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Windows 8 Metro Application AppBar trick March 20, 2012

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.

I’ve been toying around with Metro Applications and have found that there isn’t much information, at least not for .NET XAML applications nor here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/xaml/hh781232.aspx nor in the sample application which is located here http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/XAML-AppBar-control-sample-2aa1cbb4

There we have two methods, one we declare an application bar for a page – first thought here is that if it’s an application bar we should be able to declare it globally – and from then, override it on each page…

Well, we can’t do that so what this sample proposes is to do it on every page or to create a container Page control that its function is only to contain the “AppBar” and a Frame that is where we load the different “real” pages. Note that for overriding this we have to code and add buttons programatically to each of the AppBars. 

I hope you will comply that having this this way is a bit ugly, given the beauty of data templating and styling that we do have at this day and time. 

So I came out with a cleaner solution that still requires some coding but is nicer :). 

First we do add an AppBar to a page like:


   <AppBar HorizontalContentAlignment=”Stretch” Height=”88″ VerticalContentAlignment=”Stretch”>






               <StackPanel Grid.Column=”1″ Orientation=”Horizontal”/>

               <StackPanel Orientation=”Horizontal” >

               <Button Click=”GoHome” HorizontalAlignment=”Left” IsEnabled=”{Binding Frame.CanGoBack, ElementName=pageRoot}” Style=”{StaticResource HomeAppBarButtonStyle}”/>





Then, we add a Resource Dictionary and, from the AppBar we select “Edit Additional Templates –> Edit Generated Content –> Create Empty..” for creating a global ContentTemplate for our “global” AppBar.


Then we create it on our just created ResourceDictionary..


After this we will only need to copy the resulting AppBar code on all of our pages:


    <AppBar ContentTemplate=”{StaticResource DataTemplate_AppBarGlobal}” />


And, if we want to change the default/global AppBar, we do only need to edit one file.  And this without architecting our application nor complicating it more than necessary.

Hope this helps.

Design contest for winning a Lumia 800! January 9, 2012

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.
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Yes, I know… I am a developer participating in a design contest… So what? 😉

Since the beginning of my career I have thought of design as a very important skill to have, at least a bit, regarding fundamentals of design, color theory, and most important, user interface design, that fits well with “pure design” and usability & all the related knowledge… with this “base” skillset you can be creative and evolve a creativity process for whatever you want to.

Also I have always loved to create things and this is not limited to software architecture and I love to design & conceive things, it’s a pretty satisfying process.

It happens that Nokia Spain is organizing a contest for creating a design inspired by the colors of the new Nokia Lumia 800 mobile smartphone which is not limited in any aspect. You can read (in Spanish) about this contest here: http://eldadodelarte.blogspot.com/2012/01/demuestra-tu-creatividad-en.html?spref=tw and here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=349720035043739#16064

So… we can do whatever we want! Yay!

Guess what!? I decided to participate and I started some days ago to let my mind wander around for a cool idea!!

To say that I am a proud Windows Phone Geek and I can tell I was there when Windows Phone was presented 1st time at the World Mobile Congress and also I was also at the presentation of Mango… so I have the Tiles & METRO design language very close to my heart… and with this idea I started thinking of a design that I could wear close to my heart and that revived the Nokia Lumia 800 colors – everything all together!!!

After giving a lot of thought and lots of designs in paper I come to a “Tile scenario” over black that went well with the Nokia Lumia 800 design & showcased its colors properly, and went alltogether with the METRO feeling. It has been designed to wear it close to the heart – you will see why in short 😉 – and clearly showcase the love I have for this outstanding device the Nokia Lumia 800 is and its operating system, Windows Phone.
After a lot of designs, tests, playing with tiles, symbols, I came to this:

ImagenTo mention that I tried to create the tiles using a plastic material on my own buying vinyl plastic tiles of 5cm x 5cm but I failed terribly, tried other materials and well, they did not look good as they reflected too much light (or none at all) so I decided, after trying paperboard & vinyl, to go and order 5×5 tiles at Zazzle.es.
They arrived me the last day of the contest and the quality was good, without flash I have been able to have a clear picture of the creation, which was attached to the sweatshirt through pins – in fact each Tile is a pin.
There is a lot of message in the tiles which are designed to be placed over the heart, meaning clearly “I love Nokia & Windows Phone”.


Additionally I envisioned another design were this design would be well placed and also close to our heart, warm and close to our right hand (or the hand that we most use) and did this other variation of the tiles design:


Obviously, these logos are trademarked and exclusively created for the purpose of this design contest so please do not use them outside of the contest. For this I have created alternative versions without the logos & trade marks that make them unusable outside the scope of the contest.

Imagen   Imagen

Hope you like them!!

PivotViewer… June 17, 2011

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.
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Great news ahead, we (Silverlight MVP’s & insiders program members) just have been allowed to talk about one of the most exciting capabilities of Silverlight 5: PivotViewer… if you don’t know what it is, basically I’d define it as:

An awesome way to efficiently present information & enable incredible interaction with this information, allowing an incredible understanding of the information due to its graphical representation. Also its nature allows to present “gazillions” of data in a very performant way

Oh, did I mention that it is also very fun to reorganize & play with the information? it’s just basically amazing…. keep tuned to this blog for more good later on this weekend but by now I leave you these links:





Amazing, right?

A new baby is born – long live Silverlight 5!! April 14, 2011

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.
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Wow!! As it becomes usual, the beta of Silverlight 5 has been released for MIX and it comes pretty loaded with awesome features.
First we have 3D using the XNA 3D Graphics APi which is awesome, just go check the demos and don’t forget to check what Einar Ingebrigtsen  has done with his library Balder at http://www.ingebrigtsen.info/post/2011/04/13/Silverlight-5-and-Balder.aspx and also, using his library and some of his own projects, checking René Schulte is too a must here: http://kodierer.blogspot.com/2011/04/silverlight-5-3d-slartoolkit-augmented.html and there: http://kodierer.blogspot.com/2011/04/xna-for-web-silverlight-5.html . Also do check Andy Beaulieu for some physics applied to the 3D here: http://www.andybeaulieu.com/Home/tabid/67/EntryID/216/Default.aspx.

Also, on the not so 3D side, we have interesting advancements on the 2D with the new DrawingSurface. There we don’t have XNA’s SpriteBatch but Bill Reiss is actively working on that, as you can read here: http://blogs.silverarcade.com/silverlight-games-101/13/silverlight-silverlight-5-takes-2d-silverlight-game-development-to-the-next-level/
Apart from that we have some already mentioned capabilities – if you remember past 2th of December, the Silverlight Firestarter? – And some other brand new.
We have improved tooling which is called XAML debugging but I’d like to remember as XAML databinding debugging, on the Media aspect we have low latency sound where we can use XNA class “SoundEffect” directly and also “TrickPlay” that enables to change the playback speed with audio pitch correction so we are not hearing the “smurfs” when going quick..
Layout of text has been improved, DataBinding has been feeded with Steroids and, apart from the debugging capability, we have implicit DataTemplates for a concrete type over all our application, custom MarkupExtensions and more… Additionally, we have multi window support, more trust for our applications so they now can access whatever we allow them to (with appropriate permission of course).
Apart from this, you can expect an incredible increase in performance on startup & render, we can now do vector printing, 64bit plugin support, COM interop for in-browser applications, P/Invoke and, oh, an improved pivot viewer control already included on the Silverlight 5 SDK.
You can read more at Tim Heuer’s fabulous post here http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2011/04/13/whats-new-in-silverlight-5-a-guide.aspx or go straight and download the bits http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-5-beta/ where you have also at your fingertips and for free awesome training video material from Pete Brown.

Well, have fun!

Silverlight MVP February 10, 2011

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.

Wow, got it! for me this 3 previous MVP years have been great but now starting this 2011 it is even better.

I just became a Silverlight MVP so… I feel great!

This video relates how I do feel… very clearly 😉

Thanks Microsoft for these MVP years. A billion more thanks for this Silverlight MVP.

And yes, like in the video, I setup my company after this. Well I was already on that so it just was “the right moment”.

If you are interested, go and say “hi” to Brainsiders, http://www.brainsiders.com, it’s focused on User Interfaces, User eXperience, usability, design, training, mentoring and architecting & developing / co-developing rich applications for Web, Desktop and Mobile & other devices.
We are also doing pretty interesting business applications for a big spanish company and also some interesting web application that will leverage Silverlight capabilities and provide incredible usability to a key provider in the industry over its competitors (not yet finished but it will be in one month and a half or less).

What better thanks than to dedicate your business life to the technology you love? 🙂

Silverlight power!!

Feeling great :) November 12, 2010

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.
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After giving my 1st Tech-Ed session ever!! so… I just can say this has been a dream for me over the last years as one of my personal & professional goals was to become a speaker of enough quality to talk into Tech-Ed.

This has become a reality this week and I have so many people to thank that I don’t know where to start… I guess I can start with my friends at the INETA Board, great hard working people, Starting with Damir Tomicic, Tomislav Bronzin, Sander Gerz, Dobrisa Adamec, Miguel Lopez, Christian Nagel, André Obelink, All.

Also many thanks to those that believed and proposed (and allowed) me to talk at their events, Bernardin Katric (Kulen Dayz) with a session regarding Silverlight 3, Andrej Radinjer at Mobility Days where I had the honor of giving two sessions on WP7 development that were originally assigned to Andy Wigley  – wow! also to Ankesh Mehta who invited me to talk at his User Group – thanks!

I could not keep on without thanking those that helped me getting started, concretly I am talking of such amazing people from Microsoft Spain’s team which first I can mention Alfonso Rodriguez (you rock!), José Murillo, Elisa, Isabel, Ethel, and of course two great persons & even better speakers, David Carmona & David Salgado!!! Of course thanks a lot to my MVP Lead, Cristina – for your continuous support & believing so much (sometimes more than me), thanks too to Antonio Gomez & Enrique Fernandez Laguilhoat – I know that I have probably left many more people that I know so – thanks everybody that has helped & supported me with even some kind words!! 🙂

Can’t keep on without thanking too to Paco Marin, Netalia chief editor & Aula Vulcan partner – and also a good friend, to Marino Posadas, David Nudelman, both good friends  & also to everybody that supported me in one way or other.

And there is even more – I joined in September a local Toastmasters association, Bcn-toastmasters with great people that have helped me grow by quite a lot during a very short time!! for those of you that don’t know, Toastmasters is an interantional organization with the goal of helping Speakers to become even better Speakers so it’s highly recommended!! check www.toastmasters.org if you’re interested!! I just can say it’s awesome 🙂

So, thanks a lot to MA Garcias, FAbulous speaker who dedicated me some time to help me prepare, Pilar de Obeso, Joan Fabregat, Cormac Walsh, … All Toastmaster’s Barcelona, thank you!! with special mention to my actual mentor, Celine Quissac who also helped & supported in an incredible way in the short time she was my mentor -only one week before TechEd… if she did this in one week I can’t imagine what will happen next – I’m looking forward to that!! 🙂

Also thanks to the delegates that came to my session and for the nice comments -best one is that he learned a lot in just 40’…

😀 – feeling great!

Slides & demos posted :) November 11, 2010

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in Uncategorized.

Thanks everybody that attended my session at TechEd Europe 2010 and thanks again for the feedback. Much appreciated!!

As promised, here are the links to my slides and demos.

Silverlight’s 3D True power – from 0 to hero in 40 min. November 10, 2010

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in 3D, TechEd.
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Today, Wednesday, I’ll be talking at TechEd Europe 2010 about Silverlight 3D Actual capabilities and how to use them with the session named “Silverlight’s 3D true power – from 0 to 100 in a practical way”,  the time is 1:20pm and it will be at Hall 7.1c, Paris 1.


Why 3D? Because it is important for all of us, first we are made to interact with our environment in 3D, our interfaces have 3D tactile capabilities, our vision is 3D and 3D is natural to us (even we have been educated for some years to use 2D interfaces). But.. this is changing, all the industry is switching to 3D, starting by the gaming industry that started with the Wii and now is taking a new step with Kinect as a full body 3D scanner that allows us to interact with our full body with the Xbox interface & games, The Movie industry is also moving to 3D and the display & TV industry is doing so as well… so, it is clear that 3D is important and also the point is that any User interface technology must support this evolution & provide 3D capabilities, for creating 3D interfaces and hopefully in short time, to interact in 3D with them without any device. (So.. when a Kinect for Pc, Microsoft? J – I`m already on the Queue…)

On the session that I am proposing you, we will see the actual status of Silverlight regarding 3D, I’ll show you the basics & ABC of Silverlight 3D capabilities, we will see how do their PlaneProjection properties get along & implement some simple effects and see how we can improve them with Blend so they can shine.

Next, we will get into implementing an intermediate Interaction Design pattern that I love, the Carousel – I’ll show you how to do it from scratch and in full 3D and provide a basic animation so it can spin. Next we will improve its interaction providing it mouse interaction so it spins quicker or slower depending on how far is the mouse cursor from the center. Also we will add some control for when the mouse gets out of the interaction area, so it does not start spinning like crazy (I can bet you have seen more than one of these in production websites…).

Regarding the Carousel, you curious people can read more about it here: http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/selection/carousel.html, here: http://ui-patterns.com/patterns/Carousel and here: http://www.welie.com/patterns/showPattern.php?patternID=carrousel and some more… http://wiki.forum.nokia.com/index.php/Mobile_Design_Pattern:_Carousel , http://www.uipattern.com/carousel-design-examples.

Basically allows a user to select one item between a collection of items. This is good because it represents visualy the item (with picture, text & other iconic information) providing accurate understanding of the items to select & also a quick selection of them. This can be done in multiple ways, being one of the most famous the horizontal 2D carousel, the growing one that some OS have for its main function selection, the circular elliptic carousel is also very famous, but who does not know the “CoverFlow”? it is indeed a 3D representation of an horizontal Carousel – by the way, have you checked the Silverlight Booth Demo launcher? It is a nice implementation of this Interaction design Pattern, too! – you can see it at the Silverlight Booth or here: http://www.brainsiders.com//TEE2010/SLShowcase/default.html (note: it is meant to be run in full screen mode). I also implemented there an “auto” mode so I am happy with that, it is simple and efficient. Oh, and the full source code is here: http://showcaselauncher.codeplex.com/

Note that it uses some code from the Bouncing Plane Demo (Henry Han, Tim Heuer, see: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/henryh/archive/2009/03/20/mix09-the-gratuitous-graphics-demo.aspx ) and the for the Horizontal Carousel I’ve used the Flow Layouts Library, see http://slflow.codeplex.com/ from Simon Ferquel, awesome work both of them!!

Oops, almost forgot, For the circular animation I have used the smart technique conceived by John Bruin – http://www.johnbruin.net/index.php/category/silverlight/ – Thanks John!


Also, there’s still more, we will see what do we have apart from the core framework, showcasing two amazing components for providing full 3D, the first being Balder a pretty nice Open Source engine friendly with Blend & XAML based and the second, Silvermotion, a commercial component with awesome power, performance & ease of use.

And yes, all this in 40 minutes.

Sounds good? J


Session Code: WEB202-LNC

Session room: Hall 7.1c Paris 1

When: Today, 1:20pm


Don’t miss it!!  If you are interested in 3D, Silverlight and in learning how to implement 3D Interaction design patterns.. we will dedicate a whole 40 minutes to this!!

Mobility days sessions & demos September 23, 2010

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in INETA, INETA Europe, Silverlight.
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Hi, first things first, thanks so much to the organizers & sponsors of the Mobilitydays event (www.mobilitydays.com) for celebrating such great and interesting event.

Second, as promised, here are the slides & demos with full code.

First, the slides:

Developing WP7 Applications with Silverlight – http://www.slideshare.net/joslat/md2010-jlwp7sldev

Developing WP7 Games with Silverlight – http://www.slideshare.net/joslat/md2010-jlwp7slgamedev

And do not forget to check the demos, all together in a single compressed file for your ease.


Thanks & Have fun!!

Speaking! MobilityDays!! TechEd Europe 2010!!! September 21, 2010

Posted by Jose Luis Latorre Millas in 3D, INETA, INETA Europe, Silverlight.
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Well this is one of the moments that one of you that loves to code, design, speak & share enjoys the most, when other fellows ask you to help them share knowledge 🙂

First of all, thanks to the magnificient team of professionals that is managing both events and I’m extremely glad to have been chosen as speaker for “first time” at these great events. My thanks!

First things first, MobilityDays is happening the Day after tomorrow.. on 23th of September, in Zagreb, Croatia, to the East of Europe. But do not worry, you can assist without having to book a flight! Sesssions will be broadcasted through live meeting :).

There, I’ll be speaking on two sessions : “Developing Windows Phone applications with Silverlight” and “Building games forWindows Phone with Silverlight”. Sessions will be in english.

So, what are you waiting for, go and register : www.mobilitydays.com (update: it’s free for MVP’s and INETA User Group Leaders) and well, there are a lot of very good speakers there – apart from me, the “newbie” I mean 😉 – Joking!!  I expect to make a pretty entertaining and insightful sessions and I hope you enjoy them :).

Also, I’ve been selected to speak at TechEd Europe 2010 conference, so can’t be happier.

I know this deserves a “post apart” and it will have it definitely – let me finish this week and I’ll be back with more details regarding the session that, for starters, will focus on the 3D (2.5D & 3D) capabilities of Silverlight, on a very intense practical session, going from the basis to creating awesome – and I mean that – 3D interactive interfaces in Silverlight. More about this later…

By now, if you haven’t registered, don’t think more, go to http://europe.msteched.com/registration and register before tickets run out!!

Have fun!