.NET CORE: MICROSOFT FINALLY WORKING THROUGH A DEVELOPER’S PERSPECTIVE

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Microsoft lays a patch towards the contribution to open source world with the release of .Net Core, another version of one of its most favored development platform. This is just another update to the .Net platform. This release includes .NET Core 1.0, ASP.NET Core 1.0 and Entity Framework Core 1.0. It also includes a Visual Studio Core extension and Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 that would help in developing .NET Core application.

Apart from being open source, .Net Core also provides cross-platform support for the developers who are more comfortable working on Linux or MAC OS. Microsoft has already shown its acceptance to the cross platform support by acquiring Xamirin, which provides cross platform mobile application development. However with this release it has added one of its assets to the list of cross platform software list.

The Core Framework is Microsoft’s biggest change introduced until now. A platform that provides modularity, has speed, is light weight, and is open source is what developers must have been waiting for. The Core Framework would also enable developers to create a NuGet package of their code that would enable them to use it anywhere else.

Is it too much to give away?

.Net being one of the greatest assets of Microsoft has turned into a cross-platform development platform with the new update .Net Core. This being a good news for the developers who do not favor Windows, might decrease the number of Windows users. However this won’t stop the developers from purchasing Visual Studio for the MAC OS and Linux platform. This might also lead to an increase in the Azure users. This step taken by Microsoft was required. With this the excuses of the developers shifting to the open source languages from Microsoft’s .Net would no longer be valid.

More to the Core Framework

.Net Core 1.0 would definitely have some more versions coming in the near future. The features like WebPages, WebForms, SignalR real-time web-based applications which are still not implemented in .Net Core will be included in the later versions of the framework. Another feature that is planned to introduce in the Core Framework is the Controllerless Views, same as that of ASP.NET. The updates would definitely surprise the developers with something that was most wanted.

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Microsoft acquires Wand Labs soon after LinkedIn acquisition

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As the post on the Wand Labs says Microsoft would be purchasing it soon. According to Microsoft’s post, Wand Labs will be integrated with their current Bing platform and engineering team to co-engineer intelligent agents and chat bots.

Founded in 2013 by CEO Vishal Sharma, Wand Labs has already been developing in areas specific to Conversation as a Platform and was able to raise $3 million in funding.

According to David Ku, Corporate Vice President, Information Platform Group, the acquisition will help Microsoft rise above its competitors in an era of ‘conversational intelligence’. He also said  “Wand Labs technology and talent will strengthen our position in the emerging era of conversational intelligence, where we bring together the power of human language with advanced machine intelligence — connecting people to knowledge, information, services and other people in more relevant and natural ways.”

With Wand Labs, Microsoft may be able to add more natural language as well as the much-required technology to strengthen the virtual assistance in Cortana, Microsoft’s Virtual Assistant.

Vishal Sharma, Founder of Wand Labs quoted that he and his team are happy with this acquisition and also thanked their users that have participated in trial runs of the apps in the past and said that though Wand Labs would be shutting down, they would see refined versions of their vision through Microsoft.

Xamarin.Forms: Image Button Recipe

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Today, we will learn how to create an Image Button in Xamarin Forms. Most of you will think, why? Isn’t there an Image property of Buttons? Yes, there is an Image property in Button but that doesn’t meet the needs completely since it adds the image as an icon to the text in the button. So to solve this problem, I came up with this tweak.

Ingredients:

Procedure:

1. To create a new application in Visual Studio we will select New Project from the Welcome screen.

2. Select Mobile Apps from the installed templates of Visual Studio under C#. Now as you can see we have two options for a Blank App, one is Xamarin.Forms Portable and Xamarin.Forms Shared. We will be working on Xamarin.Forms Portable.

3. Now you can see that the solution file contains the 4 projects XamarinSample (Portable), XamarinSample.Android, XamarinSample.iOS and XamarinSample.WinPhone. We will now right-click on the first project, XamarinSample (Portable) and click on Add -> New Item from the context menu.

4. Now we will select Forms XAML Page from the dialog and name it.

5. Once the Forms XAML Page is added to the project, open the App.Cs and write the following code in the constructor:

 MainPage = new NavigationPage(new MainPage());  

The App.cs will look like this:

6. Now go back to the Forms XAML Page we created in Step 4, in other words the MainPage that we called in the constructor. And replace the Label tags with:

<Image x:Name=“img” Source=“image.jpg” 

VerticalOptions=“CenterAndExpand” 

HorizontalOptions=“CenterAndExpand”></Image>  

The MainPage.xaml will now look like this:

7. Now we will write the Tap Gesture Recognizers code in MainPage.xaml.cs as in the following:

//Creating TapGestureRecognizers  

var tapImage = new TapGestureRecognizer();  

//Binding events

tapImage.Tapped += tapImage_Tapped;  

//Associating tap events to the image buttons

img.GestureRecognizers.Add(tapImage);  

void tapImage_Tapped(object sender, EventArgs e)  

{  

// handle the tap

  DisplayAlert(“Alert”“This is an image button”“OK”);  

}  

The MainPage.xaml.cs will now look like this:

8. Now add the “image.jpg” in the all the three projects of the various OSs in the following way:

Android: Add the file in ImageButtonRecipe.Droid -> Resources -> drawable folder.

iOS: Add the file in ImageButtonRecipe.iOS -> Resources.

WinPhone: Add the file in ImageButtonRecipe.WinPhone.

9. Now the Image Button will look like this across all the devices:

10. On clicking these buttons it will display a pop-up message.

 This is the simplest way to have an image button in your Xamarin.Forms app across all the devices. Click here for sample project.
Make some beautiful apps using Xamarin.Forms and tweet your queries to @adiiaditya.

Xamarin.Forms served hot with Caffeine

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For over several years, developers have dreamt of being able to write their applications in a single language and have it run on various mobile platforms. The thought of “Why go for one, when you can have it all?” has always intrigued them.

Finally, one fine day, our developer friends at Xamarin Head Quarters, San Francisco, CA fulfilled this dream with Xamarin.Forms, the dynamic cross-platform software which simplifies mobile development by allowing developers to write once in C# and provide native experience in Android, iOS and Windows Phone using the same API across all platforms.

 Requirements:

Compatible Devices:

  • Android 4.0 or higher
  • iOS 7.0 or higher
  • Windows Phone 8 or higher

Xamarin served hot with caffeine will act as a prologue to your perfect cross platform app development story. While the release of Xamarin 3 brought smiles to the face of developers with the introduction of Xamarin.Forms, we are sure that the updates will bring contentment in developers.

I will now quickly walk you through the steps to make the environment ready for the X-perience.

Installing Xamarin Studio

Step 1. The first step will be downloading the Xamarin unified installer.

Step 2. The second step will be to run the Xamarin Installer.

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Step 3. Once we are done installing Xamarin on both the systems i.e. Windows as well as Mac. We need to activate Xamarin on both the systems.

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Step 4. Once you log in, you can choose if you want to Begin a Trial or Purchase a License. If you Begin a trial and activate Xamarin, you can see how many days of the trial you have left at any point:

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Creating an application

Step 1. To create a new application in Visual Studio we will select New Project from the welcome screen

Step 2. Select Mobile Apps from the installed templates of Visual Studio under C#.

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Step 3. Now as you can see we have two options for Blank App, one is Xamarin.Forms Portable and Xamarin.Forms Shared.

Xamarin.Forms Portable: Shares the code using a portable class library.

Xamarin.Forms Shared: Shares the code using shared assets project.

We will be working on Xamarin.Forms Portable.

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Step 4. Now you can see the solution file contains 4 projects namely, XamarinSample (Portable), XamarinSample.Android, XamarinSample.iOS and XamarinSample.WinPhone.

 Xamarin6

Deploying an Application

Step 1. Right click on the project which you want to deploy and select “Set as StartUp Project”.

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Step 2. If you want to deploy on a Windows Phone, choose the Device/Emulator from the first drop down :

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Choose iPhone/iPhoneSimulator from the second drop down and the device from the third drop down if you want to deploy on an iPhone:

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For deployment on Android, choose the device from the fourth drop down:

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Step 3. Now click the Xamarin11  button to deploy the application. You will see this as the output screen on the device you opted:

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Now, we are all set to develop some awesome apps on our beloved IDE. We hope the exhilaration is mutual. 😉

Let’s, wait for more awesome bits on Xamarin.Forms this year. Till then, grab your coffee mugs and join the excitement on Twitter if you haven’t already, give us a shout-out @thewittytechie with #Xamarin.

The best FPS game of 2013

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call-of-duty-ghosts-vs-battlefield-4

As the year 2013 goes by it left the gamers titillated for the holiday season with the world’s most anticipated First Person Shooter games released in November 2013. Yes we are talking about the two giants of the gaming industry Infinity Ward and DICE. Gamers around the world hit the stores to get their hands onto the most anticipated games of 2013. Though both Battlefield and Call of Duty have different ways of portraying FPS gaming but one just cannot stop himself from comparing the two and here we are trying to look through every meticulous detail we can find about how the games fared and which one appealed more to the gaming community.

Single Player Campaign

After Infinity ward’s previous Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2 gave the gamers an immersive experience in the single player campaign with a great story and some breath taking moments, a lot was expected from Ghosts. The story is straight forward but fresh, there are some amazing visual effects in the form of explosions in the environment and specially the space combat scenario which are bound to take you by surprise. Infinity Ward was indeed successful in winning the hearts of the gamers in the campaign section.

cod ghosts campaign

On the other hand Battlefield 4 has a more weapon based action, it seems like DICE is still trying to capture the Call of Duty magic in its campaign but somehow fails, what is worth watching is the action packed open map combats which one can anyway experience in the multiplayer. So, for this section Call of Duty Ghosts is a winner.

battlefield 4 campaign

MULTIPLAYER

The multiplayer gameplay is quite different for both the games. Battlefield has always had the huge maps long range gun and vehicle combats where as call of duty relied on gun or hand close range high action combats. Both the games are equally appealing to the audience but battlefield 4 has taken the combat to a whole new level of  realism. With the Frostbite 3 engine the building destruction, reflections and overall gameplay immerses you in a whole new way and you just can help but play for long hours.Not only this, Battlefield 4 has its battlelog app for the smartphones and tablets, you can set up your loadout or you can be a part of a game and send combat orders to your squad directly on the go without  keeping you engrossed in the action even when you are away from your console or pc. This surely makes things better for the players who want to stay in touch with the game even on the move.

battlefield 4 multiplayer

  Battlelog for Tablets and Smartphones

battlelog for tablets and smartphones

Call of Duty has always been a leader in multiplayer FPS gaming with its action packed gameplay and killstreak system. This year also Infinity Ward did not let its supporters down with Ghosts. There are some new and fresh game modes like  blitz and cranked which improve the overall experience and keep you engrossed till the very end of the game. But somehow Infinity Ward failed to bring about any significant changes to the gameplay which totally feel like Call of Duty. The same old gun combat which gets a bit monotonous sometimes. Though Ghosts puts up a fair fight to Battlefield 4 but we have to give this one to Battlefield 4.

ghosts multiplayer

GRAPHICS

We all know how amazing Battlefield 3 was, the special effects and the reflections on the map and objects felt so real. With the Frostbite 3 engine the graphics have escalated to a whole new level. The explosions, bullet damage effect, map reflections, environment response all feel pretty real. Just when you think it cant get any better we got to see the most amazing  part of it all , you can demolish entire buildings and skyscrapers during the game making the opponent rush for cover. This takes the immersion to an insanely new level and yes it gives you goosebumps. The level of detail in the open field maps also feels amazing to play in and does provide a level of realism to the whole gaming experience.

battlefield 4 graphics

Infinity ward tried to pose a comeback with Call of Duty Ghosts by announcing that it would be released for the next-gen consoles. With added environment interactions and special effects, the game does manage to sweep you off your feet. The forest detailing and reflections bring about a level of realism but fail to go past that Call of Duty cliche graphics. It seems like Infinity ward could not exploit the next generation console hardware completely as the graphics show no major difference. We have to give this one to Battlefield 4.

ghosts graphics

So the bout is fair and even. Both franchises tried their level best to lure the gaming community to their end but it really would be unfair to crown a sole winner. Battlefield 4 does seem to be a winner here but it is just a personal opinion based on my review. I would leave it up to you guys to decide who deserves to win the crown of THE BEST FPS GAME OF 2013.

Crown the smartphone of the year 2013

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The Best Tech at CES 2014

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ces2014

The Consumer Electronic Show 2014 had us on our toes all through the the 4 day extravaganza. With a breathtaking display of innovative products   the audience was in for a treat for sure. Though its hard to reward certain products with the “Best Product” title we would surely try our level best to share the technologies which stood out during the show.

Virtual Reality: Oculus Rift

The first version of this virtual reality wearable device did not have much in it with  basic movement motions and angle of vision. The updated Crystal Clove version which was showcased in CES 2014 caught us by surprise. The tracking system allows you to peek down from ledges and well optimized movement with the ability to lean at corners. We are desperately waiting for the product as it is bound to take gaming to a whole new level.

oculus-rift-crystal-cove

The next generation Television

Both Samsung and LG brought in their futuristic series of televisions to amaze us all. The televisions provide ultra HD 4k  OLED display in a screen that bends to provide an unmatched immersive experience. This smart move by both the tech giants is surely going to bring about a revolution in the home entertainment market. The bending televisions would be up for sale later this year and surely would be a hard hit on your pocket. But, the money would be well spent as this new generation of televisions is surely going to set you generations apart from others.

bend tv

A whole new dimension to gaming: PLAYSTATION NOW

Sony has stepped up the competition in the gaming industry with its revolutionary technology called “PlayStation NOW”.  Acquisition of Gaikai in $380 million finally paid off for Sony at CES 2014. The stakes are high for the revolution in the gaming entertainment business. PlayStation Now enables subscribers to stream PS3  (PS1, PS2 titles also promised as later release ) game titles onto their Sony Tv’s, smart phones, PS Vita straight from the cloud. With services like buying, demo, rental Sony has brought out a whole new perspective to playing games on the go. The demo at CES 2014 was amazing, “The Last of Us” was being streamed onto a PS Vita without any lag or glitch of any kind. This definitely is a game changer for Sony and is bound to set it out in the spotlight for the years to come. We would surely try to get our hands on the early closed beta release  later this year.

playstation-now

Nvidia’s fifth generation “TEGRA K1” mobile processor

Jen-Hsun Huang( NVIDIA CEO) never fails to surprise his audience during his presentations. He accomplished this feat yet again with the release of Nvidia’s ground breaking next-gen mobile processor series. Not only does this processor rock 192 Kepler graphic cores but also provides high end graphics and supports Unreal Engine 4 which enables designers to carry super computer like monstrous power in their pockets. This completely changes the way we look at mobile processors,Tegra K1 would be the first 64 bit processor to support android, this processor lineup is sure to ushers in a whole new level of graphic details in android  games. Nvidia takes on Apple head on with the claim stating that ” Tegra K1 has 3x the performance of the A7 processor”. This new series proves Nvidia’s supremacy in visual computing one again, here is a seak peak into what the Tegra K1 can do.

Sony’s New Flagship Smart Phone: XPERIA Z1 COMPACT

This new flagship smartphone from Sony puts the myth of “Bigger is Better” to dust. This 4.3 inch smartphone is loaded with the same high end specs and water resistant technology as its elder brother the Xperia Z1. This phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800  processor and supported by 2 Gb of ram. The rear camera is a powerful 20.7 megapixel  which is the same as the 5 inch Xperia Z1. The Z1 compact also carries Sony’s “Triluminous” display technology to compensate for a not so sharp screen resolution of 1280×720 which turns out to be the only set back of this otherwise amazing smart phone.

z1 compact

THE BEST WINDOWS TABLET : LENOVO THINKPAD 8

Lenovo has made it quite clear that it means serious business with its new 8.3 inch windows 8.1 tablet. This tablet has got some amazing specs under the hood making it a sole winner in the 8 inch tablet market. With a sharp 1920×1200 screen resolution it provides an amazing entertainment experience. It runs on Intel’s Atom Bay Trail processor clocked at 2.4GHz , the best part being that it supports 4K  video playback. It houses a 8 MP high resolution rear camera and a 2.2 MP front facing camera. This tablet has an amazing sleek all aluminium design which is inline with the ThinkPad legacy. In all this tablet is the best bet for a handy professional tablet which is fully packed for entertainment purposes.

lenovo thinkpad 8

MSI CONCEPT GAMING LAPTOP

MSI is well known for its series of GPU’s and laptops. Its new gaming laptop swept us off our feet with its amazing specs given its sleek design and light body.The design is inspired by muscle cars and the body is as light as 3 pounds, what baffled us was that it is suppose to be lighter than the Razor blade 14 and the 15 inch Mac book pro. It has a sharp 2880×1620 resolution and will carry two mSATA drives. Though MSI did not share any further specs it can be predicted that the laptop will carry a high end intel processor and a discrete graphics unit. The laptop also has a smart cooling system, the top of the keyboard has a layer which sucks in cool air and radiates hot air out through the bottom and the ends.

MSI concept laptop2MSI concept laptop1

CES 2014 kept the consumers engaged with some enthralling products ranging from automobiles to devices. What was note worthy was the fact that technology is briskly moving towards  a more sustainable solution to development of society which is definitely the need of the hour.