The online home of John Pollard

A whole load of useful dev resources

I've been thinking hard about which out of my long list of half-baked ideas to commit to next. I do have a reasonable plan now - more of which next week - but this week has been more about learning about several very useful open source frameworks I'll be using in the future.

Windows Phone Resources

Most useful of all was a fantastic post by Scott Hanselmann on his first Windows Phone app, which had loads of interesting tidbits, in particular the following resources:

Little Watson

A great generic error handling library to help report issues in the app, as the error reports on the Create MSDN site can be a little obscure sometimes.


A beautiful framework for creating simple but useful about dialog pages. Will definitely be using this.

If you're doing any Windows Phone development at all, you should definitely check out the whole of Scott's post.

Agfx App and Data Caching Framework

Many of the ideas I've had involve using data from the Internet in some way, and the occasionally connected nature of such devices means a reliable caching layer essential.

I'd been thinking of writing my own such store, but happily before I really got started I found the AgFx Windows Phone App and Data Caching Framework on Codeplex, which looks like exactly what I need. I'll let you know how that works out in later posts.

Other Cool Things I've Learnt This Week

Bootstrap Update

The Brave Location website is built using the Bootstrap Framework, an excellent set of resources built by some developers from Twitter.

The only downside I found was that the layouts weren't particularly responsive, so didn't look fantastic on mobile phones.

However the latest version (2.0) has added much better support for adjusting the page based on the current size, and apart from a few ongoing glitches with the navbar, the site now works very well on smaller resolutions now.

Markdown and MarkdownPad

I also just realised that Posterous - where I'm hosting this bog - supports Markdown, an easy text-based way of writing than can easily be turned into simple HTML.

My posts both on here and on my personal blog are tending to be a bit longer than usual, and to be honest I haven't found a web-based HTML editor yet that isn't a bit painful to use.

Therefore using Markdown makes it much easier to use any text-based editor to write the posts offline, and I'm also trying out the so far very useful MarkdownPad to do my writing in (using it right now for this post)

Week 5 Summary

To be honest I'm finding it hard - as expected - to keep up the momentum of an app a month when I'm pretty much maxed out in my day job. However I do like my next app idea - especially as it could provide a framework for a whole class of similar apps going forward.