How to create a simple office VSTO add-in :A step by step guide

In this short guide I will demonstrate how to create a simply outlook-plugin (VSTO  add-in), consisting of a button that can be clicked in the Ribbon-bar and that will result in some custom action (in this case saving all attachments to your computer).

The reason I wrote this guide is because the standard documentation didn’t really go all-the-way and/or went too deep too fast while creating a plugin I needed (a “Send All Attachments to Calibre” add-in, more info here).

Hence this epic guide.

 

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Send Attachment To Calibre-plugin for Outlook 2016

Wrote a small Outlook 2016 plugin (VSTO) that will easily send all attachments in an email to your Calibre database. All code and the installer can be found here:  https://github.com/timdams/SendToCalibre_OutlookPluginVSTO

See here how it works in full action:

A future blogpost will explain some of the inner workings.

8BitDo controller input in MonoGame (and Steam)

And you thought this blog was dead? I’m back ūüôā

To business: I recently bought two 8bitdo Nintendo Controllers (8Bitdo Crissaegrim NES30 PRO) nes30-pro to use with RetroPi (works like a charm by the way).

However, to get them to work on my computer was something else.

The controllers don’t talk very nicely with your PC, so Steam and Monogame basically say ‘$$$$ you’ when you try to use the controller. However, the solution came in the form of this nifty tool: x360ce.

Ok, now what? Play steam games?!

The thing to know with x360ce is that you need to place the executable in each folder of the game(s) you’d like to play with your computer.

Paste the exe there, launch it, let it create the necessary files, test the controller and presto: you can now launch the game (from within steam if you also want your steam controllers to work) and the games will now detect your controller as if it were an Xbox 360 controller. (protip: this also works if you’re using the controller wireless, even with two of them connected¬†without wires)

Pressing lots of stuff on the controller and simultaneous trying to take a screenshot...not easy, try it yourself!

Pressing lots of stuff on the controller and simultaneous trying to take a screenshot…not easy, try it yourself!

Monogame as well?

Yup, the same trick here. Simply put the x360ce exe in your debug/bin folder, launch it, and suddenly you can type fancy code such as (source) :

 if (capabilities.IsConnected)
            {
                // Get the current state of Controller1
                GamePadState state = GamePad.GetState(PlayerIndex.One);

                // You can also check the controllers "type"
                if (capabilities.GamePadType == GamePadType.GamePad)
                {
                    if (state.IsButtonDown(Buttons.A))
                        Exit();

Hooray for this. On to toying around with this sweet nostalgic controller

A cheaper Freewrite: some linuxnoob tips

Not having the funds to buy myself a Freewrite (formerly known as HemingWrite) I blew the dust from an old, but still working netbook (Samsung N150) and followed this great tutorial “How to turn your laptop into a typewriter“.

Here’s some handy tips if you want to redo the tutorial yourself

After install black screen

Apparently the Ubuntu Server is very barebones and on my netbooks it simply boots to a blank screen with a blinking cursor. Nothing more. To get started, you need to openup a terminal using ctrl+alt+F1. Yeah, I’m a linux noob.

Only boots using usb stick ūüė¶

I followed the tutorial as is and discovered that my fresh Ubuntu wouldn’t boot unless I inserted the original USB-stick from which I had installed Ubuntu in the first place. The problem? The Ubuntu installer installed Grub on the stick instead of on the master harddisk.
This can be remedied simply by using the command:

sudo grub-install /dev/sda

Autologin and boot to terminal

The part about configuring tty1 to automatic login doens’t work anymore in more recent Ubuntu Server version. What you will need to do is oveeride the getty.service, as explained here.

First:

sudo systemctl edit getty@tty1

Then add the following content:


[Service]

ExecStart=

ExecStart=-/sbin/agetty --autologin yourusername --noclear %I 38400 linux

Type=idle

Save and exit.

Next, you will want to change the bootloader, grub, settings:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

and change the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT value to text.

Next up, write the changes to grub:

sudo update-grub

Connecting to wifi is real hard

Most modern wifi networks have WPA or WPA2 security, which is a bit of a pain in the a$$ to get connected to using a terminal-only shell.
Luckily a nifty tool called “nmtui” exist which is basically a text-based UI network configurator.It can be installed using:

sudo apt-get install network-manager

and can then be started by typing:

nmtui

Getting battery status

Use upower as explained here.

Twoway databinding to a MongoDB collection in WPF

I’ll show how to have a two-way databinding between a templated listbox and a MongoDB collection.
I’m finally got around toying with MongoDb.What I’ll show next might not be the most correct way, but it works for me.

Setup

I have a Listview defined in XAML with a datatemplate:

        <ListBox Name="mylistbox">
            <ListBox.ItemTemplate>
                <DataTemplate>
                    <TextBox Text="{Binding Naam, Mode=TwoWay}"></TextBox>
                </DataTemplate>
            </ListBox.ItemTemplate>
        </ListBox>

I created an Entity class (can be a composite if you wish) which is is simple POCO with INotifyPropertyChanged implented. This Entity class well be serialized to my MongoDB collection as-is. Explained here, for example:

        public class Entity
        {
            public string Naam { get; set; }
        }

Retrieve the data and databind

Next up, we need to retrieve the data using a query (coll being my collection a retrieved earlier on (not shown)):

var query = coll.AsQueryable<Entity>().ToList();

The ToList part is important.This will ensure that we get a simple list of Entity objects as our ItemSource and not an IQueryable, otherwise the next part won’t work.

Write changes to database

You can now edit your data in your listbox and once you are ready, you can update all the changes to your MongoDB collection:

            foreach (var item in mylistbox.ItemsSource)
            {
                coll.Save(item);
            }

A C# Portable Class Library to talk with Smappee API

I wrote a small C# portable class library (.NET4.5/WP8.1/Win8) that allow users to talk with the Smappee API.

Smappee-with-Hand

Intro

I recently bought a Smappee and I really love the device. It enables me to track the power usage of all my devices throughout the house and I even found some nasty buggers who consume way more than they should. Currently only Android and IPhone users can really benefit from this device (the my.smappee.com webapp is too lightweight to really utilize the full power of the device).

I’m planning on writing a simple Windows Phone 8 app (and perhaps Windows 8) to have some basic information Smappee data on my phone. Unfortunately the API is pretty meagre (you can’t access everything needed), so I won’t be able to recreate the existing Android app. The full API documentation can be found here.

Getting started

Before you can use the public API, you will first need to request the credentials (client_id and cleint_secret) from Smappee, explained here. Once that is done, you’ll also need to have an active my.smappee.com account, which you can create using the Iphone or Android app (you can’t do this through the website unfortunately). These 4 credentials will be needed to access the API.

 Where is the goddamn code?

The actual code for the PCL is hosted here: https://github.com/timdams/Smappee_API_CS

Two projects are added:

  1. SmappeePrototype: A simple console-app that shows how to use the lib
  2. SmappeeAPITD: the actual PCL. I use JSON.NET for the parsing, which is the only external dependency.

To use the code, make sure you have all the credentials at hand, you can then start querying the API once you build the PCL and added it to your project:

            SmappeeAPI dll = new SmappeeAPI("yourClient_id",
               "yourClient_secret", "yourmysmappee_username","yourmysmappee_password");

            await dll.RetrieveAccessToken();

            var serv = await dll.GetServiceLocations();
            //Ask consumption of last week of first smappeedevice retrieved from ServiceLocations
            var resk =
                await
                    dll.GetConsumption(serv.serviceLocations[0].serviceLocationId,
                        DateTime.Now.Subtract(new TimeSpan(7, 0, 0, 0)),
                        DateTime.Now, SmappeeAPITD.Aggregation.Hourly);

 

What’s missing

This code was build a few minutes ago and a lot is missing. Specifically:

  • No exception handling whatsoever
  • The Actuator duration can’t be set, because the API has a strange way of doing this (you can give only the value¬†300,900,1800 or 3600 , specifying the time in seconds the actuator
    should be turned on. Any other value results in turning on for an undetermined period of time. )
  • No logic is added to refresh the token once it’s expired.

My year in review: a not so good year…or just bad.

2014 was a very, very meagre year on my part concerning blogging. Did I fall asleep this year? Far from it. A lot has been going on, I just didn’t create a lot of content interesting enough to be posted here. Will it be better this year? Can’t make any promises, but it will be very hard to do worse than 2014: 2 small posts at the start of the year, and that’s that. Shame on me! At least I prepared myself for the new year: I basically deleted my Facebook account (only still alive to follow our neighbourhood group and to use as universal login), removed a lot of distracting stuff from my pc and I’m even considering putting some constraints on my Steam( damn you CS:GO) and Origin (damn you Titan) accounts. My giganto-normous pile of books on my desk is also being trimmed down…one can only read so many stuff in parallel.

Off to a new year. To keep in the spirit of 2014 however I won’t make any brash, numerical promises on what I will do the next year…Happy new year everyone!

Read on if you want a summary of my blog this year

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