Analytics Are Fun

by Kevin November 15, 2011 01:25

I recently started adding analytics to my apps to get an idea of how many of the people that downloaded my apps were actually still using them. Well, the data is finally coming in and I was shocked to see how widespread the user base is for Windows Phone 7 now.

You may be able to get a sense of the number of countries involved by looking at download counts in the App Hub, but it doesn't really hit you until you see it on a map. Here is the map for my apps showing some of the early app run data.

App Run Map

If you are interested in adding analytics to your Windows Phone 7 app, check out the Runtime Intelligence Service available from PreEmptive Solutions. Here is a good walk-through video to get you started. It also talks about dotfuscation, which can help you to protect your source code.


Windows Phone - Handling Light and Dark Theme Changes

by Kevin November 14, 2011 21:29

I love how the icons in the AppBar magically know how to switch from light to dark to match the currently selected OS theme, but I hate how they don't seem as "smart" when I use them elsewhere in my app.

Well, after doing it the hard way in UCF News (switching between header templates in the code behind), I stumbled across a really simple way in someone's response to a question on the subject. I couldn't believe it was that easy. I like to tell myself that this method only became available with the OS 7.5 (Mango) release, so it isn't entirely my fault that I missed it. Smile

Here is a code snippet to demonstrate. Just put both versions of the graphic, light and dark, in the same block, set the Visibilty attribute as shown, and let the OS do the rest.

    <!-- LightTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/light/"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneLightThemeVisibility}" />
    <!-- DarkTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/dark/"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneDarkThemeVisibility}" />

That's all it takes. I'm sure the same trick can be applied for other resources, but I haven't had to try it yet. Hopefully this post will save you a little time on your next app.


Ask Me About My Apps...

by Kevin November 14, 2011 18:31

I started developing Windows Phone apps at the beginning of February 2011 in anticipation of the HTC Arrive's release on Sprint's network in March (Yes, I had all of one phone to choose from). I wasn't new to .NET development, but I had never worked on phone apps or with Silverlight, so I didn't know what to expect from the learning curve. I was surprised by how many excellent examples and tools Microsoft had made available to developers, free of charge, and the move from ASP.NET to XAML was easier than I thought it would be. I quickly had my first test app up and running and consuming Web services.

That first app was something that I could only use to talk to my database server at work, so I turned to the emulator to create my first "real" app. WinPhone Info was a way for me to work through a number of the sample apps that let you tap into the hardware and OS on the phone. While working on each of the samples, I thought it would be nice to have them all combined into a single metro-styled app, so it became my first app in the Marketplace on 5/24/11. It now has over 15000 downloads, which I think is quite good for the small user-base that Windows Phone has gained in it's first year.

November brought the OS 7.5 (Mango) update, new developer tools and APIs, the first Nokia Windows Phones, and some excellent new hardware from HTC and Samsung. It also saw the start of some real advertising coming from Microsoft and the phone manufacturers, especially Nokia in Europe and Asia. The next year should be an excellent one for Windows Phone, as it gains even more ground on iOS and Android. I'm excited to be a Windows Phone developer, because as millions more people make the switch, they will be downloading and using my apps.

My current apps as of November are listed below. Click on the icons for more info and links to download the apps from the Marketplace.

Bill Reminder

Bill Reminder

If you are like me, you already use a full-featured money management program on your computer, and you don't want to re-enter all of your financial information into a separate application on your phone or rely on email reminders to know when your bills are due. Bill Reminder was written with those problems in mind. It gives you convenient, color-coded, reminders to quickly see when your bills are due; red for past due, yellow for due today, and green for not due yet. No account numbers or amounts are required. Just enter a name, frequency, and next occurrence date, and Bill Reminder color codes and sorts your bills into the correct lists. Mark a bill as paid, and Bill Reminder automatically updates the next occurrence date, color code, and reminder lists.

UCF News

UCF News

If you want to keep up with sports, campus, and college news at the University of Central Florida, then UCF News is the app for you. It brings the news from 30 separate RSS feeds into a single, easy to navigate, panorama application, so you can quickly get the news you need on the go. Additional feeds and feed filtering will be included in future updates.


WinGPS Info

WinGPS Info

WinGPS Info displays your location information and provides a Bing map to view the data updates in real-time and to send a map link to your current location via email or SMS.


WinPhone Info

WinPhone Info

WinPhone Info displays information about your Windows Phone device. It combines multiple sample applications into a single, Metro-styled interface.



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Windows Phone

About the author


I work on .NET development by day; Windows PC & Windows Phone development by night.

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