TRINUG Intro to XAML Layout Presentation

A big thanks to everybody that showed up to the TRINUG Intro to XAML presentation / hack night. It was a fun format to present some content while fully engaging and audience coding away. It was awesome to see everybody’s interest and enthusiasm.

There were definitely a few areas that I didn’t get to dig into as much as I would have liked to during the presentation with all the Q&A/Interactions, so I thought I would put together a quick video summary of the Xaml Layout portion of the discussion. I’ll hopefully record this a bit better as it’s a little rough but wanted to go ahead and share it out any. Enjoy!

 

Resolving Issues with IE10/11 HTML5 Video on Windows 7

Recently I encountered an issue on a project where html5 videos that had been working fine were having playback problems on Windows 7 systems in Internet Explorer 10. Further testing showed that IE11 had the same issue as well. Some time on the search engines found others with issues but no solutions.

In the end I was able to trace the issue back to the content types or mime-types that were being assigned to the files when they were being upload to Azure blob storage. I discovered that while videos with the mimetype of “video/mp4″ played fine, other that had been labeled as “Video/mp4″ would not play. The difference being the upper case V. Windows 8 running IE 10 and IE 11 seem to have no problem with this, but something in the Win7/IE10 combination has issues. (IE9 seemed to work fine). From what I could tell, according to RFC 2045 the standard that appears to document content types, case should not matter:

"The type, subtype, and parameter names are not case sensitive.  For
   example, TEXT, Text, and TeXt are all equivalent top-level media types."

Oddly, in the end it did matter. Hopefully if you’re searching for Internet Explorer 10 HTML5 video playback issues on Windows 7 you’ll find this solution sooner than I did.

 

The Post Function Key Era?

Almost every personal computer I’ve owned throughout the years has included “function
keys” on the keyboard. According to Wikipedia:

A function
key
is a key on a computer or terminal keyboard which
can be programmed so as to cause an operating system command interpreter or application
program to perform certain actions
.”

From my Commodore 64 and Amiga’s, every desktop and every laptop I’ve owned there
have been the familiar site of that row of keys. Even my MacBook has them, although
they try to hide but…. The function key has always been there through the history
of the PC.

Smartphones and their on screen keyboard have made us very familiar with a reduced
selection of keys. Windows 8 makes touch devices with no physical keyboard attached
are enabled for typing through an on screen keyboard which has a reduced number of
keys and modes that you can switch between to access additional characters, such as
numbers. Missing from the on screen keyboards are the function keys.

image

One of the most talked about elements of the recent Microsoft Surface unveiling has
been the keyboard cover, providing a physical keyboard for the tablets. If you look
closely at the top row of keys… you’ll see something different from the majority of
keyboards attached to PC’s today…

image

Those familiar F1-F12 function keys are gone, replaced by keys for volume, search,
and web.

image

Is this the end of the function key? As developer write Windows 8 applications, they
can no longer rely on the existence of the “F-Keys” for user interactions. Will other
keyboards follow along? Do we care? What will be the next key to go? Will the Post-PC
era also be the Post-F-Key era?

[Parting side note: Second to only the “Not enough memory to eject disk”error on early
Mac’s, by favorite BIOS boot error of all time is “No keyboard detected: Press F1
to continue”]

If You Want It Done Right Do It Yourself? Microsoft Surface

Today after much speculation and drama around a mystery launch event in Los Angeles,
Microsoft unveiled a Microsoft Tablet. It’s not the first time that Redmond has sold
hardware. I currently make use of a Microsoft mouse end webcam, and have a keyboard
or two around here somewhere. There’s also the Xbox 360 and Kinect. Then there is
also the Zune, ZuneHD, and I think at one point in time way back even a Microsoft
cordless phone along the way somewhere. So yes, they have seem some mixed results
in their efforts.

Microsoft relies heavily on partners to make their products a success. From building
the software to run on them to building the hardware to run on, partners have played
a key role along the way. HP, Dell, any many other computer manufacturers would be
very different companies today, or maybe not even exist if they had not been able
to build and sell product running Windows.

image

With partnerships playing such a key role, there is something to be said for not stepping
on the toes of those partners and turning them against you. Some have said that Microsoft
getting into the hardware game could have that effect, and turn manufacturers away
from building for Windows. I truly hope the opposite is true however, and hardware
manufacturers take this as an opportunity to raise the bar and deliver products above
and beyond what Microsoft has put forward here. I’ve long been a fan of Tablet PC’s,
going way back to my Toshiba m200 and Samsung Q1, but those devices have never truly
had the ideal combination of hardware and software to provide the best experience
possible.

I’ve felt as if many manufacturers gave into Microsoft and agreed to ship a couple
of higher priced models with “that tablet stuff” on them, but never really embraced
the platform. With iPad sales increasing and PC sales decreasing you wouldn’t think
that those manufacturers would need additional reasons to innovate to keep their marker
share in the “post PC era”, but apparently they do.

It’s a bold move, but I’m glad that Microsoft has put enough skin in the game to showcase
what can be done, and not just in a prototype but a shipping product. If Samsung,
HP, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and others show up to the game with better products
that innovate in features and design the entire ecosystem will benefit. If they don’t
show up, and least there’s a serious product out there for running Win8 on a tablet.

For more, visit the Microsoft
Surface Website

Build Windows–Now We Know

image

After weeks of waiting, enduring silence and rumors, developers finally got their
first public look at Windows 8 at Microsoft’s BUILD conference. People here at the
conference were pretty excited about what they saw, and I can imagine many, many more
watching remotely were also excited, or even relieved to see the details. Having talked
to a number of people about their expectations a lot of people were very concerned
to learn about the future of the technologies they have invested in both personally
learning and financially building into projects. 

For people who were worried, maybe the biggest news for them is that if your application
runs under Windows 7 it will continue to run under Windows 8. That being said, we
can not expect innovation without change at some point along the way. Windows 8 introduces
“Metro style Apps”, a new multi-language, multi-view technology. By multi-language
it means that native languages such as C and C++, managed languages like C# and VB.Net,
but also JavaScript and have equal access to the Windows (WinRT) APIs to interact
with windows. In reference to the views, it allows the use of HTML/CSS with JavaScript
and XAML with both C# and C++ applications. The “Metro Style” applications are part
of an “immersive”, “touch first”, “no compromise” user experience that spans all aspects
of Windows 8.

 

image

[slide borrowed from \\Build\  keynote

As you can see in the above diagram, the new “Metro Style” apps run along side the
traditional “Desktop Apps”. Again, this means that the app you are working on today
will continue to work on Windows 8. In many ways, today marks the begging of a new
era in Windows application development. Well that may sound sound a bit outlandish,
it’s true. This no application model not only allows a new model for application interactions,
it promotes it with a variety of services to let apps communicate with each other
and with other devices through the cloud.

Bottom line, Windows 8 is going to be a game changer that creates many exciting opportunities.