Did Santa bring you a shiny new Microsoft Band 2? If he did, and since you're reading this, I'm sure you're thinking about taking the next "step" with it, developing an app for it?
Jeff Bramwell was thinking the same thing and he's shared the process for creating one type of app, a Band Web Tile...
I’ve been wearing my Microsoft Band 2 since it first became available nearly two months ago and I was rockin’ the first version of the device before that. Suffice it to say, I really like Microsoft’s version of a health & fitness tracker (though it’s much more than that!).
Being a developer at heart I decided I’ve owned this device far too long to not have created any apps for it yet. So I decided to take a look at the Microsoft Band developer site. When you first visit the site, you will see the following three options:
You can make use of the full Band SDK to develop apps for Windows, Android and iOS. You’ll want to use the Band SDK to take advantage of the full feature set of Microsoft’s Band 2.
If you are wanting to build an app that revolves around data available from the web, then you can quickly build a Web Tile app and install it on your Band (more on this in a moment).
The Cloud API Preview is a set of APIs that allow you to enhance your Band apps (built via the Band SDK) by including data from Microsoft Health.
For the purpose of this article I am going to walk through the steps of creating a Web Tile app for Microsoft’s Band 2.
Step 1: Create the App ...
- Choose a Layout ...
- Specify Your RSS Feed URL ...
- Assign Your Data ...
- Set Up Notifications ...
- Give Your Tile an Identity ...
Step 2: Download and Test Your Tile ...
Step 3: Submit Your Tile ...
Summary & Other Information
Well, there you have it! As you can see, it’s fairly straightforward and simple to create a Web Tile for your band utilizing an RSS feed. You can experiment with the other display styles and features of the Web Tile editor to see what else is possible.
Also, if you’re curious about what is being submitted as part of your Web Tile package, it’s simple to find out. The Web Tile package is simply a ZIP file so, if you change the extension to “.zip”, you can open it like any other ZIP file and inspect the contents.
In doing this, you will notice there is an icons folder containing images such as badgeIcon.png and tileIcon.png.
You will also see a manifest.json file containing various metadata about your Web Tile. For example, mine looks something like this:
As you can see in the manifest file above, the refresh interval (refreshIntervalMinutes) is set to 30 minutes. Good to know for testing purposes.
Although this is a simple Web Tile example I hope it shows you that you can create some pretty useful tiles for your Band without having to crack open Visual Studio (or your favorite editor). While I enjoy coding as much as the next person, any time I can create a useful app without having to actually code it well, that’s enjoyable also!
- Microsoft Band Developer Site
- Microsoft Band Web Tile Documentation
- Microsoft Band SDK Documentation
- Experience Design Guidelines for Microsoft Band 2
- Microsoft Health Cloud API v1 Reference
... [Click through for all the details, steps and more, My First Band Web Tile]