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October, 2012 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Are you ready to WOWZAPP? Belgium part of Worldwide Hackathon for Windows November 10th



    wowzapp worldwide hackathon for Windows - in Belgium on November 10

    Free up your Saturday, be part of a worldwide coding event to build your (first) Windows 8 app! On November 10 2012, we are joining the worldwide hackathon with a local event at HUBrussel. Registration is free, open to all. Just bring your laptop loaded with Windows 8, bring ideas or questions and join us for a day.

    Eat. Drink. Code. Join us at HUBrussel on November 10th.

    Belgium is part of the app revolution! By registering, you’ll be joining thousands of developers worldwide as we build apps for the next generation of Windows. Microsoft app experts, MEET-members, developers and trainers will be available on-site to assist your learning and coding. Learn about building Windows Store apps today – download the info, tools and resources you need now.

    No Sleeping. Live to Code.


    08:08 – 00:00

    Warmoesberg 26
    1000 Brussels



    WIN an ASUS Vivo Tab!

    ASUS Vivo Tab

    At WOWZAPP, we will launch a Windows 8 apps contest, where you can WIN a brand new ASUS Vivo Tab! The contest rules will be explained during the hackathon.

    Be smart. Be fast. Love coding. Win a tablet!

    What to expect


    What to bring?

    Are you a developer?


    Are you a (UX) Designer?

    Photoshop or your familiar wireframing tool / Check out the Windows 8 UX Guidelines
    You might want to download Windows Store Apps Design Assets

    See you on November 10th!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Cloudify your Windows 8 and iOS apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services


    Leveraging my colleague Nick’s post on Windows Azure Mobile Services here. WAMS has received an upgrade, now supporting iOS next to Windows 8, and including new authentication support, sending e-mails, SMS en more.
    If you are from Belgium or Luxembourg, and are thinking about leveraging WAMS for your Windows 8 or iOS apps please let us know. We’d like to hear about your experiences.


    With the introduction of apps and application stores, the process of building, selling and distributing software has been truly democratized.  But what if your application becomes a top hit and is being downloaded and used by millions of users?  How do you make sure that your backend services scales dynamically with this unpredictable demand?

    Windows Azure Mobile Services makes it incredibly easy to connect a scalable cloud backend to your client and mobile applications.  It allows you to easily store structured data in the cloud that can span both devices and users, integrate it with user authentication, as well as send out updates to clients via push notifications.


    Windows Azure Mobile ServicesA couple of weeks ago we announced Windows Azure Mobile Services with support for Windows 8 apps. This week we delivered initial support for connecting iOS based devices (including iPhones and iPads) to Windows Azure Mobile Services.  We’ll also be adding support to enable these same scenarios for Windows Phone, and Android devices soon.


    In addition, we have also released the following great improvements to Windows Azure Mobile Services:

    • Facebook, Twitter and Google authentication support
    • Sending emails from your Mobile Service, in partnership with SendGrid
    • Sending SMS messages from your Mobile Service, in partnership with Twilio
    • Support for connecting to Azure Storage and Azure Service Bus


    Read this getting started tutorial to walkthrough how you can build (in less than 5 minutes) a simple iOS “Todo List” app that stores data in Windows Azure.  Then follow the below tutorials to explore how to use the iOS client libraries to store data and authenticate users.


    image If you don’t already have a Windows Azure account, you can sign-up for a free trial and start using Mobile Services today. Visit the Windows Azure Mobile Developer Center to learn more about how to build apps with Mobile Services.



    For more information about building applications on Windows and an overview of our local activities, visit the Apps on Windows landing page.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Marketing material: your app on Windows Store


    If you have an app published on the Windows Store, chances are you want to let the world know. Which visuals should you use? How about a Windows Store app badge. What’s the guidance and wording?

    Since a few days you can find this guidance on the Windows DevCenter: Windows Store logos and usage specifications

    The documentation contains the following:

    • License to Microsoft Marks
    • Windows badge info
    • License to Microsoft Marks
    • Windows Store badge
    • Windows Store tile
    • Tablet and laptop device chassis visuals: includes layered high-res .PSD files, with 10 images on different perspectives
    • Windows Store localized info and terms: for example, did you know that for Belgium we name it “Windows Store” in both French and Dutch, while in Afrikaans the Windows Store is called “Windows Winkel”. And in Luxembourgish we’ll just say “Windows Store” too. That makes it easy for all of us in BeLux area.
    • FAQ




    Linked to the usage of the logo and materials, you might also find the following resources useful:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Store – App Certification Tips


    Windows 8 launches globally on October 26th, as we move closer and closer, we’re supporting many Belgian developers go through the process of certifying their apps. To help other developers we might not be in touch with, I’m sharing an aggregation of tips and resources we use. It’s worthwhile browsing through this post before you submit so that you increase the chance of passing certification from the first time.

    The tips are based on what we have been working on, many times it’s small things that you can have fixed before you submit, such as forgetting a support contact or privacy policy. We’ll be updating this post as we move along.

    Before going into the details, keep the following resources handy when certifying apps on Windows Store.

    Most recurring omissions

    From our experience, this is what I ask developers before they submit:

    1. Have you created a Privacy policy settings entry in the Settings charm?
    2. Have you added a Privacy URL info in the Additional details of the Store Portal dashboard? See below.
    3. Have you set your Default language correctly in the App Manifest? See below.
    4. Are your Capabilities correct? Remember capabilities also influence requirements around age rating and privacy. If you do not need Internet access, make sure to uncheck the capability as it is checked by default.


    Store Portal: Description Page

    In the description page of the Store portal, after you submit your package, you will be able to enter the details for the Windows Store app listing. For a complete overview of the content needed to complete this page, please see the Dev Center Checklist for submitting an app. This is a great resource to send to your business team as they will provide visuals, description, features and category information in each language the app supports.

    Support contact

    Failing to fill in the Support contact URL or e-mail address will have your app rejected. Double-check the content you are entering here.

    Add a Privacy URL

    We also recommend you add the same privacy URL as an entry in the app settings pane.

    Choosing the right Age Rating

    Review the guidance: Pick a suitable Windows Store age rating and Give your app an age rating.

    Linked to the Age rating, make sure the screenshots you upload for your app listing (metadata) are viewable by 12+ if your app requires higher age rating.


    Before submission

    Language of the package, default language and multiple languages

    Windows Store allows for global distribution. This is a huge potential you should take advantage of, and which will be even more successful if you offer the app in several languages.

    When uploading the app package to the Store, detection of the supported languages is done through the AppManifest resources. Make sure you entered your default language correctly (default might go to en-US depending on your version of Visual Studio).
    Open the AppManifest file in the XML editor.

    Case 1: single language (US English)

    For English, you can either leave the default setting (x-generate) if you are using an English version of Visual Studio or adapt manually:

         <Resource Language="en-us"/>

    Case 2: single language (only Dutch for both Belgium and Netherlands)

        <Resource Language="nl" />   

    Case 3: several languages (English, French and Dutch as example)

    The first language in the list is the default language. We are using the country code to make it more specific. You can choose to omit it.

       <Resource Language="en-us" />
       <Resource Language="fr-be" />
       <Resource Language="nl-be" />
    < /Resources>

    Privacy policy in settings pane (charm)

    Many applications use the Internet capability, for which a privacy policy URL is required in the Store portal. Note that this is a very important one and also linked to activating a number of capabilities such as:

    • SMS
    • Text messages
    • Location
    • Microphone
    • Webcam
    • Documents Library

    See full details: 4. Windows Store apps put the customer in control on the Resolving certification errors documentation.


    Disclaimer and About

    Depending on the content you use, information you share, a disclaimer and about sections in the Settings pane are also recommended.



    I wish you a lot of success with your app. Don’t forget our local events and support options through App Clinics.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Store – Developer Registration Tips


    In this post you’ll find our top tips for going through Windows Store developer registration, based on the learning’s we’ve had these past few months as we work with Belgian developers to get ready for Windows 8 launch.

    Recommended resources

    Store Portal Dashboard:
    Logging in and accessing the Store Portal, learn about Strong Authorization and account security:

    Must-read resources:


    1. Registration pre-requisites

    • Microsoft account, also called Windows Live ID. I highly recommend you create a new account destined for Windows Store (and Windows Phone Marketplace). See Picking a Microsoft Account for Windows Store.
    • For companies: make sure you create a team account as this login needs to be used by developers when submitting apps to the Store. Something you do not want to happen is an account being linked to a person that one day leaves the company and has all the personal info linked.
    • Have a credit card ready for account verification purposes, even if you have a token to receive a free registration. You’ll need to access your credit card statement to verify your account (both Individual and Company accounts).

    2. Registration process

    The registration process is a seven-step flow in which the following elements are important:

    1. Choose the appropriate account type: Indiviadual or Company. This cannot be changed.
    2. In the Account details for a company: make sure you enter a correct Approver name and e-mail. The e-mail address for the approver must be a company mail, not a free service like or
    3. Steps in the process:
      1. Country and account type: make sure to choose the correct one as this info cannot be changed later
      2. Account info
        Approver info: make sure the contact information of the approver section is valid and have the person check their e-mail for account verification and validation (normally from Symantec). The process of approval via Symantec must be completed before your account gets validated, a required step to publish any app.
      3. Agreement
      4. Price
      5. Payment
      6. Purchase
      7. Thank you


    3. Validating your account

    Before your apps can go through certification your account needs to be validated. Depending on the account type, there are several steps to be completed.

    Account verification

    Both Company and Individual verification is done through a withdrawal on your credit card, which is then reverted directly. The transaction number or amount is used to verify your account. Go to the Dashboard > Subscription page to go through verification.



    Account validation status

    Here’s a good overview of where to find the account status.

    Under the “Profile” link, check the status of your account:

    1 – Developer identity validation – Must be set to “Authorized” before any apps can be certified. (Only Company). Vetting is done by an external party “Symantec/GeoTrust” that will send an e-mail to the Approver e-mail you entered in the process of registration. Make sure Spam folder is checked and followed up.
    You can find more information on the types of proof needed for Belgian accounts through Symantec knowledge base:

    2 – Payout account: the status of your bank account information being complete. Must be complete if you are certifying paid apps, or in-app purchase. (Company and Indidual)

    3 – Tax profile must be set to “Valid” if you are certifying paid apps, or in-app purchase. (Company and Indidual)
    Important to note is that the Tax Profile section should be filled in by a company representative, for example the CEO or Financial director.





    Need help? Go through official support

    If you run into an issue with your developer registration, there are several support options available including community forums and the official support team ready to help you (through chat or e-mail).

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows 8 Apps Expert Class on October 8 – Free Registration


    Join us next week (October 8, 2012) at Microsoft Belgium for a free full day training for advanced Windows 8 coders.

    Expert Class - Windows 8 App Development

    You’ve finished your first app or are about to finish it and you’re ready for the next level? We have the perfect training you have been waiting for.

    This ‘advanced only’ class will cover advanced topics such as login, services and error handling.

    The following topics are covered during this session:

    • Process lifecycle management: suspension manager, handling suspend, resume
    • Making your app work offline
    • Error handling, detecting offline mode, caching sets of data
    • Advanced XAML controls tips & tricks (data binding, variable sized grids, etc)
    • Accessing services – recommended approaches
    • Architecture with MVVM
    • Semantic zoom in detail
    • Live tiles through background tasks & maintenance triggers

    Your trainer
    : Kevin Dockx (RealDolmen)


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October, 2012