Combining Byte Tags to Get Beyond the 256 Limit

May 7, 2009

I was working with identity tags and byte tags today, and the obvious short-comings of both became apparent to me.  The identity tags have an enormous number of unique values possible, but there is no tool to create them right now.  The byte tags can be created and printed now quite easily, however there is only 256 different possibilities when using a single byte tag.  So I threw together a way to add multiple byte tags onto a single object to create far more possible values.  4 byte tags together will give about 4 billion unique values.  One thing to remember is that you can’t be sure which byte tag the surface will recognize first, so you need to employ permutations of byte tags here, not combinations.  For example, “0D” and “DD” is the same as “DD” and “0D”.  Anyhow, I just came up with the concept and threw something together, so there are many ways to improve this sample I’m sure.  Download the sample then rename the .doc extension to .zip before unzipping the files.  If you improve upon this please send me a copy if you can and I will share it with everyone, giving credit where it is due as well.

multibytetagsample

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Converting WPF Apps to Surface Apps – Part 1

April 18, 2009

I have found myself converting WPF apps to Surface apps quite often lately.  Most of the necessary changes are fairly obvious, but I encountered one lately I thought I would share with you.  In WPF apps there is functionality to capture the mouse cursor, but in Surface we have no mouse.  So we need to perform the analogous catch of a finger (or whatever else you like) contact.  Below is the first method I needed to change in a recent project:

private void OnMouseDown(object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs args)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = args.GetPosition(source);

if (a boolean)

{

this.CaptureMouse();

}

else

return;

}

By the way, “this” is a ContentControl.  Notice the this.CaptureMouse() line?  Clearly this needs to change for surface.  There is no this.CaptureFinger() on a SurfaceContentControl (that would be way too easy).  So I modified the above code to the following:

private void SurfaceContentControl_ContactDown(object sender, ContactEventArgs e)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = e.GetPosition(source);

if (a boolean)

{

e.Contact.Capture(this);

}

else

return;

}

So in this case I switched:

this.CaptureMouse();
for this:

e.Contact.Capture(this);

That was easy enough.  Let’s try another.

private void OnMouseMove(object sender, MouseEventArgs args)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = args.GetPosition(source);

if (!(sender as UIElement).IsMouseCaptured)

{

//Do some stuff

}

}

Which I changed to:

private void SurfaceContentControl_ContactChanged(object sender, ContactEventArgs e)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = e.GetPosition(source);

if ((sender as UIElement) != e.Contact.Captured)

{

//Do some stuff

}

}

So in this case I changed:

if (!(sender as UIElement).IsMouseCaptured)
into this:

if ((sender as UIElement) != e.Contact.Captured)

We’re on a roll here, let’s do another:

private void OnMouseUp(object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs args)

{

if (this.IsMouseCaptured)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = args.GetPosition(source);

if (a boolean)

//Do something

this.ReleaseMouseCapture();

}

}

Turns into this:

private void SurfaceContentControl_ContactUp(object sender, ContactEventArgs e)

{

if (this.IsAnyContactCaptured)

{

UIElement source = sender as UIElement;

Point p = e.GetPosition(source);

if (a boolean)

//Do something


this.ReleaseAllContactCaptures();

}

}

Now you know how to change mouse capture logic in old WPF apps into new finger capture logic.  Please feel free to comment if you know how I could improve this.


WPF Developer Wanted – Microsoft Surface Development

April 14, 2009

Hello everyone,

The company I work for CSG in Denver, CO is looking for WPF developers to work on Microsoft Surface projects.  No experience with Microsoft Surface is necessary, just WPF.  Any knowledge of XNA would be helpful, but not necessary.  If this interests you please send your inquiries or resume to hiring [at] csgresults [dot] com

Bob


Microsoft Surface – Drag and Drop Tutorial Series – Part 2

April 13, 2009

This is Part 2 of my series on implementing drag and drop in Microsoft Surface.  In part 1, we created a Surface Window with a Surface ListBox and a ScatterView in it.  We hooked up our ListBox to a data source of products coming from Amazon.com.  Now we will get to the good stuff and make drag and drop a reality in our application!

I posted this tutorial on The Code Project since it was easier to deal with the download and formatting issues there.  Please see the article at:

http://www.codeproject.com/KB/WPF/SurfaceAppTutorialPart2.aspx


Microsoft Surface – Drag and Drop Tutorial Series – Part 1

April 11, 2009

This is going to be part 1 of a multi-part tutorial on how to implement drag and drop on Microsoft Surface.  In this part we will add a Surface ListBox and a ScatterView to our Surface Window as the basic controls we will need here.  We will also show how to use the Amazon.com web service to populate your list box with anything you like.  We will not get into performing drag and drop in this part, we will simply set ourselves up to do this starting in Part 2 of this series.

I moved this tutorial to The Code Project since it was much easier to deal with downloads and code formatting there.  Please check out this tutorial at:

http://www.codeproject.com/KB/WPF/SurfacAppPart1.aspx


Microsoft Surface – Customizing the look and feel of the ScatterViewItem (and other controls)

March 23, 2009

The ScatterViewItem is a very useful way to get the “surface feel” into your apps very quickly. However it is likely you will want to customize how your ScatterViewItem looks and reacts to user input. The following steps will help you customize it to your hearts content. This procedure could be applied generally to any other control as well.

1. Create a WPF application in Visual Studio, add a ScatterView and ScatterViewItem. Save the project.
2. Open project in Expression Blend.
3. Under Objects and Timeline, right click on the ScatterViewItem control, select Edit Control Parts (Template) -> Edit a Copy…
4. Give it a new name like ‘ScatterViewItem_Customized’ and click OK.
5. Save the project and return to VS. VS will prompt you to reload changed files.
6. Now you will have the entire default control template to modify to your hearts content.