Category Archives: Visual Studio

Windows Phone vNext & Windows 8 next week

Update 26th 7:37PM: Nokia keynote live tomorrow morning at 8:30 CET. Live webcast here:

The coming week should be pretty interesting for any folks interested in Microsoft technologies. The Mobile World Congress will take place in Barcelona from Monday to Friday.

Windows Phone

On the mobile space, we can expect first official information about Windows Phone Tango. Tango is expected to be a version of the OS dedicated to low-end devices. From the various leaks that occurred in the last weeks we already have some ideas of what Tango might look likes:

  • ability to import and export contacts directly from the SIM card
  • ability to send multiple images in a single MMS
  • more languages supported (120, whereas Mango supports “only” 35)
  • ability to run on devices with only 256MB or RAM
None of those information have been confirmed yet but it’s only a matter of hours now 🙂
Of course in the Windows Phone world, the next big step will be Apollo. Apollo is expected to be the next major version of the Windows Phone platform. At this point, we don’t know if Microsoft is going to talk about Apollo during MWC.
After a leak about Apollo, Paul Thurrot wrote an article describing various aspects of this new version. Here are some expected features:
  • support for multi-core processors, new screen resolutions & NFC support
  • shared components with Windows 8 (this brings a lot of question: are we talking about WinRT for example ?)
  • app-to-app communication (similar to what is available in Windows 8 )
  • IE10
  • SkyDrive & Skype integration
Again, none of those information have been confirmed yet. We will see if MWC brings more answers.

Windows 8

On wednesday 29th Microsoft will hold a special event in Barcelona for the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

The Consumer Preview will be available for download to anybody and should be feature complete. I’m expecting a lot from this release as the Developer Preview was quite incomplete regarding XAML development (for example Blend was only able to target HTML WinRT projects).

Visual Studio 11

With the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft confirmed this week that we are also going to have access to Visual Studio 11.

Visual Studio 11 will include most of the extensions currently available in the Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio 2010. The XAML designer will be shared with Blend (hopefully that we will to better performance & less design-time issues). There are tons of other changes, improvements and new features…

For more details, you can check out those posts: Introducing the new developer experience part 1 & part 2.

Of course I’ll try to play with all those new toys as soon as possible. So you should expect more blog post this week !


Developping an app for the Windows Phone platform

For the last few months my colleague Charlotte and I have been working on a Windows Phone 7 app we hope to release soon. Attendants of our “Performance tuning and analysis during the Microsoft TechDays this week had a brief overview of this app.

In this post, I wanted to share with you all the tools we’re using to build this app.Most of them are free, so they might interest you…

Productivity / Code


Source Control

Project Management

  • AgileZen (free for managing 1 single project)

Cloud computing

Web site

I personally love all those tools and libraries ! What do YOU use for your Windows Phone 7 development ?


Visual Studio 2010 and HW acceleration on Windows XP…

Last week during the MVP summit in Seattle we’d the confirmation that the SP1 of Visual Studio was almost ready and today we’ve more details: “Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 will be available March 9th for download for MSDN Subscribers, and will be generally available for download on March 10th, 2011” [from G.Duthie’s blog on MSDN].

“While the Service Pack is mostly focused on improvements in response to feedback on Visual Studio 2010, one new feature I want to highlight is the integration of IIS Express into Visual Studio 2010. IIS Express, which was introduced with the new Microsoft WebMatrix editor, is a lightweight, yet full-featured version of IIS that can run without administrative permissions.”

Another important thing to notice about the SP1, is that it will disable the hardware acceleration of the IDE on Windows XP. Yes, you read correctly, despite WPF’s support for accelerated graphics, this feature will be disabled on XP (for VS only).


When the version 3.5 of the .Net framework was released, Microsoft added a new software rendering engine in case the hardware was not able to do the job. This feature could be enabled at the Window level using the following code:

HwndSource hwndSource = PresentationSource.FromVisual(this) as HwndSource;
HwndTarget hwndTarget = hwndSource.CompositionTarget;
hwndTarget.RenderMode = RenderMode.SoftwareOnly;

With WPF4, this is now possible at the Process level using a single line of code:

RenderOptions.ProcessRenderMode = RenderMode.SoftwareOnly

Another trick you can use in your application is to determine whether your application is currently using hardware acceleration. You can do that by looking at the RenderCapability.Tier enumeration.

In your applications running on XP…

Now the immediate question that might come in your mind is: “If VS2010 is disabling HW acceleration on XP, should I do the same on my WPF application which is shipped on XP too ?”

I guess the answer is “maybe” and it actually depends on various factors:

  • does your user reported crash that seems correlated to video drivers issue ?
  • does your application extensively uses complex graphical effects (for example this is clearly not the case in VS2010) ?
  • what kind of hardware your users are using. Is this recent hardware (which are being downgraded to XP) or is this really old hardware ?

Maybe a good option is to let the user change this settings (while having a default value). In VS2010, you’ll be able to turn on HW acceleration back by using the settings dialog:

Anyway, I thought at the beginning it was a very weird decision. But after all; if the majority of the crashes they see in VS on Windows XP is linked to bad drivers, it makes sense.