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.

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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.

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Crown the smartphone of the year 2013

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Nokia begins global Lumia Black update roll out

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Nokia started rolling out Lumia Black update, and the first region to get this update is China! We know all the Lumia users are waiting for it to launch globally and that is why we are giving you a sneak peak of what is awaited!

Nokia China posted on Chinese website Weibo (translated):

“Nokia Lumia Black system upgrade coming in recently for different types of users, have to upgrade push it! I believe that many users already can not wait to learn what the system update, right? Come! Click on the picture, preview it!

What’s new with Lumia Black?

We know you are eager to know and we are excited to share with you the new features:

* App Folders

Yes you can organize multiple apps into a tile on the home screen

* Bluetooth LE

Extending it’s support to Adidas MiCoach and even smart watches like Pebble

*Camera

Combines Nokia Pro Camera and Smart Camera to simplify the photo-taking experience, and ensure to get the perfect shot every time. The app has been available for Lumia PureView smartphones since last year, but it’s now coming to the rest of the WP8 Lumia range. Raw camera support for both the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520. Also new camera algorithms, notably for the Lumia 1020 with tone mapping and noise reduction.

* Glance Screen 2.0

New colors for night mode, notifications, pedometer, custom text and calendar information. Plus you can add up to 5 notifications.

* Nokia Refocus

Available for all Windows Phone 8 devices

* Nokia Beamer

It gives you the ability to magically beam a photo from your Nokia Lumia to a connected screen like your TV, laptop, or another phone or tablet

* Nokia StoryTeller

Nokia Storyteller aims to turn pictures back into events again, to allow people to tell stories about important moments in their lives using their smartphone pictures, by helping to organise them and by providing more context.

The devices which received this update are Nokia Lumia 925 and Nokia Lumia 1020, while the other Lumia range will receive it in the coming weeks.

Windows Phone Store hits 200,000+ apps

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2013 has been a great year for Windows Phone. Be it a series of new Lumia’s or the addition of apps like Instagram, Vine and Subway Surfer or the Nokia Lumia 520’s 26.5% market share globally. The year 2013 was all about Windows Phone and with it’s end we are being told that the windows phone app store has hit 200,000+ apps.

And Microsoft is being seen rejoicing the moment, the official blog post reads:

“The current holiday shopping season and all the great promotions are just underway, and we’re already seeing momentum build with the Store surpassing 12 million transactions per day and Windows Phone Store surpassing 200,000 apps. The best news is that we’re just getting started. In the new calendar year we’ll introduce creative new approaches to help you reach users in your app developing,”

We at thewittytechie.com hope to see a great 2014 for Windows Phone!

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NOKIA LUMIA 925: More Than Your Eyes Can See

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The new Nokia Lumia 925 powered with windows 8 is the apex of Lumia design. It’s a perfected Lumia formula which has eradicated the loopholes of previous Lumia phones. It is light weight, thin, and yes of course is easier to operate using one of your hands unlike Lumia 920 which was a bit difficult to manage. It flaunts a unique body and metal edges which garnishes the looks of phone with its side buttons which are scratch and dust resistant too. Nokia has also improved the lighting of its capacitive windows phone buttons, which are lot more white when illuminated. The front looks like any other windows phone but the back cover finish is sort of catchy which comes in three colors (black, white and gray).

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Talking about its features, it is imbibed with same QUALCOMM snapdragon 1.5GHz dual core processor as that of previous Lumias and same memory that is 1GB of RAM. The sad part is that Lumia 925 is equipped with 16GB on board memory with no other expansion option.

However it uses AMOLED display technology with 4.5 pure motion display with effective pixel density which as a result gives better battery life with excellent power management, in addition it comes with wireless charging but not built in. The camera is at the centerpiece with a hump that raises it above the back rest which is sported with 8.7MP dual LED camera with award winning pure view technology Carl Zeiss optics. The thing that lets you down is the saturation and contrast level when compared to 920. If this bothers you then you should look for its edge sharpness which is way better than before.

Despite these up gradations is this finally the real piece that can go head to head with HTC or Galaxy? This enigma can’t be solved but that can be assured that it has all the potentials for competing in the market with the rests.

Nokia Lumia 520: the entry level Lumia

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No doubt Lumia 520 is the most affordable smartphone under the Lumia category, a smartphone which a common man can afford easily. It has almost the same features as those of its elder siblings. This was a try from Nokia to pull the trigger towards introducing a budget smartphone in the market. Lumia 520 comes with Windows Phone 8 version of the OS. The affordable Lumia 520 pursues the same doctrine as the other members of its Lumia family.

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 It has 1 GHz Dual core processor backed with 512 MB of RAM and yeah you can play Subway Surfer with no wane at all 😉 It has 8 GB of internal storage and can be extended to 64 GB as external storage. The Lumia has a 5 Megapixel of camera with geo-tagging and auto focus feature, with no flash though and that can be considered as one of its cons. It has a scratch resistant 4 inch display. Though the screen lacks delicacy of texture as compared to the other members of its family and what else can one expect with such an affordable phone. The phone can easily fit in ones hand and is easily accessible. And yeah not forgetting the feature for which Nokia is famous – the handset is though looks delicate but is extremely tenacious.  It supports a variety of apps as it has the windows 8 essence. The handset has some cons like the no flash camera, weak battery backup and yeah the rough screen.

But on an average I would give it 8 out of 10. The handset is available in black, red, cyan and yellow color. With in this price range this is the best phone available in the market.