Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: Build, Jeddah, KAU, king abdul aziz, Live Tiles, Metro UI, Microsoft, Mobile, MS Saudi Community, Saudi Arabia, software-development, technology, Windows, Windows Store, Windows8
The main focus of this developer camp was to introduce the basics of this new Metro UI to the developers. The agenda of the event:
09:30 am – 10:15 am The Windows 8 Platform for Metro style app
10:15 am – 11:00 am Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality
11:00 am – 11:15 am Break
11:15 am – 11:45 am Everything Web Developers Must Know to Build Metro Style Apps
11:45 am – 12:15 pm Building Metro Style Apps : What .NET Developers Need to Know
12:15 pm – 01:15 pm Lunch
01:15 pm – 02:15 pm Building Windows 8 Metro Style UIs
02:15 pm – 02:45 pm Integrating with the Windows 8 Experiences
02:45 pm – 03:15 pm Bring Your Apps to Life with Tile and Notifications
03:15 pm – 03:30 pm Break
03:30 pm – 04:15 pm How and when Metro style apps run
04:15 pm – 05:00 pm Building Metro style apps that take advantage of modern hardware
05:00 pm – 05:30 pm The Developer Opportunity: Introducing the Windows Store
05:30 pm – 06:00 pm Closing
The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Saudi Community. The first session was about the introduction of metro UI, what it is, what is the idea behind it, how it works etc. In next sessions the technical concepts of developing metro apps were explained. It also included the new and revised concepts in Windows 8.
Some of the concepts mentioned in brief or details are listed below:
- Windows Run Time (WINRT)
- Roaming profiles linked with Live Id
- Semantic Zoom
- Design Mode (Adaptive & Fixed)
- Contracts (Search, Share, …)
- Application Life Cycle
- Background Application API
- Live Tiles
- Toast notifications; last not the least
- Windows Store
If you are planning to proceed with Metro App development, along with many other new ideas & features, at-least you must go through these initial concepts.
Posted by Bilal in Updates.
Tags: Cloud, dropbox, gdrive, Google, Microsoft, online storage, skydrive, sygarsync, sync, wuala
A lot of people nowadays are using services like Dropbox which provide you the ease to access your up-to-date files everywhere. Dropbox is currently limited to 2GB with some expansion via referrals (and it is not so simple). Some Dropbox competitors like Sugarsync, Waula etc. (with 5 GB) have been around for some time but they haven’t gained much attention for being late comer in the market. However when a competing product is launched from a giant company, it is bound to get a lot of attention. So is the case is with much hyped GDrive, which is expected to be launched by Google very soon. Meanwhile, the other tech giant Microsoft has refined its SkyDrive service, by adding new sync features. Up until now, SkyDrive has been a useful place for online file storage with a generous FREE 25GB quota. Today, Microsoft announced PC and Mac apps for SkyDrive which provide the more-useful file synchronization features.
At first glance it is very tempting to see a free 25GB online space available for cloud storage and syncing, compared to Dropbox (which offers only 2GB). But unfortunately, along with the introduction of new features, Microsoft has also decided to reduce the free storage offerings to 7GB. The new SkyDrive users are left with no option other than a paid upgrade if they want extra storage. Old SkyDrive users though, still have some luck. If you have used SkyDrive before, you can avail a limited time offer. Existing users are being offered a free upgrade to 25GB. Login to SkyDrive with your Windows Live ID, and you will be prompted with a following message:
The interesting thing is that the image is not linked to any page. In the navigation column on left, you have to navigate to Manage Storage page. So, what are you waiting for??? Go and enjoy the free cake from Microsoft until it is on display.
Update (24/04/2012): Google Drive is out now.
A guest post by Ammar Haider
Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: Jeddah, Mango, Microsoft, Mobile development, Multitasking, Push Notifications, Saudi Arabia, SilverLight, Tombstoning, Visual Studio, Windows Phone, Windows Phone Development
This week, on 23rd of OCT Windows Phone Camp was conducted at Effat University. The event was sponsored by Telerik
The agenda of he event was as below:
8:30 AM Arrival and Registration
9:00 AM Welcome/ Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
9:45 AM Building Windows Phone Applications with Visual Studio 2010
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Building Windows Phone Apps with Silverlight
12:00 PM Lunch
12:45 PM Windows Phone Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking
1:45 PM Live Tiles and Push Notifications
2:45 PM Break
3:15 PM Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
3:30 PM Build your app or work on a hands-on lab
5:00 PM What’s Next/Resources/Event End
The event was conducted by Microsoft Saudi Community. During this event, the very first community of Jeddah region was announced. If you are living in Jeddah and you are interested in Microsoft products and technologies, you are welcome to join though following social channels:
Some of the snaps of the event are shred here:
Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: ARM, Build, Dar Al-Hekma, IE10, Jeddah, metro, Microsoft, Microsoft Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Windows, Windows8
Windows 7 is generally available for retail since 22nd October, 2009. Many things have been changed and many more have been arrived after that. The main focus from desktop has already shifted towards laptop/net-book. These days the trend has greatly diverted towards touch pads and slates. The main pioneer was Apple’s iPad followed by similar products from Samsung, Asus, Motorola etc. Generally these pads uses iOS, WebOS or Andriod. There are some windows based (Windows 7) options available but they are more powerful and hence more expensive than others e.g. Asus Eee Slate.
Microsoft has announced the Build Windows event to be conducted on 13-16 September 2011, to officially announce the next version of Windows i.e. Windows 8. To keep the local community up-to-date and introduce them to the latest development architecture & tools, Microsoft Saudi Community arranged the live webcast of the keynotes in 3 cities of the Kingdom: Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. The tag line for new Windows 8 is:
In 1995, Windows changed PC. BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything
In Jeddah, the event was planned at Dar Al-Hekma College. The keynote was supposed to start at 7 PM (Makkah Time). As per the agenda, the registration was planned to start at 5:30. A welcome note was given by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, The Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He explained about the technical communities and user groups operating in the Kingdom. He mentioned that Microsoft Arabia is interested in improving its collaboration with the technical community of Western Region. Microsoft is also planning to increase the frequency of the Sponsored Programs and events to help the users to adopt the new technologies.
It was followed by a short refreshment and prayer break.
The keynote was kicked off by Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, in a some-how Steve Job inspired style. He explained the new and cool features of Windows 8. Contrary to previous pattern of Microsoft, Windows 8 does not have any new hardware requirements, any PC that is fulfilling the requirements of Windows 7 is fully acceptable for Windows 8. The main trend building thing in Windows8 is the Metro style UI. Along with the traditional mouse based approach, this Metro style is Touch Oriented. In previous years, Office 2007 introduced a new ribbon based look and feel. Although it was taken as a new standard by many other applications (web applications as well) but it was not ported to Windows itself. But in case of Windows8, this metro style is highly dominant and the next release of Office is also expected to adopt it. Microsoft has been wise enough to provide simple and easy upgrade of classic applications to Metro style with minimum code.
During the keynote a lot of features + updates were described ranging from a daily user’s interest to the developers extent. This post is not intended to explain the keynotes in details. Below is JUST the list of some of the noticeable features:
- Extremely fast start up (8 sec in the demo)
- Infected USB boot protection
- Picture Password for Login
- ARM based architecture now supported
- Spell Checker available throughout the System
- User Profile Sync across multiple machines (based on Live Id)
- Microsoft Application Store linked with Visual Studio with Live status display of the application
- New low power state: Connected Standby
- Support up to 256 TB of hard disk
- Simple Refresh or Reset to factory setting feature
- Improved file copy with visual progress and better speed
- Fully loaded Control Panel and Task Manager
- Up Button is finally back in the Windows explorer with a new bar similar to Office Quick Launch bar
- Built in support for multiple monitors, ISO mounting and burning etc.
- Touch Enabled Internet Explorer 10 with extreme hardware acceleration
- Option to switch between Metro and classic Desktop style
- Browse SkyDrivesimilar to a native folder
- Tap to share available for NFC for supported hardware
- Different keyboards with emotions natively available. Split keyboard also available for thumb typing
Towards the end of the presentation, it was announced that 5000 Intel i5 based, 11 ” tablets made by Samsung will be given to the audience. This tablet, called Developer PC, is preloaded with Windows8 and other required tools for developing and debugging applications.
The keynote session last for about 2 and a half hour. It seems that Microsoft is planning to go far ahead with its new Metro styles Windows with full support for desktop machines up to the new touch centric tablets with extra slim sizes and increasing processing power. We can clearly expect to see Windows based tablets available for general users in the 1st half of 2012.
One more good thing is Windows8 can easily be downloaded (legally) from the following link:
The local attendees of the webcast were given a short survey by Microsoft Arabia to know about their interest which will help in understanding the needs and requirement of local market.
Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
Tags: Azure, BizSpark, Cloud, DreamSpark, Effat University, Microsoft, MS Saudi Community, Phone Development, Sharepoint, Visual Studio, WebMatrix, WebsiteSpark, Windows, Windows Phone
Yesterday, on 30th May, Jeddah Community Summit was arranged by the Microsoft Saudi Community, the central hub of all the regional communities of the Kingdom. The purpose of these communities is to bring the people of a region closer, to share their experience, expertise and help other fellows of the same field in their work and knowledge gathering. These communities conduct sessions/workshops for a wide spectrum ranging from a single topic to multiple tools and topics for one workshop. These communities are very much active in other cities specially in Riyadh and Eastern Region. This event was arranged by the cooperation of the Effat University and Microsoft Saudi Arabia.
The introductory Session was conducted by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He talked about DreamSpark, WebSiteSpark & BizSpark. He mentioned that how Microsoft provide software and hardware support for the early startup/students for first 3 Years. The provided software can be used freely after that period with some conditions. They provide a combination of free/subsidized licenses and Web Hosting. The business studies have shown that majority of IT based startups failed in first 2 years. The aim of these is to help companies to stand on Firm grounds. Currently, 45 startups have been approved in the Kingdom out of which 20 are active.
The next session by Fauzan Khan, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, was about the new and advanced features of Visual Studio 2010. He discussed about a lot of features including but not limited to:
- Virtual Test Environment
- Proactive Project Management
- Architecture Validation
- Dependency Validation
- Code Analysis & Metrics
- Intelli-Trace & Test Manager
All of these features are available in the Ultimate version of Visual Studio 2010. By using these tools we can clearly explain/understand the architecture of the application, validate the separation between different layers (data layer, business layer etc), trace out the bug by checking the variable values even in the deep nested calls, automate the advanced testing etc.
This was followed by the session about Windows Azure, also by Fauzan Khan. Windows Azure is the most latest, state of the art technology by Microsoft for cloud computing. With the combination of SQL Azure, it helps organization to dynamically, on the go, scale their infrastructure by cloud hosting. Instead of Software as a Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), it is a complete Platform as a Service (PaaS). It automatically manages a lot of things using Content Delivery Network (CDN), Traffic Managers etc with full support for customization. A complete list of Windows Azure features can be seen HERE. Azure Applications can easily be developed and tested in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the Azure SDK. Recently, ebay, the world’s one of the most famous shopping site, has shifted to the Azure Platform.
It was followed by a light lunch and the prayer break. Refreshment was available all the time.
The next session about Building Windows Phone 7 Application was conducted by Adel Al-Zubeir, Sr. System Analyst and Windows Phone MVP. He demonstrated the currently and the recently added main features of Windows Phone. After that he described the complete development process of Windows Phone 7 application, starting with a simple Visual Studio project to a full fledge application working with web-services. Later, the publishing/marketing process was also described. Developers in ME (and some other regions with no direct access) can submit their apps to Windows MarketPlce with the help of Yalla Apps. Windows Phone Application can be developed in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the developer tools. These applications are written in Silverlight. Any desktop application written in Silverlight can easily be transferred to Windows Phone. The current version of Windows Phone is Arabic enabled i.e. u can read the Arabic pages. Full Arabic support is expected in future. The switch by Nokia towards Windows Phone will help to reduce this time to market.
The last session was about the Microsoft Web Matrix. It is a collection of different tools (WordPress, Joomla, DotNetNuke etc) with easy/semi-automated installation process. It helps to create, customize and publish your website with a wizard based interface. It is mainly targeted towards the students.
In the last, there was a lucky draw for some books to be distributed among the attendee. Shirts with Microsoft branding were given to each attendant. The attendees were from different local companies. A few students were also present. The event ended at about 4 PM. We are thankful to Microsoft and Effat University for their support and co-operation, with a hope to have more session in the coming month with higher number of participants.
Posted by Bilal in Programming.
Tags: .NET, autocomplete, AutoCompleteCustomSource, AutoCompleteMode, Bug, C#, custom, Microsoft, Muti Thread, source, SQL, STAThread, textbox, Threading, Visual Studio, VS.NET, Windows Application
There was a requirement to implement a textbox with a databound AutoComple feature. As the Autocomplete source was a database, I have to go for a custom DataSource.
The main requirements for an auto-complete textbox (in this scenario) are:
- AutoCompleteMode is set to Suggest(or SuggestAppend).
- AutoCompleteSource is set to CustomSource
- AutoCompleteCustomSource is set AutoCompleteStringCollection.
A sample code for this: (source)
public partial class frmAuto : Form
public string strConnection =
AutoCompleteStringCollection namesCollection =
private void frmAuto_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection();
conn.ConnectionString = strConnection;
SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand();
cmd.Connection = conn;
cmd.CommandType = CommandType.Text;
cmd.CommandText = "Select distinct [Name] from [Names] order by [Name] asc";
dReader = cmd.ExecuteReader();
if (dReader.HasRows == true)
MessageBox.Show("Data not found");
txtName.AutoCompleteMode = AutoCompleteMode.Suggest;
txtName.AutoCompleteSource = AutoCompleteSource.CustomSource;
txtName.AutoCompleteCustomSource = namesCollection;
private void btnCancel_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
private void btnOk_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
MessageBox.Show("Hope you like this example");
I implemented the above properties and other related coding. The build was okay but when I executed the application, I got a Specified Cast is Not Valid exception.
I thought that I made some mistake while implementing, I revised the code and could not find anything wrong. The error was still there! I googled and came to know that I am not alone with this exception. I got a different implementation from MSDN for loading to the custom source.
AutoCompleteStringCollection source = new AutoCompleteStringCollection ();
// Create and initialize the text box
var textBox = new TextBox
AutoCompleteCustomSource = source,
AutoCompleteMode = AutoCompleteMode.SuggestAppend,
AutoCompleteSource = AutoCompleteSource.CustomSource,
Location = new Point(20, 20),
Width = ClientRectangle.Width - 40,
Visible = true
I created a String of the size of the DataTable row count and then added it to the AutoCompleteStringCollection object (similar to the above code). On executing the application, the result was same.
As I placed the code in the middle of my application, to avoid any confusion, I added a new windows form and updated my Program.cs to start from that form. On executing the application, the same error was there to greet me. I even tried to replace my DataBound source with the above static code, but no way. A simple thing that was supposed to be done in less than 30 min took hours of my time, still unsolved.
Since my Program.cs was having a lot of startup configurations and checks, for a final test I created a new WindowsFormApplication Project and used the MSDN code in the FormLoad event. On executing the application, surprisingly it executed normally giving the desired results. This was totally a wired situation. Most of the times, we are worried when something does not work properly BUT some other times, we are worried when some thing works. It was one of those rare cases.
Upon further googling, I came to know that it has surprisingly something to do with the STAThread attribute. In my application, I am having different forms being executed in different threads so I have removed the STAThread. It was not possible to apply the attribute in my application. It revealed that this thing has been reported to Microsoft as a BUG in Visual Studio 2005 in 2004 and separately 2007. If you happen to get the same scenario, please rate this issues and post your comments to ask Microsoft from wake up from a 7+ year long sleep.
To get the thing done, I have to go for the alternative solution. I replaced the TextBox with a ComboBox and set its DropDownStyle to DropDown. It was not EXACTLY same as the desired output but still usable.
Posted by Bilal in .NET, General, Microsoft, Tech News, Tips & Tricks, Updates, Windows.
Tags: 2010, Azure, Cloud Computing, Jeddah, Microsoft, Mircosoft Web Platform, Mobile, office, Office360, OpenDoors, Riyadh, Sharepoint, Visual Studio, Web Matrix, Windows
Microsoft OpenDoor 2010 Saudi Arabia took place in two cities Riyadh (2nd and 3rd Nov) and Jeddah (7th Nov) at Intercontinental Hotel. It was the first time that Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer visited KSA and delivered the Key Note but his visit was limited to one day and it was in Riyadh only.
The registration was web based and no registration fee was mentioned. I happen to know about Professional Developer Conference (PDC) that used to have separate registration fee for students and professionals. Anyhow, for this expo, a bar code was issued to each participant against his Windows Live ID.
The Expo started with the keynote of Developer & Platform group Manager
Adel Al-Massarani about Cloud Computing and Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani
Manager Windows Phone Group, about the new Windows Phone 7. It was followed by the presentation of the Platinum Sponsors
Mobily was also a platinum sponsor but they are already making too much advertisement through different mediums. No time was given to the Gold Sponsors. All of the sponsors have their stalls in the lobby where attendees can easily get their information.
After that there were three options to go:
- Track A for IT Professional
- Track B for Developers
- Track C for Technical Managers
Each track was taking place in separate hall. Attendees had full choice to attend any of the tracks at any time as per their taste.
I joined the Track B (Developers). It started with a presentation of Mohamad Halbi about Windows Azure Platform, the cloud service operating system. It was a brief but comprehensive overview of the Azure Platform right from the start to a live working demo. He showed how windows Cloud could be utilized to get a cost effective and reliable performance.
It was followed by lunch and prayer break.
The next session was about Microsoft Web platform by Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani. He demonstrated about the new Web Platform and also gave some working demonstrations.
After a break of about 15 min, the stage was conquered by Jerry Yasir about the advanced features in Microsoft Excel 2010 and its interaction with Microsoft Sharepoint 2010. He showed how we can get the graphical representation of data and its distribution/sharing with other people through SharePoint.
Then there was prayer break. Refreshment was available in the side room that can be utilized by anybody at any time.
Last session of the track was about Visual Studio 2010 from Architecture Point of view by Abdurrahman Al-Qahtani. He should that how the advanced tools in VS 2010 can help in understanding/designing the architecture of a system graphically using UML.
In the last, there was a combined closing session of all the tracks in which winners were selected through a lucky draw. Gifts include 3 web-cameras and 1 XBOX 360 and another set of 2 web-cameras and 1 Xbox360 for the female participants.
And so, a wonderful Expo by Microsoft came to an end. We wish to see more such events in the near future by international companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc… Also, we expect to see Steve Ballmer in Jeddah next year.
Posted by Bilal in Microsoft, Tips & Tricks.
Tags: beta, lanuage error, Microsoft, office, office 2010
Yesterday I downloaded the Office 2010 trail and tried to install. Previously I have used the Beta1 also in its early days. After re-installing the Window I stick to the Office 2007 because I was facing some issues in the beta so I prefer to wait for the stable version.
The direct installation attempt was not successful because even after uninstalling the Office 2007 there were still some components (like office connector for WLM 2011) that were required to be removed. To avoid the delay in extraction each time then getting the error of still some components remaining for uninstall, I extracted the exe file (ProfessionalPlus.exe) with WinZip. After fully remove the required components, I executed the installer from the extracted files and I got a new error:
It was really strange for me because I clearly remember selecting the language as English. I cross checked the language of my system but I could not find the gap.
After googling the issue I came to know that the cause of this error is the extraction method. Why it is so, it does not make any logic.
The result for the issue is fully explained HERE.
Posted by Bilal in Microsoft, Tech News.
Tags: Bilgates, Last Day, Microsoft, Tech News
Whether or not you are a fan of Bill Gates, it is impossible to deny the impact he has made on the spread of computer technology across the planet during the past three decades. Since Friday June 28, was Gates’ last day as a full-time Microsoft employee, this is the perfect time to look back at five of the most important lessons we’ve learned from the meteoric, tumultuous, and lucrative career of the world’s most famous software engineer.
5. Geeks can be businessmen, too
Before Bill Gates, computer programmers were mostly considered to be a necessary evil for businesses. They were stereotyped as misanthropic weirdos that you stick in dark corners in the back office. However, Gates, became the most successful businessman on earth — if you judge business success by profits — and almost singlehandedly transformed the term “geek” from an insult to a badge of honor in the process.
4. You don’t have to be first to win
Gates and Microsoft rarely got to the party first with new technologies and innovations, but they were simply better at bringing technology products to the masses than anyone else in the industry. Internet Explorer is the most famous example, but Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel are also great examples. Microsoft was merely better at executing. It didn’t hurt that Microsoft often had the most resources, but Gates and Co. showed over and over again that they knew how to best take advantage of those resources.
3. Computing will spread everywhere
In the 1980s when the computer was still mostly a novelty, Gates expressed his vision that there would one day be “a computer on every desk and in every home.” That vision has nearly become a reality in the U.S. and it’s in the process of coming to fruition across the globe. Plus, Gates’ vision of the computing experience has continued to inspire the industry in general as well as Microsoft’s product plans — from the smartphone to the Tablet PC to speech recognition to the touch-based interface.
2. Arrogance breeds failure
In the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, the Bill Gates character says to Steve Ballmer, “Success is a menace. It fools smart people into thinking that they can’t lose.” He was referring to IBM and the fact that it let Microsoft sneak in and steal the thunder in the launch of the PC. A decade later, Microsoft’s own success and arrogance led to its anti-trust defeat to the U.S. government. But Microsoft also remained humble and paranoid enough to always be on the lookout for the next small company that might do to it what it had done to IBM. Some of the most popular targets in its cross hairs: Apple, Netscape, Linux, and Google.
1. Software matters
The one message that Bill Gates spent his career reiterating was that software matters. Gates and Microsoft always believed in the magic of software to create amazing digital experiences. When “Micros-Soft” (as it was originally known) first launched in the 1970s, the computer business was all about the hardware. It was Gates and his vision of what people could do with computers that moved software to the center of the computing experience.