Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fleux is coming. Video Preview

Fleux.Net is a new open source project I published in CodePlex, the open source portal from Microsoft. It includes some of the UX elements I was working on recently, and it’s also an evolution of the UI engine I used for the world cup app.

For further information, you can go to the project portal at http://fleux.codeplex.com/ and play with the latest source code.

It’s a .Net Compact Framework c# development initiative, where I’m trying to share some of my UI dev experience with other Windows Mobile developers.

Fleux is coming. If you want to contribute to the project, or if you want to use Fleux to power your project UI, feel free to contact me at  jose@mobilepractices.net.

Do you want to be part of it?

Fleux sample app running on HTC HD2

Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome Franco!

I know it’s not new if I say that I was very busy lately. But this time my typical “free time” was occupied by what is the most important part of my life: my family. My second son, Franco, was born on October, 8th, and we all: his mom, his brother, and of course his dad, are extremely happy with the new member.


Thank you Franco for making all of us so happy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

World Cup 2010 Application for Windows Mobile: The panoramic UX proof of concept is here!


I’m glad to introduce you this small World Cup 2010 application for Windows Mobile, which has been entirely developed using the Compact Framework applying some UX concepts from Windows Phone 7 panoramic UI and spikes on fluent UI I recently worked on.

This app requires a touch-screen device with Windows Mobile and the Microsoft .Net Compact Framework 3.5.

As this is just a proof of concept, you can download it for free following the links bellow:

New version v.0.3.beta available!




    Portuguese (NEW!)

      Brazilian Portuguese (NEW!)

      Français (NEW!)

      Chinese (NEW!)


      The features included are:

      • 64 matches with detailed info which can be browsed by group, date or play off stage.
      • 8 Groups details.
      • Play-offs chart
      • Manual update on-line which will got the following:
        • World Cup news directly from the FIFA.Com News RSS feed, including pictures and links for full reading in your browser.
        • Results for finished matches.

      The application can run in almost any Windows Mobile 5.x, 6.x touch screen device. It automatically scales according to your screen size and resolution.

      I’ll continue posting about the technology around this app. Stay tuned!

      Fixes on v.0.1:

      • Fixes an issue while parsing dates on some localized versions of Windows Mobile (i.e. Danish, German ROMs) which was preventing the app to run.
      • Recovery screen if any data inconsistence is detected after update. This is a very weird case, but the app will let you update and get a new set of data if needed.
      • News screen support for longer text resizing accordingly.

      Fixes on v.0.2.beta:

      • This version downloads the news directly from the Feeds sources, getting a faster connectivity and fresh information from FIFA.com.
      • Calendar shows July 12th for time zones where the final match will be played that day.
      • Small visual changes on Calendar.
      • Play-Offs: Fix on the games chart, which was showing a confusing wrong line-connection for Semi-Finals. The data was correct, but the lines were wrong. This version fixes that.
      • In some devices or orientations, the Play-offs chart was truncated. That issue is also fixed on this version.

      Fixes on v.0.3.beta:

      • All the v.0.2.beta fixes/changes.
      • This version doesn’t show the Recovery Page.
      • Fixes an issue for v.0.2. on a clean installation when the Images folder wasn’t on the XmlData folder.
      • Includes a new “Today section” allowing you to see the games for today at a glance.


      • This version is published in four seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Chinese and German.
      • Let me say thanks to Marcus Bauer, Matthias Engler, Carlos Paulo, Ayrton Vasconcelos, Thomas Michiels, Nick Käser and Kenn Zhang for their help on translations.

      Quick Troubleshooting:

      • If the app crashes on your device, please email me (jose@mobilepractices.net) the “errorfound” file located on the xmlData folder. That file has the error log so I can see what the problem was. This file will be deleted if you have a successfully synchronization, so please make a copy before sync.
      • The small portion of the next section visible at the right is intentionally there, to invite you to continue exploring the panorama.
      • I got some reports where the problem was related to the device running low of resources (even if it has lots of memory). This issue was mostly reported on Omnia II devices. I recommend you to take a look at the processes that are running on your device. A soft reset would help on those cases.
      • If you think the app is showing wrong times for the matches, please check if your device has the right time zone configured. If that’s not the issue, feel free to send me an email.
      • Any other issue you may have, don’t hesitate to contact me, because this piece of software is validating a UX engine that should be stable enough to be widespread reusable.

      Update (6/19/2010):

      Wow! The proof of concept was an incredible success. I got an amazing feedback and the awesome quantity of 35.000+ downloads. This was definitely the kind of feedback I was looking for.

      If you have read my blog posts, you should be aware that this is just a UX Proof of concept, and of course, I didn’t expect such a huge amount of downloads ;).

      I’ve changed the host server and the updating mechanism, so the client can consume the news feed directly from its original source (i.e. FIFA.com), keeping you with fresher news and simplifying the updating process.

      I strongly recommend you to install v.0.3 if you’re still using v.0.1.

      Thanks for such a wonderful feedback!.  Do you still interested on the technology behind this app?? Maybe you should start thinking on what application can you develop with this kind of UX, or maybe just how can you re design your existing app to provide a fluid experience. Stay tuned!

      kick it on DotNetKicks.com

      Saturday, May 29, 2010

      UX Proof of concept: Developing panorama applications in .Net CF. World Cup Application

      You have probably already seen a bunch of really cool applications demoed as part of the Windows Phone 7 momentum following a chrome-less and fluent approach getting a very rich user experience browsing information that Microsoft has called “Panorama Applications”. In the “UI Design and Interaction Guide for Windows Phone 7 Series” document, panoramic applications are described as applications that “offers a unique way to view controls, data, and services by using a long horizontal canvas that extends beyond the confines of the screen. These inherently dynamic application use layered animations and content so that layers smoothly pan at different speeds, similar to parallax effects”.

      I really like the way the information flows along a panorama application. That’s a great approach for browsing data in a mobile application, and it’s perfectly suitable in many use cases.

      If this is such a great approach, why aren’t we already developing Panorama Application for Windows Mobile? Maybe, because the task is not that easy without Silverlight and Blend for helping us. But I’m totally convinced that a Windows Mobile application can provide such a great user experience, it’s just a matter of developing the right custom controls, and that’s the tricky part. That said, I included some Panorama application concepts as part of my usual UX spikes that fills the little free time I have. It was basically a set of touch friendly controls, responsive and smoothly animated, supporting kinetic scrolling all around, alpha blending, transitions and so on.

      While I was working on that, one of the world biggest sport events start was getting really close: The FIFA Soccer World Cup South Africa 2010. And as a big soccer fan, I was really interested on it. I wanted to start following the tournament from my mobile device as well as from my laptop. But unfortunately, I didn’t find any world cup app on the Windows Mobile Marketplace. I did some research on the web, because WinMo users still can download a .cab installer from the web, and just install it on the device, but I didn’t find anything meeting my expectations though.

      But I’m a mobile applications developer and my free time development spikes were needing a bounded focus. Building a world cup app was a very good case study for validating the UX development I was working on. A panoramic approach for a World Cup app sounded great to me. So I decided to align my spikes targeting a World Cup Panorama Application, trying to keep it as simple as possible features-wide, but validating the panoramic approach in a .Net Compact Framework application. It was risky, as far as I didn’t have to much time for it (I had less than five weeks before the world cup starts, and this is just my pet project).

      Now, we’re only 13 days away from the World Cup first match, and the application is in very good shape. I recorded a small video to show you how it feels in action, running on my Samsung Epix.

      If you’re a soccer fan, and you have a Windows Mobile device, I bet you want it on your phone!. It will be available for downloading before the world cup starts. That means I’ll publish it on my blog as a free download, during next week.

      The requirements are .Net Compact Framework 3.5, and a touch-screen Windows Mobile device.

      If you’re a Windows Mobile developer, you’ll probably find this app very interesting. I hope we start seeing lots of Panorama Applications not only in Windows Phone 7, but also in Windows Mobile 6.x. If we have the ability to build such kind of UX in .Net CF, our applications eco system will be better for sure.

      Stay tuned! This story has just begun.