Voices Admin Beta now Open to All for UserVoices


OK, guilty as charged. I confess it is not often we feature Windows Phone Apps on this blog as we feel others are doing better jobs at that. Looking at you guys at WPCentral.com. Smile Continue reading

News from the Windows Store – 50,000 Apps (Total App Count 3/23/2013)

Windows Store Games w Pocket Tanks

Today, we have reached another milestone with the total number of apps on the Windows Store. We are half way through reaching 100,000 apps. At the time of this writing, there are 50304 total apps in the Windows Store worldwide. This data comes courtesy of the AppCounter Windows 8 app that keeps track of the app count. Of the 50,304 plus apps, there are 46,784 free apps and 3,520 paid apps. This gives a whopping 99.9% apps being free! At this ratio, Windows Store should be renamed to Windows Buffet, with all you can eat apps, for free! The number of apps being added per day clocks in an average of 279.67 apps.

Country Count 3-13

The country with the highest number of apps is China, weighing at a total of 34,830 apps. That’s a far cry from 50,000 apps. This indicates that no user will be able to browse all 50,000 plus apps by visiting the Windows Store. Coming in second is the US version of the Windows Store, topping at 34,401 apps. According to AppCounter, the country with the least amount of apps is Chile, with a net total of 29,316 apps. The discrepancy, then, between the countries with the highest number of apps to the reported lowest number is only 5514. This is a good sign, as it shows that no one is left with a barren store.

Category Count 3-13

The Education category is the king, with 7828 worldwide apps, followed by Entertainment, with a total app count of 7025 apps. Books and References come in third with 6,440, and Games takes fourth place with 6058 apps. The categories with the lowest number of apps are Security and Government, with an embarrassing net count of only 220 and 213, respectively.

History 3-13

Source: AppCounter

Code Writer – The first true Code Editor in the Store


Preview and Install

Here we go people, the first true Code Editor in an MX App for your light brainstorming sessions. Note that this is not a full-blown IDE tool, but something to open a code file with and do light updates etc. If you’ve used the likes of Notepad++ you’ll know what I mean. Of course this is version 1.0 of such apps, MX Apps are all at version 1.0 stage. All Devs are learning as we go on the Metro route. So, there is plenty of promises for the future concerning apps like this. So, don’t be surprised if you are missing any major feature etc, it is what this app can become that is important. As for me, I welcome any MX App that replace my Desktop equivalents. I dabble a lot in Notepad++, so if I have this in my arsenal, yet a lesser reason to visit the desktop. The less desktop you use, the more performance/battery life you get from your mobile device. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. The days of apps wasting system resources on the Desktop is counted; the writing is on the wall like they say. MX Apps are the future.

For this app, you can open and edit almost any language you can throw at it; the vendors are claiming 20+ file types. All major code languages are represented. You can open files in tabs on the upper App-bar, just like in MX IE10. You get to choose your language when you Open the App to start a new file, or browse for an existing file:


I eat SQL Scripts for lunch in my day job as a BI Specialist, at night I dabble in C# and XAML, just tested it with a few Sql files and I saw the app needs improvements. The app crash often, but luckily it saves your drafts every few minutes, so you’ll be back to your last point-in-time when crashed. Of course the app is flaky for now, hopefully this is a work in progress. You can take the app for a spin yourselves. Here is the app description from the Store with a few screenshots:

Code Writer is a free text and code editor app with active syntax highlighting that updates as you edit documents and has 20 supported file types.  A tabbed document interface allows for quickly switching between open documents.
The app has been built from the ground up with Windows 8 design principles in mind.  It’s fast and fluid, and gives you the power to edit documents with features you’d normally only find in desktop apps.  Code Writer is perfect for editing any text-based file, doing code reviews, or giving presentations with code samples.
The core text editor screen allows you to edit documents in full-screen mode without chrome distractions.  Only the scrollbars and line/column display are visible by default.  Find/replace and advanced features like tabify lines and convert case are available.
Easily create new or open existing documents from any accessible source.  Color is used pervasively throughout the app to create a bond between you and the various file types you work with.
Configure the editor theme and other options such as font size to mold your ideal editing environment.  Learn about every product feature with the included detailed documentation.
The app even functions in snapped view, allowing you to work side-by-side with other apps.
This is our first release and we have many plans for further improvements such as touch-based text selection and more find/replace options.  Please offer your own ideas for app features in our support forum.
Code Writer is fully supported on ARM, x86, and x64 devices.

20 syntax-highlighted file types supported including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, C#, VB, C++, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, SQL, and many other common languages
Create new documents, browse to open any accessible document (local, SkyDrive, etc.), and easily reopen recent documents
Chromeless UI editing surface that only shows caret position and scrollbars
Scrollable tabbed document interface to switch between open documents
Open documents are persisted between app sessions
Modified documents are flagged
Find and replace features
Undo/redo of changes
A plethora of keyboard shortcuts
Integrates with Settings charm for access to configuration options
Supports sharing of document or selected text with other apps via the Share charm
Detailed documentation that describes all app functionality
Snapped mode view support for working side-by-side with other apps
Options for theme, font size, line numbers, current line highlight, whitespace characters
Options to disable file types you don’t work with


We are glad to see serious Devs warm up to Windows 8 Metro environment and keep pumping out great apps. Like I said, the more Devs understand MX Apps, the more of awesome apps we’ll be seeing in the future. Lets hope this trend continues. To get this app for yourself, please download via the Source link. It is priced FREE in the Store for now.

Source: Windows Store
Tip Credit: @Windows4Live Thanks buddy!

MX Apps Security and Devs’ Income Jeopardy


Since today is turning out to be a Plea day to Microsoft, I might as well add the following points that Devs have raised to me, and the points I could really understand looking from Devs perspective.

MX Apps (Metro Apps if you live in the past) have great promise for Microsoft and End-Users alike. They are highly portable, highly manageable and secured; if we could believe Microsoft on their promise for WinRT environment of Windows 8. Apps can be built with next to nothing experience, even script-kiddies are now top-notch coders on Windows 8. Its all fine and dandy till bread and butter comes into question. If you are a hobby developer, you wouldn’t mind what MS does with your code the moment you submit it to the Store, all you care about is to see your App published, hopefully featured in the Windows Store.

But when your app is your bread, and preferably your butter too, you do seriously mind what MS does with your code in the Store and on Users devices. MX Apps are scripted Apps, they are managed Apps, you either code in Javascript or in .NET both of which are translated Apps. This means there’s a file of yours somewhere with readable code for everyone who has the will and the intent. Here you are slaving away at a particular difficult routine in your app. You need to implement that killer feature that will differentiate your app as professional Dev, ergo, this is the source of your income! It took you two days to do the plumbing and debugging of this difficult routine, now it is part of your code for your app, submitted to the Store, and globally readable.

Of course you’ll feel cheated. Anyone who find your app awesome and wants to know how you carried out that impossible feat can now dive into your code and read how you did it, gone is your professional advantage. This will be an awesome scene in about 50 years when we don’t work for money anymore, the era of Star Trek has broken upon us where everyone works just for the pleasure of it. There is no hunger anymore, need has been banished by the Federation. This will probably remain in the realm of my dreams and many of you.

But for now, you need to pay your bills, but how could you if people could easily pilfer your code and earn money with it while you go hungry. So this brings me to my point. Microsoft, we know you protect MX Apps with Encryption from hackers and the likes, and that you can’t just copy and run apps on other machines, but what’s with people readable code. Why aren’t you protecting Devs labour? Why not encrypt Devs’ codes and files before publication so that only the system can unencrypt it at runtime? Why does my files have be readable to all? If you think I am joking read this from a concerned dev:

Hi McAkins,

I just want to explain, the security problem in Windows 8 store app, that can lead to another security problem:

First of all, when we install windows 8 store app, it will reside on %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps folder, although the folder is hidden

by default, but through ‘folder options’ we can show the folder, and we access it after we take ‘ownership’  of the folder (we don’t need special tool to take ownership of the folder, only through windows explorer we can take ownership), after that, the problem begin;

1. All the application that we installed, user can take all the assets we use in our app. (Images, Sound, Video, and other assets). because we can access all the windows 8 store app application folder, for JS app we can see the code clearly if we not minified that code first before published to the store.(like skype app, I attach the source code I take from my laptop,).

2. Let say we develop windows 8 store app using JS, and use Windows Azure mobile service to push the notification to the user, or even worse if we have storage or other cloude services, the ‘client secret’ to access our Windows Azure service, can be seen by the people or malware, and then they can abuse our cloud servce / windows azure services.

3. Another problem if we develop using C#, we can decompile it also using .NET reflector or other related app. (but this is the nature of .net app either Desktop App or Windows 8 Store app).


<Concerned Dev>

And here is the Skype Source Code he was talking about:

skype source code

How about that?! Even MS own Software is not protected! But then they can afford to loose a dollar or two to a script kiddie.

So there you have it, if you write in JS, you’re screwed as professional Dev. You are basically plumbing for other people. Period. This is not acceptable and should be mitigated Microsoft. The only way to guarantee App privacy right now is to hide your code in C++  dlls with JS as frontend, or to a lesser degree to code in .NET, at least it takes a bit of effort to get to the decompiled code. So here we are MS with another plea. Please either obfuscate publish codes or encrypt all JS and .NET files. That’s the only way Devs can resign from their day job and take up coding full time if they are guaranteed income source in the future. Do it now! Yes you can!

Thanks all for your attention.

– McAkins

Telerik delivers AppMock App in the Store for Devs.


Here is another Reference App from Telerik in the Store. For those of you that doesn’t know Telerik, they are a company that caters to the needs of Devs all around the World, most especially in the area of Metro (MX) App Developments. They have specialized controls that will make your app shine. And when Telerik deploys an App in the Store, you ought to take a look, if only to see how they put the app together. This app is not for general consumption of the populace, this time, the app is to assist Devs in brainstorming on how their apps will look like by mocking the user interface elements. Let op, this is not a Storyboarding app in the sense of it, but just to help shape your app and decide how it will look like. Here is a full description from the Store by Telerik:

Telerik AppMock allows you to quickly and easily create prototypes of your Windows Store applications. Providing a rich set of Windows 8 Style tools and components, conveniently grouped in galleries and categories, you can simply drag and drop UI elements onto the design surface to arrange the layout and flow of your application. You can organize the prototypes in pages (called sheets) and projects and in the end you can run the projects to see all that in action, by navigating through the pages using preset links (hot-spots).

Create/Save/Open projects
Create pages/sheets
Drag and Drop shapes onto the design surface
Rich Galleries – Interactivity, Buttons&Links, Text&Input, Data Visualization, Media, Layout, Editors, Loading indicators, Data&Scheduling, Navigation, Gestures, Comments, Flow Charts, etc.
Customize the shapes – cut/copy/paste/resize/rotate/bring to front/set text/font-size/links/etc.
Multiple Selection of shapes
Navigate between pages/sheets
Run projects and use links between the pages/sheets
Search and Share via the charms
Pin projects to the start screen
Export projects


If you are a budding Dev, you’ll love this app. It is free, so you don’t have to leave it for the price. Download now via the Source link.

Source: Windows Store

Build 2012 Official App from Microsoft is here


And here it is Ladies and Gentlemen, the Official BUILD 2012 App! We know this was coming, but it is not clean when, now the wait is over. Here is Microsoft’s description of the App:

Provides a way to browse and view session details for the Microsoft Build conference

Browse the full agenda and session list from the conference
View the on-demand video of sessions as they are posted
View maps of the conference and the surrounding area



Download the app right away via the Source link.

Source: Windows Store

TechNet Wiki Widget App is in the Store


OK here is something for us Devs and Techies alike. Keep abreast of TechNet Articles.


The TechNet Wiki Widget is a little App to help you stay on top of new and updated TechNet Wiki articles.
It also highlights the TechNet Wiki Ninja Blogs who celebrate and evangelize the TechNet community, so you can stay up to date and in touch with developments.
You can also add your own tag searches and article watches, so you are informed of any new articles of interest to you.
This App also has built in Twitter integration, allowing you to Tweet links with one click.
This is an actively developing project, so please watch out for updates, as features and extra functionality are added.

TechNet Wiki integration
Article watch
Tag search & monitor
Twitter integration
Wiki Ninja watch


Download via Source

Source: Windows Store

Layout – A Poor Dev’s Storyboard App has arrived in the Store


If you are young and budding Windows 8 Developer or you are Gandalf the Grey in Metro Design language, we all need a Storyboard to get our GUI right. If you think I am joking, go and see TweeTRO designers Storyboard. Coding something is C# or Java is one thing, getting the Interface right is a complete different story entirely. We know coders are almost always never Artists, we just don’t see this things that make a Lamp glow above an artist’s head Smile. So if you can’t afford a professional technical artist to put your GUI together, you can dabble yourself with Layout. You can create mock-up Screens of your app, see for yourself how it will look like in real life. Create sections of your app, link them together. At least that is what this app wants to achieve. As you can see, I have downloaded the App myself as I am working on something on the background myself. So this one come really handy, and better still, the vendor HigherCode has made it free for the time being. So go get it while you can. Following is describing the app from the Store:

Layout is an application for creating interaction designs for Windows 8 style apps.
This app can be used to create a visual representation of a real world app without having to write any code. Interaction designs can be quickly prototyped, tested, discarded and redone without long development cycles.
– Create projects with multiple screens
– Link different screens together to create a flow
– Design apps for multiple screen sizes
– Support for Windows 8 controls
– Get a perspective on your project via sementic zoom
– Duplicate projects/screens to quickly create variations
– Easily share you’re projects
– Pin a project on the Start screen to test your project via “Run mode”

Easily create interaction designs for Windows 8 applications


If this app work as advertised, I am sure the writers are sitting on a crock of gold. If you are curious just like me, download the app now via the Source.

Source: Windows Store

Visual Studio Express 2012 RC Desktop App is in the Store

Well, we knew it was a question of time, now it has happened. Microsoft is promoting Visual Studio Express 2012 as general hobbyists platform to develop Metro and Desktop Apps, and where is the best place to do that? Of course in its own Windows 8 Store. The store guarantees easy visibility and accessibility, therefore Microsoft is wasting no time showcasing its developer platform.

If you’ve been lazy downloading the app because you don’t want to go search for it, now you don’t have any excuse anymore. So go download the app and start churning out those Killer Metro Apps, maybe you’ll be the next kid on the block.

Find Visual Studio Express 2012 in the Tools category in the Store, and follow the link therein to download the App for your Desktop.