Windows Phone App: Susaalandets Skole

I recently had my third app for the Windows Phone certified and made available for download (currently only in the US and Danish stores).

The app, named Susaalandets Skole, is a small app displaying information about the schedule for a given class, the canteen menu, contact information, local weather and so forth for our local (public) school. A few screen shots can be found at the “marketing site” for the app.




All information is read from a Windows Azure Database using a web service as data access layer, so nothing is hardcoded (except for the address of the web service).

I have localized the service for Danish and English. I could not get it certified, when I had the Danish texts hardcoded.

The weather information is streamed from the Norwegian weather service YR.NO.

The menu from the canteen is shown for the current month. I have an agent that automatically downloads the new menu and updates the database from the PDF-file. That is, I download the menu and perform the update. We may be living in 2012, but the school is using the notorious SkoleIntra and it does not support any way to interface with an electronic menu.

I currently only know of one student on the school owning a Windows Phone, namely my oldest son. We have worked together on the design and content, and it has been great fun, so it does not really matter if I don’t get hundreds of downloads. We have already come up with a couple of new features, like notifications T minutes before a lesson is about to start, ability to send “I will be late” SMS to the teacher and a couple of others.

I initially wanted to put a map of the school in the app using Bing maps, which would allow you to zoom, tag the different building and so on. Unfortunately the resolution on Bing where I live is to low for this to work.

Should anyone be interested in the code, let me know and I’ll put it on github or similar.

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MetroReads: Goodreads for the Windows Phone

My second app for the Windows Phone platform got certified today!

It is an app to use with From their site:

“Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. We have more than 8,600,000 members who have added more than 300,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in January 2007. ”

Check out the “marketing site” for screen shots and link to Marketplace.


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Start Windows8 in Desktop

Tired of Windows 8 starting up in Metro? Is your first action to switch to Desktop after starting up? Worry no more! If you set a registry key, you can control if Windows 8 should boot in Desktop rather than Metro.

— snip  —

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

“Shell”=”explorer.exe /select,explorer.exe”

— snip  —

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Pull the Rabbit out of the Machine

Today I got RabbitMQ In Action from Manning in the mail. As I have prevous written about, I did a 2nd review on the book. I am, however, looking forward to reading the complete book and play around with the Rabbit.

Last year, I also reviwed Machine Learning In Action also by Manning. Manning was also kind enough to mail me a copy of this book. Since my master thesis I have only worked briefly with artificial neural networks, so it was fun to play around with these kinds of models again. I also enjoyed the examples in Python, an area I have not had the pleasure of doing much work with.

I wrote in my last post about SOA Patterns. This book is about to go into print and when it does I’ll post a picture of the front. Now I can only find one with the MEAP-sign plastered over it.

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Review of books: SOA Patterns by Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz

I have previously written a small blog post about reading SOA Patterns by Arnon Rotem-Gal-Oz by Manning. That time is was what was called a 2/3 review, hence a peer review of the material currently present.

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Manning and asked if I wanted to do the technical proof reading of the book. I thought about it for a day and two and then accepted the offer.

The book is made up of 10 chapters. Part I (chapters 1 through 7) is titled SOA Patterns and gives, both an overview of SOA and a deep dive into the various patterns and their usage. Part II is called Applying SOA Patterns and is made up of the remaining three chapters. Chapter 8 is about anti-patterns, chapter 9 a case study and chapter 10 a comparison of SOA with other architectural styles.

The full Table of Contents is:

Part I – SOA Patterns

  • Solving SOA Pains with Patterns
  • Basic Structural Patterns
  • Pattens for Performance, Scalability and Availability
  • Security & Manageability
  • Message Exchange Patterns
  • Service Consumer Patterns
  • Composition Patterns

Part II – Applying SOA Patterns

  • Service Anti Patterns
  • Putting it all together – a case study
  • SOA vs. the World

All in all the book is worth the effort and does a good job of linking problems with solutions, regardless of whether you are a “SOA virgin” og an experienced developer/architect.

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SAAK: AgileZen for Windows Phone

I have previously written about my first attempt to write an app for the Windows Phone. It is an app for lean project management using the API towards I had called it MobilZen which seemed like a good and natural name. Unfortuantely I was not the only one. It turned out an American company had registred and even though they are doing something slightly different, I saw no reason to start a big fued, when they politely asked me to change the name.

Therefore I am proud to announce: SAAK – Serious Applications Agile Kanban.

Some of the graphics on have not been updated yet, but I have been told it will happen shortly.

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I’ve been told that you cannot have an app without having a website to market it.

Well, I’ve created a small one using the template created by Nick Harewood.

So check it out and please let me know what you think. Or even better, get the app and send me some feedback. Remember to be gentle, it is my first.

I’m almost done with next version which includes a refactoring of the UI and a lot of added functionality.

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My first Windows Phone app

Today my first app to the Windows Phone was published into the Marketplace.

I’m quite excited and will now wait for the million of downloads.

The application is called MobileZen and is build around the lean project management web-site and enables the user to view and edit their projects, stories and tasks.

I am in the process of adding a lot of extra functionality and hopefully also increase the user experience. I’ve ever been good with buttons, but I try to learn as I go along.


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Merry Christmas

Dear Friends and Family,

The best wishes for the holiday season and the new year.

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More on TFS and xUnit

In my previous post on TFS and xUnit I tried to describe how to get the unit testing framework xUnit to work with TFS.

I have got a couple of comments about not being able to get things to work. Unfortunately I have not had time to dive deep into why this may be so. It may well be because the description is flawed, for which I apologize.

A few observations:

  • Concerning NUnitTFS: apart from different arguments, it also seems like the functionality is different. Using the newest version I get the following error:

    However, using a previous (alpha) version all works as expected:

  • If you forget to define the endpoints in the NUnitTfs.exe.config-file you will get an error similar to the following:
  • Download the xaml and NUnitTFS I have used and try it out.


Using the InvokeProcess component (from the Toolbar) it should be possible to integrate any external tool into the workflow.

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