W8WIL #4: Pinch-to-Zoom and Rotate in the Simulator

As most of you may have figured out, I’ve been doing a fair amount of Windows 8 development over the last year or so, much of it focused on HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript apps. In this 3rd (whoops! It’s the 4th, not 3rd) installment of my Windows 8: What I’ve Learned series, I’ll share some tips on using the Windows Simulator for testing your Windows Store apps.

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Exploring HTML5 Canvas: Part 7 – Optimizing Animations

[This is part 7 of an ongoing series of posts examining the HTML5 Canvas element. In Part 1 of this series, I introduced Canvas and prepared a template to make further explorations a bit simpler, and also introduced JsFiddle, a neat tool for experimenting with and sharing web code. In Part 2, I demonstrated the ability of Canvas to allow your page background to shine through, and showed you how to render simple shapes on the drawing surface. In Part 3, I showed how to draw paths and text in Canvas. In Part 4, I showed how to transform the drawing context and scale, rotate, and skew your drawings. In Part 5, I introduced basic animation concepts, including the animation loop. In Part 6, I demonstrated some techniques for managing multiple animated shapes in your Canvas implementations.]

Performance Matters

As you start working with HTML5 Canvas, one of the things that you may discover is that the more things you’re drawing, the more likely it is that you will run into performance issues, particularly if your code is not optimized. This is also true the larger your canvas gets, which may especially impact full-screen games or similar implementations.

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Want to Match Windows 8 Colors in Your HTML?

My fellow evangelist Ed Donahue shows you the hex color codes:

In my own projects I really like to have correct colors. With Windows 8 coming out, more and more of my projects are around Windows 8. I’m not much of a designer, but sometimes I like to play pretend. I was able to grab these colors from Windows 8 RTM. I’m only including the HEX code because RGB would have been a pain to copy from the programs I use. If you need RGB, there are lots of HEX to RGB color converters online. I hope you find these useful!

This first set of colors is from the tiles found on the Start Screen, such as Mail, Calendar, Store, Video, Music and Messaging. With these tiles there is a gradient from left to right that is dark to light for both sizes of tiles. The colors listed are for the wide tile except for Sky Blue since SkyDrive only has the smaller tile.

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Microsoft DevRadio: Reasons Why You Should Develop a Windows 8 App

I’m pleased to announce the availability of my next episode of Microsoft DevRadio, in which I talk to my fellow Technical Evangelist Jennifer Marsman about the top reasons for developing applications for Windows 8. From market potential and size, optimized discovery, flexible and money making opportunities, as well as free tools and guidance— there’s no better time than right now to develop your Windows 8 app.

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Microsoft DevRadio: Top 10 Windows 8 Secrets for App Success

I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to host another episode of Microsoft DevRadio. In this episode, Chris Bowen shares with us his Top 10 Windows 8 secrets for App success. Tune in as Chris and I discuss the incredible money making opportunities available for developers who jump in and develop applications for Windows 8 as well as what free tools and services are available to help you along the way.

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Updating a Windows 8 JavaScript app from RC to RTM

Now that the Windows 8 RTM version is available to MSDN Subscribers (and a 90-day trial version is available for non-subscribers), it’s a good time to update your app to the RTM version of Visual Studio 2012. Updating to RTM is required to submit an app for the Windows Store, and it’s a pretty painless process.

Updating WinJS

One significant change between apps built with the Visual Studio 2012 release candidate and those built with RTM is the version of the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) used. WinJS has been updated for RTM, so if you’re migrating an app from RC to RTM, you’ll need to update WinJS. There are two parts to this process:

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Follow-up On Backups: Mounting a System Image

Yesterday, I posted about my practice of using the built in system image creation tools in Windows 7 and Windows 8 to create a backup of my system whenever I’m getting ready to upgrade.

Now, if something goes tragically wrong, I can just boot to a system repair disk, and restore the image, and I’m back to where I started. But let’s suppose the install goes fine, but I find that there’s a file I need to get to from my backup, but I don’t want to restore the entire backup, just get that file.

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Preparing for Windows 8 RTM with a System Image backup

Getting RTM Bits

You’ve probably heard by now that for folks who are MSDN Subscribers, the RTM version(s) of Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 were made available for download today.

Even better, for folks who aren’t subscribers, you can grab a 90-day trial version from TechNet (do make sure to read the “Things to Know Before You Start” section for important considerations).

And you can get a bunch of developer downloads for building Windows 8 apps from the Windows 8 Developer Download page, including Design assets, sample apps, Visual Studio 2012 Express and more.

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New Windows 8 How-Do-I Videos Released

I’m pleased to announce that a new series of short videos, called “How Do I?” created by your local Microsoft Technical Evangelists has been posted to Channel 9. Contributors include Jeff Barnes, Jeremy Foster, David Isbitski, and of course yours truly. Running between 8 and 15 minutes, these videos are intended to give you solid technical information on a specific topic in Windows 8 development, with no fluff, plenty of code examples, and kept short enough that you can easily fit them into your busy schedule.

My first foray, covering how to implement the Settings contract in a Windows 8 app written with HTML5 and JavaScript, is embedded below (note: for best viewing of the code, click the button at the bottom right of the player to view the video full-screen):

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MADExpo 2012

It’s taken me a bit longer to get to this post than I’d anticipated, but I wanted to share some info on the Mid-Atlantic Developer Expo, which wrapped it’s second iteration at the end of June. As with the first MADExpo in 2011, it was a fun event, combining software from a wide variety of platforms (from Windows 8 to iOS, from Perl to Ruby), with a healthy dose of hardware hacking and demos, along with a program for kids.

This year we added a third day, spread the MADKidz mini-conference over a couple of days, and welcomed nearly 250 folks to the Hampton Roads Convention Center for 3 days of learning, networking, and inspiration.

We had a great attendee party at a local venue called Cinebistro, which featured bowling, pool, great munchies, and more. And a pleasant surprise was that they did not have blasting music that made it impossible to talk (something which is unfortunately all too common for similar venues), so there was much great conversation, in addition to all the bowling and other fun.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of folks from my travels in .NET Gadgeteer, including Gus Issa, founder and President of GHI Electronics (GHI makes many of the Gadgeteer boards and modules I use…full disclosure: Gus occasionally provides boards and/or modules to me for testing or demo projects at no cost…though my wife would tell you I’ve also spent plenty of my own money on GHI products as well). Gus was a small business sponsor at the conference, and we had a great time talking about some ideas for how to make our demo area even more awesome for 2013. I also finally got to meet Valentin Ivanov (aka Architect) who is arguably THE most knowledgeable person I know about .NET Gadgeteer and .NET Micro Framework stuff. There’s a reason he’s called a Legend in the TinyCLR community.

Thank Yous

The first important task is thanking all the folks who made it possible:

  • Steve Bodnar – Steve led our team as the President of MADExpo, and did so with his usual professionalism and diligence. Steve provides a great backbone for the organization, and his leadership is greatly appreciated.
  • Steve Presley – The other Steve in our organization (having 2 Steves makes our conference calls pretty interesting), Steve Presley once again wore many hats, from web guru, to helping compile the schedule, to organizing content for integration with EventBoard, to late night badge printing, and probably some areas I don’t even know about. Steve rocks.
  • Kevin Griffin – Kevin led the speaker selection and scheduling, and still managed to make it to the conference despite the impending arrival of a new baby. No stress there.
  • Pete Brown – For the second year, Pete led the planning and recruiting for our hardware demo room. Pete and I had fun with it this year, with both of us having a table full of gear at one end of the room, and each of us got to have our own huge LCD monitor for showing off code and such (courtesy of Steve Bodnar’s company, Geeks and Gurus). Pete is a geek’s geek, and I can’t imagine anyone else running the demo show at MADExpo.
  • Justin Etheredge – Justin stepped it up a notch this year, taking on a major role in recruiting and organizing sponsors for this year’s conference. Sponsors are absolutely key to any event of this size, so thanks to Justin for his great work in this area.
  • Perry Neal – Perry was another key player in identifying and getting commitments from sponsors. Perry did lots of legwork to ensure that we could afford to feed all of our attendees, among other things.
  • Joel Cochran, Jim Christopher, and Sean and Jean Westcott – Joel and Jim did a great job teaching day 1 of MADKidz, providing an introduction to programming via Small Basic. And Sean and Jean brought their Introduction to Electronics 101 session to MADKidz, teaching about circuits and soldering. All of them were a huge help in making MADKidz a success this year.
  • My fellow Microsofties, Dani Diaz and David Isbitski – Dani and Dave came down to speak for the second year in a row. Dave was a big help with the Windows 8 camp day that was part of my responsibilities at the event. Dave gave two of the 5 talks, while Dani picked up one, plus another session he did on cloud development for mobile devices.
  • Kristy Moon – After volunteering on-site last year, this year Kristy used her awesome web design skills to give our website a makeover. What was amazing was that she didn’t throw everything out and start from scratch. Instead, she made many changes to the existing site, some obvious (including some great logos and imagery for MADKidz and the site as a whole) and some subtle, to bring a wonderful level of polish and cohesiveness to the site.
  • I’d also be remiss if I didn’t again thank my wife Jennifer, who helped with MADKidz, FedExKinkos runs, and more. Thanks also to Kevin Jones, who helped out onsite with bag stuffing and check-in (and thanks to all the other folks who helped with bag stuffing as well). Several speakers also helpfully volunteered to help with setup tasks on Wednesday morning, as well as helping us break things down on Friday. You all rock!
  • Lots of other folks from the local developer community joined us on planning calls, offered ideas, and helped in a variety of ways. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
  • Last, but not least, thanks again to all our Sponsors, without whom there’d be no MADExpo. Please visit their sites, and thank them for sponsoring MADExpo.



Here are some links to blog posts about this year’s conference:



Photos from MADExpo 2012:

The robot from the Menchville FIRST Robotics team plays catch with some of the kids at MADExpo

[photo no longer online]

Attendee party at Cinebistro. Bowling, pool, munchies, and great family-friendly fun.

[photo no longer online]

A couple of the MADKidz learning about electronics (with a gratuitous plug for Telerik, who was one of the sponsors for MADKidz and brought all kinds of SWAG to boot). Hard to tell from the back, but I think the boy on the left is one of Steve Bodnar’s kids, while on the right I’m fairly sure is my oldest son, Joseph.

More photos can be found at:

If you have any photos from the event you’d like to share, please drop me a note.


As was the case last year, we saw some fantastic twitter feedback on the conference. Here’s a sampling:

I’m definitely looking forward to MADExpo 2013, and will be sure to post when we’ve finalized dates for next year!