Microsoft Launches SkyDrive Application For Windows

24. April 2012 13:38

Microsoft Utils Windows Azure 

On 23rd April Microsoft announces the launch of official SkyDrive application for Windows on Windows 8 blog. This is one of the most awaited applications among the developers and users. All we wanted is a simple app through which we can manage our cloud storage with ease. Download the SkyDrive app here.

Here is what available now according to this blog post:

  • SkyDrive for the Windows desktop (preview available now). View and manage your personal SkyDrive directly from Windows Explorer on Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista with this new preview app available in 106 languages worldwide.
  • Fetching files through SkyDrive.com. Easily access, browse, and stream files from a remote PC running the preview app to just about anywhere by simply fetching them via SkyDrive.com.
  • SkyDrive storage updates. A new, more flexible approach to personal cloud storage that allows power users to get additional paid storage as their needs grow.
  • SkyDrive for other devices. We’ve updated the SkyDrive apps on Windows Phone and iOS devices, bringing better management features and sharing options to those devices. We’re also releasing a new preview client for Mac OS X Lion, letting you manage your SkyDrive right from the Finder.

After downloading the application run the setup. This will install the app.

The installation will also let you sync the folders between your PC and other devices like WP7, Android and iPhone. You can un-check the option at this moment but if you wish to enable file sharing among devices then you can set this from SkyDrive app settings option later on.

Once the installation is complete you can then set the folder SkyDrive path:

After the folder has been set up the SkyDrive app will started in the background. The SkyDrive app will then download the files from the SkyDrive inside the SkyDrive folder set up while installing the app. Check out the below screenshot, as the SkyDrive is sitting in the task bar and syncing the files on the other hand. The folders which are synced are marked with tick icon and the folders which are still in sync process is having the sync icon. If you have worked with LiveMesh then you must be aware of the sync icon.

I am quite familiar with the application even before it's launch. I have use LiveSync app so this app seems pretty similar to me. To add a new file just copy and paste or drag & drop the file in the local SkyDrive folder. The file or folder will then get synced to SkyDrive which can be accessed from anywhere around the planet. If you want to un-install the app then make sure that you un-link the SkyDrive folder before you do that (I don't know why someone will remove the app!!) To un-link the local folder right-click the settings icon and click Unlink SkyDrive button to unlink the folder.

In the end the most awaited SkyDrive app is out and is going to be a big hit soon. If you have some suggestions for the SkyDrive app or want to report back a bug or you have some suggestions or want some new features then please do so. Let's make this app a hit.

IMPORTANT: If you are not the current user of SkyDrive then be advised that for the new users the storage capacity available will be 7GB and not 25GB which is offered to old account holders. So make it quick to get the 25GB storage capacity before it gets too late.

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Top 3 Ultimate Timepass For Developers

23. April 2012 13:55

Fundoo Web 

We have been programming a lot so we need some time to refresh our minds and get ourselves in a state where our mind processors can start working again more beautifully. When I am pushing myself hard I play 3 games that is on my favorite list. Though I do have many games but these are the 3 games that I play.

The World's Largest Pac-Mac

The legendry dot-eating games Pac-Man. I first played this game on 8-bit Atari console and I remember I used to bet with my firends. We played Pac-Man on a single maze, we don't have many options, but here we have lots and lots of mazes to choose from. The statistics is a section 

Angry Birds

One of the most playable and most addicted games at the moment available on the web. Amazing stages and awesome game play. I have spent numerous amount of effort and time on this game. I have played the offline version of this game, if you don't want to install then play it right here.

Cut The Rope

This game is more or like Angry Birds. Why? If you have played Angry Birds then you must have noticed that in Angry Birds it is not just about hitting the pillars. It's about how you kill the pigs by consuming fewer birds. Cut The Rope is the game initially written in Objective-C and later written in JavaScript by the awesome developers at Zepto Labs. I love playing this game as it allows you think before you make the move.

Currently rated 2.3 by 3 people

Awesome jQuery Image Plugins For Web Developers

22. April 2012 03:42

Jquery Web 

I am not a web developer but still I love working with jQuery, CSS3, HTML5 and other web development frameworks. But as a programmer I love collect code snippets for my ease and store them on the cloud so I can get the access when I am in need and want to save my time while I am writing code. Out of the box I have a list of few image manipulation plugins which seems pretty impressive to me. Let's take a look:

1. Image Carousels

For simple image carousels you can use rcarousel. The plugin is good if you are planning to implement a simple image carousel. If you are looking for some CSS3 taste then take a look at slideshow using jmpress. The transitions effects are awesome.

2. Adipoli jQuery Image Hover Plugin

This is the best image hover plugin I used and available on the web so far. The plugin has to offer you some amazing effects. My favorite is the greyscale and popout, both effects are good if you plan to have a web based gallery.

3. Captify

If you are looking to have a caption for your images, then do that in style. Captify is a plugin let you have pretty image captions for the image. You can have the caption on the image by default or you can show it to the user on mouseover. You can take a look at a little demo here and download it from the GitHub

4. Spritely.net

Want to work with sprites but don't know how to kick off? Don't wait and go to Spritely. Before you download check the gallery examples. In short Spritely allows you to turn your images into a movie. Simply awesome!!

5. jParallax

I will be surprised if you have not heard about this plugin. One of the most amazing and powerful plugin or I should say a library that can make your images speak or work on their own. I am not going to describe what it does, so you have to go and look for yourself. Visit the demo page.

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Minify Your CSS & Javascript With SquishIt

15. April 2012 06:38

API ASP.NET Web 

No one likes if their favourite site is loading up slow. Using CSS sprites instead of using individual images and minify javascript and css files is a way to minimize the request send to the server and also saves you few KBs or may be even MBs. If your site is high on using javacript and CSS then you should minimize them.

I recently used SquishIt to combine/minimize my CSS and javascript files. I found 2 major benefits, first, I am able to combine all of my CSS files into one and minimize it, and second it reduces the request sent to the server to load several .css and .js files. In a typical web application I can have one style sheet and one javascript or jQuery file, but if I am planning to use some plugins then there might be more than one style sheet and javascript files which will get loaded on every page request. Here is an example of a sample web forms application loading two css and javascript files which includes the plugin code. 

Here you can see that there are 4 requests in total to load site CSS and Javascript files. Though in this case the size of the file is less but when you have really large files then it can really affect your site performance and also save MBs in a long run. So, what happens when I use SquishIt? Install the package by firing the below command at NuGet console.

 

SquishIt is not an independent package, it has dependencies which is doing all the work of minifying and compressing CSS and JS files behind the scenes.

 

After the package is installed successfully, time to squish the files. Open the web page or the master page where you are loading CSS and JS files (in my case it is site.master) and add a reference to the SquishIt assembly on the top of that page.

<%@ Import Namespace="SquishIt.Framework" %>

In the head section of your page we can then combine all the CSS and JS files and then render them into ONE single file. There are two different methods to minimize CSS and JS files i.e. Bundle.Css() for CSS files and Bundle.JavaScript() for JS files. Here is an example:

To bundle CSS:

<%= Bundle.Css()
       .Add("Styles/adipoli.css")
       .Add("Styles/Site.css")
       .Render("Styles/squishstyle#.css")
%>

To bundle JavaScript:

<%= Bundle.JavaScript()
       .Add("Scripts/jquery-1.7.1.min.js")
       .Add("Scripts/jquery.adipoli.min.js")
       .Render("Scripts/squishjs#.js")
%>

You can go on adding all the css and javascript files using the Add() method. After all the files has been added call the Render() method. You can say that the Add()method just keep all the files in a stack and the Render() method will combine and minimize the files. If you look closely in the Render() method has a new file name with a (hash) #. The hash symbol is just generates a new unique id of the bundled script.

When you run the application and check the network call stack in your browser, you'll find that the files are not combined. The page is still loading 4 files!? To overcome this set the debug mode to false in the web.config file.

<compilation debug="false" targetFramework="4.0" />

Now if you look in the network call stack, you will find the files have been squished and minimised and compressed!!

And here are my saving statistics:

Without SquishIt:

Four requests in total!!

Name/Path Type Size Content Time Latency
adipoli.css text/css 683B 62ms
/Styles 441B 55ms
Site.css text/css 4.40KB 68ms
/Styles 4.16KB 61ms
jquery-1.7.1.min.js application/x-javascript 109.91KB 80ms
/Scripts 109.65KB 67ms
jquery.adipoli.min.js application/x-javascript 7.57KB 242ms
/Scripts 7.32KB 163ms

The Squish effect:

Two requests in total. Check out the file size and content being loaded. 

Name/Path Type Size Content Time Latency
squishstyle6788C36F832FE70161B88F2D08193F3E.css text/css 2.95KB 80ms
/Styles 2.71KB 72ms
squishjs0F44BB5917C6332E4D49DFCDA5F3556D.js application/x-javascript 98.29KB 91ms
/Scripts 98.03KB 76ms

The same can be done in MVC with this NuGet package.

Currently rated 5.0 by 1 person

BingMap.JS - Jquery Plugin For Bing Maps

10. March 2012 16:39

API Jquery Microsoft Projects 

Bing maps are out there for a long time now and is getting mature pretty fast. I have used Bing maps myself in few of my projects and I remember as a first time user I have a hard time configuring it according to my project requirement. To get myself out of the overhead I searched the web for a jquery plugin, but I can't find a single jquery plugin for Bing Maps instead I found few for Google Maps. I do have some knowledge of jquery and Bing map API, so I decided to write a jquery plugin for Bing map in my free time that will handle all necessary configurations and all the hard work for me and more importantly save my time.

How I get started and how it ended up

Initially I started writing a plugin to just set up the default configuration like setting the map with different modes, zoom level and other necessary configurations, but I ended up doing something more. Besides just the normal configurations of the map I was also able to incorporate Bing map API to search and pinpoint the address on the map. Now if you have an address and you want that to be located on the map then you just have to write in the address in the address parameter and do the other necessary configuration like if you want to show the pushpin on the map or not, or you can set the description on the balloon tip when the user hover the mouse on the pushpin. You can also change the view modes and can also set the zoom level. Plenty of stuff in the plugin and I will add more to make it more flexible and more productive. The API thing in the plugin was just the test from my side, I never thought of using the API in the plugin when I started writing it. But I am happy that I ended up making something useful for myself and I am sure enough that it will help other fellow developers out there also.

Where to get the plugin?

I have a dedicated a page for the Bing Map plugin here. There are still few changes to be made on the page so that it can have more information. In the next phase I am planning to have a demo page and provide more information on plugin.

Make sure to read about the plugin and the configurations before you get started with the plugin at Bing map plugin home page.

If you are using NuGet then you can fire up the below command to install it into the Scripts folder.

If you have doubts and have suggestions for the plugin then please do drop me a comment or e-mail.

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