REST service base class for Windows Phone 8.1 XAML apps

Communicating with a JSON based REST service is a task that many Windows Phone apps have to do. My apps sure do it a lot so I came up with a base class that I use in all of them, put it on Github and created a Nuget package, so your apps could use it to.

The usage of this base class is simple. Create your service class and inherit from BaseRestService. The minimum you need to do to make it work is to override the GetBaseUrl() method to set the base url for all the requests. You can (but do not have to) also override the GetRequestHeaders() method to set the default request headers.

public class MyDataService: BaseRestService
{
  protected override string GetBaseUrl()
  {
    return "my base url";
  }
  
  protected override Dictionary<string, string> GetRequestHeaders()
  {
    return new Dictionary<string, string>
    {
      {"Accept-Encoding", "gzip, deflate"},
      {"Accept", "application/json"},
    };
  }
}

and you can now use the following protected methods

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Visual Studio template for Caliburn.Micro Windows Phone apps

I have been building Windows Phone apps using the Caliburn.Micro framework for some time now. Setting up a new project takes some time and can be easily automated, so I decided to create a Visual Studio template for Windows Phone apps build with Caliburn.Micro.

The templates can be downloaded from the Visual Studio Extensions gallery and used to build Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 Silverlight apps. It contains the basic setup with Caliburn Micro and Fody, with a sample view and viewmodel.

The source code is available on GitHub, so if you want to modify it to best suit your needs, feel free to do it.


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Detecting tablets and smartphones in ASP.NET

I recently worked on an ASP.NET application that needed to detect if users were coming from tablets or smartphones. The project used data from http://user-agent-string.info/ to do this detection, but the result were not really good. We needed a better solution, so I came up with using WURFL.

WURFL, the Wireless Universal Resource FiLe, is a Device Description Repository (DDR), i.e. a software component that maps HTTP Request headers to the profile of the HTTP client (Desktop, Mobile Device, Tablet, etc.) that issued the request. Adding WURFL to your ASP.NET application is easy thanks to the WURFL_Official_API Nuget package. The Nuget package also contains definition file, so you just need to update the Nuget package once in a while to get your definition file up to date.

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asp  csharp 

TvTime: track your favorite TV shows on Windows Phone

We have just had released a new app called TvTime. TvTime is a simple and beautiful app for tracking your favorite TV Shows. Simply add a find the TV Shows you like, add them to the list and get detailed information about actors, air times and episodes. If you decide to track unwatched episodes, you will always know what you have already seen. So get TvTime now so you never miss your favorite TV Show!

Main features

  • clean and simple design
  • thousands of TV Shows to choose
  • tracking unwatched episodes
  • live tile
  • show and episodes details

You can download the app for free here.

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What to put on the about screen of your Windows Phone app

The about screen of a Windows Phone app is usually the most overlooked part of the app. Sure, the users usually visit it only once, after installing the app, if ever, but it is a part of your Windows Phone app that you could put to a good use.

If you have ever taken a DVLUP challenge you may have noticed, that they recommend you place a text describing your app on the about screen. I really do not agree with this. If users install your app, they know what the app does and if they cannot figure it out, then your UI is a failure and the about screen will not save you.

After some trial and error I came up with a standardized about screen I now use in all my apps. It is a pivot with two tabs; About and More apps.

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