Monthly Archives: September 2009

Enabling callto (Skype) in your application


image image

You may have noticed that Skype seems to embed itself into Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.  It recognises contacts and phone numbers in the page and provides the ability to call them.

I believe people will expect this kind of functionality in conventional windows applications also.  To assist with this I created a little class that will not only allow calls, but allows a check for the existence of a skype and give the ability to extract the calling applications icon.

Sample Project

The sample winforms project includes the CallTo class and a simple Winforms test form:


The form has a textbox and button.   One load, the call button is enabled and give an image.  The button makes the call.


Public Class Form1

    Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Load
        Dim loCallTo As New CallTo
        cmdCall.Image = loCallTo.Image
        cmdCall.Enabled = loCallTo.Enabled
    End Sub
    Private Sub cmdCall_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles cmdCall.Click
        Dim loCallTo As New CallTo
    End Sub

End Class



Heres the source of CallTo.vb:


Imports Microsoft.Win32
Imports System.Runtime
Imports System.Runtime.InteropServices

''' <summary>
''' This class allows for making callto calls
''' </summary>
Public Class CallTo

    ''' <summary>
    ''' Gets the image.
    ''' </summary>
    ''' <value>The image.</value>
    Public ReadOnly Property Image() As Image
            If Not Enabled Then Return Nothing

            Dim lsValue As String
            With Registry.ClassesRoot.OpenSubKey("callto\DefaultIcon")
                lsValue = .GetValue("")
            End With

            If lsValue.Contains(",") Then
                Dim lsBits() As String = lsValue.Split(","c)
                Dim lsFilename As String = lsBits(0).Trim(New Char() {""""c})
                Dim liPosition As Integer = Val(lsBits(1))
                Return moGetIconFromExeOrDll(lsFilename, liPosition)
                Return Nothing
            End If

        End Get
    End Property
    Private Declare Auto Function ExtractIcon Lib "shell32" ( _
ByVal hInstance As IntPtr, ByVal lpszExeFileName As String, _
ByVal nIconIndex As Integer) As IntPtr
    Private Function moGetIconFromExeOrDll(ByVal filename As String, ByVal position As Integer) As Image
        Dim hInstance As IntPtr = Marshal.GetHINSTANCE( _
        Dim hIcon As IntPtr = ExtractIcon(hInstance, filename, position)
        Dim loBitmap As Bitmap = Bitmap.FromHicon(hIcon)
        Dim loReturn As Image = loBitmap.GetThumbnailImage(16, 16, Nothing, Nothing)

        Return loReturn

    End Function

    ''' <summary>
    ''' Gets a value indicating whether this CallTo is enabled.
    ''' </summar
    ''' <value><c>true</c> if enabled; otherwise, <c>false</c>.</value>
    Public ReadOnly Property Enabled() As Boolean
                Dim loReg As RegistryKey = Registry.ClassesRoot.OpenSubKey("callto", False)
                Return False
            End Try
            Return True
        End Get
    End Property
    ''' <summary>
    ''' Does the call.
    ''' </summary>
    ''' <param name="destination">The destination.</param>
    Public Sub DoCall(ByVal destination As String)

        If Not Enabled Then Throw New ApplicationException("Callto is not enabled")
        Process.Start("callto://" & destination)

    End Sub

End Class


Download Sample

Using Sketchflow to create iPhone UX Prototypes



I’ve been using Expression Sketchflow for many things over the past few weeks for both prototyping Winforms, mobile, web and sometimes even Silverlight applications.

Once you give up on the idea of reusing your prototype it’s amazing what it can be used for.

I’ve found the creation of an iPhone usercontrol useful in prototyping.  Simply add iPhone.xaml to your project and drop this onto your screens.

To create iPhone.xaml, create a blank usercontrol, then use the following xaml (remember to change MyProject to the name of your project):


    d:DesignWidth="341" d:DesignHeight="685" Width="341" Height="685">

    <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot">
        <Rectangle Fill="#FF0A0000" Stroke="Black" RadiusX="21" RadiusY="21"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Margin="11,103,10,102" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" Height="480" Width="320"/>
        <Ellipse Fill="White" Stroke="Black" Height="59" Margin="139,0,139,20" VerticalAlignment="Bottom"/>
        <Rectangle Fill="White" Stroke="Black" Height="26" Margin="157,0,157,36" VerticalAlignment="Bottom" RadiusX="2.75" RadiusY="2.75"/>
        <Rectangle Stroke="Black" RadiusX="3.5" RadiusY="3.5" Height="7" Margin="139,51,139,0" VerticalAlignment="Top" Fill="White"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="24" Margin="11,103,10,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Background="#FF020000"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="13" HorizontalAlignment="Right" Margin="0,109,23,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="27" Background="#FFFCFCFC"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="7" HorizontalAlignment="Right" Margin="0,112,20,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="5"/>
        <TextBlock Margin="41,107,0,0" Style="{StaticResource BasicTextBlock-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Text="Carrier" TextWrapping="Wrap" Foreground="#FFFCFCFC" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Width="41"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="10" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="33,111,0,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="4" BorderBrush="#FFFFFDFD"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="8" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="29,113,0,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="4" BorderBrush="#FFFFFDFD"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="6" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="25,115,0,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="4" BorderBrush="#FFFFFDFD"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="5" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="21,116,0,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="4" BorderBrush="#FFFFFDFD"/>
        <ps:SketchRectangleSL Height="3" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="17,118,0,0" Style="{StaticResource Rectangle-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="4" BorderBrush="#FFFFFDFD"/>
        <TextBlock Margin="141,107,121,0" Style="{StaticResource BasicTextBlock-Sketch}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Foreground="#FFFCFCFC" Text="12:00 PM" TextWrapping="Wrap"/>