I am an enthusiast of the Microsoft ecosystem. I was starting with coding one and a half year ago by learning Windows Phone development in self study. With the incredible fast Windows 8 OS, I decided of course to go into Windows 8 development as well. Due to a growing readership of my blog and the fact that I wanted to recode my app on Windows Phone for my personal blog as well, I started the simultan development of the app both on Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
With this app users will be able to read articles from my blog on msicc.net and share them with their social networks. Of course I will fully implement the commenting system from my blog so users can read and post comments on articles/posts. It will contain also more social interacting features from within the app as well as the possibility to save articles for reading them later.
I will soon start an article series on msicc.net that will show developers how easy it is to share code between Windows 8 and Windows Phone. I will do separate articles about special parts of the code and for explicit differences as well as components that are totally equal in every version. Hopefully this articles will be helpful for some of you.
I studied common practises for such kind of apps that are spread out in the web, but decided to do some other things, too. This first article will contain an overview about the app itself, the following articles will go deeper into code for some of the important points.
About design and code usage
First I wanted to use the integrated design templates for Windows 8 as well as for Windows Phone. But they did not fit my needs, as I wanted to create something unique with my app. So I started over with blank pages in Windows and Windows Phone.
Also, nearly all apps of that kind are white or black color focused. I decided to go with blue, as this is also the "brand" color of my blog (see msicc.net). The app design is always similar, with using dedicaded controls on Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Here are some screenshots that show you the design similiarities:
I edited the controls by using Blend, to make it unique to my app(s). The blog data is pulled via Json-download from my blog and is deserialized with the Json.Net library. And here are the first code parts that are shared by both apps.
The deserialization is based on a class whit all the json objects and arrays, Both apps use the absolutely identical class, deserialized with Json.Net.
When it comes to display the article content, there where certain options: parsing the content, using a mobilizer, display the article page as a webbrowser element or open Internet Explorer. All these are used by certain apps out there, both on Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
I decided to go a slightly different way. Soon I will blog about my solution and how I made it working. It is a very smart solution, as it does not need any third party elements/libraries, using only the provided json data to achieve it. Anyway, here are two screenshots for you to have a look at the article reading view:
Of course I want to create also a good UX, so I had to find some solutions at times. The article view on Windows 8 is full capable of your mousewheel as well as the keyboard. I will add gesture for your laptop´s trackpad, too.
In both the Windows Phone and the Windows 8 app you are able to use some multitouch gestures on your screen.
I am currently exploring the exiting possibilities we have with the Windows 8 development.
As this is my entry for the Intel App Contest, I will include also sensor related functions. I am thinking here on light sensor controlled coloring of the app(s) (depends on what Windows Phone 8 will bring for this, Windows 8 provides measuring these data), or maps where you can see who is using my app all over the world and near you based on your GPS/network based geolocation. (of course this will be an "opt-in" feature, I respect your privacy!).
Points of Interest
Through the building process I learned a lot of things about shared code between applications and styling controls and resources. The hardware part is another big point where I am currently in, and I bet there will be some more awesomeness to add to my apps.
Be sure to follow my blog, category "dev stories" for more entries on these apps. Of course I will post also excerpts here on codeproject.com, so you will not miss anything.
Update: As promised, I will update this article with links to my blog regarding development of both apps. Here are the first, I will update them every time I write a new one:
Initial entry for the Intel App Innovation contest.
Microsft fan. I love the Microsoft ecosystem. Windows Phone heavy user and developer, currently diving deeply into Windows 8 development.