|By Jim O'Neil||
|August 6, 2012 08:07 AM EDT||
In the last post, I discussed the structure of a notification template and the mechanics for providing the various bit of information in that template. As you know, many of the notification templates can include one or more images, and that brings up a host of configuration options that I didn’t have a chance to get into last time. This post will fill in the gaps and provide insight into three main topics:
I’ll close with a quick list of not-so-obvious features and behaviors that will hopefully save you some time as you plan out your strategy for supporting images as part of notifications used within your application.
There are two overarching constraints for images used within notifications:
- Images used in notifications must be in one of three formats: .png, .jpg/.jpeg, or .gif, and the format must match the extension.
- Images for notifications must be no larger than 200 KB and 1024 x 1024 in dimension.
Beyond that and depending on the device size and characteristics, images within Windows 8 may be scaled to one of four proportions (80%, 100%, 140% and 180%). Since the notification image formats supported are all raster formats (versus vector-based) you cannot rely on the scaling to result in clear, crisp imagery, so it’s recommended that you provide artwork to accommodate all four scaling factors.
The table below (which is adapted from the App images topic on MSDN) shows most of the sizes [see note] needed for tile and toast notifications as well as the (optional) badge logo for the start screen. Only those images highlighted in red (100% size for logo and small logo) are required and must be supplied in the app manifest (as .jpg/jpeg or .png formats [see note]). Other sizes are optional and if not provided will be generated by scaling the default 100% image.
appxmanifest Image Name
80% [see note] 100% 140% 180% Logo
(default square tile)
120x120 150x150 210x210 270x270 Small logo
(tile under semantic zoom,
tile and toast branding) [see note]
24x24 30x30 42x42 54x54 Wide logo
(default wide tile)
248x120 310x150 434x210 558x270 Badge Logo [see note]
24x24 33x33 43x43
Images used for notifications can be stored in one of three places:
- within the app package, using the
ms-appx:///prefix to a directory in your deployed application (this is the default).
- within local storage, using the
ms-appdata:///localprefix to a directory within local storage. Note that images in temporary and roaming application data storage cannot be used.
- on the web, using an
httpsURI that serves up image content (this requires that the application declare Internet client capability in its manifest).
Within the template XML you can specify the entire image URI or use paths relative to the baseUri value specified within the template. The baseUri can be set for either the visual (tile | toast) tag or the binding tag (tile | toast), with the latter overriding the former when provided.
App Package Images
Here, for example, is a code snippet from the App tiles and badges sample showing the use of an image within the local application package:
var tileXml = Windows.UI.Notifications.TileUpdateManager.getTemplateContent( Windows.UI.Notifications.TileTemplateType.tileWideImageAndText01); // get the text attributes for this template and fill them in var tileTextAttributes = tileXml.getElementsByTagName("text"); tileTextAttributes.appendChild(tileXml.createTextNode( "This tile notification uses ms-appx images")); // get the image attributes for this template and fill them in var tileImageAttributes = tileXml.getElementsByTagName("image"); tileImageAttributes.setAttribute("src", "ms-appx:///images/redWide.png");
Local Storage Images
The code for accessing an image in local storage is very similar, differing only by the addressing scheme:
Here the image is located in a subdirectory called images at the location returned by ApplicationData.localFolder; when I ran an excursion of the sample app using this access mechanism, the image was served from:
Images in the Cloud
One option to consider when architecting your application is leveraging the cloud for external resources that your application uses. If you place images and other content on the web or in the cloud, you’ve decoupled those resources from your application, and by doing so you can freshen the look and feel of your application without publishing a new version of your application or requiring the end users to get an update.
Windows Azure, Microsoft’s public cloud offering, can be an incredibly convenient and cost effective way to manage the images you’re using for your notifications. The easiest way to serve image content from Windows Azure is via blob storage which provides highly scalable and highly available storage of unstructured data at one of eight Windows Azure data centers worldwide. A Content Delivery Network (currently comprising 24 nodes) is also available to improve performance and user experience for end-users who aren’t located near a data center.Keep in mind there are some caveats when using cloud or web hosted images:
- The most obvious is that if the machine lacks network connectivity, the image won't be available and the notification will not be sent.
- Web images are cached, so an update to the image in the cloud may not be immediately reflected on the client. If the cache is full, images will be removed in a policy opaque to the developer. Additionally the system will clear the cache when
- The application is uninstalled, or
- The user clears personal information from all of her application tiles (via the Settings flyout on the Start screen).
The system will comply with caching and expiration headers in the HTTP response. Those headers are not configurable in Windows Azure storage alone, but a web service can be configured and hosted on Windows Azure to support this.
- The cloud isn't free! While there are no-cost options (like the 90-day trial and MSDN subscriptions), you ultimately may end up paying for the storage and the transactions (HTTP GET requests) that are made by your application. The complete pricing details are available at the Azure pricing page, but it’s very likely you'll be able to support a popular Windows 8 application for dollars if not pennies a month.
The elephant in the room thus far in this post is that all the samples I’ve shown above refer to a single image of some unknown size, and I appear to have ignored the advice to provide four different image sizes (80%, 100%, 140% and 180%) scale to provide the best user experience!
It turns out that there’s a bit of magic happening behind the scenes to make managing the combination of image sizes and contrast mode (don’t forget there’s are high-contrast white and high-contrast black options too!). The amount of ‘magic’ depends on the image source, so I’ll cover them independently below.
App Package Images
When you provide images as part of your application package, a naming convention can be leveraged which enables you to specify one base image name (say in the notification template image src attribute) yet the system automatically selects a file with a modified name based on the current scale factor and contrast mode.
For instance, while the code sample above refers to
redWide.png, the application can deliver a slew of versions that vary by scale factor, contrast mode, culture (e.g., en-US versus zh-CN), and several other resource qualifiers.
A file named
redWide.scale-140.png, if available, would be used in the samples above – in lieu of scaling the default image – whenever there was a request for
redWide.pngand the current scale required was 140%. Your code doesn’t need to do a thing!
If you had a special version of the tile just for those in French locales, you could name that image,
redWide.lang-FR-fr_scale-140.png. (Note the lang prefix to the BCP-47 language identifier)
redWide.scale-180_contrast-black.pngwould be used when the contrast mode is black and an image scaled to 180% is needed. By the way,
You can also arrange the images in subdirectories, to provide a myriad of customization options. Take, for example, the following directory structure.
If the application were run on a US based system, but the user selected a black high contrast theme, a reference for
welcome.png for a tile notification on a typical laptop would pick the variant on Line 8. Someone running the applications with his locale set to Japan on a high-resolution device would see the image file associated with Line 17.
Unfortunately, none of the conventions supported for app package images are supported when using local images (the
ms-appdata:///local namespace), but you could implement similar semantics programmatically using the following Windows APIs:
|Attribute||Windows Class or Property||Values|
|Language||ApplicationLanguage.languages||a list of BCP-47 codes corresponding to the applications supported languages (see ���How to manage language and region” for details)|
|Contrast Scheme [see note]||AccessibilitySettings.highContrast
”High Contrast White”
”High Contrast Black”
”High Contrast #1”
”High Contrast #2”
|Home Region||GlobalizationPreferences.homeGeographicRegion||BCP-47 subtag code corresponding to user’s Region preference in Control Panel|
Images in the Cloud
Both the tile schema and the toast schema include an optional attribute called addImageQuery, on the visual, binding, and image elements (the value set on the deepest element overriding those above it). When addImageQuery is set to true, HTTP/HTTPS requests made for images will have a query string appended consisting of the following three name value pairs:
|Attribute||Query String Name||Query String Value|
|Contrast Scheme [see note]||
Here for instance is an HTTP request made for the
The good news is that you don’t have to figure out which variant of an image is being requested – that information is available in the query parameters; the bad news is that you have to build your own web service to inspect those parameters and serve up the correct image in response. You can’t just use the blob storage mechanism shown above, because those query parameters aren't automatically interpreted by Windows Azure blob storage, but you can still use Windows Azure with a little bit of code (PHP, ASP.NET, Node.js, or essentially any implementation of a web service that will run on Windows).
- 80% images are used on tiles for some combinations of screen size and resolution.
- Size specifications haven’t been published for images that appear on toast or that do not fill the entire tile, such as the template samples below. In most cases, these will be photographic images which scale fairly well (using the Fant algorithm internally). You could measure the sizes empirically, but if you create images that work for 180% scale they should also scale down well for the other three factors.
- Default images (those declared in your app manifest) must be .png or .jpg/.jpeg format, but you can use .gif in your toast and tile notification templates.
- If an image is of the wrong format or not available (such as a image hosted on the Web when the client is not connected), the notification will not be sent.
- The branding element is taken from the small logo in your manifest. For tiles it appears in the bottom left and for toast in the bottom right. In the tile schema you can use text, logo, or no branding; in the toast schema, the branding attribute is not used and you will always see the logo.
- The badge logo must be monochromatic.
- if you don’t supply multiple images to accommodate scaling, try to create images with dimensions that are a multiple of 5 as they won’t experience pixel shifting during scaling.
- The Visual Studio simulator is an awesome way to test out tile behavior under different resolutions and contrast modes, but be aware, you’ll have to restart your debug session in the simulator if your change in resolution results in loading a different version of the image.
- PC Settings > Ease of Access (accessible via the Settings charm) includes a switch to toggle High Contrast mode; however, since there are four high contrast modes, you’ll need to use the desktop Control Panel option to pick one. Once you’ve selected the contrast mode there, PC Settings > Ease of Access will use that High Contrast mode when you toggle the option.
- Windows supports four high contrast modes (White, Black, #1, and #2), and these map to four overlapping resource types: standard, high, black, and white as follows:
Contrast Setting in Control Panel Applicable Resource Qualifiers
ms-contrastQuery Parameter Value
High Contrast White
white High Contrast Black
black High Contrast #1
black High Contrast #2
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Feb. 27, 2017 11:45 PM EST Reads: 880
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Feb. 27, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 9,156
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Feb. 27, 2017 09:15 PM EST Reads: 4,172
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Feb. 27, 2017 08:00 PM EST Reads: 7,962
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Feb. 27, 2017 07:45 PM EST Reads: 7,383
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Feb. 27, 2017 07:30 PM EST Reads: 2,264
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Feb. 27, 2017 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,993
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
Feb. 27, 2017 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,217
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
Feb. 27, 2017 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,605
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Feb. 27, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 2,147
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Feb. 27, 2017 06:15 PM EST Reads: 8,313
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Feb. 27, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 666
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of patie...
Feb. 27, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,525
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Feb. 27, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,881
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Feb. 27, 2017 03:30 PM EST Reads: 2,346
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Feb. 27, 2017 02:45 PM EST Reads: 2,667
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
Feb. 27, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,022
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Feb. 27, 2017 01:45 PM EST Reads: 2,565
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Feb. 27, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 2,115
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
Feb. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 3,298