Making it Easier to Debug Media in Windows Phone 7 Apps

My current app requires me to mess around with media files on the device. I have my device plugged in and Zune software running. Simple, right? Well, not necessarily so. It seems that when you’re running the Zune software, the media library becomes locked and inaccessible to your app. This may be quite annoying when it comes to debugging and stepping through code on your device. Further more, if you’re running it on the locked emulator, you won’t have any music media to test with and so you have to debug on the device.  Fortunately, MS have released the WPConnect tool to make this possible, but it means having to close the Zune software. If you run the Zune software, you have to run the tool again to allow media debugging. I like listening to my music whilst developing, so having to switch between the Zune software and WPConnect tool can get a bit tedious. I decided to integrate WPconnect into the Visual Studio IDE for quick access. I’m going to explain a quick and simple way of doing it.

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Quick WP7 Beta Emulator Keyboard Tip

I’m sure most of you WP7 developers have gone ahead and downloaded the new beta development tools and you’ve probably noticed how blistering fast the emulator actually runs. It’s awesome! However I did notice that, by default, you can’t actually use your physical keyboard to enter data into the emulator. In the beta version, there is now a switch you can toggle to swap between your physical keyboard and the emulator’s SIP. Simply press the Pause/Break key on your keyboard and you can toggle between the two types of input.



Get some physics in your game

Some developers, especially game developers, may have come across Box2D which is a 2D physics engine. The EXHD blog has written a couple of code examples showing how to use the Box2D physics engine in your XNA games!  The blog is new, but certainly seems like one to bookmark. Below are videos of what the code does, so head over to the EXHD blog and check out the tutorial!

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BeeHive Game Ported to WP7 (with Source Code!)

Behaviors are very powerful and useful when programming games and applications. At a fundamental level, they are simply an encapsulated unit which usuallys react to input and produces an output. However, it’s their flexibility and versatility which makes them extremely useful. The Dirty Developer (his name, not mine :)) has ported the original BeeHive game (link also shows a tutorial on creating the game) to the Windows Phone 7 and provided the full source code! Check out the video below of the WP7 version, visit his blog to get the source code and start learning how cool behaviors are!

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Testing Photos with WP7 Emulator

Update (06/08) – You can now capture images with your webcam and send it straight to your app. Check out my source code here.

Quick tip if you’re using the April Refresh SDK. If you’ve tried calling the PhotoChooserTask from the WP7 emulator, you’ve probably noticed that there aren’t any images to import. You can take a ‘picture’ from the CameraCaptureTask and use the static ChooserListener class to grab the image. However, it is a very basic picture (simply a square on background), so if you’re developing image-editing apps, it may not be too suitable for testing. Instead, what you can do in the emulator is to launch the Internet Explorer application. Find the image you want to use. Click and hold on the image, and you’ll have the option to Save or Share the image. Simply save it and head back into your app. Launch the PhotoChooserTask and you’ll be able to see that image. You can the use the ChooserListener class to grab the image selected from the user. This method seems to provide a better testing opportunity than the image obtained from the camera. Here’s what I used to obtain the photo using the ChooserListener class (I’ve removed some code specific to my project):

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