Welcome!

Linux Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Mark R. Hinkle, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: .NET, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux

.NET: Book Review

Book Review: Windows 8.1 Apps with XAML and C# Unleashed

A must have for any Windows 8.1 developer of any level.

As with Nathan's book WPF 4 Unleashed books, this book is a pure pleasure to read. It is in full color, the content is laid out in an easy to read style, the author's writing style makes it easy to read, and the content is all valuable. There is no fluff like you find in a lot of the books written today.

Part I of the book starts out with an awesome chapter on the anatomy of a Windows store app and then has a great chapter introducing XAML. The book is broken down into a total of 7 parts. I have listed them below along with the chapters they contain.

Part I: Getting Started
Chapter 1. Hello, Real World!
Chapter 2. Mastering XAML

Part II: Building an App
Chapter 3. Sizing, Positioning, and Transforming Elements
Chapter 4. Layout
Chapter 5. Interactivity
Chapter 6. Handling Input: Touch, Mouse, Pen, and Keyboard

Part III: Working with the App Model
Chapter 7. App Lifecycle
Chapter 8. Threading, Windows, and Pages
Chapter 9. The Many Ways to Earn Money

Part IV: Understanding Controls
Chapter 10. Content Controls
Chapter 11. Items Controls
Chapter 12. Text
Chapter 13. Images
Chapter 14. Audio, Video, and Speech
Chapter 15. Other Controls

Part V: Leveraging the Richness of XAML
Chapter 16. Vector Graphics
Chapter 17. Animation
Chapter 18. Styles, Templates, and Visual States
Chapter 19. Data Binding

Part VI: Exploiting Windows 8.1
Chapter 20. Working with Data
Chapter 21. Supporting Charms
Chapter 22. Leveraging Contracts
Chapter 23. Reading from Sensors
Chapter 24. Controlling Devices
Chapter 25. Thinking Outside the App: Live Tiles, Notifications, and the Lock Screen

Part VII: Advanced Features
Chapter 26. Integrating DirectX
Chapter 27. Custom Controls and Components
Chapter 28. Layout with Custom Panels

In Part II there are a lot of things that are specific to Windows 8 apps that developers are going to need to learn. The book does a great job of covering all of these. The first three chapters in this section cover interactivity, sizing, positioning, transforming elements, and layout, which now can be full-screen landscape, full-screen portrait, filled, and snapped.

Chapter 6 is a very important chapter for developers that need to learn and understand touch. It covers touch, mouse, pen, and keyboard input. Developers need to understand the differences between the way pen digitizer works compared to a stylus that uses a capacitive touch screen. This chapter covers all the details that you need to know to get a firm grasp on the differences. This chapter also covers the basic Windows 8 gestures including tapped, right tapped, holding, and crossline.

Part III is a new section which took chapter 7 of the last version of the book, broke it into 3 chapters, and enhanced the material.

Chapter 7 is very important chapter in part three. This chapter covers the lifecycle of an application from launching to suspending to resuming to killing and terminating. It also covers how applications interact with the Windows store.

Chapter 8 covers the threading model for Windows Store Apps, displaying multiple windows, and navigating between pages.

Chapter 9 covers one of the topics developers are going to want to learn, which is how to support a free trial, and later how enable a full license of their application to be purchased.

Part IV is all about controls, images, audio, and video. The controls covered include Button , HyperlinkButton , RepeatButton , ToggleButton , CheckBox , RadioButton , ToolTip , AppBar, Items Panels , ComboBox , ListBox , ListView , GridView , FlipView , SemanticZoom , TextBlock , RichTextBlock , TextBox , RichEditBox, MenuFlyout, Hub, and PasswordBox. The chapter on images not only covers the Image Element but includes coverage on encoding and decoding images. The chapter on audio and video include coverage of playback, capture, and transcoding. There is a ton of material covered in part four!!!

Part V digs deep into XAML capabilities. Chapter 14 covers vector graphics which included shapes, geometries, and brushes. Chapter 15 covers animation which includes theme transitions and animations, custom animations, custom keyframe animations, easing functions, and manual animations. The title of Chapter 16 Styles, Templates, and Visual States some up exactly what that chapters about.

Part VI covers a ton of information on how your application will integrate with the Windows 8 environment. It covers where you get your data from, how to integrate with charms, and how to implement extensions. Chapter 21 covers the accelerometer, qyrometer, inclinometer, compass, light sensor, orientation, location, and proximity.

Chapter 25 covers Live Tiles, Toast Notifications, and the Lock Screen. As Windows 8 developers you are going to want to know how to use these features.

The one topic I would have liked to have seen more on in Part VI is using SQLite. I mentioned this in my review of the previous version of this book. So far all the books that I have read on Windows 8 Apps tell you that it's available, but they don't explain how to use it. The apps I am working on are going to need a robust local data cache, and App Data and User Data are not going to be able to handle it.

Part VII cover integrating with DirectX, building custom controls and components, and building custom panels for layout.

Another thing I would like to see added to the book is a chapter on MVVM. The author says this, "You won’t find examples of patterns such as Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) in this book. I am a fan of applying such patterns to code, but I don’t want to distract from the core lessons in each chapter. Whether you’re new to XAML or a long-time XAML developer, I hope you find this book to exhibit all these attributes."

I know there is plenty of MVVM material available, but I would still like to see the author provide his view on how to use it in the context of the material presented in this book.

There really is not a chapter in this book that should be skipped. Every chapter contains a wealth of valuable information for those looking to get into Windows 8 development.

The author's writing style is very clean and easy to understand making the book an enjoyable read.

The code samples are well organized, very usable and work as downloaded. I mention the work as download because lately I have been downloads some author's code samples and the time it takes to get them to work is more than they are worth.

Over all this is an awesome book. It is a must have for any Windows 8.1 developer of any level.


Windows 8.1 Apps with XAML and C# Unleashed

Windows 8.1 Apps with XAML and C# Unleashed

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Swiss innovators dizmo Inc. launches its ground-breaking software, which turns any digital surface into an immersive platform. The dizmo platform seamlessly connects digital and physical objects in the home and at the workplace. Dizmo breaks down traditional boundaries between device, operating systems, apps and software, transforming the way users work, play and live. It supports orchestration and collaboration in an unparalleled way enabling any data to instantaneously be accessed on any surface, anywhere and made interactive. Dizmo brings fantasies as seen in Sci-fi movies such as Iro...
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
This Internet of Nouns trend is still in the early stages and many of our already connected gadgets do provide human benefits over the typical infotainment. Internet of Things or IoT. You know, where everyday objects have software, chips, and sensors to capture data and report back. Household items like refrigerators, toilets and thermostats along with clothing, cars and soon, the entire home will be connected. Many of these devices provide actionable data - or just fun entertainment - so people can make decisions about whatever is being monitored. It can also help save lives.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
Arrow Electronics Inc. announced its Internet of Things Immersions Roadshow that will showcase how “Interconnected Intelligence” is changing the way the world interacts and solves problems with technology. The Immersions tour will engage the world’s top technology leaders to discuss comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) building blocks and how businesses can leverage Interconnected Intelligence to improve lives throughout the world. With forums in four key U.S. markets, Arrow connects technology developers with leading-edge suppliers to provide insights about IoT technologies and services,...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, will discuss the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergen...