Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Launched: Mobilewares Online Showcase (MCPL Web Application)

with 2 comments

Over the past few weeks I’ve being playing around with creating an online Website – that serves up a MCPL (Media Center Markup Language) based experience – designed for viewing from directly within Media Center. (as opposed to using HTML for Internet Explorer)..

These types of sites are known in the MediaCenter SDK as "Windows Media Center Presentation Layer Web Applications".

I ended up using this to provide a couple of new features I’ve been wanting to include in my addins :

  • Online Version Checker for Addins  (So I can more easily notify end users of updates).
  • Providing a Media Center online Product Catalog for the Addins – that can be updated online – and reflected immediately on end users screens.

Although there was a number of other options available to implement the functions above – namely writing this functionality into a locally running addin (and just sourcing raw data from my online site) – I liked the idea of being able to reuse this accross my products.

This way I also have the option to add/remove functionality as time goes on – and the ability to manage the products in the product catalog – without anyone needing to reinstall anything.

The screenshots below show off these two functions implemented via the MCPL Web Application (more at bottom)
– the picture on the left is the main browser for the product showcase (similar look/feel to the DVD Library in Media Center)
– and on the right is the version checker (the screen displayed is telling the user that a new version of Big Screen Weather is available).

          

Some Tech stuff…

The webpages are hosted from my US based server – and ASP.NET was used to dynamically generate the MCML content based on input parameters being passed in. All pages are reusable and generic (and not written for any specific addin/product) – so it makes it easy to add new products without changing code.

How to check these out…

If you have installed the latest versions of Big Screen Headlines or Big Screen Weather (both released in last 24 hrs) – then when you go to the About Menu in each program – links are provided which take you directly to the online sites. (NB: in Big Screen Weather – you need to go to the ‘More’ tab – and 2 x link buttons are displayed).

Alternatively – if you don’t have these addins installed – but you have the MCE SDK installed – then you can use MCMLPad or MCMLPreview Tool to directly navigate to the Web Address :

    The URI is http://mobilewares.net/mcml/default.aspx .
                  NOTE THIS IS NOT VIEWABLE IN A WEB BROWSER

Some more Screenshots…

I’ve also included some more screenshots below which show some of the other parts of the Showcase. 

Below are a couple of screenshots from the product details screen – one showing the main details – and the other providing a list of features. This page uses an XBox360 dashboard style tabbing system to slide pages back and forth.

       

A small Screenshot gallery is also provided (via a tab in the product details screen) – which allows you to browse several screenshots of each product. Once you find a screenshot of interest – you can click on it to enter a large size view (and a thumbnail screenshot browser is provided).

     

Coming Soon – More of what I’d like to add..

The online showcase and the version checker are a continuous work in progress – so I will continue to update/enhance them – and of course direct links will be added in all new versions of products as they are released (Big Screen Contacts just missed the cutoff – but the next version will also have these included).

For example – I will make the version checker allow you to read a ‘release history’ if a new version is available (so you can check out what is new).

The online showcase also has a lot of room for growth too – and things that spring to mind are using it for more generic purposes (ie vista addin gallery) – and hooking up a background downloader/installer system (sort of like Xbox live)..

Hope you like it!

 

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Written by mobilewares

November 30, 2006 at 9:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. CUTE – Very Very Cute
     
    Do you ever sleep?

    Impact (Keith Chambers)

    November 30, 2006 at 1:56 pm

  2. My wife gets enough for both of us.. 8)..
     
    Niall
     

    Niall

    November 30, 2006 at 2:21 pm


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