Developers

Marketplace Dashboard for Windows Phone 8 is an app designed to help developers keep track of the apps and games they have in the Windows Phone Store. The app gives you a view of your apps including crash count, submission status and download counts.

Marketplace Dashboard has main pages that will list your published works and a page for those apps/games still in the certification process. The paid, version of Marketplace Dashboard, which is currently on saleallows each app to be pinned to your Start Screen that will display app stats.

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With the arrival of the new Facebook beta app for Windows Phone 8 this week, the discussion immediately focused on two aspects (1) functionality (2) design. The first one is one of those “in motion” issues that all betas face, meaning some functions may yet have been added (especially when combined with the ever changing feature set of the Facebook ecosystem). The second though ranges from personal opinion to a higher discussion of Design Principles.

More specifically, the question of whether the new Facebook app is “Metro” enough (or whatever you want to call the Modern UI Design Principles that runs through Windows Phone) has become one of the hot topics amongst commenters.

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We've covered Microsoft's push into the realm of two-step authentication quite extensively as the company continues to roll changes out and patch up broken areas of its backend. This includes the Dev Center app for Windows Phone, which caused issues for those who desired to utilise the app after upgrading their account to be more secure. Microsoft has now reported that it has fixed the problem.

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Get up to design speed with this handbook for Windows 8

We don’t cover too much on the topic of design around here, but this was too handy to pass up for developers looking to do more with Windows 8. Ratio Interactive (http://www.ratiointeractive.com/) is a digital agency up in Seattle that makes various apps for companies across a lot of platforms.

But lately they’ve been doing some kickass work with Windows 8 apps. Between running contests around app design and actually making apps (AllRecipes and various Conde Nest properties) they know a thing or two about Windows 8.

So here’s a handy handbook for Windows 8 design from the Ratio Interactive team.

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Last night as I was loading up a few apps on my phone I hit an anomaly: I was asked to buy Amazing Weather HD. Why is that odd? Well, Amazing Weather (along with Weather Flow) is one of my top apps and I bought it the day it came out, months ago.

As it turns out, it appears that this is becoming a widespread problem with the Windows Phone Store, a return of a similar glitch that hit Windows Phone 8 users last fall. That issue was much more frustrating though as it hit a lot of apps, depending on your purchase history.

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Events like the Boston Hackathon are the places where the next must-have app are born. If you’ve never been to a hackathon you’re missing out on a great event where you can meet like-minded people with a vast array of creativity and talent. Let’s look at three of those apps you’ll hopefully be enjoying soon on your Windows Phone.

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Windows 8 developer contest launches in Greece

The Department of Computer Science and Telecommunications at the TEI (Technological Educational Institute) of Larissa, Greece has once again partnered with Microsoft Hellas to launch another developer contest. This time the competition will cover Windows 8 apps. We've previously looked at the contests held at the institute for Windows Phone, offering the opportunity to budding developers who'd like the chance to display and utilise their creativity.

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One of the bigger news coming out from last summer’s Windows Phone 8 reveal was support for game engines – like Unity. It allows game developers to easily target multiple platforms if their particular engine is supported there. Unity is one of the more popular engines at the moment, with support for nearly any platform you can think of. Right now game developers can get early access to the beta of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 versions of Unity.

Want to jumpstart to Windows Phone 8 and Unity?

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While everyone here has played a game or used an app that offers some kind of in-app-purchase (IAP), most of us probably don’t give the mobile payment systems that work behind the scenes much thought. And yet developers certainly have to consider mobile payment systems if they’re going to accept payments from users.

At GDC last week, we had the opportunity to speak with Rain Rannu, the Co-Founder of Fortumo Ltd.  Fortumo provides mobile payment services for Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, Windows 8 and RT, and several other mobile platforms. They’ve recently teamed up with Microsoft to offer an exciting deal for developers who sign up to use Fortumo with their Windows products by the end of May.

Head past the break for more details and our video interview!

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Galactic Reign was quite the revelation when it appeared on Windows 8 and then Windows Phone 7 and 8 last month. Here was an exclusive strategy game for Windows platforms with cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer, and Microsoft basically forgot to tell anybody about it before release. But it’s definitely worth playing if you enjoy competitive strategy games. Check out our review to learn just how the game works.

One of Galactic Reign’s most unique aspects has to be its large-scale space battles. See, the fleets of ships that clash against each other in the game can number in the thousands. Instead of rendering these battles in-engine, the details about each side’s armada are sent to the cloud. From there, a cinematic video gets constructed and sent back to the game for players to watch.

The technology for those cloud space battles comes from Canadian developer Slant Six games. Last week at GDC 2013, we chatted with Paul Martin, Director of Technology and James Ricker, Cinematics Director about Galactic Reign’s videos and Slant Six Games’ experience working with Microsoft. Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Microsoft and Nokia are preparing to hold a Windows Phone Developer Camp in London. May 11th this year will mark the day when the two companies will provide an introduction to the Windows Phone platform for developers who haven't quite looked into hopping on to the train just yet. Numerous sessions will be held with some hands-on labs. It's set to be a worthwhile day for anyone looking to develop apps for Windows Phone.

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Unity 4 Beta program expands to cover Windows Phone 8

A handful of weeks ago Unity opened up early beta access for apps on the Windows store, enabling developers to try out the tools available. We were all wondering just when the company would open up the beta program and cover Windows Phone 8 development. That time has arrived, folks. It has been announced on the Unity blog that version 4 of the engine now covers Windows Phone 8.

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The Windows Phone Central staff covers all the big mobile events, such as Mobile World Congress and CES. But our gaming readers are probably most excited by gaming event coverage, such as last year’s Electronic Extertainment Expo and Casual Connect visits. Of course we’ll return to those shows again this year, but we’ve got a new one on the table too.

The Game Developers Conference - aka GDC 2013 - runs next week from March 25-29 in San Francisco, California. Your friendly neighborhood Gaming Editor and a handful of Mobile Nations staff will be there scouring for all the best Windows Phone and mobile gaming news.

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Microsoft offering developers $100 for new apps

Windows Phone has slowly been picking up apps, whether brand new to the platform or older apps get big updates. It’s a nice sign that the platform is picking up steam, but apparently not fast enough for Microsoft. The Redmond company has a new cash incentive to get developers cranking out apps for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.

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There's nothing worse for developers than updating their Windows Phone apps to address bugs and for the release to get lost wondering around the vast plains of the Microsoft Dev Center. Our own Jay Bennett has experienced an issue with the latest version of the Windows Phone Central app finding itself stuck in limbo (or rather "Certification Passed" and "Not Submitted" stages of approval).

Microsoft has since acknowledged the issue and has stated engineers are looking into reports.

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The popular developer resource which aids those who are looking to create content for Windows Phone has been rebranded to better reflect Windows system coverage. WPGeek is now GeekChamp, but fear not as everything remains the same under the hood. The website is sporting a new logo and domain name, with a few giveaways to boot.

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Recently we took a look at Nokia’s coverage of some developer events in Barcelona and now we have a one on one video with Rudy Huyn, one of the most popular devs on our platform. Rudy won a Windows Phone Geek Lumia Challenge award recently for his popular app TVShow and Nokia was on hand to showcase his talents in this two minute video.

In the video, we catch a glimpse of Rudy working on his apps, learn why he loves Windows Phone (and Nokia support) and how he helps the developers in France through his meet-up group. We even see his famous Bi(n)g Maps (errr, HERE Maps)  which involved linking 28 Windows Phones together for one big map. He’s quite the impressive guy and luckily Jay Bennett and I were able to finally meet him in person during Mobile World Congress.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Huyn’s work, you’re encouraged to try out his various apps including TVShow (keeps track of what you’re watching), Wikipedia (the de-facto Wiki app for Windows Phone), GContacts (Gmail contact syncing), Fuse (RSS news reader) and more.  

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The Unity team (behind the Unity video game engine that powers a number of popular titles) has announced on the official blog that the Windows Store apps early access programme is kicking off. With Unity 4.2, developers will be able to create games for computers and tablets running Windows 8 and RT, publishing them on the Windows Store.

This opens up the floodgates for both developers and consumers to connect with Unity-powered content, but what about Windows Phone?

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Windows Phone Central's app support inbox has been flooded recently, by users complaining that news does not load correctly in the app. We've been kind of stumped on this one frankly because it's only been affecting certain users, so we've been digging.

It turns out that other apps were also running into problems (WeatherFlow is one example), and as we dug further we identified that most of the affected users were Italian, and that the issue had started on March 1st. Now, thanks to twitter user @SergioPedri and others in our forums, we've finally been able to replicate the problem. The good news is there's a workaround.

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If you were following along with our coverage of MWC last week, you'll know that for Windows Phone it was pretty much the Nokia show. That's not to say that other manufacturers weren't present, simply that Nokia were without a doubt the most proactive in getting the most out of the annual mobile conference.

Now Nokia Developer have posted a very well produced video over on YouTube which gives you a great chance to see everything that Nokia were doing last week (primarily on the Monday). That includes the Nokia Apps Developer Conference (ADC) which we sorely wanted to cover, but were kept somewhat busy with everything else Nokia had to show.

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This morning we reported that NotifyMe! was in the works as an independent notification system for Windows Phone 8 and how this will be competing with Liquid Daffodil’s proposed Unification system, which is already in early beta testing.

We now have more info including some new screenshots of what that Unification system will look like, including some features that users can expect when it is finally released. What makes this interesting of course is this is not just conceptual but already being done by Liquid Daffodil, moving beyond the numerous proposed models we’ve seen in the past from the Windows Phone community.

This is real, this is happening, folks.

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We broke the news last week that Liquid Daffodil will be releasing a notification center system called Unification for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 sometime in the near future (it's officially in Beta testing as we speak).. The system is opt-in meaning devs can just add a line of code to their app to hook into it. Now it looks like a competing system is starting to take form from Alex White, called NotifyMe!

The app is still vaporware at this time and like LD’s, it uses an opt-in system for developers to use the notification system. The concept is interesting as it evidently uses the dynamic Lock Screen ability in Windows Phone 8 to generate new wallpaper (we’re assuming) when there’s a new notification.

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One of the neat features we like with Local Scout, the Bing service that shows you things to do around your location, is the tie in with apps. For instance, when you go under eat + drink and pull up a restaurant you can scroll over to Apps to open up the listing in a third party app like Foodspotting.

The ability to do that is quite useful as it saves you time in having to go to your favorite app and look up the same information. One change that came with Windows Phone 8 though has us scratching our head, and it’s affecting third party apps, including Liquid Daffodil’s popular Add to Contacts app.

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