The more I develop for Windows Phone 7…

… I’m not sure how to finish that sentence.

I signed up to be a Windows Phone 7 developer for free via Dreamspark, which lets you submit 5 apps for free. Considering Microsoft decided to be even greedier than Apple (which is hard to do…) and charges $100/year PLUS a $25 submission fee PER APP (including free apps), I figured this was quite a deal.

While it probably is, I’ve already run into a couple really annoying snags. The latest of which has me downright mad.

First off, I consider it a fundamental right that when you buy something, you should be able to modify it. If that something happens to be a computer, you should be able to write your own programs for it. When Microsoft first announced that Windows Phone 7 would be locked down in a manner akin to Apple… (you have to pay to put YOUR code on YOUR device) well lets just say I was disappointed. Tremendously. Nevertheless, I have been wanting to try my hand at mobile developement, and I despise Objective-C. WP7 uses .NET. I know .NET.

So after I signed up for the Dreamspark account, I learned that you cannot actually deploy an app to the phone until after your identity has been verified. If you have a Paid account, this happens as soon as you sign up. For students, it doesn’t happen until you submit your first app.

So I wrote a silly junk app and sumbitted it. (I later realized that if it passed inspection, I would have wasted one of my 5 free submissions…)
Identity verified, Phone unlocked. FINALLY, I could write my own phone apps.

So I have a couple ideas I’m banging away at – some of them are really just for my own benefit, some are headed to the marketplace.
Just today I realized that the prominent free Tip Calculator sucked, and that I could write a better one. I get it developed to the point of testing, and attempt to deploy it to the phone.
And I quote,

“Unable to install application. The maximum number of developer applications on this phone has been reached. Please uninstall a developer application and try again.”

WHAT??!!?

Why in the name of God’s green earth would they limit the number of MY OWN apps I can deploy to MY OWN phone? What possible rationale could they have?
Does this mean that I would have to buy my own app in order to use it without restriction?

Apparently if I had a paid account, I could have 10 developer apps instead of 3, but it doesn’t matter – in fact it’s even worse.

Requiring me to have a developer account to deploy my apps on my phone is stupid.
Requiring me to verify my identity to deploy my apps on my phone is stupid.
Limiting the number of my apps I can deploy on my phone is downright asinine.

Since I am having such a good time ranting, here are more greivances:

  • MVVM (Model View View-Model) Designed to create a logical separation of Design and Code. Great in theory. In practice, it makes the code much harder to read and write by a casual coder; it comes with significant overhead (most guides are recommending against using it if performance is a concern), and the name is ridiculous.
  • You have XNA or Silverlight. XNA requires redesigning the wheel if you want UI elements. Silverlight is a framework in a framework (i.e., slow)
  • Making your app resemble the functionality of the built-in apps requires reinventing the wheel. Page transitions, for example, should be built-in. Instead you have to create XAML animations to do it yourself.
    (And did I mention that the more XAML your app has, the longer it takes to load?)
  • Something as simple as the built in “I’m working” animation has a bug that causes major performance issues.
  • You cannot access the compass. Seriously? iPhones and Android phones have had compasses for how long?
  • You cannot access video from the camera. This seriously limits the usefulness of barcode scanner software…
  • You cannot do anything involving the web synchronously (inherited from silverlight). I know, I know, blocking the UI thread is a bad idea, but the sheer quantity of code required to simply pull down a web page is staggering compared to the synchronous equivalent. To do an HTTP post? Why on earth do I need a callback for a stream containing “u=jason”…

Word on the street is that Microsoft is planning to open things up a little. I really hope so. I just dusted off my Mac Mini and installed Xcode — if I’m going to have my hands tied, it might as well be on the more popular platform…

3 thoughts on “The more I develop for Windows Phone 7…

  1. Like you, I am utterly shiocked at the limit of 10 apps – I have a list of about 20 apps I want to develop (or am in the process of) and quite often I create a test app to see how something would look or work on the phone and deploy it – now, tonight, as I try to test an app which has caused a major WP7 bug issue for me I find I can’t deploy an &^%$ing app to my own ^%$#ing phone even AFTER I paid the *&^%ing developers fee!!!!! This is where MS jsut gets it soooooo wrong time after time after time – I mean, who the *&^% decided on this ludicrous policy? Do they not want developers to go wild and create lots and lots of cool apps a la the App Store on iPhone?

    I am truly, truly,painfuilly, disturbed and *&%$ed off with this – it now means I have to juggle what of my OWN apps I can have on my OWN phone…. just madness!!!

  2. Just reached the limit today. This is pretty annoying. I guess they are trying to stop dodgy marketplaces from popping up where people side load non-approved apps. 10 is just not enough for one account though.

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