Developers

A month ago Microsoft gave Windows Phone developers the ability to respond to Store reviews. This was a new feature welcomed by the developer community as it gave them a way to address misinformed reviews or customer complaints. Now a month later, Microsoft has shared some details on the success of the program so far. For example, most developers see an average star rating increase of +1.2 when they respond to reviews.

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Disclaimer

There is nothing new in this post. I'm just bringing this up now because a lot of people seem to not know the facts. It also has nothing to do with Windows Phone specifically, but rather pretty much every platform. The point of this post is not to spread FUD, but to remind people to not take security for granted.

OAuth

For those that don't know what OAuth is, it is an open standard for authorization. OAuth provides client applications a 'secure delegated access' to server resources on behalf of a resource owner. It specifies a process for resource owners to authorize third-party access to their server resources without sharing their credentials.

These days OAuth is used pretty much everywhere where an external client needs to login to some sort of service. You've used it with Google (I used it to upload the video in this post), Microsoft apps (Skype, Xbox Smartglass, Visual Studio), Twitter, Facebook, and countless others.

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Microsoft continues to move around – and in some cases layoff – various employees or contractors associated with Nokia and Windows Phone. Although the significant cuts came a few weeks ago, there are still some aftershocks being felt. One of those deals with the Developer Ambassadors from Nokia, as that team is being disbanded effectively at the end of this month.

In a letter sent out to developers from Microsoft DVLUP, the news of the group's demise is revealed, in addition to giving a hearty thanks to the team for their dedication.

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Microsoft is rolling out the ability for developers to respond directly to reviews in the Windows Phone Store. Replying to reviews is a feature that we reported on before the Windows Phone 8.1 announcement and was later confirmed by Microsoft. Select developers have had the ability since April thanks to a phased rollout, but a wider rollout is taking place now.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is now rolling out to those enrolled in the Preview for Developers program. Enthusiasts and developers can try out the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system by participating in the program. This update introduces new features, like Live Folders on the Start Screen, and also introduces support for new device resolutions. Developers will want to grab the new Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 SDK and emulators to test against those resolutions.

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For a few months now, you may have heard us mention that smartwatches and smart accessories were on the horizon for Windows Phone, especially towards August and September. The FitBit app announced last week is the first in that volley, and more are coming later this month.

Developer Jeremy Sinclair has now gone through the Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that is rolling out today for Preview users and documented all the new APIs available. It is quite telling, as many of these APIs are to handle background and telephony tasks for those connected devices.

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AdDuplex has recently announced that its new Direct service has gone live. To remind everyone what AdDuplex Direct is all about, it's a new platform for app publishers and advertisers to arrange direct advertising placement deals, negating the paperwork, payment processing hassle and other headaches associated with locating publishers to part with their cash for in-app advertising. AdDuplex already offers a range of options for developers (particularly on Windows Phone and it's great to see yet another service added.

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Microsoft is changing up how developers get resources for Windows Phone and Windows 8. In fact, they're actually merging developer resources for Windows and Windows Phone. That's not all, they're adding twenty one new payout markets and highlighting the new Kinect for Windows 2.0 SDK. Details on all changes below.

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Starting with Windows Phone 8.1 users can select a background wallpaper for their Start screen. The trick only works with apps that have a transparent Live Tile, which has resulted in a massive push by fans for more apps with those see-through Tiles. But like all things in life, sometimes it goes too far. For instance, many people have – rightly – complained that they liked those 'signature' colors for certain apps because it made finding them easier. I agree.

What's the best way to rectify the situation? Give users a choice. Here's how to do it.

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Ready to find out how the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store are doing? Microsoft has just published a report showing trends for the two platforms. We learn a lot of interesting things in the post. For example, did you know that low-memory devices, like the Lumia 520, lead in app downloads? Highlights after the break.

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