London Traffic Cameras app for Windows 10

Today I’ve launched another app for Windows 10 – London Traffic Cameras. I developed this app, partly because I like the city of London, and also because I wanted to use a few different controls within Windows 10.

The app enables you to create dashboards of live-stream cameras provided by Transport for London, so you can see what traffic is like in real-time. These dashboards can be grouped together for particular situations, e.g. cameras near me, cameras on my route to work etc.

There is also a map view so you can see the location of all cameras, and view their images in real time.

The app is available now for Windows 10 devices from the Microsoft Store as a free download. Just search for London Traffic Cameras.

Review of 2018, Plans for 2019

2018

2018 did have some highlights, though it was generally a rubbish year:

  1. Mandy has been receiving counselling and therapy for most of the year.
  2. Work got more pressured towards the end of the year, causing me to have an extended break.
  3. My Windows 10 app, Done, didn’t have the impact I had hoped (largely due to lack of promotion on my part, and also some mis-steps on development). This has led to a constant soul-searching on it’s future, and whether I should move it to the web.
  4. We had a lovely holiday in Prague in the summer, and a city break in Newcastle just after Christmas.
  5. We’re not confident socially these days (linked to Mandy’s counselling), which means we don’t tend to go out as much or attend many church meetings apart from Sundays. We do go out for more walks, and are receiving a lot of support from church.
  6. The current political climate, both here and worldwide, is a complete mess. So much negativity and anger, more-so than I’ve seen it before.

2019

  1. Mandy will continue with her therapy, though hopefully we’ll be able to move on soon.
  2. I am looking at moving my Done app to the web.
  3. World affairs will get worse – here in the UK especially. I can’t see any good coming out of the situation.
  4. Hopefully, though, there’ll be some new tech released this year that will get me excited for it again.
  5. I’ll also be considering how I can use social media differently.

A Quiet Summer

Hello, welcome back. Sorry for the radio silence over the last few months – although it’s been quiet around here all summer, there are a few things that have been happening.

My Windows 10 app, Done, had a couple of updates. The biggest is that I amended the main user interface so that the menu is a drop-down button instead of a menu bar at the bottom of the screen and other options elsewhere. I did this in preparation for a few features I may be adding over the next few months and needed the space to add them to navigation.

I also tidied up the Edit screens to fit in with the Microsoft design language a bit more. So rather than having a label next to a text box in a big table format (you don’t see this in the app, but it is there in the background), I used some functionality to make the label part of the text box. Doesn’t sound like much, but there are a lot of text boxes that needed changing!

The Done web site is now out of date, as are the screenshots on the Microsoft Store page and the User Guide. When I add the new features I will look at updating those too.

I took this site down for a while as I couldn’t settle on the platform I wanted to run it on. After changing it to WordPress for about I week, I decided that as I am an ASP.NET C# developer that this would be better. So I wrote a CMS. By hand. From scratch. I can add blog posts and pages, as well as image files, but that’s about it at the moment. I can extend it as I go, and build it bit-by-bit. I can also see some visitor statistics, which I couldn’t do when it was a static site.

This Autumn, I plan to update my Done app with new features and see how that goes. I am also working on a web version of the app, although I cannot say when that will be ready. I will try and post updates here on a more regular basis.

When I add a comments system to this site, you’ll be able to provide feedback. In the meantime you can still contact me through twitter or Facebook.

Spring 2018 Update

Wow! It’s been over six months since my last update. Sorry for the radio silence, but I’ve been a bit busy this Spring going round in circles, getting confused, and wondering what’s going on!

In my last blog post I wondered whether I should carry on with my app, Done, either in it’s current format (Windows 10 app), on the web, or at all. I’ve been dithering about it for the last six months. Yes, really. Just when I think I’ve made my mind up one way, I convince myself that the other is better. Not a great way to spend my time!

During the last six months, I have actually updated the app. Most of it is due to bugs I’ve found, or that others have reported to me (thanks Chris!). Then there was the blog post I read on the Microsoft web site that said they have changed the way databases are updated within apps, which meant a large chunk of mine would need to be rewritten.

I fixed the bugs and tried to update the app without the rewrite, but in the end I decided I had to bite the bullet and re-develop the database connections. This took a fair amount of work, and the updated app is now in the Microsoft Store. I did remove the app from the Store several times, usually in a huff(!), but then changed my mind and decided again that I like apps and made Done available again.

So, half-way through 2018, where am I with this? Well, I am almost certain I will carry on with Windows 10 apps, unless this next update goes horribly wrong. I have a few ideas for new apps I would quite like to do (which would work as either Windows 10 apps or websites), as well as ways I would like to take Done forwards. Hopefully I won’t leave it too long until the next update…

Done in 2018

The future of Done Timesheets in 2018.

Last December, I managed to get my app, Done Timesheets, into the Microsoft Store. It was a proud moment for me considering the problems I had had developing it and getting it into the store.

Then there was the Christmas and New Year break. Mandy and I went to London, so I wasn’t able to do very much on the app. I did, however, spot a few problems.

Microsoft, like other app store providers, have a website where you can monitor the progress of your app. You can track downloads, usage, and the health of the app. It was here that I noticed there were problems. People had downloaded the app, but this dashboard was telling me it was crashing. No one had emailed me with any problems, so I thought I would try and be pro-active, and fix any bugs.

Some of the bugs listed were specific to the graphics card on the computer which the app was being run on. There’s not a lot I can do about that, except to add a few more places where errors are displayed in the hope that something meaningful is reported back to the user. However, other crashes were listed as “Unknown”. Basically, the system that was supposed to help me diagnose any problems can’t tell me what the problem is!

This is not a great place to be in. I’ve added yet more ways to capture and display error messages, and I’ve also been using the app more vigarously in the hope I can catch any problems. I had remove Done from the Microsoft Store until I was confident it was more reliable – I’m not there yet but I intend to re-add the app so that others can install it. I’ve also added more screens with my email address on, so if people need to contact me they can do.

What about the future? Well, I’m no longer sold on the methods Microsoft have created for apps within Windows 10. There are too many problems with the platform (it’s not ready), and the Store submission funcionality isn’t that great. For Done, I may add the new features I had intended to (mentioned on the Done website at done-app.com), or I may decided to abandon Windows 10 and make Done web based or for the iPhone. I really don’t know. I’ve updated the app on the Store this evening, and I will monitor what happens over the next few days.

Overall I’m sad and disappointed at how this has turned out. When I released the app in December, I was really pleased and excited that I had finished something. Now I feel like I’m not sure it was worth the effort.

I really feel like Microsoft have abandoned the developers who code for their desktop platforms. They’re more interested in the cloud and other platforms than the desktop, even though most people still do access the cloud from a computer as well as their phone (people use both, not one or the other!)

So, this isn’t goodbye just yet. The app may behave and I find fulfillment in the Windows 10 ecosystem. I’m not holding my breath though…

Older posts