Posts from the ‘General’ Category

OneSky–A Great Translation Service For Localizing Your Apps

I have noticed a few times now under the #wpdev hashtag, some developers are asking for the best method for translating apps. I’ve seen some devs are uploading an Excel file to SkyDrive OneDrive, and give a link to the people who are willing to translate. This is definitely not a bad approach, but I think OneSky is much better. A fellow developer from Portugal told me about this free service, so here’s a shout out to Diogo Cardoso.

Note: This service is not Windows Phone specific. It can be used for Android, iOS etc. Supports a lot of formats (.resx, .xml, .xls etc.)

Why You Should Localize Your App

If your native language is English and you don’t speak any other language, how would you feel if there was some awesome app that is very popular in Brazil but it only supports Portuguese? Of course you won’t be happy. Our main goal as app developers is to make people happy and provide quality apps (*cough* and earn some money of course).

You should make the effort and translate your app into at least 2 of the following languages: Portuguese (Brazil is a huge Windows Phone market), Spanish (you cover Spain and most of South America), French (France, Canada, also big markets) and German. If you can also support Chinese, Russian and Hindi, that would be even better.

After I added more languages to Tile Me!, the coverage from international Windows Phone sites increased drastically.

Why OneSky?

  • It is completely free if you want to crowdsource your translations!
  • Online editor that works on most browsers. I even had a translator that translated Tile Me! into German on his Windows Phone.
  • You can give a link to your OneSky site where people can Request to Contribute to a language of their choice. You then approve or reject that request.
  • Upload non-translated .resx files and download the finished translations in .resx format.
  • Specify maximum length of words. For example, if the words are too long for the App Bar icons, they will not be fully shown. You can specify the character length of a translation so the translator can try to find a shorter synonym which won’t mess up the UI.
  • Notifies the translator if spaces are missing.
  • When you prepare a new update where you remove some strings and add others in your .resx file, you can upload the new .resx and OneSky detects the same strings, removes the ones you have removed, adds new ones that you have added, but does not touch the ones (along with their translations) that you haven’t changed.
  • If you update a string in a new update, the translators can filter by ‘Outdated words’ and see what you have changed so they can update the translation for that line.
  • Your translators receive an email every time you add new words for translation.
  • Voting, commenting, reviewing, moderating and other features for organizing your translators and workflow.

Quick Start Guide

Go to OneSkyApp.com and create a new Free account. Once you’ve done that, on the top go to Projects –> Create Project. On the next page, choose Mobile Apps / Games.

Select Crowdsource under translation method, choose your platform (Windows Metro App is fine for Windows Phone apps), select your base language and enter your app name.

Next, drag and drop your AppResources.resx file. Click Continue and select the languages you want to translate to.

And you’re done. Now you can invite collaborators to contribute to each language, or on the top go to Collaboration –> Collaboration Site and share that link on Twitter, Facebook etc. From that link, people can request to translate your app. You can also add that link somewhere inside your app.

Then, from the project page you can track the number of translated words, remaining words etc. Once a translation is completed you can download the file as shown on the screenshot below:

And that concludes my brief quick start guide. I strongly advise to check the knowledge base if you need some more info about a specific feature. Feel free to leave a comment below if you get stuck somewhere.

 

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Join The Me Tile Nation Now!

I spent the last two days working on a video commercial for Tile Me! I’d like to thank my brother for helping out with the editing and also everyone else that took part in the ad. Enjoy!

Tile Me!–1 Month After Release

Well that was… unexpected. What started as a 2 day weekend project which I thought MIGHT be downloaded by some die-hard Windows Phone fans and never expected to go over 1,000 in the first month, ended up being downloaded by over 35,000 people in just 1 month (1st of August – 1st of September).

It all started with the first article on WPCentral (there are a total of 4). The app got downloaded over 2,000 times in just 24 hours. I got a lot of great feedback, my twitter timeline was exploding with Me tiles as avatars. The most requested three features were custom text, high quality PNG support, and animated GIF support.

I immediately started working on the custom text feature which was very easy to implement and the first update was live just few days after the release of the first version. I then started looking into GIF, but since it was going to take me longer to figure that out, I decided to go with PNG support. To add PNG I also had to add SkyDrive integration which was well received by the users. With the release of that update, WPCentral published another Tile Me! article. Again, new reviews started popping up and people liked the new update, but the important thing here is that people liked that I was constantly communicating with them (on comments sections on the websites the app was featured, Twitter, Email etc.), listening to their feedback and adding new features almost every week. So, a Protip: Listen and communicate with your audience.

The SkyDrive integration was quite easy and straightforward with async/await for Windows Phone 8. On Windows Phone 7 on the other hand, I could not reuse any of the WP8 code, so I had to do it with events, which was a bit annoying.

After PNG, it was time for the hard stuff… animated GIF. It took me several days, and I was almost giving up on it, but I eventually managed to figure it out. Once I finished implementing it on WP8, I started working on porting it to WP7, but since that was going to take several days to finish (most of the code was not reusable 😦 ) I decided to publish a new update just for the WP8 users.

 

Boom another article from WPCentral and with that, the official Nokia US twitter profile tweets about Tile Me! Achievement unlocked I guess :). What happens next? A WPCentral reader posts a loophole that allows animated GIFs on Twitter. This results in the fourth WPCentral article! A lot of people used the tutorial to animate their Twitter avatars, which gave my Twitter timeline a great Windows Phone vibe. Unfortunately, Twitter closed the loophole two days after the WPCentral article and posting new GIF avatars is no longer possible *sad panda*.

Today, Nokia Conversations, and official Nokia page, wrote an article about Tile Me! (thanks guys) and that should help in spreading the word even more about the app. I currently have a beta test with few people, which are the greatest Tile Me! fans. The new version will add Twitter integration, so the users will be able to upload their Me tiles as Twitter avatars within the app.

The app was also featured by several other pages like WMPoweruser, GSM.MK, WindowsQuebec etc. I would also like to thank WinPhanDev for doing a short interview with me.

Thanks for reading. Until next time!

* Image created by Sean “TheWinPhan” Johnson.

Tile Me! – A Weekend Project

Last Thursday I was lurking in the /r/WindowsPhone subreddit when I came across a thread from David V. Kimball where he was offering to make Me tiles for free via Twitter. I immediately thought about automating this project and creating an app but I was 99% sure that an app for this already exists and there is no point in creating something that is already there.

The next day I decided to browse the Windows Phone store to see if there is an app that does this. To my great surprise, there wasn’t! I really expected to see at least 5 apps that did this, but I was wrong.

I challenged myself to complete the full app in one weekend and publish it to the Windows Phone store. The app passed certification today and is now published on the Windows Phone Store for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

Since the app just got published if you search for it on the phone, you will not be able to find it. Instead, you can scan the QR code below to download the free Ad-supported version.

Or you can scan this QR code to buy the ad-free version.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your new Me tiles!

Getting a free windows phone dev center subscription using dreamSpark

There are many students in Macedonian Universities that have never heard about the DreamSpark program and its benefits. The number of students that know that Macedonia (and many other countries) is now supported by the Windows Phone Dev Center is even less. There are many Macedonian students that develop various apps on some of Microsoft’s platforms as part of their course projects, but they never bother to polish and make some money from their apps.

If you haven’t heard about DreamSpark before, you can check the FAQ here.

In this post, I will explain the process of getting a DreamSpark account (if your University is already part of the program) and how you can use your DreamSpark account to register for a free Windows Phone Dev Center subscription.

Prerequisites:

  • Microsoft Account (Live, Hotmail, Outlook etc.). If you do not have one, you can register here.

Registering a DreamSpark Account

Note: If you already have a DreamSpark account, you can skip this part.

To get a free student Windows Phone Dev Center subscription, you first need to have a verified DreamSpark account that is mapped to your Microsoft (Live) account.

To register on DreamSpark, click here.

You should be taken to a page that should look something like this (click on image for full size):

Fill the required fields and press ‘continue to verify’. If you are from Macedonia, choose the first entry in the list, Macedonia (FYROM). Currently there are two. This will take you to a page that should look something like this.

Now you need to verify your account. My university is already on DreamSpark so I can verify my account through my university. You can also use an ISIC Card or an Activation Code. When you are done, press Continue. If you made the same choice as I did above, you should be taken to a page that looks like this:

Enter your university address and click on ‘Verify’.

Mapping your Microsoft Account to your DreamSpark Account

The next step is to map your Microsoft account to your DreamSpark account. First go here and then press ‘map now’ as shown on the picture below.

Follow the instructions to map your account.

Joining Windows Phone Dev Center

To join the Windows Phone Dev Center, click here. You should be taken to a page that looks like this:

Click Join Now to continue.

On the next page, choose your Country and select ‘Individual or Student’. After your agree to the terms click Next. Then complete the contact form and press Next.

On the next step, choose ‘I’m a student’ and press next to verify.

Congratulations you’re done! You can now publish and sell Windows Phone apps on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

If the verification fails, you probably have not mapped your DreamSpark Account to your Microsoft Account. If you encounter any other problems, leave a comment below.