = Name;
     7: }
     9: public void setname (String Name)  //Set
     10: {
     11:     name = Name;
     12: }
     14: public string getname () //Get
     15: {
     16:     return name;
     17: }
     19: }

    P.S If you tried to copy this code to a C# app, It will totally work.


     1: class Studnet 
     2: {
     4: public string name {set; get;}
     6: public Student (string Name)
     7: {
     8:     name = Name;
     9: }
     11: }

    As you can see, I needed only 4 lines of code in C# where as 9 in Java.

    One last thing , If you started coding in C#  and you got some tips that you would like to share , let me know and maybe we can share your experience.You can reach me at  t-ramdeb@microsoft.com

  • Go DevMENTAL

    HTML5 for Internet Explorer and Windows 8


    cadhtml5coaMicrosoft really jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon in a big way with Internet Explorer 9 and now Windows 8, so how does this affect your sites and apps?

    There are really two big Microsoft platforms where you can leverage HTML5:

    • Internet Explorer 9 & 10
    • Windows 8

    Internet Explorer 9 & 10

    When Internet Explorer 9 came out, many a web developer was pleased to see HTML5 support. The more browsers that support HTML5 the less we have to write different code for different browsers. Internet Explorer 10 supports even more HTML5 features than IE 9! You can check out all sorts of great examples of the HTML5 features at ietestdrive.com you will also find a few sites on there which will even help you write your CSS and HTML5 Code. As a programmer, nothing I like better than cut and paste! Start exploring HTML5 features (WOFF rocks) and use them in your code today. I know not every browser supports everything yet, so you will want some feature detection and fallback code for older browsers, but you should be preparing your sites for the newest browsers, so those who do have new browsers have the best possible experience! Here are 4 basic steps you can do right now to get your web sites ready for IE 9 and IE 10!

    1. Update your docmode for web standards
    2. Run Compat Inspector to fix common IE problems
    3. Implement feature detection to support many browsers (We recommend using Modernizr)
    4. Create a plug-in free browsing experience for Windows 8 users

    Windows 8

    Usually when we think of developing Windows applications we think of Visual Basic, C#, and Windows Presentation Foundation. Windows 8 still supports developing with .NET and XAML (Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation are both based on XAML) but it also provided a new option, HTML5/CSS and JavaScript. That way developers with experience developing web sites can leverage their existing skills to build cool Windows 8 apps and games without having to learn a new programming language. HTML5 isn’t a second class citizen on Windows 8 either, with the WinRT you can leverage all sorts of great APIs, the same APIs that are available to the .NET and C++ developers. The WinRT is written in C++ but when you call it from your JavaScript you can’t tell. You can check out Dev.windows.com to find out more about building Windows 8 apps with HTML5.

    I have a dream…a dream where I write code once, just once, for multiple platforms and browsers … maybe we are getting a little closer.

  • Go DevMENTAL

    Great Windows 8 Apps != Complex Code


    Windows 8 Start ScreenWhen you use the power of the WinRT you can build some pretty amazing apps without requiring complex code. Leverage the code that’s already there to get a great app in the store early!

    When you are deploying an app to the store it’s better to have Timer than Timer698. Getting in the store early can make a difference. In Canada, the app excellence labs give you the earliest chance to publish to the store. But with the labs coming up in June, you may think you can’t build a decent app in time. Fair enough, some of you may have some amazing ideas that will take some time to develop. But there is so much you can do with a simple idea when you add the capabilities of WinRT.

    My kids have been playing computer games since they were 12 months old. As a parent I was always on the lookout for fun or educational computer games. One of the most common games was the match game. You have 4, 16, or 25 cards flipped upside down, you have to flip the cards over and find the matching pairs. This would be easy enough to build on Windows 8, but how do we take a simple app and bring that to the next level without a lot of work?  leverage WinRT!

    • How about using the File Pickers to let the player pick their own photos to use for the cards. Find the matching pictures of daddy, or your pet dog Kibbles.
    • How about letting players take new pictures with the webcam using Media.Capture? My kids would have happily sat on an airplane sticking out their tongue and making silly faces at a webcam, holding up their favourite stuffed animals, and plastic dinosaurs, to customize the cards in a match game.

    Media.capture was the first WinRT API I learned how to use! it’s become the Hello World of WinRT. After a little searching on dev.windows.com you will find everything you need to get started: You can download a sample app in C++, C# or Javascript; You can follow a Quickstart on capturing a photo with the camera dialog or using the MediaCapture API.

    Not every great app requires 3-6 months development time. You can build apps that will surprise and delight users in under a week with the help of WinRT and a little imagination. It’s also a great chance to learn more about the Windows 8 platform and how to publish apps to the store before you release *the* big app you are working on. Don’t miss out on your chance to be first to the store. Get coding, and contact Win8CDN@Microsoft.com to request a session either in person or remotely in one of the app excellence labs and get your app in the store.

    One last thing, if you decide to build and publish the match game I described above, let me know, I know some kids who will want to try it!

  • Go DevMENTAL

    McGill students providing rural health care with a phone, Windows 8 and the cloud


    223MicroImagCup-223At the Canadian Imagine Cup, two students from McGill university try to address the challenge of providing healthcare in rural areas using a Windows Phone application, the cloud, and a Windows 8 application. Their solution earned them 3rd place at the Canadian Imagine Cup Finals.

    The Problem:

    India is one of the world’s largest countries, home to over a billion people. It is also one of the poorest countries, over 72% of the population live in villages. Rural India has very poor healthcare, 43$ have no access to healthcare. 70% have no resident doctor and 80% of medical workers are unqualified.

    The Solution:

    Connect doctors and patients, provide an easy way for patients to express their symptoms and provide an infrastructure for doctors to diagnose rural patients and recommend appropriate actions.

    Technologies Used:

    Windows Phone, Windows 8 and SQL Azure

    What did they do?

    Abhijeet Kalyan and Shravan Narayan from McGill university came up with project Neem, a rural healthcare solution. The solution revolves around a village healthcare worker. You find someone in the village who is respected in the community, and is computer literate to act as the village healthcare worker. You provide them with some very basic medical training and a Windows Phone. Using the Windows Phone they can scan the national id card of a patient. Any stored information about the patient is retrieved. The village healthcare worker has enough training to take a temperature, check blood sugar levels, check a pulse or blood pressure. These vitals can be recorded in the phone application. The health care worker can also record any particular symptoms the patient reports by tapping the area of the body and selecting the symptoms


    image image

    The patient data is stored in SQL Azure and then accessed by doctors in the city through a Windows 8 application. The doctors can review the patients symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment. With the Skype application on Windows Phone, the team is also considering adding a Skype option for direct patient to doctor or doctor to healthcare worker interaction.

    Shravan and Abhijeet also see a bigger picture of using the data generated from the application to help public health organizations, governments and aid agencies. A desktop data analytics application could help interpret the data and identify trends while still keeping patient information anonymous. Perhaps helping agencies identify what diseases are diagnosed in different regions.

    Rural healthcare isn’t just a challenge in India, this is a challenge we face in Canada as well, as many doctors feel they will have a higher quality of life setting up practice in the city leaving small towns woefully short of desperately needed medical services. Hopefully the work done by these students will be the beginning of a solution.

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