Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy is a website for Developers and IT Pros offering free Microsoft training delivere d by experts. Follow us on Twitter @MSVirtAcademy

Live tiles for the MVA app (and for yours too)

Matthew Calder (MVA)

It’s been really fun to get input from our community about the Windows app we are planning for MVA, and among the features and scenarios we’ve heard requested, keeping it personal and keeping it fresh have been frequently recurring themes: what new courses are available? Can you notify me about the events I’ve registered for? Has someone surpassed my point total and moved me down in the rankings? Can you take me with one click to where I left off in the course I’m currently taking? Because Windows 8 is designed to enable immersive content experiences, we’ll be able to make those types of scenarios even easier for users in our app than in our desktop browser experience. With live tiles and badges, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off in your current course with a single click right from your Start screen without even have to open a browser and navigate to our site. We’ll also use live tiles to feature upcoming events so that you know when an interesting course is coming. And we’ll be able to provide you a countdown tile for the events you are registered for so you can be sure to block the time to attend. We’re still fleshing out the scenarios around points but we certainly have a group of users who love to compete, and we’ll be making it easier to keep tabs on your rankings.

If you’re thinking about using live tiles in your own apps, we’ve got courses that cover them from a couple angles. Windows 8 UX Design Jump Start covers how to go about planning and creating an app from a designer’s point of view. Microsoft’s Chris Mayo and Brandy Porter of Big Nerd Ranch walk through every aspect of Windows app design using examples from their demo app The Contoso Cookbook. But if you want to just jump right into tiles then start with module 8 Tiles and Notifications which will teach you what users see, how they discern when the content on a tile is live and how to reflect your brand with a tile. If you are C# developer, then you’ll want to check out Jerry Nixon and Daren May leading you through tiles in module 7 of Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using C# Jump Start. They dive into some great detail about tiles and toast notifications, and you’ll want to download the slides for that module so that you’ve got their sample code as well.

You  should also check out these other resources

If you’ve got requests for what you’d like the MVA Windows app to do, or if you’ve got other helpful resources and examples to share, please leave a comment below!