Testing your app with various connection speeds

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

Would you like this feature to be integrated into the WP7 emulator? Vote here!

An important aspect of every mobile application that uses the internet connection is the way it handles slow connections. As a developer you cannot predict if you are app will be used over high-speed UMTS or slow GPRS. In WP7 development there are some API’s available to determine the connection type, but you can never be sure about the exact speed. To ensure the best experience for your users testing some scenarios is very important. Unlike the Android emulator, the Windows Phone emulator does not provide any functionality to limit the network speed, but there are some alternatives that don’t require you to take your phone to the middle of an empty desert. In this post I will cover throttling of the network connection using NetLimiter. netlimiter1

Windows Phone App Event in Eindhoven

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7


Two days ago the biggest Windows Phone 7 developer event to date in the Netherlands took place. With the official launch of WP7 in our country and the recent addition of Nokia phones to the line-up developer interest is rising. A total of about 300 attendees showed up for a full day of sessions including a basic introduction the dev platform and tools, more advanced topics like push notification and fast application switching and a session on app monetization. The sessions where presented by Maarten Struys, Fons Sonnemans and myself. A big thank you goes out to Microsoft’s Matthijs Hoekstra, the Dutch WP7dev evangelist, who organized the event at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

Building smartphone applications at Night of the Nerds

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

Note for English readers: Yesterday I did a few sessions about Windows Phone/Smartphone app development at a Dutch event called Night of the Nerds focused on 14-18 year old secondary school students. This blogpost will introduce some resources to get them started. Because of the target audience this post is presented in Dutch. Gisteravond tijdens Night of the Nerds heb ik drie presentaties gegeven over het ontwikkelen van smartphone applicaties. Night of the Nerds is een evenement gericht op middelbare scholieren van 14-18 jaar oud met interesse in techniek. Het evenement is open voor alles en iedereen die het leuk vindt om met techniek bezig te zijn. Tijdens een clinic van 45 minuten heb ik kort de wereld van smartphones en apps geintroduceerd en aansluitend een demonstratie gegeven van het bouwen van een simpele twitter applicatie. Veel bezoekers reageerden enthousiast en wilden graag thuis aan de slag met het bouwen van een eigen app. In deze blogpost vinden jullie alle benodigde informatie om de eerste stappen te maken als app-ontwikkelaar.

Removing old/beta applications from the App Hub

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

A while ago I blogged about one of the most useful features introduced with the new App Hub: private beta distribution. I have to admit, I use this one pretty often. Updating is not supported for beta’s (vote here if you would like it to be), so with every app I build my list of apps grows bigger and bigger. Unfortunately Microsoft appears to have missed a pretty obvious option, the actual deleting of beta’s that are finished anyway. I am able to end a beta, but it keeps showing up in the list.To keep thing manageable I decided to fire up my favourite tool Fiddler again. It helped me out with App Hub exceptions before and to my big surprise Fiddler again is the solution here. It does take some effort, but at least it keeps your App Hub account nice and tidy.
Notice the missing "Delete submissions" button

Notice the missing "Delete submissions" button

pubCenter starts expanding outside the US

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in WP7

Back in July Todd Brix announced on the Windows Phone Developer blog that Microsoft pubCenter would be expanded 18 countries by the end of 2011. I haven’t seen any official announcement just yet (Update 27/09: Microsoft released an official statement today) but while checking pubCenter today I noticed it is now possible to select out of 17 countries when entering tax information. Switzerland is the only one missing compared to the list announced back in July (but hey, it’s still 2011). When exploring some more I noticed that signup now lists 12 countries and payment requests can be made for the same 12 countries. The expansion doesn’t appear to be completed, but still it’s very good and important news for WP7devs living outside the US. So what are the improvements that I noticed:
  • Tax information can be entered for 17 countries
  • Payment can be requested for 12 countries
  • PubCenter accounts can be created based in 12 countries
What are the drawbacks still in place:
  • Still only US impressions are counted
  • Still a valid US Tax ID is needed, just as with revenue from your apps
I guess all information will be disclosed in an official statement by Microsoft soon, since everything is already live on pubCenter right now.

Dummy artwork for private beta submission

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

Yesterday I published a blog about private beta testing, one of the great new App Hub features. Although the feature itself is great part of the process can be a little frustrating. One of the things that frustrated me was the requirement to submit the full load of artwork. In the first stages of testing I usually don’t have all the artwork/screenshots finished yet, which in the end forced me to create some dummy artwork. The same holds when you don’t want your artwork to be available yet before the official launch of your application. To save some frustration in the future I will just share my dummy artwork. I did not try to give it any kind of design so it’s ugly, but at least it will be accepted by the App Hub. Feel free to use it in your beta tests. Here’s a zip containing all the files. Happy beta testing!  

Using private beta distribution for testing your WP7 app

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

A while ago Microsoft introduced a big improvement to the App Hub. Recently I gave one of the new features, private beta testing, a spin. The process is actually easier than I thought it would be. There are a few things to keep in mind though. In this post I will share a quick walkthrough for distributing your app through private beta-testing. Please pay attention to the remarks. Dutch readers might recognize the info in the post, I recently started as an editor at Dutch WP7 community and newswebsite WP7.nl where I published a similar article in Dutch

WP7 Review Reader: New marketplaces

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

With the launch of the new App Hub Microsoft also opened up 19 new consumer markets for application submission. Developers running the Mango beta can already access the new marketplace and thus can leave reviews for applications. Therefore I updated the Review Reader with support for all new marketplaces. If you haven’t done so please make sure your applications are submitted to the new marketplaces, even if your app was set for worldwide distribution it requires manual action (see my blogpost on worldwide distribution). It’s also worthwile to note a few changes to the new App Hub that impact checking your reviews. Within the App Hub it is now possible to view reviews and average for one marketplace at a time. This is an improvement, but MS isn’t quite there yet when they want to provide easy and efficient access to reviews.  Compared to the App Hub my review reader still offers this extra functionality: – Overview of all marketplaces – No-nonsense interface – Excel/CSV export – A try at contacting the reviewers – Average ratings since last update I still hope Microsoft will improve this experience in a future update, in the meantime my tool will stay available for all WP7 devs out there. Please let me know if you have any feedback or feature suggestions. You can find me on Twitter.

Debugging App Hub exceptions using Fiddler

Written by Tom Verhoeff. Posted in MSP, WP7

A while ago the App Hub got updated with some great new features. Having returned from a little holiday yesterday I decided to give the private beta feature a shot for a new app I am working on. Unfortunately the App Hub kept giving me the useless “An error occured connecting to the server. Please try again later” exception. I tried all the obvious workarounds: waited a while, tried other browsers, cleared my cache, but with no success. As a last resort before contacting support I figured my favorite tool Fiddler might help. Since the App Hub is a silverlight app, that obviously runs locally, capturing the web traffic could give some extra insight. To my surprise Fiddler gave me all the information I needed. Obviously this is something the App Hub should have shown, since the info is right there, but for the time being I’ll show you how to figure it out for yourself using Fiddler.