Game Development Middleware – What is it? Do I need it?

This is a companion text blog to the video blog that will  be released on Channel 9 next week. I wanted to also make this information available for search engines to pick up. I’ll update this blog with a link to the video as soon as it is published. I’ve been a direct to DirectX purest…


Frame of reference: keeping the music playing across pages

A musical score is a great way to add zip to your app, but many people are stumped because the Xaml MediaElement will play music only when it’s in the visual tree. When the user navigates to a new page the music stops. This brings up the frequent question: How can I keep the music…


Cheat-Sheet for using Brokered Windows Runtime Components for side-loaded Windows Store apps

Starting with the Windows 8.1 Update that was announced at //Build 2014, the functionality of performing “Inter Process Communication” – which is commonly referenced to as “IPC” between a side-loaded Windows Store app and a Desktop process has been enabled to leverage existing “desktop” code. Please note that this IPC functionality has only been introduced…


Ten Things You Need to Know About WebView – An Update for Windows 8.1

If I’ve learned anything in the past year that I initially wrote Ten Things You Need to Know about WebView, it’s that WebView continues to be one of the most used controls in Windows Store apps.  It is a control that many people are looking to manipulate and hack in order to bring additional functionality…

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How to apply an “Opacity Mask” to an image by mixing XAML and Direct2D

If you are a XAML graphics dev you may be lamenting the fact that in Windows Store 8.x apps the “opacity mask” property is conspicuously missing from the XAML image based controls. This is an unfortunate omission because there really isn’t an easy way to facilitate the opacity mask functionality using XAML alone. Let’s take…


Cert fail 6.13.8? But my app isn’t supposed to support Bulgarian!

Several developers recently have been confused by certification failures for 6.13.8 You must localize your app for all languages that it supports . These failures complain that the app doesn’t support a language that the developer had no intention of supporting. Checking the dashboard shows no mention the language anywhere there (what the certification failure…


Accessibility Gotchas 2: High Contrast

The next accessibility gotcha that we see regularly is poor support for high contrast modes. The high level concepts are the same for Xaml and for HTML, but the specific methods to solve them and some of the low level issues are different. High contrast mode makes it easier for some low-vision users to read…


Signing and Deploying Windows 8.1 applications using an Internal Code Signing Certificate from Windows Server 2008 R2

  This is an extension of this blog: Signing Windows 8 applications using an Internal PKI which mentions you can use Windows Server 2008 R2 to create a code signing certificate but does not tell you exactly how.  Please read that previous article first for an overview.  Then you can follow these steps to create…

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Accessibility Gotchas 1: Xaml ListView speaks in tongues

I keep having the same conversation with a blind colleague: It always starts out well: Rob! Did you hear that Contoso has published their app to the Windows Store? It should be great! I’ve really been looking forward to this one! But then goes down hill: But I can’t use it… it has the same…


DatagramSocket Multicast functionality on Windows 8.1 throws an error 0x80072AF9 (WSAHOST_NOT_FOUND)

We have noticed multiple customer reports of using the Multicast functionality of the Windows.Networking.Sockets.DatagramSocket class on Windows 8.1. Most of the reported issues are with sending Multicast packets to the Multicast DNS address of 224.0.0.251 and port 5353, however the same could be true for any multicast address/port. Multicast DNS (mDNS) provides the ability to…