Microsoft Speaks About Cloud Computing Capabilities Of Xbox One
Will updated YouTube app be bunk?
OEMs Pain Is Microsoft’s Gain: MS Looks to Sell 25 Million Surfaces
Google Gets Googled – Agrees To Work With Microsoft On YouTube Windows Phone App
Microsoft trying to understand success of Windows Phone in Italy, replicate it elsewhere
Microsoft Looks To Sell Another 25 Million Xbox 360 And Hundreds Of Millions Of Xbox One
Itsdagram passes 50,000 downloads
Lumia-exclusive FourSquare upgrade app now in the Windows Phone Store
Game Review: Tiny Space
Evernote For Windows Phone Updated To v3.1 With New Improvements
Windows Phone 7.5 is coming very soon and with it we will enjoy a fast and more beautiful mobile web experience powered by IE9! This is very exciting for us since it represents a huge leap forward not only in new features but also in support for web standards that make for a more compatible and interoperable web. As a side effect of these changes we know some sites designed specifically for IE8 and earlier may not work correctly which could end up affecting the browsing experience for visitors to your site.
To help minimize this problem, we added support for the Compatibility View List to Windows Phone! This feature will allow us to address compatibility issues rapidly and give developers enough time to update their sites on their own schedule. There is a lot of great information on the IE team blog about this feature but in a nutshell, the CV List is a collection of domains and their corresponding browser settings that gets updated every two weeks ensuring that IE9 works with the maximum number of sites possible.
Compatibility with IE7 Mobile
By default IE9 will try to load any site using the most standards compliant mode, this is great because it allows us to interoperate well with other browsers but it could cause compatibility problems on sites written specifically for IE7 Mobile. By using the CV List we can address most of the issues by forcing IE to use the IE7 compatible mode on the sites that need it to keep them working and looking great!
As an example we can use the Sounders FC Soccer team’s portal for Windows Phone, on the left is the site loaded on IE9 using standards mode where the score is not on the location it should be, and to the right is the same site loaded using the IE7 compatibility mode which addresses the layout issues.
IE 7 Compatible mode
Alternatively developers can also proactively instruct IE which mode to use when loading any site by using the X-UA-COMPATIBLE meta header as described here.
Addressing layout problems introduced by our text optimizations
Providing a full desktop browsing experience on a mobile device does not only require having a modern and compatible browser engine, it also requires special optimizations to the original layout to ensure the site is ready for consumption on smaller screens. Our ultimate goal is to do it without negatively affecting the site’s original style or flow!
We accomplish this by changing the site’s layout in subtle but effective ways, the areas more likely to be affected are text blocks but we do some other small things here and there. We built the rules used to make those changes based on data gathered from the most popular web portals from all over and I’m happy to say that for the most part our changes work great, but for a small number of sites, the changes can end up negatively affecting the layout and degrading the experience making the end result far from what the designer originally intended. The good news is that on IE9 mobile we can change the optimization parameters to fix those issues by using the CV List.
One great example you can try is http://reddit.com where on NoDo you will quickly notice that the headlines don’t look quite right and while the site is completely functional the experience is somewhat affected by this. On IE9 mobile on the other hand the page looks much better as it renders closer to how it is it looks when you access it using a desktop browser.
Windows Phone 7
Windows Phone 7.5
Fixing incorrect or missing mobile optimization
Another compatibility problem that the CV List allows us to address which is also one of the most common is the incorrect use of the mobile optimization settings. This generally has a direct impact to the end user experience as it prevents desktop sites from being rendered correctly or makes mobile sites too small to be used without zooming in.
The most common case of this problem is having an incorrect width on the viewport META tag, sometimes the value is 100px, others is 800px or even device-width which SHOULD be fine except when used on a desktop site. By using the CV List we can override the viewport settings making the site functional once more but once we do this the new values CAN’T be overridden by the developer!
One quick example of this can be found on http://mobile.airfrance.com where the site’s missing viewport settings causes the site to load all the way zoomed out.
Fixed by the CV List
Actions you can take to ensure your site looks and works great on IE9 Mobile
- Test your mobile sites on IE9 mobile to ensure they function and behave as expected. Also please take a look at the current version of the mobile CV list here to verify that no further action will be needed to ensure compatibility with Windows Phone 7.5.
- As needed, use the desktop version of the IE9’s improved Developer Tools to resolve compatibility issues.
Always set the correct viewport values by detecting which device is being used.
- Email email@example.com as described here to ask to be removed from the IE9 CV List when your updates are live on the web. Don’t forget to mention that the request is for the IE9 Mobile CV List!
Windows Phone Browser
Updated 10/7 with link to App Hub for information on how to seek an exception to the new policy.
Today I’d like to revisit a topic I raised in June with my post, “How Marketplace Manages Bulk App Publishing.”
Windows Phone Marketplace is committed to providing customers with a wide range of certified applications, increasing and curating app quality and providing a safe, reliable and convenient shopping experience. Delivering on this commitment requires that we carefully track behavior within our Marketplace and share with you when we adjust our policies to improve the Windows Phone experience. The good news is that the growing popularity and global availability of Windows Phone have already begun attracting more developers. However, we have also seen another spike in what we call bulk app publishing. This is the phenomenon whereby a developer publishes a large number of very similar apps in a single day. As a result the popular “New” Marketplace category fills quickly, pushing the other new apps out and reducing the diversity of the shopping experience.
The first step we took to curb this behavior was to limit the number of apps that one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. We are again observing a small number of developers publishing apps in bulk. Therefore, Effective Friday 9/30 we are limiting the number of apps that can be published in a single day without prior agreement to 10. This means that no more than 10 apps by the same developer will be certified per day (down from 20). In addition we will monitor the number of apps published – not just certified – in a given day and be more proactive in correcting instances where the 10 app limit is exceeded. This may include the unpublishing of apps, and in extreme cases, temporary or permanent suspension of an offending developer’s Marketplace credentials.
This new policy should be appropriate the vast majority of you, but we do appreciate that there may be some instances where there is a legitimate business reason to seek an exception to this policy. For more details about how you can request an exception to the new 10 apps per day limit, please read the following App Hub post.
As is generally the case when addressing policy abuse, we fully recognize that there are really only a few offenders. The vast majority of you understand and respect the value of maintaining a great Marketplace experience, where downloads and reviews dictate just how prominently an app is featured. Still, I’ll take this opportunity to share a few related reminders:
- Unique apps can only be published in a single category. Any duplicate apps showing up in other categories may be unpublished, per the Windows Phone Marketplace FAQ’s
- When applying similar templates to multiple types of apps, we recommend differentiating apps through unique iconography, titles and other metadata to help potential customers make informed decisions about downloading apps.
- As mentioned in application certification requirement 2.10, apps must have distinct, substantial and legitimate content and purpose. Differentiation between your apps can help meet this requirement.
- There are several ways for your apps to be featured in Marketplace on the phone and now on the Web. Apps are featured by category based primarily on their number of downloads and customer reviews. The same is true for the cumulative top and free sections. The New panorama that makes up the background is algorithmic based on timing.
Marketplace will remain subject to a fair, transparent and responsive certification process. That’s not to say that we’ll always reflect each individual’s assessment of an app’s value. We will, however, continue to base our judgment on our published policies. As you see today, we will regularly assess our own policies and practices to help ensure that our certification and merchandising efforts deliver the best experience in the industry so that your apps can thrive in a safe, reliable and convenient marketplace.
Thanks for your continued support and feedback on how we can make the Marketplace experience better for you and customers.
Senior Director, Windows Phone Marketplace