Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: PagerDuty Blog, Robert Reeves, Liz McMillan, JP Morgenthal, Automic Blog

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers

Microsoft Cloud: 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.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
With DevOps becoming more well-known and established practice in nearly every industry that delivers software, it is important to continually reassess its efficacy. This week’s top 10 includes a discussion on how the quick uptake of DevOps adoption in the enterprise has posed some serious challenges. Additionally, organizations who have taken the DevOps plunge must find ways to find, hire and keep their DevOps talent in order to keep the machine running smoothly.
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...