developers

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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WPDevCon is an independent developer conference, which was is to be held in San Francisco later this year. We previously covered the announcement of plans to hold the first independent event focusing solely on Windows Phone development. It's set to be a bash with over 50 classes and workshops, not to mention a number of speakers attending.

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Update: We hope you reserved early because within one hour, Microsoft's BUILD event has sold out. 

Microsoft has today opened up registration for its Build 2012 developer event, which is to be held on October 30th. Set to be held at Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, Washington, the event will cover not only the upcoming Windows 8, but also Windows Phone 8, Windows Azure, Windows Server 2012, and Visual Studio 2012.

Pricing for Build 2012 will set attendees back by $2,095 for a standard pass (first 500 registrations can apply for 'early bird' passes priced at $1595), while a limited number of academic spots are going for $995. 

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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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Microsoft will begin upgrading the App Hub's infrastructure this Friday. Upgrades that will add more server capacity to better handle the load increases and streamlining the processes in an effort to speed up the rate in which apps can be submitted, certified and published.

Developers planning on submitting new apps or updates should do so no later than tomorrow. The maintenance work may cause delays in app certification and publication.

The maintenance will also require the App Hub to go offline on Monday, August 6th for about 24 hours (or less). When all is said and done, the maintenance should improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Marketplace submission and certification process.

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well. 

Source: Windowsteamblog

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In a new study just released tonight, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 'Appcelerator Titanium' developers from May 11-18, 2012 on their plans for app development now and in the future. Though not a survey of consumer demand the data is but one piece of the bigger picture of how Windows Phone (and Android, iOS, BlackBerry and webOS) is fairing amongst developers. For that reason, it should be considered as a metric but not necessarily the only one to measure interest or future success.

The news is not very good for Windows Phone but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the future iterations of the OS, specifically the ‘Apollo’ update coming later this year.  That's interesting as Windows Phone has been coasting on ‘hope’ for nearly two years now and developers have not yet completely abandoned it, seeing weakness in Android.

For a complete run down, head past the break…

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In what should be a very exciting addition for developers, Windows Phone 8 will finally give access to Voice Command (aka TellMe).

According to the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK, developers can add functions to their app that uses the Voice Command feature, enabling customers to launch the app with a sub-query which will take them to a specific area of the app:

"Users can use voice commands to both launch your app and execute an action. For example, a user using the Contoso Widgets app could press the Start button and say "Contoso Widgets, show best sellers" to both launch the Contoso Widgets app and navigate to a 'best sellers' page, or some other action that the developer specifies."

(An example of this would be Jay Bennett adding a feature to our WPCentral app whereby you hold the Start button to access Voice Command (TellMe) and say “WPCentral, go to reviews”).

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We’ve hinted at this before and the leak of the Windows Phone 8 SDK is validating our claim that “Apollo” will allow richer notification support for 3rd party developers.

Developers will now be able to have their app send notifications to the Lock Screen with the content reflecting the app’s Live Tile:

“In Windows Phone, the lock screen contained a handful of notifications such as the number of new Outlook emails and text messages. In Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview, end users can choose to customize this area with any third party apps they choose. As a developer, you can enable your app to be used in this feature. “

An app can provide content for the following four items on the lock screen:

  • The background image. This image is unrelated to lock screen notifications, and is documented at Lock screen background for Windows Phone.
  • An app icon
  • An app count
  • App text
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As we parse our way through the new Windows Phone 8 SDK which was leaked this morning, we’re starting to get an idea of some of the new features.

One of those is Camera Lenses, a method by which developers can add a “mini app” of sorts to within in the camera function. This will allow devs to have much more creative control over the Windows Phone camera app, allowing the creation of unique augmented reality apps and filters to really add a customized experience.

Head past the break to read the excerpts from the SDK…

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Although we’re expecting Microsoft to release the Windows Phone 8 SDK within the coming weeks, this morning the full SDK has managed to leak online via the site WPXAP.

The full SDK is available via two methods—the official Microsoft server with a password or a third party file site (which requires a 3rd party app to install first). We have downloaded the SDK and validated that it is indeed the full package.

Files include the SDK, which can only run on Windows 8 64-bit preview edition meaning many folks won’t be able to run this right now. In fact, we’ve heard that the official SDK will be a Windows 8-only release (both 32 and 64 bit).

The files included are

  • Network Monitoring for Windows Phone Applications V1.pdf    
  • Optimizing Windows Phone Applications for Efficient Battery Consumption V1.pdf          
  • RPALSDK_LKG25.zip
  • Simulation Dashboard for Windows Phone Applications V1.pdf
  • Windows Phone 8 Developer Docs.chm
  • Windows Phone Apollo Release Notes.htm        
  • wpexpress.zip

The Developer docs (CHM) containing all the documentation with the new dev options--screenshots are posted below. We’ll get more up as soon as we can go through the files.

Developing...

Source: WPXAP; Thanks, talan1314, for the tip. More shots after the break...

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Attending developers prepping for presentation

Last week, Wednesday 18th to be exact, we headed to the Windows Phone User Group meetup in London. The Shooting Star was the venue of the day's presentations and talks about Windows, Windows Phone, apps and other miscellaneous topics. It's a perfect chance for developers to pitch ideas, make contacts, receive help and advice, and meet us folk from Windows Phone Central.

The reason we pop along is simple - to help you (the developing community) receive as much exposure to our readership and beyond as possible. Without developers, apps and games we wouldn't have the same complete Windows Phone experience we have today, so it's important we provide developers with the opportunities to drive more traffic their way. From reviews to update coverage, Windows Phone Central has the means to help developers kick-start promotion and marketing.

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Although Microsoft’s MIX conference is now kaput the plan was to merge that dev conference with the bigger, more exciting BUILD event. And today, Microsoft has announced BUILD 2012 is a go for October 30 through November 2 at home base, Redmond, Washington.

The timing is of course perfect—Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface, new Xbox updates and more. You almost get the feeling that Microsoft has been planning to sync all of this together for one big explosive event.

Registration opens August 8th at 8am PDT, so make sure you sign up and book your flight for what’s sure to be an exciting few days—especially since it overlaps with Halloween.

We’ll of course be there with our A-Team for live coverage and analysis should you not be able to make it.

Read more at Buildwindows.com

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We last looked at PhoneGap, the Adobe-owned open source mobile development platform, when version 1.3 arrived which included support for Windows Phone. Adobe has now released 2.0 and further expands on the feature set provided to developers who wish to build apps that can easily be submitted to multiple platform app stores.

Using HTML5, CSS and Javascript, PhoneGap allows those who do not possess the knowledge of mobile platform native code to create and release apps for all the supported operating systems. So what's new in version two-point-oh? The team have implemented a new command line interface for building iOS apps, which removes issues surrounding Apple's Xcode tools, adds more support for enterprise app development, includes enhanced user guides and documentation, as well as security and stability improvements.

Cordova WebView is also present, which allows for the integration of PhoneGap as a larger native application. Listed with the new features is "Windows Phone support", which we're slightly confused at since it was added in version 1.3. We've reached out to the PhoneGap team for clarification just in case there are some incredibly useful features added. We'll update the article once we've received a reply.

Source: CMSWire

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UK newspaper The Guardian has taken five Windows Phone to the side to query them as to how they view the development process on Windows Phone and why they view the platform worthy of both time and effort. The results were extremely positive.

The five developers included 7digital (music service), Addison Lee (private taxi hire firm), IndieSkies (Kaleidobooth), Escapist Games (Star Chart), and Distinction (Weather Flow). The short conclusion drawn from the results was praise for the OS itself and how apps can be quickly prototyped and subsequently released. The only downside was the developers' restraint over download and sales figures.

We've previously looked at how the developer interest in Windows Phone has continues to remain at a high level, while the likes of RIM falls rapidly. So this shouldn't be too much of a surprise that established developers are singing praise for Microsoft. Head on past the break for more juicy details.

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Developers, Scott Lovegroove and Dan Thomas are set to bring a Windows Phone developer event to the charming surrounds of Bournemouth. The seaside-based event is to provide a space for fervent discussion on the recent developments from Redmond, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. 

Whilst a full agenda for the day is still to be confirmed, the day is to be peppered with presentations, developer insights as well as some time to get in and hack away at some code. If that’s not enough for you they are also planning a ‘Geek Dinner’ where I’m sure the frivolities will continue with gusto.

With the coming opportunities to cross develop for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 coming edging ever closer. Events like these should be invaluable to those seeking to know more about these exciting changes. So if you have an interest in development I’d urge you not to miss out. As with all developer events like this, the more that attend and contribute the better. 

Windows Phone Central will be representing there too in the form of Richard Edmonds and myself. We are always interested in seeing any upcoming projects you may be working on so please do come by and say hello. We will endeavour to make ourselves known. Head on over to the WPDD website for more information and spot registration.

Source : Windows Phone Dev Day

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Can we expect changes in the Windows Phone 8 Lock screen? 

Back at the Summit a few weeks ago, Microsoft was very clear that they were not showing all of Windows Phone 8, in fact we were only getting a peek. The reason for that is multifaceted but their official position is they don’t want to show consumer features to consumers when we’re still months from release. Then there’s the whole idea of trying to prevent an Osborne effect i.e. hurting current sales by enticing customers to wait for new phones this fall.

One tiny area of interest was an observation today from a reader (erichon99) in the new Start screen video by Microsoft. At about the 2:15 mark (snapshot below) you can see some icons on the Lock screen: 1 Missed Call/Voicemail, 4 text messages and presumably 13 new Hotmail/Live mail messages.

What caught our reader’s attention was the new Hotmail/Live mail icon which ironically is the old Windows flag logo (yet the new logo is clearly used for the capacitive button). To be honest, we think this is just a mockup oversight and we have no idea if Hotmail/Live mail would use the old logo though we’re leaning towards ‘no’ on that one--in other words, nothing to see here. However...

In Microsoft's video there's an apparent oversight in logo-matching 

...this brings back to the beginning—what are those new features in Windows Phone 8? We don’t want to ruin Microsoft’s surprise but we can tell you that looking at the Lock screen for notification changes is a good start.

One area many have complained about in Windows Phone 7 is the lack of a “notification-center”. More accurately if a notification comes in for a 3rd party app and you miss it, well, you missed it. Sure you can use the app's Live Tile but that assumes (a) You've pinned it to your Start screen and (b) You've scrolled down to check it at some point. But can the OS be even more "glance and go"? The answer is 'yes'.

We’re not sure if Microsoft will have an actual notification-center on board (ala Android's "drawer") but we do know they solved this problem another way in Windows Phone 8—by giving developer access to the Lock screen with the added ability to have custom notifications. There are actually four options for developers to choose from with one of them being extremely creative as it will give you a fresh look to your Lock screen numerous times a day. We won’t say much more on the matter for fear of raising Microsoft’s ire but hopefully this tease will get you excited for what’s coming in Windows Phone 8.  

Microsoft is once again not copying the competition, they're doing it their way and in a few weeks, you can judge for yourself.

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Winner of the Imagine Cup '12 - quadSquad with enable talk

The annual Imagine Cup organized by Microsoft to support student creativity in solving real world problems has just wrapped in Sidney, Australia. As usual, some of the top winners were related to Windows Phone development so we’re going to take a moment to give them their props.

Early glove prototype

First place (Software Design) – quadSqaud (Ukraine) - In what is probably one of the most unique and coolest uses of a Windows Phone so far, quadSquad have created a company called enable talk (enabletalk.com) around their gesture interpretation technology.

In short, the problem for many people who use sign-language is the inability to readily communicate with those who don’t speak the same language (there are many sign-languages out in the world and they all have the full capacity of spoken language). 

quadSquad solve this problem by having users wear special sensory gloves that detect the signing. That data is then sent to the Windows Phone where the software takes over, converting the sign to spoken word—literally. enable talk uses Microsoft’s text-to-speech feature to “say” the whole word once it’s signed, giving signers a way to verbally communicate with those unfamiliar with the language.

Creating software is one thing but the team also made the glove system by hand (pun!) which is no small feat. Then they had to record all the gestures in a computer that can be stored for later recognition. The whole thing fits well within Microsoft’s Kinect strategy and of course helps address a real-world problem too. Awesome.

The Drexel Dragons won for Game Design (phone) with Math Dash

First place (Game Design—phone) – Drexel Dragons (US) - Ah, math. We hated it in school and we still kind of dislike it as adults but who can deny that it’s not critical? Drexel Dragons took on the challenge of making a game that can help students learn math. What better way to do that than make a game called Math Dash?

Math Dash is a Windows Phone game that allows users to complete problems by dragging the answers (in the form of sparkly ‘atoms’) into the equation field. With the correct answer, users get points for the game and yes, another new math problem. A simple progress bar keeps track of you right versus wrong answers, allowing you to jump to the next level or signaling that you lost. In addition, you can drag number atoms on to other orbs to create new numbers, should you not have the right one to choose. Finally there are also power-ups and hazards to keep it interesting and feeling like a game.

The concept behind Imagine Cup is great—it gives students a chance to shine and actually makes the world slightly better; kudos to Microsoft and all the student developers who come together every year for the competition. Each first-place winning team takes home $8, 000 for their effort.

Check the videos of both winners after the break...

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The Windows Phone User Group is back, and the next event is set for July 16th. The Vibe Bar on Brick Lane is the venue where platform developers and enthusiasts will be gathering to talk everything Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo"). App demonstrations, presentations, and talks are listed for the evening with drinks available from the bar. Note that this is not the BarCamp, so the event will be kicking off at 7pm.

Be sure to check out the WPUG EventBrite page for more information, location details and to register your spot at the event. Myself and Rob Brand will be attending from Windows Phone Central. Do come say hello if you find yourself in town. We can help attendees out with website coverage, ideas and feedback on platform projects.

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Last month Nokia sponsored a Windows Phone developer workshop in St. Louis that was very successful. On the heels of that success, Nokia is sponsoring two more developer workshops. One in Orlando, Florida and another in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Nokia Ambassador Rich Dunbar,

This workshop will be focused on the tools and resources you have available as a developer/potential developer for Windows Phone development from Nokia and Microsoft. The event will begin with a brief presentation from Nokia and will then focus on ensuring all the proper tools are introduced. We will review some of the tutorials and quick start projects and then allow time for the attendees to work on the projects they choose and ask questions along the way. The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app.

The Nashville event is scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 8:00am until noon at the Microsoft Offices. The Orlando event will be held on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Inn. There is a possibility the Nashville event will be pushed up to the evening of Friday, July 27th if space becomes available.

Each event have food provide along with Nokia swag to be given away including at least one Windows Phone. You'll need to register to attend (so Nokia will know how much food to order).

You can register for the Nashville event here and the Orlando event here. If you are close to either location and are interested in Windows Phone development, this will be a great opportunity to network with other developers and get a jump on your app development.

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It wasn't long ago that Verious Inc., a leader in connecting developers with components and services for mobile app development, partnered with Microsoft to add Windows Phone development to their catalog. Verious already had a strong presence in the iOS and Android development community and the addition of the Windows Phone platform was seen as a plus. Verious is able to provide hundreds of pre-built mobile app components, open source projects, SDKs, and other tools to Windows Phone developers.

Today, Verious has announced a new partnership with Deutsche Telekom which enables Deutsche Telekom to launch the Developer Garden Component Marketplace for developers across Europe. This partnership will add significantly to the number of developer tools available for mobile application development. Deutsche Telekom previously announced plans to develop and promote tools that will help developers using Microsoft Visual Studio to mash up Deutsche Telekom's world-class network services with applications built for Microsoft Corp.'s device and cloud technology platforms. The partnership between Verious and Deutsche Telekom, coupled with the Deutsche Telekom partnership with Microsoft is expected to boost Windows Phone development significantly...

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