In this Guest Blog, our Windows Phone Development MVP, Mayur Tendulkar covers the important FAQs around Windows Phone development.

In our technical communities, many folks ask me questions on Windows Phone development. Most of these questions are same & repetitive. So, I thought of compiling ‘Top 10’ of them as ‘FAQs’ and here they are. Let’s call it FAQ v1.0.

1. I’ve bought a laptop year ago, can I use it to build WP apps?

Any laptop with a processor, motherboard and BIOS supporting virtualization and Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) can be used to build and test WP apps, provided it is running Windows 8. Intel calls SLAT as Extended Page Tables (EPT). If you know the processor model, you can check details about your processor on processor manufacturer’s site. Else, you can use coreinfo.exe (read here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-in/sysinternals/cc835722.aspx ) utility which can give you details about your machine. However, this feature is required for emulator. If you want to build and test on real device directly, any PC with descent configuration can work.

2. I want to keep my development environment separate, can I use VM for WP development?

This idea is not supported. Even though there are some sites which use third-party virtualization tools to create VMs for WP app development, I personally will not recommend it.

3. What version should I build for v7.0, 7.1, 7.5, 7.8, and 8.0?

7.0 was first release of Windows Phone. After that, major release was 7.8 with many features. However 8.0 is a game changer. Apps built for 7.x can run on 8.0 however, reverse is not supported. If you want to target all WP devices, 7.x is the way to go. However, 8.0 provides many new features and rich API set. You’ll miss-out these features if you build for 7.x. You can have more information about WP versions here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/windowsphone/develop/hh202996(v=vs.105).aspx

4. Do I need to pay annual fee for developing Windows Phone apps?

To build and test app on your own device, you don’t need to pay any fees. You can developer unlock one device and test 2 apps (maximum at any time) on it. However to change this number or sell the apps you’ll need to get a developer account by paying annual fees. You can read more about it at: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2013/08/06/making-it-easier-to-get-started-with-windows-phone-app-studio-beta-simplified-phone-registration-support-options-amp-more-payout-markets.aspx.

5. While building my app, how can I test my app with location data?

Windows Phone SDK comes with fantastic tools and Windows Phone emulator is one of them. It has functionality to emulate sensors (Accelerometer, Camera) as well as location. You can test your location specific functionality using this emulator.

6. Can I associate my app with files, share data between two apps or launch another app?

Yes. You can associate file types with your app, so when file is downloaded or opened, your app can be an option for the user to open that file. Read more about it here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/jj206987(v=vs.105).aspx
If you want to share data between apps or launch another app, you need to know the URI schemes associated with it. To launch system apps: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/jj662937(v=vs.105).aspx, example of other apps: https://developer.skype.com/skype-uris/reference

7. My app is ready, can I submit to the store now?
Once your app is ready, rather submitting it on store directly, test is on real device. Run Store Test kit to test it for performance and other bugs. Also make sure you’ve taken proper screenshots of the app (again use emulator’s feature to take screenshot rather than print-screen/screen clipping). Make sure it is not leaking memory, not showing any debug information and most importantly, build it in ‘release’ mode. More information about test kit can be found here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/hh394032(v=vs.105).aspx

8. Is there any way to provide more information to test-team?
Sometimes, you might have implemented login/authentication functionality in your app OR used some special features which may cause certification failure OR you may want to convey some message to the testing team. In this case, to provide more information to the team and to make their life easier and help expedite your app certification process, always provide details about your app along with ‘technical notes to testers’ whilst submitting the app.

9. Can I share my app without going through store?
The only way to distribute your app to consumers is to go through store. However, if you’ve built enterprise application and want to distribute internally, you can do enterprise distribution. However, you’ll require a ‘Company Account’ not an ‘Individual Account’.
Another way to distribute your app to selected few people for testing purpose, you can go through store under ‘beta testing’ option. It will allow you to distribute the app to selected people and will make your app private, without showing on store.

10. My app failed the certification. What should I do?
If your app has failed the certification process, you’ll get a mail about it with detailed error report. Look for reason for failure. Usually, the report also contains steps to reproduce the error. Try to reproduce it and fix it. After fixing it test it again and resubmit.

I hope with these FAQs answered you can kick-start your Windows Phone Development and build some stunning apps. By the way, have I told you there are gifts for Windows Phone Developers who complete challenges! Visit http://www.dvlup.com

About Guest Blogging

South Asia MVP Award Program introduces Guest Posts by the MVPs from the region. These posts would help readers to be in touch with the recent trends in technology and be up-to-date with knowledge on Microsoft products.

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