First personal #Win8 app published – toJSON, converting XML to JSON


Although its pretty small, I am happy to have my first app published in the Windows 8 store. I’ve been lucky enough to be working on Windows 8 projects almost exclusively since Build 2011, but I finally carved out some time to finalize one of my own apps. I’ve been using the script and realized that if I packaged it up, not only would it be more accessible to myself but others could use it as well.

Originally I thought I’d place an ad on it, but then I remembered how much I don’t like ads. I know they have their place, but here it just seemed like a completely unrelated distraction that messed up the aesthetics. So I went with the lowest price point of $1.49.

Adding a price to it represents an agreement, between the a user and myself.  If bugs are found I’ll fix them.  If feedback is given to make it harder, better, faster, stronger; I’ll try it out and see if improvements can be made.

The one day trial (great feature of the Windows 8 store, btw)  is there so you can test the app’s conversion skills, or even just use it for a day for free if you need to.  If the need comes up again, then at least you know it works and could be worth purchasing.

Overall this has reenergized me to finish my “medium-sized” app idea and then to begin my “large-sized” app idea.

Here is the toJSON description:

toJSON is a utility application that quickly converts XML to JSON. Open a file or paste XML directly, hit the transform button or the key combo Ctrl+t and you are provided instant JSON. Once you have the results, you can easily copy them to the clipboard, save as a file or share with the Windows 8 Share charm.

• Quickly converts XML to JSON
• Key combos for Open (ctrl+o), Transform (ctrl+t) and Save (ctrl+s)
• Supports Share, Save or Copy to Clipboard for the transformed JSON

Oh and congrats to the Windows Store review process for being great. It took 3.5 hours to go through the submission and review process!

Talking about Windows 8 and WinJS on Yet Another Podcast

 Jesse Liberty was kind enough to invite me back on to his cleverly named podcast, Yet Another Podcast, to talk about the technology I’ve been focusing on lately, Windows 8 and WinJS apps.

In Jesse’s own words:

Talking with Adam Kinney, Independent Design Developer and former Microsoft Evangelist and Jon Galloway, Microsoft Technical Evangelist, about programming for Windows 8 using JavaScript, CSS3 and HTML5.

Let me know if I sound like someone actually excited, an evangelist or a clueless dolt.

Yet Another Podcast #74–Adam Kinney–Windows 8 and JavaScript and HTML5

Speaking about Blend for HTML at Stir Trek

I will be speaking at the Stir Trek conference  on May 4th, covering Blend for HTML.  This is the latest incarnation of Blend now rebuilt to support HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

They’ve done a killer job and I’m excited to share how the application makes building WinJS Metro style apps a great experience.

Check out my retro circus style announcement for the session:

Come and see the most marvelous, novel and thrilling Windows 8 design tool ever before displayed under Canvas, in fact ever seen anywhere. Watch in awe, while the Interactive Mode transports you from scripting web pages to building web apps for the Microsoft Store. Expression Blend is valuable as both, a companion to Visual Studio for you and as an integral tool for your design team. Its the big CSS-styling animal sensation of the season!

Read more details on the Stir Trek site.

Cut the Rope in HTML5 is live

Its alive! Cut the Rope is now available in HTML5 on the web at

I was fortunate enough to be a part of this project and am pleased to see it up and running. Hats off to ZeptoLab for creating a great game with such a fun visual style.  And much praise to the two masters Joel Fillmore (JS Game Engine Lead) and Robby Ingebretsen (Project/Visuals/Everything Lead).

For more information on the developer story, checkout the Behind the Scenes site and grab some developer candy while you’re there.

Om nom, nom, nom.

Talking about HTML5 on Yet Another Podcast

Jesse Liberty was kind enough to invite me back on to his cleverly named podcast, Yet Another Podcast, to talk about the technology of been focused on lately, HTML5.

In YAP episode #48, we talk about the type of work I do as a UI/Interactive/Visual Design Developer and the sometimes large or small degrees between the design and development teams. After that we dive into thoughts on building HTML5 apps, mainly focused on data visualizations and games.

New Windows Phone “How Do I” Video Series

Working on a few WP7 videos

“How do I…do something new in and cool in Windows Phone ‘Mango’? This is Adam Kinney for Microsoft and today we’re going to answer that question by…”

If you are new to Windows Phone 7 Development or you want to get a look at on e of the new features in action check out the new Windows Phone “How Do I” Video Series

Each 10-15 minute video focuses on a single topic and walks through an example of code. I had a lot of fun putting these together and I think the “Mango” update will be huge for Windows Phone 7 developers and users. They’ve thrown in some really nice new features in there like deep linking tiles, flipping notification tiles, sockets, local database and more OS integration with new tasks and access to contacts and appointments data.

Here’s the full list of videos:

I’m doing the BUILD HIVE 2011 conference combo

I’ve been looking forward to the BUILD conference since it was announced.  Seeing the Windows 8 demo, with its fancy new Metro evolved look and the fact that new development technologies are on the horizon, makes me feel giddy at the idea of once again a new technology to explore, hate and love.

I had all my plans in place and everything was set until Friday night I caught wind of the HIVE conference happening right here in the Seattle area.

A design and tech conference happening right here, with all the cool kids in the neighborhood?  How could I miss it?

Well, I almost could have because it happens to be on September 16th the last day of the BUILD conference.  Hmm, the last day of a 4-day conference, that’s where the conference organizers tend to place the sessions that they should run, but are not the most excited about.  I bet if I catch those online later, I won’t miss too much.

So the decision is made. Fly down to Anaheim for BUILD, soak up Windows 8 and HTML5 goodness then come home a day early to attend HIVE and ruminate over design and developer workflow and be inspired to do greater work.

Anyone else doing the BUILD HIVE combo?

The Book of CSS3 – take me to the future! …which is right now

The Book of CSS3, from Peter Gasston, is your ticket from understanding the long-lived CSS2.1 to the new world full of possibilities with CSS3.

The Book of CSS3Yes, there are issues understanding which features of CSS3 have been properly recommended and are currently supported by modern browsers.  But this is where Peter’s extensive knowledge of the past, present and future direction of CSS3 transcribed into this book is so valuable.

His writing style is clear, concise and casual and although the samples are not pulled from real-world apps, their brevity keeps the focus on the feature of discussion. Walking through each example step-by-step, Peter manages to cover the major features while explaining how to implement them successfully in each browser.

After reviewing the past and present, the book ends with Chapter 17 “The Future of CSS”. Although most features discussed have limited or no implementations, it’s fun to look at new ideas and the chapter acts as a reminder that CSS is ever expanding and becoming more and more powerful.

You may have other display technologies and frameworks of choice, but you would be remiss to ignore the current and future most popular display technology.  This book is a great guide to updating your CSS knowledge, ensuring you are not left behind.

Throwing Stars – a new HTML5 game

Throwing Stars Sampler

Throwing Stars is a new HTML5 game where the goal is to throw a star across the sky and collect all of the sparkling tokens before you run out of stars. Of course it’d be too easy if there were just tokens out there – watch out for walls, planets that will try and get in your way or black holes looking to swallow your star .

We, at Pixel Lab, were given the chance to work together with Ze Frank’s team to build this game as a way for people to win an invite to the new site. It was a fast and furious project, but we were inspired by the site’s whimsical feel and we had a hard deadline to make it to the and IE9 launch at SxSW.

Throwing Stars Instructions
Throwing Stars Instructions pg 2
Throwing Stars blackhole hint

Here’s a few of the tools that helped us out:

  • Google Closure Tools – not only does it provide wonderful compression and compilation, but the inheritance and dependency feature are great
  • box2D physics engine (PixelLab edition) – a cleaned up compiled version of the original JavaScript version of box2D
  • EaselJS – a great sprite library from gskinner for working with Canvas, similar to Flash movieclips
  • Zoë – a tool for exporting swf animations as EaselJS sprite sheets, ended being a really nice workflow

One more thing to point out, we also enjoyed the much acclaimed openess of it being another HTML5 game. We were able to use Mac or Windows for development, with everything safely stored on github.  And the game runs on multiple browsers, OSs and devices. Of course its not perfect across the board yet, but its exciting to see the potential.

I’m looking forward to our next HTML5 project, which I believe starts right now…