iOS Push Notifications in C# with apns-sharp

November 28, 2010

I just recently set up push notification in an iOS application for the first time. The back-end is implemented in C# and searching the web for existing solutions i came across “apns-sharp” (http://code.google.com/p/apns-sharp/). “apns” is short for Apple Push Notification Service and the library, as you would expect, provides a C# api for sending iOS push notifications. The library also contains an api for Apple’s Feedback service for – a service used to retrieve push tokens that are no longer valid, so as to be able to clean up subscribtions.

Initially i got things working on my dev setup without hardly any effort. I then proceeded to publish the project to by budget webhost http://www.web10.dk and suddenly I wasn’t receiving notifications anymore. It took me quite some time to figure out what was wrong…

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Hands on with the Galaxy Tab

November 25, 2010

Today I had the chance to go hands-on with the Galaxy Tab (see proof below). I only had it in my hand for like 5 minutes so this isen’t the most qualified impression. Also I’ve had several weeks of hands on experience with an iPad, so I might be a little biased (Ok who are we kidding – iOS runs laps arround Android).

The initial feel was a bit messy compared to the iPad, but I guess thats just a question of Android vs iOS. Browsing the web was perfectly ok, but notisably choppy. Naturally I had to visit a flash site as well – In2Media.dk came to mind. The site actually rendered as it should, but navigating arround was extremely jerky. Also I accidentially flipped the orientation a couple of times, resulting in very behavior like black screen and not responding to scrolling, etc.

One thing we touched on here at the office was the form factor. I’m a bit lost as to what to think here. The Galaxy Tab is lighter then it’s iOS cussin, but the screen is also a lot closer to beeing a smartphone then a netbook. I’m wondering why I would pick up the Galaxy Tab instead of whatever regular large screen Android phone Samsung makes. In that sense, the iPad makes a lot more sence to me.

I’m sure that the more open nature of Android will appeal to some, but I’m just not getting the same “attention to detail” feeling i get form the iPad. I know i’m nit picking here, but look at the camera placement for instance – why is it off center like that?

BlackBerry Playbook Simulator and SDK hands-on

October 27, 2010

So i just got the BlackBerry PlayBook SDK and simulator up and running. While there is nothing in the form of apps in the simulator, it diden take much work to get the HelloWorld project running. All in all the initial impression is quite positive. I can see the split screen combination of WebOS style multitasking “cards” and “All programs” menu working well in practice. Since there are no hardware keys on the simulator (it’s just a VMWare image), swiping up minimizes the active application to a card. While there’s obviously some ways to go, everything seems quite smooth and well thougt through, with dedicated icons at the top of the screen for accessing notifications and the integrated media player (no media comes loaded unfortunately).

For whatever reason you have to provide your own 90x90px icon for the example app – I just picked one up from IconArchive.com and resized it. I’m resonably comfortable with photoshop, but some people might not be.. blackberry-tablet-icon.png

Below is a couple of screenshots of the hello world example app running and what it looks like minimized to a card:

My first iPhone / iPad apps

August 25, 2010

Here’s a long overdue post. Below you will find links to two iPhone / iPad applications developed by yours truly.

As you can probably guess I am hoping to add more books in the series when i find the time.

Sales hasn’t exactly shot through the roof, with on average one to two copies a day.

Settings on Windows Phone 7

June 18, 2010

Storing and retreiving settings from isolated storage on Windows Phone 7 is easy:

IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings["UserName"] = "Olav";
string username = IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings["UserName"].ToString();

NTLM on Windows Phone 7

June 18, 2010

The fact that the experience of authenticating over NTLM on iPhone and Android isn’t excatly painless is understandable. No support for NTLM in WCF on WP7 is surprising (you gotta love those acronym)..

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsphone7series/thread/43a84dff-9447-4e95-8040-8a5447514fa0

Update So, it seems there is a workarround – build the request and parse the response your self: http://zetitle.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/wp7-connecting-to-web-services-that-uses-authentication/
Fingers crossed they get it in before launch..

Those fancy “new” distributed version control systems

March 26, 2010

So we recently switched from TFS to SVN where I work. “Great!” I thought. But then I remembered reading about some other systems called “Mercurial” and “Git” somewhere. Systems that billed them self as “distributed”.

Reading Joel Spolskys final blog post (http://joelonsoftware.com/items/2010/03/17.html) I realized that that it was probably time to stop ignoring what I was reading and start investigating. I read a little about Git before, but what is prompting me to write this post is the informative and funny Mercurial tutorial put together by Mr. Spolsky and published on http://hginit.com.

I recommend anyone who is into this kind of thing to do them self “the favor of the day” and read, both Joel Spolskys final post (plus lot of heโ€™s other posts of course ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and his great Mercurial tutorial.

Live feed from Microsoft’s Mobile World Congress press event

February 15, 2010

“Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will host a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2010. Watch the live Webcast here on Feb. 15 starting at 6 a.m. PST/3 p.m. CET”

http://www.microsoft.com/news/windowsphone

Steve Ballmer live – sweet!

Windows Phone 7 predictions from a Window Mobile developer

February 12, 2010

With Mobile World Congress in Barcelona only two days away, I feel like making my “predictions” for Windows Phone 7. If nothing else, then so that people will have something to throw in my face (yeah right – it’s so i can gloat of course).

First let me take you back: One of the first things I noticed about the Windows Mobile 5 / Compact Framework combo was how weak the graphics system was. As usual I created a layout in Photoshop, assuming that stuff like basic transparency and gradients would of course be available. Years later I have spend countless hours trying to wrangle Compact Framework Forms applications into something good looking / user friendly. At some point you just realize it’s too much effort and half resign.

Why this talk of Compact Framework?

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Deploying ASP.Net MVC on IIS 6.0

February 12, 2010

My first ASP.Net MVC website was just test-deployed last night. Imagine my supprise when everything but the default page resulted in 404!

After first fiddling with uploading extra dll’s and what not, I eventuallycame across the post below, detailing how to setup MVC on IIS 6.

It’s a great read – even just for some inside into ASP.Net MVC / IIS 6.0: http://haacked.com/archive/2008/11/26/asp.net-mvc-on-iis-6-walkthrough.aspx