The Midweek Download: Jan. 30th Edition – How to Build Stellar Windows Phone Apps

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on building high-performance Windows Phone apps, winning apps from the Mobile Code Jam Challenge at CCNC 2013, plus new support to help get your Windows Store apps certified.

Building high-performance Windows Phone apps. Mobile phone users expect the apps running on their phones to perform well at all times and be of super quality. A slow startup or a jerky UI is an absolute no. If playing a game or watching a video completely drains the phone’s battery, users will be very cautious about using that game or app again. To help ensure that your app meets users’ expectations, there’s a new tool you should become familiar with in the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 – Application Monitoring. The image below shows a detailed performance analysis summary of a sample app. To see how to use application monitoring in your apps, head over to the Jan. 25 post on the Windows Phone Developer blog.

Mobile Code Jam rocks Vegas. Top headliners on the Las Vegas strip might include Celine Dion, Penn and Teller, and Carrot Top, but from our perspective, they’ve got nothing on the Vegas premiers of such CCNC Mobile Code Jam stars as BlueWay and Fling-It. That’s right: During the second week of January, the top three submissions for each of the Project Hawaii and TouchDevelop Mobile Code Jam Challenges took the stage in Las Vegas during the 10th Annual IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC 2013), demonstrating their innovative applications while collecting prize money and basking in peer recognition. See some of the winners in Monday’s post on the Microsoft Research Connections Blog and check out the first prize winner in the video below – an indoor multimedia navigation system called BlueWay.

Crash reports help you certify your Windows Store app. As the Windows Store continues to grow and offer app builders a significant market opportunity, we want to clarify the app certification process, so you know what to do to get your app into the Windows Store. We also want you to know how to proceed if your app fails certification. Most commonly, an app fails certification because it crashed or didn’t respond during the certification process. Due to any number of reasons an app might crash, it can be hard to know what happened and how to fix it, especially if you don’t experience the crash locally. As of Jan. 28, when an app fails certification for either of these reasons, we’ll send a crash file with the certification report. If you’re looking to speed up certification of your apps, take a look at Monday’s post on the Windows App Developer Blog.

The Windows Phone map control. One of our main goals of the new Windows Phone map control is the seamless integration across our platform. Our users should expect to have the same map experience no matter where they use a map on Windows Phone 8. To accomplish this, we decided to share the same core map control across our built-in experience and apps. The first difference you’ll notice with the new control is that it does not run in the designer. This is because the new control is not all managed code, and it uses the new map platform included in the Windows Phone 8 OS. Learn more on this story in the Jan. 24 edition of the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Ford goes further with big data and machine learning. If you read Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton’s CES trip report a couple weeks ago, then you might recall his comment about Ford’s work in helping consumers optimize when they use electricity—a program they call MyEnergi Lifestyle. Since returning from Vegas, Clayton stumbled across a few articles here and there that really peel back the body of the car, as it were, to see the technology. For the last several years, Ford has worked closely with the Windows Embedded group in creating the award-winning Ford SYNC. But make no mistake, Ford has some rather savvy tech skills of its own. Watch the video below featuring two automotive engineers who worked on the Ford Fusion and head over to Tuesday’s Next at Microsoft post for the rest of the story.

Windows Azure Store: New add-ons and expanded availability. During the BUILD 2012 conference, we announced a new capability of Windows Azure: The Windows Azure Store. The Windows Azure Store makes it incredibly easy for you to discover, purchase and provision premium add-on services, provided by our partners, for your cloud based applications. For example, you can use the Windows Azure Store to easily setup a MongoDB database in seconds, or quickly setup an analytics service like NewRelic that gives you deep insight into your application’s performance. Windows Azure Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie shows you how to sign up for the growing list of add-on services, step-by-step in his Jan. 23 ScottGu’s Blog post.

SQL Server backup and restore to cloud simplified. SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 2 includes new functionality that simplifies the backup and restore capability of an on-premises SQL Server database to Windows Azure. You can now directly create a backup to Windows Azure Storage using SQL Server Native Backup functionality. Read this Jan. 24 post on the Windows Azure blog to get a brief introduction to the new functionality and follow the links for more in-depth information.

The four pillars of identity – identity management in the age of hybrid IT. Identity management used to be a relatively simple matter. You set up an identity management system based on one or more identity repositories, you enter user names and passwords into the identity repository system, you create groups and populate them with user accounts and then you configure your applications and services to use that system and away you go. If you wanted to get “sophisticated,” you might do things like require users to change their passwords on a periodic basis and maybe go crazy by requiring some level of password complexity. Fast-forward to the second decade of the third millennium. Enterprise identity management has become increasingly complex. Get details on this new whitepaper in Monday’s post on the Private Cloud Blog.

Join us in Las Vegas, April 8-12 for MMS. The Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) is tailored specifically to IT Professionals, and provides some of the deepest level of technical training Microsoft has to offer. Attendees will learn from industry experts while attending 300 and 400 level sessions, and instructor-led and self-paced labs. In addition, registered attendees can save 50 percent (U.S. price, based on dollars) on Microsoft Certification Exams at MMS. Find out what you’ll learn at MMS and how to register in this Jan. 25 announcement on the Springboard Series Blog.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog