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Posts Tagged ‘wp7dev’

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

Secret unveiled #undergr0und

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I’ve been hinting about a new project I was working on, without being able to say much more a few months ago – well, here’s the full story on The Verge:
App academy: the student developers building the Windows Phone ecosystem.

“Want to help student developers on Windows phone?”

This is the question I got that started my collaboration with Microsoft and ultimately led to the publication of the Underground app (WP7applist / Web Marketplace). Microsoft is doing an awesome job in getting student developers involved in the creation of apps for Windows Phone 7 (hit the article above to read some success story), and I’m so glad that I could help promote their apps and their hard work with the Underground app for WP7.

From a geeky point of view, it also gave me the chance to actually work with some cool stuff that I’ve only been experiment with, before – such as Windows Azure.

For more information about Underground you can check out www.findyourcolony.com or #undergr0und on Twitter.

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. :)

#wp7dev fix for error 0×89740005

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

I had an interesting (and annoying altogether)  issue today, and thought I would share the solution as it may hopefully help someone else. Also, as this kinda relates to the first Windows Phone 7 birthday, I figure it is likely to happen to many other developers in the next coming days.

Facts: I was trying to sideload a custom app to my device, but I kept getting the above error code. Not sure why I didn’t get the actual error message instead, but a quick google search revealed that my device was in a “developer locked” state.

Well, no problem: just open the phone unlock tool included in the SDK and that will fix it. Right? Not at all: while the tool told me it had correctly unlocked my device, I got the same error in Visual Studio.

So I logged in to App Hub to check that my registration was active and healthy, and that’s when I found out that my “unlock registration” had just expired on that particular device. Apparently the phone unlock tool doesn’t renew it on its own, so (finally!) the solution is to remove the device on App Hub and run the unlock process afterwards. And that WILL fix it.

Happy coding. :)

WP7 developers get early access to Mango

POSTED BY Luigi Violin ON

Yes, the time has come. And yes, it is for real.
Microsoft just announced the immediate availability of Windows Phone SDK 7.1 Beta 2, as well as confirmation of early access to the Mango OS update (build 7661).

If you’re registered for Windows Phone Marketplace, you’ll receive an invitation from Microsoft Connect that will provide access to a firmware update for your retail Windows Phone device.

So now we wait. Connect invites are being sent already and every developer should get one (for one device only) in the next few hours. Go hit that ‘F5′ key!

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. :)