Monthly Archives: October 2014

Building Windows Phone, Windows and Universal Apps: Winter Events Series!

*Update*: Apologies, we’ve had to cancel the Dev Workshop on Thursday 20th November.

In the late summer, we held a series of events aimed at Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 app developers intended to help you along the road to getting an app published in the Windows Store, whether you are a complete beginner or a more experienced app developer.

We are running a new series of those events this winter. We start with two one-hour webinars run back-to-back, follow those with a one day workshop at Microsoft’s offices in Victoria, London, and wrap up with a ‘Publish to the Store’ hack event again at Microsoft London:

Webinar 1: Windows Apps JumpStart LIVE Series – Kick Starter Webinar for the non C#/XAML developer: This one hour webinar is aimed at developers who are completely new to Visual Studio, XAML, C# and .NET. This will give you what they need to get started with downloading Visual Studio, a little bit of knowledge of C# and the structure of a XAML-based app.
Online webinar
Friday 7 Nov 2014  10:00 –11:00
Registration: http://aka.ms/winappswebinar1

Webinar 2: Windows Apps JumpStart LIVE Series – JumpStart Webinar: Building Universal Apps with C# and XAML: This one hour webinar follows on straight away after the previous one. It is aimed at developers who are new to Windows Store app development, but who have some experience of developing software using .NET, or for those who have attended the previous webinar.
Online webinar
Friday 7 Nov 2014    11:00 – 12:00
Registration: http://aka.ms/winappswebinar2

Following on from the webinars, we have a one-day dev camp:

Dev camp: Windows Apps JumpStart LIVE Series: Windows Apps Dev Workshop
This one day event will be help at Microsoft’s offices near Victoria Station, London, running 9:30 – 17:30. At this workshop, you will learn how to program Windows and Windows Phone apps, including universal apps that run on both. There will be Hands-on Labs available, and you can get tips and advice from Microsoft experts and from peers in the developer community. There’ll be some giveaways as well Smile
Dev camp
Sorry! This one has had to be cancelled…

And following on from that, we have a one-day Publish hackathon:

Publish event: Windows Apps JumpStart LIVE Series: Publish Hackathon
This informal one-day event will also be held at Microsoft’s building in London, running 9:00 – 21:00 on a Saturday. This is a fun 12 hour event encouraging developers to bring their existing projects (apps/cloud projects) to polish and publish through to the last mile with help from Microsoft and community experts. There’ll be pizza and drinks and prizes too!
Publish Hack event
Saturday 13 December 2014
    09:00 – 21:00
Registration: http://aka.ms/winappspublishhack

Come along and join us – and if you don’t manage to publish an app this quarter, remember we are repeating these events again the first half of next year so you can get started now and then come and join us again later!

Windows Phone 8.1 Smart card Reader sample code

I have had quite a few queries from developers who watched the Building Apps for Windows Phone 9.1 Jump Start videos and are interested in the low-level smart card reading that I showed in module 15: Sensors and Proximity: NFC and Bluetooth in which I demoed an app that read data off a bank debit card. You can find all the samples we showed in the Jump Start at http://aka.ms/wp81samples but the smartcard sample is missing from there.

There were two reasons for that: firstly, there have been no phones available that can run it! Until now that is. Low-level card reading needs a new NFC chipset that is only available in the newest phones that are only now coming to market, such as the Lumia 730 and Lumia 830. The device I used in the video was an engineering prototype. And the second reason for not publishing it was that at the time we published the code samples, I wasn’t sure we had the go-ahead from the card company whose card we used.

Anyway, now the phones are becoming available and the NFC Smart card team at Microsoft have published their ‘official’ sample up on MSDN code samples: NFC Smart Card Reader PC/SC Library . The Home page of the project explains it all perfectly, so I’ll just repeat a shortened version here:

“Example code and library for raw communication to NFC tags with Windows Phone 8.1, but requires a device with support (Lumia 830 & 73x)
NOTE: This code will work only on a Windows Phone running 8.1 or higher, and with an NFC driver that supports smart card reader mode such as the NXP PN547 which is available on the Lumia 730 and Lumia 830 (it will NOT work on a Lumia 930 or any existing hardware, even after updating to 8.1). See inside the MainPage.GetDevices() function for how to detect at runtime whether a device supports this functionality.

A new feature in Windows Phone 8.1 (on specific new hardware devices) is to be able to directly send raw commands to external plastic NFC cards, previously the phone could only read/write NDEF messages to NDEF-formatted tags but now you can talk to things like transit passes etc. For NXP PN547-based devices NFC cards such as MIFARE Classic/Ultralight/DESfire, ISO7816-4/APDU-based cards like JCOP, Jewel are supported as well as some limited support for ISO15693 and Felica. This project contains sample code only for MIFARE Classic/Ultralight/DESfire and Felica, but can be easily extended to support the others.”

So there you go! Go download this sample, get yourself one of the new phones, and start building interesting apps that interact with transit passes, security passes and take advantage of other smart card use scenarios!