Goodbye, 2021!

Goodbye, 2021!

Starting at dormakaba

I started this year with a new job, moving from a shareholder register to a company for access solutions. The first month was driven by a lot of explanations and testing. The main task at my new job is to write interfaces that connect our customers’ systems with our access control software. After legally being forced to work from home, I wrote a few interfaces.

During the year, I was able to convince my team of several optimizations in terms of architecture and took also the lead on them. Establishing a core library and building interface standards that just need configuration are those with the most positive impact. We also started to use Bitbucket (the company’s choice) internally, which is also one of my maintenance tasks now.

Overall, I am quite satisfied with my first year at dormakaba even if it was (and is) challenging due to the pandemic.

Side projects

In terms of my side projects, I had a slow year. I did some minor updates to my apps and eventually published them to the stores.

The main focus was put into TwistReader (a twitter list based newsreader), which isn’t available in stores yet.

TwistReader start page (dev view)

Writing this application produced some libraries (partly public/open source, partly private only). My goal is to get the app into TestFlight in the beginning of 2022 and also to write about the libraries.


I did not blog much this year. I covered some interesting (hopefully) topics, though:

As I mentioned above, I plan to write about the libraries and also some other stuff I did in Xamarin.Forms next year.

Private stuff

The non technical part of my year was a turbulent one. As I became non-smoker last December, I restarted the sports ambitions I lost when I was young.

I started with running, did some free runs in the beginning, continuing with training for 5 km in under 30 minutes (which I am no able to achieve constantly).

I also started to train for 10 km in under 60 minutes, but was not able to finish the training course yet. I will restart this course in 2022. If you’re into running/cycling as well, feel free to follow me on Strava.

Just running isn’t enough, however, and so I also started with regular functional strength workouts with Freeletics (follow me here).

In our family, things became different as now both of our kids are no longer at school but started to work in apprenticeship. It is amazing to see them both starting they career, even though they routes are different from what we as parents expected. I wish both of my kids the best and the strength they need to succeed.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year, success, a lot of luck and strength for all the challenges of 2022.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

Title Image by Markéta Machová from Pixabay

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Editorials, 0 comments
MSicc’s Blog version 1.6.0 out now for Android and iOS

MSicc’s Blog version 1.6.0 out now for Android and iOS

Here are the new features:

Push Notifications

With version 1.6.0 of the app, you can opt-in to receive push notifications once I publish a new blog post. I use an Azure Function (v1, for the ease of bindings – at least for now), and of course, an Azure NotificationHub. The Function gets called from a WebHook (via a plugin on WordPress), which triggers it to run (the next blog posts I write will be about how I achieved this, btw.)

New Design using Xamarin.Forms Shell

I also overhauled the design of the application. Initially, it was a MasterDetail app, but I never felt happy with that. Using Xamarin.Forms.Shell, I optimized the app to only show the last 30 posts I wrote. If you need older articles, you’ll be able to search for them within the app. The new design is a “v1” and will be constantly improved along with new features.

Bugs fixed in this release
  • fixed a bug where code snippets were not correctly displayed
  • fixed a bug where the app did not refresh posts after cleaning the cache
  • other minor fixes and improvements

I hope some of you will use the application and give me some feedback.

You can download the app using these links:
iOS | Android

Until the next post, happy coding, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Android, Azure, Dev Stories, iOS, Xamarin, 0 comments
What I’ve learned from porting my first app ever to Android and iOS with Xamarin

What I’ve learned from porting my first app ever to Android and iOS with Xamarin

What’s the app about?

The app is about fishing knots. It sounds boring for most people, but for me, this app made me becoming a developer. So I have a somewhat emotional connection to it. It was back in time when Windows Phone 7 was new and hot. A new shiny OS from Microsoft, but clearly lacking the loads of apps that were available on iOS and Android. At that time, I also managed to get my fishing license in Germany.

As I had a hard time to remember how to tie fishing knots, I searched the store and found… nothing. I got very angry over that fact, partly because it meant I had to use one of the static websites back then, but more about the fact that there was this damn app gap (WP7 users will remember). So I finally decided to learn how to write code for Windows Phone and wrote my first app ever after some heavy self-studying months.

Why porting it?

Writing code should soon become my favorite spare-time activity, effectively replacing fishing. And so the years went on, I made some more apps (most of them for Windows Phone) and also managed to become employed as a developer. After some time, S. Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft, and Windows for mobile phones was dead. So I had created all my “babies”, and they were now set to die as Windows Phone/Mobile did. Not accepting this, I started to create a plan to port my apps over to the remaining mobile platforms. After Facebook effectively killed my most successful app (UniShare – that’s another story, though), I stopped porting that one and started with Fishing Knots +.

Reading your own old code (may) hurt

When I was starting to analyze which parts of the code I could reuse, I was kind of shocked. Of course, I knew that there was this code that I wrote when I didn’t know it better, but I refused to have a look into it and refactor it (for obvious reasons from today’s perspective). I violated a lot of best practices back then, the most prominent ones

  • No MVVM
  • Repeating myself over and over again
  • Monster methods with more than 100 lines within

In the end, I did the only right thing and did not reuse any line of my old code.

Reusing the concept without reusing old code

After I took the right decision to not use my old codebase, I needed to abstract the concept from the old app and translate it into what I know now about best practices and MVVM. I did not immediately start with the implementation, however.

The first thing I did was drawing the concept on a piece of paper. I used a no-code language in that sketch and asked my family if they understand the idea behind the app (you could also ask your non-tech friends). This approach helped me to identify the top 3 features of the app:

  • Controllable animation of each knot
  • Easy-to-follow 3-step instructions for each knot
  • Read-Aloud function of the instructions

Having defined the so-called “Minimum Viable Product“, I was ready to think about the implementation(s).

The new implementation

Finding the right implementation isn’t always straight forward. The first thing I wrote was the custom control that powers the controllable animation behind the scenes. I wrote it out of the context in a separated solution as I packed it into a NuGet package after finishing. It turned out to be also the most complex part of the whole app. It uses a common API in Xamarin.Forms, and custom renderers for Android and iOS. I had to go that route because of performance reasons – which is one of the learnings I took away from the porting.

It was also clear that I will use the MVVM pattern in the new version. So I was setting up some basic things using my own Nuget packages that I wrote during working on other Xamarin based projects.

When it came to the overall structure of my app, I thought a Master/Detail implementation would be fine. However, somehow this never felt right, and so I turned to Shell (which was pretty new, so I tried to give it a shot). In the end, I went with a more custom approach. The app uses a TabbedPage with 3 tabs, one being for the animation, the second for the 3-Step tutorial, and last but not least the Settings/About page. The first two pages share a custom top-down menu implementation, bound to the same ViewModel for its items and selection.

More Xamarin.Forms features I learned (to love)

Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms itself are already powerful and have matured a lot since the time I used it to write my first Xamarin app for Telefonicá Germany. Here is a (high level) list of features I started to use:

  • Xamarin.Essentials – the one library that kickstarts your application – seriously!
  • Xamarin Forms Animations – polish the appearance of your app with some nice looking visual activity within the UI
  • Xamarin Forms Effects – easily modify/enhance existing controls without creating a full-blown custom renderer
  • Xamarin Forms VisualStateManager – makes it (sometimes) a whole lot easier to change the UI based on property changes
  • Xamarin.Forms Triggers – alternative approach to modify the UI based on property changes (but not limited to that)

The three musketeers

Because of Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms are such powerful tools, you may run into the situation of needing help/more information. My three musketeers to get missing information, implementation help or solution ideas:

  • Microsoft Xamarin Docs – the docs for Xamarin are pretty extensive and by reading them (even again), I often had one of these “gotcha!”- moments
  • Github – if the docs don’t help, Github may. Be it in the issues of Xamarin(.Forms) or studying the renderers, Github has been as helpful as the docs to me.
  • Web Search – chances are high that someone had similar problems/ideas solved and wrote a blog about it. I don’t blindly copy those solutions. First I read them, then I try to understand them and finally, I implement my own abstraction of them. This way, I am in a steady learning process.

Learn to understand native implementations

I guarantee you will run into a situation where the musketeers do not help when focusing solely on Xamarin. Accept the situation that Xamarin is sitting on top of the native code of others and does the heavy conversion for us. Learn to read Objective-C, Swift, Java and Kotlin code and translate it into C# code. Once you found possible solutions in one of the native samples, blog posts or docs, you will see that most of them are easy to translate into Xamarin code. Do not avoid this part of Xamarin development, it will help you in future, trust me.


Porting over my first app ever to Android and iOS has provided me not only a lot of fun but also huge learnings/practicing. Some of them are of behavioral nature, some of them are code implementations. This post is about the behavioral part – I will write about some of the implementations in my upcoming blog posts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have questions or have similar experiences and want to discuss, feel free to leave a comment on this post or connect to me via social media.

Until the next post, happy coding!

Helpful links:

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Xamarin, 2 comments
[Updated] A workaround for Xamarin Forms 2.5 bug that prevents resource declaration in App.xaml

[Updated] A workaround for Xamarin Forms 2.5 bug that prevents resource declaration in App.xaml

Update: Xamarin appearently solved this problem with Service Release 3 for Xamarin Forms 2.5. I can confirm it works in the app that caused me to write this post.

Additional note: the forms:prefix is no longer needed, just insert the <ResourceDictionary>tag.

If you have a Windows background like I do, one of the most normal things for applications is to create keyed Resources in App.xaml to make them available throughout the app. Something like this should look familiar:

<forms:ResourceDictionary >
    <viewModels:ViewModelLocator x:Key="Locator"></viewModels:ViewModelLocator>
    <forms:Color x:Key="MainAccentColor">#1e73be</forms:Color>
    <forms:Color x:Key="LightAccentColor">#61a1f1</forms:Color>
    <forms:Color x:Key="DarkAccentColor">#00488d</forms:Color>
    <forms:Color x:Key="MainBackgroundColor">#f4f4f4</forms:Color>

This is also possible in Xamarin.Forms. Sadly, Xamarin.Forms 2.5 introduced an ugly bug where this declarations throw an ArgumentException, telling us the key(s) already exist in the dictionary (see Bugzilla here). I can confirm that this bug affects at least UWP, Android and iOS applications which use such an implementation.

As this is a show-stopping bug, I had to find a way to work around it for the moment. In such cases, I always try to find a way that has only very little impact. For this particular bug, I just moved the declaration of the resources into the code-behind file, which keeps the rest of my code unchanged. I just created a method that does the work I originally had in the .xaml-file:

//needed because of Xamarin Bug
private void CreateResourceDictionary()
    //making sure there is only one dictionary
    if (this.Resources == null)
        this.Resources = new ResourceDictionary();

    //making sure there is only one key
    if (!this.Resources.ContainsKey("Locator"))
        this.Resources.Add("Locator", ViewModels.ViewModelLocator.Instance);

    if (!this.Resources.ContainsKey("MainAccentColor"))
        this.Resources.Add("MainAccentColor", Color.FromHex("#1e73be"));

    if (!this.Resources.ContainsKey("LightAccentColor"))
        this.Resources.Add("LightAccentColor", Color.FromHex("#61a1f1"));

    if (!this.Resources.ContainsKey("DarkAccentColor"))
        this.Resources.Add("DarkAccentColor", Color.FromHex("#00488d"));

    if (!this.Resources.ContainsKey("MainBackgroundColor"))
        this.Resources.Add("MainBackgroundColor", Color.FromHex("#f4f4f4"));

This makes the application running again like it did before. Once the bug in Xamarin.Forms is fixed, I just have to delete this method and uncomment the XAML-declarations to get back to the state where I was prior to Xamarin.Forms 2.5.

If you are experiencing the same bug, I recommend to also comment on the Bugzilla-Entry (link).

As always, I hope this post is helpful for some of you.

Happy coding!



Posted by msicc in Android, Dev Stories, iOS, Windows, Xamarin, 4 comments

Helper class to handle In-App-Products (IAP) licenses on Windows Phone (SL)

Like a lot of other apps, also UniShare got hit by an outage in the licensing system of the Windows Phone Store recently.

There was a workaround to get the licenses back from the store, but even with that, users have left negative votes (even after I posted the workaround and also wpcentral wrote about it a few days later).

The problem with those negative reviews: they tend to remain, even after responding to them (if possible) or having conversation with the users via mail. I totally understand users that are annoyed by such facts – I got hit by it as well with other apps I am using regularly. So I was thinking about a better solution as the recommended way by Microsoft, which says you should check it on every app start.

Rob Irving posted about his solution at the same day wpcentral wrote about it, which is one possible solution. His motive was the same as my solution – improving the user experience with the IAP’s.

However, I am preferring to check the licenses against the Store from time to time to make sure that the licenses are still correct.

Here is my solution (for durable IAP):

First, let’s we need to declare an object for the ListingInformation, which will hold the information that the store returns for our IAP:

ListingInformation IAPListing;

Then, we  need to create these two classes:

        public class IAP
            public string Key { get; set; }

            public string Name { get; set; }

            public string Price { get; set; }

            public ProductType Type { get; set; }

            public string Description { get; set; }

            public string Image { get; set; }

            public bool IsLicenseActive { get; set; }

        public class IAPToSave
            public List<IAP> IAPListToSave { get; set; }

            public DateTime date { get; set; }

The class IAP is the class/model that holds a single IAP item information. The second class is needed for saving the fetched IAP information (we’ll see later how I did it).

Now we have prepared these, we can finally go to the store and fetch the IAP list. I created an async Task that returns a List<IAP> for it:

        public async Task<List<IAP>> GetAllIAP()
            var list = new List<IAP>();

            IAPListing = await CurrentApp.LoadListingInformationAsync();

            foreach (var product in IAPListing.ProductListings)
                list.Add(new IAP()
                    Key = product.Key,
                    Name = product.Value.Name,
                    Description = product.Value.Description,
                    Price = product.Value.FormattedPrice,
                    Type = product.Value.ProductType,
                    Image = product.Value.ImageUri.ToString(),
                    IsLicenseActive = isPackageUnlocked(product.Key)
            return list;

To immediately check if our user has already purchased the item, we are getting a Boolean for it. While we are getting the data from the store, we are using this to fill our IAP class with the desired value (see IsLicenseActive property in the IAP item above).

        public bool isPackageUnlocked(string productKey)
            var licenseInformation = CurrentApp.LicenseInformation;

            if (licenseInformation.ProductLicenses[productKey].IsActive)
                return true;
                return false;

Now we have already all data that we need to display all IAP in our app. The usage is fairly simple:

var iapHelper = new IAPHelper();
var iapList = await iapHelper.GetAllIAP();

You can now bind the iapList to a ListBox (or your proper control/view). Next thing we are creating is our helper that performs the purchase action and returns a result string to display in a message to the user in our IAPHelper class:

        public async Task<string> unlockPackage(string productKey, string productName)
            var licenseInformation = CurrentApp.LicenseInformation;

            string response = string.Empty;

            if (!licenseInformation.ProductLicenses[productKey].IsActive)
                    //opening the store to display the purchase page
                    await CurrentApp.RequestProductPurchaseAsync(productKey);

                    //getting the result after returning into app
                    var isUnlocked = isPackageUnlocked(productKey);

                    if (isUnlocked == true)
                        response = string.Format("You succesfully unlocked {0}.", productName);  
                        response = string.Format("There was an error while trying to unlock {0}. Please try again.", productName);
                catch (Exception)
                    response = string.Format("There was an error while trying to unlock {0}. Please try again.", productName);
                response = string.Format( "You already unlocked {0}", productName);

            return response;

You may of course vary the messages that are displayed to the user to your favor.

The usage of this Task is also pretty straight forward:

var iapHelper = new IAPHelper();
string message = await iapHelper.unlockPackage(((IAPHelper.IAP)IAPListBox.SelectedItem).Key, ((IAPHelper.IAP)IAPListBox.SelectedItem).Name);

After that, we need to refresh the LicenseInformation by using GetAllIAP() again to refresh the iapList and of course our ListBox.

My goal was to save the LicenseInformation of my IAP for a limited time so the user is protected for future outages (or situations where no network connection is available). That’s why we need to add another Task to our IAPHelper class:

        public async Task<string> SerializedCurrentIAPList(List<IAP> iaplist, DateTime lastchecked)
            string json = string.Empty;

            IAPToSave listToSave = new IAPToSave() { IAPListToSave = iaplist, date = lastchecked };

            if (iaplist.Count != 0)
                json = await Task.Factory.StartNew(() => JsonConvert.SerializeObject(listToSave));
            return json;

As you can see, now is the point where we need the second class I mentioned in the beginning. It has one property for the List<IAP> and a DateTime property that we are saving. I am serializing the whole class to a JSON string. This way, we are able to save it as a string in our application’s storage.

The usage of this Task is as simple as the former ones:

var savedIAPList = await iapHelper.SerializedCurrentIAPList(iapList, DateTime.Now);

The last thing we need to create is an object that helps us indicating if a refresh of the list is needed or not. Like I said, I want to do this action time based, so here is my way to get this value:

        public bool isReloadNeeded(DateTime lastchecked, TimeSpan desiredtimespan)
            bool reloadNeeded = false;

            var now = DateTime.Now;

            TimeSpan ts_lastchecked = now - lastchecked;

            if (ts_lastchecked > desiredtimespan)
                reloadNeeded = true;

            return reloadNeeded;

This method just checks if the desired TimeSpan has passed already and returns the matching Boolean value. The usage of this is likewise pretty simple:

var savedlist = await Task.Factory.StartNew(() => JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<IAPHelper.IAPToSave>(App.SettingsStore.savedIAPList));

if (iapHelper.isReloadNeeded(, new TimeSpan(96, 0, 0)))
   //reload the list and perform your actions
   //use savedlist.IAPListToSave and perform your actions 

This way, we are able to make sure that all IAPs are available for a minimum of time and protect our users against store outages.

For your convenience, you can download the whole class right here. Just replace NAMESPACE with yours and you are good to go.

Note: I know that this approach does not follow the recommended way of Microsoft. It is up to us to deal with bad reviews if something on the store part is not working. This is my approach to avoid negative reviews because of store outages (at least for a limited time). However, like always, I hope this post is helpful for some of you.

Happy coding!

Posted by msicc in Archive, 0 comments

How to work with the user’s music library on Windows Phone


I am currently exploring a lot of APIs that I never used before  in my Windows Phone apps as I am adding more features to my NFC Toolkit.

Like I always do, I create sample applications to explore what is possible and then integrate them into my main app.

One of those APIs is the MediaLibrary class on Windows Phone. You might think: there are tons of examples out there, why another post? Well, I agree, there are a lot of samples, but I want to cover a whole scenario.

In my sample, I am getting a list of all Albums stored in Library, start them playing, and display the current playing song as well as handle state managements of the playing song.

First, you will need to add the capabilities ID_CAP_MEDIALIB_AUDIO and ID_CAP_MEDIALIB_PLAYBACK to your app. If you will not do that, every call against the APIs will end up with an NotAuthorizedException.

For any access to the MediaLibrary and the MediaPlayer classes we are using the Namespace “Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Media”. Here our trouble begins already.

Xna is Microsoft’s framework to create games on Windows Phone 7.  As Windows Phone 8 supports also native code, this is mainly used in 7 games. That’s why you might run in some TargetInvocationExceptions while you debug apps that use them.

To avoid this, we need to add a Framework Dispatcher that simulates a game loop for us. Add the following method to your App.xaml.cs:

        private void StartGameLoop()
            GameTimer gameTimer = new GameTimer();
            gameTimer.UpdateInterval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(33);

            gameTimer.Update += delegate
                { }



We are starting a new GameTimer and delgate it to our UI using the FrameworkDispatcher.Update() method. By adding it to App.xaml.cs and calling this method in Lauching and Activated event of our app, we have it running through our whole app and are done with this.

There are several methods to this, I found this the most easy version. I would pay credits, but don’t remember where I saw this – sorry.

Before we came to our first call against the MediaLibrary, we need to add a class for our List<T> or ObservableCollection<T>. I don’t know if this is the best practice in this case, but it made working with the List of Albums very easy for me:

        public class AlbumFromStorage
            public string AlbumName {get; set;}

            public string AlbumArtist {get; set;}

            public WriteableBitmap AlbumCover {get; set;}

            public SongCollection AlbumSongs { get; set; }


To use this class, just add a new List<T>/ObservableCollection<T> to the Page class. Do the same for a MediaLibrary object and an AlbumCollection object:

public ObservableCollection<AlbumFromStorage> AlbumsList = new ObservableCollection<AlbumFromStorage>();
public MediaLibrary lib = new MediaLibrary();
public AlbumCollection albumslist;

Now we are prepared for fetching all local stored albums. Add the following code to your corresponding method:

            albumslist = lib.Albums;

            if (albumslist.Count != 0)
                foreach (var item in albumslist)
                    AlbumsList.Add(new AlbumFromStorage()
                        AlbumArtist = item.Artist.ToString(),
                        AlbumName = item.Name,
                        AlbumCover = PictureDecoder.DecodeJpeg(item.GetThumbnail()),
                        AlbumSongs = item.Songs

                MusicAlbumListBox.ItemsSource = AlbumsList;
                await MessageBox.Show("It seems you have not stored any music on your phone.", "Sorry :(", MessageBoxButton.OK);

Let me explain the code. First, we are using our AlbumCollection object to asign the MediaLibrary.Albums property. This will give us a collection of all albums. Then we need to check first, if the count in the collection is not 0 (it will throw ugly exceptions if a user doesn’t have any music stored if you won’t to this).

Then we add these albums to our ObservableCollection<AlbumFromStorage> picking the interesting properties of each album for us.

As the thumbnail for the album cover is a Stream, we need to use a WriteableBitmap for calling the GetThumbnail() method. The last step adds our ObservableCollection<AlbumFromStorage> as ItemSource to our ListBox.

This will be the result (based on my current albums list):


Now all we need to do is to make a tapped album playing with Windows Phone’s media Player.  Add the following code to the Listbox ItemTap Event:

             if (Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Media.MediaPlayer.State != MediaState.Playing)
                 //to delete the recent song (if there is any), just add this

                 var selectedItem = this.MusicAlbumListBox.SelectedItem as AlbumFromStorage;

                 // play the SongCollection of the selected Album
             else if (Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Media.MediaPlayer.State == MediaState.Playing)
                 MessageBox.Show("You are already playing music. Please stop the music first.");

                 //your own handling could be different here, like asking the user for the desired action and perform  it then


As you can see, I use the MediaPlayer.State property to get the album playing. The album is a SongCollection that holds all songs of the album. I recommend you to stop the last played song (if there is any) first with the MediaPlayer.Stop() method before start playing the first album song with the MediaPlayer.Play() method. Otherwise, it may happen that the user hears a second from the old song.

Very important: you must handle the case that the user has already music playing. If not, your app is likely to not pass certification.

After we started playing the music, we naturally want to display the current song.

To achieve this, we need to add two events to our page constructor: MediaPlayer.ActiveSongChanged and MediaPlayer.MediaStateChanged.

Within the MediaPlayer_MediaStateChanged event, add the following code:

            if (MediaPlayer.State == MediaState.Playing)
                var activeSong = MediaPlayer.Queue.ActiveSong;
                Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
                    MusicTileTitleBlock.Text = string.Format("playing:\n{0}\n{1}", activeSong.Name, activeSong.Artist);


            else if (MediaPlayer.State == MediaState.Paused)
                var activeSong = MediaPlayer.Queue.ActiveSong;
                Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
                    MusicTitleBlock.Text = string.Format("paused:\n{0}\n{1}", activeSong.Name, activeSong.Artist);                    
            else if (MediaPlayer.State == MediaState.Stopped)
                Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
                    MusicTitleBlock.Text = "music stopped"; 

This way, we use the MediaState to display the the current state as well as the title and artist. As we are updating the UI thread, as Dispatcher is used to update the Text.

To change the title and the artist of the current playing song, use this code within the MediaPlayer_ActiveSongChanged event:

            var activeSong = MediaPlayer.Queue.ActiveSong;
            Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
                MusicTileTitleBlock.Text = string.Format("{0}\n{1}", activeSong.Name, activeSong.Artist);


If you want to display also the album image, you will need to cache the image from the ItemTap event before, which would work fine with albums. If you choose Playlists instead of Albums, this will not work out well as you will not be able to get the image from MediaPlayer.Queue.ActiveSong.

I did a lot of research to get this feature(s) working the way they should. I took me several hours to figure everything out exactly, and I hope this post helps some of you out there to save some time on this.

With this post, you will be able to generate the whole experience your users deserve from the beginning to the end.

Until the next post, happy coding!

Posted by msicc in Archive, 1 comment
WPDEV: 2 tools that make localization of your Windows Phone apps easy

WPDEV: 2 tools that make localization of your Windows Phone apps easy

Today I want to show you two small tools that will help you to make localizing your apps easier.


Localizing in-app strings

The first tool I want you to know about is a tool called “AppTranslator”, made by Xda-Member singularity0821.

To provide the language settings, you need to name the strings in your app. I recommend to use format “x:name”, as sometimes without the “x:” your strings will not be accessible. Then you have to create a .resx file for your “neutral” language. You can find a good tutorial here at MSDN.

Once you have done this, you have to translate all strings and put them in a separate .resx file. Doing this manually in Visual Studio can really be an awful job. This is where the “AppTranslator” comes into the game.


As you can see it has a very clean UI. Everything you now have to do is to load your .resx file into the app and start to translate your app really fast:


You can save your work at every point, in the end you will get a ready to paste in .resx file.

You can download the tool here at xda.


Localizing app title

Ok, now you have localized your app content. But the app title will remain the one that you set in you “neutral language”.

To localize your app title, you have to generate resource-only DLLs. This could be very difficult if you are developing your apps with the VS 2010 Express. You simply can´t do it. An overview of how to do it manually and an explanation can be found here at MSDN.

No need to scream now, as also for this exists a tool from Patrick Getzmann, a German MVP.


The tools uses Bing to translate your app title. You can edit all the strings also manually, if you want. Once you´re done, just hit “Save DLLs” and you are ready to integrate them into  your app.

The tool can be downloaded here.

I hope you will enjoy the tools as much as I do.

Posted by msicc in Archive, 3 comments

I learn to tie my shoes – now available on Windows Phone (deal inside)

In January 2011 Internet Security specialist AVG released a study. This study tells us that nowadays children get in touch with technical gadgets much earlier than in the past, while they are not able to manage everyday things like tying their shoes.

The study substantiates this also with figures: around 19% of the 2-5 year old children are able to use smartphone apps, while only 9% know  how to tie their shoes.

As father of two kids, I decided to use the abilities of the little ones, and do something against that alarmingly low now number of kids, who know how to tie shoes.

I hope this app helps you and your children to learn tying of shoes very quick, easy and with fun.

The app provides following features:

  • two methods of tying shoes
  • controllable animation that shows tying
  • step by step guide
  • rhymes
  • theme selection (currently standard, boys, girls)
  • German and English language

The app will be available at the price of 99 cent. Like all my other apps, it has of course a trial version.

Trial version provides:

  • the first five steps both in animation and the guide
  • one of four rhymes
  • standard theme

What is coming next?

  • more languages (coming with the next update: Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian)
  • more themes
  • themed tiles to pin to start screen

To celebrate the launch of this app, I will start a “Marketplace Roulette”.

Currently, the app is available for free only  via this marketplace link.  I will change the pricing at a suitable moment within the next few days  to the above mentioned 99 cents and make it publically available. Until this moment, you can download it for free only via this link.

Finally, here are some screenshots from the app:


If you want to learn more about the app, here is a review on (written by Saijo George).

Posted by msicc in Archive, 0 comments