ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

The State of Worldwide WP7 Publishing after MIX11

4/26/2011 10:11:58 AM

I’m back from MIX11 and a short vacation after that. It is now beside the point to write anything about general topics from MIX, but as I took on a duty of advocating expansion of Windows Phone marketplace accessibility, I’d like to address what was announced and changed after MIX11.

In this post I’ll talk about developer (publishing) accessibility.

8 (9?) new countries in more than a year. Really!?

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I was still operating in moderate optimism mode (aka stupidity) before MIX. Hoping a lot of new developer countries will be announced (including Lithuania). I’ve got a couple hints that this won’t be the case and it wasn’t.

In more than a year Microsoft has managed to add support for 8 (or is it 9? (see below)) new developer countries. I’m pretty sure a single full time employee working on that could do more in a year, but oh, well. It’s clear now that this sort of expansion is not a priority for Microsoft or they are just waiting for Nokia to bring that part to the table.

Fortunately they at least did something to mitigate the issue.

Global Publishing Partners

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Earlier this year MS announced Yalla Apps as their first official global publishing partner (aka proxy) for Middle East and Africa. I’ve seen different reactions to this – from awe to someone calling it a spit in the face of developers.

I consider it to be what it actually is – a workaround. Something that gets the job done in civilized, but not very elegant manner.

Now they’ve announced additional partners to cover a total of 102 countries. Each has some “focus” countries but actually accepts developers from all over the world (except for officially supported countries).

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The funny part is that no one can tell what that “focus” really means. I’ve got some vague answers that it has something to do with partner using locally preferred payment methods, operating in closer time zone (for better support), etc. But Yalla Apps (which doesn’t “focus” on Lithuania) uses PayPal for payments (which is fine with me) and is located 1 timezone away from me, when our suggested partner (APPA Market) is 2 timezones away. So that “focus” aspect doesn’t seem all that important.

What really pissed me off during the session was this:

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Paid updates are bad for EVERYONE

When APPA Market was announced I immediately went to their web site and saw a price table which had (and still has) this bullet point:

  • Application update £15

Yalla Apps had a similar (yet slightly cheaper) structure. I expressed my concerns to Todd Brix after the session and tweeted this

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and to my surprise when I checked Yalla Apps prices yesterday they were like this:

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(1 credit <= $1). Now 1 credit is not totally free but is negligibly cheap. Kudos to Yalla Apps for listening to the community. APPA Market is still where it was on April 14th.

I understand that these publishing partners are for-profit organizations and aren’t supposed to do charity work or something like that, but being an official partner already gives them way more exposure and business than they would get otherwise. On the other hand they let Microsoft be lazy in this area, so MS could chip in a little or make the process for partners as easy as possible (good APIs to publish updates automatically, etc.).

Paid updates are bad for …

  • Microsoft and Windows Phone ecosystem in general. Developers won’t publish minor updates or even critical updates for non-profit (or no profit) apps if it costs them 15 pounds for each typo. This would result in lower quality apps in the marketplace and is very bad for the ecosystem.
  • Global Publishing Partners. On paper it looks like partners would be making money with paid updates but in reality I think it would result in less developers joining them based on such fee structure and of those who joined fewer will be actually posting the updates. Speaking for myself I decided not to join any of them when I saw that fee structure.
  • Developers. Well, this is obvious. And it even more depressing when you see 1st class “citizens” not only getting direct service but paying incomparably less for it.

Conclusion

Based on what I saw I was planning to turn my back on actual WP7 development for another cycle and further concentrate on my related projects (AdDuplex and amCharts). But now, with updated Yalla Apps pricing, I’m seriously considering joining them. I’ll wait till APPA Market launches on May 1st and if their pricing doesn’t change I’ll go with Yalla even though they are not my “focus” partner.

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See You at MIX11!

4/8/2011 9:14:02 AM

Yesterday I’ve wrapped up my main work stuff. Today I’m doing my final travel preparations. Packing my bags on Saturday. Sunday is the trip day – Vilnius –> Kiev –> New York –> Las Vegas. MIX11 starts on Monday.

I’ll be attending HTML5 and jQuery bootcamps on Monday. With 11 TBA (to be announced) Windows Phone sessions I decided not to plan any session schedule upfront and decide what to attend on the spot. I would love to go on the WP7 track but I have doubts Microsoft is going to make it easier for us in Eastern Europe to do WP7 development and publishing. This cripples my interest a lot.

Open Source Fest

On Monday I’ll represent amCharts Quick Charts during the Open Source Fest – an event with more than 50 open source projects. If there was an award for the longest project name I’d be a winner already.

Anyway, if you want to chat about any amCharts products come to the amCharts table and we’ll talk. I’ll be wearing this t-shirt (unless my luggage is lost):

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And don’t forget to leave some chips in my jar (or whatever they give me)!

Silverlight MIXer

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I won an invitation to the l33t Silverlight party (organized by the awesome John Papa) with this work of modern art (pictured above). Looking forward to meeting (almost) all of the coolest people in Silverlight community.

Let’s talk

Let’s meet and talk about WP7, Silverlight, WPF, amCharts, AdDuplex … anything. I’ve learned from my mistakes last year and I’m bringing identifiable wardrobe to MIX11. So I should be easy enough to spot.

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OK. Back to last minute things…

See You at MIX11

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EcoContest

2/28/2011 12:32:52 PM

eco_badge_130There’s a Silverlight ECO Contest in progress with a theme of forest management and a grand prize of a trip to MIX11.

I’ve decided that it’s targeted mostly at designers and copy-writers at first and decided not to even try. Then I had an idea and decided to give it a try. When I was like 2/3 way through the implementation I decided again that I’m not a designer and quit. The files were left unattended on my disk for a couple of weeks.

Today I thought that there’s no reason for me not to submit what I’ve done. I’m not embarrassed by the idea, I still like it a lot, and I’m not a designer to be embarrassed by my design skills (or lack of them).

So, I took 1/3 of what I’ve done, packaged it and submitted to the contest.

You can check it out here, VOTE for it by clicking 5 leafs at the bottom and send me to MIX11.

Thanks!

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WPF, Silverlight and WP7 at MIX11 – My Picks

1/26/2011 6:31:57 PM

I’ve submitted a proposal to present a talk at MIX11 conference in Las Vegas called “Developing for WPF, Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 at Once”. The proposal has passed the first round of filtering and now it needs your votes to get me into one of the 10 spots. With more than 200 candidates that’s going to be a tough task. But it’s doable, right? RIGHT!?

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If you like the subject of my talk you can vote for it by selecting all the cats in the CAPTCHA and pressing the “Vote for the session” button.

Obviously mine is not the only great proposal there. Here are some of my favorites I voted for:

  • First of all my virtual friend (devirtualization at MIX?), great developer, Silverlight MVP and overall nice guy René Schulte has 3 proposals: The World Is Not Enough - Silverlight Augmented Reality, Pictures Lab - How To Write A Silverlight Photo Effects Application For Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight 3D. I’m sure he can deliver and you should definitely vote for one of his proposals (if not all).
  • Then there’s The tale of two apps - Making a splash in the Windows Phone Marketplace by András Velvárt and Bálint Orosz. A story of 2 of the most popular WP7 apps made by developers from the “unsupported” Hungary who instead of whining and fighting for justice (like I do) found ways to make a splash in the Marketplace despite obstacles Microsoft put in front of them.
  • Then there’s PHP on Windows by fellow Lithuanian Juozas Kaziukėnas. I’ve seen him present an earlier version of this talk and it was great even though it feels a little out of place in my list. Juozas is a great presenter and the content is interesting for those who want to keep their eye on what’s happening in the area.
  • Then I chose Exploring a Blendable Windows Phone 7 Application by Laurent Bugnion out of 2 of his proposals. I believe Deep dive MVVM will get through without my help. Laurent is probably the most knowledgeable and influential Silverlight MVP in Europe and probably the whole world. It’s always interesting to see him speak.
  • One talk that has a chance to be overlooked but seems very interesting and important is Introduction to Maps by Colin Blair. Mapping becomes more common in all sorts of apps but quite a few developers understand the terms and concepts involved.

My other votes in no particular order:

As you can see these are only a few of the proposals and they are well worth their own conference and they need your votes.

And most importantly (shameless plug and I’m not even sorry) I need your votes. Thanks!

P.S. In case you don’t like cats think of the CAPTCHA as the one were you have to eliminate all the cats.

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