The Mindscape team is back in full force for another great year of coding! Here are some nice product updates to start the year.
I’m pleased to let you know that all Mindscape products have full support for Visual Studio 2013!
If you have have an active subscription you can download the latest nightly builds to get this new support. If your subscription has ended, you can renew it to obtain the latest builds.
Some products needed explicit support to work at all (e.g. Web Workbench), while others just have nice-to-have improvements like putting WPF controls into the toolbox for you.
Raygun.io is our error tracking service that you can integrate into your apps using a few lines of code. When exceptions occur in your app, the details are sent to the Raygun.io service which you can view in the convenient dashboard. The dashboard groups the exceptions together so that you can easily see the unique exceptions that are being raised. It also has a smart email notification system. You’ll get enough emails to know what’s going on with your apps, but not so much that it clutters your inbox. Raygun.io has providers for ASP.NET, PHP, WPF and WinRT plus many more currently under development.
Metro Elements is our suite of controls for WinRT app development. Metro Elements includes a sample explorer app that shows off all the controls in action. This app has been published on the Windows Store which is what I’ll be talking about today.
Make Windows Store submission easier with Raygun.io
In the Metro Elements Sample Explorer, I integrated Raygun.io so we can track and fix exceptions if they occur. Doing this ended up having a helpful consequence we hadn’t though of: While submitting the sample explorer app to the store, the Microsoft testers managed to crash the application in a scenario we had overlooked. This exception got instantly logged into the Raygun.io dashboard for the Sample Explorer. Using the stack trace and the type of exception, I was able to reproduce and solve the bug in a few minutes. Half an hour later, the Microsoft testers had finished looking through the app and I got an email saying that it failed because the application crashed. No problem – as Raygun.io already helped me resolve the issue, I simply submitted the updated package again which later passed certification and was published on the Windows Store.
Not only did Raygun.io help save time by sending an error report before the certification even failed, but the way Raygun.io presents the exception data is far easier to interpret than the error dump that you get in the failed certification report. Are you submitting an app the Windows Store? Get Raygun.io – it’s a no-brainer.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with Raygun.io, let us know by writing a comment on this blog.
Today we are pleased to announce the release of Metro Elements – a suite of powerful controls to help you make compelling Windows Store apps in less time. Thank you to everyone who played around with the beta and gave us lots of feedback to improve this product. Download the free trial now!
After installing Metro Elements, a shortcut to the Samples solution will be added to the desktop, and a shortcut to the install directory will be pinned to the start menu for easy access. In the Samples solution you can run the Sample Explorer project to browse through all the controls and see them in action. This sample shows off several options and customizations you can make to each control and also displays the code used for each sample. The Sample Explorer is built with a simplistic design and is easy to navigate to the control you want to view.
On each demo page you can swipe left or right or use the “Related Demos” list in the bottom right corner to see more samples.
Either right click the screen or swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the app bar. On the left side are some navigation commands, and on the right side are some button to view the XAML code, C# code or switch back to the demo.
Metro Elements gives you 30 controls which includes a comprehensive charting suite. below is a quick preview of some of the top controls:
The chart controls can render data in over 15 different ways including line chart, area chart, pie chart, stock charts and stacked charts. There are many powerful features to define the axes, background/foreground elements and visual customizations. The Sample Explorer demonstrates a lot of capabilities that the charting will bring to your applications.
The CoverFlow naturally fits well into Windows Store apps with its smooth animation and touch support. This control displays a collection of items for the user to pick from. You can define whatever path you want the items to flow along, and specify functions to customize the opacity, scale, size and rotation of each item.
The book control displays pages of information that the user can flip through using touch or mouse gestures.
The CalendarControl can both display custom data for each day or month as well as serving as a date selector. Tapping the header causes the control to animate out to year view which allows for quick navigation. Here the control is being used as a simple weather tracker:
Other controls include various radial guages, an animating content control, auto complete box, prompt decorator, tile grid, numeric text boxes and more. Documentation to aid you in using these controls can be found in the Documentation folder in the install directory.
You can download the free trial from here to start playing around with the controls. The trial has no time limit, so you can evaluate the product for as long as you need.
Happy Coding :)