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TechDays 2011 (Canada) New Windows Phone Application

Last year, i did an unofficial Windows Phone application. This year the team in charge of the TechDays ask me to create the application for this Year events. They provide me with a brand new event OData feed. In this new application, I’ve decided to make the application to support some Mango feature like Fast-switching, Secondary Title, etc.

I restart from scratch for the implementation of the Data inside the application. Now the application is fully functional without Internet connectivity (only the first time to gather the latest data from the OData feed).

I did a brand new scheduler, where you can easily view and flag which session you want to see. I hope you will like the application and find it useful.

 

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The application have just been certified so the application should be available by Tuesday morning.

Here is the direct link:

Download-EN-Med

I hope you enjoy TechDays (currently in Toronto, and coming soon in Vancouver and Montreal).

Regards,
LP

Tracking Errors in your Windows Phone applications with BugSense

Building an application 100% bullet proof is somewhat something impossible, mainly in when the application can be use by wide range of customer. In Windows Phone, we are affected by the device, the connectivity, the lock screen, etc.). In some combination of event an error can occurred that have not been tested.

So my philosophy about that is to be pro-active. So i don’t want to wait the complaint of customer, i want to know when an error occurred with as much information to help me reproduce the problem to finally fix the issue.

To achieve this goal, there is some analytics component available for Windows Phone 7. Some of those are able to tracking the errors that might occur in your application. But i find out a nice component, that do the a really great job.

BugSense is a really simple component. When i mean simple, it’s really simple add the component and add 1 line of code in the App.xaml.cs and your done. The component can be download as standalone package or you use NuGet to install the package.

Here is a screen of the only line of code that is required by the component.

On the website you have access to a nice Dashboard that will provide you with a lot of information about the error and the recurrence.

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You can if you want replace the default UnhandledException event with the event that is built-in the component, you can do it:

public App()
{  
  BugSenseHandler.Instance.Init(this, "Your_API_Key"); 
  BugSenseHandler.Instance.UnhandledException += OnUnhandledException; 
  //UnhandledException += Application_UnhandledException;
  ...
}

You can also trap the exception in your try..catch statement:

try {    
   //Some code to execute
}
catch (Exception ex) {    
   BugSenseHandler.HandleError(ex);
}

So what happen when there is an error, the user will get notified and a report will be sent to the BugSense so you can get notified and review the error. As you can see there is some options, that allow you to control the popup window that show up by default (yes you can turn it off if you want).

Once an error is logged you indicate in your account to receive Email notification. Which is a good idea when you want to have a nice application (that don’t bug too often Smile).

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It’s the first time i use this component and I'm very impressed by the quality of the tools and all the feature it provide (client side and server side). What to say more … I'll use it in future applications. Oh yay … i practically forgot that it FREE. www.bugsense.com

Regards,
LP

Testing your Windows Phone application prior to submit to the Marketplace is an essential task

Recently i was working on some Windows Phone project. I remembered that one of the improvement with the latest SDK for Windows Phone 7.1, was the introduction of a new tool that will help developers to test their apps prior to submit them to the Marketplace. This was a great idea because many were complaining about the time it take it take for an application to go through the Certification process.

First, the certification process is pretty complex, on the tester side. It require automatic testing done by a server, which is fairly fast. Then, the apps is tested manually by a tester, this is the part of the process which take longer to complete. Try to imagine you testing an application that you don’t know the purpose and how it work. For my part, I really don’t want to be in their pants! From my past experience, they are doing a very good job.

To return to the main subject, a new tool is now available with the SDK which is called “Marketplace Test Kit”. This will guide the developer through all the test that are done by the automated process and the manual testing.

Here is the walkthrough to test your application:

  1. Open the “Project” menu

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  2. And then click on the “Open Marketplace Test Kit”

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  3. Now you have the first screen that will allow you to enter all the information required by the automated test process.
    - Application Package
    - Tiles
    - Screenshots

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  4. The next screen is the “Automated Tests”, this is the screen that execute and give you the result of the automated testing process. The result can be useful, because it will provide you the detected Manifest information like the Capability:

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    The result will look something like this:

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  5. The next section is the Monitored Test, these tests are manual but a log is generated and analyse automatically base on the the navigation you do while testing the application. This look for memory issue, navigation pattern issue, performance. Do execute the test you need to have your phone connected, because the test is done using the device. So if you don’t have a device you won’t be able to process those tests.

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    Once your done testing you can either exit the application or click on the “Close Application” button in the test screen. You will result like those:

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  6. The last step is 100% manual. So these must be done manually and you must use your own judgement to identify if the test “Pass” or “Fail”. You just need to follow the instruction. This may be less or more complex depending on your application.

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In conclusion, testing your application must be a task you must do for each application (version) prior to submit to the Marketplace. This will make sure you won’t wait for the certification for bug that you could have trapped doing those tests. Also, by doing those test you will improve the quality of your application and you will help improve the delay for the certification process.

Regards,
LP