Version 2.0 of YetAnotherTipCalc has been submitted

Just a short update since it’s late–I just finished coding and testing version 2.0 of YetAnotherTipCalc, the ultimate “me too!” tip calculator program!  A few major updates:

  • *Updated layout to make it easier to read
  • *Slider control to make it more visible and easier to slide
  • *Additional guests now brings up a dedicated accounting of
    each guest’s individual bill, tip and total amounts
  • *The ability to set a “Custom” amount assigned to the Custom
    button on the calculator
  • *Additional Help and Info pages

This is, IMO, a pretty significant upgrade to the first versions I have submitted.  I may make a few minor tweaks after this, but otherwise it’s on to morph this into a version that adds additional value and represents a more unique take on tip calculation.

I am also working on a few other apps for friends and acquaintences, but those are more complicated and likely will take a bit longer to come out.  For now, those stay under wraps….

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Hurray! The app is in the marketplace! But…

Somehow I missed the first time that you need to select the genre, etc., and can’t change it after your app has been submitted.  So in order to submit it, I had to change the version to 1.1.  No problem, other than I resubmitted a few days ago and now it is saying 1.1 is in the marketplace.  I still can’t find it there, so give it a little time, but it should be ready to go.  I have already had one review, and I like the suggestion and will look at adding arrows to the slider control when I do the next version.  So please try it out and provide feedback as I really want to make this silly little tip calculator a cool one, and to learn more about C# in the process.

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My submission to the marketplace is in testing with the MS team.  The only downside is that I may have to recall it and resubmit just to change it from the game category (still not sure how that happened–must have missed a box in the form), but still….  Already working on version 1.1 as I decided the next step was to have a customizable tip amount button.

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Finally submitted my silly little tip calculator

Yup–at 12:01 AM on March 19th, 2011, I submitted for publication my first application ever.  No surprises that not much new functionality was added before submission–the main screen hasn’t changed at all, in fact.  What was changed, with a lot of help from Tim and Dave, was the creation of a custom control that held my splashscreen image and had a timer attached to it.  Yes, this is probably pretty trivial for anyone with real development experience, but I am still wrapping my head around it.

Why did I have to do this?  Well, it turns out that the splashscreen in Windows Phone 7 loads and then disappears as soon as the app is loaded.  Normally, this is a good thing.  When your app is less than 400 lines of code soaking wet, it means your splashscreen is gone in about 17 nanoseconds.  Since I was able to find a great creative commons image to use for the splashscreen, I thought people might want to see it for just a second or two, so I embarked over the last few days in between work and personal time off for a sick wife, on finding a solution that would keep that splashscreen on longer.

To make a long story short, my first efforts failed.  There is no property defined in Windows Phone 7 that will allow you to simply say “I want my splashscreen on *this* long.”  So the next approach was to create a grid control on a new page, set the timer on that page, and then fill that grid with my splashscreen image.  That didn’t work for a few reasons, but was problematic regardless.  You see, one of the fundamentally cool things about Windows Phone 7 is the smart back button.  If you’re in an app, it just seems to know whether you want to go back a screen, or back to your application page, or wherever else you came from.  If you do as I tried to do (I failed–the timer would be counting, but somehow never delayed things), you’ll find your back arrow will take you to your splash screen instead of exit the application.  That’s not good.

The next try was to try duplicate the landing page approach above by using a control (stackpanel, this time) that sat over the top of the entire UI and went away with the timer with a Visibility.Collapsed slight of hand.  The timer worked this time, but for some reason the stackpanel would only display black instead of my image.  So strike two.

The third attempt was really Dave figuring this out–create a custom control, pasting the image on it, and create a custom method that made it pop up and disappear based on the timer.  Since Dave did nearly all the code here (in an infuriatingly short period of time), I’m still trying to figure out a few things about where things were defined, but it worked and worked very, very well.  So thanks, Dave!

I’ll update when it is in the marketplace (or if it gets rejected), and then I’ll talk more about he next apps I’m building.

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A quick update on my upcoming first Windows Phone 7 app submission…

Well, it looks like I’m code complete for my first Windows Phone 7 application.  It will be called “YetAnotherTipCalc,” the first unabashedly “me too!” tip calculator that I know of.  Yeah, I know–nothing special, and proudly so!  You see, I really haven’t written any code of substance (I use the term loosely) since the .NET 1.1 days of 2004.  Even then, I didn’t build much of anything.  But there’s something about Windows Phone 7 that got my juices flowing to start learning how to code again, and this is simply the first app I built.

Here’s a screenshot:

The next step:  packaging the screenshot in my submission pack.  Of course, this will happen once I finish the app manifest, adding a splash screen, finding just the right icon (I’d be grateful if someone has a good one for a tip calculator), and doing the rest of the little things that are required to submit the app.  Such is the drill.

As a relatively new developer, I must say I had more trouble than I expected going in, but this was a great learning experience because of it.  Things I never thought I’d have to figure out, like how to prevent exceptions from people fat-fingering the decimal point a second time, for example, were out of sight, out of mind for me as a non-dev.  Also, since my past experience was almost entirely in WinForms, Silverlight and XAML were definitely interesting.  It is probably a case of the noob complaining because he doesn’t know any better, but it does seem that some of Silverlight is more confusing than it needs to be.  Lots of weird “if you don’t put X just in this exact spot, but do Y first and don’t do Z, then neither A nor B will work right” things.  Like I said, probably just the noob….

YetAnotherTipCalc will definitely be free of charge as well as ad-free.  I am planning some enhancements that I may charge nominally for and donate the proceeds, but I haven’t decided that yet.  Let’s get through this first submission, then we’ll all worry about whether we have a buck in our pocket to burn for a more unique take on the tip calc.

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Hi everyone!

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this blog beyond discussing the Windows Phone 7 applications I’m building, but here I am! Get ready–the first one I’m submitting is a quick and easy (and I think pretty) tip calculator. I have some plans to extend it to make it unique later on, but this first one will be free and basic. I’ll keep everyone posted on what happens as I submit the application for approval, when it is available, etc.

Thanks for reading!

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