Desktop Bridge Link Roundup

I’ve been working pretty seriously with the Desktop Bridge (Project Centennial) to help some of our partners get their Win32 applications into the Windows Store. As a bi-product of this I have come across a whole host of valuable resources on what the bridge is all about and how to use it in different scenarios.

Desktop Bridge – The bridge between desktop apps and the Universal Windows Platform – A general overview of the desktop bridge and why it’s so cool.

Desktop Bridge – Converting an installer with Desktop App Converter – Some guidance on the simplest strategy for converting desktop applications using the Desktop App Converter tool.

Desktop Bridge – Manually converting a desktop application – How to convert any bag of files (no installer required) to a Windows Store app.

Using the updated Desktop App Converter to manually convert a desktop application -Now the Desktop App Converter makes manual conversion easier by allowing you to point at a directory rather than an installer.

An easier way to generate the packages for a Desktop Bridge converted app – Manifest hacking and asset generation to simplify AppX generation.

Desktop Bridge (aka Project Centennial) samples – Some nice examples of features that can be leveraged from applications converted using the Desktop Bridge.

Desktop Bridge Debugging Project – A Visual Studio 2017 extension that adds support to help build and test Win32/.NET applications converted using the Desktop Bridge.

VSTS Build Tasks: Mobile Center Build

I’ve been hacking a fair bit on Visual Studio Mobile Center lately. The feature set is iterating pretty fast and recently the introduction of the ability to link Mobile Center to VSTS was added. Along with that, a couple of build tasks appeared in the vsts-tasks Github repository:

These new tasks enabled VSTS build or release definitions to trigger tests and upload build outputs for distribution through Mobile Center.

Since Mobile Center has been built API-first, I started wondering if I could make my own build task to actually trigger a build. Seems it isn’t too difficult.


I first started with an awesome post from Mitch Meunster where he used a Zamboni build tasks to upload builds to Mobile Center. If you want to learn how to configure Mobile Center and hack against the API then check it out.

With that knowledge under my belt I’ve written a build task and posted the code on GitHub. Let’s run through what I had to do to build the task and what you have to do in order to use it…

TLDR: You can either read the whole thing (which I recommend) or jump to the build/use sections:

  1. How did I build it?
  2. How do you use it?

Let’s have closer look… Continue reading

VSTS and Visual Studio 2017: Unable to determine the location of vstest.console.exe

With the release of Visual Studio 2017 I made the decision to uninstall 2015 a couple of days ago. This immediately presented me with two challenges:

  1. My unit tests stopped working when run on my private build agents.
  2. I could no longer push to my VSTS Git repositories. This turned out to be my error but I’ll cover that one in a separate post…

In this post I’ll surface some options to resolve the issue and justify why I chose one particular solution.

Continue reading

Crossing the stream analytics…

As part of a hackathon last week I had the pleasure of playing with some technologies that I didn’t have an enormous amount of exposure to. The focus of my team’s part of the hackathon was the following:

  1. Analysing a video with Cognitive Services
  2. Processing the results from Cognitive Services
  3. Saving the results to a data store so it can be displayed
  4. Visualizing the results with Power BI Embedded

My personal work and this resulting post deals mainly with the second and third items as there were some unique challenges that came into play when utilising the output that came from streaming analytics. The flow of data looked a little something like this:


We hacked on Azure Media Services being analysed by Azure Cognitive Services and posted its results to Event Hub. We then used Stream Analytics to process and group the data before throwing the results into a Service Bus queue. We grabbed the data with a simple Logic App, inserted it into a SQL Azure table and rounded out the flow with a visualisation in Power BI Embedded. I know that’s a lot of ingredients to throw in an omelette but let’s go break a few eggs…

Continue reading

From TeamCity to VSTS – My DevOps Journey – Part 2

In my last post I commenced my journey to integrate our old deployment process with the new shiny VSTS Release Management system. The whole story was about leveraging processes that were already working for us and the flow looked something like this:


The previous step in the process involved getting TeamCity to grab the build output from VSTS and deploy it using our old deployment PowerShell. With this working, my next goal was to be able to trigger the whole process from Release Management so I could either pick the build I wanted to deploy or trigger it from a successful build in VSTS.

I thought, this is going to be mad easy.

Alas, it turned out to be a little more difficult…

Continue reading

Things I Learned Today #3 – Moving Azure boxes to a new virtual network

While playing around with Power BI in the cloud I ran into some difficulties with authenticating with on-premise SQL Server Analysis Services. I found a great post showing how to get around this for a demo but it first involved connecting my box running the cube to an existing AD. To do this I had to get my existing VM on another virtual network. Apparently this isn’t just setting some magic configuration setting but it can be pulled off with a simple lift and shift operation.

This TechNet article shows you how to make it happen…

Next I’ll post the details of how to trick AD into playing nice with Power BI.


Things I Learned Today #1 – where.exe have you been all my life?

Since my memory isn’t what it used to be, I’m going to start blogging anything cool I learn on a given day. Even if nobody reads this it will be a good way for me to create a hit list of cool solutions to problems.

Today’s mad man is the where command on Windows. Here is the description of the command:

[blockquote source=”Command-line help”]Displays the location of files that match the search pattern. By default, the search is done along the current directory and in the paths specified by the PATH environment variable.[/blockquote]

Continue reading

Xamarin and Android – Specific Solutions to Specific Problems #4


It’s been a while but I’m finally back with another one of my recent discoveries while working with Xamarin and Android. We are at the pointy end of our project so it has been hard to find the time to blog but luckily now that I do have some, I also have a lot of material banked up. Stay tuned…

I have list view inside a scroll view and I want to be able to be able to scroll both depending on which one I am touching.

In order to support devices with small screens, sometimes I resort to lazy man’s responsive design. I wrap the whole layout in a ScrollView element. While this works fine most of the time it does have an interesting time dealing with child elements that are also scrollable. The one I run into the most is the existence of a ListView inside a ScrollView.

Continue reading

“Find was stopped in progress” while performing search in Visual Studio

This issue has been plaguing me for some time and I usually just work around it but today I finally found a fix. It has happened in Visual Studio 2010, 2013 and today it started occurring in 2013 RC. I found a fix in this Microsoft Connect thread and thought I would blog it as a few of the other guys at work had also encountered it from time to time.

I don’t know if this is the “official” fix but the following worked for me:

1. Find in Files for any search string.

2. As soon as it starts searching spam Ctrl – Scroll Lock.

3. Win