Windows Phone 7 App Development

Social Objects

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I went to an ‘event’ a couple of days ago organised by the cartoonist Hugh MacLeod (  Hugh talked about using cartoons as Social Objects.  He asked us to bring along a social object of our own and after some thought I came up with the idea of an App as a Social Object.

I only had a spare hour on the train on the morning of the event so the App was going to be pretty simple.

Without having to give too much thought I quickly turned the invitation to the event which had arrived via an email into the ‘social object’ App.  The images and text simply being lifted and re-formatted to suit to phone.



The event was being held at 1 Alfred Place in London and in order to get there I had to walk from Euston Station so I used Bing Maps and grabbed a section of the map, suitably zoomed for my image.  I added pan and zoom so that I could move around the image and created a directions page.  I used the Bing London Street Map which is far more useful than other forms for the tiny streets in the capital.


I didn’t use the the WP7 Maps for two reasons, firstly I didn’t have time to learn how to make it work and secondly the phone signal can be patchy and I didn’t want to have to rely on it for the App.  Also the London Street Map is not available on the phone.

Finally I quickly created a Tile image and deployed the App to my phone.  I had a social object…


I showed the App to a few people at the event and the general reaction was ‘wow’, the fact that I had created it specially being the main significance as obviously the App itself is trivial.  I do however tend to forget that outside the technologists and developers that I work with; for most people software is a black art…

I’ve spent a couple of hours since refining the App to implement clipping, though the screen shots above are from the original.

Using WP7 gestures for the image Pan and Zoom on the map was pretty simple to implement but the image moved outside the bounds of the canvas I created.  In order to clip the map so that it did not overwrite the rest of the text on the screen I had to implement a clipping behaviour.  Given that the behaviour is both quite simple to implement and of such obvious benefit I am somewhat surprised that it’s not available by default.

There are quite a few clipping examples around but none of them have the elegance of this solution which implements a clipping behaviour:

Oh and the evening? I can’t complain – free beer is a good way to encourage positive feedback! Hugh rambled a bit and didn’t make any effort to see the audiences social objects which was a disappointment as I’m sure there would have been a lot more audience participation.


Written by metadevblog

July 27, 2011 at 7:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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