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Windows Phone 7

A Mobile Developers Guide

By | Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Development, Uncategorized, Windows Phone 7

App design is a thorny problem for most people. This is doubly true on mobile devices, where maintaining a sleek, user-friendly interface is trickier than it looks. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information on this subject, making it just a bit easier to decide on what an app should look like.

First is the  iPhone and Android site http://www.mobile-patterns.com/. Consisting of a gallery of the most successful apps (including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc), this site contains a list of categories that may be giving you problems. This list contains a handy menu of the most common features in apps, such as Lists, Camera Controllers and the like. Each page contains images of examples in practice, providing guidance on how to achieve a similar effect in apps currently being worked on.

Second is the iPhone only site http://pttrns.com/, which provides a similar service to the above site, albeit focused on iPhone. Apart from the magnifying glass enabling your cursor to see up close to the images, it’s all pretty similar to the site above. Where it differs though is selecting an image that you like doesn’t just display the image in a fuller size. Instead it takes you to all images listed on the site under the same app, along with a link to the iTunes website and ratings for the app.

Apart from the above sites, there exists a host of other sites in a similar vein. These include dribbble.com, www.lovelyui.com and www.androidpatterns.com. Sadly, these are all related to Android and iPhone, and I have been unable to find a site for BlackBerry devices. Thankfully, the BlackBerry site contains tips on how to create a standardised UI across BlackBerry devices. How to implement these features in code is a whole different problem. Hopefully I will address that in a future update!

Johann Van den Bergh

Mobile Software Developer

Cobi Interactive

Cobi @ MS Dev Day

By | Cape Town, Cobi News, Fun, Highlights, Windows Phone 7 | No Comments

Cobi went to the Microsoft Dev Day in Cape Town on 24 May at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The keynote speech that started it off was quite interesting – MS giving us a nice overview of new features to help developers, nice IDE plugin management, showing off their new Azure web servers, and how they are going to help us move onto the cloud in the future. My main interest was to see their new WP7 development, so Steve Asherson and I decided to attend their morning lectures introducing the WP7 development cycle.

Rudi Grobler from BB&D took us through creating a beer-brewing recipe app – something very simple showing us how to piece together a menu system with a details page, linking up to a local database. WP7 development looks good, the platform looks good, and from this initial introduction, the tools look easy to use.

Of particular interest to me was the device emulator used during development. Those who know me would know that I really dislike most of the emulators that the manufacturers have given us. The iPhone one is so far the best out there – stable and loads really quickly. This new WP7 emulator also seemed to load up fast (of course depending on the laptop running it), but it also has some nice location-spoofing tools. Finally a way to test GPS code on an emulator easily – Android & BlackBerry, take note.

On the platform side, WP7 has some stringent requirements, the chip must be running at 800Mhz. Coupling that with the fact that only one app runs at any one time, means that the UI experience looks great, smooth and slick. Unfortunately, coming from an Android fan, I am a bit disappointed that there is such limited multi-threading, but that can of worms can be opened on another day.

Otherwise, the conference was very well run, the food was great, drinks readily available, conversation on tap at every corner – I could do this everyday. Oh, and there was a raffle for an X-Box 360… I can’t help thinking that if I’d put my entry in after Steve did that I would have won it. Well done, Steve, for winning – get those dancing shoes on!

Make your iPhone look like WP7

By | iPhone, Windows Phone 7 | No Comments

For all you guys with jailbroken iPhones and and want a different look and feel, why not try out the WP7 theme. Here are some quick instructions from Gizmodo.

1. Install Backboard from Cydia.
2. Make sure you have created a “Default” backup, if not, press the add button in Backboard and give it a name.
3. Go on your device and click on this link: backboard://http://wyndrepo.googlecode.com/files/OS7Beta.zip
4. Press “Yes” and wait for it to download. This may take a few minutes depending on your internet connection.
5. Select OS7 from Backboard. Press Install. Respring.

This is the result.