Developers

We've covered the Unification service fairly extensively here at Windows Phone Central and have continued to support Liquid Daffodil with attempts to drum up interest from developers to implement support for Unification in their apps. We've got some numbers to share with you all today with how the Unification service is shaping up and how the community is getting involved.

tl;dr if you haven't yet connected your app with Unification, you may wish to do so.

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The developer of Metrotube, Lazyworm has released an update for its popular Windows Phone YouTube app. So what's new in this latest release? Lazyworm has opened it up for other Windows Phone 8 developers to utilise URI app-to-app communication and automatically launch Metrotube's player from within their own apps. 

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This year's HACKED event, which is a free-to-attend weekend of intense learning, building and sharing of cool stuff (that's what the website says) has sold out on tickets. Fear not though as the organisers plan to release more batches through June. Whether you're an expert, novice or a developer or designer, everyone is invited to take part (should you manage to get a place, of course).

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The "Windows Phone Store" is a pretty big concept. Instead of being one simple market available to all users equally and indifferently, it has countless facets intended for specific user groups and regions.

Depending on your OEM, carrier, geographic region, OS version, and size of RAM, the apps visible to you just won't be the same. When things get complicated in order to serve as many types of consumers as possible, the chance of stuff going wrong gets increased as well.

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Developers have a hard time getting word out about their work, especially since the platform is still relatively young. Here in the UK we have the Windows Phone User Group, headed up by Matt Lacey (@mrlacey). The monthly meetings enable developers to showcase their apps and / or work in all areas of Windows Phone. We tag along each time to offer more support for developers and to see what's new in the community.

It's a perfect opportunity to get involved and also to meet ourselves for some coverage on this very website. This coming Monday (May 20th), the group is heading to Nokia's new offices in Paddington, London. We encourage all developers to register, come along and demonstrate their work to the audience. As an incentive, there's a special prize on offer too for the best app. Who doesn't want free promotion these days?

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Microsoft is offering classes for the younger generations to get started with technology. The YouthSpark Summer Camps will take place at Microsoft Stores in the US and will begin in June. If you head on over to the main hub, one can manipulate the calendar search on the store results page to view availability and more.

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Hey developers, if you ever wondered what we at Windows Phone Central look for when reviewing apps and games, you’ll want to check out the latest episode of the AppBizDev podcast, run by Alan Mendelevich (AdDuplex) and Senior Technical Evangelist for Windows 8 in Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism group, Ben Riga.

In case you haven’t heard of it before, AppBizDev (www.appbizdev.com) focuses on the business end Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8—advertising and monetization. It’s a solid tool for tips and advice how to make the most of your app strategy.

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Marketplace Dashboard for Windows Phone 8 is an app designed to help developers keep track of the apps and games they have in the Windows Phone Store. The app gives you a view of your apps including crash count, submission status and download counts.

Marketplace Dashboard has main pages that will list your published works and a page for those apps/games still in the certification process. The paid, version of Marketplace Dashboard, which is currently on saleallows each app to be pinned to your Start Screen that will display app stats.

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With the arrival of the new Facebook beta app for Windows Phone 8 this week, the discussion immediately focused on two aspects (1) functionality (2) design. The first one is one of those “in motion” issues that all betas face, meaning some functions may yet have been added (especially when combined with the ever changing feature set of the Facebook ecosystem). The second though ranges from personal opinion to a higher discussion of Design Principles.

More specifically, the question of whether the new Facebook app is “Metro” enough (or whatever you want to call the Modern UI Design Principles that runs through Windows Phone) has become one of the hot topics amongst commenters.

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We've covered Microsoft's push into the realm of two-step authentication quite extensively as the company continues to roll changes out and patch up broken areas of its backend. This includes the Dev Center app for Windows Phone, which caused issues for those who desired to utilise the app after upgrading their account to be more secure. Microsoft has now reported that it has fixed the problem.

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We don’t cover too much on the topic of design around here, but this was too handy to pass up for developers looking to do more with Windows 8. Ratio Interactive (http://www.ratiointeractive.com/) is a digital agency up in Seattle that makes various apps for companies across a lot of platforms.

But lately they’ve been doing some kickass work with Windows 8 apps. Between running contests around app design and actually making apps (AllRecipes and various Conde Nest properties) they know a thing or two about Windows 8.

So here’s a handy handbook for Windows 8 design from the Ratio Interactive team.

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Last night as I was loading up a few apps on my phone I hit an anomaly: I was asked to buy Amazing Weather HD. Why is that odd? Well, Amazing Weather (along with Weather Flow) is one of my top apps and I bought it the day it came out, months ago.

As it turns out, it appears that this is becoming a widespread problem with the Windows Phone Store, a return of a similar glitch that hit Windows Phone 8 users last fall. That issue was much more frustrating though as it hit a lot of apps, depending on your purchase history.

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Events like the Boston Hackathon are the places where the next must-have app are born. If you’ve never been to a hackathon you’re missing out on a great event where you can meet like-minded people with a vast array of creativity and talent. Let’s look at three of those apps you’ll hopefully be enjoying soon on your Windows Phone.

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The Department of Computer Science and Telecommunications at the TEI (Technological Educational Institute) of Larissa, Greece has once again partnered with Microsoft Hellas to launch another developer contest. This time the competition will cover Windows 8 apps. We've previously looked at the contests held at the institute for Windows Phone, offering the opportunity to budding developers who'd like the chance to display and utilise their creativity.

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One of the bigger news coming out from last summer’s Windows Phone 8 reveal was support for game engines – like Unity. It allows game developers to easily target multiple platforms if their particular engine is supported there. Unity is one of the more popular engines at the moment, with support for nearly any platform you can think of. Right now game developers can get early access to the beta of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 versions of Unity.

Want to jumpstart to Windows Phone 8 and Unity?

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While everyone here has played a game or used an app that offers some kind of in-app-purchase (IAP), most of us probably don’t give the mobile payment systems that work behind the scenes much thought. And yet developers certainly have to consider mobile payment systems if they’re going to accept payments from users.

At GDC last week, we had the opportunity to speak with Rain Rannu, the Co-Founder of Fortumo Ltd.  Fortumo provides mobile payment services for Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, Windows 8 and RT, and several other mobile platforms. They’ve recently teamed up with Microsoft to offer an exciting deal for developers who sign up to use Fortumo with their Windows products by the end of May.

Head past the break for more details and our video interview!

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Galactic Reign was quite the revelation when it appeared on Windows 8 and then Windows Phone 7 and 8 last month. Here was an exclusive strategy game for Windows platforms with cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer, and Microsoft basically forgot to tell anybody about it before release. But it’s definitely worth playing if you enjoy competitive strategy games. Check out our review to learn just how the game works.

One of Galactic Reign’s most unique aspects has to be its large-scale space battles. See, the fleets of ships that clash against each other in the game can number in the thousands. Instead of rendering these battles in-engine, the details about each side’s armada are sent to the cloud. From there, a cinematic video gets constructed and sent back to the game for players to watch.

The technology for those cloud space battles comes from Canadian developer Slant Six games. Last week at GDC 2013, we chatted with Paul Martin, Director of Technology and James Ricker, Cinematics Director about Galactic Reign’s videos and Slant Six Games’ experience working with Microsoft. Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Microsoft and Nokia are preparing to hold a Windows Phone Developer Camp in London. May 11th this year will mark the day when the two companies will provide an introduction to the Windows Phone platform for developers who haven't quite looked into hopping on to the train just yet. Numerous sessions will be held with some hands-on labs. It's set to be a worthwhile day for anyone looking to develop apps for Windows Phone.

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