developers

It's not easy to make it as an app developer. That's the key takeaway from the latest State of the Developer Nation report from Vision Mobile, pulling together data from more than 10,000 mobile developers (including some of you) across 137 countries. With that many developers they were able to get a broad view of what's popular and (more importantly) what's successful in making great apps.

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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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Internet Explorer is getting a dev channel! Like Google's Chrome browser, those interested in trying out the latest bleeding-edge features in Internet Explorer will now have a developer version that they can use. The Internet Explorer Developer Channel offers numerous updates to the F12 developer tools, allowing those coding for the web to test their stuff on the latest and greatest version of Internet Explorer. Think of it as an opportunity to prepare for the future.

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Vserv.mobi, the global mobile advertising exchange, has shared an interesting infographic that puts together the milestones and elements of the journey of Windows Phone platform across the globe. The company has been helping Windows Phone developers monetize across emerging markets and the number of requests on the exchange, especially for the Windows platform, grew by 18.2X last year.

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The best thing about being a developer in the Microsoft technology ecosystem is the terrific support that the company offers to the developers. From dedicated forums and learning resources to public events, the community feeds off this support and grows further.

Microsoft has just launched an Windows Phone app for developers that aggregates official Microsoft resources related to building apps for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. The app is titled ‘#wpdev’, picking up from the popular Twitter hashtag that Microsoft and the developer community use on Twitter for sharing development resources and insights.

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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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Last summer we told you boys and girls about this really great video series up on Channel 9. The series was called ‘Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners’. It was an 11+ hour series that taught absolute beginners how to develop for Windows Phone 8. Now there’s a sequel up on Channel 9 that will do the same for Windows Phone 8.1.

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We’re very excited to see what developers can do by integrating their apps with Cortana. It’s a very promising future for those on Windows Phone 8.1. One developer has already started to play around with Cortana. Matt Cavanagh, a guy from South Africa who is well-known in the Windows Phone developer scene, has hooked up Cortana to control his lights. Check the video after the break.

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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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Microsoft will be kicking off a new worldwide campaign for developers to help drive some new apps and games to its app stores. Next month, the company will host a number of day events for content creators to pop along and receive some advice and support from experts.

Attending the days, developers will enjoy free consulting time with a Microsoft engineer who will provide guidance on a number of Windows development related topics – perfect if you're eyeing up the Windows and Windows Phone ecosystems for your next deployment.

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We’re still recovering from Microsoft’s //BUILD/ conference from last week. Build 2014 was the event that Microsoft finally showed us Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time publically. It was also full of information for developers throughout the week at all the various sessions. Microsoft has compiled a really handy recap of the event last week.

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We've heard of the past successes of the Windows Phone App Studio, but today Microsoft is announcing an update. The number 1 question has apparently been; what about Windows apps? Folks asking that need worry no longer and say hello to the unified Windows App Studio.

The beta release is available to download from today and allows you the ability to create a universal project resulting in both Windows Phone and Windows apps in the same session. Pretty nifty.

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Here’s some potential good news for a handful of ambitious developers. Google has released over 50 Google APIs for .NET. Google quietly made the announcement last week on their developer blog. The release of the Google APIs Client Library for .NET should hopefully produce some nice Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps that tie into Google’s services.

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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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In-App Purchases are extremely common in mobile apps and games these days. As an AT&T customer, I have the option of paying for Windows Phone IAPs by credit card, carrier billing, or Microsoft account. People with different carriers or living in other countries might not have access to those same payment methods. And you normally couldn’t use carrier billing for Windows 8 purchases.

Mobile payment provider Fortumo allows app developers to easily integrate carrier billing for IAPs into both Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT apps and games. Fortumo is so serious about getting Windows developers on-board that they’ve just launched a fund to pay advances to successful developers for integrating Fortumo payments into their apps. How successful does a developer need to be in order to get the funding? Read on to find out.

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Here’s some stellar news for Windows Phone developers. Microsoft is rumored to buy software development company Xamarin. Microsoft and Xamarin have always had a cozy relationship. Last November the two tightened their marketing and technical ties with a new partnership deal. Xamarin is a popular tool because it allows developers to create Android and iOS applications uses C#, the development language of choice for a lot of Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers. Now Microsoft might buy Xamarin.

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Developing a Windows Phone app is half the battle. It can be argued that it’s just as hard to get exposure and market your app to get downloads and users. Which is why we think it’s cool when developers make apps that are aimed at helping other developers. We recently covered App Promo. An app that combined your app logo with its Windows Phone Store link in a QR code.

Today we’re going to take a look at another cool app that can help you get a few more downloads. Let’s check Device Shot. A new app from the developer behind Tile Me!

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