ChrisNTR's Blog

Just another developer weblog.

Days Until Xmas Goes Open Source

For the past couple of years, I have created and maintained the Days Until Xmas applications. Originally created for Windows Phone to see what the development platform was like, this quickly ended up getting ported over to the iPhone and iPad and then on to Windows 8.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some success with the Windows phone version (as much success as you can have with a free app with no ads…) hitting over the 90,000 download mark on Windows Phone only a few days ago. With developing an application comes feedback and reviews. Whilst most of this is generally in the positive side or people just really hate Xmas, a lot of the feedback I hear, especially from developers is on the lines of, “Can you make it do X”.

Whilst I’d love to spend my time developing a “Days Until X” app, add in new music and new graphics, in reality, I find it difficult to find enough time keeping Days Until Xmas up to date on the new platforms that are coming out, such as iOS 7 support or adding the live tile information as a lock screen item on Windows Phone 8.

Therefore, I have decided to give back the weekend hacks of the app to the community and I have open sourced both the iOS and Windows Phone versions, with Windows 8 coming soon down the line. Feel free to get creative with what sort of applications you can derive from this app, wouldn’t it be cool to countdown the days until Independence Day (yes, I get the irony being British and all), have confetti fall down playing the Star-Spangled Banner song in the background? Or even a customised countdown until a anniversary for a loved one? I’m sure there’s many other ideas you can come up with.

You can the code directly from GitHub at https://github.com/chrisntr/DaysUntilXmas and get building, feel free to fork the project, refactor the code, remove some of my horrible code but make something awesome. The iOS version of Days Until Xmas uses Xamarin.iOS so you will need a Mac to develop that app, it works fully on the Xamarin Starter edition so there’s no need to purchase a license for the Xamarin tools. For Windows Phone and Windows 8, you can just use the Windows Phone SDK and the Windows a Store SDK within Visual Studio.

The music used in the application was created by Kevin MacLeod, so you should check his website at incompetech.com for music in your application, though you would need to make sure have the right license if you plan on selling your countdown app.

If you want to hear more details around the Days Until Xmas application then you should check out my talk at NDC 2013 and my appearance on the Tablet Show.