Category Archives: Windows Phone

Tren: Behind the scenes

I want to talk about “Behind the scenes” of Tren, my newest app that you can download for free on Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace and Firefox Marketplace.

When did you started developing Tren?

Tren is a weekend app. I started planning and coding the mock-ups on March 28 2014 (Friday). Worked really hard on each feature on March 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday) and sunday night, i already have the alpha app for testing. My friends are my guinea pigs (and i love them, truly they have an eye for quality). And on Monday, i have been busy testing the BETA app for release. Making sure that the app won’t crash on my device, and won’t make my testers unhappy.

And on April 1 2014, tren has finally launched in Google Play. It’s a living proof that April Fools Day is not only just for pranks. :P

Why did you focused on developing Tren?

I have a LOT of app ideas in my mind. But these ideas are needed to be cultured, it needs to be planned. A perfect way to launch an app is timing and research. I think it’s the best time to launch a train guide to serve better my fellow countrymen and the fact that  the growing need for info app focusing on public transportation is becoming a necessity.

Why is the CCTV feature NOT built-in on the app?

I’ve been getting the same question right before i’ve launched the app. It’s simply because it’s MRT’s property. I don’t like the idea of serving a feature and have to sneak on their system just to make that feature work. I respect the whole organization. But if ever they would offer an API access for third party developers, like me. I’ll be more willing to cooperate.

Are you seeking partnership?

Yes. Specially if the offer would really benefit the users. If you have a proposal, you can E-mail me instead.

Is Tren really FREE? How do you earn?

Tren will always be FREE to use. I’ll earn through Google’s Ads. I’ll use the money to buy me some coffee. Or a small meal when i’m hungry coding.

Why is iOS not supported from Day 1?

Technical stuff. But hopefully, i would launch an “Up-to-date” version of the app at the end of the year.

That’s it! I hope you liked reading this behind the scene post. I’d like to thank a good friend Bea Fel, My mom, My Uncle and all of my friends who helped and supported my app. I appreciate all of your efforts! You guys are awesome!

Introducing Tren: Your guide to manila transit

What was your first train trip felt like?

We all have this first train trip experience. I bet before your first trip was all excitement and expectations. Everyone does. But it all goes down to the frequently asked questions before that awesome experience. And possibly, you may have asked these questions yourself:

What are the next few stations before we reach our destination?

How much would a single journey ticket cost?

I’ve been riding different train stations everyday for the last 5 years and i’m still asking some of those questions. Not until, i made Tren.

I’m a commuter myself. I love riding the train! And i want an app that would help me with my ride. I want instant answers when i needed the most. So that’s the main reason i started tren in the first place.

What can Tren do for me?

Tren was created for commuters like YOU and ME. It was crafted to answer quickly. We don’t usually ask train questions, but when the time we needed to. That’s when we needed the answers FAST.

From the planning stage, i want tren to…

  • List the stations on a certain train line (LRT 1 & 2, MRT 3 and PNR)
  • List the daily operation schedule of each train line
  • Solve the train metric fare for you
  • Some train reminders
  • …and contact information from every train line you ride.

And i’ve also included a link from the official CCTV  of MRT-3, so you can take a peak at the current condition of a station before you take a ride. Pretty sweat, right? :)

And most of all, this app is FREE. Free to use, feel free to love. Share the good news to your friends and family who are also commuting via train!

What’s next for Tren?

Tren doesn’t stop at this version. It’s a continuous work. I’ve made a solid roadmap for the app and looking forward for the right steps ahead. But for now, you can always count on tren. :)

TREN is available for download at these platforms:

Tren for Android

Tren for Windows Phone 8

Tren for Firefox Marketplace

Tren for iOS is currently in the works and will be released soon.

If you liked it, don’t forget to rate it. If you need technical support or if you want to suggest a feature, kindly email us at: thetrenapp[at]gmail[dot]com.

2013: A New Era for Mobile Computing

The year 2013 will be an amazing year for the mobile industry. New set of phones. New OS updates. New Platforms, and the next breed of mobile developers.

In the year 2013, we’ll see

Apple releasing iOS 7

Google releasing the next version of Android (Rumored: Key Lime Pie)

Microsoft releasing an update for the Windows platform (Codename: Blue) and the Windows Phone 7.8 update

 BlackBerry will launch BlackBerry 10

 and

Mozilla will be releasing Firefox OS.

It’s really awesome to know that we are truly living in the Post-PC era. :)

Get ready to hack at 4SQ HackDay Philippines!

We cannot deny that the mobile era is here. It’s what Steve Jobs said that we now heading towards to a “Post-PC era“. But what does it mean? It means people are now shifting from their laptop/desktop lifestyle to tablet lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean people are now selling their new and shiny MacBook Pro’s or Powerbooks, but in fact, they are adapting a new kind of device that would help them consume information.

It’s a Mobile thing, isn’t it?

A Smartphone is designed to be fast, fluid and handy. People love their smartphones because of that. When designing a smartphone app, developers should prioritize the consumer’s needs. Remember, they are always on the go so your app should too.

A tablet, on the other hand is designed for consumers who wants to consume data on a big screen. It’s like a smartphone, but users are not always on a hurry. When designing for tablets, always think about how your app will look like on that big handy screen. Users are meticulous and they demand a better experience on their device. It’s what they paid for.

What about tools and things like that?

Usually, a mobile platform allows devs to build apps on native. But today, majority of Mobile platforms are now offering their web tools to web developers. Popular mobile companies like BlackBerry, Firefox OS, Nokia, Windows 8 are now changing the game with HTML5.You can also use Apache Cordova to build cross platform HTML5 apps.

Now, which is better? Native or Web? Seriously. It’s all about your personal preferences and or experience. Use the tools you feel comfortable with. But if you’re not happy with the results. Go and try the other.

Come and Join 4SQ HackDay PH 2012!

 (WebGeek DevCup. Photo by When In Manila)

Smart DevNet and WebGeek invites all mobile app developers to test their skills in this awesome and one of a kind hackathon event. All you have to do is develop a mobile app on the foursquare API. Develop your mobile app within nine hours and let us see what you’re capable of.

It’s your chance to hack that next big thing! If you want to know more about this event, you can visit the official site: http://hackday.webgeek.ph/

A touch of Responsive Web Apps

The “Touch” Revolution

When the first iPhone was announced, Steve Jobs also announced to developers that they don’t need to learn a new language just to make apps because the iPhone can run “Web Apps” or a.k.a “Web 2.0″ and stated that you can use the available web technologies to make apps. (Yes, the first iPhone doesn’t have an app store either) that runs on Safari. But things changed when Apple officially announced an official SDK to make “Native Apps” and also the rise of the “App Store” revolution and everything changed since then.

The HTML5 Revolution

But…

Steve doesn’t like flash. And said that “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).” thus the beginning of the “HTML5″ revolution.

It’s 2012 and years after the first iPhone was released the web has grown and a lot of companies supported HTML5. But it didn’t stop there.

Then came PhoneGap created by Nitobi which then was acquired by Adobe. So What is PhoneGap? I let Wikipedia do the talking:

It enables software programmers to build applications for mobile devices using JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3, instead of device specific languages such as Objective-C.[7] The resulting applications are hybrid, meaning that they are neither truly native (because all layout rendering is done via web views instead of the platform’s native UI framework) nor purely web-based (because they are not just web apps, but are packaged as apps for distribution and have access to native device APIs).

(Other than PhoneGap, there are lots of tools that does the same thing which i will not mention, but you can google it.)

And a lot of companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, Nokia and BlackBerry now supports web technologies to make native web apps.

Let me highlight these words: “Web” + “Apps” + “Browser”

Building Web Apps is no different from building a website. If you know how to build your website using HTML5 and know responsive web design then you’ll have to adjust to the platform you want to work on. But if you haven’t, you might want to open your favorite search engine and start learning now. :)

Seriously, learning a new language is hard but it’s harder when you try to code without understanding what that code actually does for you. One effective way  is to learn and write code. Understand first and apply. Trust me, it’s easier to code when you know what to do.

And a little motivation should do the trick!

Don’t forget JavaScript!

JavaScript is the programming language made not just for the web but also for all the devices that runs a browser. A LOT of platform uses JavaScript just to operate a certain task like Firefox OS, BlackBerry’s WebWorks and WebOS heavily relies on that, so you have to understand and learn JavaScript!

Explore. Make. Deliver.

Explore new technologies, frameworks and other stuff that could help you deliver that next big thing! Make the best choice and focus. Deliver!

From Yalla Apps to Microsoft Dev Center

In the past few days, I’ve been very active blogging about Microsoft’s soon to be released products like: Windows Phone 7.1/7.8 and exploring Windows 8 RTM.

Right now, this one is quite interesting for developers who are currently living in a country that App Hub has not supported in the past….

Yalla Apps – One of the notable Global Publisher Program partner is now giving away FREE ONE YEAR Microsoft Dev Center account for registered users whose country is supported for the said transition.

When you transition from Yalla Apps to Microsoft Dev Center you’ll get these new features:

1. Ability to submit unlimited ‘paid’ apps* and 100 ‘free’ apps directly
2. Ability to unlock 3 devices
3. Direct access to downloads, royalty, and crash reports
4. Ability to update account data
5. Country/region specific pricing
6. New reporting views
7. Simplified process for submitting apps
8. Submit apps to almost two hundred countries/regions
9. Can now have 10,000 beta testers
10. View all reviews in one place

That’s not all.. If you join Dev Center now, you’ll get…

  • Get free development tools, including a phone emulator to test your app
  • Explore code samples and all the information in our developer library
  • Read tips about selling your app
  • Review our policy guidelines and certification requirements
  • See tips and guidelines for creating apps that reflect the beauty of our design concepts
  • Create apps with trial options
  • Enable in-app purchasing, so customers can buy things within your app
  • Test your app with a real phone
  • Submit free and paid apps to the Store
  • Distribute your app around the world and set country/region-specific price tiers
  • Watch your progress and manage your apps in a personalized dashboard
  • Ask questions, share advice, or talk with other Windows Phone developer

Plus, take note that by agreeing to create an account on Dev Center. Yalla Apps will move the apps you have published today with Yalla  to your new Dev Center Account. This means that you will get…
1. Have access to all of yours apps in Dev Center.
2. Retain your existing app users for updates
3. Retain reviews for your apps.
4. Retain star ratings.

Based on my experience, you have to the same email address of your Yalla Apps account on your Microsoft Dev Center account. AND most importantly.. YOU HAVE TO USE INTERNET EXPLORER (9 or 10) WHEN REGISTERING A NEW ACCOUNT OR ELSE PAYMENT BINDING ON PAYPAL WILL NOT BE PROCESSED!

Nonetheless, i’m pretty much happy about what happened here. i believe this will attract local filipino developers who are interested in developing apps for the Windows Phone platform.

What do you think about this bold move? Let me know in the comment section!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Yalla Apps will send you an e-mail (If you are applicable for this transition). I advise you to read that and follow it line by line as it will help you make things more smoothly.

LINK: Yalla Apps has published an official blog post about this transition.

If you have any questions about this post or just want to say hi! You may want to follow me on twitter: @aaroncajes.

Thoughts about Windows Phone 8

Okay, let’s face the truth: All current line of Windows Phone 7 WILL NOT get the Windows Phone 8 update. But that DOESN’T mean that your current phone WILL NOT be updated in the future.

The thing is, your phone will be updated IF your phone manufacturer wants to push an update for your device or not, clearly the future of your phone is now on the hands of the OEM, and not Microsoft.

You may be wondering why Microsoft didn’t supported the current generation line of Windows Phone, well to make it short, the upcoming OS has been built from ground up to support new hardware features like: A Multiple core processor support, MicroSD support, NFC, and a native experience for apps and games (Since WP8 will be sharing some codes with Windows 8, in technical terms, they’re both built from Windows NT) and other things that AREN’T compatible with your current device.

To be honest, the current generation of Windows Phone is fast enough to help you do the things you needed to do. You only want to have a multiple core support if you want to play games with extreme performance a.k.a native experience. I also admire the current line of WP having no MicroSD support, but since Microsoft would like to battle android, symbian 40 and the upcoming Firefox OS on the feature phone arena, they have added MicroSD.

So.. In the end of the day, it’s a Win-Win situation. You have a faster phone to do the things you need to do in life and when the time has come for you to upgrade, and still want a Windows Phone, you’ll be benefiting from the awesome hardware features that Microsoft has to offer.

Let me know what you think on the comment section below. Thanks for reading! :)

Developing for Microsoft. The good parts.

Last month, i decided to learn C# FULL TIME. (It took me weeks to decide though)

So why the hell did i do that? Well.. Here are my thoughts about Microsoft and their technologies:

1.) C# + .NET Framework  to rule them all!

We all know that Microsoft owns Windows. And they have their own popular game console: Xbox (and its companion: Kinect). A new emerging smartphone platform: Windows Phone (Plus the recent partnership with Nokia). Conquer the web with ASP.NET PLUS a cloud service named: Azure. And the exciting release of Windows 8 + WindowsRT for tablets(Rumors that Nokia will also make a tablet, based on WindowsRT). All of them are using a common programming language:C#. It’s really hard to learn a new programming language, but with C# it seems to be rewarding.

2.) Silverlight – C#’s Companion

So what’s silverlight? Here’s Microsoft definition about it:

Microsoft Silverlight is a powerful tool for creating and delivering rich Internet applications and media experiences on the Web. Silverlight 5 builds on the foundation of Silverlight 4 for building business applications and premium media experiences. Silverlight 5 introduces more than 40 new features, including dramatic video quality and performance improvements as well as features that improve developer productivity.

And it’s the same technology you’ll use with the upcoming Windows 8 and the current Windows Phone to develop awesome apps!

P.S: If you’re building games, you can use XNA. Like Silverlight, it works perfectly on Windows Phone, XBox and Windows.

3.) Windows Users are still high

Yes, you read it right. There’s A LOT of Windows users out their, and the numbers are pretty high. Would you miss the opportunity on developing apps for the next billion? ;)

Sure there’s a lot of great things we can do for Windows and there’s still more features to come. I hope and believe that Microsoft is working hard to make everything integrated and better for users and developers.

Have you developing for Windows? What are your positive experience? (You can also include the negative ones, as this can also help microsoft to improve their products)

Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 is HERE!

Today, i have downloaded and installed Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1, so what’s new? Well, here are the list of improvements included in the said SDK…

  • The Visual Studio IDE is patched to enable selection from a list of emulators, and launching it (note that the WPSDK can only support connecting to one at a time, though)
  • The Windows Phone [512 MB device] emulator image is updated to use build 8773
  • A second, new emulator device image is included, allowing you to emulate running your app on a 256 MB device
  • The Microsoft Advertising SDK is updated to the latest version (previously only available as a separate install), which fixes some issues devs were encountering at runtime
  • IntelliSense now supports specifying the 512 MB device requirement in your manifest file, should you choose to opt your app out from running on the new 256 MB devices
  • Language support is again consistent both in the IDE (the 7.1.1 Update supports all 10 of the WPSDK 7.1 languages) and in the emulator OS (Malay and Indonesian have been added)

 

So as you see, there are lots of great improvements from 64-bit Windows Phone emulator to the most up-to-date Assemblies for Windows Phone. Some of the updates are available to use on selected WP countries, but for those countries who AREN’T supported YET, you may still develop apps and submit it through Yalla Apps or any other Microsoft’s Global Publisher Program partners.

The Microsoft Windows Phone developer blog posted a neat set of instruction and guidelines to follow, you may want to read it here. Most of the instructions and updates are listed there, so i encourage you to read all of it, step by step and don’t just dive in, to get the most out of Windows Phone App development.

Enjoy developing Windows Phone 7 apps! :D

You might find these links useful:

Optimizing Apps for Lower Cost Devices

Best practice tips for delivering apps to Windows Phone with 256 MB

Meet my first Windows Phone 7 App

Recently, i saw that my app has been published to the Windows Phone Marketplace, if you’re asking what my app is, the name of my app is My Holy Rosary, a simple rosary app made with love. It was an awesome thing because i really worked hard finding bugs and tried to follow every single rule in order for this app to be approved and it did!

This app took 41 days upon sending, i really do not know why it took 41 days to be approved but i have no problems with that.. Anyway..

The day my app has been approved, you’ll see that it gains an instant positive rating from Darkclaw 618

Very well done and the app knows what the current day is

It’s really heart warming everytime you see someone liked your app, and i’m really working hard to make my future apps friendly and designed with love. :)

I’m a new comer when it comes to building mobile apps, so this one is yet rewarding.. I recently wrote 2 new apps and already been sent to microsoft for approval. Let’s see how long it will take for my 2 new apps to be approved. Looking forward to it!