With Windows Phone 8 now allowing 3rd party developers to write appointments to the Calendar store it has been hoped that a full-fledged 3rd party PIM could finally be written for Windows Phone.
Unfortunately it seems that while the Windows Phone 8 API will allow developers to write appointments to the calendar store, it will not allow them to edit or delete existing ones, which would of course leave 3rd party apps fatally crippled.
Are our readers disappointed? Let us know below.
See the relevant thread at MSDN here.
BigOven.com, the social network about food that aims to makes you a better cook, announced the beta launch of the BigOven Application Programming Interface (API). The REST-based API lets any developer build applications featuring 170,000+ recipes, tens of thousands of photos and reviews. Broad uses include new cooking applications for mobile devices (such as Android, Windows Mobile devices and more), "mashups" with existing web platforms (such as Facebook or Twitter), recipe/cooking enhancements to existing websites, and data for home automation "kitchen of the future" systems. Developers can register for the invitation-only beta at http://api.bigoven.com.
"BigOven is the first cooking website to open up our platform in this way to developers. We’re excited to see what creative and useful applications emerge. We’re interested in seeing BigOven services available on any device," said Steve Murch, CEO of BigOven.com.
With version 1.0 the BigOven API, developers can build applications that let users:
- Search 170,000+ recipes by title, keyword and more
- Display the recipes, including ingredients, instructions, and photos where applicable
- Get, display and post tens of thousands of recipe reviews and ratings from BigOven members
- Get public BigOven profile information
- Add to and edit grocery lists
So windows mobile developers, we hope to be cooking soon with he results of your efforts.
Windows Mobile finally getting a Unified Sensor API, support for capacitive screens? Update: Answer – No.
Today many blogs were talking about the purported May 11 Release to Manufacturers launch date for Windows Mobile 6.5, but I find another bit of news in the same ZDNET article more significant.
For a year or so many Windows Mobile devices have shipped with advanced sensors such as accelerometers, but each OEM implemented their own API to access the sensors, meaning fragmentation of the platform became a significant problem, with for example G-Sensor apps written for the HTC Touch Diamond not working on the Samsung Omnia.
It seems Microsoft is finally addressing this serious issue, as can be seen from this Tech-Ed session excerpt.
â€œThe world of mobility has evolved. While keypads, stylus, and keyboards are all good and fine for device input, newer input methods have been popularized in recent years, such as accelerometers, touch screen gestures, capacitive touch screens, light sensors, and such. More than just gadgets and gimmicks, these next-generation input methods allow you, the mobile developer, to offer the best interface possible to your users on the road, enhancing their device experience. This session explores various input methods available on some of the latest Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 devices and how to programmatically leverage them using managed APIs from Microsoft .NET Compact Framework-based applications. Topics covered include working with the Windows Mobile Unified Sensor API to access hardware sensors, controlling device cameras using the Windows Mobile SDK, capturing stylus and finger gestures on touch screens, detecting ambient light, making your device vibrate and sound-off, and more.â€
Of note is that the same passage talks about capacitive screens, which until recently was believed not to be supported by Windows Mobile 6.5, but is now expected to arrive on a Toshiba WM 6.5 device towards the end of the year.
It is gratifying to see this issue finally addressed, as with the unified Windows Mobile Marketplace further fragmentation can be ill afforded.
Edit: It turns out that the Windows Mobile team have in fact NOT developed a unified sensor framework, but will in fact be discussing Koushik Duttaâ€™s .Net CF API framework instead.
This I think is a real shame and an abdication of responsibility by the Windows Mobile team for the health of their platform. One simply can not reply on third party developers (no matter how gifted) for implementing such an essential feature of the platform. For example, who will develop the framework further when new sensors, like the proximity sensor on the HTC Touch Pro 2, becomes available. Mr Dutta has now moved on to greener Android pastures primarily because he found the APIâ€™s in Windows Mobile exceedingly challenging, and despite the API being open source there is no guarantee some-one of enough skill will be interested in updating it.
In closing, if its important enough for Microsoft to devote a Tech-Ed session to, its important enough for them to have developed the software themselves.
Thanks Joel Johnson for setting me straight and Loke Uei from Microsoft for confirming it.
Samsung has one-upped HTC by releasing the specifications and API for the many sensors found on their Windows Mobile phones. This will allow developers to access for example their accelerometer, light sensor and even optical mouse sensor without having to reverse engineer the software on the device, as is the common and onerous practice currently.
To get access to the API and the associated documentation one need only register for free with their Mobile Innovator service.
HTC, which has a much larger Windows Mobile market share, has so far declined to release the API for its own sensors, which just seem to multiply on its high end devices. The latest Touch Pro 2 for example is expected to ad a proximity sensor, which again will not be accessible to developers without hacking.
The refusal to release APIâ€™s formally is thought to be in part the reason why commercial G-sensor applications are extremely uncommon.
To register and download the API and documentation see Samsungâ€™s Mobile Innovator website here.
Via Windows Mobile Dev.
Koushik Dutta is responsible for a lot of the G-sensor software we have seen in recent times, being the genius behind the G- and everything else- sensor API seen in a lot of recent software. He has recently wandered over to the Android side, expressing frustration with the UI-toolset available on Windows Mobile.
He has returned briefly to the Windows Mobile fold to share his wisdom one last time by doing some teaching on his self-created UI control for Windows Mobile which allows developers to create software that is resolution-independent and looks good on any number of devices.
The UI framework allows:
- Relative Layout of Screen Elements – Controls are positioned relative to each other and to the screen, not at absolute positions, which is the behavior of Windows Forms. The benefit of relative layout is that your form can fit any screen form factor.
- Transparent Controls – There are ways to get transparencies into Windows Mobile, but none elegant.
- Smart Key Navigation – Up, down, left, and right actually navigate you in that direction. Very handy for non-touch screens.
- Data Driven Controls – Controls are driven by the data they represent. This allows for a clean MVC pattern which is not available with Windows Forms.
- Simple Animation System – Creating and handling “focus” and “click” states for buttons is very simple.
- Custom Controls – This framework can be used to create rich custom controls quite easily.
- Hierarchical Events – All events bubble upwards in the control hierarchy and can be handled at any level. Similar to WPF.
- XAML style layout – Create your user interface using XML.
As usual, besides the tutorial, the software also comes with complete source-code.
I would encourage developers to make use of the tools provided by this very accomplished gentleman.
Read more about the WindowlessControl here.
Our favourite .Net developer, Koushik Dutta, has been busy exposing the sensors of the HTC Diamond to his fellow hackers. He has now released an API for the stylus sensor, which on the HTC Diamond switches the device on when you pull it out, and with a bit of programmer help can now do a lot more. Koushik also promises to release an application taking advantage of the API,which will allow any application to be launched on removal of the stylus.This will provide similar functionality to Kai’s Stylus Control, but free of course.
Read more on Koushik’s website here.
Windows Mobile is so far the only mobile operating system that can be Google Gears enabled, and as this video demonstration shows, the software can enable very useful features.
Read more about Google Gears Geolocation API at the Google Mobile blog here.
HTC has promised (in their usual non-committal way) to release the accelerometer API for the HTC Touch Diamond, so as to allow 3rd party software vendors to implement accelerometer based functionality (e.g. an application that measures how much calories you use when you walk).
Unfortunately HTC has been a bit tardy with this, but that has not stopped enterprising hackers from figuring out the hidden API. Scott from scottandmichelle.net have revealed most of the hidden API, and has even released source code which other developers can use to make their apps also movement enabled.
Read more about it at scottandmichelle.net.