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December 2013

Bye, bye 2013

2013 was a interesting year. I'm just doing the last corretions for an update of my most important Wrox book: Professional C# 5 and .NET 4.5.1. This edition includes updates for the Windows Runtime 2 (Windows Store apps with Windows 8.1), Entity Framework 6, ASP.NET Web API 2, and more.

What have been my other important activities in 2013? This blog post is about conferences, workshops, Windows Store apps, and more :-)

Conferences: after several years I had a talk again at TechEd - in New Orleans and in Madrid - speaking about Tiles, Toasts, and Notifications with Windows Store apps. Other conferences I've been engaged with: Basta! in Darmstadt and Mainz, and Microsoft Big Day and Advanced Developers Conference in Vienna talking about C# Async, Windows Store Apps, WPF 4.5, Entity Framework 6...

Customer workshops and coaching mainly have been about C#, WPF, ASP.NET MVC, Entity Framework, Parallel Programming, HTML5, Web API, Windows Azure, and Windows Store Apps.

I've some new apps in the Windows Store. My first Windows Store app was already released in 2012: Kantine. This app shows the menus and information about the restaurant in Vienna. It's only available in Austria, but in 2014 it will be available in other markets as well. Tourists might be interested in information about the restaurant as well.

A complete new app is the Menu Card app. This app - currently available in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, helps restaurants to create their menu cards, and use a JSON service to directly integrate them with a Website. The Kantine app will use a JSON feed created from the Menu Card app in the next version.


Picture Search that not only allows searching for pictures but also showing them endlessly full-screen (also with PlayTo to the X-Box), got a major update for Windows 8.1. This app is available worldwide. As searches with this app increase, I'm hoping to have the costs for Bing searches covered by the ads, or by users switching to the paid version of this app. Let's see... Having the ads in the app at least helped understanding users still don't find the appbar. This influenced the UI of the latest update that is just available in the store.

  Picture Search 1

Hardware: I'm happy with my Surface 2 and Surface Pro. The Surface 2 replaced my Surface RT. I'm usually using this device without a keyboard (although a touch cover is attached, but this is mainly used instead of a sleeve). The Surface Pro usually is connected to multiple monitors, external keyboards and mouse. When I'm in the hotel, multiple monitors are connected as well. In the hotel just the size of the external monitor is smaller. I'm running Visual Studio 2013 on the Surface Pro to develop all kind of different apps. I still need to get a new Surface Pro 2 in 2014. I'm waiting for the edition with 8 GB memory that is not yet available in Austria.

The next blog article will be about 2014. See you there :-)



Picture Search v2

Picture Search is updated for Windows 8.1. This app makes use of Bing to search for images. Images found can be shared, and shown in a slide show.


One change of the new version is obvious with Windows 8.1: instead of using the search contract, this version makes use of a search box in the main screen:


Other than that, there are more small changes like doing full-screen picture shows, The picture show can be continuous repeated (I was in need for this using Picture Search at a conference booth), a way to delete pictures (to exclude them from the picture show), a new main screen layout, geolocation for searches...

You can also send the picture show with PlayTo to the XBox. This feature will be more detectable in future versions. The secret here: just open Devices on the Charms bar, click Play, and connect it to another device.

Using Bing from apps is free only for the first 5000 searches. What I tried with the first version of this app was to allow users to enter their own Bing id within the app. This would give 5000 searches/month for every user. However, the need to register with Bing is a task that is too complex, so I need a different way to cover my cost.

In this version I'm allowing more free searches than with previous app releases. I've added ads to the app. Depending on the results with this, the number of free searches can be reduced or increased in future versions. Of course you can get rid of the ads by changing to a paid version with monthly, quarterly, and yearly packages.

Now let's start the search with Picture Search:



And here is the link to Picture Search:


CN innovation