Attention all Windows Phone Developers – Phone Tools, Mango bits, and AppHub have all been updated!

Attention all Windows Phone Developers – Phone Tools, Mango bits, and AppHub have all been updated!

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The Windows Phone Team has recently pushed out three important updates that you should take advantage of.

Developer Tools Beta 2 Refresh (Release Candidate)

The first of the new updates is for the Windows Phone Developer Tools.  Cliff Simpkins from the Phone Team has a break down of some of the new features on his official blog post here.  His top 5 are as follows:

    • Application platform APIs are now locked; you can feel confident to start getting ready for submitting your apps next month.
    • Emulator now has a nifty screenshot capability built in, allowing you quickly snap quality images of your app without the need of separate tools or cropping time. The images are great for use in app submission process or to share on your blog or with folks such as my team (hint hint).
    • The profiler has been greatly improved and provides memory profiling.
    • As of this drop, you can install NuGet into the free version of the WPSDK tools. I find NuGet to be one of my favorite productivity boosters and I’m happy to see the extension supported in the free tools.
    • The drop includes an initial peek at the Marketplace Test Kit; with the RC release, you’ll be able to use the included version of this toolkit to test your XAP file against the same certification testing tools that we use when ingesting apps for the Marketplace. For this refresh, it’s there but not fully functional; but more on this in a future blog post.

You will also notice a new RC (Release Candidate) in the control panel tools listing.

WPTools

Be sure to read the full official blog post here.

Mango Bits

There has also been a refresh of the Mango Bits that you can flash your phone with.  There are some new features inside this update, like native Twitter integration, you can take advantage of as well.  Head on over to the WinSuperSite for a breakdown on what is new inside this RC.

The update is being pushed out to eligible devices as we speak.  You can also check for it manually by following these important steps:

  • Make a copy of the backup you took when you updated to the Mango Beta 2 pre-release and put it in a safe place, if it isn’t in one already
    Note: Make sure that you copy this backup and put it somewhere else; uninstalling Zune will auto-delete any backups previously taken
  • Return to Connect.Microsoft.com (we’re using the same program you were invited to join last month) and download the freshly posted files, which includes a new Zune client and a new UpdateWP executable
  • Head to the Control Panel and uninstall the Beta 2 software (Zune client and UpdateWP) and tools (WPSDK) that you installed last month
  • Install the new software and tools that you just downloaded from Connect
  • Fire up the new Zune client beta (4.8.2134.0) to check for the new update
                                              Update

         

  • Zune will then update your phone from 7661 to 7712

                                                       MangoBits

 

AppHub Changes

The Marketplace has been hard at work at updating the reporting features of AppHub as well as launching marketplaces in several new countries.  Some of these exciting features include:

  • Geographic expansion: publish to 19 new consumer markets, submit from 7 new developer markets and coming soon, expansion of markets for in-app advertising!
  • New private distribution options: developers can now privately distribute their apps using beta and targeted distribution options.
  • Enhanced application management: we’ve made a lot of additional improvements to how you manage and publish your application in the App Hub itself, in response to your feedback.

I have seen an uptick in downloads for my own DoodlePad apps when the new markets when online.  You can see the spike in downloads in the chart below:

Downloads

It is important to point out however that you need to go into AppHub and select these new countries in order to be published to them.  By default your application will not be available in the new marketplaces unless you specifically tell it to be.  This includes apps that  previously selected “Worldwide Distribution” you will need to go back in and select worldwide again.

Be sure to check out the official blog post here for all the details.

Happy Coding!

-Dave

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