25. January 2013 06:00
I get this question quite frequently – what are, in my opinion, the best e-learning providers for software developers. So, here is my top, sorted by effectiveness:
- Career Academy
- TrainSignal (non-developers)
- Channel9, MVA and others
Note, that none of the top 5 are free, they all provide professional grade training courses with varying degree of effectiveness. In most cases, variation is insignificant, but the ratio of brilliant works resembles the position in this top.
16. January 2013 16:19
I had to answer this basic question today, so I guess others may have it as well, so I thought it’s worth sharing :)
If you had a chance to play with new Windows 8, you should have noticed that applications do not have a “close” button or even the menu item to exit the application. You still can close the application by pressing Alt + F4, or drag the title of the application to the bottom of the screen to exit it, but that’s not convenient, right?
The reason for that is that you don’t have to do that.
As I’ve illustrated earlier, in Windows 8 the “Metro” application doesn’t get any resources once it loses focus. So when you start another application, press Start button on your device or the keyboard, or browse back from your application – it takes up to five seconds to stop the execution of that application. It may still reside in memory, but only while that memory is not claimed by anyone else, so the performance of the computer doesn’t suffer.
14. January 2013 08:00
One essential part of Windows 8 software development is developing the user interface. Which means – placing right controls in right place, and make them an organic part of overall user experience. And what an exciting topic is that!
In Windows 8, there are only few new controls, but the ones you knew were changed drastically. You can choose either XAML or HTML5 for your application, and among other things, the set of available controls will change, so now you’ll have to master your skills of using more controls than before.
The “same” controls may look the same at the screen, but they are different inside. HTML5 provides you with additional controls specified in HTML5 standard, and you don’t have to worry about multi-browser support (unless you want to keep the certain degree of compatibility, anyway), but the problem is – HTML5 is not covered fully by MSIE 10, which provides you it’s HTML5 engine – the Trident.
We’ll cover both native and 3rd party controls available to you for both XAML and HTML5 applications. For the sake of simplicity, this article will be more about HTML5, while the next one – about XAML controls, and the third part – about general rules and principles of user interface design in Windows 8. Then we’ll cover Windows Phone 8 controls as well.
5. January 2013 09:00
Nearly all mobile devices (not necessarily cell phones, but anything that’s mobile enough) these days have sensors. And that will be our topic for today.
By the way, the way the term “mobile” is used today, reminds me an old anecdote with lady asking an IT guy, who tried to explain the difference between floppy disk and hard disk, whether that floppy disk isn’t hard enough for him. So, let’s settle on the definition that mobile devices are not stationery.
As we found previously, Windows 8 supports many platforms, and each platform has it’s own sensors, and new sensors are invented and need to be supported by OS.
Also, you may find out that your mobile device has more sensors than listed in your device specs. For instance, you may enjoy such sensors as compass and inclinometer, even though you have no such hardware in your device, and that’s because some sensors are “fusion”, or “virtual” – i.e. their data are results of computational analysis of data from other, “real” or “raw” sensors.
4. January 2013 14:16
With beta version of Windows 8, we had native legacy start menu, which disappeared in the release version of the OS. For many people it is still the reason to not upgrade, but seems there is the light at the end of the tunnel, after all.
Even though this might be old news by now, but there are few free applications, which provide the classic start menu to your Windows 8. And I just tried the most popular one, the Classic Shell. It’s more advanced than even the original Start menu of Windows 7 / Vista / XP, as it may look as you want and you can tune just about anything in it. See for yourself.
Frankly, I wouldn’t install it, as I have no problems with adopting the new Start menu of Windows 8, but the last update to Windows 8 just killed the new Start menu in one of my laptops. Of course I used the “sfc / scannow” command to fix the problem, but I felt need a backup just in case.
This thing reminds me the “good old” days of Windows 3.1 with application called Calmira – the Start menu of Windows 95 for Windows 3.1.
30. December 2012 15:19
As you, perhaps, already know, in Windows 8 you can develop Windows Store applications by using one of 3 ways:
Although Microsoft says that it’s more a matter of style, there are some advantages and disadvantages in using each of these methods and we are going to discuss them now.
As you know, Windows 8 is the first Microsoft’s operating system whose kernel works on servers, workstations, tablets and even mobile phones, which means that it supports a lot of scenarios beyond the scope of any single platform. Windows 8 shares it’s kernel with Windows Server 2012 (servers), Windows RT (ARM based tablets) and Windows Phone 8 (mobile phones), but fortunately you can’t build application that would work on each platform without changes. This reminds me Linux (shares kernel with Android) and MacOS (shares kernel with iOS) – even though at low level it’s the same OS, what’s stands on the shoulders of that kernel is what makes real difference. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “the God is in the details”.
29. December 2012 16:24
Earlier this month, I wrote an introduction to Windows 8 Store for those who didn’t attend any course or online event, but would like to learn about it.
I met quite a few people so far, who wanted to go through Windows 8 development labs without knowing anything about how Windows 8 works, what are the new key components and so on. Needless to say, practice without even the basic theory is a waste of time.
So, this is the second part of about 10-part introduction to Windows 8 for Software Developers, and this time we’ll talk about the Metro Style application principles – what they are, how they work, what you should know first.
21. December 2012 08:00
The experiment was simple – even though I had access to quite expensive courses and official training materials, I was only going to use free video training created by Microsoft, which is available for everyone at Channel9. And what do you know? 900 / 1000.
15. December 2012 13:16
This will be the first part of (hopefully) many and I’ll begin with explaining the Windows Store – what it is, how it works and why I think it should matter for you.
21. November 2012 18:07
With upcoming retirement of nearly all its exams, Microsoft created a new roadmap for the upcoming certifications for all kinds of specialties, including Microsoft Office, System Administration, SQL Server and Software Development. Here is the latest map in PDF format. As always, you can get all the latest information at Microsoft’s official learning website. More...