Build what you need

Well, having my new laptop which actually HAS a battery life rather than being a portable PC, I found myself working away and then putting it onto the charger, waiting for it to recharge ready for the next break.

Rather than check it all the time, I decided I need a tool; Just something to ping me on my mobile where ever I was, what ever I was doing, when my laptop was ready.

Considering Windows 10 now syncs notifications across devices it seems simple enough; so I built a new app called Charged.

It’s super simple.  It’s just a battery monitor that sends a toast notification when the it reaches 100% charge.  I decided to post it to the store as it can be used across Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and also HoloLens.  Which ever device needs charging.

Free for download and use, maybe it can be useful to someone else too

Valley Software

Simple PoS; Why Azure?


I got what I thought was an excellent question on Reddit the other day and thought I’d post my reply here too.  Rather than tidy up my answer (which seems unfair) any this is exactly as it is on Reddit.

Why can’t it use a local database that is synchronized to my own cloud?

And my answer:
Great question! There are a couple of points to this;

Firstly; Simple PoS does indeed use a local cache database on the device; this allows for use in offline situations and also makes the whole application faster and more responsive than a cloud only based system. Being local only would on the flip side not allow multiple devices without more difficult setup. which brings us to:

Secondly; Simplicity. Micro and small businesses don’t necessarily have the kind of IT resources to setup their own databases, be they local or Cloud based. Everything about Simple PoS is aimed at simplicity from the initial single click install and setup to the Store IAP purchase which removes any external or separate sign up process (it’s as easy as buying “coins” in a game).

Finally; performance. The other main competing option from using Azure style cloud services on Mobile devices (tablets, phones or laptops) is something like a SQLite database which sync’s with another database in OneDrive or something like that.
While this method works, it is not performant for high throughput applications on multiple concurrent devices. The way around this would be to have infrequent syncs (say; daily) but then you have not got access to live data where ever you are and also it leaves many opportunities for data loss if anything happens between sync’s, which I find simply unacceptable in a Point of Sale application.

As a final note; Simple PoS did have a first iteration where it was a single device system using a local DB only. When we started cleaning the idea out it seemed limiting and also didn’t offer the kind of compelling business case that I wanted. Im not saying that it’ll be for everyone, nothing is. Some will want all local, some will want multi users, some will be against cloud, some for. Choice is Good!

From what we saw in the market we wanted available anywhere, multiple user access which was so simple that anyone can do it. So that’s the direction we took Simple PoS.

Edit; missed one! Azure and similar cloud services allow true cross platform. If we take Simple PoS to Android and iOS, Azure can do this with zero fuss. OneDrive and other personal file storage options this is not so easy. Plus it requires everyone who might use the system to have access to your OneDrive file storage (eek!)

Simple PoS Beta 1 released!

It’s a scary moment; the day you let your baby into the world.

Software is more that 1s and 0s.  You put a lot of time, effort, emotion and really life into it.

When you release it, even in a beta test, you feel like you are putting something of yourself on the line for criticism.  And that’s ok (that’s where improvement comes from!) but it remains a scary and deeply personal event,

One way or the other; we will know in the next few days what is good, what needs improvement and what the end release timing should be.

Forward; the only way.

Push Notifications in UWP. It couldn’t be simpler

I have to admit, I didn’t expect adding push notification services to an app could be so simple.

However in a Windows 10 UWP app, it really is just two lines of code!

Step 1) Install the Microsoft Store Services SDK on your development PC

Step 2) Add it to your project as a Reference.

Step 3) Add a line of code to your app startup which registers the notification channel.

That’s it!  Now you can send targeted notifications to users from the Dev Center.

MS Tutorial is here

Valley Software.