Live blogging a XAML project with CodePlex

So, I am writing a game for my son.  It's a Raining Letters type game.  You know, where a letter falls from the top of the screen and the player has to find it and push it on the keyboard before it gets to the bottom of the screen?  Adam has a little hand held game that works this way, but he is ALWAYS on his PC these days so I thought this would be better and a good way for me to learn XAML in the Windows world.  Teach him the ABCs now and teach him the XAML later, right?

Anyway, I started to chat about it on Twitter, and I decided that 1) all of the things I learned would get lost quickly and 2) I would drive everyone absolutely nuts.  So I decided to write an epic blog entry about what I learn.

I am doing this the way I write most of my prototypical applications, and starting very simple and adding in functionality.  I started, then, with a WPF project in VB.  It comes with a window; I added a label in the designer and a timer in the VB file.  On load, I set the Margin of the label to a new thickness with a left of a random number and the top up above the top of the screen.  On the timer click , I add 10 to the top thickness.  When the user clicks the right letter on the keyboard, they win.  Simple.  I'll make it better as I go.

Whoops.  Timer didn't work.  WPF components are compartmentalized.  Didn't know that.  Found a blog entry that helps me out, points me to DispatcherTimer instead.  Gotcha, I can do that.  It is in the System.Windows.Threading class, for which I need to add a reference.  Uses a 'Tick' event rather than an 'Elapsed' event.  that makes me think the windows guys and the Framework guys at Microsoft need to get together and have a beer.

Anyway, I have a working game!  Only does one letter, and not a lot of fun yet, but it's a start.  Here is the XAML:

<Window x:Class="gameBoard"
    Title="The Letters Are Falling!" Height="480" Width="640" Name="gameBoard">
        <Label Name="letterBox" FontSize="100" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Width="71" Height="110" VerticalAlignment="Top">A</Label>

Here is the VB code:

Class gameBoard
    Public WithEvents gameClock As New DispatcherTimer
    Public letterBoxTop As Integer = 0
    Private Sub gameBoard_Loaded(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs) Handles MyBase.Loaded
        letterBoxTop = 0 - letterBox.Height
        letterBox.Margin = New Thickness(100, letterBoxTop, 0, 0)
        gameClock.Interval = New TimeSpan(0, 0, 1)
    End Sub
    Public Sub LetterPress(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.Windows.Input.KeyEventArgs) Handles MyBase.KeyDown
        If e.Key.ToString = "A" Then
            MessageBox.Show("you win!")
        End If
    End Sub
    Public Sub ClockCheck() Handles gameClock.Tick
        letterBoxTop = letterBoxTop + 10
        letterBox.Margin = New Thickness(100, letterBoxTop, 0, 0)
    End Sub
End Class

Now I have a proof of concept, right?  I just need to dig in and get a few features installed.

  1. Randomize the letter.
  2. Randomize the start position right to left.
  3. Make it more fun when you win.
  4. Handle it when you lose.

I think I need to work on this tomorrow.  It's a little late and I have a three year old that will be up at 7.  I want to check this into CodePlex.  I have an account there but have never used it.  Wonder how it works.

Go sign in and Create a Project.

The Letters Are Falling! has been created

Congratulations, you've successfully created your project, theLettersAreFalling, on

Great!   Now what?  OK, I apparently have 30 days to publish.   Well heck I want to NOW.  Oh, I have a link.  Let's see what's there.

Ah, I need to do a few things.  Edit the homepage.  Wikitext, gotcha.  Done.  Upload the source.  I need to download and install TotriceSVN for Subversion.  Mmmmm .... done.  Give them a few bucks via PayPal.  Reboot.  Grrr ... do that in a little bit.  Freakin windows menu system.

Alright.  Back from reboot.  Right click on the Folder and Import from the TortiseSVN menu.  Put int the URL, username and password CodePlex gave me ... easy.  Wow.  I need to use this for the book code.  Alright.  Moving on.

Pick a license - easy.  Same as the book code - share and share alike!  Oooooh ... not so easy - CC licenses aren't in CodePlex.  I remember reading about this.  Booooooooo.  Damn, now I have to research for a bit.  Let's go with Stallman - he is smarter than me.  Copyleft - the way this stuff should be, right?  I select the GPL and move on.  Done.

Clicking Publish this Project.

Hey, now.  Look at that.

Alright, I am using this for evrything from now on.  Man, are ALL of these repositories this good?  I shoulda been doing this a while ago.  VB for Dummies 2008 code going up ASAP.  Everyone get a codeplex account!  New favorite software.

Anyway, tomorrow we do the RAD rotation, and add features to the POC.  Isn't this fun?

Have a good evening!

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Bill Sempf

Husband. Father. Pentester. Secure software composer. Brewer. Lockpicker. Ninja. Insurrectionist. Lumberjack. All words that have been used to describe me recently. I help people write more secure software.

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