Microsoft Replaces App Hub With Dev Center
Many upgrades offered with new site, but the rollout's off to a buggy start.
Windows Phone developers have a new home for their applications. Say goodbye to the App Hub, and hello to Windows Phone Dev Center.
The Dev Center is new from the ground up, and adds a number of requested enhancements, Microsoft's Ash Wahi stated in a blog entry. Some of the key improvements involve better speed, more ways to pay and in-app purchasing.
To start with, the site has been completely re-designed and re-engineered for a sleeker look and faster loading. Developers have long complained about the App Hub's unresponsiveness, but that problem should be mostly solved, Wahi said:
"What might not be immediately apparent is that the portal now sits atop a more robust and scalable backend ... These infrastructure upgrades should translate into improved overall site performance and reliability."
Numerous Dev Center changes were made to easier leverage global markets. They include the ability for developers to register in four times as many countries or regions, and three times more payment methods. In addition, developers can set different prices for each country or region, allowing much more granular control than was available previously.
In-app purchasing may end up being the most welcome addition of all. Various surveys have shown that type of purchase as a key factor in boosting profits, and Microsoft says it will support in-app purchasing "in multiple ways."
Revenues may also see an uptick with the addition of PayPal as a payment method; the common service is available to both customers, to pay for the apps, and developers, to pay for account charges.
The previous beta testing limit has been abolished too, and now lets developers test their apps with thousands of users. That should result in more polished apps at launch.
Tracking those apps post-launch should be smoother as well, since the Dev Center has improved its reporting and tracking tools. Writes Wahi:
"...you can now see downloads by purchase type—Free, Paid, Trial, and Beta. Paid downloads are now broken down by "without trial" and "after trial," providing more useful insights into how customers are acquiring your apps."
A warning, however: Although the Dev Center is live, it feels like a beta product, according to a number of developers who have complained of numerous problems in the few days it's been open for business.
In comments under the article, feedback includes comments like "The site is slow and apps list not loading," to "Email verification is not working", to the whole site feels "half baked." Wahi responded in the thread, stating that the portal is still in the roll-out phase, and "it's going to take a little more time for things to come fully up to speed."
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.