developers

Looks like we've experienced some kind of problem on the Windows Phone app count line shown in the above graph measuring the amount of newly added apps. It's shown to be pretty much halted. But fear not dear chaps, I've brought along some crumpets, cups of tea and some Pimms (you just never know) to keep you all patient while we work through some possible explanations.

So we've seen a sudden halt in growth, what's the cause? Well, we must not forget that "Mango" is just around the corner and developers have been using the beta tools provided by Microsoft to update their apps by taking advantage of new APIs etc. with any new projects they're undertaking. It could well be that all apps being developed now are actually taking advantage of the features (and improvements) found in "Mango" and will be submitted once the doors open up to developers.

Then again Mark, who tipped us on this news, also made a point about developers potentially having issues with the newly updated AppHub, which is backed by some reports. The platform has previously experienced a slow down in app growth back in January, as shown in the chart above and below. This certainly isn't anything to get worked up about, I'm sure we'll experience a flood of new submissions once "Mango" submissions are opened and the update is rolled out to the public.

In the end (or if you wish to have the tl;dr version of this article) - "Mango" is coming and developers may be waiting for the submission gates to open up. Nothing to worry about, quality over quantity right?

Source: WP7Applist, thanks Mark for tipping us

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More juicy peach for Windows Phone developers who are enjoying Mango - we know our Daniel Rubino is with updating his entire device inventory to the developer build. First off, build 7712 is now being pushed to developers (kudos to Jay Bennett with providing us with the above screenshot), be on the lookout for update notifications on Zune to move on from 7661.

Here are some instructions posted by Cliff Simpkins, in the official announcement over at the Windows Phone Dev blog:

  1. Make a copy of the backup you took when you updated to the Mango Beta 2 pre-release (which I’m sure you did) and put it in a safe place, if it isn’t in one already
  2. Return to Connect.Microsoft.com (we’re using the same program you were invited to join last month) and download the freshly posted files, which includes a new Zune client and a new UpdateWP executable
  3. Head to the Control Panel and uninstall the Beta 2 software (Zune client and UpdateWP) and tools (WPSDK) that you installed last month
  4. Install the new software and tools that you just downloaded from Connect
  5. Fire up the new Zune client beta (4.8.2134.0) to check for the new update
  6. Zune will then update your phone from 7661 to 7712

We recently covered the rumors surrounding the 7712 build that developers will be receiving prior to the public release of "Mango", one must note however that this build isn't final, which is 7720. For those wondering as to why this is the case:

"First, the phone OS and the tools are two equal parts of the developer toolkit that correspond to one another. When we took this snapshot for the refresh, we took the latest RC drops of the tools and the corresponding OS version. Second, what we are providing is a genuine release candidate build, with enough code checked in and APIs locked down that this OS is close enough to RTM that, as a developer, it’s more than capable to see you through the upcoming RC drop of the tools and app submission. It’s important to remember that until the phone and mobile operator portion of Mango is complete, you’re still using a pre-release on your retail phone – no matter the MS build."

As well as an update to "Mango" that developers are running to get their apps ready for consumers, Microsoft have also refreshed the second beta of the Windows Phone SDK. Why the refresh? check out the following goodies:

  • Application platform APIs are now locked; you can feel confident to start getting ready for submitting your apps next month.
  • Emulator now has a nifty screenshot capability built in, allowing you quickly snap quality images of your app without the need of separate tools or cropping time. The images are great for use in app submission process or to share on your blog or with folks such as my team (hint hint).
  • The profiler has been greatly improved and provides memory profiling.
  • As of this drop, you can install NuGet into the free version of the WPSDK tools. I find NuGet to be one of my favorite productivity boosters and I’m happy to see the extension supported in the free tools.
  • The drop includes an initial peek at the Marketplace Test Kit; with the RC release, you’ll be able to use the included version of this toolkit to test your XAP file against the same certification testing tools that we use when ingesting apps for the Marketplace. For this refresh, it’s there but not fully functional; but more on this in a future blog post.

The SDK RC (release candidate) is expected to surface in the next month. So there we go folks, Mango goodness all around. Let's hope this speed of development continues.

    Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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    Lets catch up on a couple things here:

    1. Developers currently have build 7661 of Mango
    2. Build 7720 is the RTM version
    3. Microsoft has strongly suggested devs are getting an updated build

    That last part comes from Microsoft's own Cliff Simpkins who tweeted last evening in response to this very question. His answer? "Give me a day to get an official answer for folks :)" He also noted in comments on the Windows Phone Blog "We're working to get devs an updated build soon. Stay tuned to the dev blog."

    At this point, we're highly confident that developers will be getting an updated Mango build and we think it will be very soon. In fact, the Windows Phone Dev Podcast just tweeted a little while ago "we've got 7,712 reasons for you to look forward to tomorrow". While a build 7712 is not 7720, it's "close enough" as we know that build 7710 went to Nokia for the Sea Ray.

    Hey, as someone with three phones running Mango, we think this sounds just peachy. (Free pun!)

    via: Professeur Thibault

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    Ricky Tan has published an insightful blog post on MSDN that covers implementing multiplayer gaming on the windows Phone platform. Using UdpAnySourceMulticastClient, Ricky walks us through enabling peer-to-peer support (over WiFi in this case) in a game for Mango.

    Fancy carrying this out yourself? According to Ricky, it's not as difficult as one would assume. Here's some quick points to get you interested (check out the links below for the article with full code viewing, downloads, etc.):

    PlatformerGame.cs: This contains the game code and is where the sockets are initialized, and where the sends and receives are handled.

    UdpAnySourceMulticastChannel.cs: This contains the UDP multicast sockets code for joining the group, sending and receiving data.

    OtherPlayer.cs: This is a modification of Player.cs to add other players to the game.

    Ricky has added peer-to-peer support into the platformer start kit developed by David Russet. Read more information on this (plus the full download and snippets of code) over at Ricky Tan's blog. Multiplayer gaming is most definitely in the works, we also have to keep an eye on Microsoft's progress with 'Switchboard'.

    Via: Channel9; Thanks, Mark!

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    Microsoft has been busy updating their Windows Phone App Hub. This is where Windows Phone developers go to manage their accounts, change settings, submit applications to the Marketplace and generally stay up to date with everything Windows Phone.  We mentioned some of the details of the update earlier but here's how it breaks down.

    The update focuses on three areas.

    More geographic markets for developers: Essentially Microsoft is broadening Windows Phone's horizons by adding 19 new consumer markets that include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.

    There will also be 7 new developer markets that include Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea.

    In addition to market expansion the App Hub is now localized for Korean and Simplified Chinese and price tiers have been successfully modified on a country-by-country basis to adjust for fluctuations in the global currency exchange rates.

    Lastly, on the geographic front, Microsoft's Advertising PubCenter support will be extended to 18 additional countries by the end of 2011. They include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This will enable developers in these countries to receive mobile in-app advertising revenue in their local currency.

    Continued after the break

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    How quickly do you think someone could take an idea, build a Windows Phone 7 app, submit it to the Marketplace and the download & install it? One, two weeks? How about 5 days? Jarno Peschier (peSHIr), a .NET and general programming enthusiast, did just that. He developed an app for 3D Masters, a 3D Model Helicopter Competition, in just 5 days from conceiving the idea.

    On July 15th, Jarno received an email from 3D Masters detailing the availability of an iPhone app for the event. While engaging in discussion between himself and the director of the event, Jarno eventually decided to develop an app for WP7.

    Five days later (today) and the 3D Masters app is readily available on the Marketplace. It really is a neat little app for attendees and for the approval process plus development time to accumulate to under a week is pretty impressive. You can check out more about the challenge Jarno faced this week by visiting his site below and download the 3D Masters app from the Marketplace for a minimal fee.

    Source: peSHIr, via: @gcaughey

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    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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