Real World: Using Legacy Web Services with Mobile Apps


I’m sure we would all love to work in an environment where as soon as a cool new technology is available we can switch everything over! The reality is we don’t (or at least the people I get to talk to don’t!) So for many the mobile dilemma is simple… how do I get to access my legacy web services while building modern mobile apps?

I’m going to show you how to do just that in a webinar on October 22 (EDT), use the following link https://www.devexpress.com/Support/Webinars/ to reserve a spot, even if you cannot make it on the day, you will get sent a YouTube link afterwards.

iPhone 6 -> 3 weeks in


Over the years I have always enjoyed getting my hands on the latest gadgets, and my time as an Apple developer has been no different, as soon as a phone was announced I’d want to be among the first to get it.  This year Apple announced that it would release to multiple countries on the same day, so being in Australia would mean we would be one of the first in the world!!

The pre-order site went live at 5:30pm local time on Friday September 12 and my order was completed within minutes….  let the wait begin.

At 8:30am on Friday September 19, the courier knocked on the door delivering my coveted device. My first thoughts on removing the wrapping … what a dull box, the rather nondescript plain white with slightly raised outline was a little disappointing, next the unboxing itself…

I must say that I felt a little underwhelmed when I first took hold of the phone, it felt, well, wrong. After a short wait for my backup to be transferred I was able to start playing.  There is no dispute that the form factor is amazing, thin and feels nice, I’m just not a fan of the size. All of a sudden I’m using too hands or doing crazy thumb stretches to reach different parts of the screen. I knew a quick double tap on the home button would bring screens down to make this easier, but there are so many issues trying to do this I found it simply not worth it.

Three weeks on and I’m still getting used to the phone, I don’t think I could go back to an iPhone 5s, though its still a little awkward if not frustrating dealing with thumb stretches. A friend of mine decided to go with the 6 Plus, I’m pleased I didn’t, it just seems uncomfortable, we jokingly call it the iPad mini mini. One annoyance and I’m not yet sure if it is an iOS 8 issue or the phone, is the lack of rotation support (read: BUG), many apps (including Apple ones) do not respond to the phone being rotated, I have to go back to the home screen then back again, weird!

What has been really quite fun to play with writing code that takes advantage of the new sizing API’s in iOS8 but thats a post for another day. In the meantime I’m watching eagerly for the release date of the Apple Watch :)

Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer


Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer

The Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer is a cycling journey throughout Queensland’s scenic countryside that I’m embarking on to fight cancer. It will be a challenge in a number of ways, but with my bike, my helmet, and your generosity, a real impact will be made!

Contribute to this history-making event with a donation. Funds raised will support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, a worldwide leader in cancer research and discovery and one of the largest research institutes in the southern hemisphere.

Thank you in advance for your help.



DevExpress 14.1 – the Good, the Great and the downright Cool!


This is not the first time I have participated in a major product release during my time here at DevExpress, but I still can’t help getting caught up in the excitement surrounding our twice yearly launch (let’s not get into a debate on biannual vs biennial).

The focus is on becoming a UI Superhero and delivering amazing user-experiences across .Net platforms and next-gen mobile devices.

ui

Just when you think there are no more features to add into the toolbox, the boffins decide to prove you wrong, again! 14.1 contains new controls across ALL the technologies supported, over the last few weeks, the teams have been providing teasers on what we can expect in this drop.

Here is a quick snapshot:

WinForms: 9 new controls, 11 major controls enhanced
WPF: 4 new controls, 2 new services and 8 major controls enhanced
Win8/XAML: 4 new controls, cool new features added to grid control
ASP.NET WebForms + MVC: 3 New Controls, 8 sets of enhancements

The list goes on.

My favourites have to be

1. The ASP.NET Report Designer (CTP)
Create and edit XtraReports right in your browser :)

reports-web-client-side-report-designer

and

2. PDF Viewer enhancements
Page Rotation, Deletion/Extract and Merge functionality :)

WinForms-PDFViewer-Page-Rotation-14-1

For the first time ever, there is going to be a 24 hour live webinar leading up to the launch, this will feature all your favourite speakers, Seth, Amanda, Mehul, Mark, Don, Rachel, Julian, Amy, Areg and of course me :)

For the rest of the week, key team members will be presenting the “What’s New in 14.1″ webinars to ensure you get to see the best features in all their glory. Click here for full details on all the webinars.

CodeRush vs ReSharper (the Roslyn debate)


Will CR/R# take advantage of Roslyn???

WOW! what a hot topic…

In short, here is what you need to know…

1. Will ReSharper take advantage of Roslyn?

NO

2. Will CodeRush take advantage of Roslyn?

YES

Now, to be fair both camps have produced two very detailed posts (click on the links above)

As a developer I have written before on my preference for IDE Tools, but I think this is quite a defining moment. Thinking back to pre .NET days (yes, my dear students, there was a time before .NET, just as there was a time before the internet!) there were a few contenders that made our lives easier, since Visual Studio was born, the selections have been limited to a couple of key players. At the time of writing there are a couple of other vendors that have not responded to my request on support for the new compiler.

Roslyn provides so many benefits and will continue to grow into the next generation of frameworks, so DevExpress’s position of embracing it I believe is the right way to go. Now, if only I can get Mark Miller to join me on a webinar to explain all the cool features of CR Roslyn style :)

[watch this space]

How do you test a web UI ?


We all understand the importance of a good testing framework, Test Driven Development (TDD) significantly reduces the maintenance cost of software and provides for cleaner, tidier code, but what about the UI elements of a web site or HTML5/JS Application? what’s involved in running tests on different browsers, different operating systems and devices?

I recently took TestCafe from a spin, it is quite simply the quickest easiest testing tool I have ever used. You can download, install and start creating tests on any browser, any operating system in less than 15 minutes! Compared to some of the competitor packages that I looked into that is lightning fast!

TestCafe

So what makes it such a winner?

Well to start with it’s “plugin free”, and by that I mean NO extra bits to download for your browser. Seem like a small thing? WRONG, you can run TestCafe on ANY mainstream browser without installing anything extra, you can swap machines and run tests from any machine, any operating system or device. This is a HUGE difference to the other packages I looked at, one in particular took me thirty minutes just to get working, I had to install additional extensions and I was limited to Firefox for recording tests!

Within minutes of installation I was up and running, the visual test recorder was simple and intuitive, and after I finished my test I could edit it right there in the browser with an API set that made sense. In fact, I could almost memorise the whole API.

TestCafe really has to be seen to be believed, so I’m going to do an online presentation on May 19, where I will show you just how easy it is to deploy, record a test, explore the API inside the script editor and display true browser independence with Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari.

Register here and in the meantime download TestCafe and experience web testing made easy!

The UI is very easy to navigate, use and understand:

Clean UI

Editing a test is simple, the edit window also does a compiler check:

tc2

Mobile Evolution: Obj-C –> TypeScript with DevExtreme


It still amazes me, the number of developers who have put writing mobile apps into the ‘too hard’ basket. The scenario is the same around the world… someone at a corporate level decides it would be cool to have an ‘app’, but when you start looking into it, well, it’s a nightmare. There is framework after framework, promise after promise, and then when you start looking at the costs and small print, its a mine field! The question that has been raised for years is still as relevant as ever… “do I go native or hybrid?”, well that still depends on your project, your skill set and budget, but if you are wanting to break into the mobile market at attack all three major players at once, I recommend hybrid. People who know me would be shocked at that last statement since I love native iOS development, but the truth is simple, you cannot hit multiple platforms from the comfort of Objective-C. That’s when I decided to take on a challenge, to create a hybrid version of an existing iOS application that I developed years ago, and since TypeScript was officially released in Visual Studio Update 2, I decided it should be the language of choice.

Join me on April 29, 10am (PDT) as I turn a native iOS application into a DevExtreme generated hybrid and get maximum exposure from a single codebase.

Register Today