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Archive for May, 2011

[Preview] WP7applist app for Windows Phone

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

This is coming out pretty good, hopefully the screenshots will give you an idea of what you will get!

I should be ready to ship it in a few more days, feel free to leave thoughts and suggestions in the comments or via email. :)

 

[UPDATE] this is now available in the Zune Marketplace worldwide, give it a try!

http://wp7applist.com/en-US/app/18166/wp7applist

 

Windows Phone 7 and Games

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

There must be nothing better than merging two passions together. Right?

I’m a LONG time Xbox fan, and that’s one of the reasons why Windows Phone 7 is exactly my kind of phone. The native Xbox Live integration (profile, friends, messanging, achivements etc..) is amazing, and having Xbox Live enabled games on my mobile device is just plain awesome.

But I did realize that most of the people I got in touch with lately, knew pretty much nothing about Xbox and Xbox Live before picking up their Windows Phone 7 device. Are they joining the lovely Xbox Community now? Here’s a post for all of them, and – as the official forums at Xbox.com just got a total facelift – a quick link to get started:

Xbox.com > Windows Phone 7 Discussion

I’ll see you there ;)

 

Add a Live Tile to your app in 3 minutes

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

As a follow up to my latest blog post, I want to show how easy it is to have a working Live Tile for your app. Here it is in brief:

  1. 1- create a static image or a webservice returning one (optimal size is 173×173 px), have it available on the web
  2. 2- include the following code snippet in your Application_Launching method
    new ShellTileSchedule
    {
    RemoteImageUri = new Uri(@"http://yourwebsite.com/pathtoimageorwebservice"),
    Recurrence = UpdateRecurrence.Interval,
    Interval = UpdateInterval.EveryHour,
    MaxUpdateCount = 0,
    StartTime = DateTime.Now
    }.Start();
    
  3. 3- there’s no 3. Now how hard was that?

ShellTileSchedule is the easiest way to have your Live Tile up and running in no time. So where’s the catch you may ask? Well, I’d love to say there aren’t but that wouldn’t be true: here are a few points to pay attention to.

#1 the first tile update won’t happen until the specified time interval has passed, and ’1 hour’ is the shortest interval you can use. This doesn’t help with testing / fine tuning your Tile.

#2 the Windows Phone dev team itself suggests to put the code above in Application_launching, and this makes perfect sense on the first run of your app. One issue is that subsequent calls to the same method will re-schedule the update for 1 hour later. In this scenario, if your app is opened twice in 1 hour, the Tile update won’t happen.

#3 there’s no way to tell if the scheduler is active or if it has been deactivated (it happens without notice if it fails to download the pic 3 times). If there was, #2 wouldn’t be an issue.

What to do? Personally I’d just live with it, as the ‘Mango‘ update is supposed to give better and more stable tools to handle Live Tiles from a developer point of view.

One way to make #2 a smaller problem would be – for example – to run the initialization code just once every day, so that launching the app won’t re-schedule the update. In the event that it gets deactivated it would be fixed the next day.
But if you’re a perfectionist and got a lot of time in your hands, check out this blog post by Silverlight MVP Mark Monster, who provides a better (but more time consuming) solution to most of these issues.