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wpcentral app v4.3
99

Another update for the official WPCentral app live today

Last week we pushed out an update to our app with a few new features, bug fixes and speed improvements, whilst also promising that a second part of that update would be coming this week. Well, that time is now and you can pick up the second release of v4.3 for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 from the marketplace right now.

This release contains an important fix for Windows Phone 8 users where using the lock screen wallpaper functionality was causing the app to use up more of your storage than it needed to. That problem is solved now and we've even included a new button in the settings that will clear out all files held by the app in temporary storage for those of you who like control over your gigabytes. See below for what else has changed.

  • Added forum likes (WP8 only, WP7 coming soon)
  • Implemented support for multiple YouTube videos
  • Fixed a memory issue with WP8 causing the use of too much storage by the app
  • Added option to delete all temporary files used in the app cache
  • Inline images now larger to improve reading experience

We know many of you were keen to see forum likes and the Windows Phone 8 implementation was ready for this release so we're pleased to be providing that functionality today. Unfortunately the same shared code was not working for our beta users on Windows Phone 7 so we're going to take a little longer and figure out how to get the tapatalk API to play ball. We'l update the app again when likes are possible for WP7 users.

The multiple video support is something our own Paul Acevedo has been asking for and we've finally found the time to implement it. Now if a post contains multiple videos you'll be presented with a list enriched from YouTube and the option to play any of the content.

As always, get in touch through the comments, forums or through the app’s feedback functionality and let us know your opinions.

Download the official Windows Phone Central app here from the Store.

QR: wpcentral

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Reader comments

Another update for the official WPCentral app live today

99 Comments

Jay, you're a beast!
Does this fix the high quality image issue on 512MB devices? Or is that coming in another update Friday?
Edit: Updated the app on my 720 and can confirm that it has indeed been fixed, thank you so much!

Why would it be meant to be that way? Using my home WiFi right this second and it hasn't been a problem displaying images on my 521. In fact, I had app set to use low quality when using 4g. Jay, can you explain this?

We introduced this change earlier in v4 when it became clear that some higher quality images on the site were causing too high memory utilisation on 512mb devices and thus crashes. It got accidently reverted in last weeks update so has been put right.
However I have been working on more memory optimisations and hope to bring back high quality images reliably on 512mb devices very soon

Yeah see my reply above as to the reasoning for this.
But just to add to it: I now finally have a Lumia 720 myself to do some proper testing on these lower memory devices

Thanks wpc, off topic- those of you who are putting up with a 1 in your market tile because you have the 'illegal' YouTube app-is there some way of removing the pop up on startup about bug reporting? Frustrates me is all :(

Me too! I'm holding off on calling up att for some warranty claims because of this one item. I don't want to loose this app like I did before moving from the 900 to the 920 (lost Sonic CD, sweet game but it was lame that I legitimately had the full version only never to get it again...still burned on that).

Next update should include the option to use the iconic live tile to use the large text as the title and smaller text as the body of the article. I think it would look nicer on my start screen :3

What myTube should do is support the standard URI like Metrotube does. Then there is no need for WP Central to do anything to support it.

We have been in conversation with myTube yes, but what Nik Rolls is probably going to be a better idea in the long run. In fact we may even remove the MetroTube button now that they have implemented the standard Uri support.

Awesome!

Note that you can remove the 'Metrotube' option from Videos now because Metrotube handles Youtube links natively. Currently when I select Youtube in WP Central, Windows 8 itself asks me to choose between Youtube and Metrotube.

Now that is interesting, I didn't know MetroTube were going to do that. I'll get in touch with them see if they're happy to use that as the primary interface

That was in the last update. It should never have been possible to enable it because it simply won't work without the live tile background task which is needed to update the lock screen.

What we did last update was make sure it was clear to users that if they enabled the lock screen outside of the app it would not function correctly unless they have the full version installed

This must be the same issue with WP8 that causes MANY other apps to use too much storage. Is it the one where tmp files aren't deleted by the OS? Are you deleting these files via brute force upon app exit now?

Not quite, I wasn't going to go into detail but seeing as you've prompted me, I'll indulge you :)

When we generate lock screen images on the device we have to provide a URI for the OS to point it at that rendered lock screen image. Annoyingly that URI has to be different from the last one used, so you can't just render the image and then overwrite the last used image as the lock screen then won't refresh.

To get around this problem, the first lock screen wallpapers were generated with a timestamp on the end of their filename (ensuring they were unique). The full filename was then saved to a second place in memory so that the next time a lock screen was generated, the last filename was retrieved and then that file could be deleted.

The problem came in that sometimes the task fails or the image fails to delete, and if it failed once or the delete wasn't run once, the app would never attempt to delete it again.

As a result, all of these images where the delete process had failed would just build up in the Isolated Storage, unchecked, and each taking up a megabyte or so. If you imagine that the background task runs at most 48 times a day, if even 10% of those runs failed that's just under 4.8MB storage chewed up per day.

Now the delete code is what I should have done in the first place, find all files which match a pattern of *lockScreen*.jpg and delete them before saving the new lock screen to memory. It ensures that we're only ever storing the one required lock screen image and also clears down any that were previously not deleted in old versions of the app.

Aside from that fix, the button I've included goes a bit further, it recursively checks through the app's Isolated Storage and deletes anything which isn't the user's settings (or the offline list which we keep), ensuring that all stored data is wiped.

This is some serious memory optimization. So this problem could potentially affect other apps that control the lock screen background, correct? Wonder if Amazing Weather HD has been using up so much memory on my L920 because it stores a copy of all the images from the local directory I pointed it to, or if its because of this aforementioned issue. Or a combination of both.

And it just baffles me how people can complain about paying 99 cents for one of the best apps on the platform.

Well I've just ended up tweeting a link to that comment seeing as I spent so much time explaining it, feel free to tweet it at your other favourite app developers

Will do. You keep setting the bar high! And I'm looking forward to seeing how you utilize all the powerful tools/goodies in Win8.1 :)

Hey Jay I just use 2 image names and switch between them, you only have 2 images saved at any point.

        public static string getLockScreenImageName()

        {

            try

            {

                string fileName;

                var currentImage = Windows.Phone.System.UserProfile.LockScreen.GetImageUri();

 

                if (currentImage.ToString().EndsWith("_A.jpg"))

                {

                    fileName = "LiveLockBackground_B.jpg";

                }

                else

                {

                    fileName = "LiveLockBackground_A.jpg";

                }

 

                return fileName;

            }

            catch

            {

                

            }

            return null;

        }

One more question, Jay. What happens if I assign rights for "detailed notifications" to WPCentral? Would that result in "You have x articles to read" being displayed on the lock screen? Or would that display the most recent article headline? I still haven't gotten the WPCentral lock screen to display the "you have x articles to read" message, that's why I'm curious.

It won't do anything. We don't actually support the detailed notifications part of the lock screen, only the count. Problem is there's no way to specify that in the AppManifest as far as I know. The "you have x articles" text is generated in the background task when the live tile is updated. If it's failing that means we've hit a memorry limitation again, in which case I suggest using the Iconic live tile as it requires less memory from the background task.

So no more images on live tile for 512 devices?? It worked fine on last update no issues. I like having the flip tile with images. If not am going to uninstall and not bother with this app anymore

Sean, as I said I'm hoping to reliably bring it back next update, but it has been crashing on the lower memory devices in previous versions and I have to make sure that we focus on availability first. Of course if you feel you'd rather uninstall the app that is entirely your choice.

I'm looking into the image on live tile issue at the moment, and will be testing on my Lumia 720 over the weekend to see works and what we might need to change.

Sorry Jay took it out on you. I was having a bad morning today. I never got to read all the comments due to being busy and i became confused because the previous version on my Lumia 720 never had any issues at all. I shall wait. Thanks

Not a problem at all. Your question had me look through my code again and you are right that there is a bug with the live tile when it's updated through the main app rather than the background task that causes the images not to render. I will fix this tonight and submit it over the weekend (also hoping to solve the WP7 forum likes issue).

aah, I've observed this for quite some time now but never reported it, just assumed that it was part of the 512MB device limitation. But then again, there *were* instances when the tile used to show up images, every once in a while. I guess this was when the tile was rendered by the background agent. Good to know that a fix will be coming soon. That wide tile looks twice as awesome when the image is displayed. :)

First of all I think you guys work for Microsoft, because how else could you guys get your app updated & certified so quickly ( quicker than any other ms app.... Also why does the live tile show half the news story cut off , is there a fix coming for that.... Great app by the way

We don't have push notifications yet, but we do have the option to enable e-mail notifications in the app. These e-mails now contain an app link which when tapped will launch you straight to the comment which was sent in reply to yours :)

Can't you make the app free for those of us who are willing to pay for it but can't because of the stupid payment method here in India :( As i dont have credit card and cant pay through debit card.

You can pay by debit card,. Just enter the debit card details like number and cvv in place of credit card details, its done..  It worked for me..

Great work, as always, Jay. Many of the big companies who haven't put out official apps should take note of how you handle things to make sure your app is truly supported. Perhaps they can hire a good indie dev like you to get their apps out into the market a bit faster?

Cool thanks :)
Question: Anyway of getting the app to launch when clicking on your twitter links, instead of going to the web browser? Similar to the way a link to a store application works?

Still can't update to it... after the last update, I just get an error of c101a7d1 when I try to update..
 
I paid for it a long time ago and I am on a Lumia 928....

David, unfortunately that's a store issue not one that I have any control over. Please contact Microsoft support to get your issue resolved!

I'll try to uninstall it and reinstall it...maybe that will work...
 
WTF: It's telling me I have to re-buy it... Why ?
 
Edit: Checked through my app history on Windowsphone.com, Hmmm...only shows a trial, pretty sure I paid for it a while ago. 
Edit 2:  I actually found my email saying that I paid $0.99 for it on 11/4/2012, WTF else is missing on my history ?

This means your account purchase history has in some way been corrupted. My advice is to visit http://billing.microsoft.com and get in touch with their support. They should be able to refund your original purchase so that you can purchase again.

I contacted them, I had another issue with an app before (Metrotube was not able to be downloaded even tho I had the full version), So they gave me a refund, what they didn't do is refund Metrotube, they just grabbed an app. This was WPcentral.  They gave me 400 MS points that they are claiming it will be turned to $$$ next week.
 
I will rebuy it today, I still have $53 from the 928 free app money left...

Very nice of you both to say, I think on the internet we're very quick to forget the individuals that we're interacting with and tend to think of everyone as faceless corporations all of a sudden :)

Great app!  Less than a week on my switch to Windows Phone (Lumia 920) and so far this is the only app I have purchased.  Very well done.  Probably buy Amazing Weather HD next.

Why does the forum say "not signed in"? I assume I must be signed in to post a topic, but I don't see the sign in option anywhere.

When you try to reply you'll be prompted to sign in. Otherwise you can swipe to the left from the forums section and tap the "sign in" tile :)

Is there a known issue with lock screen notifications that I'm not aware of? They haven't been working since the last update (before this one) I think...

I'm using the flip tile (not the standard one). Apologies if its just no longer supported with that style, I have a bad habit of jumping right to the download link every time you release an update :)

Jay, my live tile has stopped updating! I reset my phone twice with one being a hard reset. Still no luck. Is this because of the update?

Afraid not, it might be an issue with your phone. If you search the site for "fixing background tasks" you should find a step by step guide that I recently updated for Windows Phone 8 :)

Thanks! But i tried uninstalling the app and reinstalling it. Works fine now. Guess that was another way to reregister it.

Jay, why does the app require one to sign in twice - once, to post in the articles and once more, to post in the forums? Wouldn't one sign in be sufficient?

Long story, to do with the different credentials we need to store for each of your logins. We'll hopefully change that soon

Great to hear that adding the 'like' feature in forums via the app is forthcoming for WP7 devices - this feature is first and foremost the only feature that will garner a purchase from me.
 
As soon as it is implemented, instant buy. 

You'll be pleased to know I submitted an update tonight which has likes working in WP7, should be with you by Wednesday :)