Real-Time Communication to Xamarin App via SignalR and Azure API App Services

There are times where your website or mobile app would like to show live data, such as scores in real-time. And I don’t mean hitting an api on a timer but to populate with a new set of data auto-magically. This repo consists of an API and a few demo projects that make that happen. Using .NET Web API and Signal R. Read more “Real-Time Communication to Xamarin App via SignalR and Azure API App Services”

Bits and Bytes: Migration of Azure Mobile Services to Azure App Services

For the past year Azure Mobile Services has come a long way. From adding easy access to making custom API’s and table scripts to combining push notifications and identity management. However, this past December Mobile Services has a new name, App Services. App Services now contains, Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Logic Apps and API Apps. Read more “Bits and Bytes: Migration of Azure Mobile Services to Azure App Services”

KISS PARSE GOODBYE

Bits and Bytes: Forget Parse, Use Azure Mobile Services to Create an API for your Mobile App or Website

When you are building a mobile app or a website mostly likely you are going to need some type of data repository. This can be either files, video or in the form of a “database”. In order to access these repositories you need some sort of access mechanism. Sometimes it is a library or SDK others it is a connection to the database. However, with a mobile app or even websites that are distributed the connection to these repositories can be tricky. You need to create some sort of endpoint for these. Back in the day these were called Web Services now they are called API or Web API’s. Creating them can be time consuming as well. You have to create all of the routines needed to get and put data. You will need to create authentication mechanisms to make sure the proper user is getting and putting data. All in all this could be very time consuming.

Read more “Bits and Bytes: Forget Parse, Use Azure Mobile Services to Create an API for your Mobile App or Website”

Building Cross Platform Apps with Visual Studio

If you don’t know it already, mobile apps are all the rage. From social networking to pictures and videos to gaming, the app ecosystem is where you want to be. But what if you are a “one-stack” developer? What if you only know HTML/JavaScript? What if your expertise lies in Web Development? Well, they all have their challenges but over the next few articles I will try to demystify the mobile development process especially when it comes to cross platform development. The “one-stack” developer has is a bit easier. They know what the hardware will be. They know the screen size and capabilities of the device. They can reuse code over and over again and create some high quality apps. The “multiple-stack” developer has an advantage as well. They know how to code for multiple platforms. They know what may or may not be possible for each of the platforms. Lets look at the “stacks” and define them a bit.

Read more “Building Cross Platform Apps with Visual Studio”

Mix Master 2000: Intel Edison, NodeJS, Apache Cordova App

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I got an Intel Edison with a breakout kit along with a SeeedStudio IoT kit. Getting the Edison up and running was straightfoward but once that was complete the next step was “what to build?”. How abut a temperature app? Or a sound sensor? Or a blinking light. None of those thrilled me. Plus I wanted to do something totally different. I am more of an “app” guy so I started thinking about ‘apps’ that can communicate with the Edison. What can I send over to the Edison? Hmmm.

So I started where I always start for brainstorming app ideas, Programmable Web and Mashery. I scoured their listing of API’s to find one that jumped out at me. I did find one. The Absolut Vodka Drink Recipe DB. I can get drink recipes and send them to the LCD screen. This could come in handy instead of fumbling through a recipe book, or even an app. Have the LCD attached to either the shaker or the base and scroll through the steps needed to make the drink.

Read more “Mix Master 2000: Intel Edison, NodeJS, Apache Cordova App”

Microsoft WebCamp – coming to a city near you!

sign-me-up

The new release of ASP.NET and Web Tools for Visual Studio 2013 puts the power to build cutting-edge websites right at your fingertips. Even better? Once you build a beautiful, interactive site, you can easily deploy and scale it with Microsoft Azure!

Join us for a free WebCamp and learn how to elevate your coding – in just one day. WebCamps are live, no-fluff events created for developers, by developers. You’ll learn from lively, informative experts who start with the basics and ramp up to advanced topics as the day goes on. Here are some of the topics we’ll cover in these hands-on sessions:

  • Introduction to ASP.NET and Visual Studio 2013 Web Tooling
  • Building web applications using the latest ASP.NET technologies
  • Building web front ends for both desktop and mobile using the latest web standards
  • API Services for both web and devices
  • Running, improving and maintaining a site in the real world
  • Real-time communications with SignalR

Don’t miss this free opportunity to sharpen your coding skills – regardless of which languages or platforms you use. We speak them all. We’ll also give away a $100 Microsoft Store gift card to one lucky attendee at each event! You must be present to win.*

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Select a date below to register online.

Attendance is limited, so save your seat today.

Add SoundCloud to your App Studio Project

I’m excited to announce my next tutorial series of adding SoundCloud API to an App Studio project. We look at creating the app out on App Studio as well as different options to integrate SoundCloud into the app. Over the next few weeks I am going to explore adding the SoundCloud services into an app generated by Windows Phone App Studio. If you do not know what Windows Phone App Studio is, you can view the site or follow my tutorials to get you up to speed. In short, it is an online tool to quickly generate Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 apps. You are provided with the source code and have the ability to extend your generated app. Read more “Add SoundCloud to your App Studio Project”

Windows Phone App Studio + SoundCloud = Music Apps

This article assumes you are familiar with Windows Phone App Studio and have created at least one application using it. We are going to implement the SoundCloud api into Windows Phone App Studio. In the first part of this series we will make a connection to SoundCloud and pull in our predefined tracks that we specify within app studio. Later, we will look at playing these tracks using Background Audio as well as integrate playlists from SoundCloud. Lets dive in! Read more “Windows Phone App Studio + SoundCloud = Music Apps”

Windows 8 App Developer Workshop Farmington CT

Screenshot (3)Attend a free hands-on workshop this weekend, October 12th 2013! This one is perfect for beginning developers and experienced coders alike. Get individual guidance on designing, building, marketing and publishing your app. Who knows? Your app could entertain, educate or even change the world!

The App Development Workshops provide you Windows 8 and Windows Phone starter kits based on well-known open data API’s such as Twitter, Meetup, Instagram, Edmunds and many more.

By attending a workshop you will:

1. Code Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps by leveraging our API starter kits
2. Publish your apps to the Windows and Windows Phone stores
3. Market your app online and through social media to drive downloads

Workshop Agenda

Hour 1 Presentation: Getting started with the Windows App Starter Kits

Hours 2 & 3 Code your app following our Hands-On Lab Workbooks and get expert, personal help with your project

Hour 4 Presentation: Marketing Apps 101

Refreshments will be served

MeetupSign up over at Meetup.

 

View the resources need for this event.

 

Google Places for iOS 5 SDK

I am integrating the Google Places API into an iPhone app that I am building.  I found an existing library that uses Google Local Search but that is deprecated.  So I forked that solution and came up with Google Places Library.

As the story goes…when the application is configured to allow current location, the fun begins.

First configure your project to include the CoreLocation and the MapKit framework.  I am using a single view project for this example but it can be any project really.

In the RootViewController I need to define some delegates.  Since I will be embedding a UITableView and UISearchBar I need the following to be added: <UITextFieldDelegate, UITableViewDelegate, UITableViewDataSource, UISearchBarDelegate, CLLocationManagerDelegate, GooglePlacesConnectionDelegate>

UITableViewDelegate – will help populate the data on my table.

UISearchBarDelegate – will perform some interactions with the searching of places

CLLocationManagerDelegate – will get the location

GooglePlacesConnectionDelegate – will perform the main search

Once that is complete I can then add some outlets for my UI and set up some properties.

Lets move on to the meat and potatoes of this app.  Within the .m file I need to initialize some of my variables and get the GoogleConnection going.

Do not forget to set the url connection to nil in the viewDidUnload.

Lets move to the Location Manager methods.

The first one returns a location manager or creates one if necessary

The next method really starts the fun. In my case I am constructing a URL for the Google Places API. If you are not familiar with it you can find more about it here. The url takes the following parameters:

  • key: required – your API key
  • location: required – latitude/longitude around which to retrieve Place information. Location manager will help here
  • radius: required – distance in meters. For the initial search I have 500, for the UISearchBar I moved it out to 1000.
  • sensor: required – needs to be set to TRUE if came from a device with a location sensor
  • keyword: optional – a term to be matched if searching
  • language: optional – language codes
  • name: optional – term to be matched against the names of the Places
  • types: narrows the search to a specific type of place. Here is a list

At the end of all of this the url will look like this:

https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/place/search/json?location=-33.8670522,151.1957362&radius=500&types=food&name=harbour&sensor=false&key=AIzaSyAiFpFd85eMtfbvmVNEYuNds5TEF9FjIPI

The last methods are the setting of the objects and some clean up.

I am not going to dive deep into the GooglePlacesConnection class or the GooglePlacesObject. However I will say this, the GooglePlacesObject is just that. An object of the Google Place. It has an init that will take the dictionary object from the JSON results. The GooglePlacesConnection does the work of constructing of the URL and issuing the request. One thing to note, the only error checking on the Google Place request is if there are 0 results or an error with the URL or request. There are other status codes if you want to add them in if needed.

Back into the RootViewController.m, we now should have a locations NSMutableArray so we can now populate our UITableView.

We set the count of the array to the number of rows in section. We then get the locations object at the indexPath and set that to a GooglePlacesObject and populate the cell.

To handle the UISeachBar here is the code:

The second, third and fourth method handle the interaction with the UISearchBar itself. Each calls the updateSearchString method and passes in the text from the search bar. updateSearchString performs a similar search to the location manager search, except it is passing in the search string as well. If you look in the GooglePlacesConnection method I am also expanding the search radius to 1000 from 500.

That is it. You can find the source on github.

My next update will be adding a ‘pull to refresh’.