Amidst plenty of other things I’ve taught myself how to use Visual Studio over the last few months and got part way through developing two windows phone apps before stopping due to legal and feasibility oversights (more on that later.)
Now normally I’m overwhelmed with ideas and just not sure which idea is the best investment, but in the case of plain Windows Phone Apps I’ll admit I’ve run out. Which is a shame because I’d like to make one for my portfolio, (to prove I have the ability.) With that in mind I thought I’d ask if anybody out there reading this has need of a windows phone app? If so throw me an email and we’ll talk, if its simple enough I’ll make and publish your app for free.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s explore the apps I was developing and why I stopped.
The first app named Just-A-Blip lets you watch Blip videos on your windows phone, (Something the base windows phone can’t do at the time of posting). I actually pulled this off; I now have an app that lets me watch Blip.tv on my windows phone, (which is fantastic for me as I’m a big fan of a lot of Blip’s content producers.)
However whilst making such an app for my own personal use is fine… Further developing the app and publishing it seems like a good way to get harshly worded emails from Blip’s lawyers. I did try to contact Blip to see if they’d have an issue with it, but unsurprisingly they did the sensible thing and didn’t open a dialogue with “random-developer-on-the-internet”.
So in the end I gave up with that, did some upgrades I knew they never would have approved of like letting the app be able to download videos and kept the app’s raw working version as a tool for my personal use only.
The next app I started working on was a windows phone screen recorder. Now this was a very interesting venture as the functionality for screen recording on windows phone is only available in Windows Phone 8.1, (which isn’t yet released.) Because my app was going to take advantage of features from the 8.1 update I had to switch from using Visual Studio 2012 for Windows Phone to Visual Studio 2013 for Windows + the Update 2 Release Candidate.
This meant putting up with a slightly different code base but boy, I do not regret the change at all. Visual Studio 2013 for Windows is just so much less buggy then its predecessor, at least whilst running it on a mac via Parallels.
Anyway, back to why I stopped working on the app. Basically I got the app recording the screen wonderfully, hooray! But then I realized a rather large oversight on my end… Windows Phone intentionally prevents any app from screen recording anything but itself. So the only way anybody’s going to be doing lets plays etc of windows phone games any time soon is if each individual dev go several extra miles to include screen recording and skydrive uploading functionality into their games/apps.
Which admittedly seems like a silly decision on Microsoft’s part, but I can see why they did it, they don’t want people using apps to secretly record users. Who knows, maybe they’re planning to release a total screen recorder of their own to solve the issue. But as you can imagine a screen-recording app that only records itself and does nothing else isn’t much use to anyone, so I’ve binned that project.
So that’s my experience with windows phone app development so far, I certainly learnt a lot from the process, now if only I could find a proper cause to apply this new knowledge to.