Back It On Up! Android and Xamarin and Backups!

Back It On Up! Android and Xamarin and Backups!

Oh Android – you never make life easy do you? Recently I needed to add the ability to backup and restore Android shared preferences. And as any good Xamarin developer would do, I was using the Settings plugin from the prolific James Montemagno. That library abstracts each individual platform’s complexities of saving preferences into an easy to use set of APIs – and it’s awesome. On the Android side, it uses the system’s default shared preferences for the given context. Sounds perfect… and it is, until you try to backup some data. Wait! Stop the presses! Originally this blog was to be about how to get Android to backup the default system shared preferences the Settings Plugin uses, because one has to do some work arounds. HOWEVER … in between the time I started it and before I finished it, James has gone & updated the Settings Plugin to work in a way that would make the original point of this blog unnecessary. Instead of scrapping this post, I’m going to use it as an opportunity to go through setting up Android backups with Xamarin – and point out the changes James made with the Settings Plugin along the way. Android and User Preferences Let’s back up a bit (get it, “back up a bit”?) and explore how Android manages preferences. It uses XML files to store key/value pairs of preferences. You’ll notice I used the word “files” instead of “file” … Android also gives you the ability to specify multiple files to hold preference settings. So you can slice and dice the user’s preferences by whatever means makes...
Review: The Imposter’s Handbook by Rob Conery

Review: The Imposter’s Handbook by Rob Conery

This review is based off the initial version of the preview of the Imposter’s Handbook that Rob Conery made available for purchase. When the book is released, I will update this review should the Imposter’s Handbook’s content warrant. Instead of shooting off fireworks on July 4, I was browsing Twitter and I came across this: The Imposter’s Handbook https://t.co/LrfJyGJjZO — Rob Conery (@robconery) July 5, 2016 And after reading the description of the book on his website I thought to myself: Holy crap! Rob Conery is writing book just for me! I never set out to find a book that covered the topics that this one does… things that self-taught developers may have missed out on from CompSci classes… but when I saw this one, I knew instantly I would purchase it. With that said, I will try not to let my initial positive reaction influence my review of this book. But I do want you to know that I came in wanting to like it … and I left liking it, maybe a bit more than I thought I would. So, since I spoiled the ending already … the TL;DR of it all is that I recommend The Imposter’s Handbook without hesitation. Even if you write compilers for fun before going to bed – I’m confident this book will teach you something new. As for me, I learned both completely new topics and some new things about topics I already knew … and what more could one ask for out of a book? Now let’s back up to the beginning… The Imposter’s Handbook aims to fill in the...
Bots, They Talk Amongst Us – Microsoft Bot Framework Explained

Bots, They Talk Amongst Us – Microsoft Bot Framework Explained

Bots! They’re everywhere! And on March 30, 2016 – Microsoft introduced its Bot Framework – a bet that bots will succeed apps and websites as the next “big thing”. This series of posts will explore the Bot Framework entirely, from looking at the framework in general, creating bots, adding intelligence to a bot, to adding a bot into a custom mobile app. But before we dig into what exactly the Bot Framework is, let’s first take a look at what exactly makes a bot … a bot. What Are Bots? Bots have been with us for quite a while. In fact every time you call a large company and get stuck in a labyrinth of voice prompts saying things like “press 1 for yes, 2 for no” – that could be considered a bot. But bots are more than that … quite a bit more. Another example would be Slackbot. It’s always there listening and can provide in-context help for using Slack. For example, if you reply to a message with an emoji, it will helpfully suggest, and show you how, to add a direct reaction to it, instead of a full on new message. Then there are the more fantastical versions of bots … imagine a Slack team at a large company – where people may or may not know each other. You and another developer are talking back and forth about what a certain requirement really means. A bot notices the back and forth with all the questions around a single business area – it also knows who the business owner is for that particular area. The...