Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:48 PM
Although mobile developers tend to focus on the next app development project that will appeal to the masses, there are a number of apps in the Windows Phone Store that were created BY developers FOR developers. Why? Because developers need apps too!
Here are the list of the apps that I think should be installed on every developer device:
Dev Center by Microsoft
Overview: Provides you with all of the information you need to know about how your published apps are performing in the Store including the number of downloads, crashes, payments, pending payments, and user reviews for each app. The latest update also includes information on downloads in each market. This app also lists any apps that you have initiated a submission process for, but have not yet published.
What I love the most: The pinned live tile update that display my total downloads for the day right on my Start screen.
What would make it better: When an app doesn’t pass certification, I would love to access the report from the app.
App Spotlights by DotNetApp
Overview: This app provides a comprehensive overview of apps that are currently in the spotlight, broken down by market. It also includes lists of the apps that have the highest number of spotlight appearances, the apps that have been in the spotlight in the most markets, and the apps that have appeared in the spotlight for the most number of days. App Spotlights also provides notifications when your apps are in the Store spotlight, and provide you with a detailed history for those apps that were lucky enough to make it to the spotlight!
What I love the most: Being able to view the list of apps in the Spotlight by market. As a developer, this gives some insight into the current trends, and the type of apps that are popular, or more likely to make a Spotlight appearance. This is invaluable information to have at your fingertips!
What would make it better: There’s nothing I can think of that would make this app any better. I love it just the way it is!
Icons by Templarian
Overview: Icons is a simple icon viewer that allows you to preview the icons available in the Modern UI icons collection created by Austin Andrews (aka Templarian). If you need unique/special icons that conform to the Windows Phone design standards, but can’t find it in the standard icons that come with the Windows Phone SDK, then you will want to use this app to search the collection to see if it has those icons you need. You can donate to the designer through the app (or on the Modern UI Icons site), which I highly recommend you do, especially if you’ve made use of one or more icons from this collection.
What I love the most: Being able to preview the collection of icons from my device, which shows me how it will appear on the device if used within an app!
What would make it better: There’s nothing I can think of that would make this app better.
Telerik Examples by Telerik
Overview: A great demo app that shows very creative implementations for each of Telerik’s Windows Phone controls that you can use in your app development, along with design template examples. Note that the Telerik Windows Phone control suite can be purchased from Telerik for $99.
What I love the most: Being a Telerik license holder, I love that there is an app that shows concrete examples of each control (including the XAML and C# code for each example), as well as design templates, animations, and sample layouts which I can then easily implement in my own development efforts.
What would make it better: The only thing I would have suggested was to include more design templates, but Telerik has already provided another app, Telerik Design Templates, which answers this need. They also have provided an additional example app, Telerik Cloud Examples, which is worth checking out as well.
WPCentral by Jay Bennett
Overview: The mobile companion app for WPCentral.com, which provides the latest Windows Phone news in a clean, simple, easy-to-read layout. You can also access videos, reviews, forums, podcasts, Windows Phone tips, wallpapers, app and game reviews. You can pin a section’s live tile to your Start screen to deep link back into the app. There’s even a developer section which lists news of interest to Windows Phone devs. There are so many other features this app includes, which makes it well worth the 99 cent price point (it’s a steal at that price). There’s a trial version as well, with some feature limitations (no offline reading mode, or viewing videos to name a couple), but come on… just spring for the paid version. It’s well worth it!
What I love the most: Being able to sign into my WPCentral account, and view my messages and track my forum posts/responses right from my device.
What would make it better: Give me the option to return to the home page from anywhere within the app. This is more tedious when I use a secondary tile to launch the app within a certain section. If I want to view other sections at this point, I have to leave the app and enter through the app’s primary tile.
Canadian Developer Connection by DotNetApp
Overview: The perfect mobile companion app for Microsoft’s Canadian Developer Connection blog. You can access the latest developer news and technical resources, watch videos from events/workshops, and view a list of upcoming developer events in your area or online. Being able to connect with the Microsoft Canada team all from within the app makes it a must-have app for any developer.
What I love the most: Being able to access the latest Canadian Developer Connection blog posts and videos right from my device.
What would make it better: The live tile didn’t update for me. It still displays the title of the blog post that was current when I first installed the app. Fix this, and it will be as good as gold!
Do you agree with my take on the apps I’ve listed? Are there any apps that you would recommend for Windows Phone developers, that are not on this list?