Jerry Nixon

Microsoft Developer Evangelist

Posts
  • Jerry Nixon

    When Windows 8 copies Windows Phone, we are all winners

    imageWindows 8 is the reimagining of Windows. Sure. But, let’s not forget, Windows 8 didn’t invent the new design language, Windows Phone did. To be fair Windows Media Center introduced the first low-chrome Microsoft UI for the 10 foot experience. Zune, then, adopted that clean approach and adjusted it for a small touch screen.

    But, it was Windows Phone that took what we used to call the Metro style to the limit. That team created a crisp and clean design language that was magically pervasive and universally appreciated. Windows 8.0 adopted it, Windows 8.1 gets even more like Phone.

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Let’s build a control like that awesome new one in Windows 8.1.

    imageIf you are like me, then every time you get a new MSDN magazine, you flip to the advertisements first. There’s nothing cooler than looking to see what component and control vendors come up with and present as next-gen UI. I have my own ideas on UX, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit those ads, over the years, haven’t influenced me.

    So, when new apps were included in the Windows 8.1 update, I immediately opened them to see if I could glean some UX ideas. Many of them are quite nice. But the timer app is particularly distinctive in its look and interaction. The interesting dial control is quite usable – it’s intuitive and flashy looking. I like both of those.

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  • Jerry Nixon

    At last! A replacement to the Microsoft 7000. Thank you!

    About 80 years ago (more like 10) Microsoft released the Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000. The keyboard, mouse combo was unparalleled in ergonomic value. A culmination in ergonomic research, the 7000 was superior for several reasons!

    image

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Here are some of the new things in Windows 8.1

    imageWindows 8.1 is imminent. What’s the word on the consumer features new to the update? Here’s the top of the list.

    Search

    Get results form your PC (like files, songs, and settings) and from the web with Bing. For some searches, you can tap or click right from the results to open maps, play songs, or call a business.

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Windows 8 apps need 28 logo varietals; enter Expression Design

    imageOne of the best parts of Expression Design transitioning to a free download is that it is now free. Design is awesome to create complex vector art and export it as XAML. Design can also create various sizes of the same design so your Store app can be successful.

    Note: You can download Design here.

    A Windows Store app needs a logo. As a matter of fact, a Windows Store app needs a logo, a wide logo, a small logo, and a store logo. That’s not so bad, right? Trust me when I say, creating your logo in Design or a tool like Design will save you a lot of heart ache.

    Since I just did this for my Free Timer app, I’ll share my technique.

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Windows 8: XAML Manipulation using Attached Properties

    In this previous article I discussed methods using XAML Manipulation Events with gestures to transform your UI, making it interactive. I talked about the different approaches you can use to leverage fingers and mouse. In this article, I want to show a...
  • Jerry Nixon

    5 awesome reasons your Start Menu is better in Windows 8.1

    Windows 8.1 is coming. The release date is close. It’s free. Why upgrade? Not only are upgrades sensible from a performance and security perspective, but you get new features. One recipient of some feature love is the Start Menu. If you have already installed the Windows 8.1 preview, then you have experienced some of this magic. Like what? Let’s take a look!

    1. imageStart button

    To me, I don’t need a Start Button. But let’s face it, the Start Button is important to most users. It’s comfort food to Windows users – and in the end, nobody matters like our users. In Windows 8.1, it’s back from its vacation. What does it launch? The Start Menu, of course.

    Bonus: Right-click the returned Start Button (or Start “Tip“) and reveal the Quick Link menu for experts.  This menu, which was previously only available through the Windows+X keyboard shortcut, reveals handy advanced features for expert users. Want more? The Quick Launch menu now includes Shut Down and Sleep commands. Want to shut down with the fewest keystrokes, use this menu!

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  • Jerry Nixon

    These should be standard in every XAML developer’s toolbox.

    There are lots of controls that ship with Windows 8. But, let’s be honest, there are lots of controls that don’t ship with Windows 8, too. After a little review, I can’t help but consider the third party controls available, how nice they are, how supported...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Real world Manipulation techniques

    Manipulation events are a wonderful companion to capturing mouse (pointer) movements and interpreting those actions into gestures. Manipulation modes map almost directly to the capabilities of the CompositeTransform , including: Translate , Rotation ...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Resources for Migrating to 8.1

    Windows 8.1 is the free and awesome update to Windows 8.0 and will be available in just a few months. Your 8.0 applications need some special TLC. Need some help finding resources? Here: 8.1 Product Guide for Developers Developer portal article with high...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Two-way binding inside a XAML User Control

    User controls are a great way couple logic and XAML in an encapsulated way. You can reuse a user control over and over and the logic is isolated from the general flow of your program. This article is not about creating a user control. This article is...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Reordering items in a GridView with Drag and Drop

    So, you have some data showing in a GridView . You have ordered it programmatically. Now, you want to let the user reorder it, manually, by dragging and dropping GridView items anywhere they want. Is it easy? It sure is. GridView inherits from ListViewBase...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Starfleet Avatar Store on Xbox Live

    imageYou know how people take a great idea and go too far? You know how a joke suddenly goes serious and the whole group gets a little uncomfortable. It reminds me of Galaxy Quest (1999) when the Captain Kirk spoof, Jason, call his obsessed fan, Brandon (Justin Long from Ed!):

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Windows 8 Extended Splash Screen

    So we have two real problems: If your app does not present a UI to the user in a given time, Windows 8 will assume your app is frozen and will terminate it. If your app does not present a UI to the user in a given time, the user will assume your app is...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Cash for Clouds

    Beginning June 3rd, the Windows Azure Trial, MSDN, MPN, and BizSpark benefits will change. Instead of a confusing set of “free” services, customers will receive monetary credits toward their Azure usage. This allows them to apply their benefits toward...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Windows 8 and Windows Phone Exclusive: Halo Spartan Assault

    What’s this? A new Halo game? Yes! And what’s this? Exclusive to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8? Yes! We’re starting to see what we’ve been expecting for some time – Microsoft titles being released as exclusives to the Microsoft platform. This, Smart Glass...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Star Trek into Darkness plot holes

    I would like to take a second and compliment the latest Star Trek movie: Star Trek into Darkness. The reprise of the new-timeline series brings back their solid cast to fight a classic enemy. The Enterprise refit is beautiful, the uniforms are stellar...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Horizontal Screen Breakpoints for Web Designers to Support

    It’s difficult to create a site that looks great across browsers. The weaker web developers simply give up – supporting only a piece of the market, squandering opportunity for themselves or their customers.

     image

    But, now the ante is raised with responsive web design. Leveraging CSS media queries, developers rearrange content to accommodate the width (et al) of different screen sizes. And it’s not simply a normal site with a mobile site, too. Users are coming at you with a myriad screen sizes.

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  • Jerry Nixon

    Ready to learn XAML?

    Daren May and I teach the basics of Windows 8 XAML in a Jump Start course for Microsoft Virtual Academy (Recorded May 2013). If you are learning XAML, come learn with us in this free, all-day course (now available on demand). We have a lot of fun in these...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Best Windows Phone Commercial Ever

    “Siri, search one-trick pony” “Aren’t you a little young to have an IPhone” “Isheep” “Copy-bots” “Auto-correct… this!” Boom! “Is there an app for that?” “Siri, search karate! No, Ka-ra-te!” “Do you think if they knew about the Nokia Lumia they would stop...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Binding to an ENUM in Windows 8

    You create a Settings flyout for your app so users can configure their experience. Sometimes, your settings are based on a ENUM that you use throughout your app. But how do you bind to an ENUM in XAML? Our sample ENUM The first thing you should know is...
  • Jerry Nixon

    App Challenge: Windows 8 Apps For Social Good Contest

    Entries must serve a "social good". WE define this as a good or service that provides some sort of benefit to the general public and doesn’t solely exist to provide the maximum possible return to shareholders. Some classic examples of social...
  • Jerry Nixon

    Walkthrough: Locking Asynchronous File Operations

    imageWhen I started writing Windows 8 apps, one of my first productions was wrapping file operations in a helper class called StorageHelper. This class has successfully been leveraged by thousands of Windows 8 developers. I certainly use it every time I interact with a File or a Setting.

    But the StorageHelper isn’t perfect in every scenario. For most mainstream applications it is perfect. But for some edge cases where file operations occur in parallel, an asynchronous read or write may not complete before another operation is attempted on the same file. This causes parallel locking. Hans Windhoff, a community developer in Colorado, took my StorageHelper and updated it with the solution – solving locks with some smarts and voodoo.

    Here’s Hans’ experience:

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  • Jerry Nixon

    DevRadio: Using Xamarin to Create the Draw a Stickman app for Windows 8

    Abstract: Jerry Nixon welcomes CEO of Xamarin , Nat Friedman and President of Hitcents , Chris Mills to the show as they discuss how Hitcents used Xamarin’s MonoTouch to launch their app, “ Draw a Stickman EPIC ” on Windows 8. Tune in as they chat about...
  • Jerry Nixon

    DevRadio: Integrating Bing Maps into Your Windows 8 apps

    Abstract: Jerry Nixon welcomes Ian Bennett and Jim Blizzard to the show as they discuss how they integrated a Bing Map into their Windows 8 app. Tune in as they chat about the Bing Maps SDK , along with the why, how-to and lessons learned from developing...
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