One of the new features of Windows Phone 8.1 is sharing, very much like the share charm in Windows 8, and the new file picker.
The share contract allows apps to share freely with no limitations on the content type. Text, links, HTML, images, files, or even custom file types.
The new file picker goes a step further. Apps can use it to open and save files in the phone’s storage, SD card, or OneDrive.
If an app wants to load pictures, the user will be presented with the photos app. But if you need to get to a photo in another location (like your SD card or OneDrive), you can select ‘Choose location’ on the Photos app’s app bar and access the file picker.
A very nice twist: custom apps can be file providers too and allow their files/data to be accessed by the user using other apps.
This works in both Windows Runtime apps (i.e. Universal Apps) and Silverlight 8.1 apps.
To learn more on the topic, have a look at The Build 2014 session: “Contracts and Pickers: Building Apps that Work Together on Windows”
Also, Internet Explorer 11 now allows to download/save files when tapping on a link on a webpage.
You can then immediately access the downloaded file using IE:
…or you can connect your phone to your computer, access it’s folders and find a new subfolder “Downloads” containing the downloaded files.
Also, the newly available “Field Medic” App, a premier diagnostic application for Windows Phone that allows easy collection of device information and ETW logs right from your device, adds its own, user accessible folder where collected logs are stored.
Very nice, indeed!
I recently created this hands-on lab and ran it in an on-site event here at Microsoft Switzerland. People gave me very good feedback so I decided to publish it in full.
The lab contains everything you need to complete the exercise, including a detailed, 50 page step-by-step manual as Word- or PDF document. Every step is well explained so you don’t need prior Windows App development experience.
In it, you will be creating a YouTube video player app from scratch (File, new Project) for a specific YouTube channel and publish it to the Microsoft store. The final app will look something like the following, but you can tailor it to your YouTube channel of choice.
The lab also makes use of some of the new Windows 8.1 controls like the Hub and the Microsoft Player Framework to play back streaming video.
Windows 8 features like the App bar, asynchronous programming and sharing videos through the Share Charm are all covered.
Also, all the sometimes confusing publishing steps are explained in detail, including how to optimally create properly sized screen-shots using the simulator in Visual Studio 2013…
…how to properly describe the app select the right category and markets…
…and test the app using the “Windows App Certification Kit”, so publishing is as smooth as possible.
All you need to complete the lab is a computer running Windows 8.1 and a version of Visual Studio 2013, that can create XAML/C# based Windows store apps. The free “Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows” edition will do just fine.
Give me the Files!
You can download the whole lab from: http://corti.ch/w81-store-hol
Learn from this Windows 8.1 Power User Guide about the advanced, new features of Windows 8.1, such as the enhancements to the file explorer, the new task manager, Internet Explorer 11, the mobility center, Windows To Go and SkyDrive Pro.
The best part: It’s one short and well structured PDF document.
Download it here.
Microsoft Virtual Academy Live events presents a fast-paced live virtual session on “Porting Unity games to Windows 8.1 & Windows Phone” for developers, free of charge.
Basic knowledge of the Unity editor and engine is recommended.
The event will be hosted by Michael “Mickey” Macdonald, a Microsoft Technical Evangelist @ScruffyFurn and Bryan Griffiths, Video Game Design Instructor at triOS College.
The live event will take place December 6, 2013 / 9:00am – 5:00pm (PST)
Details and registration at http://corti.ch/6bkoc
If you are a developer of Windows Phone apps, you can update your Windows Phone 8 device to the announced OS update titled “Update 3” or “GDR 3” now.
Requirements are that you (a) have an active Windows Phone Dev Center account; OR (b) have an active App Studio account; OR (c) be running a registered developer device (‘dev unlocked’ phone)
Note that You CANNOT REVERT to a previous OS version once you have taken an update via this program.
The tool itself is very simple, allowing you to opt-in or -out of pre-releases of the Phone OS with one click.
The download is available here: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/preview-for-developers/178ac8a1-6519-4a0b-960c-038393741e96
Skype updated its Windows Phone 8 app today, adding video messaging.
This is another great way to keep in touch. Once you have updated the app, just open a conversation and tap + to create a new video. New to Skype? You can download the latest version of the app from the Windows Phone Store.
There’s more about the new update on the Skype Garage Blog today.
Even though I mostly use OneNote, I keep Evernote around for snapped business cards. The Windows version of the desktop client just had a major update to version 5, which looks very nice and handles very fast.
Have a look at the official blog post about the release for a lot of details.
Now I am only hoping for an updated Windows 8 store app version to make the Windows Evernote clients just perfect.