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Archive for the ‘Windows Phone 7’ Category

I want to post some information regarding issues you can face with after MS updated the MarketPlace Developer Portal to the new Developer Hub.

We already had a Marketplace account activated, paid and active with a product too, but with the update it stopped working.

I mean I was able to login with my Live ID, but trying to look at the Developer Hub Dashboard I got an error saying I had to update my contact information on the XBox Live Portal… ?.

This sounded very strange, since I was not remembering to have created any XBox Live Account… after some research I found that for some reason I created some years ago an Account on this XBox Live Portal where I wrongly selected a Country different than the one I was having on the main Marketplace Professional Account.

I asked MS to change the Country because I was not able to do that on http://billing.microsoft.com website. No way, they forced me to CANCEL and CREATE a new Account on both Windows Live and XBox Live web sites to gain access to the Developer Hub!!

This created a lot of issues because I was explicitly requested to specifiy a different COMPANY NAME when creating the new Live Account…

All this because they didn’t wanted to change the Country on either Account… to match the REAL one.

Ok… I created the new account… but now I lost all the information linked to my previous “Live” account. VERY DISAPPOINTING.

VERY DISAPPOINTING.

VERY DISAPPOINTING.

Should I say it again?…I have to say that I was not expecting this kind of issues…

If you have a problem like this, remember that:

  • You may request MS for a refund IF you already paid for the Marketplace subscription in the current year.
  • Deleting your Live account you delete all related information (and MSN Messenger contacts too… so beware!)
  • You need to register AGAIN and pay the initial subscription to MS, like you did the first time
  • You need to re-create the products on the new Developer Hub

I hope you are not having this issue…

Cheers

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The Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit has been updated today with new cool components and features:

  • New Components
    • AutoCompleteBox
    • ListPicker
    • LongListSelector
    • Page Transitions
  • Existing Components
    • GestureService/GestureListener
    • ContextMenu
    • DatePicker
    • TimePicker
    • ToggleSwitch
    • WrapPanel

I am going to try them right now.

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Yes, Microsoft Press and Charles Petzold are giving this great book for free.

This book is great, since covers both Silverlight and XNA development on the WP7 platform.

You may want to buy the paper book at the stores.

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We finally finished to wait, WP7 is now coming out in a few days.

I would like to enumerate the goods and the bads of this new OS and my considerations on the same.

These are the goods:

  1. Leverage your current .NET skills.
    1. .NET Framewokr and CLR
    2. Silverlight and XAML: Declarative UI, Two-way binding to anything.
    3. XNA for Game Dev – and not only
    4. Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend: Designers, Emulator (blazingly fast and responsive
  2. Code/UI separation: Ask the designers to build the UI and animations of your application, and focus on your code.
  3. All managed code – GC and NO ability to execute NATIVE CODE
  4. Metro UI rocks: because it is Simple, Clean, Really New.
    1. The “Tiles” on the main startup screen shows dynamically updated content (from Push notifications)
    2. Panorama control available to developers for their own apps
    3. Shared Styles to inherit user preference and to create an uniform experience

Did you try to develop an application on IPhone and Android? It’s not so “Visual” and animations, threading, binding and other stuff is done manually. The programmer need to put graphics inside the application code… so there is not code separation. Dev environments are not so “visual”. The emulators are not so fast and many times the result on the emulator is different than on the actual device. MS Emulator is identical to the phone itself, including the performance.

I could go ahead with a lot of other stuff… however if you take a look at what MS Expression tools like Blend can do… and as soon as you know that you can share the same projects between Visual Studio (dev) and Expression Blend (designer) … you’ll be very happy.

Don’t tell me that Objective C is flexible to build the same things. Or that the Android editor and XML layouts are flexible as XAML is.

OK I know, if you are new to XAML and WPF there is a lot of new stuff to learn. But as soon as you know it you’re able to deliver incredible applications very quickly if compared to the time required on an IPhone or Android.

Do you know that you can SHARE the same control built for a normal Silverlight Web Application also for a Silverlight WIndows Phone project?

Now, let’s focus on the drawbacks of this first release:

  1. Doesn’t support the Copy&Paste function – they confirmed it will be in the next version
  2. Doesn’t support an out-of-the-box database storage capability but only private storage where to serialize your objects.
  3. It’s impossible to create a communication layer between two applications (for instance, you CAN’T read the Contacts, Appointments or EMails on your device from your applications).
    1. Your app can control only itself, and access the GPS/Accelerator… with some exceptions of methods for initiating a call (only proposes it).
  4. Can’t run a background service (only system services does currently support this capability)
    1. can’t raise a push notification to the main window
  5. Push notifications:
    1. are not 100% guaranteed to be delivered

Well, in order to better understand WHY they wanted these limits, we first need to know some basic details. First of all (point 1), the applications can’t decide to do something that the user don’t like to do.

For instance, it’s a non-sense that an application could select its own tone to display a notification, –or- that the application reads the incoming EMails, –or- that the application calls a person automatically or sends an SMS…

The application should propose the user to do something, but nothing more. This leads to a more secure application and environment.

I agree that is not easy to have this kind of limitations, but they preferred Quality vs Quantity for this first release.

Some good features that we will be expecting for the next version of the OS (in a few months I guess)… it’s normal because all the competitors support these:

  1. Inter-application communications
  2. The ability to publish a part of your application as a background service

They are also speaking about including a voice recognition system able to control ANY application installed on the phone – out of the box. This application will be part of the OS, and will be able to narrow the results by proactive communication with the user.

So, finally, I have to say that, despite the GREAT limitations described above, the advantages to both the END USER and the DEVELOPER are so many that … I could forecast that this platform will be a great success – maybe not in this first release, but in the next few months.

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