November 20, 2012

Hats off to CodeProject, Intel

CodeProject is currently holding a Windows 8 & Ultrabook App Innovation contest and I was fortunate enough to make it to the second round. It's a great contest, as all first round winners, myself included, were winners of a brand spanking new prototype model Ultrabook for development:
4Gb memory, Intel I-7(Ivy Bridge) Processor 2-2.5GHz,
160Gb HD, 5 Touchpoint Screen, Windows 8 OS.

I don't really have any technical points in this post, but I wanted to give some kudos to the folks at CodeProject as well as Intel, since I did have an issue with my screen cracking after a week or two. Since it was a free laptop, and CodeProject barely knows who I am, I was not hopeful about being able to get this issue resolved. And it's an unbranded prototype, so I wasn't really sure what manufacturer would be able to help me. Plus, it's a touch screen, so you can't just replace the glass like other laptops (even though it was still fully functional using mouse and keyboard).

But Chris at CodeProject pointed me to Premier Intel support, which came with the laptop, and they swapped it out for me as soon as I could give them a UPS tracking number. Five days later, I'm up and running on the replacement, and it's the best laptop I've ever owned. Fast, responsive, and boots to a functional Windows 8 login screen within 5 seconds. Thanks, CodeProject!

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November 13, 2012

Windows 8 Store Deployment - Lessons Learned

After finally getting an app deployed to the Windows 8 Store, I wanted to share some learning experiences. I went through 2 multiple-hour sessions with the MS engineers - the first session focused more on coding and performance and uncovered the fact that the app was consuming a great deal of memory. It ended up that a few simple jQuery animations - which functioned OK in all other browsers including IE9  - went through the roof on memory consumption in IE10. So I minimized the jQuery animations and it resolved that issue, and now I am looking into revisiting it with the current version of IE10 and the RTM version of Windows 8.

The second interview dealt more with Win8/Metro standards and things like using Settings and the positioning of elements on the screen. At that point I was ready to deploy to the web store, which is a time-consuming process. I did find that having concise notes pertinent to each deployment did help speed up the turnaround time - the first submission took about 5 days to be rejected. By the time it was finally approved, I had deployed 3 times in one day, entering very specific details of the changes I was submitting.

A few things that bit me especially hard:
Certification Requirement #4.1 - Privacy Statement. If you use ANY user information, which includes accessing geolocation, you have to mention this in the privacy statement.

Also, if you have a privacy statement you must include it in your settings, AS WELL AS a link to a privacy statement HTML page in your store description.

Certification Requirement #6.2 - Age Rating. You have a clean app, right? Clean content, and you just implement the Sharing source contract so people can share text or an image from your app to Twitter, Facebook or whatever social network. Well, you'll have to make sure your age rating is 12+ for "uncontrolled sharing", or else you'll surely be rejected.

If you want to "control" sharing, you'll have to create some custom code to enable the user to "allow" other users to share from your application. So, assuming you're not targeting the 3 to 11-year-old crowd, you'll want to set your app's age rating to 12+ any time you implement the Sharing Source contract.

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