Universale Apps

You can now have a single solution that targets both Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 at the same time. Allegedly you will also be able to target XBox in the future. This is called universale apps. I like the sound of that. My current projects only support Windows 8.1. It would be nice if the same build can crank out Windows Phone or XBox targets too.

The way it works is that you have one solution with with multiple projects in it. Two of the projects are for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. The other is a shared project. The shared project name ends with shproj. The shared project is like a library and does not output a package. It also cannot be the startup project in Visual Studio.

Speaking of VS, you need Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 to be able to do universal apps. Of course you will also need to be developing on Windows 8.1. Me, I like to code in C++. However if you write code in JavaScript, you can utilize third party frameworks. You know that is popular in the JavaScript world.


The folks at my company are getting stoked on Microsoft technologies recently. I have seen a bunch of emails about training up on the latest Microsoft offerings. My boss even said we should see if we could get certified in some of these technologies. So when I saw an article in a magazine about Azure, I read on.

There are a host of technologies in the Azure world to help you serve up web sites. They got the database covered with Azure SQL Database. It is a cloud based database. But it support relational queries. Deep down underneath there is a SQL Server Database there.

They have a separate Azure Blob Storage to deal with storing of files. That feels like a different idea to me, as I normally just stick blobs in my Oracle database. Then again, I deal with a user base on the order of 1000 or so. Blob Storage has its own set of ideas such as accounts and containers.

Next up we got Azure Queue Storage. I have also see it referred to as Azure Storage Queue. This is the standard queuing idea where you store a bunch of messages that will later be worked asynchonously.

Microsoft has the Azure Traffic Manager to direct users to destinations of choice. This lets you use multiple sites to serve up your web pages. And you can do an upgrade while keeping your systems and sites online.

Finally I want to mention Web Jobs. This is the Azure way to run background tasks. They can be regularly scheduled tasks. Web Jobs has its own SDK that you will want to become familiar with. So much to learn.