My Development Tools

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One of the big questions I get is what tools do I use to develop my projects.

I guess I could go through a whole list of tools that I have used since I started developing software and websites so many years ago.  Instead I am going to go over the Tools that I have used over the past 12 months worth of projects.


Website Development Tools:

Expression Web 4

First let me start with a standby that I use all of the time to develop quick websites and to maintain older websites that are still very active.

Expression Web 4 is no longer supported but is still available for free at

Besides being an excellent HTML editor it also uses the FrontPage extensions to access older websites that still use the FrontPage extensions for website management.  You can also use it on your local file system or local IIS webserver.

Expression Web 4 has many features that make it a worth while website development tool to keep around and use.

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

You can download VS Express 2013 for Web for free at

I am using this more and more on my newer website projects with one major exception in regards to the websites that use the FrontPage extensions.  The reason for this is, this latest version of VS Express 2013 for Web does not support using the FrontPage extensions.  The previous version (VS Express 2012 for Web) is the last version which supported the FrontPage extensions.

VS Express 2013 for Web is a very good website development tool using a very good WYSIWYG editor for websites using FTP access, Local File System and Local IIS.  


Another tool that I have used is WebMatrix which is free at

I have only used this on 2 projects that I put together and then handed over the "keys" to the clients to maintain themselves when completed.

It is an easy tool to Create, Publish and Maintain one or more websites.  Quick for the beginner to learn and use.

Windows 8 Development

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows

Another Visual Studio Express 2013 tool available free at

In Microsoft's words "Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows provides the core tools that are required to build compelling, innovative Windows Store apps."

You can create Windows Store apps using the following development languages:
  Visual Basic
  C# (C Sharp)

This is very flexible and a good tool to learn programming on. 

You can download ready made samples to explore at

Windows Phone Development

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone

You can download this Free tool at

This is the tool that I use all of the time which you can use to create Windows Phone app for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.

It uses the same programming languages as VS Exress 2013 for Windows and includes a built in emulator that is invaluable especially if you do not already have a Windows Phone.  I actually developed and published my first 3 Windows Phone apps without owning a Windows Phone (not recommended). 

Just like the Windows 8 development you can download ready made samples at


I know this is a quick rundown of what I use for all of my project developement.  I would recommend that you download them and try them out.  All of these are Free and good tools to learn with.

In a future article I will give resouces that I used to learn how to use most of these tools, but don't let that delay your downloading and trying out these tools for yourself.

If you use other tools for your develpement please share them with everyone.

Have Fun using these tools and let me know what you develope with them. 


Digi Business Card

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This is an app I created to meet specific needs that I personally wanted.  I did look through the Windows Phone Store for a Business Card app and did find a few, however they all were very basic and none of them met all of the requirements I was wanting.


Since I am involved in several projects, I wanted to be able to have a separate Business Card for each of the projects so I could easily share a specific Card to anyone at any time for any of the projects I am involved with.  This was the first item all of the other Business Card apps lacked, they would allow you to create one Business Card and that was it, yes you could change the information on the business card but it was impossible to create multiple Business Cards.

I wanted to be able to make each Business Card unique with different Layout formats, Custom Colors for Fonts and Background and include Custom Background Images.  Again these were feature that none of the current Business Card apps provided.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying the current Business Card Apps are bad, They are good at what they do and do meet the need that they were designed for, if you are looking for a Simple White Business Cards with a generic format. This is what prompted me to make a the Digi Business Card App for the Windows Phone.

Tools and Resources:

These are the Tools and Resources I used on this project.

 - Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone
 - Adobe Photoshop 
 - Windows Phone Developer Account
 - Telerix Windows Phone Controls


This will be a basic overview of the process I took to create this app.  I will go into more detail about specific steps or processes in future articles.

  1. For the Digi Business Card project I first put together a list of pages and options I wanted the Digi Business Card app to have.

    - Main Page: Card Selector

    - Card Editor Page:
       --> Card Information
       --> Layout Options
       --> Background Options
       --> Font Color Options

    - Card Viewer Page:  Email Option

  2. On the next step I started a New C# Project in Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone using the Default Windows Phone App template and added pages for the Card Editor and Card Viewer.

  3. I now had a decision I needed to make, what method would be used in the Digi Business Card app to store its data.  The information that would need to be stored is the content for each Business Card, including the texts, layout, colors and images.

  4. The options that I considered were

      - XML or JSON files
      - SQLite Database
      - LINQ

    I had used XML, JSON and SQLite on other projects but not LINQ.  So as an exercise to learn how LINQ worked I chose to use LINQ for the Data Storage option.

  5. Once I decided on the LINQ method I created a set of class's to create the data Table with each Field Name and Data Type. The database would be created upon initial start of the Digi Business Card app and read/write its content from that point forward.

  6. Designed and Created the XAML for the Main Page, Editor Page and View Page.

  7. Edited the Functionality in the Code of the Interaction of the pages and between the pages.

  8. When I was happy with the Layout and Functionality I went through the project and cleaned up the Code and XAML, making specific comment throughout the code so I could easily edit it in the future.

  9. Created the Graphics for the App Store and Icons used in the app.

  10. Generated my final XAP file and submitted it to the Windows Phone App Store.

    It took about 4 business days to be notified of passing certification and being released to the App Store.

Future Improvements:

After using it, I am very happy with how it turned out, however I do see where there can be improvements and will be working on an upgrade in the future to include possibly NFC as a sharing option and more edit features.

I hope you enjoyed the process I personally used to create this project and produce the Digi Business Card app.  Go ahead and download the  Digi Business Card app and let me know via the review and rating process what you think of it.