Enter text via the physical keyboard in Windows Phone Simulator

There is no need to point and click each letter with your mouse!

When the Simulator’s keyboard pops up, just press Page Down on your physical keyboard and you can type away. Of course, you can guess what Page Up does.

I have no idea why it is not as easy as the iOS Simulator or ADT Emulator where you can just start typing. Silly buggers.

There are other keyboard shortcuts for the Simulator.



Windows Phone 8 and 7 – Locking the aspect ratio to portrait or landscape

I love apps that support orientation changes, it helps the user see content when they’re tucked up in bed, or just busting a gut on the way to work on the train. Sometimes however they are not suitable, or there might be bugs with one mode and not the other, and disabling a troublesome orientation might be the wisest move rather than drop quality. Here’s how you can do it in Windows Phone apps.

In MainPage.xaml, in the phone:PhoneApplicationPage section, add or change the following properties to set the available orientations to one of:




You can then set the initial orientation to one of:



Debugging CSS in Mobile Phone Applications – live

This post is focused on helping you debug CSS styles and DOM for HTML Apps while they are executing on the device or simulator.

The instructions originate from a Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012 and Windows Phone 8 perspective, but the mechanisms apply to Android and iOS development too.

We are going to use an open source tool called Weinre to connect the device and your favourite Webkit web browser together. You’ll be able to highlight DOM elements, and change styles live in Chrome if you follow these instructions.

1. First you need the node.js command line.


Download and install the windows package.

2. Install Weinre

Go to your Windows 8 start screen, or the Start Menu and run the Node.js command prompt.

Node.js command prompt

You should see this window:


In the command prompt type

npm -g install weinre

You should see it getting a number of packages.

3. Prepare to launch Weinre (pronounced Winery by many)

Before we launch weinre, we need some information. A port number and IP/hostname.

For LAN debugging, use an ip address or a machine name, for outside of the LAN, you’re going to have to use a fixed IP or accessible DNS name. On a command line use “ipconfig” to determine your IPv4 address.

You can pick a port number (in my examples below I used 1234), and Windows will prompt you to unblock the port (but if you run into trouble, configure it manually).

4. Launch Weinre

In your node command prompt, type

weinre --httpPort xxxx --boundHost y.y.y.y

Where xxxx is the port number of your choice (8080 if you don’t specify it) and y.y.y.y is your IP address (or accessible DNS name).

You should see some output like this, and probably a firewall rule request will popup (ok it).


5. Prepare your HTML app

In your HTML App, put the following line of code whereever you like (preferably early).


6. Run your app in the windows phone emulator (or ADT/iOS Simulator)

7. To view your mobile app’s browser styles/DOM and change them via Chrome

Open Chrome and type in


You should be able to now use page inspection, Elements, console but not debug javascript. 😦