Dev Stories

Poll: has this WindowsPhone app too much tiles?

Today I want to ask for feedback for the current state of my app.

I am really a Metro-addicted, and I love to use tiles in my app whenever it is possible.

But for this I want to ask you: has it to much tiles?

Check the video here:

Please choose you answer bellow:

 

Please leave also a comment where you would change, it that is your vote.

Posted by msicc in my apps, Windows Phone, 2 comments
My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

My review of a year with Microsoft and a to-do-list for 2012

iluvallMS

With the end of the year just around the corner, I want to take a look back to an amazing year for me as a Microsoft fan. There were certainly ups and downs, but over all it was a great year – as user and also as developer.

I do not want to take any numbers – there are already dozens of post where the numbers were discussed, so I guess we don´t need to get another post about this. I will tell you how the year felt for me.

ces_2011_logo

First we got a look into the future at the CES. With the CES we received a first view on Microsoft´s new strategy: Metro over all devices. We saw a first preview of Windows 8 with a Metro design part, but still have to wait for more information until Build in September, which was a specific event for Windows 8 (codename for now). The most appreciated news was the SoC-technology (System on a Chip), which will be supported by Windows 8. Also there were some Kinect improvements, as well as an updated version on Microsoft Surface. And finally Microsoft announced the NoDo-features like Copy&Paste.

The NoDo-Update came for Windows Phone. Well, as I got an unlocked HTC HD7 at this time, this was no real problem for me. I forced the update (thanks to the guys who found out this little trick), and that was it. This changed only little things. The carrier locked phones had to wait a bit longer, as the carriers were still in testing. The update seems also to do not well with some Samsung Phones, so there was always bad critics for the update process.

mwc_logo

Ok, Back to February and to the Mobile World Congress. MS gave us a first preview on the Internet Explorer 9, and compared it to the iOS-Safari. It was clearly the better one. But as always Microsoft also made us sad, as we had to wait until Windows Phone Mango. Finally we got also the first note that Windows Phone will receive Multitasking capabilities. And then there was the big bang of Nokia joining the Windows Phone game.

At the same time I made my fishing license. After I got approved for it, I wanted to download some fishing apps. But there wasn´t even one at this time. I thought by myself, ok, give them some time, they will come.  The first time I was on the water I needed a special knot, luckily I was on a place where I got an internet connection. But it was annoying to not have an app for it. So I decided to learn the Windows Phone development.

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Back at home, downloaded the tools, and found out that at Channel 9 is a Beginner series for Windows Phone Development. I stepped through to all the videos, and after 2 month or so (due to my primary work it took that long) I started to develop my fishing knots application. I learned a lot more while I was coding this application, but the basics I learned helped me a lot to get started.

mix11

While I started with my own WPDev-Story, in April Microsoft held his annual MIX-conference. This was the first time for me, that it was not only from a user part from interest, but also from a developer part. We received an updated SDK, which was an huge step towards Windows Phone Mango. Microsoft announced 1500 new features which we developers can take advantage from with the new Windows Phone Mango release. User will get over 500 new features. The Kinect SDK expanded to Windows, with some really cool projects to use with. And last but not least Microsoft released the final Beta of Silverlight.

Skype_Logo

The rumours were also going wild for Microsoft to buy Skype. Well, finally in may Microsoft and Skype announced that the rumours were true.

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Until now, a awesome first half of the year. Then in June, the annual E3-Games convention started. Microsoft introduced a bunch of new games, like Fruit Ninja Kinect, Forza Motorsport 4 as well as Family Titles like Disneyland Adventures for Kinect or Once upon a Monster for Kinect. My kids where as excited as I was, there was only one big error: We had a Xbox, but no Kinect. This was one reason I wanted a Kinect like never before. Well, Santa (aka my wife, 1000 kisses for her) solved this little problem for me a few days ago. Also some titles for Windows Phone were announced, sadly not all of them where released until now. We also were introduced to the new Xbox Dashboard and the new bunch of features like Voice commands. Microsoft released also Kinect fun labs, which is a portal to some awesome Apps for Kinect like Build a Buddy or Kinect Me!.

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In July Windows Phone Mango got RTM-status, followed by a special developer beta. I enjoyed the beta, and all on my primary work were jealous about the fact I had mango before them.

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After a calm summer, in September Microsoft revealed Windows 8 and released to Windows Phone Mango Update. Together with the new Xbox Dashboard, Microsoft revealed its “3-Screens”-Strategy.

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With new Windows Phone Hardware it steps forward, Nokia launched also finally their first Windows Phones. More and More must-have Smartphone-apps came to Windows Phone, such as Navigon or Whatsapp. Microsoft´s own advertising system launched in other countries like Germany and some other European countries.

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Well, also my Blog made a change. With all that Metro-stuff around me, I am now addicted to this design. A hosted blog on WordPress was no longer good for me, so I registered msicc.net and host it on my own. I found a good designer who has experience with themes for WordPress, and he made this fantastic metro design for me. It is currently still a work in progress, as there will be a mobile metro theme as well as some other features.

Microsoft released also some of their services on the other smartphone platforms iOS and Android. MS is a software company, and this step is more than logical for me. Some features are also after exclusive to Windows Phone, so it does not really hurt.

It was an amazing year, but there were also some disappointing things: Microsoft stated that Skype will launch on Windows Phone this fall, then by the month of December. Sadly it is still missing. We tried to force Microsoft to release it via twitter or Facebook, but there was and is not statement when we will get it on our Phones. Also Photosynth, launched on iPhone and promised for a launch with Mango, is still not here – without comment from Microsoft.

I really hope Microsoft will really work with the feedback we provide trough their programs on userchoice.com to improve the overall experience on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows.

Still there are a lot to-dos for Microsoft for 2012:

  • release Skype as an app
  • built in Skype into Windows Phone
  • Make all Bing features available outside the US
  • improve the Xbox-Live-Game-Submission on Marketplace
  • continue to get more devs on their side to provide Windows Phone apps
  • more marketing for Windows Phone and the experience
  • improve Windows Phone with the newest technologies like NFC, dual core CPU´s
  • open even more APIs to us developers
  • make TellMe simply better than Siri on iOS, including opening to developers
  • shorten the time between announcement and release btw. increase betas to more customers
  • release Zune-Pass in more countries. This is still a huge advantage over the other platforms as it is built in!
  • gain more partnerships for content on Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone
  • release more features in small updates to the Windows Phone platform to compete with the others, instead of releasing only one major update
Posted by msicc in Bing, Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, wpdev, Xbox, 0 comments

Microsoft reviews WPDev Feedback for WindowsPhone

WPLogoBlog

It was just yesterday I blogged about the WPDev and User-Feedback released by Microsoft.

Now it turns out that Microsoft has 12 Topics set to be under review.

Most of the Topics are now wearing this comment:

Thank you all for the thoughtful commentary! We understand that [your Topic] is of vital importance to you and to our Windows Phone users. Your feedback has placed it very high on the consideration list for future Windows Phone releases. Keep those suggestions and votes coming!

You can find this comment on following Topics:

However, there are also some Topics with a little more individual comments, which states that there is more feedback needed:

Qt Support:

This is an outcropping from the Native SDK suggestion (http://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-app-platform/suggestions/1755203-native-sdk). Please use this suggestion to vote and comment on your want/need for Qt support on the Windows Phone platform.

Native SDK to support C++ Development:

Thanks all for the follow-up comments to Cliff’s note a few weeks ago. Repeating his note for those who missed it… “the comments and conversation around native C++ development are great. A few items:
– OpenGL is a separate item; related, I know, but a different conversation (and likely should be a different suggestion — I created http://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-app-platform/suggestions/2440595-opengl-support for you to vote on
– Qt support is also a separate item, the same as OpenGL — I created http://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-app-platform/suggestions/2440602-qt-support for you to vote on
– For DirectX, please add your voice to the http://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/110705-app-platform/suggestions/1755211-directx-access-for-3rd-party-developers suggestion
– I think it’s safe to expect a C++ support we would provide would likely have the same device/data limitations as the managed code platform…I would probably call out sensors that you want access to as additional suggestions (please, don’t say ‘we need ALL of them!’as that’s an easy one to simply say ‘too much effort’ and let it fall below the cut-line(s), be explicit on what you need and why).

For the most part, I think it’s safe to view native/C++ be something that extends the surface area of the developer platform to provide code reuse, rather than something that opens up the entire device for P/Invoke. The key tenet of “no user should ever regret installing an app” has to hold for this to be accepted/implemented.”

Make on-device development free:

We have worked with ChevronWP7 Labs (http://www.chevronwp7.com) to provide a low-cost option to unlock personal WP7 devices for developers who do not want to publish. Depending on how things go with ChevronWP7 Labs, we hope to enable more experimentation and personal development on their devices within the hobbyist and enthusiast communities in the near future.

In-App Purchase/Payments for Marketplace apps:

We understand that in-app purchase / payment is of vital importance to our developer community. If you haven’t already responded, help us better understand the requirement by answering Cliff’s questions from earlier in December, “how are you using IAP today? Mostly consumables (items like gold, virtual currency, one-time use items) or durables (items, levels, etc.)? And exactly how ‘in-app’ does the IAP need to be for you?” Thanks!

It is good to see that Microsoft answers to our WPDev-Feedback. Please keep up on commenting on the above Topics, as they are most essential to succeed the Windows Phone Platform!

To close this post, I suggest you to vote also for the following topic:

Text to Speech Capability for Marketplace apps (TellMe access or APIs):  With Apple´s Siri now on their new device, we need this API as fast as possible to create a really different UX on Windows Phone – even within the apps.

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows Phone, wpdev, 0 comments
Microsoft wants your Feedback on WindowsPhone – Developer and User!

Microsoft wants your Feedback on WindowsPhone – Developer and User!

WPLogoBlog

With the release of Windows Phone Mango Microsoft issued also two new Feedback programs.

First I want to have al look on the developer-part:

Microsoft created a userchoice.com-site for developers, which can be found here. Recently they extended the page with an dedicated app for Windows Phone.

Here are some shots:

Screen Capture (13)  Screen Capture (14)  Screen Capture (16)  Screen Capture (20)  Screen Capture (24)  Screen Capture (22)

You can vote for an existing topic or create a new one. For every topic you can give up to 3 votes, with a summary maximum of 10. There is a description which can be added to a topic. Also you can add your own comment on the topic. Check the shots below:

Screen Capture (26)  Screen Capture (28)  Screen Capture (30)

So if you are a developer, head over to the marketplace and download this app to give feedback to Microsoft.

Let´s have a look at the consumer part of the feedback program:

Here you can have a look on the page for the consumer feedback. The App for consumer looks very similar to the developer feedback app, as you can see on this shots:

Screen Capture (15)  Screen Capture (19)  Screen Capture (23)Screen Capture (25)  Screen Capture (27)  Screen Capture (34)

Of course there is the same functionality for a topic as in the developer version: Give up to 3 votes for a topic, read or add a description as well as leave a comment:

Screen Capture (10)  Screen Capture (11)  Screen Capture (12)

So if you want to tell Microsoft what you want to have on your OS, head over to the marketplace an download the app right now.

There are some topics which are flagged with “started” on both the developer as well as the consumer feedback program. It seems really Microsoft hears to its customers.

Please provide feedback, only with this Microsoft will deliver those features we are waiting for!

Posted by msicc in App Reviews, Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows Phone, wpdev, 0 comments
Fishing Knots 1.4 is available & on Christmas Sale!

Fishing Knots 1.4 is available & on Christmas Sale!

My Fishing Knots app has been updated to version 1.4

What´s new?

I added completely reworked graphics to the app. The images are now also following your background color (black or white).

Of course you have still the former features like:

  • controllable animations
  • read aloud the instructions for a knot
  • 3-step instructions with image and text

Of course the German an the Italian version have this update, too.

Check here some screenshots:

screen2screen7screen4screen3bscreen6screen8

X-Mas sale:

From now until December, 31st you can buy my app for a reduced price!

Check out the marketplace:

English:       Download-EN-Med

German:    

Italian:       

Posted by msicc in my apps, 0 comments
Fishing Knots updated to 1.2 and free version added

Fishing Knots updated to 1.2 and free version added

Today I received the notification, that my update to version 1.2 for Fishing Knots and also my free version were certified to the marketplace.

Here is what has changed:

I reworked the layout to fit more to the Windows Phone OS. I removed the background Image, instead it will continue to use your Phone Background (light or dark). The main menu contains now animated Tiles. The color will be your phone´s accent color. This looks like this:

screen2Screen Capture (13)

Now, if you click on a guide for a knot, you will first see the animation. Finally, I made the animation controllable. You can skip forward and backward, pause and resume the animation of the knots. This looks like this:

screen4

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Have you noticed that “read instructions aloud”-button on top of that page? You´re right, the app now can read the instructions for each knot aloud. Only thing I have to mention is, that this will only work if you have an active internet connection. At the moment we developers cannot use Windows Phone´s Text to speech service, so I generated a workaround. That is the reason why the internet connection is needed to work for this function.

The formerly known step by step-guide is also still there. You can switch to them by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page. They are looking still familiar to before:

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As the title of this post mentions, I also created a free version of my fishing knots app. This free version has the same layout, but less functions. The free app has the step by step-guide, but without the read aloud-feature and also without the animation. If you´re ok with that, you can download this version from the marketplace.

In my next version I will include improved images for the animation to also fit the design of the operating system (for both the free and paid version). Of course the same update will be applied to the German and the Italian version of my app.

English:         Download-EN-Med

German:      

Italian:          

Posted by msicc in my apps, Windows Phone, 1 comment

WPDev: Let´s get Microsoft to offer the Tellme-API to us!

TellmePlaceholderblog

In these days everybody is excited about Apple´s “Siri” voice command software on iOS5/ the iPhone 4S.

But also Microsoft uses a great Software to tell your Windows Phone (with Mango) what to do.

As I am currently working on an update for my Fishing Knots app, I wanted my app to read the instructions to the user. So I was going to search a solution. I remembered myself to Tellme, and went to the Tellme-Site. But when I tried to get an API, I only found this:

image

Currently Microsoft is NOT offering an API to us. But there is hope, you can add yourself to an interest list. So I call you all, Windows Phone Developers, register today!

I think/hope, if we all register there, Microsoft will push the API faster to us to create still more fantastic Mango-apps.

In the meantime, check this site to get a workaround.

Once again, let´s all register at Tellme´s developer interest list.

Greets

MSicc

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows Phone, wpdev, 0 comments
[Update] Fishing Knots is available in the WP7 marketplace

[Update] Fishing Knots is available in the WP7 marketplace

Hi everybody,

if you enjoy fishing like I do, you might miss some apps on your Windows Phone. On other platforms, there are plenty of apps to help you while you are fishing.

I decided to close this gap and created my first app, which will help you to tie fishing knots.

The app contains instructions for 12 frequently used fishing knots.

The instructions are broken down to steps, and each guide ends up with an animation showing you how to tie the choosen knot.

In test version you can see the first four knots. The full version will show you all twelve knots.

Please don´t use the marketplace for reporting bugs. Within the app you have the possibility to contact me via e-mail or twitter.

At least here are some screen shots from the English version:

Startpagescreen1screen2screen3screen4screen5

Feel free to download my app and leave a comment below. I will develop also other apps that might help you while staying on the water.

Update: Now there is not only the German and English version of my app, but also the Italian version. Check out the Links below to download my app in your language.

Now I am working on my next project, which will be a feature rich app. Stay tuned for further information.

English:      Download-EN-Med

German:    

Italian:       

Posted by msicc in my apps, Windows Phone, 0 comments