Click here to close now.

Welcome!

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.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and hig...
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI In...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
Live Webinar with 451 Research Analyst Peter Christy. Join us on Wednesday July 22, 2015, at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET In a world where users are on the Internet and the applications are in the cloud, how do you maintain your historic SLA with your users? Peter Christy, Research Director, Networks at 451 Research, will discuss this new network paradigm, one in which there is no LAN and no WAN, and discuss what users and network administrators gain and give up when migrating to the agile world of clo...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
SYS-CON Media announced today that CloudBees, the Jenkins Enterprise company, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON's DevOps Journal. CloudBees' campaigns focus on the business value of Continuous Delivery and how it has been recognized as a game changer for IT and is now a top priority for organizations, and the best ways to optimize Jenkins to ensure your continuous integration environment is optimally configured.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
"In the IoT space we are helping customers, mostly enterprises and industry verticals where time-to-value is critical, and we help them with the ability to do faster insights and actions using our platform so they can transform their business operations," explained Venkat Eswara, VP of Marketing at Vitria, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
"We provide a web application framework for building really sophisticated web applications that run on a browser without any installation need so we get used for biotech, defense, and banking applications," noted Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit (http://DevOpsSummit.SYS-CON.com), held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
"The idea of polyglot persistence is you have to apply the right database for the job - you always have to have many different databases in play. We offer that whole system as a service," explained Raj Singh, Developer Advocate for IBM Cloud Data Services, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.