Dev Center

It was just this weekend that Microsoft unified pricing tiers to help make universal apps easier, and today they've opened the floodgates to developers and are now accepting Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps for review. As a refresher, universal apps take advantage of new frameworks in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 to allow developers to build apps once and deploy them across both platforms.

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Back at Build 2014 (remember that, two weeks ago?), Microsoft announced their initiative to unify apps across their entire ecosystem. That way a developer could build an app once and deploy it to Windows Phone, Windows, and even Xbox. But to make that a reality there was some back-end housekeeping to be done in order to make that a possibility. One of those steps: making it so you can price apps the same across all the stores.

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A week from now we’ll be packing our bags and getting ready to head to San Francisco. This is where Microsoft’s 2014 Build conference will take place. The focus is on developers and upcoming product innovation Microsoft is making for them. We’ll see what Microsoft has in store not just for developers, but consumers as well, when they unveil Window Phone 8.1.

Not only will developers be treated to an updated mobile operating system with new APIs and features, but we’ll also see changes on the backend. Changes to the Windows Phone Dev Center are expected to come as well.

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Back when Windows Phone launched, developers had to fork over $99 a year for access to the Dev Center (then it was called App Hub).  However, at the beginning of this summer, Microsoft slashed the price to just $19, or as they aptly put it “the cost of a pizza”. That special offer was to expire yesterday, but Microsoft’s Todd Brix has taken to Twitter to announce that the price is staying for the near future (he actually announced it yesterday, but we missed it).

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Microsoft launched its new online tool for new Windows Phone developers earlier this week, enabling those with app ideas to easily create and deploy working concepts. If you're a novice at app development, or simply reside in emerging markets and don't have an endless supply of funding, the Windows Phone App Studio beta is a simple solution that helps you get cracking without any obstacles. It's time to turn that app idea into reality.

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Microsoft's Todd Brix announced yesterday new developer tools to further expand the opportunity for those who wish to produce content for Windows Phone. As well as new capabilities for developers, the official blog post also goes into detail about new payout markets, as well as expanded payment options and how the store is growing. If you're considering whether or not Windows Phone is worth it, these changes may sway your mind.

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Today, Microsoft is making another effort to woo developers to Windows Phone, especially for those who are novices or who are located in emerging markets.

The latest change is two-fold and involves new online software for developers and a more lenient unlocking policy to sideload apps.The effort is to make it easier for developers to jump on board Windows Phone by lowering the cost and barrier to entry.

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No, your eyes do not deceive you. Microsoft has indeed slashed the price of its annual Windows Phone Dev Center subscription, which is now available for just $19. The subscription enables developers (or those who are looking to start developing) to access to a personal dashboard, some handy tools and the ability to submit and publish apps and games to the Windows Phone Store. Sweet!

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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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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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There's nothing worse for developers than updating their Windows Phone apps to address bugs and for the release to get lost wondering around the vast plains of the Microsoft Dev Center. Our own Jay Bennett has experienced an issue with the latest version of the Windows Phone Central app finding itself stuck in limbo (or rather "Certification Passed" and "Not Submitted" stages of approval).

Microsoft has since acknowledged the issue and has stated engineers are looking into reports.

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Dev Center is a Windows Phone app from Microsoft designed to give Windows Phone developers a better handle on their app's performances.

While all the performance data is available through Microsoft's Windows Phone Dev Center website, Dev Center app puts all that information on your Windows Phone, allowing developers to track the real world performance of their apps while on the go.

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Explained: A familiar error message for some Windows Phone users

Ever since WhatsApp was pulled and then re-released this past weekend, we have had a small deluge in complaints from users that they cannot install the update. Instead, they are greeted with the above error message, resulting in user frustration. What’s more, uninstalling the app, resetting the phone and dancing around in a circle did not fix the problem either.

We’ve been trying to figure out exactly why some users have the problem while others, including ourselves, do not. Just as interestingly, we wanted to know which apps were exhibiting the error.

Microsoft has now detailed the problem on the Windows Phone Blog and there’s good news and some bad news. The good news is they acknowledge that there is an issue and they even know what is causing it. As it turns out, there are some problems with certificates for new apps published in the Marketplace within the last week. 

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Software piracy is a serious battle, which can also affect our beloved platform developers. Microsoft has taken action by automatically applying encryption to all apps through the newly unveiled Dev Center. According to a detailed post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, Todd Brix states that all apps (including those already submitted) are automatically encrypted without user input.

We first heard about the possibility of server-side encryption back in November, 2011. From our understanding, Microsoft was waiting until everyone was on Mango to implement that feature and it now looks to have happened. If you recall, at the end of April Microsoft decreed that you had to have Windows Phone 7.5 to get to the Marketplace. Combined with the Dev Center refresh, we think that transition for encryption is now complete.

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You'll soon be purchasing apps from the Store

In the recent announcement of Microsoft launching the new Developer Center for the Windows Phone community, the company has also revealed a potential rebranding of the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is an expected move, which we'll rate as a strong possibility. The Windows 8 Store is present in the next version of Microsoft's desktop operating system, so to remain consistent it makes sense to bring in a new name.

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Microsoft today has announced the replacement for the App Hub dev portal. It's said to have been months in the making and having the underpinnings of a more robust and scalable backend the site is available to use now.

Among new feature highlights, the new website includes support of PayPal to pay for your developer account as well as be paid from the Marketplace. You are also now able to choose unique prices for each region as well as conduct far bigger beta tests encompassing thousands of testers if needed.

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