Time Tortoise: Minimal SignalR Functionality

Signal

This is one in a series of articles about Time Tortoise, a Universal Windows Platform app for planning and tracking your work schedule. For more on the development of this app and the ideas behind it, see my Time Tortoise category page.

Last week, I covered the reason for using SignalR in Time Tortoise, and how SignalR can be used to build a simple chat application. This week, I’ve been working on integrating minimal SignalR functionality into the Time Tortoise codebase.

« Continue »

Time Tortoise: Using SignalR with UWP

SignalR

This is one in a series of articles about Time Tortoise, a Universal Windows Platform app for planning and tracking your work schedule. For more on the development of this app and the ideas behind it, see my Time Tortoise category page.

To communicate with its companion app, Time Tortoise needs to use sockets. In recent weeks, I have been experimenting with socket communication between a UWP client app and a server running in a console app. This architecture works when everything is set up and running as intended. But it can be tricky to make sockets robust. So this week I’m looking into adding a layer that makes sockets easier to use and more resistant to unexpected failures.

« Continue »

Time Tortoise: Notification Icon

Notification area

This is one in a series of articles about Time Tortoise, a Universal Windows Platform app for planning and tracking your work schedule. For more on the development of this app and the ideas behind it, see my Time Tortoise category page.

To build a companion app that implements functionality that a UWP app can’t, it’s necessary to pick a non-UWP technology to use. Here are a few options:

  • A Windows service: Since the Time Tortoise Companion App only needs to send messages to and receive messages from Time Tortoise, it may not require a user interface. A Windows service allows code to run in the background on Windows, without a UI. I have a couple of concerns with this approach: 1) It’s a bit unfriendly, especially for users unfamiliar with Windows services, to have a mysterious service running in the background; and 2) I may find a need for a companion app UI in the future. This is not in itself a good enough reason to avoid the Windows service approach, but it’s a strike against it.
  • A Windows Forms app: This solves both of the concerns with the Windows service. But there’s no reason to use this ancient UI framework for a brand new app, when there are other options available.
  • A Windows Presentation Foundation app: WPF isn’t as cutting-edge as UWP, but it uses the same UI markup language (XAML). And since it is widely used, it’s likely to support any functionality that I need. So that’s what I’m going with for the companion app.

« Continue »

Time Tortoise: A Companion App

Pipes

This is one in a series of articles about Time Tortoise, a Universal Windows Platform app for planning and tracking your work schedule. For more on the development of this app and the ideas behind it, see my Time Tortoise category page.

Last week, I brought up some limitations of UWP apps, including one that will affect Time Tortoise. I also suggested the idea of a companion app that could address these limitations. This week, I’ll start exploring the companion app in more detail.

« Continue »