Tin About Directories Plus (DPLUS)

Microsoft Student Partner Alumnus, Abram Limpin writes about the WPF project he developed for a local mall in Quezon City:

Diretories Plus is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WFP) application that allows users to search and locate shops, restaurants, services and facilities found in a specific mall. It integrates a small advertising engine that profiles the user and displays advertisements and information that may be interesting to the user.

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(Figure 1. Main window – animated splash screen)

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(Figure 2. DPLUS Dashboard)

Features

· Categories – this allows user to select on their desired store category, and choose from the suggested stores

· Mall Selection – since Eastwood City is quite a big mall, I decided to split the location of stores into three: (1) Eastwood Mall, (2) Citywalk 1 & 2, and (3) Cybermall; the stores are divided based on their mall locations; displays 28 stores in every instance

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(Figure 3. Mall Selection)

· Map – a readily made 2D/3D map plots the direction, starting from the kiosk location until it reaches the selected store; replay button is also available just in case the user forgot the direction details

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(Figure 4. Map directions – from kiosk to store)

· Search – this allows user to type the stores they want to look using the touch screen keyboard (which I also developed); auto-suggest text box displays suggested stores while typing a letter or a two

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(Figure 5. Search stores)

· Facilities – the user can simply click a specific mall facility to display their location in a form of icon

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(Figure 6. Legend windows with facilities icon)

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(Figure 7. Selecting the cinema icon)

· Paws – in cooperation between Eastwood Mall and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), we acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives; I put paw icons besides store buttons – golden paw (pets are welcome inside the store) and silver paw (pets are allowed within the store)

· Admin– selected system administrators can view the daily statistics when a code is entered (click counter, stores selected, etc.)

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(Figure 8. Using system codes for admins)

System Timeline

· November 2009 – recently graduated in DLS-CSB. I teamed up with fellow Microsoft Student Partner Arjay Orcasitas to develop a touch screen application that fits the needs of Eastwood City; Arjay initially made the UI design, the system structure and the behavior

· January 2010 – made the system flexible when it comes to adding or updating a new store inside the database by making the WPF controls dynamic; registered to Microsoft BizSparkto avail developer and designer tools

· February 2010 – the interaction of the map and the dashboard were completely separated before, but because of some resolution issues, I decided to change it into a one-screen solution.

· March 2010 – July 2010 – The majority of the system development happened last year of 2010, focusing on binding the store information stored from the database inside the WPF application; finalized mapping procedures to be used

· August 2011 – Integration of touch screen keyboard and auto-suggestion feature

· September 2011 – Integration of paws icons to stores

· January 2011 -First kiosk (out of 10) was finally deployed inside Eastwood Mall last January 2011.

· March 2011- Ocular for Cybermall and Citywalk (designation of kiosks)

· July 2011 – 9 out of 10 kiosks deployed all over Eastwood City. – 6 in Eastwood Mall, 2 in Cybermall, and 1 in Citywalk 2

· Present – minor database revisions and system updates

Some of the tools technologies used are the following:

· Expression Blend 4 for the UI design and animations

· Visual Studio 2010 for programming the back-end (in C#)

· Windows XP Embedded for operating system

· .NET Framework 4.0 for installing the .NET components to run DPLUS

· WampServer 2.1 for hosting the database

· MySQL 5.3.5 for the database

· ADO.NET Driver for MySQL (Connector/NET) for database information retrieval using .NET

Future Plans

Some of the improvements and updates I would like to add are as follow:

· Switching from WPF to Silverlight technology

· Integration of theater and movie information (including movie trailers, online ticket reservations)

· Interactive mini-games, RSS feeds

· Integration of QR code technology for store discounts, promos, etc.

· Demographics – allows user to register to the system to receive mall and DPLUS updates straight to their mobile phones or via email – hidden window (under construction)

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(Figure 9. Demographics window)

· System website

· Others to follow

Any ideas or suggestions in mind? We would like to hear from you. Drop a comment in our Facebook page wall.

MSACADPH TIP: If you drop by Eastwood malls, be sure to check out this application in the mall map kiosks and type in “MSP” to see the hidden message from Abram. Smile

image Abram John A. Limpin is a graduate of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Information Systems.  A Microsoft Student Partner Program Alumnus, Abram continuously pursues his passion in Microsoft technology by delivering talks and workshops for students during his free time. He is now working as a programmer / developer, and is currently engaged with WPF and Silverlight technologies. Visit his blog, http://abramlimpin.com, to learn more about Abram’s tech adventures and his love for WPF and Silverlight.