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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

    SNAGHTMLff346c3

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

    image

  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

    SNAGHTML1014c94b

  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:

    image 



    The result will look something like this:

    SNAGHTML1015879a     

      
  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.

    image

    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:

    image


  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.

    image

 

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

How to easily download BUILD video session with Zune software

This morning i was playing with Zune (software) and remembered the Podcast section. So i decide to give a try to see if it would work with video. And the answers is YES. So here is the walkthrough to do so.

First make sure you have Zune open and go in your “Collection” and select “Podcasts”:
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Now you can go on the Channel 9 website in the section dedicated to BUILD :  http://channel9.msdn.com/events/BUILD/BUILD2011

In the page there a link called Subscribe to this event:
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When you do a mouse over a context menu will show up:

image

So now you can do a right click and select “Copy shortcut”

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or use any of the link below:
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/mp4
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/mp4high
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/wmv
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/wmvhigh
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/zune
http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/mp3

and now you can go back in Zune and click on the “ADD A PODCAST” button

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Past any of the feed you want and click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button:
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So now Zune will download the feed and display the available show. You can now click on the Download button of any show that you want. By default, Zune will automatically try to download the first 3 video. So you can access the  “Series Settings” so you will be able to configure how Zune will handle this series.

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After that you can now watch the videos in Zune or if you prefer you can sync the video to your Windows Phone 7 by right click on the video that you want to sync and click “Sync with …”

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Enjoy watching the BUILD sessions offline, and get ready for the future of Windows.

Regards,

LP

Experimenting Windows 8 Developer Preview

Last evening Microsoft publish the new website http://dev.windows.com for Windows 8 developer, and at the same time they have publish a Developer Preview of the new Windows 8. So lucky i am, i have a multi-touch laptop (it’s a ACER 5738PG). So i decided to give a try an install it on my machine. But before, i did the installation i found an excellent article about installing this OS using a VHD file. This is nice because you don’t have to do any change to your hard drive partition. So when you install the new version, a boot loader will be installed so you can decide which OS you want to boot on. So before installing the Developer Preview i recommend that you read this blog : http://www.hanselman.com/blog/GuideToInstallingAndBootingWindows8...

So for my current experience here is my first impression. I’m really impressed by what i see so far. The performance is incredible. The touch response is really precise and fast compare to any touch interface that i previously used.

And yes, like any new interface i still have to search (or mainly learn) how to access the different context menu. But i think this is a normal step because if we don’t have learn this mean that nothing really change, and for now it’s a big step forward (a nice one).

So my next step is to create an Metro application using the Visual Studio Express 11 and Expression Blend 5 Preview. I’ll try the different projects and language available. So stay tune on my blog, I’ll give my impression about the development for Windows 8.

Regards,
LP

BUILD Conference

Tomorrow, Microsoft is holding a conference about the new version of Windows which is called Windows 8. My colleague Laurent Duveau is on site to find out the latest information about the new feature of the new version. On my part, I'm looking forward to the touch interface that will improve the UX for Windows based slate. I’ll also try to see what knew about the development. There was a lot of talk about HTML5 but i think Microsoft will show us something more interesting and base on XAML.

The conference will be broadcast live at 9am Pacific Time (12pm Eastern time): http://www.buildwindows.com/

I’ll post more information about the new stuff.

Regards,
LP

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Applications on Windows Phone 7 Book

2589ENRecently i have the opportunity to work as a Technical Reviewer for a book written by Todd Spatafore. This book is about the creation of Windows Phone 7 application which integrate with SharePoint. Windows Phone 7 offer a native integration with SharePoint, but sometime you need to create enterprise application the will require to connect with SharePoint.

So if you are interested by the book, you can see more information on the PacktPub website:
https://www.packtpub.com/microsoft-sharepoint-2010-enterprise-applications-on-windows-phone-7/book

LP

DevTeach–Montreal

imageDevTeach is coming back to Montreal next week (May 30 to June 3). So on Monday May 30, there will be a pre-conference day where some subject like Agile Architecture, Extreme Database Design and Silverlight. Me and some colleges of RunAtServer will present the pre-conference on Silverlight. We will demonstrate and share on how to create a end-to-end application with Silverlight. Bring your laptop so you can enjoy the experience.

The next 3 days (May 31 to June 2) will be for the main conference. On my side, i’ll be presenting on the first day May 31st at 9h30. I will talk about “What you should know about Windows Phone 7 Development”. So i will demonstrate some of the new feature of the upcoming Mango update. I will also go through some of my real experience as a WP7 developer on some issue you may face and how to resolve them. So i hope to see you there.

On Friday June 3rd, there will be a post-conference days which will focus on Windows Phone 7, Sharepoint 2010 and Agile Development.

image

Regards,
LP

Tou.tv–Now available on the marketplace

TVG_Splash_WP7ApplicationIconIn the last 2 month we have been busy working on a great Windows Phone project. We created the Tou.TV for Windows Phone. www.Tou.tv is a French website from Radio-Canada that allow the user to view TV show online. So had to create the same experience but using the Windows Phone standard. So we had the chance to work with technology like Smooth Streaming. So SMF (Silverlight Media Framework) were a nice asset in that project to handle the video. We used some caching technology to improve the performance of the application.

Phone_HomeControls

Also, we used the Telerik RadControls for Windows Phone to help us make the application more interesting by implementing some animation and page transition the provide in their toolkit. We have been able to be in direct contact with the dev. team of the controls. We had great support from them by providing us with overnight fix on some bug that we’ve found.

Marketplace

Since one week the version 0.9 is available, and from the review we were able to provide an application of quality, which is really great.

That was a nice experience, be able to provide our knowledge in general public application. And i can says that we also learn a lot from that experience.

You can download the application using the following link:

More screenshot:

Emission_Saison - CopyEpisodeEpisode_InfosRecherche

Regards,
LP

What technology cannot do?

Today my friend (and boss) got married. Up to now technology doesn’t do much. But when the wedding occur on a beach in Mexico (Riviera Maya) and the wedding i streamed live from a 3G connection, this is were the technology begin it’s magic!!! The quality pretty much impressive! Also, i had to watch it over WiFi on a train running at 120 km/h. What’s next? I can wait to be whiplash again!!

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Congratulation to the new married!

Regards,
LP

Portable Library – Share your libraries between multiple technology

Have you ever create an application where you want to share resources between them but you had to create multiple libraries to because those project use different compiler? If your like this often happen. In my case we face that issue. To solve the issue we had to create multiple libraries and refer class using linked files in the project. This is what we have to do in some project where we have a Silverlight 4 app and a Windows Phone 7 app. But this is not the most efficient way to do it.

Microsoft is now offering a solution for that kind of issue. The solution is called Portable Library, which is currently in CTP. So now you can create a single class library in which you can select which kind of project it should be compatible with. You should give it a look, because this may help you solve many issue and save times related with having common class libraries for multiple technologies.

To download the tools: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/b0e0b5e9-e138-410b-ad10-00cb3caf4981/

For more information:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bclteam/archive/2011/01/19/
announcing-portable-library-tools-ctp-justin-van-patten.aspx

Regards,
LP

Windows Phone 7–Network Connectivity

Recently I've been working on a project and we discovered something that have some impact on the performance of a Windows Phone application. This is probably a mistake that we did when implementing the code, but it may be the kind of mistake that many developer will do.

Quickly, each time we were calling the web service we were validating the network connectivity by validating the property “ NetworkInterface.NetworkInterfaceType ”. Behind that property, there is a process that validate the connectivity. This process is calling a page “http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt” to see if there is any connectivity and which type of connectivity. But the problem is that is done synchronously. So in our case we were calling multiple times this process, which result to execute the process of validating the Url mention before synchronously multiple times.  So each web service call must wait for the network validation before executing the call. And because it’s on the web the response can be fast and can also be very long before we get the response.

In our case we did implement a wrapper that make sure that the call is not done to often. This help us improve the performance of the application start-up. Also this help to improve activation process after the application Tombstone.

So make sure to validate our Windows Phone 7 application by using a tool like fiddler. This will help you improve the performance and stability of your application.

Regards,
LP