Because you haven’t read enough of them, this is yet another blog post on Microsoft’s new Windows Phone App Studio – the online “point & shoot” method of creating an app for Windows Phone (8).
Before we start, did anybody notice that the App Studio is located at windowsstore.com? #justSayin
I’ve wanted to make a quick reader app for .Netitude for quite some time now, but didn’t want to sink a ton of time in to it because, well, I’m lazy. So when App Studio came along, I had to see if I could make it work for me.
The first thing I had to think about was how I’m going to get the data from .Netitude the web site to the app. With IdeaPress, they used a JSON API plugin you have to install on your WordPress instance to make it happen. Well, with the simplicity that App Studio provides I didn’t have that option. So away we go to the age old technology you heard about in high school – RSS! Hopefully that works in App Studio. Let’s get crackin.
I, of course, elected to create an empty app since they didn’t have a pre-fabbed template for blog integration (a fail if you ask me… this could’ve been the IdeaPress of Windows Phone).
First screen you’re met with is one for the core information
I got confused here because I think the navigation on the site is a bit less affordable than it could be. To move on, it’s in the upper-right of the screen:
Next, you configure the content. I added two sections, one for “recent posts” and one for post detail.
Name your section, then choose the data source type you’d like the section to get its data from:
On the next page you’re being prompted to set up the actual content for the “Recent Posts” section you just added. Clicking the data source you defined prior takes you to the setup for the data source:
Now you punch in the RSS feed URL for your blog. For most (all?) WordPress blogs, this is simply /rss off the main URL. So in the case of .Netitude, the address is http://netitude.bc3tech.net/rss
Punching this in not only sets it as the source but they also have a cool preview built in so you can see the content come across right away by just clicking ‘Refresh’
Now that you know the RSS feed is coming through, save changes and head back to the section definition area. I’m not sure how or where, but it seems that simply picking an RSS data source sets your section up for “recent” and “info” – perfect for what we’re trying to do here.
In all reality, the app is done right now. You could spin this thing out and pretty much submit it as it sits. If you want to customize some things, you can click the Section Pages to get more information. I couldn’t figure out, however, how to get the Image URLs that come from the RSS feed items to show up in the app properly, so I elected to remove them (as you noticed since you’re awesome and already downloaded the app).
The Recent Posts page doesn’t have too much to play with, but feel free
Where the pretty cool stuff comes is on the Info page
ooooo ‘Extras’… the stuff I live for. Let’s check it out
Flippin sweet! You can enable all these things for your info pages if you wish. Believe it or not, the TextToSpeech option actually reads your post to end users. Haha, cool. Not too practical, but cool.
Moving on to the App Style, this is where you pick your colors, tile sizes and images, splash screen, and app icons. Fill all this out and you’re golden!
After you’ve got all that done, generate it! This screenshot highlights the other pretty nifty thing about App Studio: the live preview. It’s pretty darn cool, so don’t let it slip out of your attention.
Once generated, you get a new set of options on the app summary page. This is using the “company cert” method of deploying applications to your device, hence the needed certificate installation in order to use the QR code for installation.
I did this (and advise you do as well) to make sure the app worked on my device before I went ahead and downloaded the source code to do some additional tweaking.
If you’ve got a blog, get crackin! And also, download .Netitude for Windows Phone now!