Kerry W. Lothrop: ALM Days 2015: Mobile in the Enterprise

The ALM Days 2015 took place on March 11 and 12 in Düsseldorf. Erstmals gab es im Rahmen der Veranstaltung einen Mobile Track. My talk had the title Mobile in the Enterprise and covered the challenges you meet when developing apps for enterprise use. The video (in German) is on Channel 9 and the slides … Continue reading ALM Days 2015: Mobile in the Enterprise

Matt Ward: TypeScript Support in Xamarin Studio

Xamarin Studio and MonoDevelop now have support for TypeScript on Linux, Mac and Windows with an alpha release of the TypeScript Addin.

Editing TypeScript in Xamarin Studio on the Mac

The TypeScript addin uses V8.NET which is a library that allows a .NET application to host Google’s V8 JavaScript engine and have JavaScript interact with .NET objects in the host application.

The ability to support Windows, Mac and Linux would not have been possible without the work done by James Wilkins and Christian Bernasko. James Wilkins created the V8.NET library and when it was first released it supported only Windows. Christian Bernasko then took V8.NET and modified it to make it work with Mono on Linux and the Mac. The TypeScript addin is using V8.NET binaries built by Christian from his port of V8.NET.

Please note that this is an alpha release and because V8.NET uses a native library it can cause Xamarin Studio or MonoDevelop to terminate if a bug is encountered.

Features

  • TypeScript compilation on save or build.
  • Code completion.
  • Find references.
  • Rename refactoring.
  • Go to declaration.
  • Errors highlighted as you type.
  • Code folding.

The addin supports:

  • Xamarin Studio MonoDevelop 5 and above.
  • TypeScript 1.4
  • Linux, Mac and Windows.

Installing the addin

The addin is currently available from MonoDevelop’s Add-in Repository in the alpha channel. By default the alpha repository is not enabled so you will have to enable it before you can find and install the addin.

In Xamarin Studio open the Add-in Manager and select the Gallery tab. Click the repository drop down and if Xamarin Studio Add-in Repository (Alpha Channel) is not displayed then click Manage Repositories…. In the window that opens tick the check box next to Xamarin Studio Add-in Repository (Alpha Channel) and then click the Close button.

Enabling alpha channel addins

Back in the Add-in Manager dialog click the Refresh button to update the list of addins. Use the search text box in the top right hand corner of the dialog to search for the addin by typing in TypeScript.

TypeScript addin selected in Addin Manager dialog

Select the TypeScript addin and then click the Install… button.

Note that if you are using Linux 32 bit then you should install the TypeScript Linux 32 bit addin. The other TypeScript addin listed supports Linux 64 bit. Hopefully in the future it will be possible to support both Linux 32 bit and 64 bit using the same addin.

Getting Started

Now that the TypeScript addin is installed let us create a TypeScript file.

To add a TypeScript file open the New File dialog, select the Web category and select Empty TypeScript file.

New File Dialog - New TypeScript File

Give the file a name and click the New button.

Note that currently the TypeScript file needs to be included in a project. Standalone TypeScript project files are not supported. TypeScript files can be added to any .NET project.

Code Completion

When editing the TypeScript code you will have code completion when you press the dot character.

TypeScript dot code completion

Code completion also works when you type the opening bracket of a function.

TypeScript method completion

Go to Declaration

The text editor’s right click menu has three TypeScript menus: Go to Declaration, Find References and Rename.

Text editor context menu with TypeScript menu options

The Go To Declaration menu option will open the corresponding definition in the text editor.

Find References

Find References will show the references in the Search Results window.

TypeScript references shown in Search Results window

Rename

Selecting the Rename menu option in the text editor will open the Rename dialog where you can type in a new name and click OK to have it updated.

TypeScript rename dialog

Note that currently on Linux the Rename dialog will only be displayed if the keyboard shortcut F2 is used. Selecting the context menu will not show the Rename dialog on Linux but will work on Windows and on the Mac.

Error Highlighting

Errors in your TypeScript code will be highlighted as you are typing in the text editor.

TypeScript errors highlighted in text editor

Code Folding

Code folding is supported for TypeScript classes, modules and interfaces.

TypeScript code folding

Code folding by default is disabled. To enable code folding open the Preferences dialog and in the Text Editor section select the General category, then tick the Enable code folding check box.

Preferences - Enabling code folding

Compiling to JavaScript

By default the TypeScript files will be compiled to JavaScript when the project is compiled.

There are more compiler options available in the project options in the Build – TypeScript category.

TypeScript compiler options for the project

On this page you can change when the compiler is run and what options are passed to the compiler when generating JavaScript code.

If an Output file is specified then all the TypeScript files will be compiled into a single JavaScript file. If an Output directory is specified then the JavaScript files will be generated in that directory instead of next to the TypeScript files.

That is the end of our quick look at TypeScript support in Xamarin Studio and MonoDevelop.

Source Code

The source code for the addin and for the V8.NET engine that works on Mono are available on GitHub.

XHackers Team: Wearables Day

Hot buzzword of the day is Wearables. We at XHackers are ready to create a buzz. Lot of us when we hear the word – Wearables, we think of Apple Watch, Android Wear, Microsoft Band, Google Glass or even Fitbit. But history of wearables dates back to 1961!

XHackers

In 1961, a MIT Professor, Edward Thorp, whom we call the Father of Wearables, created and successfully used a first wearable computer to cheat at Roulette which gave them 44% edge over the game 🙂 Since then, we had calculator watches (how many of you remember Casio watches 😉 ), digital hearing aids, Nike+, Go Pros, Fitbits and similar clones.

And then one day, Google announced “Project Glass” with a mission statement –

We think technology should work for you – to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.

It was exciting! With the annoucement of GDK(Glass Developer Kit), Android developers could write native Google glass apps using the Android SDK. This opened up plethora of opportunities for developers into the Wearable Computing market. Parallely, came slew of watches powered by Android called Android Wear. If you didn’t know – Xamarin has been supporting Google Glass & Android Wears ever since. Some exciting news about new watches are making rounds.. watch out! (pun intended).

Microsoft too joined the party by annoucing a cool looking wrist band called Microsoft Band. To our surprise, it came in with full support on all the leading phone Operating Systems like iOS, Android along with it’s very own Windows. With the release of Band SDK for all platforms and Xamarin’s same day support, it’s now seamless to integrate with iOS and Android apps. What we hear is, very soon Cortona which used to work only on Windows Phone, will now work on iOS and Android too – which will open up more avenues for apps to integrate voice in their apps.
XHackers

Apple Watch was one of the most exciting annoucements from Apple! As you may know, WatchKit has been in preview for quite some time now. Recently after WatchKit’s official release, and the actual Watch yet to hit the Apple stores, nothing stops developers to make their apps ready for the D-Day.

With Xamarin platform, it’s now a reality for C# developers to write a cross platform code across all the major wearable platforms. Not just write code for Apple Watch, Google Glass, Android Wears, or Microsoft Band but also share a good amount of code among them.

So are you excited to learn how to build your wearable apps on all these platforms in C#?

XHackers

Here’s your opportunity to peek into the wearable app development world. Come and learn more about Xamarin and how to program for Wearables in our upcoming meetup.

RSVP Now

What we plan to cover –

  • 09:45 AM – 10:15 AM : Quick introduction to Xamarin, Xamarin Forms – Pooran
  • 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM : Getting started with Microsoft Band –Vidyasagar
  • 10:45 AM – 11 AM : Break
  • 11 AM – 11:45 AM : Apple Watch concepts –Pooran
  • 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM : Android Wear concepts – Vidyasagar

See you there!

Blog Credits : Pooran

Cheers
Xhackers Core Team
[email protected]

Johan Karlsson: The Linker – Mono’s virtual 400 HP code chainsaw

One behind the scenes tool that most Xamarin newbies don’t know nothing about is the linker. The linker gets called during the build of your assemblies. It has a single purpose and that is to reduce the size of your assembly. So how does it do that you say! It does it by firing up a digital, virtual, 400-HP chainsaw and cuts away the parts that your code doesn’t use.

GREAT! How do I enable it?!

For iOS and Android the linker is enabled by default for projects that targets actual devices and disabled if you target emulators/simulators. The reason for this is to reduce build time when deploying to a simulator.

You can edit the linker settings under project properties; iOS build for iOS and Android options for Android. 

Anything else I should know

Yes, there are three levels of linking;
  • Link all assemblies which means that all code is subject for linking
  • Link SDK assemblies only which means that only Xamarin Core assemblies will be linked. Default for deploy to actual devices.
  • Dont link which means, well, don’t link… Default for deploy to simulators/emulators.

Outstanding, why don’t I use Link all all the time then!?

The first reason is that deploy time increases since linking takes time. So when deploying to the simulator or for your device while testing, it simply is not worth the extra time.
The other more important reason that should’ve been first is that the linker can be slightly evil. It can remove stuff that you meant to keep. Linking is carried out through static analysis of the code, so any classes that are instantiated through reflection and sometimes through IoC will not be detected and so they will be cut away. You can save the day by using the [Preserve] attribute to decorate classes and tell them to hide from the linker. If you’re coding in a PCL that doesn’t have the PreserveAttribute references you can just roll your own. Simply call it “PreserveAttribute” and the linker will see it. Think of it as garlic for linker vampires…
The third reason not to use link all is that this might affect any third party libraries that you have referenced that isn’t “linker friendly”.

So what’s the summary of all this

Simply leave the linker as is and carry on with your life. Nothing to see here, circulate!

References

Gone Mobile: Episode 25: Performance Comparisons: Part Two with Harry Cheung

Performance is a huge and important topic, so one episode just wasn’t enough. In this episode we talk to Harry Cheung about the performance tests he’s been running to see just how all these different mobile app development approaches perform when it comes to raw computation.

Hosts: Greg Shackles, Jon Dick

Guest: Harry Cheung

Links:

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Johan Karlsson: Connecting to Android Player using VS and Parallels

This is a short guide for how to connect to Android Player in case you’re using Visual Studio in Windows through Parallels. I use to do this in a way more complicated manor before I realized that it’s just this simple. Looking ahead, In VS 2015, Microsofts gives us an x86/hyper-V Android emulator that looks great. But for now, this works the best.

Start your engines

Fire up Android Player (or any other emulator of your choice that runs Android) in OS X and get the address to the emulator. Click on the settings cog and note the IP Address.

Connect to the emulator

In Windows, open your project in Visual Studio and hit Tools -> Android -> Android Adb Command Prompt. Write adb connect [the IP address] and you should then be connected to your emulator like in the image below.

Run your project

You should now see your device in Visual Studio!

Troubleshooting

Of course, things can go wrong. The issues I’ve encountered are these.
1) I had to disable my wireless network while connected to the local wired network. Surely this is a configuration issue that I just haven’t bothered with yet.
2) The emulator doesn’t show up. Restart Visual Studio.
3) You have to reconnect each time your Mac goes to sleep…
4) Firewalls… Make sure port 5555 is open for TCP from Windows to OS X.

Greg Shackles: Building Context-Aware Apps with Beacons

Recently I’ve been giving some talks on building context-aware apps with beacons, so I just wanted to quickly publish my content around that in one place. If it’s not immediately obvious, I think beacons and context-based technologies are seriously awesome.

.NET Rocks!

First, Carl and Richard were nice enough to invite me back on .NET Rocks! to talk about this stuff as well. You can find that episode over on their site, or in any of the usual places you subscribe to podcasts.


Here are the slides from my talk at my NYC Mobile .NET Developers Group:

The sample app used as part of that talk can be found on my GitHub page, which is a super basic scavenger hunt type app for iOS and Android.

Hopefully some of this helps inspire you to try out this stuff if you haven’t already, and start building awesome apps!