A vector set “I Love Windows Phone” and Metro in SVG

i-love-wp-allI feel like giving out something to the community today. And there’s one thing I’ve been missing: a set of vector graphics for Metro UI, and in particular, “I love Windows Phone” piece. Several people asked me about it, so I created one in SVG, using my favorite vector tool: Inkscape.

License: This vector set is released under the free creative commons license (CC), feel free to use in works. I hope it will inspire you to build more amazing Windows Phone apps.

DOWNLOAD ZIP WITH VECTOR GRAPHICS (SVG)

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MVVM is your friend to get sensor data in Windows Phone 7

sensor-dataThere’s little doubt that MVVM pattern makes your life as a developer a lot easier. There’re several MVVM frameworks for Windows Phone that make it happen:

and a few others (please, comment if you don’t find your favorite one!).

In my everyday life I use MVVM Light a lot, but today I’d like to explore new trends in the latest editions of some MVVM frameworks. I’m talking about using MVVM to support sensor data and services: accelerometer, camera, compass, gyro, location and others.

Focus on Catel primarily, because it brings a lot of support for MVVM from the sensors prospective, and also because I overlooked it somehow in the past.

Geert van Horrik, the author of Catel did a fantastic work building and documenting the framework on Code Project and in this documentation on his Web site.  Specifically, I couldn’t stop from quoting this impressive side-by-side comparison sheet:

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iSkiSchool app gets ready for Windows Phone 7 Mango

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Great news about iSkiSchool and 12 Ski Lessons apps! I’ve been quietly adding Mango features, such as live tiles and the new execution model. When Microsoft releases the new version of Windows Phone 7 “Mango”, my apps will go to production. There may be some pricing changes, which will benefit more skiers.

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How the New TechCrunch Design resembles Windows Phone Metro UI

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The new TechCrunch design is simple and clean. Gone, rounded boxes and gradients, shades of gray. I think it signals a new era in the Internet design: the simplicity of transportation graphics, also chosen by Windows Phone 7 and its Metro UI, comes to news.  I’m glad the leader of technology news decided to change the look: but I think this is bigger than just the appearance. Quoting Mike Kruzeniski, the Metro designer:

Content, Not Chrome It’s the content on the phone that people want, not the buttons. Reducing the visuals on the phone that aren’t content will help you create a more open UI, and it also promotes direct interaction with the content.

Many sites are overloaded with Baroque graphics, and when today I opened TechCrunch, I loved the modern look.

Rapidly Develop Windows Phone Apps with PowerPoint

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Part I. I’ll show you how to quickly create Windows Phone apps with PowerPoint. Turns out, for Windows Phone prototyping you don’t need to be an expert or even a programmer. If you are a programmer, it’ll certainly help you to be super-productive! Prototyping is a great way for visualizing ideas, and putting a quick demo together, that can later be converted into a real application. From Walt Disney to George Lucas, prototyping is used in many great products and industries and having it for mobile phone development certainly helps a lot.

SketchFlow provides a great deal of documentation on the concepts of prototyping, in this post I’m trying to make a concise step-by-step guide to prototyping apps.

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Windows Phone Apps – Marketplace Rapid Growth, Developers Jump in the Game Early

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Windows Phone is experiencing an exponential growth in the number of apps submitted to the store, but developers still have a chance to capture this rapidly emerging market. If you are an individual developer, joining Microsoft’s marketplace called App Hub costs same as Apple’s, but if you are a student it’s totally FREE via program called DreamSpark. Also, if you are a student, publishing your first 100 apps in the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 market place is free and only limited by your imagination. And Microsoft also has many rewards for new developers, including brand new unlocked Windows Phones.

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Connect Windows Phone 7 Apps to WordPress using JSON

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Download Code Samples

This is the Part 2 of connectivity posts for Windows Phone. In Part 1 we discussed how to connect a Windows Phone app to WordPress using the blog’s built-in XMLRPC mechanism. This time we’ll use another popular protocol called JSON.

Many of us use WordPress: it’s an excellent platform for bloggers. Every time I start a new Web project, before deciding to build it from scratch, I try to consider WordPress or other CMS to save time and effort. WordPress plugins fills many gaps, including eCommerce, Membership, CMS and hundreds of other use cases. If you are used to building everything from scratch, you probably smell danger in this lego mentality. Well, it makes sense, considering that 60% of software projects fail on time and on the budget. The paradigm of “standing on the shoulders of the giants” suddenly makes sense in the risky business of building software!

As a Windows Phone app developer you probably wonder how can you connect your Windows Phone 7 app to your WordPress blog? WordPress’ standard built-in mechanism is XMLRPC, but with a help of a free plugin called JSON API, WordPress can be accessed with JSON.

The only file we change in this example from the standard template Visual Studio has for a Panorama project is MainViewModel.cs. Cool, isn’t it?

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20+ Tools for Windows Phone 7 Developers

Please help grow this list! Submit your comments with your favorite tools and links.

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If you want to develop apps for Windows Phone 7, I collected a list of tools and sites both Microsoft’s and external you might be interested in to make apps for Windows Phone. For the latest information on Microsoft tools, check out MSDN.

* Visual Studio 2010

 Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone is FREE and has everything you need to start developing Windows Phone apps. You can develop two types of apps for Windows Phones: Silverlight or game apps. For game apps Microsoft includes XNA Game Studio 4.0. Naturally, the kit also contains Windows Phone Emulator, .NET Framework 4.0 and Silverlight.

Where to Get

* Expression Blend 4.0

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Expression Blend is a totally tool for rapid developing and designing Silverlight apps. It’s especially great if you need to develop apps that contain animations, transitions and storyboarding. Expression Blend is a new kid on the block, but it totally rocks. Think Flash apps development, only on steroids of .NET Framework 4.0, C# and XAML.

I think of Visual Studio and Expression Blend as a “light tool” vs “dark tool”. You got it: dark themes are usually used by video, photo and design apps. Light themes are for pure development work. I think visually that’s what Microsoft meant when creating Expression Blend.

The best part: you can open the same project in Visual Studio and Expression Blend. I usually use Expression Blend for all type of animations, transitions and layouts.

 

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Windows Phone 7 for Designers

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You know you’re a graphic designer when you see CMYK and RGB like Neo sees the Matrix.

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional graphic designer, but I always had a passion about design. If you glance at my portfolio, past and current ventures as well as this blog, you’ll find numerous examples of design elements and ideas. This post is for developers as well as designers, I’ll try to analyze my perception of what is so cool about Windows Phone UI.

The Revolution of Metro UI: Typography

If I just had one word to define Windows Phone UI design: Typography would be it.

typoTypography is the cornerstone of modern design, but it was sadly missing from the UI of mobile devices. Small screens with traditional small print UI is what mobile devices inherited from Palm, iPhone and Android. The modern UI design tends to use large print, and TV-like appearances and animations. It’s interesting to see many HTML 5 sites using simple clean and large layouts.

With Metro UI, Microsoft dared to change all that. Typography is now the main component of the Windows Phone experience.

Quote from Mike Kruzeniski, Windows Phone Design Team:

Our design inspiration is very typographic, and it felt like it was time for User Interfaces to be uncompromising about type as well. Type is information, type is beautiful.

The best example of modern controls taking advantage of typography in Windows Phone UI is Panorama. All of a sudden cramming text into one screen looks old. I believe Microsoft should be credited with this innovative approach to mobile user experience.

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