Windows Phone 7 App Challenge: TFS Mobile Client

I have an MSDN Ultimate Subscription to give away to the winner of this challenge! The winner will have successfully built a showcase TFS Client for Windows Phone 7. I will accept entries until November 30th.

There are boundless opportunities for features and functionality. Creativity counts here, but to get you started, here are some ideas:

    • Build Server Status
      Would love to see the status of a given build type, the latest build, success/fail, the offending people who checked in code on a broken build. Would be nice to kick off a QA or Production build (or any type for that matter) from my phone once I’ve got the all clear from QA.
    • Iteration Dashboard
      What’s the status of the current build? What exit items are still open? What’s our current velocity? What’s the burn down look like?
    • Work Items
      Would love to edit a work item, reassign it to somebody else, close it, reactivate it, etc. Log a bug perhaps?
    • Opportunities with the Phone
      Being able to look up a work item owner, or build breaker in my address book and phone or email them seems obvious.


Remember the highlights of this challenge:

  • Entries due by Nov 30th. Email me some code including a link to video demonstration ideally.
  • Let me know if you are planning on entering. I’d be excited to provide some coaching and guidance along the way.
  • On the line is 1 year MSDN Ultimate Subscription. I think that is worth like a million dollars or something Smile
  • I’m sure you will also win a free date with a MS Developer Evangelist and be featured on the CDN Dev Blog.
  • I’m pretty sure you aren’t allowed to win if you live in Quebec or work for Microsoft or the Chinese government, but please don’t let that stop you from submitting an entry!

Gentlecoders, start your engines! Best of luck.

Toronto Code Camp 2010: Blendability Follow Up

This past weekend I gave a talk on “Blendability”; The ability to maintain and leverage blend design time compatibility with your WPF and Silverlight projects. Thanks to everybody who came out to the talk, we had some good discussions despite the oppressive heat in the room. You’ll find my slides above. As some of you have requested, here you can find my demos including the MVVM template that was used in the Blend 4 previews that demonstrates the behavior technique for calling methods on your view models.

My SketchFlow Player is empty:


Let me officially call this the Grey Screen of Death. You create a lovely sketch flow prototype in Expression Blend and it looks great at design time, but at run-time you get nothing. If you’re clever, you’ll try to dig into the java script error, which fortunately, the nice folks on the SketchFlow player team have raised up from the Silverlight layer. Unfortunately, I’ve found that most errors you get in here are pretty useless.

In my case I was recently getting:

Webpage error details

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; InfoPath.2; MS-RTC LM 8; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E)
Timestamp: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 03:58:03 UTC

Message: Unhandled Error in Silverlight Application AG_E_PARSER_BAD_TYPE [Line: 5 Position: 78]   at System.Windows.Application.LoadComponent(Object component, Uri resourceLocator)
   at SilverlightPrototype_10Screens.Screen_1.InitializeComponent()
   at SilverlightPrototype_10Screens.Screen_1..ctor()
Line: 1
Char: 1
Code: 0

Your mileage might vary by attaching the visual studio debugger or running the application from within Visual Studio. In my case, I ended up doing some process of elimination pruning to see if I could back track and find the problem. I was having difficulty with some sample data in this case. It was tricky to find, but I’ve determined that you really don’t want a space in your SketchFlow project names. This will cause some erroneous code gen for the loading of the sample data in the sample data classes.

I absolutely love Expression Blend and SketchFlow, but finding this bug was one of those times when I’ve wanted to physically hurt my computer. I hope this helps some poor soul find the root cause a little faster than it took me.

And please share in the comments any other common reasons you’ve found SketchFlow Player failures.

Expression Blend Pro Tip: Add your own sample data lists


Expression Blend (3 and higher) lets you create Sample Data Sources, and for each property, select a data type and sample data format, such as Lorem ipsum, Colors, Company Names, Names, etc. It’s a nice list, which is great for prototyping. However, if you want to add to this list of types, or just edit the potential values for each type, you can do edit a simple csv file.

In your Blend program directory, you will find a “SampleDataResources” folder. Inside this you will find an Images folder (in case you don’t set your own folder when creating a property) and a Data folder that stores the sample string data.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Expression\Blend 3\SampleDataResources\en\Data


You can edit this file in excel and simply edit the values or even add new columns.


Windows 7 or Vista doesn’t find it cool to be editing any file underneath your Program Files folder, so you’ll either need to copy the file out to yoru documents folder and edit it there, and copy it back, or run excel with elevated admin privileges.

Enter the Stargate Destiny, courtesy of Silverlight, DeepZoom, Photosynth.

This may result in a “geekasm” – you’ve been warned.


How’d they do it?

MGM Stargate Case Study