Change of plans (already!)

[ This is the second post in the Shufflr on Ultrabook: Intel Ultimate Coder Contest series. You can find the first post here. ]

A couple of weeks back, our big plan for taking Shufflr to Ultrabook centered on Metro UI, JS+HTML, WiDi, AOAC and some harmless NFC fun. Last week was a revelation of sorts.

Thus, we enter week#2 of the contest, kicking and screaming.


Metro apps can’t have it all

Metro Apps Can't Have It All

What a royal mess!


Dear Microsoft: Shufflr on iOS plays beautifully well with Apple TV.  Streaming videos to a WiDi TV from the Ultrabook would just be the right trick to pull off in this contest. The connection is supposedly a snap, as said here. And imagine how good it would be to see Shufflr updates on the Metro live tiles, when our users bring their Ultrabooks out of sleep. But then, all the king’s men can’t seem to be able to put this broken thing together.


A note to our fellow contestants

We all have a contest to win. Don’t spend any time hacking WinRT to do the impossible. (For instance, we saw Lee Bamber’s experiments and findings.) After losing a couple of days, we reached out to the friendly folks at Intel and they confirm what we suspected.

But, if any of you has managed to connect Windows.Networking.PushNotifications broker to your Metro App or got NFC to play with WinRT, please tell us and we’ll buy you lots of coffee (see MSDN on Win8 & AOAC).


Scramble to Plan-B

It was a hard choice. We could not think of a way to build, in 5 weeks, a product-grade Windows8 native desktop app that will awe our users. We were clearly staring at a Metro app without WiDi & AOAC.

How do we bring some life back to the party? We took a close look at all the sensors available on Ultrabook, tried out the APIs from the Ultrabook and Tablet Windows 8 Sensors Development Guide and are right now discussing designs that bring other sensors into the Shufflr experience.


A minor hiccup

The sample code for sensors refused to work out of the box. Visual Studio 2012 1.0 RC is what we have. It turned out to be minor issue with the SDK reference settings. Screen shots for the issue and the fix follow.

The WinJS Reference Error

WinJS Reference Error

WinJS Reference Error!


Fix: Refer to the 1.0 RC instead

Add 1.0 Reference

Fix: Refer to the 1.0 RC instead


After the fix: This is how it looks

After the correct reference

After the fix: This is how it looks


… and default.html too (you won’t miss this of course ;)

WinJS References in default.html

... and default.html too (you won't miss this of course ;)


Looking ahead

We intend to close the first cut of the design for a multi-touch experience this week and do some test runs of ALS in various light conditions, both static and dynamic to see how sensitive and responsive ALS is, in a video viewing context.

Have a great week ahead!