I have been playing with the Windows Phone 7 SDK for a while now, however I have been lucky to still have a day-job while doing my tinkering and therefore haven’t sourced my main income from sales in the WP7 marketplace. There are others who don’t have the same luxury as me and have bet a considerable amount of their time on the platform to date. Whether these developers are aware of it or not they are fighting a silent battle that I want to bring more awareness to – a problem that every smart phone ecosystem has faced to date: Piracy.
During my development journey with Windows Phone 7 , there have been a number of things that I overlooked when writing your first app – things I wished I’d kept front of mind. None of these items are necessarily difficult or complicated things to cover off, so I thought I'd mention them here to save you the trouble, and at the same time show you ways to overcome each of them.
Today marks the release of InTheKnow Google Analytics version 1.8 for Windows Phone 7 – there is a lot of little tweaks that have come about during the creation of this next version, and I'm excited that it is out there and getting great feedback. I spent a large chunk of the downtime in my Christmas break working on InTheKnow, so it is great to finally release the next version. If you haven’t tried the app, and are looking for and easy way to check your website’s Google Analytics on your Windows Phone 7 device, check it out – the trial is free.
After developing Windows Phone 7 applications in my spare time over the last year, I've collected an assortment of tools that make developing apps so much easier than when I first jumped in to Silverlight/Windows Phone 7 development. I only wish I'd know about them all when I first started down the Windows Phone 7 path. Whether you are just starting out or have been developing Windows Phone 7 apps for a while now, there’s something here for everyone.
During the big Mango update rush over the last 3 weeks i joined the rest of the Windows Phone 7 Development community and excitedly upgraded my phone from Windows Phone 7 Mango Beta to the real thing. I was so eager to upgrade right now that I did so on my work PC where I connect my phone as a Guest. This happily got me up and running (definite thanks to the WP7 team for doing such a great job of the upgrade experience). My troubles only began when i tried to synch my phone at home a couple of days later. Hopefully i can save a few of you the time i spent looking into this.
One of the subtleties I've found recently while working with the Windows Phone 7 SDK is found when working with the ApplicationBar programmatically. There are a number of differences that the ApplicationBar has when compared to a normal Windows Phone 7 Silverlight control – these very differences can be really frustrating if you are not aware of them as they stop you from interacting with it in the same way you do other Silverlight controls. Hopefully after we’ve taken a closer look it will make sense why they are so.
When users of Windows Phone 7 devices open up the marketplace application in the US, they are greeted by an Apple’esque pricing model that start at $0.99 cents – but what if you don’t live in the United States? Why aren’t we charged the equivalent US$0.99? As i discovered recently this disparity in pricing is beyond ridiculous. So is this just currency conversion or is it a bad joke that users are getting sick and tired of – let’s take a look.
So i seem to have stumbled across a bug in the Windows Phone 7 Live Tile update toast notification update API. The bug occurs while sending a tile update URL using toast notifications that are longer in length than 260 characters. While you may think this is a problem that only affects extreme/edge usage cases, in situations where you need to pull a tile from an SSL path that contains security keys or other query string parameter data and this data is longer than this 260 character limit, you come to a dead end.
If you’ve worked with Windows Phone 7 Live Tiles, you may have noticed a bit of a hole in the platform SDK’s functionality – the inability to programmatically update the current running applications tile without the push coming from a remote webserver. The purpose of this post is to show you that this is not the end of the world, and there is a way around this.
So today marks another day in my Windows Phone 7 development journey: the release of “InTheKnow – Google Analytics on the go!” This app allows you to view your website’s traffic stats anywhere with mobile data coverage or Wi-Fi connection in an easy to read and digest form. No longer do you need to be near a PC to check how that last blog post was received or daily product special is fairing.
So after submitting applications a few times for both myself and a few friends, i have learnt a few a few do’s and don’ts that can make the difference between it taking 2 weeks to get your application in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace, and only a day or two including registration. With the help of the tips below, hopefully i can help some of you avoid any of the frustrations that can come from starting development on a new platform.
Over the past few weeks i have spent a fair bit of time creating Silverlight charts for a few Windows Phone apps I've been writing. The Silverlight charting toolkit’s documentation for advanced scenarios is pretty sparse to say the least. My experience in finding information on working with the DateTimeAxis that you can use on these charts was nothing short of frustrating. This post’s purpose is to hopefully serve to better educate others in my situation.
Over Christmas and New Year i had a little fun with the free time i had, i did what i do most years and started a spelunking exercise into something new and exciting, this time it was: Windows Phone development. After purchasing a Samsung Omnia 7 and getting a feel for the OS and UI design, i set out to create a simple app to try my luck at the lucrative (… we’ll see) world of Windows Phone 7 development. My first Release, BurnStats - a simple app that allows you to view your FeedBurner statistics natively on the device, has finally hit the app store – in true festive spirit, there was much rejoicing to be had.
In my early testing of Windows Phone 7 apps, it has become apparent that a lot of developers are simply not checking for network connectivity before attempting to access the internet – this gives a bad user experience as the user is left to wait until the connection times out. Checking to see if the device is connected to a network will improve this user experience dramatically.