Tag Archives: api

Don’t like the Microsoft Xbox Music app? Microsoft will now let you build your own Xbox Music app, and earn money in the process

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Microsoft just did developers all over the world an amazing favour.  They have opened up the Xbox Music service API to all developers, allowing them to search their 38 million tracks, download metadata and album art, do 30 second music previews, and for some developers even allow them to stream unlimited music for subscribers.

Even better Microsoft will let users of 3rd party apps purchase music, giving developers a 5% cut of each track purchased.  Even better than that however, is that Microsoft will give developers a 10% cut of each new Xbox Music subscriber, which can amount to $1 per month per subscriber (or an easy $1000 per month if you convince 1000 people to subscribe to Xbox Music).

The service is available cross-platform via a REST API, meaning it will be as at home on the web or an Android app as on Windows Phone.

To read more about this great news, which is sure to result in a explosion of apps and maybe make a few very good developers rich, read more here.

Via MJF

Early Leak: Windows Phone 8.1 will let developers attach arbitrary apps to email

imageWhile we wait for the big announcement later today, the BUILD sessions list gives us a few more teasers.

It seems the OS update will address another Windows Phone pain point.

In WP8 is can sometimes be very difficult to get a file off your phone and share it with others.  Now it appears Windows Phone 8.1 will let apps attach arbitrary files to email, which will once again increase freedom of users tremendously.

The session description reads:

User data is at the core of developing personal experiences on a smart phone. In this session, Tony will discuss new APIs to manage user data available in 8.1. He will address extended read access with Windows Runtime APIs, system UI tools to efficiently get tasks completed, and opportunities to integrate the data that your platform knows deep into the core Windows Phone experiences. The specific data types that fall into these themes are Contacts, Appointments, Email, and Online Media. Among other scenarios, the session will cover attaching arbitrary files to emails and writing appointments into the user’s calendar.

Keep an eye on WMPoweruser.com for more later in the day.

Early Leak: Windows Phone 8.1 will support 3rd party video editing apps

video editing

It seems new APIs will allow much more powerful apps, according to an entry for a Build Session on Channel 9.

The session will cover the new Windows.Media.Editing API, which will allow to developers to create apps to edit video.

The description notes:

Creating applications that edit video is now possible on a Windows Phone. From simple trimming of a single video clip to complex editing of a composition containing multiple clips and a background soundtrack, the new Windows.Media.Editing APIs give application developers on the Windows Phone Blue a powerful tool to quickly build a dedicated video editing application or add editing as a feature to another application.

This level of access suggests rather strongly that video in the media folders will no longer be sacrosanct, and users will have a lot more freedom to do what they want with video they download or sideload.

We should know a lot more of course in little more than 8 hours – stay tuned to WMPoweruser.com for more.

Windows Phone 8 API will still not allow a full 3rd party calendar app

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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.

For Developers:Bigoven.com releases API, hopes many mobile apps follow

BigOven%20Logo_177_216BigOven.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

During the beta period, use of the API is free for commercial and non-commercial use. Pricing is not yet finalized, but a modest and fair transaction-based license fee will be introduced at the end of the beta period to offset server hosting costs. Other details of the Terms of Use, Branding Guidelines and Documentation are available at http://api.bigoven.com.

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.

sensors 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.

“ Make some magic! Shake, Flip and Flick Your Application for Windows Mobile 6.5!“:

“The 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.”

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 Dutta’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 API’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 releases API for its advances sensors, puts HTC to shame

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 API’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 Samsung’s Mobile Innovator website here.

Via Windows Mobile Dev.

Strictly for developers:WindowlessControl Tutorial

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.

Stylus Sensor SDK developed – its like a whole extra button

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.

Google Gears for Windows Mobile gets Geolocation API

Google Gears, which is Google’s browser plug-in to deliver complex mobile web services on mobile devices, has just added a location-aware API. This API will be able to ascertain your location based either on your nearest cell tower or optionally the devices built-in GPS and make this information available via a javascript script to websites that implement the feature.

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.

Touch Diamond Accelerometer API hacked

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.