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Posts Tagged ‘wp7applist’

The very best apps in the #wp7 marketplace

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

You may have heard about #wpappawards on twitter or via my friend Saijo at 1800PocketPC, you may not.

Well, here’s the full story :)

 

I know for a fact that users passionate about a particular technology love these kind of events, and thought it was about time that we had one for Windows Phone! I’ve been working on it for the last month and the initial feedback has been pretty awesome.

The first phase (nominations!) will end this Saturday, and Sunday the actual voting phase begins.
Any app currently available in the USA marketplace can be nominated for an award in one of the different 18 categories (2 bonus categories will be added for voting), and anyone can nominate and vote for their app of choice.

Like the sound of it? If you want to recommend your favorite app(s) hurry app and follow the link at the bottom, if you just want to show your support make sure to hit it starting next Sunday, May 20th. I’ll see you there!

Windows Phone 7 2012 Community App Awards

Lesson learned

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I was pretty excited about the last update I shipped for WP7applist’s app, as it fixes a few annoying bugs and it adds interesting features (like Mango / fast app switching support). Shortly after it went live I started getting reports of the app being unresponsive, bulky, and slower then before. I was very surprised as it was actually a lot smoother in my eyes, and I couldn’t quite get what users were talking about. Then I realized.

Last month I blogged about my new Windows Phone device (Samsung Omnia W, or Focus Flash overseas), and when I say it’s fast.. well, I really mean it! I installed the updated app on my old LG E900 and I could finally see what users were talking about. For the record, the main issue was the huge background image, rendered at 32bpp, so to make the gradient look super cool.

Long story short, I submitted a new update just a few minutes ago: it includes a new graphic restyling (also a dark and a light theme), better ad positioning, and some more UI improvements. Most of it was based on users feedback, so hopefully this will make some users happy.

Sorry for the issues you may be experiencing with the app and thanks for your patience, the new update should be just a few days away. :)

WP7applist app update, Mango edition (sneak preview)

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Sometimes real life gets in the way and keeps you from getting fun stuff done. We all know the feeling, but it seems to happen more often than not to me lately.

I was finally able to find some time for a LONG due update, which involves the Windows Phone 7 app related to my fansite WP7applist. Can you believe that you can’t take advantage of any Mango feature yet from the app? Well fear not, and read on!



Disclaimer: this is just a preview, things are going to change etc.. but yes, this is where we stand at the moment.

First of all, as you can see the app got some brand new graphics and a huge makeover. Not many people complained about the old orange background, but I figured that many more would if everyone would care to leave some feedback, so I just went ahead and cleaned up the UI. Feel free to comment on the design before the update is shipped to the Marketplace!

Second of all, I moved some things around according to the feedback I got: for example, the app now greets you with the “discovery links list” instead of “spotlight”, and a few things (info, settings, feedback) were taken off the main Panorama view and presented on a separate page.

Third of all.. yes, the app finally supports fast app switching – this alone is worth the update. Trust me, I know this would have come sooner.

Last of all (but this is far from being the full list of improvements) this update will also include infinite-scrolling lists, which I have running on my beta builds from quite a while, and I can definitely say that they are a big plus.

Keep an eye open for the update in the next couple weeks if you’re a fan of the app, and feel free to leave any last minute feedback (here in the comments, on twitter, or via email) – I’ll try to squeeze in as many features as I can before shipping the update for certification. :)

xbox+windows phone awesomesouce

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Word on the streets (and on official Microsoft’s blogs as well) is that a brand new xbox companion app is almost ready to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace, and – from the look of it – xbox and wp7 lovers are gonna LOVE it.

…an amazing little tool that will let you Find, Learn more about and Control content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace on your Xbox 360

Not only it will let us browse the Xbox Marketplace for games, movies and music, but it also includes the so-called “controller mode”, in which we will be able to fully navigate the Xbox 360′s menus, control video playback etc..

The price? FREE!

Keep an eye on WP7applist’s RSS feed for new free apps to spot it as soon as it’s available.

 

Windows Phone 7: 30K apps and counting

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Yes, it happened yesterday!

But keep on reading to see what this number is exactly.

 

Straight to the point:

- 30.000+ is the number of apps that have been approved in the USA marketplace since I started keeping track (late November 2010)

- 25.564 is the number of apps actually available in the USA marketplace in this very moment. Where are the rest of apps you may ask? They’ve been removed. They may or may not come back, but technically speaking this is how many apps you can download.

 

What about marketplaces outside of USA? I currently track Italy and UK, and I know for a fact that they have a few apps that aren’t available in the USA marketplace, and surely this is the case for many other internation markets / regions.

I do have a plan to scan ALL the available regions, even just to total up the number of apps – it’s just a matter of time to put it to code (and possibly avoid to have my web server explode! )

 

So there you have it, hopefully this will clear it up, and if anyone tells you there’s more apps than that – either they are talking about international exclusive apps or they are lying! So yeah.. watch out! ;)

New server, new design

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve started moving my websites to a new server I got: WP7applist came first and now it’s my blog’s turn. For the record, I went from a small dedicated server in Italy, to a pretty good VPS in the UK with Xtraordinary Hosting, and the performance increase have been impressive so far!

With the move, I took the chance to update the blog’s design and drop the pre-made theme I had in favour of a new one I designed. Nothing fancy, but you can tell it’s strongly inspired to the Metro UI which I literally love lately so yeah.. I’m pretty happy of the results so far.

Oh and if you’re reading this it also means that your DNS cache has been updated and you’re indeed browsing the brand new server. Things should be smoother from now on!

WP7applist app reviews

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I love getting users feedback on my projects, and this tends to be pretty easy on mobile apps.

It’s nice and rewarding to read comments such as “best marketplace app so far”, “awesome app, much better organized than marketplace”, “thanks guys for rekindling my interest in WP7apps” (!), and it’s invalueable to find out that for some “the live tile does not update”, “the live tile is broken, never changes”, “fix the live updates for a better rating”. Yes, I can see a trend there, in fact I have a fix ready in the next update (currently under testing at Microsoft).

One thing I really love is when people take the time to write an in-depth review, exploring all of the possibilities and – in case of mobile apps – take a short clip of the app in action for a video review. There were some awesome people doing that for WP7applist, and I’d like to say THANKS to each one of them. So here are some reviews I could find so far:

[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

 

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.

The importance of being a Live-Tile

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

If you were asked 3 things you like the most about Windows Phone 7, what would you say? My answer would be: “in no particular order, the revolutionary Start Screen UI/UX, the Marketplace and Live Tiles“.

I’d like to spend a few words about the last one. If you’re a WP7 user I don’t really need to tell you how howesome Live Tiles are. Developers of all platforms always strive to let you complete a task in the fewest number of clicks (or touches) possible: 3, 2, 1.. How about ZERO? That’s what Live Tiles are for.

Whatever an app does, chances are 99% of the times you’re interested in a piece of information that can perfectly fit in a small icon, and I strongly believe that developers must take advantage of that. How many times did you have to choose between a few similar apps and picked up the one that included a Live Tile? I always do. How many times you didn’t care about an app including a Live Tile or not? I rarely ever did.

I hardly believe that it’s just me, also based on the fact that one of the most common suggestions I get for WP7applist, is to highlight apps that include a Live Tile. So here’s a call to all Windows Phone 7 develoepers: when your new app is 100% done.. don’t ship it just yet. Ask yourself what feature you use the most, how you could present it in a small icon, and make a Live Tile out of it. Trust me, this will greatly help your app’s sales, and also make the majority of your customers happy. :)