Tag Archives: XAML

Varsity College

An interesting way to judge hackathons

A while back Taylor Gibb, Gordon Beeming, and I held a Windows Phone hackathon at Varsity College. Generally when we hold a hackathon the challenge is to build a Windows Phone (or Windows) app over the weekend, and then we award the “best” app with a phone etc. We walk around to each person and score their app against various criteria like quality, relevance, functionality, etc. The problem with this is that it is very formal. We aren’t in the business of rating code, and hackathons aren’t really about making the perfect app in a few hours. Hackathons are about learning and having fun.

Students

We decided that it could be fun to let the attendees do the judging instead – but that was just as rigid and structured as us doing it. So Taylor came up with a rather interesting voting system to let attendees judge each others’ apps, which we then coded.

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Old school ft. New school: Snake with a Lumia 920 controlling a 5110 LCD using a Netduino

Yesterday I was made a Nokia Developer Champion, and I have been working on this post on and off for a few days so the timing is perfect as a homage to Nokia.

This project definitely gave me a good helping of nostalgia, and I had more fun than any other project I’ve done.

Making a Windows Phone weather app in an hour

TechEd Africa 2013 ended a few days ago in Durban, South Africa.

I did a couple of talks – one of which was an hour-long session where I guided the attendees through the process of creating a good-looking weather app for Windows Phone. There are no shortage of weather apps in the marketplace, but it was a nice example to bring in a lot of different real-world situations like consuming JSON, using MVVM, and lots of binding stuff.

The point was to show how easy it is to create an app quickly. It only took 20 lines of code and 60 lines of XAML (half of which are closing tags so don’t count). The app would take around 15 minutes to make if I weren’t explaining.

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Windows Phone panorama RAM usage (i.e. crazy high)

I’m nearing the end of a Windows Phone 7.1 app that I’m writing. It’s a TV-related app and as such has a lot of images – so keeping RAM usage down is really important.

Visual Studio has a pretty awesome performance profiler for WP apps, and I suggest you use it frequently. So while checking my app’s memory usage I noticed something very worrying. Around startup the usage was ramping up to over 250MB- that’s massive for a phone app, and is waaaay over the 90MB limit to pass certification.

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