developers

A month ago Microsoft gave Windows Phone developers the ability to respond to Store reviews. This was a new feature welcomed by the developer community as it gave them a way to address misinformed reviews or customer complaints. Now a month later, Microsoft has shared some details on the success of the program so far. For example, most developers see an average star rating increase of +1.2 when they respond to reviews.

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Microsoft is rolling out the ability for developers to respond directly to reviews in the Windows Phone Store. Replying to reviews is a feature that we reported on before the Windows Phone 8.1 announcement and was later confirmed by Microsoft. Select developers have had the ability since April thanks to a phased rollout, but a wider rollout is taking place now.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is now rolling out to those enrolled in the Preview for Developers program. Enthusiasts and developers can try out the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system by participating in the program. This update introduces new features, like Live Folders on the Start Screen, and also introduces support for new device resolutions. Developers will want to grab the new Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 SDK and emulators to test against those resolutions.

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It's not easy to make it as an app developer. That's the key takeaway from the latest State of the Developer Nation report from Vision Mobile, pulling together data from more than 10,000 mobile developers (including some of you) across 137 countries. With that many developers they were able to get a broad view of what's popular and (more importantly) what's successful in making great apps.

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Starting with Windows Phone 8.1 users can select a background wallpaper for their Start screen. The trick only works with apps that have a transparent Live Tile, which has resulted in a massive push by fans for more apps with those see-through Tiles. But like all things in life, sometimes it goes too far. For instance, many people have – rightly – complained that they liked those 'signature' colors for certain apps because it made finding them easier. I agree.

What's the best way to rectify the situation? Give users a choice. Here's how to do it.

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Internet Explorer is getting a dev channel! Like Google's Chrome browser, those interested in trying out the latest bleeding-edge features in Internet Explorer will now have a developer version that they can use. The Internet Explorer Developer Channel offers numerous updates to the F12 developer tools, allowing those coding for the web to test their stuff on the latest and greatest version of Internet Explorer. Think of it as an opportunity to prepare for the future.

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Vserv.mobi, the global mobile advertising exchange, has shared an interesting infographic that puts together the milestones and elements of the journey of Windows Phone platform across the globe. The company has been helping Windows Phone developers monetize across emerging markets and the number of requests on the exchange, especially for the Windows platform, grew by 18.2X last year.

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The best thing about being a developer in the Microsoft technology ecosystem is the terrific support that the company offers to the developers. From dedicated forums and learning resources to public events, the community feeds off this support and grows further.

Microsoft has just launched an Windows Phone app for developers that aggregates official Microsoft resources related to building apps for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. The app is titled ‘#wpdev’, picking up from the popular Twitter hashtag that Microsoft and the developer community use on Twitter for sharing development resources and insights.

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Ready to find out how the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store are doing? Microsoft has just published a report showing trends for the two platforms. We learn a lot of interesting things in the post. For example, did you know that low-memory devices, like the Lumia 520, lead in app downloads? Highlights after the break.

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Last summer we told you boys and girls about this really great video series up on Channel 9. The series was called ‘Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners’. It was an 11+ hour series that taught absolute beginners how to develop for Windows Phone 8. Now there’s a sequel up on Channel 9 that will do the same for Windows Phone 8.1.

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We’re very excited to see what developers can do by integrating their apps with Cortana. It’s a very promising future for those on Windows Phone 8.1. One developer has already started to play around with Cortana. Matt Cavanagh, a guy from South Africa who is well-known in the Windows Phone developer scene, has hooked up Cortana to control his lights. Check the video after the break.

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It was just this weekend that Microsoft unified pricing tiers to help make universal apps easier, and today they've opened the floodgates to developers and are now accepting Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps for review. As a refresher, universal apps take advantage of new frameworks in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 to allow developers to build apps once and deploy them across both platforms.

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Microsoft will be kicking off a new worldwide campaign for developers to help drive some new apps and games to its app stores. Next month, the company will host a number of day events for content creators to pop along and receive some advice and support from experts.

Attending the days, developers will enjoy free consulting time with a Microsoft engineer who will provide guidance on a number of Windows development related topics – perfect if you're eyeing up the Windows and Windows Phone ecosystems for your next deployment.

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We’re still recovering from Microsoft’s //BUILD/ conference from last week. Build 2014 was the event that Microsoft finally showed us Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time publically. It was also full of information for developers throughout the week at all the various sessions. Microsoft has compiled a really handy recap of the event last week.

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We've heard of the past successes of the Windows Phone App Studio, but today Microsoft is announcing an update. The number 1 question has apparently been; what about Windows apps? Folks asking that need worry no longer and say hello to the unified Windows App Studio.

The beta release is available to download from today and allows you the ability to create a universal project resulting in both Windows Phone and Windows apps in the same session. Pretty nifty.

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Here’s some potential good news for a handful of ambitious developers. Google has released over 50 Google APIs for .NET. Google quietly made the announcement last week on their developer blog. The release of the Google APIs Client Library for .NET should hopefully produce some nice Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps that tie into Google’s services.

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A week from now we’ll be packing our bags and getting ready to head to San Francisco. This is where Microsoft’s 2014 Build conference will take place. The focus is on developers and upcoming product innovation Microsoft is making for them. We’ll see what Microsoft has in store not just for developers, but consumers as well, when they unveil Window Phone 8.1.

Not only will developers be treated to an updated mobile operating system with new APIs and features, but we’ll also see changes on the backend. Changes to the Windows Phone Dev Center are expected to come as well.

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