Category: Blog (page 4 of 6)

Getting started with the new OneDrive API

Recently, I got the chance to play around a little with the new OneDrive API (REST). Boy is it cool, but only after an inital phase of crawling through the web resources filled with old tutorials and code snippets of old API parts… The documentation really isn’t as good as I hoped and I had some troubles finding the right starting point. That’s why I wanted to quickly summarize my first steps here:


What was my task?

For a small medical health app (running on Windows Phone 8.1) I am currently working on, we needed a way to easily export all the stored information to OneDrive (as a backup and to run certain kinds of analyses on the way more powerful MS Excel, compared to the rudimentary Excel on the phone). Further, we wanted to have the opportunity to import the exported files (in XML format) to the app, in case some data is lost (due to a corrupt update of the app). So, a single file-export and a file-import is all we needed.


Where to start?

I needed almost an hour until I knew where to start. Most resources Google showed me were concerning old OneDrive projects, and had little to do with the new shiny API. And the official documentation lacked many details. Finally, I found out what to do. Here is how:


  1. You need to register your app in the Windows Store.
  2. Get the SDK from Nuget (just search for “Live SDK” and install)
  3. Associate your App with the store (registered under 1.). In Visual Studio, right click on Project > Store > Associate App with the Store and select a unique Name.
  4. Add the Capability to the project (in the project manifest) to access the internet.
  5. Here you find out how you can authenticate with the OneDrive API. What I really appreciate is the Single Sign-On feature that you get with Windows Runtime apps. This basically means that you don’t need to worry anymore about any log-in forms, persisting the log-in or something similar. The Windows device handles this itself. At the first start, it asks for permission (depending on the requests you ask permission for (login, read, write, etc.)
  6. Now you are good to go:
  • This site in the official documentation is useful to learn more about uploading or downloading files.
  • For the download/import, I first also wrote a downloading function and realized that I need to give the user the opportunity to select the exact file before the download. After a quick websearch I found out that I don’t need to create my own FilePicker, but that Windows Runtime apps have a FileOpenPicker (hmm, why have I missed this?). This will also show the OneDrive app (if installed) and then download the app. Very simple and clean. This StackOverflow post shows an example of how the FileOpenPicker works.
  • For Android, there also exists a File Sharer and Picker
  • Here you find many other (tiny) examples and excerpts of how you could use the API (with Windows Runtime apps)


I hope I can save you some time with the hints. If you have any questions, please let me know.
PS: Did you know, that Microsoft relies on exactly this OneDrive API for their own apps and services? Cool!


Additional Resources:

Picturex at the AppCup 2015 in Brussels

Last week was a busy week: Just a few days, after we released a big update for Picturex (see the next blogpost), we traveled to Brussels to pitch our app in front of a Jury at the AppCup 2015. The AppCup was hosted by Microsoft as a part of the IAMCP Summit 2015. Prior to the pitch, we received some extensive Pitch training by Lars Sudmann, a presentation and pitching specialist. The pitch went great and we got incredible feedback: Most were interested in our unique technology of having a secure and private data exchange, but still having a service that is easier than any other service. We hope, we can use the feedback to add some new and useful features and start some partnerships. In the end, we didn’t win the AppCup, but are very happy to have received the nomination as one of the top three (out of 100) business-to-consumer (B2C) apps in the mobile apps world.

2015-03-20 AppCup Brussels 88 by Picturex (1073078)

Picturex is nominated for the European AppCup 2015 Award in Brussels





A few weeks ago, we got the good news to be nominated for the European AppCup 2015 Award in the category B2C with Picturex. Next week, we will pitch Picturex in front of a jury in Brussels.

If you want, you can follow us and our experiences in Brussels with this shared photo album (PicEx) (just install the free Picturex app, click on the link again and you’re good to go; works with Windows Phone, Android and iPhone).


What is Picturex?

Have you ever waited days or weeks for others’ pictures after a party, company event or city trip? Picturex is the solution! Picturex is the easiest way to exchange pictures with friends, family and aquaintances. Create a new album with just a few clicks, invite others into the album and upload a ton of pictures. Every invited person can also up- or download pictures. So, you can keep your best pictures and memories and easily enjoy them at any time.


  • create and share new albums for free
  • very easy manual picture up- and download
  • automatically detect and suggest pictures to upload
  • very easy management of your albums
  • early-adopter bonus: benefit from very competitive features
  • and a lot more!

You can still use your favourite camera or filter app and upload these pictures! We also plan to release an iOS, Android and web version of Picturex soon!
We love feedback and suggestions to improve Picturex! Please contact us via You may find more information  on


Free Download for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone!





Exploratory Study on Developer’s Personal Retrospections of their Work in Vancouver

I just arrived back home in Switzerland after a two week trip to Vancouver, Canada. Together with a work colleague from our s.e.a.l. research group, we conducted two studies (one each) on analyzing and improving developer’s effectiveness. Both studies were exploratory studies where we wanted to follow our ideas and explore their applicability and if developers would be willing to use our prototypes over two weeks or more. This is how the two studies looked:

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Criteria for Selecting a Site for Building a Sustainable Data Center

In the fall semester 2014 I participated in a course at UZH where we learnt more about sustainability in the information technology environment. Part of the course was to write a short fact sheet discussing a selected topic.

My fact sheet consisted of a short summary of criteria one needs to take into consideration when selecting a suitable site for building a sustainable cloud data center. Click here if you want to have a very short and concise summary of the topic.

Survey: The Role of Music During Your Software Engineering Work

In some domains, studies have shown that music can improve the productivity of workers for some tasks. We invite you to participate in our survey about the role music plays during your software engineering work. Your answers will help us to find out more on how to improve developer productivity.

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QuickTip: Growth Hack Free Email Course

If you are a developer and want to get more (quality) downloads, I have a great free quicktip for you: Rahul Varshneya offers a free email course to get powerful, actionable growth hacks that will boost your mobile app downloads. You may find it here.


As I was very happy with the email course and learnt a lot, I submitted a short testimonial which Rahul just released on his website:




TelerikSelfie – My three secrets to app success

This is my entry to the TelerikSelfie Contest. The first time ever I took a video of myself and the first take of the video 😉

QuickTip: Block ads in Internet Explorer

The only reason I use Google Chrome (besides that it’s fast) is that I can install an ad blocker. It not only makes websites a lot faster, but also more stable, secure and less cluttered. And I am aware that many websites rely on ads as their main revenue channel – and I am willing to accept some ads – but when 40% of the space is used for ads, it’s just too much. Anyway, i just found a solution to block ads in Internet Explorer (also the modern version of Windows 8.1): Tracking Protection Lists. There, you can add EasyList Standard (the list AdBlock uses too) and Stop Google Tracking, if you want.


Now I can use Internet Explorer without ads, and enjoy the most secure & energy-saving browser, and let the tabs sync to my other devices (Lumia & Surface)!


A pre-print of “Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity” for FSE’14 is available! [Paper]

We just published a pre-print of our paper “Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity” for FSE’14, the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014). The paper was written by Thomas Fritz, Gail C. Murphy, Thomas Zimmermann and me.

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Learning: A Windows (Phone) Developer working on iOS apps (with Xamarin)

Together with my colleagues at the MIT Innovation AG, I just started the development of our Picturex App for iOS, using Xamarin. As we just recently released the Android (and obviously the Windows Phone) version of the app, this means we already have a well-working shared project (containing all the ViewModels and Models). So the first step (after figuring out how to best develop in Visual Studio (on Windows) and deploy on a Mac) is to get to know the Apple UI Design guidelines. A couple of years ago I already developed two iOS apps, but when WindowsPhone came out, I rapidly changed plans. The design of iOS has well evolved, and actually, I really like the new flat design of iOS7/8 – possibly, because it resembles Microsoft’s Modern UI (Metro) design a lot. Anyway, I am now looking at the different existing (and not existing – why is there no CheckBox) controls and comparing them to the controls I know from WindowsPhone (and Android). I will update this blog post, as soon as I have a shareable version of my ‘transfer’ notes. Microsoft did a great job to guide iOS Developers to Windows, and I am learning the same thing but backwards ;).


While I was seeking through various web ressources, I found an interesting presentation by Qubop Inc (from last year) on what developers should expect when they come from iOS to Windows Phone. The following two slides are noteworthy, as I never expected, that WindowsPhone development is so rapid (and obviously uses a lot less code):

Qubop_1 Qubop_2



Stay tuned for updates on my (and our) experience in porting the Windows Phone and Android version to iOS.

Picturex App for Android: Release!

I am extremely happy to announce, that our team at the MIT Innovation AG just released the first version of Picturex for Android (requires Android 4.0 or higher). Developed with Xamarin, followed by an intensive private and public beta testing, we were now able to release the first version, just right for the summer time. This is THE app to exchange pictures with others from your city trip, bathing holiday or openair event with others! Please go on and download the app for free for your Windows Phone or Android device. And thanks for a good rating in the app store! By the way, we just started with the development of the iOS version. So stay tuned 🙂



My first paper “Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity” has been accepted for FSE 14 [Paper]

I am very excited to announce that my very first paper “Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity” has been accepted for 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014), which will be held in Hong Kong, China. The paper was co-written with Thomas Fritz, Gail C. Murphy and Thomas Zimmermann. It was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot.


The better the software development community becomes at creating software, the more software the world seems to demand. Although there is a large body of research about measuring and investigating productivity from an organizational point of view, there is a paucity of research about how software developers, those at the front-line of software construction, think about, assess and try to improve their productivity. To investigate software developers’ perceptions of software development productivity, we conducted two studies: a survey with 379 professional software developers to help elicit themes and an observational study with 11 professional software developers to investigate emergent themes in more detail. In both studies, we found that developers perceive their days as productive when they complete many or big tasks without significant interruptions or context switches. Yet, the observational data we collected shows our participants performed significant task and activity switching while still feeling productive. We analyze such apparent contradictions in our findings and use the analysis to propose ways to better support developers in a retrospection and improvement of their productivity through the development of new tools and a sharing of best practices.


You may find the final version here. You can find the survey and interview questions and the visualization of the observational data here. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Exchange unforgettable memories of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil with Picturex!

A picture says more than a thousand words:

Picturex_WorldCup2014More information here.