Posts Tagged ‘Windows 8’

Diving Log Touch – Logbook Management

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

In the last part of the Diving Log Touch introduction series you’ll learn how to manage your logbook files and how to exchange data with Diving Log 5.0 on the desktop. There are a few different scenarios and options you can choose from:

Diving Log Touch and Diving Log 5.0 on the same computer

This works only on Windows 8 devices, not on Windows RT or Windows 7 and prior. When both applications run on the same device, synchronization is fast and simple. In the desktop version, select from the “Sync” dropdown menu in the main toolbar the option “Diving Log Touch”:

In the sync dialog, click the “Export” button to export your desktop logbook to Diving Log Touch or the “Import” button to import any changes back to your desktop logbook. When you click on the image tile on the left, Diving Log Touch will start. When you click the “Export to…” or “Import from…” buttons, you can sync with another device (see below).

Diving Log Touch and Diving Log 5.0 on different computers

When your normal PC runs Windows 7 or Diving Log Touch runs on a Windows RT device, you have to transfer the logbook file between devices. Thus the sync dialog looks a little different:

When you click the “Export” button you can save the logbook file to any location in order to transfer it to the Windows 8 device, for example:

  • USB thumb drive
  • Memory card
  • Network share
  • Home Server
  • Skydrive or other cloud storage

When both devices are connected to the same network, you can easily transfer the logbook to a shared network folder. Or you simply save the file to a USB drive, which you then plug into the Windows 8 device. When the file is accessible in Windows 8, start Diving Log Touch and go into the logbook management pane (either from the app bar or from the settings charm):


Tap on the “Import” button and browse to the logbook file from the desktop. You can also upload or download directly from SkyDrive. Because other apps can integrate into the file picker dialog, you can open logbook files also directly from any cloud storage like Dropbox (you have to install the Dropbox Store app):

No matter how you transfer your logbook, you can simply open it in Diving Log Touch with the default file browser. Or you can double click any Diving Log Touch logbook (*.sql) in Windows Explorer to open it directly with Diving Log Touch. In this case, the file is copied to the isolated app storage and opened from there. To sync back to the desktop, tap the “Export” button, copy the file to the PC and in Diving Log 5.0 click the “Import” or “Import from…” button.

The logbook management pane is also used for switching logbook files in Diving Log Touch: Select the file in the list and tap on the checkmark button. You can also create, rename and delete logbook files.

Diving Log Touch is using the same database format (SQLite) as the iOS Dive Log (iPad / iPhone) and Diving Log for Windows Phone, which makes switching between devices very easy and simple.

Diving Log Touch – Settings

Friday, September 14th, 2012

In this blog post I want to show you how you can customize the app and the available settings. To open the app settings, either tap the settings button in the app bar, or open the Windows Charms bar on the right and click on “Settings”.

Once you’re in the settings pane, you can change the units, language (English, French or German) and the sort order of the dive list (first dive or last dive on top). You can also change the default background image.

The Diving Log live tile on the start screen displays your last dive by default (it animates between the image and the dive info). If you don’t want this animation, select the tile and tap in the app bar “Turn live tile off”. It stops and the tile shows just a static image.

Diving Log Touch – View Modes

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Windows 8 apps don’t run only in full screen landscape view, they have to support also a number of other view states. One of them is of course the portrait view with the device turned 90°. In this view, the dive list on the left and the navigation bar on the right are not visible:

Instead you can see the controls on the left and right side of the content pane. The arrow buttons navigate to the previous or next list item, the rectangle will show the list or the nav bar in a popup control. The touch targets are bigger than the visible indicators, so you can easily touch them with your finger, even though the buttons look a bit tiny (the touchable area expands into the content pane).

Windows 8 can also show two apps side by side, where one app is snapped on one side and the other app is displayed in a wider filled view. Below you can see Diving Log snapped on the left (with the web browser on the right). When you tap on a dive shop, the shop details show up. Tap the back button to get back to the list.

The filled state is wider than the snapped view, but smaller than full screen, so the layout adjusts automatically to fit better into the available space:

Diving Log Touch – Edit Mode

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Today I want to show you the edit mode in Diving Log Touch. As this app runs probably mostly on small mobile devices like tablets, you’ll likely use it while on vacation to enter the basic dive data right after diving and merge it later on with the dive computer data in Diving Log 5.0 on the desktop. I ensured that entering data works nicely with the on-screen keyboard using a tablet, but also with a hardware keyboard. To enter the edit mode, swipe up from the bottom edge on a touch screen or right click with a mouse somewhere on the screen to display the app bar:

Then tap the “Add” button to add a new dive or the “Edit” button to edit the selected dive. The edit pane will slide down from the top:

For some items like country, dive site and buddy, you can simply pick an existing item from other parts of your logbook, without the need to type anything. When you tap on a textbox without hardware keyboard attached, the on-screen keyboard will slide in from the bottom. As you can see, the edit pane is designed in a way that no element is covered by the keyboard. Depending on the textbox data type, either the normal keyboard is displayed or a special numeric keyboard.

You can also use the handwriting recognition together with a pen digitizer to enter text more naturally:

You can also add photos to many items. When you tap on the large photo field, you can select an existing image somewhere from your hard drive with a file picker. When you tap on the photo icon in the upper right corner, you can capture a photo with the build-in device camera:

Your buddy can sign your dive right on the tablet, using either his finger or a pen. Just tap on the signature field at them bottom of the dive screen and the signature panel opens:

As you can see, data entry works great with or without hardware keyboard, with touch, pen or a mouse. In one of the next blog posts I’ll show you how to merge the data with the dive computer data in Diving Log 5.0.

Introducing Diving Log Touch

Monday, September 10th, 2012

This week I’ll show you in a series of blog post the latest addition to the Diving Log family – Diving Log Touch. Even though this app is optimized for touch, it runs on any Windows 8 and Windows RT device and you can use touch, a pen or mouse and keyboard or a combination of all. In fact, many upcoming Windows 8 devices are convertibles or tablets with dockable keyboards, which is great for entering data into your logbook.

When you start the app, you’ll be right in your logbook. The dive list is sorted descending by default, which means your latest dive is on top and selected. I’ve spend quite some time finding the right UI for the new touch optimized app and it wasn’t an easy task. Most existing Windows 8 apps feature a horizontal scrolling layout, but I found out that this doesn’t work well for Diving Log due to the vertical scrolling list on the left. So I’ve created a 3 column vertical scrolling layout, with the dive list on the left, the navigation tiles on the right and the content pane in between.

When you tap on one of the 4 center tiles, they will turn around and reveal more data on the back:

The asymmetrical layout allows you to navigate through the entire app just with your 2 thumbs, when it runs on a tablet for example. You can open the app bar by swiping up from the bottom edge (or right click with a mouse) like in every other Windows 8 app. You can navigate to other sections by either tapping on one of the nav tiles on the right, or by tapping on a blue text link (e.g. a buddy or dive site name). Tap on the back button in the upper left to get back to the previous view.

Your buddy can sign a dive either with the finger or a special touch screen pen:

To change the secondary profile type, tap on the profile label to display a popup list. When you tap on comments, photos or the profile tile, the content will be displayed in full screen. Tap again somewhere on the screen to exit the full screen view:

Below you can see the dive site view. Tapping on the coordinates will launch the Bing Maps app and display the dive site. In a future version I’ll integrate the Bing Maps control right into the app.

When you tap on your name in the upper right corner, you’ll navigate to the user information page, which shows all your personal data and certifications. The medical tile is also a flip tile, which will turn around when you tap on it:

And last but not least, the familiar statistics screen is also available. The statistics section will be also expanded in future updates, of course:

This was the first blog post about the new Diving Log Touch app running on Windows 8. It will be available in the Windows Store next month around the same time of the Windows 8 launch. Tomorrow I’ll show you the edit functionality.

Diving Log for Windows Phone Update

Monday, August 20th, 2012

A new update of Diving Log for Windows Phone (version 3.3) is now available. It got some new features, which were ported back from the upcoming Windows 8 touch version to Windows Phone. The dive list is now sorted descending by default, so the last dive is on top. You can change the sort order in the settings if you prefer the first dive on top:

The profile view has now a secondary profile like the desktop version. When you tap on the profile title (e.g. “Asc-/Descend rate”) you’ll get a selection list to switch the profile type. The ppO2 profile is currently not yet available. When you tap on the profile, you’ll get a full screen profile view.

And last but not least, images can finally be viewed in full screen when you tap on them, which is really useful for dive site maps and certifications:

You should see the update notification in your marketplace hub soon. As mentioned before, these are actually features which are back-ported from the Windows 8 touch version, so you can expect all these things already in the initial tablet version.

Update on Windows 8 development

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I’m working currently hard on the touch optimized version of Diving Log for upcoming Windows 8 devices, and I want to give you a quick status update. Windows 8 is currently available for everyone to try in form of a release preview (aka release candidate) and will be available this fall. From my personal experience, it works really well on touch devices like tablets, convertibles or touch enabled laptops. On a desktop computer with a large screen, mouse and keyboard, it may take some time to get used to and not everyone will like it. But that’s not the target market for this Windows version anyways, Microsoft targets mainly tablets and other portable devices and even announced its own Surface tablet with dockable keyboard this week:

When buying a Windows 8 device you have to make one important choice: Windows 8 comes in two versions called “Windows 8” and “Windows RT”. The RT version is based on ARM processors, the normal version is based on Intel processors and is a full featured PC. The RT version has some advantages (a bit lighter, lower price), but also some disadvantages (you can’t run any existing desktop application except MS Office). The Surface tablet above will also come in 2 versions, “Surface for Windows RT” and “Surface for Windows 8 Pro”.

The new Diving Log Touch application will run on both device types, but the existing full featured Diving Log desktop application runs only on full Windows 8 devices. Right now it looks like you can only download dive computers with full Windows 8 devices, not the RT version. If you want to download your dive computer with your tablet, make sure to buy a Windows 8 tablet, e.g. those from Microsoft, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer or Asus.

With Windows RT tablets you can fill in some dive data on the tablet and later when you’re back at home, sync it with a PC and merge the data with your dive computer data in Diving Log. Then you sync everything back to the tablet. This is how it works with iPads right now and it’s working very well. So I think both options are good and it’s up to you which method you prefer. In the end your logbook will be identical.

The development of Diving Log Touch is going on nicely. At the beginning it was harder than expected finding a suitable user interface and navigation model for the application. But now I think I have a really nice user interface and will continue to polish it during the next weeks and month. I hope to have the version finished for the Windows 8 launch and I’ll show you some screenshots as soon as I know the UI is near final.

Diving Log, Windows 8 and tablets

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Last week, Microsoft released the Consumer Preview (beta) of Windows 8 and I’ve been testing it since then on an Acer 1825PTZ convertible laptop with touch screen and mouse + keyboard. Windows 8 will feature beside the classic desktop from previous versions an additional touch-first user interface. The new design language was first introduced in Windows Phone and is optimized for smartphones and tablets.

Windows 8 Start Screen

Diving Log 5.0 on Windows 8

Diving Log 5.0 runs perfectly fine on the Windows 8 desktop and everything works exactly the same as on Windows 7 (and older).

I’ve also started working on a touch optimized version of Diving Log for the new touch UI of Windows, which will run on all upcoming Windows 8 tablets (ARM and x86 processors), but also on every Windows 8 PC (laptop or desktop PC) with mouse and keyboard. You can run both, the desktop version and the touch version on the same device (tablet, laptop, desktop), which is especially interesting for convertible devices or tablets with attachable mouse and keyboards.

Here you can see which Diving Log version will run on which Windows version:

As you can see, the new touch version will run on all Windows 8 devices (but not older versions), the desktop version of Diving Log will run on the x86 Windows versions (XP, Vista, 7 and 8), but not on the new ARM version (called Windows RT). So you have to decide which type of applications (desktop or touch) you want to run when you buy a new PC or tablet. It looks like that downloading dive computers will only be possible on the x86 versions, which is important to keep in mind if you want a tablet that can be used for that.

As I’ve written, I’ve already started working on the new tablet version of Diving Log, but it is too early to show you anything. But I can tell you that the user interface will look similar to the Windows Phone version of Diving Log, with a clean, touch friendly design, but of course optimized for bigger screens. As soon as I have something to show, I’ll post it here in the blog.

Windows 8 will be available later this year (I expect October / November) and contains a new app store, which is the only place to download new Win RT apps.

Diving Log tested on Windows 8 preview

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

This week Microsoft released a developer preview (pre-beta) of Windows 8, which is going to be released sometime next year. I’ve downloaded and installed it to give Diving Log a quick test run on it and to make sure everything works fine. Windows 8 will have two different application environments, the classic desktop you have in Windows 7 and older versions, and a new desktop optimized for touch (e.g. tablets). Microsoft said all existing software will run just fine on Windows 8 on the classic desktop and so did Diving Log. Everything works a expected. I will try to create also a touch optimized version of Diving Log, but it is too early to announce anything in this regard.

Windows 8 start screen

Windows 8 classic desktop

Diving Log side by side with Win RT app