March, 2013

  • DaveDev

    New Tablet Show Episode: David Isbitski and Andrew Smith Do Cross Platform Mobile Development with AppMobi




    I recently recorded an episode of The Tablet Show podcast with Carl Franklin, Richard Campbell and Andrew Smith.  I’ve been a fan of Richard and Carl for years and if you haven’t check out the show yet, or their popular .Net Rocks podcast, I highly recommend it.

    In this episode we chat about HTML5 Hybrid App development and what both appMobi and Intel’s new offerings can do to help developers.




    You can listen to the episode online here, in iTunes here, or via any of your favorite podcasting apps.




  • DaveDev

    Announcing the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Philly Appathon March 25th to May 7th



    Update April 3rd, 2013 – The contest is now for BOTH Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 Apps!


    I am pleased to announce that Microsoft and Philly.NET are hosting another Windows Store App contest!  Since the launch of Windows 8 the Windows Store as given developers the opportunity to sell their apps while using the same skills and languages they are familiar with. Since its launch the number of apps in the Store has more than quadrupled and just two months after GA, has passed the 100 million app download mark. Now is the time to get your app into the Store!


    Here are the details:

    • Contest begins Monday, March 25th and ends Tuesday, May 7th.
    • The contest is open to all Pennsylvania and Philly.Net members
    • Download the free Visual Studio 2012 Express tools and build your Windows Store or Windows Phone 8 app using C#|VB/XAML, JS/HTML, or C++/XAML.
    • Publish your app to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store by Tuesday, May 7th and email the link to here.
      • Apps will be judged by David Isbitski (Microsoft), Rob Keiser (Philly.Net) and Bill Wolff (Philly.Net)
      • Criteria used for judging will include but not limited to the following:
        • Uniqueness
        • Windows Store or Windows Phone 8 Capabilities (Search and Share Contracts, Live Tiles, Notifications, etc)
        • Design
        • Longevity
      • In the event your app is not published by the deadline simply send the judges a video showing your app has been submitted for certification and a brief video of it running in the emulator.
    • Winners will be announced at Philly.Net Code Camp Saturday, May 11th.

    Prizes will be awarded as follows:

    You can enter as many apps as you publish into the contest. All Windows Store and Windows Phone apps also count as entries for the Keep The Cash contest meaning everyone who publishes an app for the contest is also eligible to receive a gift card.

  • DaveDev

    28 days in - Windows Store Analytics for my Balloons game



    Recently, I posted a game to the Windows Store based on a course I authored for  The game was primarily meant as a learning tool for the course but in letting my young kids play I found it to be entertaining enough that some other parents might want to use it.  It’s not a complex game by any means but if I hit my target audience right (parents of young children) it should provide enough entertainment for a while.  I also tried to add additional value by making it totally free and with no ads (which I don’t believe should be in kids games and usually get blocked via parental controls regardless) .

    The Windows Store gives a lot of free metrics on your apps and with it being almost a month since I published the game I thought I would share some of the numbers I’m seeing. 

    Some things to keep in mind:

    • The game is not global.  I only published it to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Belgium, France, Ireland and Italy Stores for this release.
    • The game is free and has no Ads
    • The game is listed in the Family subcategory of the Games category



    Overall, as of today after being in the Windows Store for 28 days the game has had 2,179 downloads with an average rating of 4 stars.


    If we look at the details we see the usual spike that occurs when an app is new.  Everyone gets this and its why it is important to make a big splash in the beginning.  It’s much harder to generate awareness and excitement for your app after it has been in market for a while.  These numbers were higher than I expected since my game was not featured, is from an unknown publisher, had no marketing, community or awareness around it, is in the most populated category (games) and in the fairly niche a family subcategory.  The family subcategory had hundreds of games already in it and doing a search for Balloons there were several Balloons orientated games similar to my own.  Yet, a couple thousand folks checked it out and as you’ll see below actually used it as well.  There were also 9 people who chose to leave a review but more on that in a bit.




    There are a couple of interesting things that are going on here.

    • A third of the people who saw my game listed in the Store downloaded it. 
      • We aren’t told exactly how they saw it so I am assuming it was in a search result or through the main category listing.  This number was very surprising for me I did not expect for it to be that high and I can only assume it was one of two things.  I hit my market correctly and the game con looked interesting.  And/or it was free meaning little to know risk for the download. 
    • Almost half of the traffic for the app comes from the Windows Store itself. 
      • People are clicking that Windows Store icon on the start screen and looking for apps!  If you’re a developer this should be a very exciting number for you.
    • Almost a third of the traffic came from the web via my own blog and app listing sites




    We also get stats for age and gender.  As you can see from the chart I hit my target audience (parents with young kids). The highest downloaded age group is 22-40 years old and then you also see higher downloads in the 41+ group (older parents and grandparents).  What I got a chuckle about too is where the gender difference are highest is in the 22-40 age range with men being about a third more than women.  That bar is exactly where I fit, a dad with young children and makes me feel that if I make a game for myself that appeals to me then my peer group would also follow.  Another great stat to point out is that over a third of the download come from outside the United States.  For the next release of the game I am going to publish to more countries and will be curious to see how these numbers change.



    So we now know a little bit more about who is downloading our apps and from where.  What about the longevity of our app?  All apps get used less and less over time and this is one of the reasons to add new updates, features, as well as interesting gameplay.  The chart below reflects the downloads chart so we can assume the people playing the game on any given day are largely made up of new users.

    What is very interesting to me though is the breakdown between people using a mouse (desktop or older laptop) and people using touch (tablet or newer win8 laptop).  In watching my kids play the game (like my oldest here on a Surface) I noticed it was a lot easier to get points than with a mouse.  In fact, before publishing the game I upped the speed of the balloons to ensure it wasn’t to easy on tablets which trying to maintain a reasonable level of difficulty with the mouse.  While I can’t be certain I believe these charts are showing me that people with tablets lose interest faster because they progress through the levels and scores much faster.  In fact, one of the reviewers as we will see below gives a suggestion to this very problem. 









    Out of the 9 ratings 7 people left a high score while 2 left a low score.  What I appreciate here is the people who left the low score gave me feedback!  Feedback that I can incorporate and fix in the next version of the game.  The Windows Store also lets people revise their ratings if they decide to change it at a later date.

    As I mentioned above about the usage statistics between mouse and touch the one reviewer gives a great suggestion.  The game is simply too hard with a mouse and if I added a difficulty setting he/she would gladly change the rating.  Since I’ve coded the game to have a global settings already for max and min balloon speeds this can easily be tweaked with a slide control in the settings.  The other reviewer (while in German) points out that the music gets very annoying.  Since the game started out as a learning example it only has one track.  This will definitely be a feature I add in the future, whether it is to add more custom music tracks or allow the user to pick their own from their music library.





    JavaScript Exceptions

    The Windows ecosystem is huge with over 1,700 certified Windows 8 systems the odds that our game will encounter an error are pretty high.  Or so I thought.  Based on the game running on over 2,100+ PCs there was only one JavaScript exception thrown.  Digging a little deeper it came from a third party JavaScript library I used and it was due to a sound file being missing.  I can only assume this had to do with a corrupted Windows Store package.  If you are an HTML5 GameDev this stat should be pretty impressive to you!



    About Page


    The last statistic I want to share has to do with my About page in the Settings Panel.  In my recent post on Settings Panels I discussed how you could include content locally or call out to external website content via an iframe. 

    Screenshot (2)


    Both the Privacy Policy and the About Balloons pages in my game are hosted externally on an Azure Websites instance.  Azure Websites are a free, easy way to set up some web content you want to pull into your app and you get some basic data analysis features right out of the box.

    If we look at traffic for the last week (7 days is as far back currently as it will let me go) you will see I am averaging 1-3 requests a day.  I could easily add some metrics to the webpages to get more information or even go through the logs but I though this number just by itself stands.  I don’t think too many people were concerned about the Privacy policy and in the future it will be interesting to see how much traffic these pages get once I have game controls in here (like balloon speed).



    I hope you got something out of these numbers and if you’re working on your own Windows Store app you can expect the same kind of analytics for free.  Happy Coding!


  • DaveDev

    Content from DC Windows Phone 8 Jumpstart available




    I had a ton of fun in Washington, DC last week hanging out with the local developer crowd and talking Windows Phone 8.  Can’t wait to see all the apps hit the Windows Phone Store!

    I’ve posted all five session's slides here and the code we wrote here



    If you missed the event there are more coming to your town so stay tuned!



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