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Preview: Wallace B. McClure

Wallace B. McClure



All About Wally McClure - The musings of Wallym on Web, HTML5, Mobile, Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, and Windows Azure.



 



Realities of Cross-Platform Development: How Platform-Specific Can You Go? - Part 1

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:17:22 GMT

My personal beliefs on cross-platform development were formed in November 1993. I worked at The Coca-Cola Company at the time, and a few colleagues and I were discussing how to provide Mac users with the same set of applications that we were building on Windows 3.1 with PowerBuilder.

The discussion centered around the UI. The concern was with providing a Windows-centric interface to Mac users. I remember one of the great lines from the meeting: "If you provide Windows help to a user expecting Mac balloon help, you are going to have users that hate you." After this and some personal experiments, I came to agree with this viewpoint. If developers want to make users as happy as possible, they need to call the native APIs of the platform.

Fast-forward to 2009, when I fell in love with the Xamarin iOS product from the first announcement. Xamarin had created a way for C# developers to use the Microsoft .NET Framework and to call into the native platform APIs. Xamarin Android operated the same way. While I would often discuss the need for a cross-platform UI with Xamarin management, I never forgot the lessons of cross-platform from many years ago. At the same time, I knew that there was a need for a cross-platform toolset to create an application. I had talked to enough people to understand the pain and agony. Quite honestly, I was a fence sitter in this area. I liked the idea of XF, but I was never quite ready to make the jump and, honestly, try XF for anything more than some personal experiments and helping a couple of customers.

Url: Platform Specific with Xamarin-Forms




App-to-Market: Show Me the Money

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:17:41 GMT

Url for the article: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/06/29/app-to-market-show-me-the-money.aspx

More on This Topic:

Now that you've moved your idea to prototype and developed an actual minimum viable product that you can give to customers for some feedback, you're almost ready to take the next step and make some valuable time and monetary investments in it. It's time to talk about funding: Where to get it, how to get it, and how to use it.

Before we talk about funding, though, a few things you should know about the investors you go after and what makes technology startups riskier for those investors.




Golfing for the Peyback Foundation and Children's Hospital - Results

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:48:18 GMT

The Results of the Morning and Afternoon Rounds:

The Morning Results


The Afternoon Results


We had a long and winding day on Monday.  We went and scored the Morning and Afternoon portions of the Children's Hospital - Peyback Foundation Charity Golf Tournament.  Each portion was flighted.  Pictures were taken of each team while on the course.  The pictures were immediately uploaded to the scoring system for display on the scoreboard.  The flighting of each portion was performed by the application.  As each portion finished, the teams were placed into each flight.  Each team's scores were shown in the flight as well as the team pictures.

The scoring system is hosted in Azure.  The picture upload is done via an iPhone application written in C#/Xamarin.

I learned a few new things that I will work on and resolve the next time around.




Customize the iOS Keyboard with Xamarin

Mon, 23 May 2016 17:02:59 GMT

You can customize the iOS Keyboard with Xamarin.

Nearly all applications require that users interact with your app via a keyboard. It could be a search bar, a text field, or something else -- users typically use the keyboard in some way for input. iOS comes with different types of keyboards that can solve just about any need, but there are times when some additional feature would be great. In Google's Gmail app for iOS, for instance, maybe you'd like to make things a bit easier by adding e-mail addresses for .net, .org, and other domain suffixes. This article will look at how to modify the existing iOS Keyboard to better fit the needs of the application.




Lessons Learned from Silicon Valley on HBO - Lessons From The Developer Led Startup

Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:38:00 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/04/19/the-reality-of-developer-startups.aspx

The HBO series, Silicon Valley, should be on the viewing list of everyone involved in technology. There is lots of discussion around it, and some of those who live in the geographical region of the Silicon Valley take issue with the series, claiming it's inaccurate.

As someone who has lived it and was involved in startups there, Silicon Valley is an accurate representation. Silicon Valley goes beyond just showing the geographic region as a background character – the show offers a fairly accurate depiction of the the life, times, and hassles of doing a startup. Show creator Mike Judge pokes fun at the geographical Silicon Valley, but also some of the more realistic and ridiculous things that can happen to a Silicon Valley startup. In this article, I'll take a break from the usual startup strategy talk and look at some of the parallels the show and reality sync up as we look at what's happened so far in seasons one and two.




App to Market: Your Startup Needs An MVP

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 14:14:00 GMT

https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/03/22/app-to-market-startup-needs-an-mvp.aspx

An MVP is not some Microsoft award, but the acronym for a term, "minimum viable product," that loosely defines what you're trying to provide as far as features -- at a bare minimum -- to get your app to market. Let's look at the considerations for making sure your app achieves MVP status.




Drill Into Problems with Xamarin Insights

Thu, 17 Mar 2016 00:55:16 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/03/01/xamarin-insights.aspx

You've completed the initial version of your mobile app. You've deployed it. And now, you've started to get reports of exceptions in your app. It doesn't happen all of the time, and it doesn't happen to all users, only some of them. What's worse is that the errors aren't often repeatable. For some reason, the issues some users are having can't be repeated in your office. You drive around and try to repeat the errors but you can't, so you wonder if it's is a location issue. Perhaps it's a cell signal issue. Perhaps the issue is the version of the OS the user is running. You're stuck and you don't know what's causing the errors. You need more information in order to solve the problem, so where do you turn? Xamarin has released a product just for this situation. It's called Xamarin Insights.




Slim down your Pictures in the iPhone & Android

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 15:48:43 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/02/01/slimming-pics.aspx

Nothing can be as helpful as a picture. Text is great, but there is a reason why pictures are worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, as the cameras of devices have gotten better, the amount of space that pictures take up has gotten larger. With a late-2015/early-2016 phone, a picture can easily be 2MB. Start trying to upload those via e-mail or to a service (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), and there are always problems with connectivity or otherwise. Let's examine some simple routines to minimize the size of an image.




Xamarin 4 Overview - Article

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 06:19:57 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/01/11/xamarin-4-improvements-upgrading.aspx

November 17, 2015 was a great day for mobile development. That is the day that Xamarin shipped the latest major update to its mobile development suite of tools, and with this one there's lots to like:

  • Xamarin.Forms. With Xamarin.Forms 2.0, there are updates for iOS9, Material Design, pre-compiled screens, preview support for Universal Windows Platform apps, and gestures support like pinch.
  • Visual Studio iOS Support. Xamarin has reengineered for iOS support for Visual Studio in a way that should improve iOS app reliability.
  • Mono Upgrade. Microsoft has open sourced portions of the .NET codebase, and what that, Xamarin has incorporated the open source code into the Mono framework. The move should improve the compatibility and performance of the framework.
  • The iOS designer. The iOS designer can now load and save XIB files in addition to storyboard files.
  • The Android designer. The Android designer now supports Android Material Design.
  • Xamarin Test Cloud. To support the Xamarin Test Cloud and its 2,000+ devices that are accessible to developers, Xamarin has introduced a preview tool named the Xamarin Test Recorder, Xamarin.UITest 1.0, and Xamarin Insights, has been released with free crash reporting for all Xamarin customers (and, finally, additional plans for users).

PS. I was told that Listing 5 should have the following change:

protected override void OnCreate(Bundle bundle)
        {
            FormsAppCompatActivity.ToolbarResource = Resource.Layout.toolbar;
            FormsAppCompatActivity.TabLayoutResource = Resource.Layout.tabs;
            base.OnCreate(bundle); 
            global::Xamarin.Forms.Forms.Init(this, bundle); LoadApplication(new App()); 
}



If You Build It, Will They Come?

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 06:31:42 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2016/01/06/app-to-market-4-listen-to-users.aspx

Users are the most important part of your application, startup, and, ultimately, business.  You must provide them something of value.  That something must resolve some pain point that they have.  It must do something to somehow make their lives easier.

This time, I'll look back at three of the startups I have been involved with and how each one worked with the users: The first was a real estate multiple listing service that was successful; the second was a pay-for-placement search engine that was successful; the third was a FourSquare-type of service for searching local services that was formed and worked several years, then saw success dry up when FourSquare started up.




Handling Events in the Xamarin MessagingCenter - article

Thu, 10 Dec 2015 20:44:00 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/12/01/xamarin-messagingcenter.aspx

Tightly coupled systems are a nightmare to deal with. Having references everywhere causes all sorts of problems with reusability. Think about this in the standpoint of mobile systems where we would like to share code between iOS, Android and Windows .NET systems. Having to pass around a reference to a UIViewController or Activity/Fragment so that you can make some type of change can be a nightmare. iOS doesn't understand an Android Activity/Fragment, and Android doesn't understand a UIViewController.

What's a developer to do? Thankfully, there are a couple of answers to this problem. The first, and most obvious, solution is to use standard .NET/C# events. Remember, nearly every feature in the .NET Framework is a part of Xamarin products. The second possible solution is something that is Xamarin.Forms-specific: the Xamarin MessagingCenter, which I'll explore in this article.




Xamarin C# and iOS9

Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:17:00 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/11/01/whats-in-ios-9.aspx

At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in September, the company introduced the first public beta of iOS 9 (as well as the first beta of OS X El Capitan). Xamarin got access to beta copies of iOS 9 at the same time as every other company, but almost immediately, Xamarin followed up the Apple announcements by making available Xamarin.iOS 9 and Xamarin Studio 6, which adds iOS 9 support.




Native Services with Xamarin.Forms? It's DependencyService to the Rescue

Thu, 17 Sep 2015 20:31:40 GMT

As you know, Xamarin.Forms is a great mechanism to create cross-platform applications that run natively on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Xamarin.Forms provides a great set of services that run the same across all OSes, however, there are times when it's necessary to make calls that are platform-specific. That's what DependencyService is for.

I'll show an example by performing reverse geocoding on each platform. For each platform, there will be a reverse geocode call made to the platform-specific implementation. Most Web services that provide reverse geocoding services cost money for each call. But by calling the platform-specific implementation, there's no need to call out to a Web service from within your code. The platform-specific reverse geocode will call its own Web service for which your program does not need to pay.

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/09/01/native-services-with-xamarinforms.aspx




Single Founder vs. CoFounders in a Startup - Some things to think about

Fri, 28 Aug 2015 00:36:00 GMT

(image)

You're a developer who has just created a great idea and then verified that a marketplace exists for it. You've got an idea how to create income from it business. Now the problem is, you are just you and there is still lots of stuff to do. How do you move forward now? Let's walk through a number of these issues in my article at Visual Studio Magazine.




Data Binding a Custom Cell in Xamarin.Forms ListView

Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:16:45 GMT

Data Binding a Custom Cell in Xamarin.Forms ListView

The ListView in Xamarin.Forms has a lot of options, and the ability to use a custom cell is one of the more useful features.

Data is the lifeblood of every business. Displaying that data is incredibly important. It doesn't matter if the company is a brick-n-mortar or an online business -- data is important. Here's how to create a custom cell to display data within a table using Xamarin.Forms.Cell.

(image)



Refining the Economics of Your App for the Right Market

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:51:18 GMT

Url: https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/06/30/app-to-market-part-2-right-app.aspx

In part 1, we looked at researching whether your brilliant idea was worth pursuing as a business venture and it all starts with seeing if the need exists. Now that you've validated that there is a need for the product, only then is it time to start building things. Let's take the next step, which is to work through the basics of the economics of your idea.




Navigation with Xamarin.Forms

Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:13:15 GMT

Url:

Xamarin Forms was released a bit more than a year ago. Since then, the product has grown, gone through rounds of features and bug fixes, and feels very much like it's ready for use in applications. And since then, mobile apps are no longer relegated to one screen. Mobile apps should work on multiple screens of functionality. And even then, users must be able to navigate between screens in a standard way. In this column, I'll look at how Xamarin Forms can be used to implement the various approaches to navigating on various devices.

Note: In early-to-mid 2014, this column featured articles on standard navigation in iOS and Android, but this column will show how to implement standard navigation with Xamarin.Forms. Also, graphics are not my specialty -- please excuse the graphics.




Startups and Technology Article 1 - Getting Your Application to Market

Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:29:45 GMT

https://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/06/23/developing-and-selling-apps.aspx

You are a developer.  You are at the top of your game.  You can make bits do magical things over the web.  Your database can run circles around anyone else's. You've got a great job. 

Unfortunately, that job is at a soulless corporation. That company sells widgets that have changed very little in the last 125 years. There is a ceiling for you as a developer at this company. You have users in marketing and production. Some of them you love, some you loathe. You long for something more. 

You hear about people making lots of money by starting product companies, but you aren't quite sure what you have to do. You watch Silicon Valley on HBO. You hear about this thing called Y Combinator. Then, one day it happens, you hit upon a great idea. It's something that you see all kinds of need for. What should you do now?




Data Binding with Xamarin and iOS (iPhone & iPad)

Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:01:00 GMT

Url: http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/04/01/a-simple-data-binding-trick.aspx

Applications and businesses live on data. Data is what makes a business a business, generates value for customers, and allows a company to generate income. Displaying data to a user is a common operation, especially in mobile. It might be immensely important for a salesperson to get the last bit of information before visiting a client or to display the location of a restaurant via a local consumer-oriented app. In this article, I'll look at the UITableViewController class that allows you to get at and display that data in an iOS app.




I Get XAML, You Get XAML, Everyone Gets XAML with Xamarin.Forms

Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:39:00 GMT

Many of you in the Microsoft .NET Framework world are familiar with XAML. XAML is an XML-based language for working with objects. It has been used extensively in developing UIs in Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation and is used in the Windows Runtime. Unfortunately, XAML support isn't a feature that's built into iOS or Android. With the release of the Xamarin cross-platform toolkit, Xamarin.Forms, XAML can now be used with those platforms, as well as Windows Phone.

Url: http://visualstudiomagazine.com/articles/2015/03/01/everyone-gets-xaml-with-xamarinforms.aspx