• Aussie Forecast

    My latest app for Windows Phone is now available in the store – Aussie Forecast!

    Aussie Forecast Lock Screen

    Windows Phone 8 supports apps displaying custom information on the lock screen. The Bing Weather app is a nice example, but I was frustrated by the inaccurate forecast data that it was using. Not the first time I’ve seen this problem.

    So I thought I’d create my own app that uses the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s data to display the forecast for a selected location. You can optionally choose to have the forecast displayed on your phone’s lock screen, and a background task runs at regular intervals to keep the information current.

    Application main page screenshot

    Future enhancements will include allowing a user-selected photo for the background image or the daily Bing Photo.

    If you’ve got a Windows Phone 8 device, then please try it out!

    Download from the Windows Phone Store

  • Using BugSense for Windows Phone with Caliburn.Micro

    BugSense is a 3rd party service I came across recently being promoted on Nokia’s (now Microsoft’s) DVLUP site. They provide aggregation and reporting of errors from your apps.

    All of the usual platforms are supported, and conveniently they provide NuGet packages to facilitate integrating with Windows Phone 7, 8 and Windows Store apps.

    I like using Caliburn Micro (CM) for most of my Windows Phone apps to help with using the MVVM pattern, and one of the requirements for using CM is to strip out the contents of the App.xaml.cs file’s constructor, leaving just

    public App() { // Standard XAML initialization InitializeComponent(); }

    The BugSense instructions however assume you’re using a regular Windows Phone project that has the original App.xaml.cs contents. The workaround I’ve settled on is to add the BugSense code to the body of the Configure method in the CM AppBootstrapper class.

    First, add the BugSense namespaces:

    using BugSense;
    using BugSense.Core.Model;
    Then initialise BugSense (replacing API\_KEY with the key displayed when you click on 'Help me integrate' on the BugSense site:
    protected override void Configure()
        // Initialize BugSense
        BugSenseHandler.Instance.InitAndStartSession(new ExceptionManager(App.Current), RootFrame, "API\_KEY");

    You might also wish to add logging of handled exceptions too:

    catch (Exception ex)
        BugSenseLogResult logResult = BugSenseHandler.Instance.LogException(ex);
        // Examine the ResultState to determine whether it was successful.
        Debug.WriteLine("Result: {0}", logResult.ResultState.ToString());

    In a future post I hope to describe logging exceptions for background tasks.

  • var article = new State<TheUnion>();

    What an interesting time to be a .NET developer!

    In the last week, Microsoft held its now annual Build conference and announced a whole bunch of new product offerings and features. For most of us who can’t get there in person, downloading and watching the session videos is almost as good. All of the keynote and session videos are (or soon will be) available on the Channel 9 Build 2014 event page

    Build doesn’t just focus on .NET – it tends to cover developer topics that relates to any Microsoft technology – Windows desktop, Phone, Web and Azure (cloud).

    Open sourcing

    I remember having a conversation with Dan Shearer many years ago. Dan is a big advocate of open source software. I surprised him at the time by telling him about this XML-based installer software that Microsoft had made open source and hosted on SourceForge (10 years ago). I think this was still when other parts of Microsoft were still quite anti-open source. 10 years on, things have changed quite a lot.

    We have not only the OuterCurve Foundation, but now just announced at the Build conference, the .NET Foundation to promote and ‘steward’ a collection of open-source technologies for .NET. Curious that they created a second foundation, but what ever gets the job done I guess.

    The biggest thing in this area for me was the announcement that the new .NET C# and VB compilers (aka ‘Roslyn’) would become open source. They’re up now on CodePlex - http://roslyn.codeplex.com/ (and yes, they’re taking pull requests too)

    My how things have changed!


    Windows 8.1 Update 1 is out, and Windows Phone 8.1 is coming in the next few months. Apart from the new phone features, I think the big news here is the new “Universal” applications that make it simpler to develop a single app that works on both Windows Phone and Windows Store (aka Metro). Laurent Bugnion has more info on his blog. This is nice – though it only works for 8.1 so it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of supporting older platforms (eg. Windows Phone 7 or the current Windows Phone 8 before the upgrade is released)


    Watching the Day 2 keynote with Scott Guthrie impressed me with how much is going on in Azure land. I feel like I really need to get more familiar with this stuff.

    Other highlights

    • TypeScript 1.0 announced
    • Cortana – like Siri but supposedly better
    • .NET native compiler
    • Seeing an iPhone and a Mac both used in demos – I don’t particular care about these devices but I know a lot of people do.

    That will do for now – I’ve got some more videos to watch (if our monthly internet quota doesn’t get used up – I already managed to lose all my phone’s data quota when it decided to use 3G instead of the home wireless to stream the keynote 😢