developers

András Velvárt (Vbandi), the developing power behind the SurfCube app (award-winning 3D web browser), has just announced that his ebook "Windows Phone 7 for Silverlight Developers" is now available to purchase. There are nearly 50 topics covered in the ebook, including Silverlight, design (Metro UI), Panorama (pivot), input on the phone, accelerometer, performance and publishing to the Marketplace.

You can download a copy for just $4.99 from Silverlight show. The ebook is available as PDF download and contains 46 pages. You can view two excerpts before purchasing - input on the phone and portrait, landscape & themes. Dave Cambell, MVP of the year, had this to say about the developer resource:

"Wow... get some great in-your-hands training on WP7 development from András Velvárt... I bought my copy, and it's more than worth the $4.99 price... great job András and SilverlightShow!"

Source: Dotneteers

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What to do after submission? [Developers]

So you've created your Windows Phone app and you now have some presence building in the Marketplace, what happens now? Are there ways for developers to market and promote their app to users? You bet'cha! There are a ton of channels developers can take (some offered by Microsoft) to help bring in more potential users.

Sheeds has published two editorial pieces on his website, which are worth looking into by new and small developers. The first covers what I've mentioned already in this article, what should you do once you've submitted to the Marketplace? The second moves outside the WP7 sphere itself and explains how developers can promote outside the Marketplace.

Some points Sheeds covers include creating a website for your apps as a central hub for information, contact and to use for social media deployment. Twitter, Facebook and other networks will prove to be invaluable for developing your brand awareness and increasing reach. Remember to look around our site for more guides too that cover advertising networks and more. Just because the app (or game) is in the Marketplace, doesn't mean you can sit back and have a cup of tea. There's always work to be done!

Source: WPDownUnder

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I'm sure you're more than aware of certification offered by Zend, Microsoft and more, but were you aware of a Windows Phone developer certification? It seems Microsoft wish to offer a way for developers to validate their experience, knowledge and skill in time for the predicted 2015 overtaking of the smartphone market.

Why should you bother to become a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)? We'll allow the big M to explain the benefits:

"Earning an MCPD shows hiring managers your commitment to your own professional growth and to staying up to date on the latest technologies. Maintaining an MCPD certification complements your experience, providing a key factor that differentiates your resume from those of other job candidates who have similar experience."

As with all other certifications, applicants are to take examinations that test their knowledge and expertise in the field. There are three exams present, first two are prerequisites while the third is the MCPD required exam:

  • Exam 70-506 - MCTS prerequisite: TS: Silverlight 4, Development
  • Exam 70-516 - MCTS prerequisite: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 
  • Exam 70-599 - MCPD requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications

Certified developers will be required to show competence by completing a re-certification every two years as the platform updates frequently, thus the skill required to be a successful developer will evolve rapidly. For more information and to view the available preparation material, head on over to Microsoft Learning via the link below.

Please note that the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification will not be visible on your transcript until September 2011 and Course 10554A for Exam 70-506 is not available until August 2011.

Source: Microsoft Learning

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Live ID WP7 app integration [Developers]

An in-depth article has been published over at BuildMobile, which covers how Windows Live ID can be integrated into a Windows Phone application. The app will then be able to gain access to the user's contacts, profile detail, information from Messenger and SkyDrive, and everything else that's available via the Messenger Connect API.

What should be noted (as mentioned in the article) is that a Live ID is required, much like Facebook Connect and Twitter requiring accounts. You wont be able to transfer an app from one Live ID to another, so if you are creating an app with a Live ID account, you may wish to use an ID specifically made for the app, especially if you plan to sell the app, have multiple developers working, etc.

As well as following the steps and reading up on the detail, more information can be found over at the Windows Live Developer Portal and in the Messenger Connect documentation

Source: BuildMobile

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The App Exchange is a service which focuses on developers who reside outside the realm of supported countries for application submission into the Windows Phone Marketplace. They allow these developers to register an account and submit their application to the team for Marketplace forwarding on the developer's behalf. Each submission costs $19.99 and a re-submission sets one back at $9.99. A 'coming soon' service is none other than device unlocking, which is priced at $49.

Supported countries include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Please note however that WPCentral is not advising developers to use this service.  Should something go wrong, don't shoot the messenger. With all third parties, one must be aware of possible problems that could arise. Always read the Ts and Cs and be sure to contact them for more information prior to signing up.

A pretty in-depth walk through can be found using the link below at MSDNPhilippines.

Source: App Exchange, via: MSDNPhilippines

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Today marks your last day to register for the Berytech Windows Phone Applications Development Workshop, which is to be held at the Berytech Technological Pole venue on July 14th. Registration will set you back $495 and closing date is today (before July 12th).

The workshop covers the following:

Day 1. The basics

  • Learning how to build application targeting Windows Phone 7
  • Silverlight vs XNA
  • Dynamic layout, touch and textures
  • Sensors and services
  • Application Architecture

Day 2. Silverlight, Part 1

  • XAML
  • Elements and properties
  • Layouts, Application Bar and controls
  • Data bindings

Day 3. Silverlight, Part 2

  • Graphics and animation
  • Items control
  • Pivot and panorama

Day 4. XNA

  • Principles of movement
  • Textures and sprites
  • Dynamic textures
  • Gestures and transforms
  • Touch and play

Participants will be able to submit their apps to the Marketplace once completed and whoever develops the best submitted app will receive a Windows Phone handset. For more information or to register for the workshop, head on over to the Berytech website.

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Developer Interview: Red Badger

This weekend we have the delight in publishing an interview with Cain Ullah from Red Badger, the team behind Birdsong. Being among the top rated social apps on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, Birdsong is a simple, quick and good looking Twitter client. Cain quickly runs us through how focus and deployment is everything and how he views WP7.

Fly on past the break for the interview. 

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3D maps on WP7 [Developers]

This is pretty neat. Tim James, over at EMC Consulting, has provided a detailed how to (if you will) of bringing depth to a 2D map to Windows Phone 7. Namely, wrapping a map around a 3D sphere. Tim also explains how building a 3D map using a flat image can show signs of distortion among and top and bottom halves, while the equatorial area covers much more surface space.  All of which could give added dimension to apps.

On a side note, while reading the article I'm heavily reminded of Street Slide, except this isn't improving street view and making it appear as a more constant 3D 'walkthrough'. Check out the video below for the app Stars3D (opens Zune), which is really impressive and runs along the same idea but instead we're inside the sphere looking out.

Source: EMC Consulting

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Telerik provide Windows Phone 7 developers with a product called RadControls, which is bundled with a number of controls that are reportedly not available in the UI toolbox for WP7. Many apps including the #1 ranked app in the finance category on the Marketplace are developed using these tools and with MyBudget being a finance management tool, it takes full advantage of graphs and other features offered in RadControls.

RadControls is available as a free trial and is purchasable for $399/$499, but you have exactly seven days left in the Telerik sale where the price has been slashed to $99. With this fee you unlimited deployments and full redistribution rights. For an extra $100 you get free major updates and the source code.

In the image above you will see a ToDo app that was built using RadControls. Telerik have dedicated a section of the WP7 website to aid start-up developers with creating apps and how to bring everything together. There are a number of blog posts covering this ToDo app and how it was designed/developed using the tools available. The option to download the source code (and wireframe PDF) is also available to see how everything connects behind the UI.

Check out a video showcasing some apps using the software, as well as a mention of the Telerik Examples app in the Marketplace after the break. 

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TellMe used to be a separate company specializing in voice recognition technology, until Microsoft swooped in, bought and merged them with their own exiting voice research team in early 2009. Flash forward a few months and we finally saw the first iterations of TellMe on the Samsung Intrepid in October 2009, giving us an idea of what to expect from the future partnership.

Mango will be improving the user experience with the option to use speech for text input with SMS conversation. More control will be at hand with replying, having messages read out loud and more (see our video demo with Bing services here).

But the big question is: Will Windows Phone developers ever have access to these tools? As of now, the answer is 'no' but Microsoft is starting to budge on the issue and they look like they will be opening up their TellMe voice services for WP7 developers. No timeline is given, but they are now registering developer interest via a list. So to all devs: go voice your opinion on the matter and hopefully Microsoft will movea a bit faster.

Head here, near the bottom, to register your interest: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Tellme/developers/

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The July 2011 issue of the MSDN Magazine features a great resource for aspiring developers - making money on Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft Ad Control. We wont cover absolutely everything since the article is massive but the detail it goes into is great for anyone new to the whole advertising and revenue realm. Unfortunately PubCenter is still not yet available to anyone outside of the US.

Before you dive onto this path of revenue, you must first ask yourself if this is the most effective way to earn revenue from your app(s). We have covered the debate surrorunding paid apps vs advertising (also which advertising network should you use). Once you've decided on what's best for your app(s), should it be advertising then you should check out the article as it will help you (as a developer) to:-

  • get started and set up with Microsoft Advertising in your application(s).
  • create an advertising-supported app using XAML or in code.
  • improve the advertising experience for your users and potentially earn more profit.

Be sure to read through the article (using the link below) to pick on some useful tips and tricks or to understand completely with how to successfully kick off your free app campaign backed by advertising.

Source: MSDN Magazine

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Remember our recent reminder of the last sweepstake entry date closing in on developers? Well, the date did close, but we have another sweepstake to let you in on! Unfortunately this doesn't feature free advertising including a large bundle of impressions, but 10 unlocked Samsung Focus handsets are on offer.

Entry process is pretty much identical to previous user group sweepstakes. Build apps, submit them to the Marketplace, then fill in the form on the sweepstake website.  Sounds good but there is no code displayed when filling in the form and clicking the "what's this?" link on the event code field brings up a window that suggests using JULY1 as the code if one isn't displayed.  We've reached out for confirmation/clarification on this and once we get a reply we'll update things as necessary.

You can enter with more than one app to increase your chance in winning. Entry closing date for this round is July 31st. I wonder if there'll be an August one too? Be sure to check out the content rules and you can find the entry form using the link below.

Source: WP7 User Group, via: Silver Arcade

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Non-disclosure agreements are always an interesting an fickle requirement and sometimes seem, well unnecessary. Such is the case with the Windows Phone Mango developer preview, which notes that devs are forbidden from publishing or talking to the press about things they find in the OS--an odd requirement since it's the same version that the press received a week ago. Nonetheless, it's there:

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley has contacted Microsoft to get their side on the matter, specifically why is it there. As it turns out, it's pretty standard stuff and not as draconian as it sounds:

“This is a standard practice when pre-release code is distributed to a mass audience. Permission to publish content, screenshots or comments based on this pre-release code can be obtained from Microsoft on a case-by-case basis.”

Of course, permission is still required and should be sought but all in all, this is normal protocol for a software company when distributing pre-release software. In essence, Microsoft would like to control the story, like any company would, so having thousands of devs under NDA is one one way to accomplish this. So odd in this case, yes, unusual in the industry, not really.

Update: Cliff Simpkins, Product Manager for WP7 at Microsoft, has revised the language and apologized for the confusion. The intent was meant for developers to not share the actual code with others. However, developers can post information, screen shots and more without repercussion.  [via WP7Dev Podcast]

Source: All Things Microsoft

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Redmond has been interested in feedback from both users and developers since launching Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft is at it again.  This time with a survey for developers to fill in covering satisfaction of the Marketplace. This is specifically for developers as it covers the App Hub and developer process on Windows Phone platform.

You can check out and fill in the survey here to provide Microsoft with invaluable feedback.

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Although the Mango developer preview program is just a few hours old, there have been a few hiccups here and there. In a couple of tweets from Cliff Simpkins, Product Manager for WP7, he let users know about a few issues that they are aware of and when to expect some fixes:

  • Install instructions v1.2: Instructions have been updated now and devs are encouraged to read them to prevent any problems
  • Samsung Focus v1.4 - In short, they can't update using these tools, much like how they can't get NoDo. Simpkinns responds with "we'll put a fix out in mid-July to help you guys get updated"
  • Error 80180048 - "we'll also put up a fix out in mid-July." More Information can be found in the AppHub forums here.

We've also been hearing that some Focus users, including WinRumor's Tom Warren aren't doing too well: "Not a great experience with Mango on my Focus. I'm stuck with a phone that boots but no UI, just battery and time".

Clearly Microsoft was taking a risk here by doing this for devs, so we can expect a few bumps here and there. Lets just hope it's nothing too severe for those developers afflicted.

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Mango available for Developers

 

Here we are folks! This is it, a Mango beta ROM (reportedly build 7661) is now available (or will be shortly) for developers to update on their retail devices. Fantastic news for the registered brains. Confirmation comes from both Brandon Watson and Joe Belfiore. Full distribution of Mango to developers will be carried out over the next few weeks (in batches), registered developers will receive invites to the Microsoft Connect site, which will provide you with the update.

Countries explicitly supported for the early access program (your device will be supported by big M and will be processed should it malfunction once the distribution infrastructure is in place):

 "Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States"

What should you do now? Why not head on over to download the Mango Tools beta 2, which includes a number of  goodies, update your device to Mango and then (as Brandon Watson so fantastically puts it):

"Third, go rub it in your friends’ faces that you have Mango and they don’t. "

There will be a tools update in the coming months that will feature the go-live license required to publish Mango apps to the Marketplace, but be sure to start being creative now since your apps will work in the tools and the developer phone. For more information, check out the official blog post using the link below. These are positive signs my friends, this will surely drive excitement for Mango even further.

Source: WindowsTeam Blog

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This is a simple reminder to everyone who has either missed our article covering this sweepstake or have not yet had the opportunity to enter. The User Group Event sweepstakes closing deadline is June 30th. Yep, one day away. Read through our previous article for more detail and information, be sure to get in quick should you wish to be in with a chance to win a new WP7 device (worth $500), not to mention free advertising with a ton of impressions.

Please remember to keep the code VIL12 handy when entering and note that this is open to US residents only.

Source: WP7 User Group Event

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Microsoft has announced recently that they are expanding their Advertising Exchange service on a global scale. What's interesting to note is this move could possibly give hope that they may bring the PubCenter beta to people around the world soon who don't reside in the US. I'm sure Microsoft would like to allow Canadians, Europeans, Australians and more to create and publish advertising campaigns in their WP7 apps and on websites.

We'll keep an eye out for any information which could indicate such a move for the PubCenter. For now it's still a waiting game unfortunately. Check out the press release for the expansion of the Advertising Exchange after the break.

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Yesterday we heard reports that a beta version of the Windows Phone Mango update would be released to developers this week. We then heard from Brandon Watson (via tweet) that such a release wasn't going to happen this week. Watson never said a beta would never be released, just not this week.

Enter Cliff Simpkins, Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone 7. In a forum for developer feedback on Windows Phone development the question arose about giving developers early access to Mango. Simpkins initial response,

"per @joebelfiore on May-24: We are working on a plan for DEVELOPERs to be able to get Mango for phones before we launch."

Simpkins would also follow up by clarifying that the Mango update and Mango devices are two different items. Because current devices will update to Mango, this helps reduce the number of developer devices needed. This makes sense and will help make the distribution easier on Microsoft.  If your development doesn't require the new hardware capabilities of Mango devices, then Microsoft will get you the update and forgo the developer device. Simpkins also adds,

"I think you'll all be happy with what we have coming; it's coming, grasshoppers, I promise. We're as anxious to get this out to you as you are to receive it - it just requires quite a bit of groundwork so that your personal devices stay as safe as possible."

As Watson mentioned in his earlier tweets, this week the focus was on the Press Release, likely to see what bugs the general public and sites like ours could pick up on. We feel confident a pre-release or beta version will get to developers but as to the "when", it's anyone's guess.

Source: windows phone developer voice Thanks goes out to Max for tipping us on this!

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"Mango" beta coming soon? [Updated]

Neowin recently covered how they've learned from a number of reliable sources that Microsoft plan to release a beta of the next major installation of Windows Phone 7, codenamed "Mango", in the next few days (22nd/23rd June) to registered WP7 developers. While we were over-joy and full of excitement, especially after reading through our Daniel Rubino's hands on with his WP7.5 loaded Samsung Focus, we held off from reporting this news until further confirmation was obtained.

The Twitter account Windows Phone 8 has just tweeted (shown above) to WP7 developers to keep a watchful eye out for the "Mango" beta, which will be available soon. This lightly confirms what Neowin reported and Microsoft Addict was able to confirm with a 22nd release date too. So, are we excited? Let's see what the next few days bring us in terms of beta releases, if they arrive of course.

Source: Neowin, Microsoft Addict

Update: While it was exciting to think a Mango Beta would become availalble to developers this week, Brandon Watson has dashed those hopes with a single tweet.

He also tweets seperately that no developer devices will be released this week as well.  According to Brandon, Microsoft wants to focus on the press preview and consumer related features first. 

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