Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blog Moving

I wanted to let everyone know that I have moved my blog over to a new site to go along with my new job.  Please join me on the new site

All of the posts from here have been moved over to the new site.  Thanks for all of the reads over the years.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TFSPreview is Dead - Long Live TFSPreview

At my day job, we have been using TFS (Team Foundation Server) for years.  It does a great job combining work items, process, and source control.  Of course the cost of it was a bit more than I could justify for use at home for all of my home projects.  My wife would have killed me.  One of my friends at Microsoft, Jim O'Neil, invited me to try out as an Azure backed TFS service.  I instantly fell in love with it.  It gave me all of the features of TFS and it was offsite for protection and it was FREE.  the one thing that the site kept saying is that it would not be free forever and that at some time the service would open up for the public and go live.  Today is the day it went live.

The live service can be found at Team Foundation Service.  There are downloads so that it can hook into Eclipse and a command-line to use with xcode.  This provides developers of many different types of apps from iOS, to Android, to WP7/8, or any Windows apps.  VS2010 or VS2012 are needed to connect to this service.  Some good news is that the site also shows that the free VS2012 Express tools can also use the service.  I think this might be the first time that the Express SKUs could access TFS.  One concern I had was what were they going to have as a free subscription level and how much was the paid version.  So for free, Microsoft is offering:

  • Up to 5 users
  • Unlimited number of projects
  • Version control
  • Work item tracking
  • Agile planning tools
  • Feedback management
  • Build (still in preview)

  • If you need more than 5 users then in 2013 the paid plans will be announced.  But for us little guys, this is a great free service.  It definitely beats some of the other TFS hosting services by making this free. 

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    WP8 SDK Finally Available

    You can now get your WP8 SDK from VS2012.  It is available and will take up to 5G of space.  Go to the VS2012 project for Windows Phone 8 and it will give you a button to start the downloading.  Looks like it will create both WP7.5 and WP8 apps. 

    WP8 Download

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    More App Store Discussions

    From my last post, a few people pointed out that the Windows 8 app store is also a tablet store and so it should be compared to the iPad store as well.  And since the iPad store is also the iOS store, you should compare the two.

    I beg to differ on this point.  Just because an app can run on an iPad because it can run iPhone specific apps, I personally think that those should not count.  I agree that any iPad or Universal app should count when you are looking at the two stores. 

    Here you can see that the iPad specific store is similar to the Mac store.  The launch dates and the number of apps are different.

    iPad App Store
    1. Launched April 2010 with 3,000 apps
    2. July 2011 reported to have 100,000 apps (16 months)
    3. Apple takes 30% of sales
    4. $100 a year to be in the store
    5. Does not allow : beta, demo, trial or test versions of software
    6. Does not allow : content that has content or services that expire
    7. Does not allow : software only licensed under GPL
    Most of what I had talked about previously is still the same.  From a developer/OEM side, the Windows store looks a lot better.  Many apps in the iPad and iOS stores are a free version and then a paid version of the same basic app.  This is a marketing tool that many iOS developers use.  They flood the market with similar apps instead of having trial/paids apps because Apple does not support that.  I would rather see as a consumer a better choice of quality apps instead of a market filled with 20+ sound effect apps that are all really the same app from the same developer.  I give those guys credit for figuring out how to be successful in the iOS store, but this just points out to a flaw in the store itself.

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    App Store Race - MS the winner??

    I was looking at an article on The Register and they were comparing the Windows 8 App store and Apples iOS App store.  Microsoft has over 3,000 apps (which 1 is mine) and iOS store has over 650,000 (11 are mine).  This got me to thinking that this is actually bad journalism and that things are not being reported correctly.  The true comparison to new Windows Store is actually the Mac App Store, not the iOS one.  So here is a comparison of the 2 desktop app stores.

    Mac App Store
    1. Launched January 6, 2011 with 1,000 apps
    2. May 2012 reported to have 10,000 apps
    3. Apple takes 30% of sales
    4. $100 a year to be in the store
    5. Does not allow : beta, demo, trial or test versions of software
    6. Does not allow : content that has content or services that expire
    7. Does not allow : software only licensed under GPL
    Windows Store
    1. Launching October 26, 2012 with over 3,000 apps
    2. Microsoft takes 30% of sales, but over $25k in sales it drops to 20%
    3. $100 a year to be in the store, but free if you have an MSDN account
    4. Has a built in trial mode for apps
    5. In-App purchases allow for purchases to expire (think like a magazine subscription)
    6. Allows open source software.  Link: ExtremeTech 
    As a developer I look at both stores, Microsoft is launching with over 3x the number of apps that Apple did.  Even after over a year, there are only around 10,000 Mac apps in the store and Microsoft is launching with over 1/3 of that.  I can see that the number after a year will be a lot higher than 10,000.

    Also as someone that is developing apps for mobile and tablets, I personally like the idea that I can have a trial app and then people can just purchase it and then they have the full one.  Right now I have some iOS apps where I have to maintain a free version and a paid version and rev both of them when a new SDK is out or new things that I want to put in.  Having a single app is very appealing to me.  I know that some of the iOS developers actually use this to their advantage to put out multiple versions of a single app - this one does animal sounds, this one does English voices, etc and then flood the category with multiple free and paid versions of each.  In the Microsoft store, this could be a single app with in-app purchases for each different thing.  Easier to maintain and enhance.  A friend of mine has close to 80 iOS apps and many of them are very similar like this.  But to me, submitting updates for all 80 would be very tedious. 

    As far as reporting that Apple has over 650,000 apps compared to Microsoft's 3,000 apps, be careful on how you read stories like that.  Are they comparing apples to apples (no pun intended) or are they comparing apples to pumpkins? 

    Microsoft will have more apps in the store at launch time than Apple did.  Microsoft is making it easier for the app developers to get people to try their apps with the trial/buy method built into the SDK.  Microsoft is taking less money after you start making a good amount.  Microsoft is supporting the open source movement better than Apple.  Microsoft is giving store developer accounts to people with MSDN subscriptions for free, where Apple will make sure that you pay for it.

    Desktop App Store Winner -- Microsoft

    Now go make some more apps for the store.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Windows 8 RTM and the Win8 store - thumbs up??

    One of the benefits of having an MSDN subscription is that you get access to the latest operating systems and tools before they are released to the general public.  I got access to the RTM (Released To Manufacturing) and needed to install it to submit my latest version of Thoughts and Prayers for the Windows 8 store.  I wanted to share a few things about the install and upgrades for Windows 8.

    In the MSDN account, Microsoft generously provides 5 Windows 8 retail and 5 Windows 8 Pro licenses.  This is great so that I can put it on my laptop, my tablet and have extras.  My youngest son also wanted me to install Windows 8 on his desktop machine.  I figured it would be a good test for doing an upgrade from Vista to Win8 and I would not be putting my development system in jeopardy of being DOA. 

    Windows 8

    Let's start with the upgrade on my son's desktop.  This is a custom built machine that I put together years ago.  It is an AMD 4400, with 2G of ram and many different hard drives.  We first did just a standard upgrade.  One of the first things I noticed is that the desktop was missing many of the icons that he had before the upgrade.  Then we tested some of the icons that were left and they did not work at all.  He uses this system to do video editing, watch videos, and play and host a Minecraft server from it.  So I decided to get him a new 2TB drive and just install the OS fresh.  This system already had 3 SATA drives and a PATA drive in it.  So after the install, which went pretty smoothly, I decided that I wanted to get rid of all of those old drives.  I found a utility from SysInternals called Disk2VHD.  This lets you copy a disk and create a VHD that you can just mount in Windows 8.  It took a while to create all of the VHDs but it worked well.  Of course when we pulled the drives out we realized that the boot sector of one of the drives we removed was the active partition and we could not boot, so my son decided to just reinstall overtop again.  This moved everything from the desktop and Windows folders to be copied into desktop.old and Windows.old folders for safe keeping.  I am now connecting to his machine and mounting the drives and cleaning them up so that I can get some data off that I need for other projects.

    For my laptop, I decided that I would get a new SSD to put in because I have 2 bays for drives.  This way I can put my 512GB drive as a secondary for storage.  I prefer to put a new operating system on a clean drive so that I don't cause issues with projects I am working on.  After I ordered and got a drive, the install worked smooth.  And the download and install of VS2012 was equally uneventful.

    Win8 Store

    I download my source code from TFSPreview and recompile.  One issue that I had at first is that the PubCenter Ad system did not have a version for the RTM.  It only had the Release Preview.  This of course causes a problem.  Luckily, the Ad system was updated the next day. 

    After testing, everything looked good and I go to submit.  I then go to open my store account and my Live Account tells me that the machine has not be trusted on the account so I cannot log in.  The only thing I could do is to look at the security info and to see that I needed to log in with my old drive to authorize the new hardware.  I switch the drive back and my Live Account does not recognize it as my trusted machine either.  It was very frustrating that I could not confirm any security info and I could not trust the new machine.  I did not have this issue with the previous versions of Windows 8 at all.  The only clue on what to do said that to trust a new machine you had to have Windows Live Essentials installed.  I installed it but things did not work.  I tried this multiple times and emailed a few people that I know at Microsoft but nothing would work.  I finally decided to email the support for my Live Account to see what I could do.  After that about an hour later, I was able to actually trust my machine and get things into the store.


    First I want to say that I love using Windows 8.  My son's old desktop also runs very well, and actually better than it did before the upgrade.  The only issue I have is that Microsoft has stated that the upgrade to Windows 8 will work on machines all the way down to XP.  In my experience, this did not work. 

    The only other warning that I will give is to make sure that you have all of your security info confirmed and machines trusted before even starting.  The issue I had was because the only confirmed issue was the old pc name.  If you had an email or cell phone number confirmed you might have been able to use that instead. 

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Azure Tools

    I was reading some things on Azure today and found links to a couple Azure tools.  One issue is that the MMC plugin will only install if you have the Azure SDK 1.4 installed. Well, the SDK is up to 1.6 now so it won't install.  But you can keep an eye on it for the future.

    Azure PowerShell cmdlets

    Azure mmc plugin