developer tools

Nokia today announced in Barcelona a new effort to support Android developers through its new X line of smartphones. Not only do we have a new platform with Nokia's branding, but the company is also busy enhancing tools and services available for Windows Phone developers with a new version of the Imaging software development kit (SDK), adding Windows 8.1 support.

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BugSense (www.bugsense.com) is a handy service for developers building apps on Android, iOS, Windows Phone or using other technologies. Helping content creators develop higher quality apps through bug and crash reporting, analytics and more enables consumers to enjoy apps and games with better experiences.

A new BugSense client has been released for Windows Phone and is a must download for any developer. Say hello to Bugsensitive.

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As it currently stands, should you wish to develop for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone, you'll need to take out two subscriptions - one for each platform. WPDang now reports that Microsoft is looking to combine both into a combined account, making it easier for developers to move from one platform to the next and cover not only the desktop but also the smartphone too.

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Kinvey (www.kinvey.com) is a cloud development platform that enables developers and enterprise to host and operate backend systems, without having to manage or scale physical hardware. Support for Windows Phone 8 has been absent until now, thanks to software development firm Penrillian. The company has developed a Windows Phone 8 DLL for Kinvey.

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Microsoft has released a new batch of badges for Windows Phone developers to use. While you can easily create your own in one of many available graphic programs, it's good to know that some effective images are ready to use immediately with a standard size and design. If you have your own website and would like to showcase your shiny new Windows Phone app, then these are definitely worth checking out.

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A handful of weeks ago Unity opened up early beta access for apps on the Windows store, enabling developers to try out the tools available. We were all wondering just when the company would open up the beta program and cover Windows Phone 8 development. That time has arrived, folks. It has been announced on the Unity blog that version 4 of the engine now covers Windows Phone 8.

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The Microsoft Media Platform team has released version 1.1 of the Player Framework for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The release includes a number of improvements, and is targeting developers who are building media apps (much like the Vimeo app - pictured above). The framework supports Silverlight, HTML5, Xbox, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps.

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Justin Angel, Principal Engineer for Windows Phone experience at Nokia, has released a new Bluetooth SDK for Windows Phone 8 that enables developers to take advantage of connectivity with MindWave portable EEG headsets. Said devices can pair with a Windows Phone to display readings in both data and chart form for users to look through.

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The Windows Phone User Group is back, and in full force it seems. To be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM, WPUG will once again be catering for developers to network, show off Windows Phone projects and to discuss aspects of the platform. 

The WPGeek Developer Marketplace will be covered next Wednesday, as well as the possibility of some Windows Phone 8 hardware being present. We've previously been to WPUG meet-ups where Nokia has not only shown a friendly face, but has also sponsored the event itself, so there's certainly a chance of a device or two being present.

Our Rob Brand, Jay Bennett and myself will be heading along, so be sure to sign up for next week's event if you believe you'll be able to attend and we'll see you there.

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Nokia has reached an agreement to sell its Qt app development tools unit to Digia as it focuses on Windows Phone 8 and its future partnership with Microsoft. Nokia will be placing all its eggs into one basket and will be pushing its next line of Windows Phones harder to continue the increase in platform shipping and sales figures.

Purchasing the Qt technology back in 2008, Nokia provided its developer community with tools to write apps for both Symbian and MeeGo devices, but the manufacturer has since halted expansion on both platforms, favouring its partnership with Microsoft and the Windows Phone operating system.

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AdDuplex, the Windows Phone developer promotion network, has announced its expansion to support Windows 8. The service enables developers to advertise their app in other applications who have the advertisement code implemented. It's not primarily a money-making scheme, but more for promotional and app awareness, something which is vital on any mobile platform.

With the announced support for Microsoft's upcoming desktop OS, the network will expand to accommodate developers who will seek to use the service for apps on the Windows Marketplace. Being cross-platform, AdDuplex provides a consistency across both mobile and the desktop, making it easier for developers to drive traffic to their projects.

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Mobile advertising platform Millennial Media has announced today availability for a new advertising SDK for Windows Phone developers. Windows Phone recently smashed the 100,000 published apps mark, so we're likely to see more advertising services offer up tools for developers to take advantage of an earn a few quid.

This advertising network is offering a SDK, which contains self-service mobile tools and innovative features that reportedly make it easier for developers to integrate apps with the network. The type of advertisements that's supported by the SDK includes banner and rich media, as well as interactive video.

Highlighted features listed on the official announcement are as follows;

  • An updated, easy-to-use interface
  • Improved location APIs
  • Support for ads that use the accelerometer
  • A single SDK for both Silverlight and XNA apps

If you're struggling with an existing Windows Phone advertising network it might be worth checking out what the Millennial Media Windows Phone SDK has to offer.

Source: Millennial Media

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Our friends over at Windows Phone Geek, the developer-based community, have announced their new marketplace (link) that caters for developers who requires tools to help them build apps on the platform. This beta (currently invite-only) Windows Phone marketplace enables developers to buy / sell UI controls, developer tools, SDKs, app templates, source code and more.

So why launch a developer marketplace? The goal is to help developers build high quality apps and offer tools in a single location. For those who have already crafted such tools and projects, they can release them for free or earn a little revenue on the side by selling the tools to other platform developers. Submissions are stated to be free. Boryana Miloshevska, Founder and CEO of WPGeek Ltd, had the following to say:

"Our purpose is not just to list thousands of low quality components, but to list only those that really can bring value and can help developers to build better apps. So, quality and not just quantity is what we aim to achieve with the WindowsPhoneGeek Marketplace!"

Be sure to head on over to Windows Phone Geek to check out the resources available and show interest into the newly announced developer marketplace.

Source: Windows Phone Geek

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Elan Feingold, co-founder of Plex, has shared his thoughts on the experience the company has had with development on the platform thus far. Plex recently released the official app for Windows Phone, which enables the user to stream movies, music and photos to their device(s) on the go.

Feingold is a longtime iPhone user who has never had any interest in Android, due to the mess of the system itself, fragmentation and how much work is involved into personalising the experience to suit the user's needs. He was introduced to Windows Phone ("Mango") by his brother, and explains his initial reaction:

"When Windows Phone 7 was released, I was intrigued by the design and typography [...] my initial impression (this was pre-Mango) was lukewarm, and I was obsessed with the iPhone at that point anyway, so I just went all fanboy on his ass and mostly ignored it."

Feingold moves onto talk about how he returned to Windows Phone in January and ordered himself a second-hand Samsung handset to aid with development. He was surprised by how impressed the operating system left him after initial use.

"Windows Phone felt original, well designed, and fun to use. The performance was great, really smooth in a way iOS is and Android isn’t even in ICS. The 'pivot' and 'panorama' UI concepts were fresh and a great way of making good use of a small screen in portrait mode. The typography was clean and brazen. The integration of Facebook and Twitter made them feel like first class citizens, not an afterthought. The live tiles on the home screen were a great way to make the phone feel alive."

The features of the OS were so appealing during and after use that it actually made Feingold almost dislike using his beloved iPhone. How was the development of the Plex app though, and does it stand up to competitor platforms? The icing on the cake is the below comment on how the development on Windows Phone compares to both iOS and Android:

"So how is the Windows Phone development environment? It’s scary good. C# is a great language, .NET is a solid framework, XAML is a really nice way to design user interfaces, and the edit-build-deploy cycle is fast. It still has a bit of growing up to do, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding: we were able to write the app from start to finish in two months, between two engineers working part time, which is almost an order of magnitude faster than it took for the iOS and Android app."

Be sure to read the full blog post over at Elan's blog on Plex's website (see source link), and of course the official Plex app which can be found on the Marketplace.

Source: Plex

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Telerik, the company behind the RadControls suite for Windows Phone Developers, has released an interesting update to their software. The introduced RadHubTile will enable developers to create live tiles within their application (just like the home screen) to further increase the good looks meter.

There are a number of hub tile classes available, which include: RadHubTile, RadMosaicHubTile, RadSlideHubTile, RadPictureRotatorHubTile and RadCustomHubTile. More information about each class is available in the Telerik blog article, do check out some of these supported tile effects in the below video demo. 

RadControls for Windows Phone is a suite for developers that will set you back by about $99 ($1,200 for the full bulk - .NET controls, analysis & data tools, etc.), although there is a free trial available. While it's pretty expensive for the odd garage developer, the results can be absolutely stunning (just look at Tasks - a free todo app by Telerik).

Source: Telerik Blog

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Press Play, the game studio behind the Xbox LIVE games Tentacles (our review) and Max & the Magic Marker (our review), has released a beta version of their Unity porting toolkit (Fast Forward - FFWD) for Windows Phone developers who wish to port across a Unity game engine developed title to the mobile platform. 

"The framework has been used for creating the games Max and the Magic Marker and Tentacles for Windows Phone 7, and is currently being used by another project at Press Play."

Developers will be able to use this toolkit (released under the MS-PL license) to export assets in the Unity editor. Full 3D support is present for graphics, but physics are limited to the 2D Farseer Engine. What's great about the toolkit is that it enables developers to do most of the work in Unity 3D and then port it to XNA.

Head on over to GitHub to download FFWD and be sure to check out the wiki.

Source: GitHub, via: WPSauce; thanks David for the tip!

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Every so often we cover tools that help out developers, but this is in another league. A company called SyncFusion has created a product called Metro Studio 1 which looks to be invaluable to developers and designers alike. The company traditionally develops .NET components for ASP.NET, WPF, WinForms, Silverlight, WP7 and others.

Metro Studio 1 comes with 600 unique metro icons that can then be customized through the interface. You can change the size, padding, background shape, and colors of any icon. Plus, the XAML source is provided for the icons, or you can save the PNG. Every icon is vector based (hence why the XAML source is available), so exporting at any size is possible.

Best of all, the studio is totally free, and every icon is royalty-free and can be used in commercial projects.


  

So go on, download it now. Thanks, @rmaclean

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