Windows Phone and Windows 8 positive stories – Blackberry replaced by Lumia

Three positive stories.

The final story refers to my daughter. It has been “regrettable” that both my son and daughter have been using Blackberry phones for the last two years and worse still, I have been paying for the contracts!

Well, out of the blue my daughter reported that whilst at University she has chosen to get herself a new Lumia 610 on her own phone contract. Wow! Clearly the biggest news story of the three by far!

Now… as I will be leaving Microsoft Dec 31st, I wonder if I can grab her old Blackberry. Just kidding :)

1996 to 2012 – still no evidence… I give up!

In 1996 I was happily working on large Unix applications when I was approached by Microsoft to join a brand new European arm of the (then famous – apparently) Microsoft US Developer Relations Group as something called a “Technical Evangelist” (Which incidentally caused all sorts of problems when I put that down on a mortgage application form the same year!)

My plan was simple.

  • Join for two years.
  • Use those two years to “understand the enemy”
  • Get insider confirmation of just how sucky Windows really was and how arrogant all those Microsoft folks were.
  • Once this was done I could then get back to my beloved Unix for development and Apple Macintosh for design and fun.

Well, after nearly 16 years I have given up looking.

The people are lovely – smart and caring. The technology is competent and some of it is fantastic. Yes I did find some sucky technology and even had to evangelise the merits of some (but even Entity Framework 1.0 blossomed in time)  – but overall Microsoft makes great stuff.

I therefore give up :-) Mission aborted.

I have decided it is time to leave Microsoft and spend the beginning of 2013 with family before working out what to do next. I’m sure whatever I do it will be fun – and definitely different to the last 16 years :) Oh – and it will be “up north” as I’ve moved from sunny Bath to chilly North Yorkshire. We had snow today!

An enormous thank you to everybody I ever met, presented to, advised, sort advice from, drank with, ate with, slept with (Mike T knows what I mean there).  I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with and met so many smart people. I could list them… but I have my tea waiting downstairs…

Take care all

P.S. I’m still working for Microsoft through December…

Slides and links from Windows 8 Round Table 29th Nov 2012

If you attended the event yesterday in London then firstly, thank you for coming and secondly, you can find the slides we used attached to this post or via this direct link.

The tips I listed in my part of the day can be found at Windows Store Tips.

And finally, my group is very active in helping developers and designers skill up for Windows 8. Check out the resources (including in-person free training) at

Round Table 29th Nov 2012 novideo

Windows Store Tips:Follow the company developer account guidelines

[Windows Store Tips]

When you create a developer account on the Windows 8 store you can either create a company account or an individual account. I have seen several companies get into a “bit of a pickle” with store company accounts.

We now have some detailed guidelines which will help avoid problems later on, including:

  • Create your Microsoft account using an email address that belongs to your company’s domain, but not to a single individual—for example,
  • Add a company phone number that does not require an extension, or an additional email distribution list as a proof.
  • Limit access to your company’s Windows Store Dashboard to the smallest number of developers as possible.
  • In general, use trusted PCs as your security proof. All key team members must have access to these trusted PCs.
  • If you need to allow access to the Windows Store Dashboard from a non-trusted PC, limit that access to a maximum of 5 developers. These developers should access the Windows Store Dashboard from machines that share the same geographical and network location.
  • Frequently manage your proofs to keep them current.

Installing an application on Windows RT for testing is simple pimple

There appears to be a small myth that getting a Windows 8 store app on a Windows RT device  during development is complicated. I think this stems from a) some of the (quite complex) blogosphere posts on Windows RT and sideloading for Enterprise and b) the expectation that some form of remote deployment/debugging will be required.

However, if all you want to do is install and run it then it really is very simple.

In Visual Studio, use the Store menu to create a package.



At which point Any CPU is normally fine – unless you are using a C/C++ component in which case you will want to generate a ARM package.


Now navigate to the directory


And copy the entire sub folder onto a USB stick. The appxupload is NOT what you want.


Place the USB stick into your Windows RT device and open the folder to reveal the contents.

Right click on the .ps1 file and “Run with PowerShell”


You will then get a series of prompts – agree to them all :-)




Note: If it is the first ever time you have done this on the device you will also be prompted to get a developer license (free).

And when complete the application will be on your Start screen – far right, unless you previously installed it.


101 WinRT Controls and Frameworks

Last updated 24th October 2012.

Ok, not quite 101 but I’m sure we will get there :-) If I have missed something, please share with a comment. Enjoy!

UX Frameworks – commercial

UX Frameworks – open source




  • but this has not been updated for Windows8 RTM – and therefore would act as a starting point
  • Also check out Windows Azure Mobile Services for a cloud database geared towards mobile apps.

Windows Azure Mobile Services

Currently in Preview.

Store data, authenticate (Microsoft accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Google) and authorize users, send email/sms and push notifications to devices using Windows Azure Mobile Services

Bing Maps for Windows Store Apps

Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows 8

  • · Win 8 RTM Compatible Ad SDK download
  • · Win 8 RTM Compatible Ad SDK MSDN Documentation
  • · Microsoft Advertising for Windows 8 Website for blog posts, FAQs, support and more

Analytics for WinRT

Omniture has a WinRT SDK today in beta:

Video Player for Windows 8

Currently Preview 6 (22/9/2012)

Play Ready SDK for Windows 8

Audio and Video content protection for streaming and progressive download

Windows Store Tips: Run the Windows App Certification Kit frequently and on a low spec computer

[Windows Store Tips]

Run it often

The Windows App Certification Kit test is one of the first things that happens to your application during certification – and if you fail it, your submission fails. The good news is that the WACK is also something you can run locally before you submit. Please do. In fact, why not integrate it into your build process or get into the habit of running it whenever you are making significant changes to the code.

Also run it on a low spec machine

However as well as running it frequently, also run it on a low spec computer (or Virtual Machine) – Atom is a good processor to aim for.

And run it on clean machine where your application has never run

Just in case you are seeing a performance boost from “caching of something”…

Creating a package gives you the option to launch the kit:


or just type “windows app cert” into the search charm:


And there is a command line to use as well:

appcert.exe reset
appcert.exe test -apptype metrostyle -packagefullname [package full name] -reportoutputpath [report file name]


Windows Store Tips: Do not leave creating the store submission to the last day!

[Windows Store Tips]

Several of the teams we have worked with have delayed looking at the store submission process until the very end … and only then realised a) how much time and effort is involved to do it well and b) there are a few areas that require some careful consideration.

There are eight steps you need to complete, some take a minute or two, some take much longer.


Areas that require some thought tend to be questions like “What age rating?” and “How do I answer this cryptography question?”. Check them out sooner rather than later!

Areas that require some effort to do well are things like descriptions, screenshots and promotional images. Promotional images are not screenshots! (More on that in a future post)

What often compounds this is the developer doing the submission is likely not the person best placed to fill in some of the fields. Again, do not leave it until the end to find this out.

Read other Windows Store Tips