Microsoft Student Partner Alaa Shaabana from the University of Windsor shares what he learned building his first Windows phone app Runner Pro
Check out more tips from fellow students here.
Could you briefly describe your application/game?
It is a completely free and ad-free application to help users follow the couch to 5k running program. It uses auditory and visual cues to tell the runner when to jog and when to walk during an exercise. It also has access to the user's music collection and gives the user the ability to skip or pause any song when they wish.
Did you use XNA, Silverlight or both?
The app uses both XNA and Silverlight. Although for XNA, it only uses a small portion, as it needs to access the XNA framework in order to get to the music collections.
What was your banging your head against a wall moment?
My biggest bang-my-head-against-a-wall moment was when I was attempting to use a third party database to keep track of the days that the runner has done so far. I only discovered that software was deprecated and that Mango had already come up with a database implementation (of sorts), I was definitely banging my head against a wall... or two.
Did you ever solve that issue?
I did, but I did not add the database to the application yet. I plan to release that functionality in an update in the near future.
If you had to build this same app again from scratch, what would you do differently?
I would re-do my User Interface. It is very basic compared to many applications out there. Although it accomplishes the purpose of having a great and lightweight application, it's not as pretty as it should be. UI updates are also on the map of future updates.
Any nice suprises?
Yes! How easy to access and manoeuvrable the Music + Videos hub is. It was very easy to retrieve song name, artist and album arts, and a feature that I had set aside a whole day for, took less than an hour to build.
Did you leverage the mobile platform?
As I've mentioned before, this is a lightweight and basic application that is meant to be a foundation for a much larger application coming soon. I have already started implementing the GPS to keep track of runners if they were outdoors, as well as the accelerometer to keep track of steps!
Did you leverage the touch screen?
Did you have a favourite feature?
Yes! I discovered that there is a way to program a tile to keep updating the user while tomb-stoning the program. This is really cool! It lets me keep the user posted without bothering them during their run!
What is one thing you think you did really well in this application?
I would say they are two interrelated things. First and foremost, this app is TINY! It takes almost no-time to download, while at the same time it delivers what every other running app out there delivers, for free! No ads, no fees, no nothing! Just sport!
Are you publishing your application/game?
I have published it. It's called Runner Pro, and it's been released under the name of Shabby.
Where can I learn more about your app/game?
Unfortunately, no websites or videos yet. But those are coming soon!
Who developed this application?
I am the only developer of this application. The main reason that it's still a little basic and small is because I haven't had as much time as I should for an application. I am a first year Master's student at the University of Windsor, I plan to expand this application very soon, and make a business out of it to help pay for my schooling! While still delivering the best software that I can to my users!