While working on my most recent update to Car Dash I upgraded the app to target 8.1. The process was easy, but I didn’t want to have to fork my codebase in order to continue supporting 8.0 devices. I’d much rather have one project that could build for 8.0 and 8.1 with a configuration switch. Today I’ll share the process I went through, highlight the differences I found between the two versions and share a sample project.
Back in December 2013 I blogged about Community URI Schemes. In that post I pitched the idea of having a URI scheme that multiple apps would use following a standard protocol. Soon after posting a link to the blog on twitter I talked to Scott Lovegrove, and found there already was a community URI Scheme for Pocket apps, and Scott created a wonderful helper library, PocketWP, for any Pocket app to use.
Over the last few weeks I finally acted on my initial thoughts and took inspiration from the Pocket library to define a new URI Scheme and helper library for Podcast Apps, I present to you PodcastWP.
Today DVLUP celebrated another #MakeAnAppDevHappyDay. If you’re not familiar with the monthly event take a quick look at WPCentral’s article on the twitter event. The basic jist is that DVLUP encourages Indie Windows Phone developers to tweet about their apps, DVLUP will then re-tweet with the goal of encouraging users to try new apps and give them reviews.
This got me thinking, how much is a positive app review worth? I decided to crunch some numbers to see how much value DVLUP assigns to a review. These numbers are based on the XP awarded from the DVLUP Windows Phone App Quality challenges, and the cost of a $25 Amazon gift card in DVLUP XP ($25 dollar gift card for 500XP).
|Challenge||XP||Total XP||Dollar Amt.||Total $||$/Review||Total $/Review|
|25 4+ Stars||100||100||$5||$5||$0.20||$0.20|
|50 4+ Stars||200||300||$10||$15||$0.20||$0.30|
|100 4+ Stars||500||800||$25||$40||$0.25||$0.40|
|250 4+ Stars||1500||2300||$75||$115||$0.30||$0.46|
|500 4+ Stars||2500||4800||$125||$240||$0.25||$0.48|
|1000 4+ Stars||5000||9800||$250||$490||$0.25||$0.49|
|2500 4+ Stars||15000||24800||$750||$1,240||$0.30||$0.50|
Pretty amazing that with one good app you can potentially earn over $1,200 in a FREE rewards program. By the way if Amazon gift cards don’t interest you you could also use the 24,800 XP to get 2 XBox Ones, 2.5 Lumia 2520 tablets, or 3-4 of any of the Lumia ‘Hero’ phones. Pretty good deal.
So what does this mean for developers? That user reviews are worth A LOT. You should definitely take the time to add a prompt for reviews to all of your apps. DVLUP will even give you 100XP if you add a rate reminder following their criteria.
And what does this mean if you are a smartphone user? Well I would ask that you remember that a developer (or team of devs) spent days, weeks, maybe even months building all the apps on your phone. Think of the apps that you love, the ones you use almost every day and even the silly ones that make inappropriate noises or goofy pictures that bring a smile to your face. Please take the time to review those apps on the marketplace, it’ll only take a few moments of your time, but it will mean a lot to the developer who built it for you.
One of the greatest things about the Windows Phone community is the willingness of users to contribute their time to help localize apps. With my version 2.2 update I was able to add German to Car Dash thanks to Mark Tepper, and I recently started working with another user to bring Turkish translations to the app. Working on the Turkish translations highlighted a problem for Car Dash though: one of the apps key features is using speech recognition to control the phone’s music player, but Windows Phone 8 does not support Speech Recognition for all languages, Turkish being one of them.
Before we get too deep into January I figured I should do a 2013 wrap up post. This was a pretty big year for me as I entered the Windows Phone developer community.
Let me start this post by thanking DVLUP for providing a free 1-hour design consultation to me and 24 other Windows Phone developers. If you’re a Windows Phone Developer and aren’t a DVLUP member you’re missing out on a great rewards program and you should go join, do it now. When you join DVLUP you can use XP to get rewards like Nokia devices and gift cards, they also recently added design consultations as rewards. Check them out here: 1 hour consultation, advanced consultation and pro consultation. To promote these new rewards they gave out 25 of the 1 hour consultations for free.
Let’s talk about URI Schemes. Marco Siccardi wrote a great post about this topic the other day: Why Windows Phone apps deserve a custom uri scheme (and how to add a simple launch uri). If you haven’t already please go read it, I’ll wait.
Today I wanted to share a Visual Studio hack that I discovered while working on CoPilot’s native component. I’m not sure how many other Windows Phone developers may find this useful, but what I can say is that when I discovered this it was practically a life changing event for me.
Matt Hidinger of the Windows Phone Team recently wrote an excellent blog post about implementing Fast App Resume. I typically add Fast App Resume to all of my apps, as it is a feature required by all of the DVLUP challenges, and I think this navigation pattern makes sense to most users. I ran into a problem implementing Fast App Resume on my soon to be released app Car Starter though, and I wanted to share the frustrating tale that wound up having a painfully simple solution.