This weekend I’ve been working hard on my PassBook designer for PassVerse. So far, I’ve gotten the Coupon designer working and I’m pretty pleased with the results! You can compare my CSS based view on the left to the what is actually produced on the right. I have a few tweaks to make, but it’s about 90% of the way there!
I’ll be posting a video of the designer in action once I’ve worked out a few bugs in the image management.
PassVerse.com allows businesses to create and manage Passes for Apple’s Passbook. If you want to use Passbook with your business, PassVerse can help. To discuss your requirements, drop me an email to email@example.com
During my last few lunch hours at work, I have been using the DotNetOpenAuth library to build myself an OpenID provider. Today, with some luck, I got StackOverflow to recognise my provider and allow me to sign-in using it!
This is an important step toward the first version of my UShadow project.
I want to connect my OpenID provider directly with my iPhone using an app. I want to try and find a way to make OpenID easier to use for the common user by completely eliminating the need for usernames and passwords and instead focussing on the use of a simple PIN number in combination with an iPhone.
The key to this, I believe, lies in QR Codes.
Registration will be as easy as downloading the app and snapping a QR code presented on a registration page. The Provider and App will then negotiate between themselves and the App will send a public key to the Provider. The provider will then use this to verify and trust the iPhone app.
When a user wishes to sign-in to an application or site, they will just need to scan another QR code and confirm using a PIN codes. The App will signal that authentication has been completed and will send the OpenID token to the provider which will then forward it to the requesting site.
That’s my theory anyway
By just using an iPhone device and the a pin, it will hopefully make OpenID far more attractive to the average, non-technical user.
I’ll be blogging a little more about this idea in the coming months as I finish off the MVP. If you’re interested in helping me test UShadow, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Version 1.3 of Roomr was approved by Apple and is now available to download from the AppStore.
Roomr is an app for iOS that allows you to view and book meeting rooms within Microsoft Exchange.
There were several small changes in this release based on user feedback.
- I’ve restored access to the booking screen from the Rooms view. I had moved this off to a submenu, but got several complaints from users about this.
- The settings screen has been cleaned up and made a little more organised.
- I fixed some issues with time zone access for those in time zones that are ahead of UTC.
The biggest change to this release was the addition of a QuickBooking mode. QuickBooking lets you book a room in a single tap. You just tap and hold the meeting room you want to book for two seconds. This will then send a booking request automatically. The subject and duration that it uses are the default values and these can be changed from the Settings screen.
Version 1.4 is already in the pipeline. I’ve two changes planned for this release.
Firstly, I want to add support for Room Lists. This is a feature of Exchange 2010 that allows you to build a list of rooms. If you have several rooms in your organisation adding them all individually would be quite slow and awkward. The Room List feature will allow you to import all those rooms very quickly and easily.
Secondly I want to improve support for non-ASCII character sets. One of my users in Norway is having difficult with Norwegian characters. I don’t fully understand this issue, but I’ll be looking into it soon.
If you have any feedback about Version 1.3 or have any suggestions for new features you’d like to see added, please drop me an email at email@example.com
After getting married and spending time away on my honeymoon I’m back in front of a PC! I’ve gotten a few emails whilst I’ve been away, so I’ll be working through them slowly.
Most interesting thing…I got complaints about my latest release of Roomr! This can only mean that people really care about the app, so that’s very positive. I’ve got a few changes in the pipeline which I’ll be working on straight away!
Even though I’m happy to be home, I could probably have done with another few days away
When generating certificates for use with iOS, be it push notifications or Passbook, it’s sometimes necessary to take these certificates and export them, so they can be used on a Windows machine. If you want to generate the certificates using only Windows, please read my post on that subject.
The process of exporting an existing certificate is thankfully straightforward.
First, open the Key Chain assistant and locate the certificate you want to export.
Click the small arrow beside it. This should expose the Private Key component. If this is missing, your certificate is not complete.
Select both of these rows and right click.
Choose “Export 2 items…” – Don’t worry, it will only generate one file. You’ll then be promoted for a password for your Private Key.
You now have the exported certificate. Copy the file onto the Windows machine you want to import it to. Double click on the file to launch the import wizard. This certificate should now be ready to use!
In my never ending quest to release tube related apps, I’ve pondering a new idea. Current tube apps are getting very busy, showing maps, line states, departure information, journey planners, weekend works, station states, etc. I don’t deny that these apps are very feature packed and for an average price of £0.69, you can’t really go wrong.
But something bothers me about this – I feel like there has been a rush to pack in features in order to appear competitive. With this feature packing, the usability of an app always suffers because there is much more noise.
With this in mind, I’ve started building a very simple app that just puts a few key pieces of information at the user’s fingertips. I reckon most commuters just use two stations in their course of their daily journey. They only care about one or two lines too. All the rest is just noise.
With that, I present a very, very crude mock up of My Stations (a working title!)
The app just has two tabs (I might add two mores) and that will just present the basic information for that station to you. This way you get presented with the information you’re most interested in. I’ll probably add location services to give alerts of issues as you get close to the station.
I hope to have this submitted to the App Store within the next couple of days. I’ve got most of the back end infrastructure in place for the London Underground. I’ve been reading up on GTFS too, so I may be able to include the New York Subway in the future.
If you like or dislike, please leave me a message in the comments below!
This morning, whilst making a few changes to my dotnet-passbook library, I inadvertently ruined my PC by erasing files from my C drive. I want to pass on my tale of woe so others don’t fall into the same trap!
In response to an issued raised in GitHub, I decided to offer the ability to clean up temporary files after my library had generated a Pass. To do this, I had to make a few small changes to expose the path to the temporary file. As part of my OSS project, I have a sample web application that can be used to generate sample passes. I decided I’d try my code within my sample project.
I ended up with a piece of code like this:
return new FileContentResult(generatedPass.GetPackage(), "application/vnd.apple.pkpass");
Sadly, I didn’t realise that GetPathRoot would return C:\
To compound matters, the ApplicationPool running my sample code was my own account, so it had administrator privileges!
Needless to say, when I requested the pass, my HDD light started flickering. Unfortunately I didn’t realise what was happening. Since the request was taking so long (deleting all my files is a time consuming business), I just cancelled it. I then tried to fire up VS and got an error. I took a peek at my source code folder and found all the files were gone!
Then the penny dropped.
I fired up system restore and restored the system back to an earlier date, hoping to undo the damage I had caused.
Alas, it was in vein!
My laptop is beyond help. I have a feeling that I’ll need to reinstall Windows 8 from scratch…
I think there are two lessons here. Firstly, don’t run ApplicationPools with accounts that had administrator privileges. Secondly, read the documentation or intelli-sense when using methods that can be destructive. I’m surprised that Windows allowed my account to do this sort of damage, since I get a UAC elevation request whenever I try to change the system. Maybe ApplicationPools side step that?
As part of my overhaul of “I May Be Late” (now known as Commuter Pal), I’m adding in some location based services to the app. The idea is that when you move within range of a tube station, you’ll get quick access to the status of the lines and current departure times. I’m working my way slowly through the code, but this is what I’ve got so far. It’s not very impressive to see….
The bar at the bottom will slide into view when you’re near a tube station and tapping view will show you more information.
I’m also hoping to make some basic information available from the lock-screen, so you can quickly access station status with a swipe. More coming soon!